Non-lethal weapons can be incredibly useful in long-term self-sufficiency scenarios. During SHTF (or just being off-grid and away from neighbors) can make you stand out like a sore thumb. When you’re out on your own and have no one else to watch your back, you need every advantage you can get. Non-lethal weapons can make the difference between being fully prepared and falling short.
Non-lethal weapons includes more than tasers and bean bag shells, in fact these types of weapons cover everything from detention and restraint items, rubber ammunition, and even practice weapons.
Here’s a quick run down of less than lethal items which can help give you the edge
- Zip ties
- Leg irons
- Heavy-duty plastic bags
- Duct tape
- Heavy-duty fishing line and four heavy-duty hooks
Non-lethal weapons and ammunition:
- Extendable baton
- Leather slapper
- Billy club
- Solid ABS practice sword
- Rubber pellet ammunition
- Smoke Grenade
- Marking rounds
- Foam bullets
Self defense items:
These items can come in handy when you need to keep someone restrained, defend yourself without killing your assailant, or you need an advantage that will let you escape the situation. One of my favorites is the ABS swords by Cold Steel, which can easily double as a weapon outside of the training ground. Training in any defensive situation is always crucial, so make sure you practice with all these weapons just like you would with a real gun or knife. Make sure you are comfortable with your chosen items before you trust your safety to them.
Many “less than lethal” items are outlawed in some states, so they are sometimes hard to find locally. If they are avaliable for purchase in your area then there is no better place to buy them than Amazon, or out-of-state gun shows may be your only bet. Make sure you check your local laws before buying.
Smoke cartridges have a low usability on their own, but several smoke bombs set off at once can make a difference by drastically cutting down visibility. I believe most of the survival/prepper community would rather avoid conflict than invade a compound so it may be best to stick with foam projectiles or beanbag rounds. An exception would be homemade smoke bombs which can be made in bulk.
Non-lethal weapons will allow you to provide a first line of defense against intruders and at the same time will signal that you mean business but aren’t necessarily looking for a fight. However, think twice before using non-lethal projectiles…the last thing you want is people knowing where you are and that you are prepared. Nearly everyone may have regular ammo, but only those who are prepared (or lucky) will have non-lethal ammo.
Awareness makes up 90% of self-defense, the remaining 10% being physical techniques. With awareness, you can identify and avoid potentially dangerous situations. Without it, you become an easy target for a criminal or raider.
Colonel Jeff Cooper, a combat pistol instructor, developed the Color Code system, used by most military and police organizations, to differentiate different levels of awareness.
These color codes help recognize, evaluate, and avoid potential threats. They are used to measure rising threat and make most situations avoidable.
The following are the colors in ascending order of awareness of danger: white, yellow, orange, and red.
- You feel secure, whether or not you are actually safe.
- Awareness is switched off.
- You are unaware of your environment, its inhabitants, and their rituals of attack.
- All attackers look for victims in this state.
- You are cautious. You should spend most of the time in this state.
- Awareness is switched on.
- State of threat awareness and relaxed alertness.
- You have a 360-degree peripheral awareness of such environmental danger spots as secluded doorways, entries, and alleys, as well as such psychological triggers as adrenal dump and attacker ruses. Be aware of people, vehicles, behind large objects, dark areas, etc.
- You are in danger. You are aware of a potential threat.
- State of threat evaluation.
- Specific alert. A possible target has been identified. A particular situation that has drawn your attention and could present a major problem. Someone may be giving oral indicators such as direct threats or using suspicious language. Focus on the potential attacker.
- Check to see if there is an avenue of escape, potential weapons available, and if others around you are friend or foe.
- Decision is made to take action.
- You are in conflict.
- State of threat avoidance.
- Fight or flight. Flee, defend, or attack. You have evaluated the situation, and if there is a threat, you prepare to fight or run.
- Never stand or fight if there is a possibility of fleeing.
- Carry out decision to act made in Code Orange. You don’t have to think; no indecision on the course of action; you are prepared.
- If use of physical self-defense techniques is necessary, use the level of force appropriate to the threat. E.g., don’t treat someone who pushes you because he is rude like someone who is trying to stab you with a knife.
How to Use the Color Codes of Awareness
The color codes of awareness are a continuum of your awareness and readiness to defend. The objective is to constantly flow from one color to the next above or below, depending on the situation.
Never be in white. Spend most your time in yellow, even in places where you feel safe, such as at home.
