Using a Tactical flashlight
One of the most important self defense tools that you can have is a tactical flashlight. When you consider that a fair share of crime happens between dusk and dawn, you must also consider that there is a different dynamic associated with self defense in a dim light situation. Do you practice martial arts or self defense in a well lit environment? Do you shoot at a well lit range? Why do police officers always have a flashlight? Have you ever practiced your self defense tactics in the dark? It is often said that when the excrement hits the fan, you will not rise to the occasion; you will revert to the level of your training. 50% of our day, more or less, takes place between dusk and dawn and according to the FBI more than 74% of all shootings occur during darkness or in places of dim light. Have you spent at least 25% of your training time, working on dim light training? These are some of the questions that you should ask yourself when you evaluate your preparedness and training.
Usually, when confronted with a self defense situation, we are forced to be reactionary. This means we are usually already behind the eight ball in a self defense encounter. How can we try to tip the scales in our favor? A good tactical flashlight is one implement that can help give you the upper hand, especially if you know how to use it.
Flashlight technology has come a long way. It seems that not that long ago, a foot long "mag light" style flashlight was considered “state of the art". Today’s modern tactical flashlights are much smaller and more powerful than the flashlights of yesteryear. The modern tactical flashlight can also be expensive, often times well over a hundred dollars for a good “top of the line” model. Since tactical flashlights are made to be used in self defense situations where lethal force is likely to be used, quality and reliability is a must.
The flashlight technology has gone from a standard incandescent filament bulb to the xenon bulb and as of late, the preferable high power LED bulbs. LED bulbs are definitely the way to go because they offer longer battery life and are usually up to five times brighter than the older xenon bulbs which replaced the older still standard filament bulb. LED bulbs will not break due to the shot recoil of a firearm, the way that the older bulbs would.
Battery technology has also changed with the newer flashlights. Advances have gone from the standard alkaline battery, to the lithium battery to the newer and better technology of the rechargeable batteries. The lithium batteries can be a bit more expensive than a traditional battery, or you can save money by going with rechargeable batteries. These are not the crappy rechargeable batteries that you remember from the past, today’s rechargeable battery is actually quite impressive.
Weapon mounted lights are a viable option and are usually available for most any gun whether it be a shotgun, rifle, or a handgun. I personally prefer a hand held flashlight for many reasons, although I have weapon mounted lights on both my home defense shotgun and my M4 carbine. Weapon mounted lights offer hands-free use, leaving the operator free to use both hands to control the firearm. A disadvantage of a weapon mounted light is that the beam of light will give away the location of its user and the light is aimed parallel to the bore, which means that you will be pointing the gun at anything you wish to illuminate. For me, I use weapon mounted lights for weapons that require the use of both hands.
For handguns, I believe that a hand held light is best. Hand held lights are much more versatile and can be used tactically as well as for any other application that a flashlight can be used for. There are many positions that can be used to allow the light and handgun to be held parallel and provide mutual support, or the light can be held off to the side of the body to present a false target to a potential assailant. Typically the handgun is held in the strong hand and the light is held in the weak hand. Unlike the weapon mounted light, the hand held light may be used to illuminate areas that may or may not contain a target, without pointing the handgun at the area. If a target is detected, the handgun can quickly be brought into line to cover the target. The hand held light also allows the light to be turned on or off as needed, additionally the light might have other features such as a dimming or a strobe feature, that become more user friendly with a hand held light. Furthermore the light can be turned off to minimize the ability of an attacker to locate you.
There are many good quality tactical flashlights on the market today. Some of the most popular brands on the market today are: Streamlight, SureFire, ICON, Elzetta, Energizer, Fenix, Fox Fury First-Light-USA, , Inova, Insight Tech, Maglite, Nitecore, Novatac, OLight, Phoebus Tactical, and many, many more. Shop carefully, try some out, ask people what they use, and get the best flashlight for your needs. My everyday carry tactical flashlight is the Surefire E2D LED and my duty tactical flashlight is the rechargeable Streamlight Strion LED. A must have feature is a push-button tactical tail switch that will allow One-handed operation. Both of my flashlights have this feature. I really like both of these flashlights and I use them both quite frequently. I try to always be prepared and part of my preparations include having a flashlight with me at all times.
