Non-Lethal Self-Defense Tools

There's an unfortunate reality about the world we live in and as much as we would like to live with our head in the clouds, the real world is unsafe and there are bad people that want to threaten our safety. 

We are always hearing about different kinds of terrorist attacks happening all over world; some hitting closer to home than we like. Those threats are on a larger scale and something to be addressed for another post. However, let's talk about something on the smaller side such as threats and violence against our personal safety. We might think that when in the comfort of our own home with the doors locked that we are safe or that nothing could happen on our daily walk to coffee, to/from your car, or something that we do everyday routinely in day light. However, dangerous situations can arise at any time even in a place you thought was safe. 

Robberies, muggings, sexual assaults, kidnappings, or murders happen in every city and town. Are you prepared to defend yourself against them? Has the thought of your personal safety ever crossed your mind? Have you ever thought about what you will do if you found yourself in a threatening situation? These might be tough questions to answer but the reality is that being prepared with a personal defense strategy will only help you should your safety be threatened.

While my personal safety journey led me to owning and carrying a firearm as one of the means of being self-reliant it doesn't mean you have to follow the same path. Owning a firearm is personal decision that comes with responsibilities that not everyone is comfortable with. However, just because your personal preference does not include owning a firearm that doesn't mean you have to be left defenseless. There are many non-lethal options that will give you a chance to get away from a potential attacker.  

I've rounded up a variety of non-lethal weapons and personal protection devices that can come in handy should you find yourself in an unfavorable situation. Keep in mind that just by having one of these items on your person isn't going to be effective if you aren't training on how to use it properly to defend yourself. There are many YouTube videos that can guide you in using these items for self-defense and alternatively, some cities have classes that offer in-person training for these items. When deciding on a non-lethal tool to use ensure that it's something that you are going to be comfortable using and that you are taking the proper training on how to use that tool effectively.

Pepper Spray: One of the most common tools for self-defense is pepper spray, which is a chemical inflammatory agent that irritates the nasal passages and eyes of the assailant causing difficulty breathing, burning pain, and temporary blindness for a short period of time. There are also many different pepper spray formulas such a stream, fogger, foam, or gel. If you are concerned with any type of blowback from the wind then opt for a gel formula. Some pepper sprays have a UV marking dye that looks invisible but when under a special UV light can be seen. This can be helpful when identifying an attacker. Pepper spray is a great portable option that comes in a variety of styles and holster options. You can find pepper spray disguised as a lipstick, a pen, or even a gun. You can also buy key chain holsters or handsleeves to use while running or walking outside. It's a simple non-lethal option that can be used against an attacker, stray dog, or even a drunk guy at a bar.

Stun Gun: A stun gun is a non-lethal device that delivers a high-voltage electric shock to temporarily immobilize an attacker. They are designed to transfer high-voltage shock into the nervous system causing disorientation, loss of balance, and possibly difficulty moving. Stun guns require direct contact with a person so the electrodes can deliver the shock which means an attacker will need to be within arms reach. Besides the standard looking stun gun, they also come in disguisable forms such as a faux cell phone, flashlight, and even a cell phone case that fits over your real cell phone

Taser: A taser is similar to a stun gun in that it delivers a high-voltage electric shock. However, you can shoot a taser from a distance (up to 15 ft or more) so you don't need to be in close range. The taser shoots out two electrodes that stay attached to the main hand held unit that can penetrate clothing and skin. Once in contact with the attacker it delivers an electric shock to the muscular system to immobilize them. There aren't many discreet options for tasers but having your potential attacker see a gun-shaped object (even if it's only a taser) might be enough of a deterrent.

Tactical Flashlight: If you think that a flashlight can't help you in a threatening situation then you don't have a tactical flashlight. Tactical flashlights have brighter and stronger beams of light (lumens) and come with a jagged/spiked bezel around the lens and heel. Not only will the tactical flashlight brighten up dark alleys or areas, the bezel can be used to strike an attacker while the bright beam of light works great to temporarily blind them.

