Most articles on self-defense are geared towards taking an offensive mindset and battling your attacker. And while I agree with the concept of the warrior mentality, a lot of situations have a window of opportunity to flee that exists shortly before the attack, or can be opened by the victim during the attack. The diehard warriors who say they’ll never run from a fight they didn’t start, just haven’t haunted some of the places I’ve been. Looking down the barrel of a gun changes your perspective on how tough and bulletproof you are. Especially when you’re in a country that couldn’t care less about any lives except their own. I’m not a fighter. I’m not a warrior. I wouldn’t even consider myself a “tough guy,” but every day of my life I get out of bed, put on my pants, clip a folding knife in my pocket, clip a cell phone on my weak side, then hang a Glock 27 on the strong side. This is my ritual and what makes me comfortable in a volatile world. About the only exception to this routine is when I travel to states that don’t have concealed carry reciprocity with my own. My reasoning for always carrying a gun is I spend a lot of time in remote areas on my farm where wild dogs and other varmints are a constant threat. I also spend a little bit of time in the city where there are also varmints and threats. And while the Glock is my primary defense tool in a violent attack, the folding knife is my everyday utility tool that gets me out of most jams.
Fight Or Flight?
I said all of that to say this: Even though you may go around every day, well armed and well trained, you should always be aware of the possibility that you may have to flee. If for no other reason than being able to survive a situation after your best Bruce Lee moves or Hollywood movie set shooting lets you down. And while I may carry the tools to allow me to send aimed fire downrange, once I cross those international boundaries (as I do on regular occasions), or travel to a location that doesn’t allow me to carry concealed, my survival solely rests on my brains, experience and the legal tools I’m carrying. These are the places I don’t want a fight of any kind, but I do want good tools on me should I have to make a run for it, or stand and fight.
“Dressing down” doesn’t mean carrying ineffective tools. Having traveled all over Latin America, the one tool that I’ve found that attracts zero attention in any circle is a good multi-tool. So, if you’re not carrying a full E&E kit, then at the very least you should be carrying a heavy-duty multi-tool. My pocket E&E kit carries a small Leatherman Micra, but if I had to pick only one tool for stand-alone use without other back-up tools, it would be a larger multi-tool. I’ve carried a SOG Powerlock multi-tool for many years and it’s always worked for anything I’ve asked of it. And while I’m no guru on hand-to-hand combat, if placed in a fighting situation, I would think you could do some pretty serious damage wielding a large multi-tool. Besides, if you end up killing someone by crushing through their skull with long-nose pliers or they die of blunt force trauma, I’ll bet your chances of proving self-defense are a little better than they would be from whacking on your attacker with a machete or “tactical” folding knife.
Trust me, a good piece of steel that grips well in the hand can, and will, open that window of escape when wielded properly. Even if you don’t manage to incapacitate your attackers and are forced into evade mode, the multi-tool is still the handiest thing I can think of to have with you. With it you can steal a vehicle to escape, break glass, file through metal, break into houses/buildings or make a simple booby trap for animals or humans. And while I’m not advocating anything illegal in this article, I am saying that when your life depends on it, you should use every skill and method possible to save your own skin. A good multi-tool is the true 21st century McGyver tool that will save your butt in more ways than one. So, if you’re like me and rely on weapons to keep you safe, then you may want to consider the multi-tool for the areas that your concealed carry permit is not valid. They don’t attract attention and they have a lot more power than your typical tactical folder or Swiss Army Knife.