Why Guns are a Poor Choice for Self-Defense
When it comes to self-defense, many people think that using a firearm is the best option. This could not be further from the truth, however. Using a firearm over a stun gun, pepper spray any other non-lethal self-defense weapon has many emotional, social and financial costs involved. Though many people use guns for self-defense, much of the time their use is unnecessary or ‘overkill.’ If used improperly, a gun can put you in a very poor position, regardless of original intent.
1. Better to “stun and run” than to shoot and kill
The purpose of using personal security products is to disable the attacker and run for help. Non-lethal weapons such as stun guns and pepper spray immobilize the target and leave no permanent damage. A gun on the other hand could potentially kill or severely harm someone. If your assailant is unarmed, using a gun could be considered use of “excessive force,” unless you could prove the usage as a result of life-threatening circumstances. Even then, there could still be legal issues involved.
2. Lack of training can be fatal
Unlike professionals in law enforcement and the military, many civilians are not mentally trained on when and when not to shoot. Being “trigger happy” or firing on someone out of fear can be fatal. Even worse is that those that have been trained, such as police officers, often find themselves caught in legal traps as well.
3. If you pull it, be prepared to use it
Pulling a gun on an attacker can invite blowback in the form of serious injury or death. Faced with the deadliness a firearm, an assailant who initially planned not to harm the victim may be forced to strike swiftly and viciously when threatened with a gun. Once a gun is lifted, its use is the only option left. You must be prepared to use it in full force if you draw it on your opponent, as it is all or nothing in the end.
4. Your weapon can be used against you
One of the greatest risks in using a gun is that it can be taken from you and used against you. This is especially true if you are not properly trained in handling it or have multiple attackers. Though this can happen with any weapon, the consequences are much less fatal when using a stun gun or pepper spray.
5. Hesitation can cost you your life
Due to the seriousness of what a gun is capable of, many people hesitate in shooting when their lives are threatened. When being assaulted, a moment’s hesitation could cost you your life. Swift action is required in order to subdue your attacker. With a gun, you may freeze from the fear of taking action or possibly doing serious damage, making it a less viable option for self-defense.
6. Can you live with killing someone?
One of the worst possible outcomes in using a gun is of course killing someone. Most of us would not be able to handle the emotional trauma of taking another person’s life, even if it came down to protecting our own life. Even for hardened professionals, the psychological effects can be very damaging and difficult to overcome.
7. An innocent bystander could be the next victim
Unless you are in a very secluded area with no one around, there is the possibility of you hitting someone nearby. Not only does this lead to legal complications, but there is also the psychological trauma of having your hands soaked with the blood of an innocent bystander. You should either have a very good aim or rely on something less lethal for protection.
8. Guns just aren’t that effective
Many tend to use firearms as their top choice for self-defense because they think that it has the best “stopping power.” As already stated, it may work as a good visual deterrent against some but not so well for others. In regards to actually shooting someone, an attacker that is drugged or psychotic may not exactly go down as you intended. You could end up on the receiving end, with either serious injury or death. Unlike a gun, pepper spray is both non-lethal and relies on an inflammatory response instead of pain in order to be effective.
Though certainly useful for particular situations, a gun may not be the best choice in most cases. Under most circumstances such firepower simply is not needed or warranted. You are much better off socially, mentally and legally to use alternative methods of non-lethal self-defense instead. Come look at our pepper sprays and stun guns to see if you can find a better option.