Why consider a less-than-lethal option? Because, having something for self-defense is always better than having nothing.
What Are The Less-Than-Lethal Options:
- Taser Gun And Stun Gun
- Pepper Spray
- Kubotan And Keychain Weapons
- Tactical Flashlight
Life is full of little surprises — some much better than others. While most people would prefer surprises like winning the lottery, sometimes the not-so-fun ones are inevitable. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, such as someone breaking into your home or trying to grab you on the street, the way you react can be the difference between getting hurt and getting away.
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However, it can also pose some difficult decisions you’ll only have a few seconds to make.
The most common solution is to own a firearm to protect yourself and your loved ones. They’re simply one of the most effective items to have to defend yourself — the mere presence of a firearm has discouraged an ill-intentioned attacker on more than one occasion.
However, sometimes there are situations where you want to use something such as a less-than-lethal option. You may have people in your household who don’t feel comfortable or are too young and inexperienced to be using a gun. Or, you could be in an area that doesn’t allow concealed carry — some cities out there have some very prohibitive laws these days.
In those times, it’s always smart to have a backup to your trusty firearm. For situations where you’ve run out of other ways to avoid conflict, these weapons can temporarily paralyze, debilitate and stun your attacker, so you have an opportunity to get away.
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When it comes to your health and potential legal ramifications of being forced to defend your life, there is no guarantee your attacker will not experience long-term effects or even death after you have defended yourself with a less-than-lethal weapon.
As gun owners, we know this — and there’s a myriad of insurance and resource options available to gun owners who are forced to defend themselves legally after being forced to defend themselves physically. However, it’s a concept that might not be intuitive to someone unversed in the tactics of self-defense, and it’s a conversation that’s very much worth having with a family member or friend who chooses to carry a less-than-lethal means of protection.
These weapons and methods below are specifically designed to debilitate your attacker and help you protect yourself during situations where your safety is in danger, without the lethality of something such as a firearm.
Taser Gun Or Stun Gun
Tasers and stun guns are similar in that they deliver a shock to the assailant. However, they work in different ways and offer various benefits.
The stun gun is the best for very close-range less-than-lethal weapon. Your attacker needs to be within your arm’s reach to shock them because the unit needs to physically touch the attacker in order to function. Simply pull the trigger and touch your attacker with the two prongs. It’s simple to use and will disable muscle function long enough to get away. The majority of these units are very compact, light and easily stored in a purse or vehicle console.
The taser works similarly in that you also pull a trigger to deliver a shock. However, it can cover more distance. The taser gun will stop assailants many feet back, so they don’t have the opportunity to get within arm’s reach to begin with.
After the trigger is pulled, two probes will eject from the gun. When done correctly, the probes will latch onto the attacker and deliver a muscle-debilitating electroshock. The only catch is this: Both probes need to hit the target for the electrical circuit to be completed in order for it to work. You only get one shot to hit your target with a taser, but many models also feature an attached stun gun as a backup for close-range attacks as well.
Pepper Spray Or Gel
Pepper spray is another moderate-distance less-than-lethal option similar to the taser, only it targets the face and eyes as a means of dehabilitation, rather than muscles. The ingredients in the spray usually include extracts from peppers — hence the name — that burn the face, eyes and throat of someone who gets hit. Make no mistake: This isn’t your average table-grade black pepper. You’ve likely heard of bear spray that’s used to deter grizzly attacks, and when used correctly, these devices have the ability to neutralize an assailant very quickly.
A variety of pepper sprays can cover different ranges, based on the design of the device and the method of deployment. Many units fire an actual spray intended to cause intense eye irritation when administered to the eyes and nose, while other units, such as the PepperBall, launch a CO2-propelled paintball-like projectile designed to break upon impact and deliver the pepper concoction from a distance. There is also a pepper spray gun on the market that can fire several rounds and even leave an invisible UV mark police would be able to detect.
