From Armed Self-Defense to PreFense While Armed

I concluded my previous post about Gabe Suarez on Mike Seeklander’s podcast by mentioning seeing Steve Tarani at the NRA annual meeting in Louisville last year. Continuing my foray into the private citizen gun training industry via podcast this morning, I was surprised to find an interview with the very same Steve Tarani on Episode #7 of the Modern American Shooting & Firearms Civilian Carry Radio podcast on April 5th (also available on YouTube). Fortuitous timing!

Like Suarez, Tarani and the show co-hosts — Baraka James and Allen Sams — observed the increased danger of living in a world with lone wolf terrorists roaming about.  As I noted in concluding my last post, because you don’t know when and where the wolf will strike, you need to be proactive in your self-defense.

This idea fits well with Tarani’s idea of preventative defense or “PreFense.” Being proactive gives you “The 90% Advantage,” Tarani’s book title declares.

A common criticism of concealed carry by private citizens is that it goes with a “shoot first and ask questions later” mentality. But every professional firearms trainer I have seen, heard, or read says exactly the opposite: ask yourself alot of questions before you ever carry a firearm and always shoot only as a last resort.

Some gun trainers just teach how to operate a weapon, to be sure. But many (most?) also get into issue of mindset. And many (most?) of those address situational awareness as part of mindset. Tarani maintains that the proper mindset defeats most threats.

Indeed, the whole idea of preventative defense is based on the goal of NOT having to actively defend yourself by recognizing looming threats and avoiding critical incidents, i.e., preventing them from happening in the first place. (Beyond the admonition to not go stupid places with stupid people at stupid times.) As with medicine, Tarani observes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

By way of example, on the Civilian Carry Radio podcast Tarani mentioned how he always looks left and right before proceeding at a stop light. Does that make him paranoid, or is he just being prepared? I do the same when I am driving, so of course my answer is prepared.

This comment got me thinking further about how I talked to my kids about the dangers of driving when they were first starting out. I told them that it didn’t matter how good and safe they were as drivers, because there are others out there who are bad and unsafe drivers (i.e., threats to your safety). So they needed to drive defensively, by which I meant not just safely but also being aware of the drivers around them and trying to anticipate what those drivers might do. Don’t just react to other drivers once they threaten you, I told them, but prevent yourself from having to react by being proactive and aware.

Basically, I wasn’t telling them to drive defensively, I was telling them to drive PreFensively! That is their 90% Advantage when on the roads, one of the places that they as teenage drivers are most endangered.

Tarani is speaking again at the NRA annual meeting this year in Atlanta. If anyone attends his seminar, let me know your thoughts on it. (I don’t know if he will do the same this year, but last year he gave out free copies of his book PreFense to seminar attendees.)

Steve Tarani speaking at the NRA Annual Meeting, 2016. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane


  1. I look before proceeding on a green light too. It only makes basic sense to me to do that. I mean you don’t spend to long driving before you see somebody run a red light.

    Situational awareness is something you have to self train for. It’s not a natural thing to do in my experience. In my case have both parents be LEO’s in my youth maybe brought it more to my attention.

    If you can afford it professional training by a recognized professional is a good thing. However as in all purchases of goods and services the ancient Roman advice of buyer beware still applies.

    This was a good series of posts professor. And the responses were very thought provoking as well.

    Keep your powder dry and your faith in God.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Definitely agree that situational awareness is learned/trained for, though I have always been impressed by Gavin de Becker’s idea of “The Gift of Fear.” Fear is our friend if we learn to understand it and use it.

      Thanks for tuning in and sharing your thoughts and experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

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