Caught Off Guard: 12 Situations for Self Defense Without a Gun

Knife Crime On Urban Street

While we are a firearm company here at Concealed Carry, even we admit that there are some situations that are more tactical or necessary, due to circumstance, to have the knowledge of how to defend yourself without a gun. We, as a company want to encourage safety and defense for you and your family, above all else. That's why we offer the training classes that we do and why we work hard to give you the knowledge and the means to live a safer life, free from fear.

With that in mind, today we are going to take a look at many of these situations so that you'll have the knowledge to defend yourself where a gun is unavailable. Each topic points to a valuable resource, expanding on it further.


instadfense 468x60

1: When Your Attacker is too Close

In the event that your attacker is so close that it impedes upon your ability to grab your firearm, you must have an alternative way to create enough space and time to draw your weapon. To make matters even worse, a determined bad guy can make up a lot of space in a short amount of time.

young man holding knife isolated on white background

2: When You're in a Place You Can't or Don't Have Your Gun

There are many places in the country where you cannot have your gun on you; courthouses, airports, even entire states. If the unforeseen occurs in one of these locations, or if it was an unfortunate day you forgot to bring your firearm with you, you need to have an alternate means of defending yourself.
Can't Have gun

3: When You've Run Out of Ammunition

This may not be a large problem in your mind, but the truth is even cops, who carry several spare magazines on their person can and do run out of ammunition. It's something that can happen, and if it does, in a situation that calls for action, you'll have to resort to other methods of self-defense.
Out of Ammo

4: If or When Your Gun is Inoperable

This is a situation that should not occur, but any occasion that shouldn't occur doesn't mean that it won't. General upkeep and cleaning is necessary, but sometimes accidents and malfunctions will happen. Don't let your only line of defense be compromised by a hardware error.
Blown Ruger-001

5:  When You're Fighting Over the Gun

What if you weren't quick enough on the draw? What if the adrenaline of an intense moment caused your hands to lose grip when they need it the most? An attacker with a fight response, that sees an opening to grab a gun will take the chance and in that case, you may literally have to fight for your life.

Martial artist disarming a criminal with a gun or close quarter combat

6: When You're In a Big Crowd

It is a sad fact that collateral damage can occur in combat. Consider that many of the places that have a high level of threat of mass shootings are where a massive amount of innocent people are gathered. The last place to be trigger happy is in a crowd of innocents, so if the need for action occurs in a crowd, use a smarter, safer method of handling it.

Audience sitting in tiered seating watching a live performance or cinema, view from behind

7: When Dealing with Attackers from Multiple Directions

Multiple attackers impede our ability to act quickly. The mind can only focus on so many things at once. Drawing, aiming, and firing your gun in multiple directions, at multiple assailants can be difficult. Proper training both with and without your firearm is necessary to be able to thwart your attackers.

Outlines of dangerous guys outside

8: When Your Gun is Taken from You

What if the attacker managed to get your gun? What if the shoe is on the other foot, and you are now the person dealing with a gun in your face with no alternative but fight or become a victim? In that situation, you'll need to fight to survive.

A criminal threatening an innocent man with his hands up

9: When You Don't Have Enough Time to Draw Your Gun

Practicing reflexes in a controlled environment is one thing, but putting that training into action can be quite another. As stated above, a bad guy can make up a lot of time in just seconds. If you don't see it coming, or your situational awareness is broken on the day you're attacked, you may not be able to get your gun out of your holster. If you can't, you'll need to fight.

Man with gun threatening woman on white background

10: When the Threat Doesn't Warrant Deadly Force

Not all situations require a gun. The ability to judge a situation correctly is something that takes a lot of constitution and brain power. You don't want to be the person who goes down as an over-reactionary that causes people to have a negative view of those of us who are trying to protect ourselves.

A young adult teenage man threatens with his clenched fist. The hand is selectively in focus. Isolated on white background

11: When You're Not Legally Justified to use Deadly Force

Not all situations allow a gun to be used. More than whether a situation morally calls for lethal force, some situations can get you into huge legal trouble for using lethal force. This again goes into judgment. Why risk years in prison in a situation that could be handled with a simple, yet effective bit of unarmed self-defense knowledge?

