The Best EDC Items for Self-Defense

Every day carry, just three little words, but they have a huge meaning. Every day carry is referring to items that you keep on your person as you go about your daily life.

The items I carry daily may fluctuate slightly but it’s generally the same. I wear jeans every day, jeans are durable and fit in pretty much anywhere and they are comfortable. In cold weather I wear lined jeans for extra warmth.

My Personal EDC Items: On My Person

I wear black tactical style, steel toed leather boots every day, and although they are boots they are as comfortable as any sneaker. I haven’t worn a sneaker in 25 years or more as I find that tactical/military or hiking style boots are much better. They provide better protection and support for the heel, arch, and toes better than sneakers or dress shoes.

I like steel toes because should the need arise to kick someone that little piece of steel in the toe not only protects my toes but also amplifies the impact on the shin, chest, ribs, coccyx, head, well you get the picture. My boots also have a steel shank in the sole, this helps support my foot should I need to stomp on something (or someone) like breaking branches in the woods for example.

The steel shank also helps protect against stones or any sharp objects that might otherwise go through the sole of my boot. I worked construction for many years and stepping on nails was a serious hazard so I got in the habit of wearing steel shank boots.

8 inch bowie knife
Photo: 8” bowie knife made by the author

I regularly wear a black leather belt and on this belt I have a leather double pouch that holds a spare 12 round magazine for my Taurus PT845 .45 APC pistol as well as a Buck 110 folding hunter knife. Sometimes I will switch this to a single mag pouch and wear a fixed blade knife, either one of several store bought knives I have or one of several that I made.

I also always have on me this small knife that I made:

horizontal belt knife
Photo: 3” knife made by the author

I carry it mounted horizontally on my belt for just in case. I also keep a small pocket knife in my front pocket just for cutting whatever, sharpening a pencil etc.

The knives I carry are very sharp and intended solely for self defense applications. However if I were to find myself in a survival situation they would serve well in cutting and chopping various plant matter as well as skinning and butchering an animal.

Besides the several knives I regularly carry and besides my main defense weapon, I also carry a North American Arms .22 magnum mini revolver:

mini revolver in holster
Photo: NAA Wasp .22 mini revolver in holster

I carry this gun in my chest pocket in my jacket in cold weather and in warm weather I carry it in my front pants pocket or clipped on my waistband or belt via the belt clip on the back of the holster.

It snuggles nicely in a small holster I made for it that also has cartridge loops for carrying five extra rounds of ammo for it:

.22 magnum mini revolver in holster
Photo: .22 magnum mini revolver in holster

In instances where I cannot carry my .45 it’s nice to have this in my pocket as a little guardian angel.

For a little revolver that fits in the palm of your hand it’s amazing that it holds five rounds of .22 magnum; and while that may not be the optimum caliber for self defense it sure beats a nothing.

Another item that is always with me is a steel Kubotan which is attached to my key chain. It doubles as not only a self defense weapon but also as a glass breaker.

A handy tool to have in an emergency situation, luckily I have never had cause to use it. But I always say it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Occasional Daily Carry: On My Person

Although not an EDC item, an occasional item I like to carry when we take a walk is a sword cane. It’s a steel tube with a hard plastic handle and a hard plastic ball end. Inside is a 24” thin, steel blade. It can double as a club as well as a sword and when the sword is drawn I have a striking/blocking tool in the cane tube and a stabbing/slashing weapon in the sword.

Even without a sword in it a good hardwood or steel cane can be a formidable defense weapon.

If the cane has a curved or hooked handle it can be used not only for striking but for grabbing and tripping as well. Punching someone in the chin is one thing, but punching them in the chin while pulling them forward with a cane amplifies the power of the strike.

Also occasionally are a couple of other items I like to carry that require a permit to carry are brass knuckles and a slap jack with a 4oz lead disc in it. There are hats on the market today that are slap hats; they have hard weights in them. I’ll bet Gilligan was glad that the skipper didn’t have one of those!

Understanding the Laws in Your Area

I should point out here that all of these items are perfectly legal for me to own and carry in my state. I have a CCDW, which is a Concealed Carry Deadly Weapons permit. With this I can carry pretty much anything I want that people without this permit cannot carry.

