We’ve always advocated that survival is a team sport. Building up your network of family, friends, and community to endure hardship together is perhaps the strongest step you can take toward being prepared to handle whatever contingencies an uncertain world throws your way. But since you can’t pack all those people in your go bag or backpack, finding yourself alone in a bad situation is often inevitable. Whether that’s away from home on business, in the wilderness on a solo adventure, or in the car on the way to work — very few people are never alone. Especially in a post-COVID world that puts a premium on remote work, digital delivery services, and video conferences, we are constantly being pushed into circumstances requiring us to “keep our distance” from even our closest loved ones, typically under the premise of some “abundance of caution.” So, we felt it was important to take a look at some critical skills for surviving on your own.

Self-defense expert Steve Tarani graces our pages to discuss some key methods to develop a defensive mindset. When all you have to rely on are your wits and a pocket full of tools, keeping calm and being able to analyze your situation on the fly is critical. We also assembled a panel of experts to discuss how to integrate yourself successfully into a foreign population. While most of us will never be alone in a distant land for extended periods, these critical social skills can be re-tooled for any environment of strangers, whether they share your language and culture or not.

Special Forces soldier Kawa Mawlayee, war correspondent Hollie McKay, and former private military contractor Tim Lacy all contributed to this piece after years of working embedded in foreign cultures. Our Web Editor Patrick McCarthy also gave us a very thorough breakdown of his experience with Apex Training Solutions, who imparted him with a thorough understanding of long-range shooting fundamentals. While making a 500-yard rifle shot isn’t what most people think of in a self-defense context, as shooting skills go, it does fall firmly into the category of keeping your distance. He also reviews the 5th annual Protector Symposium, an event the RECOIL OFFGRID staff has been covering yearly since its inception. Event founder Byron Rodgers does a fantastic job of compiling teams of experts in various protection skills, many of whom are past or current contributors to this magazine.

As always, we hope you never have to use the skills in this magazine. If you do, we hope you have friends, family, or community around to help you through it. But, with or without a shoulder to lean on, the best defense against a bad day is investing in the knowledge, skills, and equipment required well in advance. Stay safe, stay ready.

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