The U.S. Department of Justice reported over 1.03 million home invasions and 1.25 million cases of violent crime last year.
That may seem like a lot, and unfortunately, it is, meaning you need to be prepared and ready in the off chance you become part of those statistics.
Planning ahead and selecting a self defense weapon you’re comfortable using in a self defense or home defense scenario is a very wise choice.
“It is far better to have and not need than to need and not have.”
This is a quote the Marine Corps burned into my brain before they even taught us to shoot. Following this advice has actually saved my butt in a plethora of situations. That’s why I’m bringing to you a list of my favorite non-lethal self defense weapons. We’ll get you suited up with the latest gear to ensure you’re prepared and ready to defend yourself and I’ll do the heavy lifting for you, showing you where to snag some killer deals after we discuss the science and how to use each one!
Before we get started, though, I’d like to discuss the difference between lethal and non-lethal. Many Americans own guns, and I definitely won’t ever discount the deterrence and stopping power in a self defense scenario of a firearm in the hands of a trained and responsible individual. Although guns get the job done, not everyone is comfortable and/or trained well enough to properly utilize a firearm. There are many risks to using a firearm, including collateral damage, that make the use of firearms not ideal in many situations.
Carrying a firearm on you is also illegal in many places, including near schools, government property, sports and concert venues, and concealed without a license (in some states). Carrying a firearm unconcealed is never advisable, so if you can’t do it legally, you’re either breaking the law or putting yourself in even more danger, as you and your firearm become a major target in the event of a violent situation.
On the flip side, there are many self defense weapons that you can carry legally in just about all places, so legally, you’ll have little to worry about. This doesn’t exempt all items on this list from all laws, though. Laws constantly change and it’s up to you to check your state’s legislation. Carrying something legal in your state across the border into another state may also be illegal, so make sure you read up and plan ahead before you travel. If you purchase several items on this list, I’m sure you’ll have something legal in every state and it never hurts to have multiple options!
Aside from that, you may simply not want to end the life of someone else and have that weigh on your conscience. Pulling the trigger of a firearm when it’s pointed at someone else is a tragic event that you will never forget and many end up regretting.
Non-lethal self defense gadgets have come along way and have a proven track record when it comes to defusing a violent situation. You don’t need to kill a desperate kid trying to snatch your purse, you simply need to incapacitate them and remove yourself from danger and lucky for us, there are many options available to get this done at very reasonable prices!
Most of these self defense weapons have a special ability attached to them. In law enforcement, it’s called “deterrence”. Deterrence is the act of brandishing the weapon to insight fear and panic. Now, I’m not telling you to walk around with an electrified baton or a stun gun in your hand 24/7, arcing it at every person that comes near you, however, if you’re alone late at night walking through a dark parking lot or down a known dangerous street, having a weapon simply visible may be enough to save you from having someone attack you in the first place.
Remember, people that are out to steal and mug you don’t care about you personally, they want what you have and they want it easily. If they see you’re prepared, they’ll worry about the weapon itself and that you may have training, which means they’ll likely pick another target.
As a last quick note before we jump into the list, training may be required to use some of these effectively. There is absolutely no substitution for training, which is why our military and law enforcement are the best in the world. There are a surprisingly massive amount of self defense training schools located all over the US and some law enforcement agencies even put on free or hugely discounted classes for anyone and everyone to join! Using these gadgets incorrectly may result in more damage to yourself than the person attacking you, obviously not ideal, so be prepared with both gadgets and the proper training!
- Here Are the Best Self Defense Weapons to Carry and for Home Defense
- 1. Cold Steel Brooklyn Basher Mini
- 2. Six Cell Maglite
- 3. Samlite LED Tactical Flashlight
- 4. Sabre Stun Gun S-1010-BK
- 5. Vipertek VTS-989-58
- 6. Mace Stun Gun
- 7. MEGA Stun SA-150
- 8. Police Magnum OC-17
- 9. Sabre MK-3 Red Pepper Gel
- 10. Mace KeyGuard Pepper Spray
- 11. Mace Police Pepper Magnum 2.0
- 12. Spyderco Matriarch 2
- 13. Benchmade Barrage Tanto
- 14. Morakniv Garberg
- 15. TASER Pulse+
- 16. TASER Bolt
- 17. TASER X2 Professional Series
- 18. Cheetah 4.8m Stun Gun
- 19. Aftco Fish Bat
- 20. YMILKN Retractable Baton
- 21. Hardcore Hammer Hickory Stick 2
- 22. O-Mega Star Warrior
- 23. Streetwise Sting Ring
- The Atomic Bear Tactical Swat Pen
- 24. Phoenix Outdoor Kuboton
- 25. Nunchuck Grips Umbrella
- 26. City Safe Security Umbrella
- 27. Vigilant Personal Alarm System
- 28. BASU eAlarm
- 29. RXAMYDE Security K98
- 30. Vigilant Wrist Alarm
- 31. NOOPEL Emergency Whistle
Here Are the Best Self Defense Weapons to Carry and for Home Defense
1. Cold Steel Brooklyn Basher Mini
Teddy Roosevelt liked to say “walk softly and carry a big stick”
I agree with good ol’ Teddy! Blunt force is always an option when it comes to lethal and non-lethal defense and seems to work fairly well, as it’s likely the longest living method of personal defense we as humans have ever had.
I probably won’t need to explain how useful a steel baseball bat is in a self defense scenario. Everyone should have one, at least for home defense! One thing to consider, though, is that most people think of steel or aluminum to be the end-all-be-all bat solution. I’d argue that while those are certainly viable materials, the polypropylene bats offer much more versatility and maneuverability while maintaining incredible hardness and effectiveness.
Using a wooden bat isn’t exactly advised. It’ll probably work, but you run the chance of the bat exploding on impact, which definitely makes for an interesting shock and awe effect but leaves you without a weapon in case that whack didn’t get the job done.
My Review: Why I Like the Cold Steel Brooklyn Basher.
When it comes to blunt objects being used as a weapon, bigger is usually better, however, I do prefer something I can throw in the trunk and have available to me when necessary and most people don’t have the extra space to store a full-size baseball bat. Plus, the mini Brooklyn Basher can be used in tight quarters, such as a hallway, and also allows for incredible one-handed operation, which may give you a huge tactical advantage in the case of a home invasion.