One of the main advantages of a tactical LED flashlight is the ability to overwhelm an aggressor's night-adapted vision. I recommend a minimum of 160+ lumens, this will prove to be more than enough to temporarily disorient the attacker when you shine the light in the attackers eyes. This tactic can buy you precious seconds that may help you shift the odds in your favor. Another critical advantage would be identifying your target. Is there ambient light? Is there no light? Whatever the case may be, the flashlight will help you identify your target and what is beyond and you better be sure of your target.
Your stance is something that you need to establish, try out the following methods, find what works and is most comfortable for you, and then practice, practice, practice. Hopefully you have already practiced a stance that works for you, and hopefully you have also practiced variations of your stance. The variations of your stance can be used in different situations, such as: shooting on the move, shooting from the prone position, shooting from a kneeling position, etc… Remember when a critical situation arises, you will most likely not be in a “range” environment and you will have to adapt “on the fly” to the situation at hand. Now let’s incorporate holding a flashlight to the equation. How does it affect your stance?
This hands-together technique, which was developed for, and is limited to, use with older-style flashlights possessing side-mounted switches, works well with large and small versions of the veteran illumination devices. The method is easily assumed by isosceles or modified-isosceles shooters, but difficult to accomplish for those with small hands or when using a heavy flashlight. The latter is of particular concern when the approach is utilized for extended periods.
The Chapman technique is accomplished by grasping the flashlight in a "sword" grip, with the thumb and forefinger circumventing the body, while the remaining fingers wrap around those purchasing the handgun. This approximates a normal, two-handed firing grip, and the arms provide isometric tension.
Like the Chapman technique, the hands-together Ayoob method is restricted to side-mounted-switch flashlights, and it's fatiguing for extended use with heavier models. The benefits are that it requires less training to master than most approaches and isometric tension stabilizes the gun and light for improved accuracy.
Employing the Ayoob technique requires the shooter to grasp the flashlight with a "sword" grip with any finger on the side-mounted switch, then thrusting both hands to an approximate isosceles position and ending with both thumbs touching. The latter action creates isometric tension that steadies the firearm.
Although developed for use with large-bodied flashlights, the Harries technique works equally well with smaller tactical lights, thereby earning this hands-together method its go-to status. As the approach was created for use with large flashlights—a heavy flashlight may be rested on the shooting hand's forearm—this method is less fatiguing during extended use than many others. A hitch, though, is the Harries technique offers poor ergonomics for anything other than the Weaver stance.
For the Harries method, the flashlight is maintained in an "ice pick" grip while the handgun is thrust forward, at which point the non-shooting hand crosses beneath the handgun-retaining arm. The technique finishes with the backs of the hands against one another, creating isometric tension for stability. The type of flashlight—tailcap pushbutton or body-mounted switch—determines whether the thumb or another finger operates the switch.
The Rogers technique, which was later refined by SureFire for use with the company's grip-ring-equipped Combat Lights, allows for rapid flashlight deployment when it's being carried in SureFire's Combat Light holster. This hands-together method closely approximates a normal, two-handed firing grip, but is restricted to only small, pushbutton-equipped flashlights.
To perform the Rogers/SureFire approach, the flashlight is held between the forefinger and middle finger of the non-firing hand with the tail cap pushbutton positioned against the palm/base of thumb, forming what could be considered a "syringe" grip. The flashlight hand is then brought together with the firearm hand, with the two unused fingers of the light hand wrapping around the gripping fingers of the weapon hand, as to attain a normal, two-hand firing grip. The light is activated by exerting pressure to depress the tailcap pushbutton.
This hands-apart technique prevents the user from "marking" his position—through the use of intermittent light at random heights—and draws fire away from center-of-mass, as well as provides easy transitioning to and from the Neck-Index method. It works well with large and small flashlights and allows for ambidextrous shooting. Its disadvantages include difficultly in maintaining the flashlight beam on the threat and fatigue in extended use. Additionally, implementing this method with an injured hand or arm would be arduous, and the approach requires extensive practice to perfect.
The Modified FBI technique is accomplished by holding the flashlight in a "sword" or "ice pick" grip with the arm extended away from the body and the gun hand. To prevent the user from self-illumination, the flashlight is held slightly in front of the body.
