There are many devices available on the market to enhance personal protection. Some can be effective. Some are not.
Being “zapped” by a stun gun can make an attacker MAD!
These devices are effective is against very stupid criminals who might “think” one touch from a stun gun will lay them out on the floor. It’s probably not a good idea, however, to plan your defense strategy around being attacked by someone who’s very stupid.
The stun gun is a device that requires that you prolong immediate contact with an attacker. We want you to get AWAY from the attacker!
Also, stun guns may be illegal to buy, carry, or use in your state.
Firearms are unlawful to carry, especially when concealed, in most states. Many states have passed laws allowing citizens to obtain permits for concealed carry, but impose conditions and qualifications which must be met before a firearm can be acquired and carried. Firearms are the most lethal legal weapon, and (depending upon the type of ammunition used) may inflict fatal injuries on unintended targets.
If you’re thinking about a firearm for personal defense, make absolutely certain you’re informed about the applicable laws.
And, if you’re considering a firearm for personal defense, definitely plan on seeking out proper TRAINING on safe use, defensive/combat and weapon retention training (keeping an attacker from taking it away from you!) AND practice.
Knives may be unlawful to carry, depending upon their size and type. Those which are legal to carry are often not very effective as weapons. Knives are difficult to achieve proficiency with, and almost impossible to practice with effectively. Knives require close proximity for use, and thus put you closer to an attacker. While knives can be very effective as defensive weapons, proficiency takes professional training and plenty of practice.
Martial Arts Devices
Ranging from swords to kubatons (essentially a short stick), martial arts devices may be unlawful to carry. Those which are legal can be effective only in the hands of a trained user, and the user must practice frequently to maintain proficiency. These devices also necessitate close proximity for use.
Pitfalls of Chemical Weapons
The majority of the following statements are applicable to almost any chemical weapons, whether it be aerosol, stream, foam, or otherwise applied:
- Delayed Effect – chemicals take some time to affect the target, during which an attacker can continue to attack.
- Effectiveness Subject to Weather Conditions – completely ineffective in high winds (the average wind speed in Oklahoma is reportedly fourteen miles per hour) and less effective in extreme cold.
- May be Ineffective on Some Individuals – persons under the influence of some drugs, who are extremely agitated, or who have mental health problems may not be effected at all or may only be further agitated.
- Affect EVERYONE in range – chemicals are non-discriminating, and under some weather conditions, may affect the user as much as the target.
- Have an effective shelf life (which is shortened by exposure to temperature extremes) – like any aerosol, sprays can lose their propellant, can leak (causing great discomfort and contaminating whatever they’re being carried in), and may decompose if left in an automobile in mid-summer or under hard-freeze conditions for protracted periods. The manufacturers do not guarantee the potency (or operation) of devices whose shelf life is expired.
Pepper Spray (Oleoresin Capsicum)
Unlike “zappers”, pepper spray may be quite effective, if used properly, under certain circumstances.
Many police departments issue pepper spray for use by their officers. Before you run out and buy a canister of pepper spray, however, consider:
- Pepper spray may not be effective in controlling an assailant if mis-aimed, or under windy conditions. It also is known to be less effective on some persons than on others.
- Like any “device-based” self defense strategy, it’s only useful if it’s readily available the moment you need it.
Pepper spray is legal to sell/carry/use in most states.Martial Arts
There are a nearly infinite variety of martial arts which may be learned. Some are intended for defense while others are primarily offensive. Every martial art requires physical dexterity, conditioning, very substantial mental discipline, and lots of practice. To think that you can take a few lessons and pick up a few pointers and be ready to defend yourself is delusional. While martial arts techniques certainly do enable a diminutive individual to defeat a larger, stronger person, success is dependent upon proper execution; difficult in the practice environment and often impossible under conditions encountered in everyday activities.
We encourage participation in martial arts; they’re good for you mentally and physically, and constitute outstanding exercise even if you never utilize the techniques. But we discourage the “ordinary person” from relying upon martial arts for personal safety and defense. The best defense if attacked is to draw public attention to the occurrence. The best defense prior to attack is to develop sound personal security habits, maintain awareness, and project an appearance of confidence.
(or even a simple whistle)
Many types of electronic alarm mechanisms are available, often on keychain attachments, which can be carried and sounded if you find yourself in trouble as a way of attracting attention and discouraging an assailant. Better models produce sound levels above 110 decibels.
- As a device, such items are still only useful if kept immediately at hand. If you don’t have it with you, or readily available, when assaulted, it won’t do you any good. A positive side is that these devices are not offensive weapons and can’t really be used against you like a can of pepper spray might be, should the attacker take it away from you.Like virtually all electronic personal defense devices, if the battery is not replaced, it will eventually just be taking up space in a purse or pocket, useful only as a handy object to throw at an assailant.If you’re considering a “noise maker” as a means of summoning help, alerting passers-by, and discouraging an assailant, we’d suggest you consider a good quality whistle. There are several extremely loud whistles on the market that have no moving parts, no batteries to replace, have little weight, take up little space, cost very little, and can be used while running away from an assailant.Unlike an offensive weapon, noise-makers don’t require that you be (and stay) within a certain proximity of your attacker to use. You don’t have to “confront” your attacker to use a noisemaker.Consider, however, that just making noise isn’t enough. If there are other people in the area, yell to get their attention and call for them to help. Yell for them to call the police. Even yelling at an non-existent passerby to call the police (“Hey, YOU! Call the police!”) may make your attacker pause to look, giving you a chance to gain distance and get away.
Most defensive tactics instructors will recommend that you have a multi-tiered strategy for defending against an assault. If one thing fails, try something else. If that fails, try a third technique. The key is to having lots of options.
What you don’t want to do is depend on a single device, ploy, or defense technique to handle any possible assault under any set of conditions.
A well prepared/trained person will have given the potential for an assault a lot of “pre-thinking” and pre-planning.
That well-prepared person will have the confidence that comes from knowing both his/her limitations and strengths, and have a flexible strategy that accommodates varying circumstances and which can best utilize whatever tools or conditions are at hand.
Good preparation for an active defense includes not only simply learning some good defense techniques in a book/classroom, but also practicing the techniques, visualization, role-play training, how to use common items as defensive tools, as well as preventive measures including such things as body language and eye contact in public, how to minimizing your risk factors, and creating positive mental images of how you will handle, and survive, any type of potential assault.
And, no matter how many techniques you learn, the first rule to avoid an assault is often, “Run!” Even police officers have to be taught that there are certain times when “descretion is the better part of valor” and it’s wise to pull back and call for reinforcements. The best self-defense strategy is usually:
Escape and Evade!