3 Best Tools for Self Defense


There are a lot of articles on this website and the interwebs on how to carry a gun for self defense.  They cover the types of firearms you should buy, gear considerations, and much more.  This isn’t that type of article.  This article will give you the 3 best self defense tools for when you can’t carry a firearm, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.  

The first thing we need to cover is that there is no shame in not carrying a firearm for self defense.  Regardless of whatever the keyboard commandos, and Meal Team Six Operators tell you, killing someone on purpose is a hell of a thing, and not everyone is ready for that. That’s fine, but you shouldn’t let that keep you from defending yourself and those you love.

This article is aimed at providing you with several options to defend yourself that can be carried on your person.  Without further adieu let’s get into my number one recommendation for non lethal self defense.


This is by far the best option you have for non lethal self defense.  I carry one everyday on my duty belt, and there is a reason for that, it works.  In fact, it is probably the best tool you have to stop someone in their tracks, right now.  Even well placed shots from a firearm are not likely to incapacitate someone immediately, don’t believe me, check this article out. 

I can also attest to the taser’s effectiveness from personal experience.  While I was going through the police academy, I volunteered to be tased, and let’s just say that it was the most painful 5 seconds of my life.  Compared to pepper spray, it is much worse.

The same company that makes my X2 taser also produces a civilian version called the Taser Pulse.  This is basically the same weapon I carry, but in a single shot, more compact package.

It has two targeting laser’s that show you where the barbs will make contact, as well as a light to help you ID your target.  One area where the Pulse is different is the length of incapacitation.  Ours cycle on for 5 seconds and we have the option of continuing the cycle again.  This model cycles for 30 seconds, with additional cycle options.  That is a long time to be tased. It also has a 15 ft range, which is very good for the vast majority of scenarios.

It is important to understand how this system works.  When you flip the safety, and pull the trigger, 2 darts shoot out making contact where the aiming laser indicates.  If both probes make contact then this will cause full NMI or neuro-muscular incapacitation.

Physically your muscles lock up, and you can’t consciously move them. If only one dart attaches, then you just have a very painful local shock, but no lock up.  The Pulse was designed to allow you to shoot your attacker and then place the weapon on the ground while they are locked up, leaving you free to run to a safe area and call the police.

The only downside to this weapon is that it costs $399, which is basically the same cost as a firearm, but for a variety of reasons this weapon is worth it.  The company will even replace your Pulse if you have leave it at the scene.  This is a pretty amazing guarantee.  Try asking Glock for that type of deal.


We all know that a knife is a lethal weapon, so if your hang up is possibly killing someone, you shouldn’t rely on this weapon for defense.  This is more for folks that find that they can’t legally carry a firearm where they happen to be.

People underestimate a knife at their own peril.  They can be incredibly effective tools, and they are very psychologically intimidating.  They also have the added advantage of being very quick to deploy at contact distances.  Don’t believe, me check this video out.

You can see that Doug, the knife guy always beats, Funker the gun guy.  Both are incredibly skilled with their chosen weapons.

There are a wide variety of knives you can choose from, but if you are relying on it for self defense, then the fastest most effective type is probably a fixed blade knife.  These can be cumbersome to carry unless the knife was designed as a self defense tool from the get go.

This is why I recommend the Benchmade SOC P dagger.  This dagger has a sheath that can be clipped inside your pocket or your pants, and is very unobtrusive as well as incredibly quick to access.


While I think this is the best option for self defense, not everyone can carry a fixed blade knife. There are also some good folding knife options.  Check out this review on the Zero Tolerance Zt 350.

It is a spring assisted opener, either with the thumb stud or the tooth on the blade itself. The tooth also acts as a hand guard, keeping your hand from sliding onto the blade, if you should happen to stab something with the blade.

The Benchmade is less than a C note, and the ZT 350 is still less than $150, which is very reasonable for a quality folding knife.  Link to to knives are Amazon Affiliate Links.  We appreciate the support.

Mace and Pepper Spray

These are the standby, tried and true methods, and they work pretty well.  I can also attest from personal experience that Mace is very painful, but there are a few important caveats.  The first is that it will not work on everyone.  Some people simply aren’t affected by it, and for nearly everyone it does not work immediately

While in the police academy we were required to be sprayed in the face, and fight for about 1 minute, as well as handcuffing a training dummy before we could be decontaminated.   It hurt a lot, but I was still able to complete all these tasks.

Mace is not like the movies.  Once you are exposed, you don’t just clutch your face melting into a puddle of your own tears.  That being said, if someone told me I could have nothing for self defense or mace.  I’d take the mace.

My department uses Sabre for pepper spray (Amazon Affiliate link), and it does work well.  You can also pick up a can for less than $15 bucks. This makes this option the most economical method of self defense.

Making Your Decision

These three options are your best bets for self defense.  The taser will almost always be your most effective method, and it should be for the price.  The knife is very fast, and not too expensive, but you need to be mentally ready to kill to use it.  The Mace does work, but it takes at least 20-30 seconds to incapacitate someone, and is the cheapest.

Regardless of your decisions, you need to seek out some training for these systems as well as practice with them.  Like the late great Col Cooper said, “owning a piano doesn’t make you a pianist.”

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    • Yeah you can definitely do some damage with a good fixed blade. I like that new bench made spike with the thumb loop.