Another hands-apart handgun option, the Neck-Index technique, works with large and small flashlights alike, as well as those possessing varying switch configurations. This method offers fast deployment, provides simultaneous illumination of sights and the threat and easily transitions to and from the Modified FBI technique. The flashlight always illuminates the direction the user's looking; it's in line for use as a striking tool (with larger versions) and the technique can be used with an injured limb. The problems, however, are that it can create excessive reflection off the rear of the handgun, and most importantly, it draws fire toward the shooter's head.
The Neck-Index technique is achieved by holding the flashlight in an "ice pick" grip against the jaw/neck juncture below the ear, so it moves with the user's head with minimal blocking of the peripheral vision. For larger flashlights, the body can be rested on the shoulder and indexed against the base of the neck. Depending on the type of flashlight, either the thumb (tail cap pushbutton) or another finger (side-mounted switch) operates the switch.
Things to Remember
• As a general rule, moving to the lowest level of light provides more concealment than operating in areas with higher levels of light.
• In a low-light environment you are most visible and vulnerable when backlit.
• Keeping the flashlight on continuously may make searching easier, as well as reassuring, but it also makes you a target while letting the aggressor know how far you are from his position, what direction your are coming from, and when you will be there.
• Activating the light away from centerline, at intermittent and irregular intervals, while alternating the light position from low to high, will confuse your opponent while making it harder for them to determine your position.
• In most cases—when searching for, or engaging a hostile subject—constant light should only be used in two situations: (1) when your are backlit and cannot move to a less backlit position, and (2) when your subject has been located and is not an immediate threat.
• When searching for or engaging a known-deadly force threat, your gun, flashlight and eyes should be aligned to the same point of focus.
Things to Remember - Excerpts from the "SureFire Institute Low-Light Tactics Level
One Operator/Trainer Course" manual.
When you reload in low light encounters, don’t put your flashlight in your back pocket. If you light yourself up, you will look like an angel or the tooth fairy…. and you are going to be one of them pretty soon.
I encourage you took seek out training and practice. Find a low light tactical course from a qualified instructor. Try wearing really dark sun/safety glasses next time that you are at the range. Mastery of these skills could be the difference between life and death and by taking your training and practice seriously, you will gain the winning edge. Stay safe!!
About the author:
Richard A. Smith works as an armed guard and a firearms instructor. Richard has many years of extensive firearms experience and thousands of hours of formal, and advanced level firearms training. He currently holds the following credentials:
- State of Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License
- State of Florida Security Officer "D" License
- State of Florida Statewide Firearm "G" License
- NRA Certified Firearms Instructor (Multi-Discipline)
- NRA Certified "Refuse to be a Victim" Instructor
- NRA Certified Chief Range Safety Officer
- AHA Certified First Aid, CPR, and AED Instructor
- GOA member
- NRA Life member
- Florida Carry, Inc. Life member
- Florida Carry, Inc. Board Member
Richard lives with his family, all of which are avid firearms aficionados and Instructors themselves, in South Florida. Richard is available for group or private instruction. For more info please go to www.SFLguns.com
- Handgun Techniques reprinted with permission
Open Carry & Holsters
by Steven Bass
Lets review a holsters job. The primary responsibility of your holster is toprovide physical protection and retention of your sidearm on your person while allowing you quick and easy access when or if the need arises. With Open Carry you also want a holster that provides some degree of restriction from access to your firearm by others. Holsters can accomplish this in several ways to include but not limited to quality of materials, construction, fit, cant and manual retention features.
Many belt mounted Outside the Waistband holsters currently used for Concealed Carry can easily transition to Open Carry use. Quality open top leather holsters which are wet molded (boned) to a specific make of firearm offer good retention through the friction fit of the holster, in addition some of these holsters like the Galco Avenger offer adjustable tension to increase the amount of resistance necessary to remove the sidearm. –
Kramer Vertical Scabbard Bulman SDS Galco Avenger
For those wishing to step up a level in retention abilities there are several holster styles available to choose from. The traditional time proven thumb break holsters as the name implies require that the thumb of the strong hand disengage the retaining strap before the firearm can be removed from the holster. This provides an additional step making availability of the sidearm to other than the wearer more difficult.
Other types of retention holsters with more novel retention devices exist such as the Bianchi 82 utilizes a mechanical locking system that locks onto the trigger guard of the pistol and requires the middle finger to activate a paddle lever to release the sidearm before it can be removed from the holster.
Bianchi 82Or the Safariland ALS holsters like this 6377
The Safariland ALS secures the sidearm into the holster by locking into the ejection port. The sidearm cannot be removed from the holster until the locking release lever is actuated.
