September 23, 2011

Am I armed?

I have found in studying bushcraft, there are at least two schools of thought when it comes to arming yourself for protection. One mindset is that you should not bring protection, because it distances you from nature, puts you outside its realm. If it so be that you are prey to some larger predator, you become part of the so-called circle of life.

I have serious issues with that thought process. Mainly, every animal, and even many plants, will defend themselves until death. They have some defense mechanism that they can do or use against anyone or anything that would try to eat them. Why should man be so different? Well man IS different! We have evolved, we have learned to use and make tools. Weapons are a tool, doesn't matter if it's a knife, spear, a bow, or a gun.


The alternate school of thought, which is the vastly more popular one and to which I subscribe, is that you should arm yourself for protection. I go camping in areas where bears, mountain lions, moose, and bucks roam. In addition, there are some crazy people out there, and then there those who take to the mountains to go drink and shoot their guns. I don't have a problem with having a good time, but what's to stop them from drinking too much and deciding to wander to camp sites picking fights?

With these potential threats, I choose to carry a gun when I go out to the mountains, and one in sufficient caliber to deal with almost any threat. I carry a Glock 23 (.40 cal), and it's never more than an arms reach when I camp. Fortunately for dealing with a human threat, just the sight of dealing with someone who is armed lowers their aggravation level, and for the most part would deter any altercation. When it comes to animals, you don't have to necessarily shoot them at first threat. A .40 cal is quite loud, especially when you have mountains and trees to reverberate sound off. A shot fired in a safe direction would probably scare away any predator, if not stop it in it's tracks. With a semi-automatic weapon, it's quite easy to pull the trigger again if the warning shot didn't deter them.

This is all my own philosophy, based on my morals and ethics. I believe in defending myself and my family, wherever that may be. I have determined that a handgun is the best method for doing just that. Here's why I feel that way: Unarmed hand-to-hand defense, or armed hand-to-hand puts you are greater risk of injury or death. That rules out martial arts, knives, axes, or even spears in my mind. Ranged defense has much lower risk, but still needs to be quick and repeatable. So throwing a knife, ax, or spear just won't cut it. While things like bows and crossbows might be relatively quick and repeatable, a semi-automatic weapon is much faster.

Now between a rifle and a handgun, which would you rather carry with you all day while out in the woods? If you were not specifically hunting, a handgun would be ideal for defense. I don't hunt (not for any moral reasons, I just can't stomach the thought of gutting and skinning anything), but I think even if I was out hunting with a rifle or bow, I would still carry a sidearm handgun as my main defensive weapon.

So there you have it, my thoughts on arming oneself when in the wilderness. Doesn't mean I am right, but I am right for me and my family, and that's all that matters.

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