This bat is constructed of the aforementioned polypropylene. It won’t shatter like a wooden bat, it’s lighter than a steel bat, and it’s harder than an aluminum bat. It’s kind of like the best of all worlds in one single easy to thrash package.
Of course, on Amazon, it’s made for “baseball”, but for those of you who don’t know, Cold Steel is a reputable Knife manufacturer that likes to dabble in self defense goodies too. This bat was purpose-built to cause intense regret on the side of an intruder, guaranteed.
Note: Cold Steel makes several versions of this bat in other sizes, so if 24” doesn’t fit your style, check out the other bats in the Brooklyn series, such as the 34” Brooklyn Smasher found here.
Next Category: Tactical Flashlights
Sometimes a little light is all you need to act as a deterrence, sometimes you simply need enough light to whack the holy hell out of someone when need be. Other times, you need your light and whooping stick to be in one easy to carry package. One brand comes to mind when it comes to the relationship between self defense and flashlights and that’s the old trusty Maglite. Simply put, these are bright as hell and hurt even more when slapped around with.
Come on, if you don’t have a Maglite, are you even really tacticool?
Aside from that, light is used tactically in many situations. Have you ever been pulled over by the cops at night and when they park their cruiser behind you, they shine a spotlight into your car? That does more than help them see, it makes targeting them nearly impossible. If you had a firearm and you hung out the window, you’d be nearly blind, giving them more time to find cover and react to the threat. The same goes for having a powerful flashlight, you can use an overwhelming amount of light to your advantage.
2. Six Cell Maglite
My Review: It’s a Maglite. It’s one of the highest quality American made flashlights ever made and comes with a very heavy reputation with a light price tag. Even better, they come in all sorts of colors and sizes, but if you want ultimate smashing utility, I’d suggest the 6-cell version, which is the second longest version. The 8-cell is, in my opinion, probably too heavy for most people to wield as a weapon effectively, while the 6-cell is only slightly shorter but seems to be a happy medium between weight and swing-ability.
I won’t lie, though, these incandescent flashlights aren’t nearly as bright as the modern LED technology infused blinders on the market today, however, this is by far the best incandescent flashlight you’ll find. People that buy Maglites don’t buy them for their extreme brightness, they buy them for their overall manufacturing quality and durability versus price, which is pretty much unbeatable. Maglites also come with a spare lamp in the bottom compartment which makes them pretty handy and easy to resuscitate if need be.
Maglites are also water resistant, drop resistant, and come with a nice diamond knurled grip pattern. The ability to adjust the light from spot to flood by simply turning the head is also a huge plus and of course, Maglite backs up their claims with a lifetime warranty.
3. Samlite LED Tactical Flashlight
My review: If you just really have to get your hands on LED because for some reason incandescent light bulbs are too old fashioned for your taste, Samlite is a pretty safe bet. Most “tactical” LED flashlights are junk, but the Samlite tactical LED seems to be capable of taking quite a bit of abuse and keep on trucking while offering extremely bright light fully capable of throwing off an attacker and giving you a defensive advantage.
Samlite utilized CREE LED chips, which are widely known to be some of the highest quality LED components available at the time of writing this review. This flashlight is also water resistant with very durable and high-quality construction, allowing for the occasional thug whacking to occur without throwing it off its game. You’ve probably noticed how baton looking this thing is, and that’s because it was purpose-built to satisfy the needs of those of you looking for a weaponized flashlight!
Next Up: Stun Gun (AKA TASER, but not actually a TASER)
Probably the most popular non-lethal self defense gadget out there other than pepper spray, the stun gun is essentially a tiny box with a battery and a stun component on the end of it. They’re pretty simple in design and many people refer to them as TASERs, although TASER is technically a brand, and stands for a unit that actually shoots a projectile that contains prongs that then electrify the recipient. These two things are different and it’s important to remember that as stun guns and TAZERs have different sets of laws in many states.
So, in short, stun gun doesn’t shoot anything, it has two or more prongs that must make contact. A TASER shoots an actual projectile roughly 30 feet. The two are very different, although the terms are often found used incorrectly.
There are MANY legalities when it comes to stun guns, stun batons, TASERs, etc and it is up to YOU to research them and comply properly. A stun gun, although a very effective method of self defense, is not always legal to own or operate. At the time of writing, it is illegal to own or purchase a stun gun in the states of Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, and DC. These laws change often and even if you legally purchase a unit, you need to pay close attention to new legislation to ensure you’re remaining compliant with the law in your state. As another setback to stun device ownership, some individual cities have banned stun guns, such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Crawford County, and Baltimore. In short: DO YOUR RESEARCH before ordering a stun device. If you get in legal trouble, that’s on YOU.
I am not a legal advisor, so what you read here are only suggestions, not legal advice. When conducting your own legal research, you might want to use the term Electronic Immobilization device (EID), as that’s usually the legal jargon dedicated to stun guns and other stun devices like stun batons.
Stun devices have the capability to light fabric on fire, so be careful! If you use a stun gun in tandem with pepper spray, make sure the aerosol isn’t flammable, otherwise, you’ll have similar effects to a flamethrower. Which could be cool, depending on what you’re into.
A stun gun works by delivering a large dosage of electrical shock at high pulse frequency to the localized muscles at the point of contact, creating muscle spasms, loss of motor function, and extreme pain. The voltage of a stun gun is very high to cause extreme effects such as muscle pain, but the amperage is ultra-low to prevent internal organ damage and permanent injury. To incapacitate an attacker, you only need to shock them for 2-3 seconds by contacting their skin with the metal prongs of your stun device. Stun guns are more effective when used on a larger muscle group, such as the thigh, back, chest, etc, however, are effective pretty much anywhere they are able to make contact with.
Alright, now that you have done your legal due diligence and you’ve determined it’s legal for you to own such a device, let’s dive into some of the best stun guns you can defend yourself with! By the way, stun guns are super cheap now. For less than $40, you can find yourself a “gets the job done” model. A small price to pay to have a very effective method of self defense on hand.