What all of these and many other holsters offer is quality of construction and designs sturdy enough to discourage unauthorized access to the sidearm.
Holsters you should stay away from are the inexpensive and generally poorly made nylon holsters that fit multiple makes and models of sidearm. These holsters offer inferior firearms protection and weapons retention due to poor fit and weak construction. You also want to stay away from those holsters that use a paddle device to secure the holster to your pants, and those that utilize a small metal spring clip to secure the holster to your belt, such holsters can often be defeated with a strong pull to the holster causing them to detach from your pants, pistol and all.
"The Five-Minute Handbook"
FIVE MINUTES TO FREEDOM!
A FIVE-MINUTE HANDBOOK FOR GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS
I've been a gun rights activist for nearly 10 years. I wasted a lot of time for the first 5 years because no one gave me the rule book you are now reading. Maybe that's because no one had written it. This is the stuff I wish I had known starting on day one.
If you've just arrived at this party, the next 5 minutes you spend reading this might save you 5 years of otherwise wasted time and energy.
If you've been in the gun rights game for a while, this handbook will be the fastest refresher course you've ever taken.
This past year I've received a lot of mail from jittery gun owners who are finally waking up to what's happening to our right to keep
and bear arms (RKBA). This handbook is mostly for them. If the rules I list below scare off a few folks, so be it. I want to tell it like it really is -- to give a quick snapshot of the tips, tricks and tactics that actually work in RKBA activism.
The bad news is that this is not a complete list of the rules. The good news is that there will never be a complete list of rules.
The rules listed below are based on my own experience from working thousands of hours with down and dirty RKBA activist pros. I am deeply
grateful to all of them. They know who they are. Some of these rules have been followed for so long by old-time activists that they have forgotten what the original rules were. It's time to list them again. And sneak in a couple of new ones. So read them and weep, or read them and rejoice.
THE HANDBOOK RULES
NO ONE IS AS INTERESTED AS YOU ARE.
Nowadays everyone's attention span and time are limited. Be grateful if you get anyone's attention on our issue, even for a few seconds. Some wannabe activists come in like a lion, then disappear faster than sh*t through a short dog. Take whatever you get from any volunteer. Praise and thank them. Don't be disappointed when they drift away. They will. But some come back. Keep the light on for them.
THE NRA STINKS. So does GOA, SAF, JPFO, and any or all of the rest of the gun rights organizations.
At the same time, all of these organizations are the best thing since sliced bread. We won't keep our rights without them. It's normal to love them and hate them at the same time. Be sure your complaints about them go to the person who can do something about your problem. Never give up your membership -- it's much easier to fix things from the inside.
Avoid griping in public -- our opponents love it when we do. Always handle our dirty laundry behind closed doors. Always.
THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET. There is no single answer, rule, or solution.
Never has been, and never will be. None of us will write the single brilliant letter to the editor or internet message that will miraculously turn everything around. Keep steadily busy. Do as much as you can, whenever you can. Anything you do counts, but some things count more than others. Find out what counts. Then do it.
THERE IS NO FINAL VICTORY. Preserving RKBA is an ongoing PROCESS.
We are winning and losing battles during this process, but the war will never be over. Becoming active to keep your gun rights is a lot like cleaning your house: it's thankless and boring work, but necessary. Like dirt, the antigun crowd will just keep coming back. Forever. Your activism will keep us winning more than losing. Our opponents count on wearing us down. They love it when one of us (not you, of course) gets discouraged and drops out. When you fully understand and accept the reality that RKBA is a never-ending struggle, you're automatically in the top 5 percent of all RKBA defenders. Congratulations.
RKBA ACTIVISM IS BORING.
It's especially boring when you are doing things that really make a difference. Most of us want drama. We want to be entertained. Phone bank calling, precinct walking, going to RKBA grassroots seminars -- suddenly, even a trip to the dentist for a root canal will start to look better. Sorry, but there is no workaround on this aspect. Freedom is not free. It's a pain in the ass. Get used to it, get over it, and get to work.
USE THE POWER OF FEAR AND GUILT.
Gun owners are susceptible to these emotions. Awaken sleeping RKBA activists by tapping these powerful emotions. Fear and guilt will move mountains -- and fill the collection plate, and recruit new members. If gun owners won't become active for themselves, ask them to do it for their families. For their children. For their country. And -- this tactic works! -- ask them to do it for YOU.
