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man protecting his wife and baby with a gun inside their home and certified instructor joe yagar pointing finger with a grimace

Stop Making Excuses!

February 03, 20246 min read


Have you ever been in a situation when you thought, “I wish I would have done this sooner?”

I know, life happens, and there is always something else that is more important to do or pay for. Until that thing you kept pushing down the priority list is the one thing you wish you hadn’t.

Like the retirement plan you keep pushing off because driving a BMW is more important. Or not showing up to your kid’s recital because staying late at work and making more money is more important.

Or perhaps when you become a victim of a violent crime and wished at that moment you would have taken those karate or firearm classes you were planning to take. Can you relate?

I certainly can.

lady standing on her porch with an ar-15 rifle in her arms

The most common reason I hear from students for learning to become safe and responsible gun owners is that they don’t feel particularly safe these days. They want to protect themselves and their families.

When I asked them how long they’ve been thinking about doing it, most say for years. Why? For the very reasons I just mentioned. 2020 changed all that. Safety isn’t as black and white anymore.

I was no different. I didn’t think I needed a gun. I didn’t think I’d become a victim, let alone twice.

I always had something more important to do or pay for. I didn’t need the extra expense.

Now, as an instructor who knows what it’s like to be a victim, I am passionate about the mission of educating and training students to become safe, responsible, and confident gun owners so that they have an opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones should they have to.

Both times I was attacked, the police did not just pop up out of nowhere to rescue me. Heck, I didn’t even have time to call them. And even if I did, they would do their best to get there, but in the minutes they hustled to get to me, I was still on my own, and the attacks were over in seconds, and the robbers gone into the night.

If they chose to harm me, or worse, kill me, the police would be too late anyway.

If you find yourself in the same situation, and learning to use a gun was one of those things you postponed, it’s at that moment that you’d wish you hadn’t. And if you have loved ones to protect, you can multiply that regret tenfold.

What will you tell your loved ones? That you didn’t have time? That you didn’t have money? That their safety wasn’t at risk, and it will never happen on your watch?

a woman pins a masked attacker with a knife on the ground in a parking lot of an apartment complex.

Learning lifesaving skills like martial arts, swimming, and the safe and lawful use of a firearm are investments in your and your loved one’s safety, not an expense to be postponed.

If and when you need any of these, it is too late to learn or figure it out.

The consequences, however, may cost a whole lot more than the expense you think you’ll save.

Yes, you could watch YouTube videos. Yes, you could look for the cheapest class. Yes, you could try to figure it out on your own. Yes, you’ll save money.

And you’ll get what you pay for.

I don’t care what you choose to do to protect yourself and your family. You may have a different set of values or point of view about guns than I do. I respect that.


Whatever you choose as your weapon, invest in your development now and make a commitment to be the best you can be in its use, because when your life and or that of your loved ones is under threat, you’ll need to be.

A woman victim uses pepper spray on a masked attacker trying to snatch her purse

If you’re wondering where to begin, let me share how I approach self-defense.

There is defense inside and outside the home.

Some of my students want to have a gun at home only. They are comfortable with the idea of using a gun in the event of a home invasion. Often, because there are less variables than using a gun out in public. For example, innocent bystanders, larger crowds, and some different laws.

To them, I suggest investing in a good home defense gun or guns, securing their homes with cameras, sensor lights, and alarms, and having a home defense protocol the whole family is on board with and ready to implement.

It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. There is a way to do that on almost any budget and in little time.

When outside the home, carrying one or more of pepper spray, a flashlight, a tactical pen, or stun gun, for example. These options can be effective and should be carried even if you carry a firearm everywhere. They should be used first if at all possible. A gun should only be used as a last resort.

The goal is to create space and time to hopefully escape the attack without causing lasting harm and greater legal consequences, and most times these tools suffice.

Beware, these tools are only effective in close proximity to an attacker, and likely against only one. So, if you bring those to a gunfight, or there are multiple attackers, you may be out of luck.

Now, if you do choose to carry concealed or open in public, whether constitutional or permitless carry is allowed in your state or not, get your concealed carry permit regardless. I’m not versed in every single state’s carry laws, but in most cases having a permit has several advantages that non permit holders don’t enjoy.

I will not go into all of these here, but if you’d like me to make a video on what these advantages are, please leave a comment below.

If you intend to carry, then my recommendation is to carry 100 percent of the time you’re legally allowed.

Please don’t say that you’ll carry when you think you’ll need it, because there is no way you’ll know when that is.

You will not get a notification on your phone or a note with your morning paper that you’ll be attacked and will need your gun in a specific location and time. Just carry it and be well trained to use it lawfully.

Regardless of the mode of protection you choose to use, especially outside your home. Situational awareness is your first line of defense. Being aware of your surroundings and exuding confidence is a powerful deterrent for criminals.

We can be excused for putting off a lot of things, such as going on vacation, skipping a meal, doing house chores, or changing the toner cartridge for our printer, none of which are life threatening or regrettable.

But in my professional yet humble opinion, putting off investing in your safety and that of your loved ones may very likely be.

Train Hard, Often, and SAFELY!

SELF DEFENSEno excusesstop making excusesfirearms traininggunsfirearmshome defenseconcealed carryflorida concealed carry permitflorida concealed carry lawlaw enforcementvictimsattackersviolenceviolent crime
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Joe Yagar

Joe Yagar is a NRA Certified Instructor in the Bradenton-Sarasota area.

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