In my state we do have rather lax laws on knives and we have open carry laws. Open carry laws allow a person to carry a firearm or other deadly weapon on their person as long as the weapon is visible and not in a prohibited area like inside a school or courtroom.

With the open carry law the brass knuckles can be worn as a belt buckle, but to carry it in a pocket a person must have this permit. You should always know and understand the laws in your area as violation of weapons laws can carry a hefty fine and even prison time in some instances. In some countries a screwdriver in your pocket can be construed as a deadly weapon.

Personal EDC Weapons: In My Vehicle

Personal EDC weapons on my person are only half of the story, there are other things carried in my vehicle that stay in there. One might consider all of these weapons a little much, one might say I’m paranoid, one might ask me what I am afraid of.

It all falls back on my favorite saying, repeat with me; it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. And by the way, I’m not scared of anything; didn’t you read all of the weapons I carry around?

A weapon can be any object that can be used to injure another. An ink pen can be a weapon if properly utilized. A shoelace can be a weapon if properly utilized. Your bare hands can be a weapon if properly utilized.

This video explains the use of a light, a pen, and a key for self-defense:

The Key to Self-defense Is the Mindset

The key to self-defense is the mindset to defend yourself and the will to learn methods of doing so. Hopefully you would only do this in self defense and never in an offensive act of violence.

That being said let’s examine some EDC defense weapons in the vehicle. Not always, but sometimes I carry a rifle in my vehicle. For short trips around town to the store etc. my sidearm is sufficient.

However, if I am taking a longer trip, say driving 100 miles away to buy/sell/trade a firearm, or taking a trip to go fishing or hunting, and then I will absolutely take a rifle with me. Usually an AK47, this is my favorite weapon.

You may ask why I would take an AK47 hunting when I already have a hunting rifle with me. Well if you asked that you answered your own question; the hunting rifle is for hunting not self-defense.

Other Personal EDC Weapons

Now please understand, I am not saying that what I personally carry are the best things to carry, I am merely stating what I carry. There are other items that can be carried for self defense that are non-lethal and may be the only thing legal for you to carry in your area. Again, learn the laws in your area.

Collapsible Baton

The collapsible baton is another handy item that you can carry on your person or keep in the car. Easily carried in the closed position they can be as small as 6” long closed. The 6” opens to be a 16” steel club but there are longer models available up to 31” or so. Many LEO (law enforcement officers) carry this type of baton as they are less obtrusive, especially when sitting in the squad car.

This video shows the potential effectiveness of mace and tasers:


Mace is a self-defense weapon that many people rely on, especially women. It comes in small spray cans that attach to the keychain and can be carried in your hand while you are walking to and from your vehicle. Mace even comes disguised as a tube of lipstick!

If you plan to carry mace, as with any self defense weapon, you should learn to use it correctly. Keep in mind that there have been reports of women carrying mace and having it used against them by their assailant.

Brass Knuckles

A version on brass knuckles that can be carried on the keychain by men or women are these little two finger spike rings. They fit on your two middle fingers and are used to punch an assailant or gouge their eyes.

Kitty Spikes

They are small, light, and unobtrusive but could really come in handy in a pinch. Like the mace, since they are on the key chain you can have them on your hand and ready while you walk to and from your vehicle.

Pictured are some cute pink kitty knuckle spikes but there are versions more suitable for men available


Tasers are another non-lethal self defense weapon that can fit easily in a purse or pocket. The taser too can be carried in the hand at the ready while walking to and from the vehicle or just walking down the street. Unfortunately, as with the mace, there have been reports of tasers being turned against the person by their assailants. Like the mace, there are tasers that come disguised as tubes of lipstick. They also have flashlight/laser combos.

Laser Lights

Laser lights are a fairly new member of the non-lethal personal defense weapon. It is designed so that the bright, flashing lights disorients the assailant thereby allowing the person to escape. These are available as a handheld device as well as versions that fit on the rail of your handgun.

Non-Violent EDC Weapons and Devices

If you are of non-violent mentality but still wish to have something that may help in case of an attack there are options that are designed to alert others to your situation that are also intended to scare away your assailant.

emergency whistle

Simple Whistle

An old school version of this is the simple whistle. A whistle doesn’t require batteries and so you know it will always be ready when you need it. Keep it on your keychain or around your neck and, like with the previous two mentions, keep it in your hand while walking to and from your vehicle.