4. Sabre Stun Gun S-1010-BK
My Review: If you’re not sold on the idea of really using a stun gun but you’d like to simply try one out and maybe keep one in the glove box of your car, I’d recommend something from Sabre. At $10, you’ve got nothing to lose if you don’t like the idea of a stun gun. This one is fairly basic, although it’s available in three colors! Although cheap, it does deliver enough power to bring someone to their knees in just a couple of seconds and it also has a built-in flashlight. This particular stun gun is rechargeable and comes with batteries needed. It’s a basic bare bones stun gun that I wouldn’t necessarily bet my life on, but I think it’s a good place to start if you haven’t ever owned a stun device before.
5. Vipertek VTS-989-58
My review: This particular stun gun is fairly similar to previously reviewed stun gun by Sabre, but instead of the box form factor, this one is more of a pistol grip trigger style, giving you a bit more length and a much better grip. It also comes with a flashlight, holster, and a wrist strap. The switch is recessed, meaning it sits back from the frame where it’s less likely to be accidentally pressed and sits on top of a spring-loaded system, meaning it will stop firing if the button is released (handy if you shock yourself). The unit is rechargeable and comes with the batteries and charger.
6. Mace Stun Gun
My review: The Mace Stun Gun is an ergonomic 2.4 million volt monstrosity. It’s got a rectangular boxy feel to it with a knurled grip and a bit of an angle at the end. This form factor is easy to fit inside your pockets or a small bag and like most other stun guns, it offers a built-in LED flashlight.
7. MEGA Stun SA-150
My Review: The people at MEGA really like shocking people, apparently, as they have products that fit in a bunch of these categories! As always, they deliver some pretty high-quality stuff that I highly recommend if you’re depending on it for your life. The other stun guns on this list are cute and suitable to carry with you if you think the risk level is rather slim, but this stun gun is a serious piece of technology.
Running on a Duracell 9V battery, this stun gun is capable of 150k volts and the highest level of amps possible in a high-frequency pulsing delivery system, which absolutely decimates the motor function of the recipient. These are used by real police officers and military servicemen and are built with durability and quality materials.
With an ergonomic grip, a recessed spring loaded button, a sharp four-point stun component, and a very well built holster, you’ll be fairly outfitted with a very reliable high powered self defense stunner!
Next Up: Pepper Spray / Pepper Gel
I’ll just say this, I’d much rather be tased several times over than be even slightly pepper sprayed ever again. Being pepper sprayed was one of the worst experiences of my life in terms of outright debilitating pain and agony. Anyone pepper sprayed, even if it’s not a direct face shot, will be blinded immediately and the effects can last up to 2 full hours!
Pepper spray is a lachrymatory agent that consists of Oleoresin of Capsicum (OC) which is a natural oil found in the placenta of very hot peppers. This oil causes immediate expansion of capillaries upon contact. This causes a plethora of side effects including inflammation of mucous membranes (snot and other nasty body juice will pretty much cover your entire upper body), your eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs will feel like they’re on fire, all skin contact feels like constant wasp stings, and the targeted individual will have a horrendous time trying to breath. All of this pretty much guarantees you several minutes of opportunity to flee or defend yourself.
Pepper spray is one of the best self defense weapons for someone who is untrained because it’s pretty much impossible for it to be lethal, it’s non-toxic, and to use it, you just need to point and shoot in the general direction with a spray that has a wide area of coverage. A single second of pepper spray will render a target basically useless for a minimum of 15 minutes, all the way up to an hour or so. Use sparingly, it doesn’t take much to get yourself out of a sticky situation! Pepper spray is used by many police departments around the world and even utilized in military applications due to both its power and cost-effectiveness.
Pepper spray is not to be confused with mace or tear gas (CS). Each of these is entirely different agents. In general, pepper spray is the best for general self defense because it is the most powerful irritant of the three, even working on people under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Even further, there are MACE products, which is actually a brand, and ironically, they sell pepper spray products alongside a long line of other self defense weapons. Since the market is a bit confusing and these terms can be used interchangeably by silly marketers, you’ll need to know the difference and ensure you read about the product before purchasing. All of the products in this section are true pepper spray.
And yes, using milk to rinse off pepper spray is really the only effective method to help subside the effects, but it most certainly isn’t an instant cure. Using water can actually make matters worse as it helps spread the OC to more parts of your body without actually neutralizing the active ingredient.
8. Police Magnum OC-17
My Review: This little canister is designed to inflict a very large amount of pain! OC-17 essentially means the product contains 17% Oleoresin Capsicum, which is actually was most law enforcement agencies use and is more than enough to cause the desired self defense effects. These are non-flammable, non-toxic, and include an UltraViolet (UV) dye.
The UV dye included in this product isn’t visible to the human eye, however, by using a blacklight, law enforcement can identify a subject even if you forget what he/she looks like because the dye sticks around on the target for several hours, maybe even a day or two (as if the burning eyes, red and irritated skin, snot running down their face, etc isn’t enough)!
Each canister is roughly 5” in height and 1.5” in diameter, making them fairly easy to carry inside a purse or a bag, but probably not the best solution for carrying in your pocket.
9. Sabre MK-3 Red Pepper Gel
My Review: This is a rather interesting advancement in the simple usage of pepper spray. Basically, instead of atomizing into a sort of aerosol like traditional pepper spray methods, this keeps the OC into a solid jet-like stream, ensuring there is no blowback by the wind. Blowback is actually a very real thing, something I actually noticed the first time I used pepper spray, so it’s nice to see improvement on this design. Aside from blowback elimination, using gel also makes it more ideal to use in a crowded place, allowing you to have a more specific target without affecting innocent bystanders or people trying to help you.
Pepper gel allows for a greater range than traditional pepper spray. Most pepper spray is effective only up to roughly 10-12 feet, but with the Sabre pepper gel system, you can ruin the day of a mugger from up to 18 feet away! Sabre also utilizes liquid chromatography, which is said to reduce the failure rate and increase maximum effectiveness.
Sabre pepper gel has a four year lifespan, which is also a little more than traditional pepper spray. This gel is used in law enforcement agencies around the world and has been increasingly adopted more and more as people realize how much better the gel is than spray.
10. Mace KeyGuard Pepper Spray
My Review: If a self defense weapon is cumbersome and difficult to have on hand at all times, what good is it? I understand portability is a huge factor and with the Mace KeyGuard, you can attach it to your key ring and forget about it until the time is right. These tiny little pocket rocket looking attachments are easy to carry, utilize a cap so they don’t go off in your pocket, and despite their size, are fully capable of being used on a full-size attacker with ease.
