Common Self Defense Questions Answered

Common Self Defense Questions Answered

What Pistol is Most Ideal for Everyday Carry?

Choosing the best pistol for self-defense depends on your personal needs and preferences. Generally speaking, your everyday carry (EDC) pistol should be something you're comfortable with, accurate, portable, reliable, and easy to operate under pressure. This means it's not a great idea to carry a large, unwieldy pistol just because it has a big caliber round capable of significant damage.

The larger the handgun, the harder it will be to draw quickly. It's also more uncomfortable to carry concealed, and this discomfort might lead to you leaving it at home one day—which could be disastrous if you end up needing it.

Most people these days prefer 9mm semi-automatic pistols. The ammo is affordable, the smaller round allows for a larger magazine capacity, and the recoil is relatively gentle. If you want more stopping power and you’re comfortable with a smaller magazine capacity, go for a .45. For something in between, consider a .40. Large caliber revolvers are reliable and viable for concealed carry, but their six-round capacity and slow reload speed are big drawbacks, especially in high-stakes situations.

Accessories like red dots or lasers can help you acquire targets faster than standard iron sights and allow for both-eyes-open shooting. However, be cautious about adding too many attachments, as they can make your weapon unwieldy and harder to draw. It's best to be conservative when customizing your concealed carry pistol.


What Are Some Affordable but Effective Firearms for Home Defense?

When it comes to home defense, there’s a staggering variety of shotguns, rifles, and pistols available. The same factors that helped you choose your EDC gun apply here, but you also need to think about bullet penetration. Centerfire rifle rounds tend to go through multiple layers of drywall and could injure or kill someone in an adjoining room or even the neighbor’s house if the round is powerful enough. If an intruder comes into your home, you might end up in a room-to-room fight, so smaller calibers or centerfire pistol rounds are best.

An M1911 is a good choice for an EDC pistol, but shorter barrels are preferred. (Photo by Jonathan Olsen-Koziol)


EDC pistols with lights are a solid choice for home defense, but if you want something with more "pop," consider more compact pistol caliber PDWs without the long barrels of traditional full-size rifles.

While it's hard to pick a truly bad home defense weapon, it's still possible. Long rifles can be tough to maneuver around hallways and corners, so your home defense strategy should prioritize mobility. Guns that are "too small" or lack essential components like a buttstock force you to fire from the hip or risk hitting yourself in the face with recoil if you try to aim down the sights.

Other poor choices for home defense include outdated weaponry like black powder guns, cowboy-era single-action revolvers, and bolt-action rifles. While historical figures like 80-year-old Patriot Samuel Whittemore managed to take down multiple British soldiers with his musket, sword, and brace of pistols in 1775, keep in mind he was fueled by superhuman hatred. You are not him. It doesn’t matter that your Brown Bess shoots a .75 caliber ball or that your Springfield M1903 won two World Wars. These weapons simply shoot too slowly to be effective in close quarters combat where the threat is likely no more than 40 feet away from you and most likely armed with a cheap, modern semi-automatic pistol.

In summary, for both everyday carry and home defense, choose weapons that are practical, reliable, and suited to your needs. And always prioritize safety and readiness.


Does martial arts training help against an attacker with a knife?

While there are several martial arts that teach specific techniques for disarming and neutralizing an attacker with a knife, such as Krav Maga, Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), it’s important to approach this idea with a realistic mindset.

No matter how skilled you are, facing a knife attacker is incredibly dangerous. Even experts can get injured in such encounters. Martial arts training doesn’t make you invincible; it gives you a better chance to defend yourself and survive. The goal is to minimize harm, create an opportunity to escape, and, if possible, neutralize the threat.

If you can avoid a confrontation against a knife-armed attacker, do so. The best defense is to not be there. Create distance between yourself and the threat. Run, use objects around you as barriers or pick up an improvised weapon, and do your best not to engage. If you absolutely have to engage your opponent, all knife disarm techniques involve controlling your attacker’s knife hand, and a wrong move could end with you getting stabbed.

While martial arts training can significantly improve your odds against a knife attacker by enhancing your awareness, technique, physical conditioning, and mental resilience, reaching the necessary proficiency takes a long time, and even then, success is not guaranteed. Prioritizing firearm training is generally more practical for defense. Use your martial arts training to create opportunities to escape and stay safe, but understand the substantial risks involved in any physical engagement.


What is considered a justifiable act of self-defense?

When it comes to defending yourself and others against random mass shootings, people generally aren’t prosecuted for their actions. If an attacker is armed and actively trying to harm you or others, you’re usually authorized to use lethal force. Note the emphasis on "generally"—there are always exceptions.

For instance, in 2022, a would-be thief named Philip Betts got into a fistfight with a Family Dollar employee after being caught shoplifting. Another employee sprayed Betts with mace, and a bystander named Kevin Jackson stepped in, drew his pistol, and shot Betts in the leg. Unfortunately, Betts died from his injuries, and Jackson was charged with murder.

This case highlights a crucial point: when the aggressor is unarmed and poses no immediate threat to your life or the lives of others, it's generally advised not to engage with lethal force. Instead, call the police or, if possible, use non-lethal means to subdue the aggressor. Lethal force should be a last resort, reserved for situations where there is a clear and immediate danger.

Are there less than lethal methods for self-defense? 

For those who are hesitant about using lethal force for self-defense, Byrna Arms offers a practical alternative with their line of CO2 powered less-lethal weapons. Byrna’s picatinny-compatible pepper spray guns have proven to be effective in various real-world self-defense scenarios, as their customers testify. These affordable weapons don’t require any background checks, are legal to carry in all 50 states without a license, and significantly reduce the chances of facing legal troubles if used in self-defense.

A Byrna Mission 4 rifle is virtually identical to an AR-15 minus the recoil and lethality.


Byrna’s lineup includes pistols, PDWs, and rifles, all designed to be picatinny-compatible. This means you can easily enhance them with accessories for better performance. For instance, their rifles and pistols work perfectly with Firefield products, like flashlight/laser combos that help with aiming. Plus, the rifle and PDW models come with top rails, making them compatible with red dots like the Impact, which boosts accuracy. Overall, Byrna provides a versatile and user-friendly option for those looking to defend themselves without resorting to lethal force.

Choosing the right self-defense weapon, whether for everyday carry or home defense, requires careful consideration of various factors, including comfort, reliability, and suitability for your specific needs. A balance must be struck between firepower and practicality, ensuring that your weapon is easy to carry, quick to draw, and effective in high-pressure situations. While modern semi-automatic pistols like the 9mm are popular for EDC due to their balance of capacity and manageable recoil, home defense strategies often benefit from options that minimize the risk of over-penetration, such as pistol-caliber PDWs. Additionally, martial arts training can be a valuable complement to armed self-defense, enhancing your ability to handle close encounters, though it should not replace the practicality of firearm training. Ultimately, the best approach to self-defense is one that prioritizes preparedness, situational awareness, and the responsible use of force, ensuring you can protect yourself and your loved ones while minimizing unnecessary risks.


To Shop Firefield Accessories for your self-defense weapon, click here.

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