Keychain Alarm

If you want something a little more modern there is a keychain alarm available. It emits a loud alarm at the push of a button. Its intention is to alert others to your situation. So would a couple of gunshots I say, but some people just don’t have it in them to do that even if it is in defense of their safety or life.

gps tracker

GPS Trackers

Something that you can use as a defense weapon to protect your children is a GPS tracker. This can be sewn into their jacket or put in their backpack so if the unthinkable were to happen and little Johnny or Suzy didn’t make it home from school then you can look on your smart phone and see where they are or last were.

These are just some examples of every day carry (EDC) items that are readily available. Browsing online can help you find items that can suit your needs and abilities. Keep in mind that merely owning one of these items alone is not enough. You must learn how to use them.

This video shows and explains a real life scenario where some form of martial art is used defensively against an attacker.

Final Thoughts

A final thought on EDC weapons, if you are healthy enough, is for you yourself to be the weapon. Studying and practicing a martial art for self defense is good advice for everyone. Everyone should learn at least basic methods of defending themselves.

Whether it’s teaching your wife, mother, sister, or friend to gouge an attacker’s eyes with their nails or keys, or to kick them in the groin and run, any kind of chance to defend yourself is better than none.

If you want to exercise and stay in shape, rather than taking that spin class or hot yoga, go study Wing Tsun, Krav Maga, or Jiu Jitsu, you will learn some valuable information that could save your life and you will always be able to carry it with you.

About Eric W. Eichenberger

Eric W. Eichenberger
Eric Eichenberger is an avid outdoorsman, skilled marksman, and former certified range officer and instructor with nearly 40 years experience handling and repairing firearms. A skilled craftsman with a strong love for working with his hands, Eric spent 20 years as a carpenter and custom woodworker in high end homes. As a gold and silversmith he has created hundreds of pieces of jewelry over the years using the lost wax casting method. The grandson of humble country folk, he was raised with the “do it yourself” mentality and so is accustomed to coming up with unique solutions to problems utilizing materials at hand.


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    I like your last idea the most: be the weapon. Bad guys choose the time and place, and look for someone not paying attention, or someone who looks easy. Don’t put yourself in that situation. If you are attacked, usually there is no time to reach in your purse or pocket for a weapon.

    There is some good training available. I took Cobra Defense Training. I like Tim Larkin’s system.

    One point that raised my eyebrows was regarding the knife. I, too, carry a knife every day. I carry it as a tool, not as a weapon. I’d prefer the pepper spray that I also carry, or some kind of club that gives me more reach. I don’t have faith that stabbing or slashing someone is going to stop the attack, and the bad guy can still do a lot of damage while he bleeds out. I’ve seen the “winners” of a knife fight, and it wasn’t pretty.

    • Avatar

      Well, having been on both the losing and winning side of a knife fight I can say with 100% certainty that when a blade goes through you your fight is pretty much gone. My results, d.o.a to ER. Lost 12″ if I testing, got a small nick in my heart, went in below my right ribcage. Went through the liver, intestine, diaphragm, nicked my heart, missed all major arteries and nearly exited my back. Missed my spinal cord by one half inch. Wore a cholostomy for two months, had reconstructive surgery to reverse the cholostomy. took several years to fully recover. Knives are viscous…the guy I hit ran, dont know what happened to him. Was a stranger trying to strong arm rob me. These were separate occasions a few years apart. When I got stabbed I was jumped by four guys and tried to fight. I have carried a gun ever since.

  2. Avatar

    I am partial to the Kitty spikes myself, also they make a brass knuckles disguised as 4 diamond rings that I love! This was a great overview of everyday things (EDC) you carry already that can be used in all kinds of emergencies as a tool or weapon.
    I hadnt thought of the collapsible baton in the car, but went out and checked and yep, that man of mine had. Frying some pork chops for him tonight, as Valentine’s chocolate and cute gifts are fun but a man who shows love in making sure you are protected and everything is well maintained, etc is tops in my book. Love you too!

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