When I first saw these, I figured they’d just give off a little spritz like a perfume bottle. I was horribly incorrect. These little keychain pepper spray units can really dish out the pain with a fairly impressive wall of pepper mist. They aren’t the best for covering distance, but they will create a rather painful wall between you and your assailant. You can expect roughly 5 feet of effective range.
Mace is a pretty neat brand and something I always thought was cool was the fact that they will issue you a free replacement if your Mace brand weapon was used and included in a police report. I will say one thing about this product, though, and that is that it’s difficult to see which side the spray nozzle is pointing. There is a metal lip that helps you, but it’s not exactly perfect. I highly recommend using a highlighter or a marker to indicate which side the business end is.
11. Mace Police Pepper Magnum 2.0
My review: Want to carry mace but the feeling of a canister isn’t tacticool enough? Trading in your firearm for a non-lethal variant but miss the feel of a pistol grip? Want the coolest way to pepper spray thugs?
Look no further, Mace has you covered. They’ve developed a pepper spray gun that looks similar to a firearm (from far away to untrained eyes albeit) and releases a stream of pain pepper with the pull of a trigger. Get that pew pew pew pepper in your face!
The gun gets cute, too, as it’s available in four different colors. Makes a great gift for a daughter, girlfriend, wife, etc and of course, it comes in black, so it’s a solid choice for anyone!
Self Defense Knives (Fixed blade and Folding)
Knives have long been known to be a weapon. Many people would argue they’re a tool. I say they’re both! There is little replacement for having a high-quality knife on hand and ready to go, no matter if you need to open something, widdle some wood, or stab somebody threatening your life. Yeah, that escalated quickly, but so do self defense scenarios and it’s not always easy to deploy some of the other items on this list! A handy pocket knife, located in, you guessed it, your pocket is always there and ready to go. A little practice and you can whip that sucker out in a second, adding a ton of deterrence and slash-ability to your situation.
“Quality” is a little hard to define when it comes to pocket knives. Some people will argue that you have to spend an arm and a leg to get the finest hand crafted blade or its trash. Others argue that any pocket knife with the ability to cut a piece of paper will get the job done. I’ll try and focus on a middle ground for the most part, since you don’t exactly need a top of the line blade to get yourself out of a sticky situation but I do believe quality is king and durability is life saving. A broken knife doesn’t exactly help your self defense case.
Knives can be so incredibly useful in self defense scenarios that I’ve actually written an review on the best knives for self defense purposes here. These are good recommendations, but they’re quick and easy. For a better explanation and more options, I definitely recommend giving my self defense knives guide a solid look.
As for this guide, you need to make an important decision before you even start considering carrying a knife. Fixed blade or foldable? The dynamics of each are quite different and the legalities can vary greatly so put some serious thought into this aspect before making a purchase. Fixed blades are certainly far superior in strength, durability, and overall self defense, but they greatly reduce portability and ease of carry for most people not willing to carry a holster type set up for their knife.
Many states legislation basically considers knives as a lethal force, and thus the laws on when you can use them are much more strict than non-lethal methods of self defense. As always, ensure the knife you’re buying is legal and make sure you know the law before carrying one.
Last but not least, there is no one best self defense knife because a lot of things come down to personal preference. If something feels comfortable to you, it’s easy to carry and/or conceal, and it has a quality blade kept sharp, It’ll be a formidable weapon.
12. Spyderco Matriarch 2
My review: Stunting one of the most ominous looking S-type blades I’ve ever seen, the Matriarch is a 3.57” folding knife with a very aggressive full-length serration. This knife utilizes the high-speed Emerson assisted opener which makes flipping the blade out easy and quick with one hand. Furthermore, the blade is coated in black titanium carbonitride, protecting it from rust and increasing its strength.
13. Benchmade Barrage Tanto
There are a few major players in the knives market and Benchmade is certainly one of them, for good reason of course. The Barrage comes equipped with a razer sharp half and half serration blade constructed of stainless steel. What really sets this knife apart is the Benchmade Axis Assist, which is a one-handed spring assist system capable of being closed or opened with just one hand, a vital component in a self defense scenario. Furthermore, the tip of the knife is made for incredible durability, allowing it to pierce and hold form through pretty much any material an attacker may be wearing.
14. Morakniv Garberg
My review: A swedish made delicacy, the Morakniv Garberg is a 4.3” fixed blade constructed of carbon steel. Simply put, this knife is built to be as indestructible as possible, meaning you can count on it for survival, self defense, or whatever else you throw at this bad boy. The handle is constructed of polyamide which is incredibly durable and highly impact resistant.
Next Up: Tasers
Alrighty, the king of non-lethal self defense, the TASER! Now, I’ve lightly mentioned this before but I’d like to reiterate in case you missed it, TASER does not encompass all electrical stun devices and is actually a brand name that has turned into a category name, kind of like how we say “Kleenex” despite the actual brand of what tissue paper we’re using.
So, TASERs really only come from one source, which is TASER. I’ll try and describe the top three TASER products and what each is good for. I will warn you, these most certainly aren’t cheap and there are some knock-offs that might be worth trying, however, TASER has quite a positive reputation, a reputation so good that people refer to all stun devices as TASERs, so that really sums up how incredible they are as a company!
Just like stun guns and stun batons, there are a lot of laws that vary by each state. You are responsible for knowing these laws and also keeping up on new legislation. It isn’t legal to carry a TASER in all 50 states, as many of them have outright banned them or require a special permit, so be careful and stay legal.
TASERs work by firing two electrodes that embed into the skin of your target. After both electrodes make contact, a high-frequency wave of electricity is sent down the leads into the electrodes, passing that electricity into the nervous system of the target. This will cause minor puncture wounds, minor burns around the electrodes, massive amounts of pain, uncontrollable muscle spasms, neuromuscular incapacitation, loss of motor function, disorientation, nausea, and a plethora of other temporary effects.
TASERs aren’t meant to be lethal, however, there are hundreds of cases where the target falls as a result of being tased and hits their head and dies or the target has some crazy heart condition that becomes increasingly worse as they receive a jolt from the TASER. In short, proper targeting and trigger control that would apply with a real firearm should apply here with a TASER.
