If asked to picture a self-defense weapon, the first image that would pop into many people’s heads is that of a gun. Indeed, guns are popular self-defense weapons. However, not all self-defense situations call for the use of a lethal weapon. Sometimes, you may just need to stun, disorient or injure a would-be attacker, intruder or other ill-intentioned individual.
Just having a non-lethal weapon is sometimes enough to scare off an attacker, but make sure you check your local laws before purchasing a self-defense weapon — you want to make sure it’s legal for you to have it.
Let’s take a look at 10 popular types of non-lethal self-defense weapons.
A baton is a cylindrical club typically made of rubber, plastic, metal or wood. Police officers and security guards frequently carry batons. You can use one to block an attack or offensively strike someone. Some batons are expandable so that they can be easily carried around and concealed. Typically, an expandable model will open as you swing it. A baton can cause pain or immobilize someone by breaking a bone. It can cause death if someone is struck in the head.
2. Tactical Whips
Another self-defense option is a technical whip. The Fast Strike whip is a 17-inch stainless steel spring cable with a handle and striker. The whip folds up so that you can easily fit it in a pocket or purse. If you need to use it, it deploys in a fraction of a second, according to Fast Strike. It’s also easy to use and can inflict a substantial amount of pain.
3. Bean Bag Guns
A bean bag gun might not sound too intimidating, but it can be an effective non-lethal weapon. The ARMA-100 Bean Bag Gun can knock someone down, or at least knock the wind out of them, at up to 20 feet away. It launches bean bags at 135 feet per second using a pressurized nitrogen cylinder. It weighs 1.5 pounds unloaded and is designed to be easy to use and reload.
4. Rubber Bullets
Rubber bullets are another common self-defense weapon. You can fire them from either a regular gun or a gun made especially for use with rubber bullets, which makes them a good option for someone who already has a gun but wants to use it non-lethally. Since 60 percent of need-based gun owners have a gun for protection-related reasons, these rubber bullets are an essential alternative to regular bullets.
Rubber bullets can inflict severe pain but may also cause more serious injury. Studies have suggested that they’re too dangerous to use for crowd control since they can cause severe injury or death, especially if fired in close proximity or at the head.
5. Baseball Bats
The baseball bat is a classic home defense weapon. It’s simple but effective. Choose an aluminum bat over a wooden one for increased durability, accuracy and power. A commonly recommended bat for self-defense is the Cold Steel Brooklyn Smasher.
6. Stun Devices
Stun guns deliver a shock to an assailant that causes their muscles to spasm rapidly, immobilizing and disorienting them. Stun devices don’t cause lasting injury, but they’ll stun someone long enough for you to get away. Some stun guns are disguised as everyday objects such as cell phones, flashlights and lipstick dispensers. You need to make contact with an assailant with a stun gun for the device to work.
Tasers are similar to stun guns, but they can be used at further distances — typically about 15 feet away. A taser shoots out metal probes that deliver an electric shock, causing their target’s muscles to spasm and immobilizing them. The probes have small prongs on them that cause them to attach to the attacker’s clothing. You can also use a taser in close proximity to an assailant.
8. Pepper Spray
Another popular self-defense option is pepper spray. As its name suggests, pepper spray is derived from chili peppers and comes in an aerosol canister. To defend yourself using pepper spray, you spray it in the attacker’s face. The spray causes a severe burning sensation and is extremely irritating to the skin, eyes, mouth and throat. It will likely disorient its target and make it difficult for them to see, giving you time to escape.
9. Keychain Weapons
Keys themselves can make good self-defense weapons in a pinch, but you can also purchase small weapons that attach to your keychain. There are various options when it comes to keychain weapons, including brass knuckle-style devices and kubotans, which are pointed metal or hard plastic sticks about 6 inches long.
10. Tactical Flashlights
A tactical flashlight can make a great self-defense tool, as you can use it to both stun someone and strike them if you’re being attacked. Tactical flashlights are bright enough to temporarily blind and disorient someone. They should be able to provide at least 120 lumens of light output. Some also have a strobe mode that can further disorient a person. Additionally, they typically have a sturdy build and can be used similarly to a baton.
There are lots of options when it comes to non-lethal self-defense weapons. Before purchasing a self-defense weapon, check with local laws to make sure it’s legal in your area. After you buy one of these weapons, you may also want to take a class or look up materials that will teach you how to use them correctly. While you’ll hopefully never have to use your weapon, having one and knowing how to use it will help make you feel secure and enable you to protect yourself if the need arises.