It's an unfortunate fact that many people feel unsafe in our current world. We hear stories of violence every day, and it can be easy to imagine yourself in a bad situation, especially if you're part of a marginalized group. Whether you're hiking in the wilderness, walking alone at night, or just going about your daily business, carrying a self-defense tool is a good way to provide an added layer of security and bring yourself some peace of mind.
While tools aren't a replacement for self-defense training, they can deter attackers and give you additional time to get away and get help. For a variety of situations, our number one recommendation is Sabre's Pepper Spray Keychain. It's small, easy to use, and attaches to your keychain for easy access. See the rest of our top 10 list below and check out our buying guide for tips on how to choose the right self-defense tool for your needs.
Our list includes a variety of tools for different needs. Some can be used at a distance, while others are for close range. Some are small, while others are more obvious. With all of these picks, it's a good idea to watch a video or take a class to learn how to use it safely and effectively.
|Dimensions||1 x 1 x 3.75 in.|
|Type||Tactical flashlight, stun gun|
|Dimensions||5.3 x 1.4 in.|
|Dimensions||4 x 0.8 x 0.8 in.|
|Dimensions||5.5 x 0.56 in.|
|Dimensions||6.5 x 2 x 1 in.|
|Dimensions||3.57 x 1.85 x 0.39 in.|
|Dimensions||5.8 x 3.5 x 0.7 in.|
Columbia River Knife & Tool Store
Red Pepper Spray Keychain
6-in-1 Tactical Pen
Safesound Personal Alarm Siren Song
Pepper Gel Spray for Runners
Stainless Steel Kubotan
Billion Heavy Duty Stun Gun
Williams Defense Key
Car Emergency Tool with Window Breaker
A Petite and Portable Pepper Spray Keychain
A Tactical Flashlight and Stun Gun That's Discreet and Effective
This Tool Can Fix, Write, Light, and Defend
Deter Attackers With an Alarm and Flashing Light
Attaches to Your Hand for Quick Deployment
A Solid Steel Kubotan That Fits in Your Palm
Loud and Powerful Electric Shocks
A Tool That Blends in With Your Keys
A Portable Door Lock for Added Security Indoors
Break Car Windows and Keep Attackers at Bay
|Type||Pepper spray||Tactical flashlight, stun gun||Tactical pen||Alarm||Pepper gel||Kubotan||Stun gun||Tactical key||Lock||Tactical whip|
|Range||10 ft.||Close||Close||900 ft.||12 ft.||Close||Close||Close||N/A||1.5 ft.|
|Dimensions||1 x 1 x 3.75 in.||6.5 in.||Not specified||5.3 x 1.4 in.||4 x 0.8 x 0.8 in.||5.5 x 0.56 in.||6.5 x 2 x 1 in.||3.57 x 1.85 x 0.39 in.||5.8 x 3.5 x 0.7 in.||23.75 in.|
There are so many different self-defense tools out there, and it can be hard to know which one is best for your needs. In this guide, we'll walk you through the different types of tools and then discuss some factors to consider when making your choice.
There are a number of different types of self-defense tools, each with its own pros and cons. Before you choose, take a moment to learn about them so you can pick one that will work for you.
Pepper spray is a popular self-defense tool. It typically comes in a canister that has a button you press to spray it. Pepper spray is non-lethal and can cause temporary blindness, burning pain, and difficulty breathing. Some brands incorporate UV marking dye, which will show up under UV light to help identify the attacker.
Pepper spray allows you to stay far away from your attacker while defending yourself. However, rain can reduce pepper spray’s distance, accuracy, and effectiveness. If you live somewhere that’s windy, the pepper spray could blow back in your face.
A great alternative is pepper gel, which deploys in the same way as pepper spray but doesn't atomize. It's a little bit less common but is thicker, stickier, and won’t be blown around in the wind.
Both stun guns and tasers work the same way: they use a high-voltage electric shock to temporarily stop an attacker. If you want to carry on one of these tools, it's a good idea to get some training on how to use them first.
Stun guns can cause disorientation, lack of balance, and difficulty moving. They require direct contact with the attacker but can be used on any part of the body and are easy to operate. In addition, if the attacker is grabbing you, the shock won’t transfer to your body.
Tasers are shot from a distance, so they require some aim and practice. They operate at a higher voltage than stun guns and cause muscles to lock up, leading to full immobilization. Generally, tasers are more expensive than stun guns and require replacement cartridges.
