The world in which we live can be a scary place. Even now, before any potential collapse of society has happened it can still be scary. Crimes happen every day – muggings, rape, robbery, assault and murder. These crimes can happen at home, on the street, or in a place of business.
For this reason, many people feel the need to have a way to defend themselves from an attack of any nature. One way to defend yourself is to take self-defense classes or martial arts, which will teach you how to use your own body as a weapon against an attacker. I highly recommend this to anyone concerned about personal defense.
However, some people don’t have the time, finances, or desire to learn self-defense or martial arts, another effective way to protect yourself is to have a weapon in your EDC. There are a number on the market, and I want to give you a rundown of the best non lethal self-defense weapons to have.
There are a couple of defense sprays that you can use as non-lethal protection whether you are at home or out and about. These are Mace and pepper spray. When you spray the attacker in the face, their eyes and face will instantly be affected.
However, contrary to what many people might think, pepper spray and mace are quite different, although the terms are often used interchangeably. Let’s take a look at each of these in detail:
Mace is essentially a type of tear gas. It does not have the inflammatory properties of pepper spray (see below). Mace has been available for civilian use since the early 1960s, but law enforcement officials soon realized that Mace is not effective when it comes to incapacitating individuals who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or who are particularly violent.
As a tear gas, Mace is composed of white crystals that are suspended in chemical that is designed to be a medium for delivery. When the gas comes into contact with a person, the effects are immediate and painful. The eyes will water and shut and the nose, mouth, and throat will burn. The person will cough and choke as they try to breathe.
This type of spray consists of an active ingredient (oleoresin capsicum) that disrupts mucus membranes of the body after a few seconds upon impact.
Also known as “pepper spray”, OC spray is very effective against most potential attackers, but may not affect everyone. If the attacker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will less likely feel the effects in a timely fashion.
Most people that are under the influence of alcohol, opiates, or THC have a slowed nerve/brain connection (depressants), making them less likely to associate the pain that is caused by the spray.
For attackers that are under the influence of stimulants like cocaine, amphetamines, or drugs alike, they are more than likely too pumped up on adrenaline to associate the pain until later. Never count on OC spray to immediately incapacitate the attacker.
To use OC spray, aim the stream directly into the eyes, nose, or mouth of the attacker for maximum effect. If done correctly, they should begin to feel the effects after about 10-15 seconds. Most of the time, the effects can last up to three or four hours (unless treated). This grants you plenty of time to further neutralize the threat, and escape.
If you’re contaminated with OC spray, don’t try to rub your eyes (or any other surface affected by the substance). If you do, you’ll only make it worse. This is because oleoresin capsicum is an active ingredient that reactivates when aggravated.
Try to keep your eyes open, as the air will help your tear ducts flush out a majority of the substance until you can reach an area to wash it off. Take slow, shallow breaths to avoid maximum penetration of your lungs as well.
To wash off OC spray, use water and baby shampoo only. If you don’t have baby shampoo, don’t try to substitute it with other soap. Baby shampoo is very mild on the eyes, so it won’t further irritate them.
Rub some baby shampoo on your hands and wash your hands first, then repeat the process for any affected area on your body. If it’s in your hair, use caution to not let the water runoff drip down your body, or it could reactivate on more sensitive areas.
Most preppers and survivalists are familiar with the tactical pen, the kubotan, and the self-defense keychain. The tactical pen can actually be used as a writing implement, but it is also solid enough to be used as a self-defense weapon if needed.
A kubotan is considered a pocket stick and is very similar to the tactical pen in shape, size, and weight.
The kubotan can be used as a keychain, or attached to one, but there are also keychains that come ready to be used as a self-defense weapon. These are highly inconspicuous objects, which adds to their effectiveness as a weapon.
Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. See my full disclosure for more.
You can easily hold the tactical pen, kubotan, or self-defense keychain in one hand. Because they are so small and inconspicuous they are often not recognized as a weapon and are great for use when in close quarters or a crowded area.
Another benefit to the tactical pen, kubotan is that because so many people are unfamiliar with these weapons and don’t know how to use them, they are less likely to be used against you if you lose control of them, unlike a more obvious weapon such as a folding knife or pepper spray.