WATCH OUT FOR MISDIRECTED, TIME-WASTING EFFORTS.
E-mail to elected people is pretty much worthless -- unless the official already personally knows you. Internet polls are useless. Online polls make some folks think they are actually doing something. They are not. It's a false sense of accomplishment. It's like bringing a doctor to a dead man. Focus on the stuff that works. If you're going to hunt ducks, go where the ducks are.
POLITICIANS ONLY CARE ABOUT VOTES AND MONEY.
In-person visits, phone calls, and snail-mailed, handwritten letters to elected folks help -- because politicians know that if you take this much trouble, you and your family and friends will also vote.
HOT TIP: Make yourself known to politicians for issues other than gun rights. Don't present yourself as a single-issue person. Praise and help politicians on THEIR pet projects. Then, when a new gun control law comes up, your opinion will seem especially credible. Otherwise, you will soon be stereotyped and discounted as a single-issue voter.
ANOTHER HOT TIP: Politicians have to explain why they vote Yes or No on proposed laws. Sometimes they really need your help in composing explanations to their constituents. If you want your elected official to vote No on a seemingly popular new gun control law, she might
be more willing to vote your way if you give her a "back door" -- a good, common sense explanation that she can give to all of her constituents.
GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN OFFICE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
If we have the right people in power, antigun laws will not be passed. Period. The laws are what matter. This concept is so simple that many folks can't see it, just like they can't "see" the air they breathe. The anti-rights crowd can hold all the gun control seminars and news conferences they want, but nothing will happen unless they can pass more laws. This fact tells you about the how, what, where, when, why, and with whom you should be spending your time, energy, and money. Politicians pass laws. Therefore, you must get involved in
politics to protect your gun rights. There is just no way to get around this. Sorry. I don't like politics either. Bummer!
STOP THE SABER RATTLING -- NOW!
Avoid those shrill folks who sound threatening or talk about doomsday. It's a waste of your time. These noisy folks remind me of a couple in a failing marriage who only talk about a getting a divorce instead of talking about their real problems. If they don't solve their problems, separation or divorce becomes the inevitable outcome. Some people get pumped up on silly fantasy scenarios. I do not.
ARM YOURSELF WITH ACCURATE INFORMATION.
Paradoxically, bad information or disinformation is a plague in the so-called Information Age. When you write or talk about firearms issues,
use only the facts, the truth, and the provable. Verify any quotes that you use. Back up your generalizations with powerful and specific examples. Get on the internet, and get your like-minded friends online. Join several of the hundreds of net communities that will keep you informed instantly and completely about our special issues. Information is power!
IGNORE MEDIA SPIN AND THE NEWS WAVES.
It's far too easy to go bonkers reacting to the latest media-driven crisis. Don't let the media push your buttons. The RKBA grassroots pros I know
do not overreact to crises. In fact, most of the ultra-pros that I know do not react at all to media hysteria. Bashing the media about their bias is not productive. Some gun owners use media bias as an excuse to do nothing -- because the situation seems so overwhelming and hopeless. Truth is, if you are a busy activist -- already steadily doing stuff that matters -- you will find the media reacting to YOU. Be friendly and polite with them -- not hostile. Become a reliable source of information for them. And just keep on being ACTIVE.
JUST SHOW UP.
It's been said that 80 percent of success is showing up. Being there. Showing up to vote. Showing up at an RKBA seminar. At your assemblyman's office. At a city council meeting. My father's favorite motto: "Your actions speak so loud that I can't hear a word you're saying." Your "silent" activism can be a model for others. What will your 3 hunting buddies think when they find out you spent an afternoon handing out brochures
door-to-door for a pro-gun politician?
DON'T MESS WITH TRUE BELIEVERS.
In the time you spend trying to convert one hard core antigun person to our side, you could have gone out and motivated and organized 20 people who already think like you do. Go with the flow. It's easier on your nerves, and much more effective. Personally, I have converted several anti-rights true believers, but never again! Lots of NRA members are not registered voters. A lot of gun owners aren't NRA members. Even more folks have no idea of their elected officials' positions on gun issues. Where is your time most effectively spent? Think about this before you spend an hour writing a clever response to a silly message you found somewhere on the internet.
