It’s an unfortunate reality that violence can happen to anyone, at any time. For some of us, walking alone at night is a nerve-wracking experience. And sadly, these fears are valid - every 13 seconds in America you're likely to be sexually assaulted. It's difficult enough just dealing with the fear and the trauma of being attacked - but would you really want to have to deal with it if you were unprepared?

The good news: there are many self-defense weapons available now that can help even those without any previous training defend themselves against attackers (or large dogs). These weapons are a broad classification of less lethal, mostly handheld items that you can use to defend yourself against an attacker without the involvement of law enforcement or another armed security service. 

Some people carry a regular pocket knife with them for this purpose, along with anything else they might need during an altercation. In contrast, others may opt for something more specialized such as pepper spray or a stun gun. Here, we will cover five self defense weapons that are popular among civilians, in order to give you some idea of which one is best for your needs and why.

1. Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is the most common defensive weapon in both civilian and law enforcement circles. This is due to its versatility, ease of use, and relatively low cost. It comes in a variety of salts and sizes, so you can choose one that suits your preference.

When it comes to using pepper spray on a live target (i.e. an attacker), you should always aim for the eyes or the face to induce temporary disorientation and pain. If you are concerned about potentially stunning your opponent and causing him harm, then you should aim lower for the chest; this has proven safer in some cases as it does not cause lasting injuries such as with Tasers (although there are rare exceptions).

Also Read: Does Pepper Spray Expire?

2. Stun Guns

If you want a weapon that will not immediately incapacitate your opponent, then stun guns are well-suited for the job. They are available as handheld devices and sets of multiple cartridges to store in your pocket or purse.

Stun guns use a power supply either from a rechargeable battery or from direct contact with an electromagnetic field. When the device is activated, it sends out an electrical charge which must be maintained over time if the attacker has not already been disarmed. The charge will vary in strength depending on the device, but any that lasts for about 30 seconds should be sufficient to make him stop and give up his weapon before he gets too far away from you.

These self-defense weapons can be purchased in a wide range of sizes and shapes, but most feature aluminum or plastic housing that takes up as little space as possible. Heavy-duty models house the power supply inside the device to create a larger overall size. Disposable units are also available, but these are meant for emergency use and require regular replacement to ensure their effectiveness.

Choosing which stun gun to buy is usually determined by the target you have in mind. Most handheld models may be purchased with a small light visible from within their casing, while larger devices may have multiple charging options outside their casing, so they can be placed on a table or desk instead of being held directly in your hand.

3. Police Batons

While most police officers traditionally favor their tough, mechanical clubs, there are still many who use the more traditional wooden baton. This is because they are better suited for close-range combat and it is easier to conceal in a jacket or jacket pocket.

When the baton hits your assailant, the shock will stun him long enough to allow you to close in and possibly end the fight with your hands or a weapon such as pepper spray. You can also use this tactic to dissuade your attacker from advancing further and possibly ending up getting into an armless fight as he tries to use his own weapon against you.

When using a wooden collapsible baton, it is important that you swing your arms in a controlled manner, so as not to become exhausted too quickly. You should strike with the side of the baton that has not been sharpened and try to get in as many strikes as possible before your assailant can get his hands on you.

Anyone who uses a survival weapon for self-defense purposes should practice using it extensively beforehand. This is especially true when it comes to the police baton. While these weapons are an ideal size and shape, they are very unforgiving if you do not know how to use them properly.

4. Brass Knuckles

While not technically self-defense weapons, brass knuckles can still be effective in certain situations. They are small enough to fit into your pocket and are usually used as a last resort for close combat.

Brass knuckles receive their name from their namesake; the attached metal protrusions that fit over your fingers and make it easier to hit your attacker with a bigger surface area of the hand or fist. Those who use these items are usually advised to carry only one or two in order to avoid getting caught with them by the police or other law enforcement agency. However, there is no saying that you cannot carry them if you know what you are doing and where you can do it safely.

Brass knuckles can be used for more than just self-defense. With their added size and power, brass knuckles are ideal for breaking things like large nuts or bolts which make it hard to do with bare hands. They are also great for smashing small rocks into smaller pieces when you find yourself in a survival situation. They can even be used to break tough parts of an animal that you might need to eat in order to survive.

The biggest advantage of brass knuckle use is they offer extra protection if a person finds themselves surrounded by multiple or larger opponents, or if they need to break something that is too hard with only their fists.

Read More: How to Use Brass Knuckles?

5. Self Defense Keychains

A self-defense keychain is a small, handheld item that you can use to defend yourself in the event that you are attacked by a stranger. They are similar to brass knuckles in this sense, except they do not fit over your fingers as they might otherwise get caught on something.

The best way to use these self defense keychains is to jab it into your attacker’s face or another vital area. This will cause him enough pain and discomfort that he will give up without trying to retaliate or injure you further. You do not have to worry about breaking the skin with these items, so there is no risk of infection from using one.

Key Points to Consider

While any self-defense weapon can prove to be a valuable resource for those who might find themselves in difficult situations, all of them have their own flaws and strengths. You will have to decide which one is best for you based on how you are going to use it and the risks you are taking in doing so. Below is a list of some of the things you should look for in self-defense weapons to know whether it is right for you:

  • It should be able to withstand the pressures of flipping a vehicle in case you accidentally get thrown under one. However unlikely this situation might be, if it were to happen, you would want your knife to survive the pressure and make it through the other side unscathed.
  • If it is going to be used in an urban environment, a knife is likely your best bet for self-defense. Knives are small and easily concealable, making them easy to carry without drawing attention.
  • For a knife to be most effective, they are going to need to be able to cut when you need them to. If the knife is not sharp enough and it is forced into a situation where you will have to use it, then it will probably never see the light of day.
  • Picking up a weapon should be easy in a real life-threatening situation. You do not have time or strength to mess around with buttons or clips that do not work when you are fighting for your life.
  • If the weapon is going to be used in an urban environment, concealment is going to be important. You do not want people looking at your belt line as you walk down the street wondering what sort of weapon you are carrying.