As the last thing to consider before buying a TASER, you’ll need cartridges much like a firearm needs bullets. Cartridges can sometimes be reused depending on how they were used, but for the most uses (especially if you actually shoot someone), you’d want to replace the cartridge with a new one. These can be costly, so prepare accordingly and always have a few extra’s on hand. Different TASER models can use different cartridges, but some cartridges can be used in several different devices, so make sure you read the label before buying and ensure the cartridge in question is compatible with your specific device.
I lied, that’s not the last thing. This is the last thing: You need to buy batteries. Normally, not a big deal, but with TASER devices, it’s a big deal as these puppies can run up to $60 each. The batteries aren’t rechargeable and are good for roughly 40-50 discharges. If you’re using this for self defense only, this probably isn’t an issue. If you’re going to play around and shoot targets all day, this can become costly rather quickly.
15. TASER Pulse+
My review: I couldn’t write a comprehensive self defense weapons guide without seriously mentioning the TASER Pulse+. This is an identical TASER issued in law enforcement agencies around the world with the added bonus of the “+”, which really just means it has mobile phone connectivity through the Noonlight application, which I’ll discuss more later.
First, the actual stun device! What you get here is a pretty standard model of TASER that utilizes a prepacked cartridge to fire two electrodes at an effective range of roughly 15 feet. This model is designed to cause a 30-second total muscle convulsion episode, which is plenty of time to gather your bearing and make an escape. There are tons of videos online, or you can ask anyone that has joined law enforcement as they can attest to how effective these products really are. In short, getting shot with this thing makes you completely useless for several seconds. The floor/ground is the first thing you’re hitting and you may as well get comfy because it’ll take a while before you can get back up!
Most TASER products come with a handy dandy tacticool laser site integration, which makes obtaining aim a breeze in a self defense situation and is ideal for those of you without proper firearm training and experience. Acquiring targets sounds easy to my Marine buddies, but to an untrained civilian, properly aiming a weapon in a tense situation is difficult and more often than not, results in low accuracy. This model only gives you one chance to hit cleanly, so that laser really may be the difference between this product saving your life and this product just pissing someone off further.
The Noonlight application is what really motivated me to put this at the top of the TASER list and is why I recommend this product to every woman that feels in danger walking alone at night. Simply put, once you pair the TASER with your mobile phone using the app, the software will contact local law enforcement and dispatch help to your location immediately if you fire the TASER. You won’t need to press a button, make a call, or do anything, it happens automatically. Think of the Noonlight application as a modern-day SOS flare.
With the Pulse+ you’ll receive two live cartridges and a high capacity lithium-ion battery. The link I provide is to a package deal that I highly recommend as it comes with a Blade-Tech holster, perfect for securing the device to your body and conceal carrying the TASER.
16. TASER Bolt
My review: The TASER bolt is essentially the same 50,000-volt muscle destroying TASER as the Pulse series but in a more elegant and streamlined form factor. It’s not designed to appear like a handgun, like its Pulse brother, but does pretty much the same job and mostly what I wrote above applies here, except it doesn’t have the Noonlight application integration. These are also used in law enforcement and although they look different a bit less threatening than the Pulse, they do the same job.
The Bolt has a childproof sliding lock door over the fire button. At first, I personally didn’t like this feature, but I could see how it would be useful for a lot of people, I only recommend that you get well familiarized with this type of firing mechanism before you load a live cartridge in the device as pressing the button can happen on accident very easily if you haven’t practiced a few times.
You get the tacticool laser sights found on most TASER products, a fairly bright LED flashlight, a contact stun device, two projectile based stun cartridges, a neat little soft case, a lithium battery, and a practice target.
17. TASER X2 Professional Series
My review: This is where the big boys come to play, none of that “possible self defense” good stuff, this is for those of you who weren’t issued one but would like to use in the field, whether you’re in the military entering combat or you’re a law enforcement officer looking to add another weapon to your arsenal.
The X2 stays true to its name and unlike most single shot TASER products, you’ll get two shots here with the X2. Double the thugs, double the stun, hell yeah! To make it way more tacticool, they’ve gone ahead and added a class 3a laser sight, an ambidextrous safety, IPX2 water resistance, an extremely powerful LED flashlight, and of course, it comes with their neuromuscular incapacitation guarantee! To boot, if you used up or miss your two allotted shots, this bad boy also has a contact stun component to keep you in the fight when things get cuddly.
The X2 basically gives you a handheld computer. It utilized a central information display (CID) that indicates power level, performs device diagnostics, provides helpful data on the cartridge currently inserted, and even has a clock so you know exactly what time it was when you shocked the holy hell out of that guy! The X2 will recalibrate 20 times a second, ensuring it delivers the optimum level of shocking devastation based on the climate and situation.
18. Cheetah 4.8m Stun Gun
My review: This is a cute little stun gun that is compact (5.5”) and slim enough to fit into a small bag like a purse or take with you while you’re jogging, hiking, camping, etc. Its form factor is a bit different than the others on this list in that it’s shaped like a bar with a place to slide your finger through. The stun gun has a knuckle based stun component in the middle of the bar with prongs at the end for some good ol’ jabbing fun.
You’ll get a neat little faux leather button flap holster, rechargeable batteries, and a battery charger. These are available in black, pink, or purple. This is a great gift for a wife and/or daughter and might just save her life!
Next Up: Batons
Batons are just fancy clubs and are sometimes called a truncheon. Batons come in many different flavors. You have fixed batons, miniature batons, flexible batons, collapsible batons, multi-tool batons, and so on! They’re usually made of steel, although there are some lightweight plastics that are incredibly dense and durable coming to the market. Some steel versions also come with a rubber compound handle or entirely encased in rubber. Either way, as long as it has a little weight to it, you can inflict some serious damage on an attacker or use it to get out of sticky situations, such as breaking windows in a sinking vehicle.
Batons are very popular in law enforcement as they are typically used as a compliance tool but the self defense industry has really come along way in their designs, offering civilians with easy to conceal options that fit into backpacks, purses, and even attach to your body.
Batons can be used for much more than just smashing someone in the face. Using a baton to create an arm-lock, restricting airways, as a defensive shield, to jab, bludgeon, and pry. In the event of an attack, you should aim for soft tissue on easily targetable muscles, such as the front or the back of the leg, biceps, the hands, etc. Using a baton on a soft muscle can cause transitory neurapraxia, which essentially stands for muscle spasms caused by extreme pain and nervous system shock. This can incapacitate an attackers extremities for several minutes, allowing you time to call for help or escape.
