Nobody wants to be the victim of an attack. It’s not like we walk to our cars after work hoping to get mugged in a dark alleyway, but unfortunately, many of us grow up hearing that we’re constantly in danger of being victimized. But have you ever stopped to think what you’d actually do if you found yourself in a threatening situation? Do you know how to defend yourself? No matter who you are, you should have a personal defense plan.
There are all kinds of ways to protect yourself; in fact, many people take concealed weapons courses to receive training and earn a permit to legally carry a gun. And can you blame them? According to the Women’s Self-Defense Institute, somewhere in the United States the following crimes will be committed against women within the next hour:
|Type of Crime||Total Committed|
A staggering amount of crime is committed in as little time as taking your lunch break. To protect yourself from becoming one of these statistics, we suggest creating a self-defense plan and carrying a self-defense device on your person at all times, especially if you are going to be out after dark.
Are you prepared to counter an attack?
Attackers aren’t always the creeper in the parking lot or the weird guy hanging out in a dark alley. In fact, more than 80% of all rape victims know their assailant beforehand. Most attacks happen when you’re the least prepared to counter them.
Self-defense courses, like Women’s Self Defense SEPS, a free online self-defense resource, will teach you that trusting yourself to respond appropriately is not an effective form of self-defense and that you need to have a strategic plan in place well before an attacker targets you. This plan should include knowing when to run, when to give the attacker what they want, or even when to hold your ground.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to fight back, a good self-defense weapon can come in handy. However, carrying a self-defense weapon, whether it be a gun, knife, taser, or any other option, is only one aspect of defending yourself from an attacker, and the truth is, your self-defense weapon is completely useless if you aren’t prepared to use it, especially against someone you don’t expect.
With a proper plan in place, you can avoid becoming a victim. Here’s a quick list of things you can do to prepare yourself to counter an attack:
- Know your weapon. You need to get to know your carry item as if it were an extension of yourself. Different safety mechanisms can be tricky to operate and will slow you down if you don’t know how to operate them. Things like switching off a safeguard, pressing the right button, or uncapping pepper spray are all things you should practice beforehand.
- Have quick access. You want your weapon in hand when you need it. Fumbling through your purse or pockets during an attack will only help the attacker. Keep your self-defense weapon easily accessible. If it’s in your purse, put it in a place where it won’t get buried or hold it in your hand as you walk to your car at night.
- Pay attention. The best plans include avoiding dangerous people and locations. Being aware of your surroundings and keeping your distance from potential threats will reduce your chances of being attacked. Knowing the nearest exit or place to run can help you escape as well.
Self-defense carry items
It’s important to choose a self-defense tool that makes you feel comfortable. The last thing you want to do is constantly worry about it in your pocket, purse, or wherever else you keep it. Fortunately, there are a variety of self-defense items to choose from, each with its own unique protecting power. We’ve listed our recommendations from most aggressive to least aggressive. Keep scrolling to find a carry item that meets your comfort level.
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You want a knife that is lightweight with a long enough blade to defend yourself, experts recommend at least three inches. But you also want to make sure that your knife is sturdy enough to hold up in a fight. A cheaply made knife is almost as bad as no knife at all. A TAC Force TF-705GY is a great tactical knife to carry for self-defense. Not only is it lightweight and made out of sturdy 3 mm-thick stainless steel, it also has a pocket clip that makes it easy to carry and keeps it from being buried in your pocket or purse.
In general, knives are more publicly accepted than guns. Outside of schools, courts, planes, and most federal buildings, you can carry a knife pretty much anywhere (check your state’s knife laws). And you don’t even have to take a concealed weapons course like you would if you wanted to carry a firearm.
Taser or Stun Gun
Being Tased is akin to having a Tyrannosaurus Rex grab you by [the] spinal column and shake you for the longest five seconds of your life!
-Scott Wagner, usconcealedcarry.com
Five seconds is plenty of time for you to remove yourself from the situation and find safety.
We recommend checking Amazon prices on a VIPERTEK VTS-989, because of its Snatch Prevention, which is two shock plates along the side of the Taser that produce a high-voltage shock if your attacker tries to snatch your taser from you. We like VIPERTEK because it also has an LED flashlight, so if you use it as a flashlight, you already have your taser in hand should you need it. Or you can read our other recommendations for the best Tasers and stun guns.
We recommend using a pepper spray like Fox Labs, available on Amazon, because it’s lightweight and has a UV marking dye that can help authorities identify your assailant. We also like that Fox Labs has a spring-loaded flip top to protect against triggering it on accident. Or you can read up on our other top recommendations for pepper sprays.
The Defender Tactical Flashlight
What I like most about the Defender is its two different light output levels. A high-powered beam at 500 lumens is bright enough to temporarily blind your assailant, allowing you time to get away. I especially like that you can use it at a distance. The Defender has a Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens that allows for maximum visibility, but it also has a 5 lumens low-beam so that you can use it as a normal flashlight. If you can see what’s coming, you have a better chance to react and prepare yourself.
I bought this for my wife because even if she is unable to blind her attacker and get away, the Defender has a last line of defense. Surrounding the lens is an aluminum strike-bezel with jagged edges that she can use as a fist weapon if needed. Although it’s a pricier carry option, it is my choice out of all our recommended self-defense carry items.
Self-Defense Keychain / Keys
What we like about the Vigilant personal alarm is that it’s small and can be attached to your keys for easy access. And it’s loud. At 130 decibels, this alarm will grab the attention of anyone close by. Vigilant also equipped this device with a backup whistle in case the alarm batteries fail.
My only hesitation with this kind of self-defense device is that you are relying on others for help, but perhaps an alarm will scare your attacker enough to think twice. This alarm could also be a good option as a secondary self-defense carry item. Trigger the alarm and then arm yourself with another carry item, just in case.
Many people don’t realize that they carry one of the most effective self-defense tools everyday; your cellphone. Aside from simply using your phone to call the police, there are a variety of self-defense apps available for both Android and iPhone and one we really like is PANIK.
PANIK personal assault alarm simultaneously activates a loud siren, flashing multi-colored screen lights, and the torchlight on your smartphone to draw as much attention as possible to your attacker. PANIK makes it possible to enter a PIN password to prevent an attacker from shutting it off.
What we really like about PANIK is the ability to integrate your social media and SMS messaging into your alarm. PANIK will send out a distress call via Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging, when you activate the alarm, alerting your friends that you need help.
Of course, as with the Vigilant key chain alarm, you are relying on other people to come to your rescue. We suggests pairing PANIK with another self-defense weapon you’re comfortable with.
Whichever self-defense item you choose to carry, remember that the goal of self-defense is never to win a fight; it is to survive and escape without injury. The best defense is always to avoid dangerous people and places. You don’t need to be a tactically trained Navy Seal to know how to defend yourself, but you should sit down and have a game plan in case you face an attack. Practice and get to know your carry item, and give yourself the best chance to escape unharmed.
Do you have experience with any self-defense items? Leave your recommendations in the comments.