Seen any tigers around your neighborhood lately? Actually, your neighbor may be keeping one in his basement. Then, there’s the run-of-the-mill hoodlum with a gun. In either case, what is the best defense against a human or animal attacker, should you face a menacing situation? A plethora of options are at your disposal, ranging from martial arts to tasers, knives, and firearms. If the assailant has murderous intentions, or is salivating over the idea of eating you for lunch, a firearm proves the best choice for stopping both human and animal attackers.

Which type of firearm best suits your needs? Often women and smaller-framed men favor a smaller-caliber weapon, which affords a high level of accuracy, with repeated use. Good caliber choices would be a 9 mm or .38 caliber weapon. Don’t dismiss those smaller-caliber guns, such as the .380, .25, or a .22, which prove less intimidating to inexperienced shooters. Also remember training in both use of firearms and accuracy in firing can be more effective than a gun’s caliber in stopping an assault.

Certainly, if a more powerful weapon can be comfortably managed, your chances of survival increase. If an armed assailant is firing a .45, you might quail at the thought of being armed with only a .22 rim firearm.

What about a revolver vs. an automatic?  Most shootouts occur at short ranges, with opponents moving rapidly for cover. That being the case, it’s best to carry an automatic with a large capacity magazine, giving you the ability to fire without the need for reloading. Keeping your assailant’s head down could give you that critical time you need to escape.

If a situation forces you to defend your home, you have additional options, as you don’t have to conceal your weapon. If your home has been broken into, and an intruder is lurking in a dark shadow, a shotgun or a shotshell-shooting handgun would give you a better chance of hitting the assailant. This is particularly true, if you find yourself in a panicked situation, as you will not be likely to think those three critical steps ahead of your assailant.

What’s the best defensive weapon, when faced with a dangerous wild animal such as a bear, cougar, wolf, or someone’s tiger that escaped from the cage? Provided you have an accurate aim, the bigger the caliber the better. However, if a particular side arm is too heavy and cumbersome to tote around, choose something smaller, since the ability to deliver an accurate shot could save your life.

Certain camping locales pose a higher threat from wild animals. If you are fishing a salmon run in Alaska, your personal defense needs are going to be very different than they would be, if you were camping in the Lower Forty-Eight. Your best defense against a grizzly or brown bear would be the biggest and baddest firearm you can shoot with reasonable accuracy. Choices might include a .44 magnum, a .454 Casull, a S&W.500, or another firearm in that sized class of weaponry. If you’re not in grizzly country, a .357, .40 or .45 should suffice for most occasions. And, keep an eye out for those tigers.