A whack to the head can easily cause head trauma and concussions, which can turn lethal very quickly, so use with caution and choose your target area’s wisely. Strikes to the head that aren’t powerful enough to cause incapacitate damage can actually numb the attacker to pain and, as quoted by an experienced police combat instructor, Arthur Lamb, “What you’re doing when you hit a man in the head is first, creating a serious danger of death, and second, you’re numbing the one part of the body that can stop him”.
Let’s take a look at a variety of batons that are easily used and available.
19. Aftco Fish Bat
My review: Is it a fish bat, or a thug bone breaker? It’s both, actually. Sure, it’s sold officially as a “fish bat” to avoid being labeled as an actual weapon and being banned from major online storefronts, like Amazon, but don’t be fooled, this is an all-out bone breaking monster. A well-placed wack from this will send anyone writhing away in a world of pain. Oh yeah, it floats in water too, in case the fight gets aquatic!
The grip is purposely designed to be ergonomic for a solid grip and comes equipped with a braided lanyard, making it awfully tough for an attacker to jack your weapon and use it against you. It’s made of hardened polymer and is designed to last. Baseball bats work similarly, however, this fish bat is much shorter, which is especially useful in tight quarters like a hallway or inside a vehicle where a baseball bat would be difficult achieve a full swing.
At only $25, this is an excellent little tool to have, you know, in case any fish decide to break into your home in the middle of the night!
20. YMILKN Retractable Baton
My review: Officially sold as a “trekking pole”. These Amazon sellers are quite crafty when it comes to helping you obtain self defense tools!
Aside from that bit of cheekiness, this baton most certainly gets the job done. When deployed at the push of a button, it’s 21 inches of thug destruction, and when you’re done, it can easily be retracted with the push of a button, down to 9.45 inches, which can easily fit in a glove box or be placed into the included nylon sheath.
21. Hardcore Hammer Hickory Stick 2
My review: It’s a hard wooden stick that you smack thugs with. There isn’t much else to say about it, as I think it’s pretty self-explained! It does come with a nice little lanyard to ensure you yourself don’t get whacked with it.
Next up: Stun Batons
As if a whack from a heavy blunt object wasn’t enough, I introduce to you, the stun baton, a more technologically advanced way of thug thrashing. You need to be careful with these, though, as the laws state to state vary widely and there is a lot to consider. Primarily, pay attention to the voltage and amperage levels. You don’t need a massive amount of electricity to fry your attackers like a turkey, just enough to defend yourself and cause enough discomfort to deter any further advances.
Stun batons come in a few different designs. Some stun batons have the entire striking surface electrically charged, which are better used to simply touch the attacker instead of smacking them with it like a traditional baton. Other stun batons include a blunt force surface with a stunning mechanism just at the tip or one portion of the surface, allowing you the option to go with an old school whacking or a stun, your choice.
You may think stun batons are similar to those handheld stun guns, and you’d be right. Some of the batons in this category are literally just a blunt force object with a stun gun built-in. These are not TASER devices, which are significantly different.
You see these used a lot in the movies. Sometimes, a simple touch will render the person completely unconscious, allowing the user to do whatever they want. This doesn’t happen with stun batons that are legal to own. I say this just so you know what to expect! Legal to own electric stun batons cannot cause fatal injuries unless the person being shocked has a major pre-existing heart condition.
Although they won’t render attackers completely unconscious, a powerful and legal stun baton is fairly guaranteed to deter them from further conflict by delivering a shockwave to the nervous system, which causes balance issues, disorientation, and a whole lot of pain, with just half of a second of contact. Two seconds of contact results in muscle spasms, mental confusion, and complete loss of muscle control. You shouldn’t ever need more than three seconds of contact, so be careful and use conservatively. Unless, of course, they really deserve it. Then that’s up to you, however, you didn’t hear that from me!
Another common misconception is that if the attacker is touching you, you’ll be hit with the voltage as well. This is not true, even if you’re both standing in water, you’re in the clear to shock the hell out of them as the effect is generally localized at the point of the mechanism itself.
Just so we’re clear, stun batons run on batteries that must be charged to work! Don’t forget to charge it, even if you haven’t used it. Batteries can dissipate energy over long periods of time, so I’d make a regular routine of charging them at least once a month.
As a last tidbit before we jump into my recommended stun batons, these are best used for deterrence. Of course, they work when actually used, but simply flicking them on and showing potential attackers that arc of electricity may be enough to send them running the other direction. With firearms, the laws can be tricky and if you display a firearm in some states without solid evidence of self defense, you could be charged with criminal firearm brandishing. With a stun baton, though, not many laws like this exist, giving you a bit more leeway in using it as a deterrent.
22. O-Mega Star Warrior
My review: Ever dreamt about fighting criminals with a lightsaber? This is probably as close as you’ll get, without actually slashing people in half. At 18 inches, 2.75 pounds, and 150,000 volts, the attacker may actually prefer to be slashed in half!
The O-Mega Star Warrior features a full electrified shaft and works well as both a baton and a stun device. Simply put, if you pull this thing out and your attackers don’t flea right away, they have to have a couple of screws loose upstairs to advance and they will pay dearly. You can visibly see the electricity arcing 360 degrees around the baton. This device is used by actual law enforcement and military forces. It’s heavy duty, built to take (and deliver) a beating, and is one of the most reliable full shaft stun batons on the market today.
O-Mega is the oldest stun device manufacturer and has been delivering products to the military, law enforcement, and movie props for over 30 years. This product is one of their latest and greatest products. It’s powered by 2 9V batteries and delivers their proprietary stun pulse feature, which delivers the maximum legally allowed amperage coursing through the attacker’s bodies, guaranteed to incapacitate.
Next Up: Sting Rings
A sting ring is very similar to a stun gun in operation, but instead of a boxy form or a gun form, the stun component is wrapped around a finger or multiple fingers to give you a much better grip. Think of these as the ultimate electric punch! These sacrifice battery life for portability and a smaller form factor over traditional stun guns. Most sting rings can easily fit in your pocket or a small purse.
Basically, everything I said in the stun gun section suffices here, so if you haven’t already, go read that section for more information!
