Not all states allow concealed carry, and not everyone who lives in a state that does, has a permit. So, how can you get your exercise and still protect yourself? Following are some simple tips and ideas. First, and perhaps most important, maintain your situational awareness. If you need music, only use one ear bud, do not block out the world around you. Pay attention to your safety circle, that 21 foot, 360 degree area around you. Consider the buddy system, traveling in pairs. Gives you someone to talk to and makes you less of a target.
If a car stops to ask you a question, do you walk right up to the door or keep a distance? Stay back, out of reach, or decline to respond, but do not walk right up to them, same thing at an intersection, if there is a car stopped and you can’t cross, don’t get close, give yourself some room.
If someone stops to ask you the time while you are walking, do you look down at your wrist, probably about waist high? Most people do, which takes your focus off the stranger in front of you. Instead, bring your watch up to your eye level so you can see both your watch and the stranger.
Carry accessories. There are a lot of non-lethal options, and most of them are available at your local gun show. SabreRed makes a pepper spray that has a strap that goes over your hand, specifically for runners. Tactical style flashlights are compact but solid and many have a toothed bezel that can be used to strike a blow in an emergency. Collapsible batons that open with the flick of your wrist extend your striking distance (although you need to check your local laws, and most states do not allow one that is spring loaded). Stun guns, while very up close, and not my favorite, can be a last resort. Whistles carried on a stretchy bracelet can be used to make noise and attract attention. Hikers especially should always have a whistle because the sound carries farther than your voice and if you are lost you can draw help to you with short blasts on the whistle.
All of these accessories can be found at the Gun Show, and more. If you can’t go out armed, or even if you can, consider having a non-lethal defensive tool to increase your safety and enjoy the outdoors.
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