This morning I was invited onto a segment on Fox 35 Orlando about Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  I was asked to show some self-defense techniques to their news anchor.  Here’s the segment, what do you think?


Did you see my moves on Fox 35 this morning?

This morning I was invited onto a segment on Fox 35 Orlando about Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  I was asked to show some self-defense techniques to their news anchor.  Here’s the segment, what do you think?


Proud to debut as a USCCA Instructor

Our founder, Andrea “Andy” Tolbert, has just Andy Close Upcompleted the rigorous training required to be certified as the newest Certified Instructor with the United States Concealed Carry Association.  

    USCCA Instructor Logo The goal of the United States Concealed Carry Association Instructor Program is to enable our instructors to effectively teach the responsible, safe, and effective use of self-defense firearms in accordance with state and federal law.

     The United States Concealed Carry Association Instructor Program trains, certifies, and equips instructors in the discipline of carrying defensive firearms. Our instructors receive quality training and support and must demonstrate their competence and ability to teach others in a classroom environment.


As more and more Americans are making the decision to get trained in not only firearms but also self-defense in general, Strong Defenses and our instructor team is committed to bringing you the latest training to protect not only you, but your family.

We are proud to have had the opportunity to train alongside long time instructors, both civilian and law enforcement and bring this training back to you.  Watch for new classes coming soon!

30th Anniversary of the FBI Shootout in Miami… Lessons Learned

Today is the 30th anniversary of a shootout in Miami that left 2 FBI agents killed and several wounded.  The FBI has used this as a case study and learning opportunity.
When I first opened the link this morning, I’ll be honest that I almost hit the “X” in the corner to close it… 41 minutes? Really?  But I got sucked in and really found it fascinating.  They’ve not only provided a re-enactment, but then went on to break down what happened and then interviewed some of the survivors of the attack and what lessons they learned and what they feel they could have done differently.
If you’re serious about protecting yourself and your family, you owe it to yourself to invest 41 minutes into watching this video.  It’s a very powerful lesson that could help you if you are ever faced with a shooting situation.
I got 5 takeaways from this:
1) you’ll need more ammo than you think
2) take your training seriously “you play how you train”
3) be prepared for ANY eventuality
4) you (and the bad guy) can fight through being shot, even “non-survivable” shots
5) the will to live can save your life
Watch the video here and let me know in the comments what your takeaway is.

Why do I Still Train?

Sometimes people ask me why I go to so many training courses.  I’m already an NRA Instructor in multiple disciplines and I’ve already been to tons of trainings… so why keep going?

Simple… if I ever find myself in a situation where I need to call on my training to save my life or that of the people around me… I want to be absolutely the most prepared that I can possibly be. (And yet you’ll often hear me say I train super-hard and hope to never need to use any of it!)  Every time I attend a class two things happen… the things I already know get ingrained a little deeper and I usually learn something new, whether it’s a new way to do something personally or a new way to explain and teach a concept to my students.

The day that you think you know everything there is to know is the day that you become more likely to be a victim.  Your ego will cause you to stop striving to improve, and if you’re not improving you’re actually deteriorating.

Today Tim & I attended a class with Paul Pawela with Assault Counter Tactics in Titusville.  Now I am one of Paul’s instructors on his Women’s programs, but today I was one of his students.  The class is called Realistic Self Defense and that’s exactly what it was.  We did many different scenarios that you might face in a real encounter, including using your flashlight in the dark (yeah for real, the lights were all turned off), hitting BOB the dummy in the throat then drawing and taking out his 2 friends, shooting from a kneeling/hands on your head hostage position as well as lying on your belly and even your back shooting over head!  (the alligator roll where you shot as you rolled on the ground was one of our class favorites!).

One thing that was amazing to see was the couple that had NEVER fired a gun before doing all of these drills right along with us.  With the proper training, instruction and leadership even beginners can take control of their own personal protection.