23. Streetwise Sting Ring
My review: This is a pretty simple little stun gun that has a finger ring to fit your inconspicuous stinging needs. It comes in either a single finger, double finger, or triple finger configuration so you get to choose how many fingers you want to be involved in your stinging operation!
Next Up: Kubotans
A kubotan is an interesting little self defense weapon that you can carry with you on your keychain. You’ll always have it as a last resort and it makes your keyring look pretty damn tacticool. Kubotans are basically a very hard pointed object just a few inches long that, when used correctly, can cause immense amounts of pain and damage. They offer you a great grip on a hard object and a point of contact in quick self defense situations. These are also used as glass breakers and something even as a small hammer!
I highly recommend you to research these and learn how to properly use one. These are cheap, easy to find, and easy to carry, making them an excellent everyday carry device that doesn’t need to be charged or have some kind of refill or reloading.
The Atomic Bear Tactical Swat Pen
My review: It says tactical pen but what it really is, is a kubotan self defense weapon with a pen hidden inside. I love it! This is one of the best multi-use kubotans on the market and comes with ink refills and a belt clip. You can write your attacker a little note about never messing with you again after you break their nose and bring them to their knees with a pressure point strike.
24. Phoenix Outdoor Kuboton
My review: This kubotan is made of TC4 titanium alloy, which makes it extremely light but extremely hard and durable. The grip is very smooth but offers a great deal of anti-slip and is easy to hold firmly and grasp while jabbing away at an attacker.
Next Up: Security Umbrella
After watching the movie “The Kingsmen”, I was pretty damn inspired to find an umbrella I could demolish people with if need be. Living in multiple cities around the US where it seems to always be raining when I’m out and about, I always have an umbrella with me or in the car, and it always bugged me to have such a large item that really only had one use.
My affinity for multi-purpose items really has me going on this one, and although it’s probably not the best self defense weapon ever made, it’s freaking cool and there aren’t really any laws against having one!
25. Nunchuck Grips Umbrella
My review: The umbrella is cool and has a nice tactical feel to it but other than that, you seem pretty defenseless carrying this thing. That is until the knife or canister of pepper spray pops out of its concealment and ruins a muggers day!
Simply put, this umbrella contains a concealed compartment in the handle that is purpose-built to harbor your favorite self-defense tools. The one I’ve linked you to has a 2.1” stainless steel Gerber knife hidden just a button push away but you can find other grips too, such as a pepper spray or hidden compartment stash grip. The umbrella itself is constructed of heavy duty fiberglass and includes a very durable and rugged tacticool handle.
26. City Safe Security Umbrella
My review: Simply put, these are essentially a baton and an umbrella put into one. A solid stainless steel tip makes for gut-wrenching jabs and a thick fiberglass rod gives you the power to crack some skulls if need be. The entire umbrella is purpose-built to be damn near indestructible so whack at will!
27. Vigilant Personal Alarm System
My review: This is a fairly simple personal alarm concept that attaches by a keyring and uses a simple push button to activate design. It hits my standard minimum of 130dB, fits easily into a purse, bag, or pocket, and includes a back-up whistle in case the battery dies on you. The batteries included are LR44, which have a standby time of one full year. Vigilant is associated with Mace Brand and is US made with a one year warranty.
28. BASU eAlarm
One of the most popular from items the Bear Grylls Survival Line and best fire starters out there is the Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter. Although at first glance it doesn’t seem like anything too special, I think you’ll be impressed by how well designed it is. At first glance, it looks like nothing more than a Ferro rod and striker, which don’t get me wrong is all you really need to start a fire.
What separates this fire starter from a basic Ferro rod is that the design makes it both compact and waterproof. The multifunction handles slide together and form a seal that keeps the striker and the rod dry. There is also paracord that holds the two pieces together and at the end of the lanyard, there is a survival whistle.
Another awesome thing about this fire starter is that on the end of the striker there is a watertight black cap that can hold tinder or cotton balls to help start your fire.
29. RXAMYDE Security K98
My review: This is a more advanced alarm system that comes with several interesting features. The alarm does meet the 130dB recommendation and includes an RF scanner. The RF scanner is capable of alerting you to spy cameras, which has become a major problem from sexual predators in bathrooms, changing rooms, hotel rooms, etc. This device can also pick up on hidden audio recording devices, jamming equipment, and radio signalers. The alarm also comes with a super bright LED flashlight that can strobe.
30. Vigilant Wrist Alarm
My review: This 130dB alarm is in the shape of a wristwatch and is especially useful for those of you going out at night to jog or hike. It’s a very simple design with a very effective use case. All Vigilant products come with a one year warranty and are built in the USA.
31. NOOPEL Emergency Whistle
My review: Whistles aren’t very complicated devices and with that said, there are thousands of options for you in this category. I personally like the NOOPEL whistle because of its sleek, slender, and extremely loud at 120-150dB. I have used this exact whistle many times, especially on solo hiking trips and its managed to hold up to some pretty heavy abuse. It’ll work even when it’s soaking wet where other whistles may sound dampened due to water. It’s only 10 bucks, making this a pretty standard must have for just about everybody. If you don’t have a whistle, I highly recommend picking this up as its usable for self-defense and many other applications.
Last but not least: Personal Self-Defense Alarms and Whistles
Personal alarms are actually one of the best self defense tools on the market today and I completely understand why. Most people looking to increase their self-defense are most likely not ready to hand to hand combat or to fire some type of projectile at another person due to lack of experience, training, confidence, etc. Many people also worry about their self defense weapons being used against them, which is a very valid concern that does actually happen, unfortunately.
Personal alarms have many advantages over a weapon, including their inconspicuous design and ability to be disguised as a normal everyday item, such as lipstick, garage door opener, etc. Manufacturers have gotten pretty crafty in how they help you hide an alarm, giving you many options to fit your style and conceal that alarm. Alarms are also useful signaling devices in hiking and camping because they can help rescuers locate you if you get lost or injured.
Personal alarms typically give off a blaring sound in the 130-150 decibel (dB) range, which is louder than some gunshots and even train horns. I can hear the train horn over two miles away from my house, so rest assured any personal alarm at 130 decibels or higher is going to give you an excellent range of SOS notification and the sound will be incredibly uncomfortable to attackers, and yourself, so be prepared and cover your ears!