However, when it comes to these small self-defense weapons, you need to know how to use them effectively.
There is absolutely no room for error when engaged with someone who is that close to you. A qualified instructor can show you the basics in a short period of time, depending on your learning ability.
Make sure you continue to practice the learned techniques in a safe environment, there’s no need to hurt anyone when you’re simply training. Practice makes permanent, not perfect, so make sure you’re practicing the right way.
These weapons are best used in combination with self-defense techniques and you need to practice regularly to hone your skills and stay sharp. The more time you put into developing skill with the tactical pen, kubotan, or self-defense keychain, the more effective you will be at using it in a self-defense situation.
Flashlights are another unassuming object that, if designed for the purpose, can be used as a non-lethal self-defense weapon.
First and foremost, the majority of assailants do not want attention drawn to them. If you have a flashlight and can shine it in their direction, they have less of a chance of surprising you and might very well run away.
A tactical flashlight is also effective when shone into the eyes of an attacker. A bright light right in the eyes is very effective in self-defense because it can temporarily blind an assailant, giving you a chance to get away.
A tactical flashlight can also be used as a striking weapon if the assailant is still attacking. It can be used much like the tactical pen, kubotan, or self-defense keychain to disable an attacker enough to get away.
Aside from this, there are many other benefits to carrying a tactical flashlight. They are very discreet and unassuming. No one would think twice if they saw you with a flashlight.
Even when getting on a plane or going to school your tactical flashlight can go with you when other weapons are banned. Plus, it’s handy when you get into other types of situations, such as when your car breaks down at night or you need light to escape a dangerous situation.
No matter what other non-lethal self-defense weapons you might carry, you should always carry a tactical flashlight. Just make sure it is a flashlight that has been designed for tactical purposes, not just something from the dollar store.
Stun devices come in many shapes and sizes. They essentially work on the same premise as static electricity, in which a body with a negative charge comes into contact with a body that has a positive charge.
Typical stun devices boast a voltage of 150,000 volts or higher. This might seem high, but consider that a typical shock from built up static electricity, say from rubbing your feet on the carpet and touching a doorknob, can release 25,000 or more volts of electricity.
Stun devices are generally non-lethal because the high electrical charge is released in a small area of the body.
- Stun Gun: A small hand-held device that releases between large amounts of voltages of electricity from two electrodes. About the size of a flashlight, this device can fit in a purse or pocket.
- Stun Baton: This is a stick that is up to 18 inches long and can deliver 800,000 volts of power. The end of the baton can be electrified, but some can also carry current along their sides, which will stun anyone who tries to grab the weapon. This can often be carried on your belt, but it is more difficult to conceal.
- Cell Phone Stunner: A stun gun disguised as a cell phone. This device can’t make or receive calls, but it can take out an assailant with as much as 4.5 million volts of power. It is also rechargeable and can fit in a pocket, in a purse, or on a belt.
- Flashlight & Lipstick Stunners: Small and easily concealed, these stun devices can pack a punch, but can be kept hidden in a purse or coat pocket. They come with a safety switch and are rechargeable.
It is important to remember that if your assailant has thick clothing, such as the clothing worn during the winter season, the stun device may not be effective, unless you strike bare skin (like the neck).
For this reason, it might not be the best self-defense weapon to use if you live in a colder climate, at least not for the cold season. This is because most people are bundled up to negate the colder weather.
It is also important to note that you need to train and practice the use of a stun device. The more time you put into learning how to effectively use it, the more likely you are to defend yourself against an attacker.
Make sure you practice safely, as these weapons can cause serious injury and burn scars if used carelessly. Always practice in a controlled environment.
A Taser is quite different from a stun device. Where a stun device just zaps a person with a focused electrical current in one small area of the body, a Taser is computer controlled and is designed to release a current that will actually disrupt the signals going from the brain to the muscles of the entire body.
To use a Taser, you must fire the electrodes from the device, much like firing a gun. There are two electrodes, each of which is attached to a long wire.