Knives, Tactical Pens, and Striking/Stabbing Tools: While some of these sharp objects can be lethal if used properly, they are a good alternative to a firearm and a self-defense option that should be considered. I have a few in my arsenal (pocket knife, tactical pen and kubutans, which are handheld or knuckle style striking tools) that I like to carry around with me. However, since these items are all smaller fist-held tools they require close proximity and skill to be effective. Having some training and understanding how to use these tools for personal defense are key to ensuring your safety. There are places nowadays that offer hand-tool fighting classes like knife-fighting classes.

Personal Alarm Devices: While personal alarm devices won't do anything to incapacitate an attacker, they will draw attention to you and might have the attacker think twice. Nowadays many of the personal alarming devices can be synced to send your GPS location to a set of contacts and/or alert a set of contacts that you're in trouble. These loud ear-piercing devices sound off an alarm (up to 100db+) that help to draw attention to yourself and any possible situation. These devices come in the form of cell phone apps, specific hand-held button tools, bracelets, and some even disguised as lipstick.

A final non-lethal self-defense tool to consider are physical self-defense classes. While all these tools are great options for buying you some time to flea from your attacker; one area that is often overlooked is your personal fitness. While you don't need to be winning gold in the sprint, being physically fit will help you when it comes time to defend yourself. There are many self-defense classes for women that teach you how to defend yourself using your own body. While you don't have to take a specific self-defense class, adding a new physical fitness skill to your routine such as boxing, Muay Thai, or Krav Maga are all great options that teach some form of fighting techniques that you can draw upon should you need.

While everyday objects like a screwdriver, baseball bat, pen, and even your keys are decent tools to improvise with, having a dedicated tool built for the purpose of self-defense is much better option. The key to these non-lethal tools being used against an attacker is about buying you time to escape, debilitating the assailant, or stopping/dissuading the attacker from continuing with the assault. 

Taking pro-active measures to ensure you are prepared for potentially dangerous situations will give you a leg up against personal threats to your safety. When determining what your personal defense plan will be keep these tips in mind:

  • Be Aware: A good personal defense plan starts with situational awareness. It's important to be aware so that you can avoid and prevent a situation from happening. Ensure you are paying attention to your surroundings, how people are behaving, and determine if things seem out of place. By being aware of your surroundings, you'll hopefully be able to prevent an attack from happening. {Read my post about situational awareness here.}

  • Know Your Tool/Device: Owning the tool is a step in the right direction but without the proper training and skill to properly use the tool in a self-defense situation makes it ineffective. As mentioned, there are plenty of videos on YouTube that demonstrate different techniques for properly using many of these tools. Check them out and practice with your spouse or a friend.  Just remember to use a prop in place of the real tool.

  • Easily Accessible:  If the tool you choose isn't easily accessible than it's basically useless. Find places on your body, in your hand, or in your pockets, where you can carry the tool so you can easily get to it should you need to. Depending on where you decide to carry it, you should also practice drawing your tool from that location.

No one can predict when an attack will happen. Being smart and selecting self-defense tools that match your comfort level will help you to ease into a lifestyle of being self-reliant. If you decide to own one or several of these tools then make sure you have learned to properly use it to defend yourself.  Don't let any of these tools give you a false sense of security. Don't let your guard down, always be aware but know that you have taken the responsibility, developed the skills and the mindset to defend yourself should you unfortunately end up in a threatening situation.

 

Before you decide to purchase any of these tools, you check what your local and state laws are regarding whether you are legally allowed to own and/or carry any of these. Many states have restrictions on size, type, and whether the item needs to be registered.

 
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Disclaimer: The information provided here is based on my opinions and for informational use only. I am not an expert in this field and any items/services/products/advice mentioned in these posts should be used at your own discretion and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. You can read more about my privacy & disclosure policies here.