Jail Cells

12: If Gun Confiscation Occurs

What if the very essence of concealed carry was gone tomorrow? Are you more than the gun in your belt? Are you prepared to defend yourself through other means should you have to?
Gun Confiscation-001
The truth is anyone who cares about NOT being a victim needs to care about hand to hand self-defense training in addition to one's firearm training. We understand that not everyone has the time to go to an physical class, so we have an affordable option that you won't have to leave you house to practice.
This course is one of the best methods we have seen to help you defend yourself, whenever your gun is unavailable:


instadfense 468x60


About Riley Bowman

Riley Bowman is the Director of Training at and the Host of the Concealed Carry Podcast. He came up in this world initially through his 8-year experience with a state-level law enforcement agency in Colorado. Riley has trained extensively under instructors such as: Rob Leatham, Mike Seeklander, Tim Herron, Scott Jedlinski, Matt Little, Kyle Lamb, Dave Spaulding, Jeff Gonzales, Bill Blowers, Chuck Pressburg, and others, amassing many hundreds of hours of formal shooting and tactics training. He is an NRA Pistol Instructor, a Colorado P.O.S.T. Handgun and Patrol Rifle Instructor, a graduate of Trident Concepts Concealed Carry Instructor course, and a Modern Samurai Project Endorsed Instructor. He also competes in USPSA and 3-gun competitions including numerous top-10 finishes at major matches and championships. He is the current USPSA Carry Optics Colorado State Champion and most recently won 3rd place in Master Class at the 2022 USPSA Carry Optics National Championship.


  1. Ron Wellner on August 31, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I haven’t won a fight EVER. Lost the first one I was in in kindergarten. I was a small kid, smallest boy in my school grade. Even flunked gym in the 3rd grade, coach’s comments, I was to small and weak to physically compete with my peers. Now I’m old and fat with a bad back, can’t walk without a cane and if I was to get knocked down on the ground not sure if I could get back up without help. Not sure if there’s any training that could help me in a fight and couldn’t afford it if there was. ( unless it was free and close to where I live ) If I can’t use my firearm I’m toast LOL. But I do carry a knife and a tactical pen as well as my CCW every where I can, and don’t plan on going down without at least putting up some resistance.

    • Lonny on April 15, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Look up cane fighting. There are some really good skills you can learn. I have a buddy that uses a cane. It’s a very good weapon.

  2. Monty Ham on September 2, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Ron, There are types of self defense that don’t require much in the way of physical fitness. When I’m teaching women’s self defense classes, I focus on those techniques in particular. Sometimes you literally have nothing more than a finger tip and bring an attacker to their knees. Strength has a lot going for it (definitely an advantage), but the details and accuracy of the technique are far more important. Consider some small circle training and/or pressure point strikes (Kyusho Jitsu)

  3. Lawrence Muhr on September 3, 2016 at 2:59 am

    Monty is right! We all get old (hopefully) and we loose the ability to defend ourselves like when we were younger. Find a way to fight dirty, this is the trick of an old man. If forms of judo, karate, etc. are available, learn them. It will also help your physical fitness efforts.

  4. DanoFive0 on September 3, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Just keep your eyes open at all times. Know what is going on around you at all times.Never go anyplace you y don’t feel safe.. I mean going when you don’t need to go there at all.
    And remember.. If you must use your gun. When the police come.
    DO NOT! DO NOT! Talk with the police. Just give your name and say. I was in fear for my life. I want a lawyer… Say no more until you have a lawyer with you. Not one word…
    Know your rights & use them.
    The police come after the fact… And will try and get you on something.. you can be 100% in the right. Even then,they may try and pin you with something.. shut the hell up. Until you have a lawyer with you…

  5. Steve on September 4, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Where do I find the kind of lawyer to keep on retention for just in case I ever had to use my gun?

  6. Ken Curtis on September 19, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Learn the “Triangle of Victimization”.

  7. Ken Curtis on September 19, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    “Self defense … begins with the idea you are worth defending.”

    Rorion Gracie.

Leave a Comment