The electrodes must hit the target and penetrate the skin (they are barbed), which means if the attacker is wearing thick clothing, the Taser will be ineffective. The current released by a Taser flows through the electrodes into the body, so the electrodes have to hit their target in order to work.
The farther the electrodes are away from each other upon impact, the more effective the taser will be. This is because it generates more of a current between the prongs.
Most tasers have a “dry stun” option, so if you miss your shot with the electrodes, you can use the taser like a stun gun. The most effective area to use the dry stun is the neck.
This area of the body has the softest tissue with nerve clusters, making it ideal for maximum effectiveness. Never buy a taser that doesn’t have a dry stun capability, otherwise you’re limiting yourself to a one shot capability.
There are a number of non-lethal projectile weapons that can be used for self-defense. These are weapons that can pack a punch, but are small enough to be concealed in a purse or in a pocket. Care must be taken with these weapons, as they can be lethal if not properly used. These include the following:
- Rubber bullets: These can be shot out of a standard firearm, but they will not kill (although they hurt – A LOT!) unless you are firing at close range. In order to use rubber bullets, you need a firearm and that means you have to go through the process of getting your firearms license/permit and purchasing a firearm.
- High-velocity slingshot: A sling shot that is generally made out of lightweight aluminum and has a leather pouch. Its range can be as high as 120 yards.
Now that you know the best non-lethal self-defense weapons for your EDC, it is important that you are also aware of the following cautions when it comes to using these weapons:
Not all of these weapons are legal to carry in all states. Before you choose and purchase any of these weapons, you need to check the laws in your state. For example, all states permit the use of pepper spray as a self-defense weapon, but some states have certain restrictions on its use.
While most states allow the possession of personal nunchucks, a few, including California, New York, Arizona, and Massachusetts, do not. In addition, even if state laws allow the use of any of these weapons, they might not be allowed at the county or city level.
Whenever you have any self-defense weapon, even a non-lethal weapon, it is still viewed as a weapon in the eyes of the law.
When you get into a situation in which your safety is compromised, and you pull out any one of the weapons listed above, you have pulled a weapon on another person and it will be viewed as such in a court of law.
You will need to be able to prove that it was necessary to introduce the weapon to the situation in order to ensure your safety, which means you will need a very persuasive argument for the use of the weapon.
First, when it comes to the use of the sprays, any pepper spray or mace will only be effective if you are upwind of the target. If you are downwind, you risk spraying yourself, rather than your attacker.
Also, if you are too close to the attacker, you will not be able to use the spray without it affecting you as well. The attacker must be within a few feet of you, which is relatively close. Even if you successfully use your spray, the attacker might still get close enough to cause you harm.
Second, most of these weapons require some level of training and regular practice to use. Whether you have a stun baton or rubber bullets, you need to have skill when using them, otherwise your attempts will be ineffective and you are at risk of getting badly hurt by your attacker.
Finally, all weapons can be used against you. If you are going to carry a non-lethal self-defense weapon, then be sure you know how to use it. If you can’t effectively defend yourself with it and there is a chance your attacker can get a hold of it, then you might just be putting yourself into a worse situation.
In addition, many of these weapons have the ability to cause death to the assailant, particularly if the user is unskilled. You need to use caution and good judgement when using any of the above weapons.
In this world we sometimes have to take our safety into our own hands, but we have to do so within the extent of the law and with extreme caution.
Having a way to protect yourself when someone threatens your safety or your life is important. Plus, these non-lethal self-defense weapons will be useful in the event of a societal collapse, when the safety of you and your family is definitely compromised.
Also keep in mind that these non lethal self defense weapons are not just for your everyday carry kit (EDC), they can be a part of your home security plans, regardless of whether you have or are allowed to have firearms.
updated by Reaper 01/02/2018
An urban prepper and rural wannabe, Karen has been working as a freelance writer for a decade and prepping for about half that time. She has gathered a wealth of knowledge on preparing for SHTF, but there is always more to learn and she has a passion for gathering and sharing that knowledge with other like-minded folk. Karen lives in London, Canada with her two children and plethora of cats.