Just as crucial as picking the right gun or holster is understanding the implications that come with armed self-defense. Self-defense laws differ from one state to the next, and you need to know them if you're traveling for a hunt. And seek training. "Many people who've been around firearms their entire life have no concept of what it means to fight for your life with a gun," Michalowski says. "Defensive skills, like other shooting skills, are perishable. If you don't practice, you will lose them." —W.B.