There are a number of self-defense tools that are intended for striking or stabbing an attacker. These include knives as well as less sharp objects, like tactical pens, flashlights, and kubotans. Striking and stabbing tools can be helpful if you already know some self-defense techniques, but they aren’t ideal for beginners.
Tactical flashlights can shine a bright beam of light to help illuminate dark areas and scare off potential attackers. They also have a jagged or spiked bezel you can use to strike an assailant. Tactical pens are similar in that they can be used as pens and as tools for stabbing since they’re made from metal instead of plastic.
A kubotan is a pointed, stick-like tool that’s usually five or six inches long and fits in your hand. It helps you apply a lot of pressure to a small area, like the ribs, throat, or face. You can also use it to make a regular punch more effective. Note that these tools can be lethal, so it’s important to know how to use them if you plan to carry them.
While not a weapon, a personal alarm can be an effective tool against some attackers. They typically attach to your keychain and consist of a button you press that emits a loud alarm sound. This can distract the attacker and draw the attention of others, potentially defusing the situation.
Some personal alarms also have an alert function that will send your GPS location to specific contacts or authorities. The downside of these tools is that they don’t offer any physical protection; if you’re in a secluded area, an alarm may not be enough to deter an attacker. In addition, it takes time for contacts or authorities to reach you.
Some devices combine an alarm with other tools like a flashlight or pepper spray. The combination of multiple non-lethal self-defense tactics can be very effective. However, if you don’t feel comfortable carrying other self-defense tools, an alarm is still a better option than nothing!
Carrying a self-defense tool can help you feel safe, but if you don’t know how to use it properly, it won’t do much good. It’s important to pick a tool that you can use. If you don’t know how and want to learn, you can take a class or find video tutorials online.
In addition, make sure to pick a tool that you feel comfortable using. Consider if you’re willing to use potentially lethal force or if you prefer a non-lethal option.
If you’re being attacked, the last thing you’ll want to do is dig around in your purse or backpack to try to find your pepper spray! Self-defense tools should be small enough to be portable but also easily accessible.
Tools that attach to keychains are popular, and they can also be hung from zippers. Other tools can fit in a pocket or attach to the strap of a bag. Ideally, though, you should hold the tool in your hand whenever you're in a potentially unsafe situation so it's ready to use at a moment's notice.
Self-defense can quickly go wrong if the attacker is able to get your tool away from you and use it against you, so look for tools that will be easy to hold on to.
Some stun guns, pepper sprays, and flashlights come with a wrist strap. Keychain tools can be attached to your keys and other objects so you have more to grab onto. Many tools that have handles will have indentations for your fingers to help with grip as well.
Reliability is important; if you’re in danger, you want something that you know will work. Items like pepper spray, stun guns, and alarms can stop working without you realizing it. Pepper spray also is only good for two to five years depending on the brand, and it may not be as effective if it's expired.
Some tools need to be charged, while others require batteries. With these types of tools, it’s important to test them every once in a while to make sure they’re in working order.
In some situations, it may be helpful to have a tool that’s easy to conceal or doesn’t appear to be a self-defense tool at first glance. There are two options for this.
The first is to get a tool that’s small enough to hold in your hand, allowing you to keep it hidden but handy. The other option is to get a tool that’s disguised as something else, like a tactical pen, flashlight, or keychain. You can also find tools that look like lipstick, combs, bracelets, and more.
If you're in a situation where self-defense tools aren't allowed or make you feel unsafe to carry, consider everyday items like metal pens or strong aerosol body spray.
Laws regarding self-defense tools vary from state to state, so before you buy, make sure that the tool you want is legal where you live.
In addition, if you plan to travel, know that most self-defense tools aren’t permitted in carry-on baggage but may be okay in checked luggage. Certain tools may be prohibited altogether in some countries. When in doubt, check the TSA guidelines before you pack.
It never hurts to be overprepared! Stock up on more tools to keep at home or carry with you to help you survive even the most unexpected circumstances.
If you've ever worried about your own personal safety, it's a good idea to carry a self-defense tool. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry! And most tools are small, discreet, and lightweight, so you won't even notice it's there until you need it.
When choosing a tool, consider your level of experience and your comfort with using the tool. Make sure it's easily accessible and hard to lose. Check your local laws, too, since a tools' legality varies from state to state. And above all, make sure you know how to use the tool safely!
Author: Melissa Jong
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