A drawback to these systems is that, if there is a decent amount of wind, the spray could dissipate or blow off-target, or it could blow back into your eyes instead. Pepper gel is an alternative that does everything the spray can do, without the risk of having a painful substance go into your eyes.
Pepper spray has a variety of strengths, ranges and features, all of which make it a versatile and effective less-than-lethal weapon that will temporarily blind and incapacitate an attacker.
More common among police officers, batons are for bludgeoning attackers. Batons can come in a standard fixed-length configuration, or they can be expandable/telescoping. They’re a pretty straightforward less-than-lethal weapon: If you have one on-hand and find yourself in a dangerous situation, you can swing at your attacker to get them on the ground so you can get away.
While a baton is a plausible self-defense weapon, it requires very close-quarters interaction to be used, in addition to physical strength.
Kubotan And Keychain Weapons
Kind of like a smaller version of a baton, the kubotan is a 5- to 6-inch wooden or plastic “stick” that usually hangs from a keychain. Other keychain weapons — as a general classification of self-defense — usually have holes or grips to ensure a solid hold, and sharp edges for some extra power in your punch. In most cases, the keys are designed to be used as part of the tool by providing extra grip. Keychain weapons aren’t legal in all states, so double-check your local laws before purchasing one. But, they are an excellent means of compact additional security.
Kubotans can be blunt or pointed and jabbed into the neck, body or head to deter your attacker from striking you. Keychain weapons are generally sharper and are similar to knuckle dusters or brass knuckles, as they extend past the knuckles. Adding some heat to your hand is an age-old method to knock out opponents, and still has the same kind of impact today. These types of less-than-lethal devices generally pair well with some form of martial arts training.
As an initial means of self-defense in a dark situation, a tactical flashlight is an excellent option. It sounds simple, but a would-be assailant cannot attack what he can’t see. Many of these flashlights can deliver more than 1,000 lumens of blinding light that will nearly scorch hair. If you need an additional feature to disorient them, there is also a strobe function available on most models to make it even harder to see you — or anything else, really.
In addition, if an attacker still managed to get too close, some flashlights also offer a bezel with jagged edges to hit an assailant as a last resort, serving like a baton. Even if you may not want to apply force, it could be necessary if your other options are ineffective.
A tactical flashlight is a smart choice to keep on-hand or in a vehicle regardless of other less-than-lethal self-defense options you choose to carry. It serves and an exceptional backup to a pistol, pepper spray or for changing a tire on the side of the highway at night.
Other Means Of Protection
If you’re worried about break-ins, installing a home security system can help with both break-ins and break-in prevention. At the very least, it will give you more time to access your other means of personal defense. You may have seen some homes that have signs in the front yard or window advertising the kind of security system they have installed. These signs send a message directly to those who may be thinking about breaking into your home. With alarms and direct contact to law enforcement and responders, that little sign is a huge red flag for potential intruders that it may be too risky to break in.
If someone does break in, many security systems have loud alarms, flashing lights and a phone call to law enforcement. Security systems take the stealth out of intruders, and they can also alert your neighbors to look outside. As with a flashlight, an alarm is best served as one more option in an overall system of personal defense tools.
This might sound obvious, but a guard dog/family dog is a perfect pair with a home security system. You know that little home security sign? Add a “Beware of Dog” sign and your front door may as well say, “Enter at Your Own Risk.” Guard dogs may be able to hear burglars before you do and can bark loudly to deter people from trying to enter as well.
Here’s the kicker that most people don’t realize: You can actually enroll your dog in home-defense training — or adopt one that has already been through training. Some people get and train dogs specifically to hunt, so getting and training a dog for home defense definitely isn’t out of the question.
Always Protect Yourself
Sometimes it’s not possible to protect yourself or your loved ones without delivering some damage to an assailant. This is a difficult concept for some, but for many of us, this is a reality we accept and the reason we choose to be prepared. Remind your loved ones that it’s important to remember that familial safety is paramount, and you have a right to defend yourself when someone comes after you. It just might save their lives.