Self defense weapons can be a necessity in some situations. But unless you are well-trained, don’t look to a gun first.
500 thefts. 10 rapes. 20 sexual assaults. 200 violent crimes.
That’s every hour in the United States – and that’s only the violent crimes committed against women.
These are frightening statistics.
It’s very common for people to assume that bad things only happen to other people. That’s not true. Especially if you live in a country with a high rate of violent crime, it’s reasonable to assume that you, too, might become one of those “other people”.
It is really important to be prepared ahead of time so that you know what to do when you are confronted by violence. After all, we prepare for events that are much less likely.
Now, those who have been readers for a while know that I’m not a huge advocate of guns as a form of self-defense. Okay, that’s an understatement. You will never see me recommending a gun for self defense, either in your home or out in public. Firearms have some really serious limitations. (But they’re great for bagging a deer.)
First, most violent encounters happen very quickly and escalate fast.
The assailant closes up the distance between him and his victim as soon as he can. This is especially so for crimes against women since most perpetrators believe that their brute strength can help them overpower women.
And unfortunately, that’s usually true.
So, before you have the chance to use your firearm to scare away your potential attacker, they’re already breathing down your neck.
To make matters worse, in the event they wrench the firearm away from you, they can always use it against you and even end your life.
There are certainly cases where well-trained women use weapons against their attackers successfully. And if that’s you – that you’re well-trained in holding onto your firearm in a violent situation, you … well, you probably aren’t reading this article.
The problem is that, in the United States, women successfully used firearms to defend themselves less than 1% of the time. The odds are really not in your favour.
So in this article, we’re going to discuss three weapons that are NOT GUNS and can be used effectively by women. These are all intended for close-range self-defense and are safer than firearms.
One important caveat – please be aware of the laws in your country. In Canada, it is illegal to carry any concealed weapon. The majority of my readers aren’t in Canada, though, and some of you live in quite dangerous places.
In another article, I talked extensively about self defense tips for women, and the entire mindset that you need to keep in order to stay safe.
If these are legal in your country, stun guns can be a excellent self-defense weapon. That’s one reason why police often use them, after all.
They’re light, inexpensive and can incapacitate an attacker completely. They’re perfectly safe, too – for the person using them. The voltage is absorbed fully by the person you use the stun gun on and there is no risk of the shock being passed on to you.
You can use them on any part of your attacker’s body and the effect will be the same. In the event your attacker grabs it from you and uses it on you, the chance of dying is much less than if you were shot with your own gun.
Using a stun gun can give you the time needed to get away.
Pepper sprays are excellent – again, though, make sure that they’re legal in your country. There’s a miserable irony in staving off a violent attack only to face court and possibly jail time. Even in a country where pepper spray is illegal, it is possible to buy spray to fend off dog attacks. Just be aware of the laws in your country regarding their use.
The downside of pepper spray is that you need to aim for the person’s face. If you’re in a panic during a violent situation, the adrenaline rush will cause tunnel vision and you may miss your attacker’s face or eyes.
Unless he’s incredibly stupid, he’ll wise up and quickly knock the pepper spray out of your hands or subdue your arm to keep it away from his face. It’s essential, therefore, that you have the element of surprise.
Spray generously and accurately, and then RUN.
Don’t stick around, okay?
This is a weapon that can be carried in Canada – IF it is carried openly, doesn’t have an automatic open, and is not intended to be used against people.
Years ago, I heard a funny story about people leaving an SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event. They were attacked by someone with a knife. Looking at the knife, one of the SCA participants said, “I see your six and raise you thirty” while pulling out a (blunted) 36″ sword.
It would take a really determined thief to stick around for that.
It makes it to third place because it takes some skill to use, and you really do need to take self-defense classes that train you on the knife attacks and defense.
With a knife, you can stab or slash. Stabbing will always cause more damage, and stabbing an attacker in the thigh will always injure him enough to make him back away.
The problem with knives, though? I mean, other than the fact that they take skill and training to use. Years ago, during my wild youth, I wanted to learn how to knife fight. Yes, it’s hard for people who know me now to think of me that way, but I was that sort of wild. And since I carried a knife daily in those days, I wanted to be able to use it effectively.
The response I got quickly dampened my enthusiasm.
In a knife fight, the winner goes to the hospital.
Using knives as a form of self-defense is NOT pretty. There will be blood and pain and it will get very messy. You will quite possibly cut yourself. If the assailant gets your knife, he will use it on you.
So, that’s a problem too.
However, if you’re trained well and you know what you’re doing, tactical knives, which are very sturdy and are made to handle combat situations, are far more effective than stun guns or pepper sprays.
Options That Are Legal Everywhere
Get a dog.
I’m not joking.
Okay, you can’t put it in your purse or on your belt (okay, there are dogs that can go in your purse but please don’t rely on them for defense!), but there is a good reason dogs have been our companions for centuries.
A loyal, well-trained dog can not be turned on its owner. It makes a lot of noise, which draws attention to your attacker, and is very hard to surprise. Even if you run, your dog will keep fighting your attacker and it is almost impossible to disarm.
Have you ever gone to a rural home and been greeted by a growling bundle of fur and teeth? Our dog was completely gentle around family members and any sort of baby (including baby chicks), but made sure any newcomer was aware that we were under his very capable protection.
If you have reason to use a walking stick, these can be used as a defensive weapon to ward off an attack.
If defensive weapons are not legal in your country, or if you choose not to carry one, then consider carrying a whistle, keys with a panic button, or a cell phone with one-button emergency dial. Of course these are only useful in areas where you know you can depend on a quick response from the police.
If you haven’t already read it, take a look at Self Defense Tips for Women That Won’t Get You Killed.
Lastly, always be aware of your surroundings so that you’re not taken by surprise. Always remember that your reaction to a situation literally has the power to change the situation itself. Stay alert and stay prepared.
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