I’d like to invite you to join me at one of our next class adventures… whether I’m leading it or being a student right along side you… I’d be honored to shoot with you!

Here’s to straight shooting!


Just Got Back from my Top Secret Vacation

Yes, I’m back from my top secret vacation… a relaxing 7 day cruise with my family on the brand new Royal Princess!

What?  You didn’t know I was gone?


Social media can be a great tool to keep up with friends, classmates, family and business associates.  Heck, if you use it right it can even be a source of income for you!

But in the wrong hands it can also be a security breach.  Imagine this scenario:  I post on my Facebook/Google+/Twitter “WooHoo, here we are getting on the boat for our 7 day cruise with my parents and Tim’s parents!  No phone, no computer, just relaxation for 7 whole days!”

What I just did was told the world (ie., the “bad guys”) that not only will MY house be empty for the next 7 days, but also 2 other houses!  Now you might argue that only my “friends” will see this post, but the truth is you never know who’s watching.

(by the way, here’s a serious example: 4 US Apache helicopters were destroyed after our troops posted pictures of them and the insurgents were able to read the geo-tags in the picture to locate them and attack, here’s an article)

Since I began training on personal safety and security, I’ve become much more aware of what I post on social media.  I’ll admit that I’m still not perfect, but I definitely don’t post as much of our location stuff as I used to.  Instead of “going to spend the day at Sea World” in the morning, I usually post “Whew! Great day today at Sea World… glad to be home!”

I also don’t post things like “Tim’s out of town for a week… what am I going to do all by myself for a WHOLE week?”  Can you see where that might be a dangerous announcement?

Good, now you’re getting the point!

Stay Safe My Friends!


p.s. I’ve got some cool video footage I want to show you from the cruise… just need to edit it a little and then I’ll show you!

Should I Carry A Concealed Weapon During the Holidays?

Should I carry during the Holidays?
By Andy Tolbert
The question “should I carry…” followed by any phrase I’ll always answer in the exact same way… “that depends” 🙂  It depends on you, your comfort level, and where you’ll be going.  Should you have a gun in your purse when going to a house full of kids? Maybe not.  Walking in and out of the mall parking lot after dark? Maybe so.  But maybe what we should also ask is “What steps can I take to not have to use my gun?”  So today we’re going to talk about
4 Levels of Awareness.  There are 4 basic levels that you can be in at any given time:
  2. AWARE
  3. ALERT
  4. ALARM

Obviously if you went through life constantly at a state of Alert or Alarm, you’d have a nervous breakdown!  Your mind has to have a stimulus break sometimes and just relax.  Make sure you plan some relaxation time into your schedule as we head into what is for many a very hectic time of year.

One way to relax a little bit is to AVOID any questionable situations.  Did you know that 80% of crimes at WalMart happen in the parking lot?  With that knowledge you can AVOID going alone or going late at night, and yes, hold out for that up-close parking space.  And opt to park next to the Mini Cooper, not the white panel van with no windows!

Another way to AVOID trouble is to stay AWARE when you’re out. If you see someone coming towards you, don’t look at your feet or your phone, or fumble in your purse for your keys, instead, stand up straight and look them straight in the eye and say “Tom? oh, wow, I’m sorry, you look just like my cousin Tom!  That’s so strange!” and keep walking.  They now think that you can describe them and identify them, so they’ll probably leave you alone.

Also, don’t make yourself look like a target.  Put your shopping bags in the trunk, don’t leave your purse/iPod/laptop in the car, and don’t put all the big-screen TV and computer boxes out by the road on trash day so everyone can see what you have inside!  And one that I never understood when I was 16 and Mom wouln’t let me put my name on my license plate… please don’t advertise your kid’s names on the back of your car!  Someone just needs to shout out “hey Chelsea” or “hey are you Chelsea’s Mom” and you’ll drop your guard and stop just long enough for them to attack. 

Stay Safe!