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Non-Lethal Defense

A number of students have asked what we recommend for everyday, non-lethal defense. There are a number of very good tools available, so let's jump right in. (Be advised - you are responsible for ensuring that you're complying with state, local, and federal law in the purchase, possession, transportation, handling, and use of any of these devices. Some of these weapons are illegal in certain state or local jurisdictions, for example. Always check with your local law enforcement.)

Pepper Sprays and other Aerosols

Pepper spray and tear gas are excellent deterrents and threat stoppers. The one I recommend is pictured above, and made by Sabre. It's a military and police grade 3-in-1 combination of CS tear gas, pepper spray, and UV tagging agent. I carry this regularly, and bought one for my wife. It's easily deployable--just slide the red safety tab to the center, aim for the head area, and press, spraying back and forth. Try to get as much as you can in the face and on the head, and around the upper chest. Obviously, you want to make sure you're within 10-15 feet of the threat, and you're not spraying into the wind. This is a Bad Day in a Can, folks.

You can get this for about $7 on Amazon. Here's the link:


In the late 1960's a karate master named Takayuki Kubota invented a short self-defense weapon that was about 1/2 inch thick, with a length a little over 5 or 5 1/2 inches. Named the kubotan after Master Kubota, it was quickly adopted by police and found widespread use in the martial arts community as an effective tool of self-defense.

There are various types of kubotan. Many have flat ends, as shown in the picture, and have keychain loops. The circular ridges built into the kubotan provides for easier gripping. This makes them very useful as keychains that double as a ready-to-deploy self-defense weapon. Other kubotan have pointed ends. Some have spikes on the sides. But all are effective weapons, with the provision that you take time to practice with them, like any weapon.

Kubotan are also very inexpensive. Here's a popular women's model on Amazon:


We've all seen Tasers carried by law enforcement, and there's a good reason--they're an effective non-lethal option for defense, or for subduing a threat so that an arrest can be made more safely and, hopefully, without injury to anyone. Tasers are available to civilians as well. We have one, and it is a terrific option to have at your disposal.

Most Tasers, like the popular civilian model shown, are deployed from a distance of 15 feet or less. Twin wires with probes on the end of each are shot from the front (the yellow component is actually a self-contained cartridge containing the probes, wires, and propellant) of the Taser. They penetrate the skin of the threat and the Taser, via a battery contained in the handle, delivers a very painful, debilitating charge.

The Taser is a more expensive non-lethal option--the version shown is about $300 on Amazon--but this is an option that will give most people a serious gut check when threatening you when they see it in your hand. Again, there are no guarantees, but the Taser has proven to be an overall effective non-lethal defensive option.

Check it out here:


Really? A flashlight is a defensive weapon? Sure is. Used properly, a very bright flashlight activated in the eyes of a threat can buy you some time to escape or respond to the threat. Durable, heavier, steel or heavy composite flashlights also double as effective striking implements. You can also buy bright LED flashlights that have stun guns (contact stun) embedded in them, which gives you an extra option.

Stun Guns

These are battery-powered non-lethal defensive weapons that are based on contact with the threat, ideally the skin. They deliver a potent shock. They've also come down in price quite in bit in recent years and are very affordable.

A Final Word

Remember, any weapon requires training and practice in order to be used properly and effectively. And you must ensure that any weapon you purchase, possess, transport, or use is legal to do so in your jurisdiction. That said, these can be effective, non-lethal options for you to protect yourself and your family.

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