Here’s Why a Little Training Goes a Long Way When It Comes to Personal Safety Devices
A quarter of American adults say they live in fear of being attacked in their own neighborhoods according to a September 2022 poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Our team at Mace® believes everyone has the right to feel safe as they move through their community. That’s why we provide personal safety products designed to keep people safe. But, we also offer information on how to use products safely.
The reality is that many people don’t have experience using devices for self-defense, especially in life-threatening situations. That’s where a little training can be valuable—if not a lifesaver.
We recently spoke with Phil Nelsen, co-founder of Legal Heat, a firearm training firm operating in over 40 states, with 200+ retail locations and well over 400,000 students. The company focuses on providing online and local classes to help the nation be a safer place.
Mace® will be partnering with Legal Heat to offer in-person and virtual training sessions to give people the practical knowledge they need to use personal safety devices safely and within the bounds of the law.
We asked Phill to tell us more about Legal Heat’s programs—and how people can stay safer in their daily lives.
What can you tell me about Legal Heat?
We founded Legal Heat to train people to get their concealed carry permits, and we particularly wanted to emphasize the legal aspect of firearm ownership, including the laws from state to state. Our programs have become increasingly popular because information on the legal aspects of gun ownership is lacking in the industry. When we started many people could teach you how to shoot a gun. But few could tell you when you were allowed to shoot a gun and the legal ramifications.
Why are you expanding your offerings with Mace®?
There are pretty heavy restrictions on where you can carry a gun. Many of our students want an option for when they can’t carry a firearm. Some want options because they aren’t comfortable carrying a firearm all the time. That’s why we are working with Mace to develop a curriculum for less lethal personal safety devices like pepper spray and stun guns.
We plan to offer several courses designed for civilians, armed security guards, and law enforcement. Courses will be available in person through our 200+ locations and online.
Why is training so critical?
First, it takes a lot of training to overcome your instinctual response to a threat. People either fight, flee, or freeze, and may not react in a way that preserves their personal safety. That’s where trying makes a big difference.
Plus, the statistics suggest many people will encounter violence in their lifetime. That’s not fear-mongering. It’s the reality of life in our country. So, that’s why it makes sense to get prepared, so you know what to expect.
Our training goes far beyond the mechanics of the devices. We teach you how to practice safety in your daily life with your device as a last resort. We also help you understand the law, which regulates using personal safety devices like pepper spray or stun guns in many jurisdictions. A significant portion of our training involves understanding where you can or can’t carry it and when you can use it.
What is the one thing we all can do to be a little safer—starting today?
Enhance situational awareness. Sun Tzu said the best way to win a battle is to avoid the battle. Situational awareness and just being aware of your surroundings at any given time and assessing threats. This is one of the biggest things that we train in all of our courses. It's not about winning the fight, it's about avoiding it altogether.
In today's world, people are walking around looking at their phones with headphones on, and we've lost our ability to assess threats. We also have this perception that we'll just be safe, and somebody else will protect us from danger.
Situational awareness is a critical tool we can use to avoid danger altogether. It’s about choosing safety first, paying attention to your environment, and listening to your instincts. It’s a great way to keep safe starting today.
In addition to founding Legal Heat, Phil Nelsen is also a former prosecuting attorney who currently maintains law offices that focus on business law, firearm law, estate planning, and small business management. He’s also the director of Legal Education for U.S. LawShield, a self-defense insurance company, and a tenured professor who teaches law and entrepreneurship courses at Salt Lake Community College.