Alarms won’t help fend off an attacker with force, but it will add a great amount of deterrence. Most situations where you’re being attacked is going to be in the case of someone trying to rob you or sexually assault you. In both of these scenarios, attackers want an easy target they can do with as they please and get away quickly, with little to no public attention. A personal alarm brings all eyes in the area on you, ensuring you’ll have plenty of attention, which is exactly what most attackers don’t want.
Whistles have a similar method of deterrence, and come with the tradeoff of not having to rely on batteries being charged or electronics not failing, however, it is important to note that blowing as hard as you can on a whistle may hinder your ability to run and/or fight due to you expelling all of that additional air, so it’s a tradeoff worth considering and you may want to practice using your whistle first so you know what to expect and how much air you need to use to get a decent effect.
Some personal alarms come with a bright LED with a strobe or flashing effect. This is an important attribute because these alarms are so incredibly loud, it could be difficult for someone to pinpoint the exact source of the sound, making your backup a bit slower to react to your position. A bright LED used in tandem with the alarm makes you much more visible, especially in dark places to help and additional attention.
My suggestion is this: make sure you have a weapon and are prepared for a potential combative threat. A personal alarm won’t help you if the attacker doesn’t care about getting extra attention and on the flip side, if you have a self defense weapon already, having a personal alarm is the icing on the cake in addition to that weapon as it alerts everyone to what’s going on and ensures you get help faster. If you feel like you frequently visit dangerous areas, a personal alarm AND a self defense weapon are necessities.
Self Defense Tricks and Tips
Tip 1: If you have to fight, do it right. A forceful and complete follow through will increase the effectiveness of your combat across the board. Follow through on your swings, especially when punching, kicking, or using a blunt object like a baton. For stun devices, really press into them and keep pressing. Once the attacker feels the jolt, it’ll be instinctive for them to immediately flinch away, which is why it’s important to press through and keep contact for at least two full seconds.
Tip 2: Keep your hands up. Always have them in a defensive position, near or in front of your face. If you get in the face, it’s going to do a lot more than hurt you. Your eyes will water, lowering your visibility and if you bleed, it could temporarily blind you. Protect your face at all costs. On the flip side, go for nose blows on your attacker, as the same rules apply to them.
Tip 3: Have a plan for the deployment of your self defense weapons. If you can’t reach them and deploy them in a matter of seconds, they are useless. Practice this over and over and keep practicing every so often. Skills get rusty, so make a timetable for when you will practice!
Tip 4: If your self defense weapon is in your purse or backpack and that’s what the attacker is attempting to steal, and they are successful, you’re now without a weapon and the attacker has your weapon. Make sure your weapons are secure with you at all times.
Tip 5: Use your self defense weapons as a deterrent first, if possible. Deterrence is the best outcome, as it eliminates the need for you to actually use your skills and weapons. Many attackers choose targets that seem easy and quick to steal from or beat. If you hold yourself in a confident stature and display the fact you have a weapon, you are far less likely to be attacked in the first place.
Tip 6: Obtain information and contact the police IMMEDIATELY. If you used a personal defense weapon, that weapon may have DNA vital to a police investigation. If you can, take a picture or record the incident. Try and remember what that person was wearing, their physical appearance such as weight, height, hair color, eye color, tattoos, scars, missing teeth, etc. If you scratch them, don’t wash your hands, as you may have DNA the police can extract. Investigative police work is very difficult, the more information you provide, the more likely it is they’ll be able to hold that person responsible for their crimes.
Tip 7: If someone makes a demand for a personal belonging and they are seriously determined to take that from you, it is advisable to give up the item without a fight, so long as it doesn’t seem like your life is in danger. Using a personal defense weapon can escalate the situation and end up far worse than simply giving up your belongings. The police may be able to recover what you lost, but you can never truly recover from trauma caused by escalating a situation.
Tip 8: I’d like to advise you to have mercy, even on those who steal from you. You never know what a person is going through. People should be held responsible for their actions and we do have a system for that. You are not a judge and you are not an executioner. Report an incident to the police, give them as much information as you can, and let them do their job. Use these gadgets only when you fear for your life in a defensive manner. Once the threat of your life is extinguished, using these items can and will land you in jail. And yes, that means beating someone to a pulp for attempting to steal from you can put you in hot water, legally. It is not legal to defend personal property with lethal force, lethal force is only an option in the case your life is in real danger.
Tip 9: Always try and position yourself in situations where attention is easily achieved. Attention from nearby people, security cameras, law enforcement personnel, etc is a major deterrence factor that most attackers look specifically to avoid. If you can draw attention with alarms, other sounds, bright lights, etc, that is a huge defensive advantage in your favor. If you feel you’re venturing into dangerous territory, note possible attention targets as much as you can, actively, so that if you do get attacked, you know which direction to call out for help and shine your lights.
Life is short, don’t spend it in a jail cell because your emotions got the best of you. Defuse the situation, report it, and leave.
Don’t be stupid. Follow the law. Easy? Alright.
I wish it was that easy, unfortunately, it’s not, though.
I am not a legal advisor. All products on this page are simply recommendations for personal safety and I do not advise nor advocate to use any of these products in a harmful manner towards any human being, animal, or anyone’s property. You MUST research the laws in your state and stay compliant with both current and upcoming legislation. The purpose of this guide is to educate you on your options for personal self defense. What is contained in this guide is my opinion, not legal or professional tactical advice.
Many of the items on this page can cause you and/or other people serious harm. Most of them are considered non-lethal, in the respect that used correctly they should not result in death, however, if used incorrectly, many of these items can certainly be lethal and/or cause irreversible damage to humans, animals, and property.
If you do not seek out the correct legal information, you use these products incorrectly, or you do not seek out quality self defense training, you have only yourself to blame. Be prepared and do it correctly, or you’re potentially putting yourself and others at great risk.
As always, and just like a firearm, the majority of these products must be properly stored and kept away from children. A quality hidden gun safe is always advisable. I wrote a page to help you get started with that here.
Corporal Wabo is a former Infantry Squad Leader with 3rd Bn 4th Marines that specialized in Mortars. As an outdoor enthusiast, he has been testing outdoor and tactical style gear for over 20 years. He started this website while transitioning out of the Marines, and since has recruited several other Marines to help him work on the Marine Approved website. We are currently looking for former Marines that like to talk tactical gear, survival gear, hiking supplies, etc. For more information about us or to join the team, check out the “About Us” tab.