Setting Your Gun Up for Self Defense
There is no way of knowing 100% how you’ll react when faced with an attacker or home invader. As responsible gun owners, we train in order to combat the failures we experience when faced with a self-defense situation in hopes that developing muscle memory saves our lives.
When faced with a threat or when we perceive danger, our body automatically responds with something
we call “fight or flight.” Hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released and our sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear preparing our bodies to either stay and fight the threat or run. This stress response causes our heart rates to increase, our pupils to dilate and blood to rush to our muscles. The resulting symptoms can occur:
- Narrowed vision causing visual distortion
- Super sensitive hearing
- Muscles tense up and loss of fine motor control
You’ll be able to run faster than you thought possible, but your dexterity will be shot. (Pardon the pun.) All these can adversely affect how well we aim and shoot—no matter how much or how hard you train. This is the main reason why many choose to accessorize their self-defense gun with tools that increase accuracy in times of extreme stress.
Among the most popular and useful are:
- Light/laser combo
- Mini reflex sight
- Night sights
- Better trigger
- Extended magazines
- Upgraded/aftermarket grips
- Replacement of recoil spring
Most of these suggestions are made for semiautomatic handguns as opposed to revolvers. Most semiautos are designed with rails to accommodate a variety of optics which enhance target acquisition as well as a better hit to miss ratio.
There is much debate about whether a weapon-mounted light is a safe tool or bad idea with experts weighing in on both sides. Clearly, a flashlight—handheld or rail-mounted—is necessary to positively identify subjects in low-light and dark environments. If woken up in the middle of the night by a loud noise, it is imperative that you know without a doubt what made that bump in the night. There are pros and cons to the use of either light and it’s up to you to decide which best suits your needs but a light is without a doubt, an essential piece of home protection equipment.
The pros of a handheld tactical light outweigh the cons—both of your hands are kept free to manipulate your firearm and it doesn’t require extra training in the use of flashlight techniques. Keeping your firearm at the low ready while searching the house prevents sweeping the muzzle of your gun over an innocent.
The Firefield BattleTek weapon-mounted flashlight has 150-lumens with constant-on or strobe modes, ambidextrous digital switch control, is shockproof, compact and lightweight. Firefield carries models that incorporate an integrated laser, as well as AR-15-specific lights and lasers.
Nothing can replace knowing the fundamentals of shooting, however, a laser does help make up for your deficiencies as a shooter. Lasers, in all their different forms, are one of, if not the most, popular accessory for handguns—both pistols and revolvers—and many popular concealed carry and self-defense handguns come with integrated lasers.
Once considered a gimmicky novelty, there are now many professionals who recommend the use of a laser sight. They do help you aim more accurately and help you maintain your situational awareness. That is just two of the reasons why lasers are practical for self-defense. There are many more.
If you’re hesitant about attaching a light to your handgun, but still want an accurate aiming tool, a laser is something worth serious consideration. Coming in red or green, Firefield has plenty of pistol laser sights and rifle lasers to choose from.
What’s better? Red or green lasers? Click here for the answer.
Light and Laser Combos
These units combine both a laser and light to form a self-defense powerhouse. The best laser/light combo will feature the option to use either separately or together and offer constant-on and strobe modes.
Mini Reflex Sights
Reflex (red dot) sights are designed for ultra quick target acquisition in close-quarters. They use a reflective glass lens to gather light from an LED to create an illuminated aiming point—generally a red dot reticle, or variations of simple crosshairs. They are electronic and require the use of batteries.
When using a red dot or reflex sight, you must still aim your firearm. They aren’t necessarily designed for point and shoot like lasers. More experienced users will benefit more over a reflex sight than a beginner would. One of the main pros of a reflex sight versus a laser is that the aiming dot on a reflex sight is not visible to the target and will not give away your position.
Firefield’s Impact mini reflex sight, compatible with S&W and GLOCK, features a 5 MOA dot with 5 brightness adjustments.
Whether you decide on a laser or a red dot sight is subjective. Pick which one feels most comfortable for you.
Since lasers, lights and red dot sights require batteries and batteries die and electronics fail, you should have backup sights. One worth-it upgrade is to invest in a good quality set of tritium, fiber optic or tritium/fiber optic combo glow-in-the-dark night sights. Though night sights aren’t comparable to lasers or red dots, they do allow you to see your sights in total darkness. They offer faster target acquisition over standard factory iron sights.
Some triggers on really good guns just plain suck. I know that isn’t a very eloquent way to state that but it’s the most truthful. An inconsistent and crunchy trigger with a long trigger pull can seriously affect your accuracy. Bad triggers lead to problems by causing you to incorrectly place your finger and jerking the trigger. Look for aftermarket triggers with a smooth and lighter pull, short take up, seamless break and positive reset.
Extended Magazines, Grips and Recoil Springs
- Having enough rounds to shoot until the threat stops justifies extended magazines.
- Non-slip grips provide a secure hold on your firearm when you’re sweaty—a side effect of fight or flight.
- Replacing the factory recoil spring with a stronger one is an option, especially if you shoot hot +P rounds.
Picking out a self-defense gun is a highly personal decision. No one can tell you which one is right for you. While some love GLOCKs, others prefer snub-nosed revolvers. Some chose an AR-15 to use as their home defense gun. Either way, practice, take classes and pick the gun and accessories that make you feel most confident in your abilities.