You might guess my take on such a topic as personal defense would be different than it is, being an NRA Certified Instructor for pistols one may think my defensive strategy would be gun-centric, actually though, it's not. So let me put my cards on the table about carrying guns before I talk about defensive strategies.
I carry a gun simply because I can. That may sound like I'm trying to compensate for some personal shortcoming, my stature or otherwise, but in reality it's a fashion statement. In the days of kings & serfdoms only those in the good graces of royalty could have weapons of any real quality. Partly, swords were expensive, and serfs were in a tight place financially. Further though, the royals had no desire for serfs to be armed, that would make uprisings harder to quell. However, as man evolved politically, ushered in part by what the colonies brought to the world through advancements in liberty, cost became the only hurdle. Freedom allowed for personal defense in the sense that you no longer needed to hope the king's troops would keep the streets safe, you were "free" to wear a sword or to brace a pistol in your belt. In the interest then of such liberty, I wear a gun.
Wearing a gun (and not just owning one) is a symbol that the wearer is a free citizen. Granted, any thug can do it, but to dress thusly with no threat of incarceration, that is a beautiful display of freedom - and in a day when freedoms are ever-waning, it's one we should covet.
In the light then of our freedom-loving fashion statement, how does one dress for personal defense? Number one on my list is the gun, not so much as a tool of defense, but as a personal reminder that YOU are in charge of your own safety, that you needn't hope there is a cop nearby if things go bad. That gun needn't be the latest generation of Gaston Glock's highly reliable pistols, but can be whatever gun shows your personality. I like a 1911 chambered in .45ACP, but to others it may be some shiny revolver, or an expensive make that demonstrates a particular status. The gun is a personal expression of individual freedom, so whatever you choose wear it with pride.
Yet as I speak of wearing a gun with pride, I say it in the context of a point I stress with all my students, "wear it concealed". Any citizen in the fair state of Iowa is free to wear a gun without threat of prosecution provided they can pass a background check proving they have no felonious criminal history, so wearing your gun in the open doesn't demonstrate any rare gift, it only displays a valuable trophy to those who would take it unlawfully. Those who are prone to theft learn to minimize their risk, but if they know the value of your gun and decide they'd like it, they will not likely meet you face to face with terms for its surrender - they would thump you on the head from behind and help themselves. So wear your gun concealed, and display your liberty only among your trusted associates. It's a beautiful thing to behold when the jackets come-off, and the hidden firepower of your group of friends is revealed; it is freedom unveiled.
So to the subject of self-defense then, that gun you carry may NOT be your best defense. If in a moment of fear you draw that symbol of freedom and double-tap some adversary who wanted your wallet, you may well be within your rights, but was it the wisest thing you could do? In the aftermath of your encounter you may be arrested while the details are sorted-out. Cops & lawyers may look for any angle or witness that could prove you had some way of escape you failed to exercise (no "stand your ground" laws in Iowa), and one of those lawyers may be working for the family of the thug you put in the morgue. It's also likely your gun will be taken as evidence, it may be months before you see it again, if ever. Foremost though on the list of trouble you stepped-in when you pulled the trigger, you have your conscience to live with. However justified it may have seemed in the moment, you will re-live that event for the rest of your life, and if you have any doubts about your use of lethal force, they will surface in your subconscious.
As personal defense goes, especially regarding lethal force as just discussed, we must consider what we are defending. We are protecting more than our living soul, and not just the souls of your loved-ones, you defend your final success as well. Iowa law does NOT justify the use of lethal force in defending your property, but that is not what I mean when I describe your final success. Your success in life, surviving the many bumps in the road life throws at us, is largely the measure of how you come to an end. Will you have loved ones to pass your accumulations to? Will you have enough accumulated booty in the end to survive the tax-man and still leave some memorable effect on those who follow in your steps? NOT if you fail to protect your assets.
So your first form of personal defense should be to take an account of what you stand to lose in the face of a criminal threat. It is NOT just your wallet. Defending yourself from the attorney retained by the family of some dead thug can cost a bundle. It can set-back your financial goals to the point that all your retirement dreams might go out the window, so make THAT knowledge a part of your personal defense strategy.
...still working on this one, come back soon : )