SIMPLICITY STILL MATTERS.
The old rule, Keep It Super Simple (KISS), is as important as it ever was. It applies to internet postings, planning, speeches -- everything. And keep it short. And keep it sweet: don't ever ridicule or insult anyone. Did you notice that I did NOT say, "Keep It Simple, STUPID?"
YOU ARE ALL ALONE.
Well, not quite alone. You do have some help. The NRA has a staff of several hundred. There is no way humanly possible that "the NRA" can put out all the brush fires started by the anti-rights crowd. Pro-gun national organizations give direction and information -- but they cannot save your rights. Only YOU can save YOUR rights. You are 100 percent responsible. When you fully accept this reality, you are automatically in the top one percent of all RKBA activists.
THE HIDDEN BONUS OF GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISM.
The more involved you get with firearms freedom, the more you will realize that your single issue actually complements and protects other human
rights issues. Personally, I am deeply offended by many aspects of today's culture. When I focus my activism on RKBA, I can often sense I am making a measurable difference. All rights -- like all humans -- are connected.
WHEN IN DOUBT, JUST DO SOMETHING.
Sometimes we don't know what will work. Sometimes the rule is that there are no rules. I once wrote an essay I thought was mediocre at best. Five years later, I'm still receiving mail about it. Don't hesitate to try something new and innovative -- get it out on the table! Often your finest essay or brilliant letter will not be acknowledged, or you will just get a form letter response. But that letter to the editor that you dashed off in a few minutes appears in tomorrow's newspaper! Go figure. Better yet, try not to figure. Trust yourself, trust your instincts -- and just do something.
I'll see you in the trenches.
Copyright © 2000 by
All rights reserved. Reproduction or distribution is permitted so long as this copyright notice is attached; the complete Handbook (including the introduction) is reproduced; no word or words are altered in any way whatsoever, and the web site address <<http://www.jaspar.net>> is attached.
Our brains are the most important assets that we have, some work better than others but we all have one. Like the Leatherman tool or the Swiss Army knife, our brains can be used as tools or weapons. The instinct for survival is a primitive trait that we all possess. When we couple the innate instinct for survival with the use of our brains, we have the basic building blocks for an effective self defense.
Through the extensive use of our brains, we have created an advanced modern society. The inventions that we have created for our own benefit are very complicated. We have all of these modern conveniences to improve our quality of life, and yet it seems that we have less time. We have created some very complex systems for something as simple as self defense. We have self defense industries, classes, products, color codes, theories, and laws. We have phrases such as situational awareness, use of force continuum, personal protection, and so on, that complicate a simple practice.
Situational awareness, personal awareness, contextual awareness, covert awareness, etc., all have the component of awareness in common. The concept of being aware is as old as the human race. Covert awareness is the knowledge of something without realizing it. We all have awareness to some degree, yet not everyone practices being aware. Just like we all have the instinct for self preservation or survival, yet we don't routinely practice that instinct in our modern society. The caveman was much more in touch with his instinct for survival due to the numerous threats that he faced on a daily basis. Those of you reading this article have a greater interest in self defense and awareness than most people with whom you come into contact in your daily lives. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and others have used the terms "sheep" and "sheepdog" to aptly describe those people that are aware and ready as opposed to those people that walk around with their head in a fog. Sun Tzu's, "The Art of War", discusses awareness in the first chapter, and it was written in in the late-sixth century BC.
These concepts of survival and using your brain are not new. Regarding using your brain, it has been correctly stated that common sense is not common. We all have these vital skills and abilities; the more you practice using them the better off you will be should a violent situation arise in your presence. Keep it simple; sometimes less is more. Start practicing your awareness everyday, wherever you are.
You can practice with your family, friends, or even alone to help you improve your awareness. People watching at the mall can be a fun exercise. Start looking at your surroundings. Start listening to your "gut feeling" as it is often right. By increasing your awareness, you will have more options at your disposal if, and when you are confronted with a violent situation. Hone and refine your skills for your own safety and that of your loved ones. Being aware will often times cause the bad guys to look elsewhere when they are looking for that "easy mark". The criminals in our society usually try to pick an easy target. While you can't prevent crime, you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim by making yourself a "hard" target. You are going to be a harder target when you are more aware.
Use your senses while you practice increasing your level of awareness. Sight, smell, hearing, etc. Keep it simple and above all else, stay safe!