Constantly be aware and alert, and shift from yellow and orange often as you notice potential threats and dangers. While walking down the street, practice imaginary shifts between the 2 colors. Practice thinking of ways to respond to potential attackers.
When in orange, notice what you can do to flee, defend, or attack if it becomes necessary, and make the decision to take a specific action if the situation escalates to red.
What would you do if that person walking behind you picks up the pace and makes a move toward you? What would you do if someone jumped out of the alley just ahead of you? What would you do if someone walking in front of you suddenly cuts your path and raises his hands toward you?
The Color Codes in Practice
Here’s one example of how the Color Codes of awareness could be used. A woman is walking to her car, carrying grocery bags. Being aware and alert in Code Yellow, she sees two suspicious men near her car.
She switches from Yellow to Orange. She decides on her self-defense options. They walk toward her and reach for her. She switches to Red, and executes her decisions: she throws the bags at them and runs back into the store.
Another example. You are walking and someone diagonally across the street stares at you for no apparent reason, with an angry expression. He doesn’t avert his gaze. You shift to Orange and decide to run the opposite direction and yell for help.
He starts moving quickly toward you, crossing the street without regard to traffic. You immediately shift to Red, and without thinking or deciding, run the opposite direction at the fastest speed you can, and either lose him or run into a police officer or security guard that can help you.
Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend information about how to survive in an emergency situation. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you. It is dynamic, hard to maintain, and easy to lose. Knowing what is going on all the time is very difficult for any one person, especially during a high stress survival situation. Therefore it is important that you know what behavior is effective in maintaining Situational Awareness.
Here are a few ways you can improve your situational awareness today before you need it in a survival situation:
1. Learn to Predict Events
The most effective aspect of Situational Awareness involves the ability to project the future actions of elements around you.
After you have been able to identify elements in your environment and can comprehend the situation, it is time to take your Situational Awareness one step further. Use this information to think ahead and determine how it will affect future actions and events in the environment.
2. Identify Elements Around You
The first step in achieving Situational Awareness is to become aware of the important elements in your environment. Start by noticing the threats that surround you. Then expand your awareness to other non-threatening elements.
This is the most basic level of Situational Awareness where you begin to monitor, detect, and recognize multiple situational elements. These include objects, events, people and environmental factors. Basic Situational Awareness also requires you to notice the locations, conditions and actions of the elements around you.
This may sound overwhelming, but do not worry. These are skills you already use on a daily basis. The first step is designed to help you expand and improve your perception of what is happening around you.
3. Trust Your Feelings
Disorder within your family or a gut feeling that things are not right can cause you to lose proper situational awareness. This clue is one of the most reliable because the body is able to detect stimulus long before we have consciously put it all together.
4. Limit Situational Overload
Overload causes distraction, increased errors, and high stress. Prioritizing and delegating tasks and minimizing surrounding distractions can improve survival during times of overload.
5. Avoid Complacency
Assuming everything is under control will affect your vigilance. When things are slow or tasks are routine complacency can occur. Continue to challenge yourself and those around you to be prepared for contingencies.
6. Be Aware of Time
Time is an important factor in mastering Situational Awareness. The pace of your environment is constantly being changed by the actions of individuals, task characteristics, and outside elements. When unplanned events begin to arise, be sure to make the necessary changes to your schedule and goals to help you survive.
7. Begin to Evaluate and Understand Situations
The next step in involves understanding multiple elements through the processes of pattern recognition, interpretation, and evaluation. Use this information to determine how it will effect your goals or in this case your ultimate survival. This will help you build a comprehensive picture of your immediate surroundings and a better understanding of Situational Awareness.
8. Actively Prevent Fatigue
Fatigue affects your ability to watch for possible danger or difficulties. Try adjusting your work routine and imposing sleep discipline to prevent wake cycles longer than 18 hours. Make sure you get at least 5 and preferably 8 hours per day of sound sleep to minimize sleep deprivation.
9. Continually Assess the Situation
When you are in a survival situation always be prepared for changes around you. Continually assess and reassess the situation to determine if you are giving yourself the best possible chance for survival. Learn what nature, the land, and new tasks are telling you, before you find yourself in a difficult situation.
10. Monitor Performance of Others
Be alert for changes in the performance of those around you caused by work overload, stress, and mistakes. When changes are needed, take action by speaking up and helping out. A weak link in your family could be the difference between success or failure in your survival.