Armed Defense

What to Look for in Self-defense Tools

In most cases, the number one self-defense tool is your gun. However, what if you are not comfortable carrying a gun or you are going to places that you are not legally allowed to carry? In these instances, we still need to protect ourselves. We need the tools and the ability to take our safety into our own hands. When you can’t protect yourself with your gun or if you don’t have a gun, you can still protect your six if you know what to look for in self-defense tools. Some of these tools are illegal to carry in some places so be sure to check your local laws before purchasing!

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is a great tool to use when you know how to do it properly. You cannot carry pepper spray everywhere but when you can, it is a fantastic deterrent. Attackers will be stopped in their tracks by the intense eye pain caused by a shot of pepper spray. It is important to practice using pepper spray so you know how the spray behaves, how far it travels, the intensity of the spray, etc.

 max strength pepper spray

What to Look For

It is important to know what your pepper spray will do. Is it a stream, mist or foam? What is the formula? Will the attacker inhale the spray? You can learn more specific information about pepper spray in my Pepper Spray article.

Stun Gun

A stun gun can be a very effective tool for self-defense. Hearing the crackle of the electricity is sometimes enough to scare off a potential assailant. Though a stun gun can cause discomfort, it will not immobilize an attacker so it is important to have a plan of what to do if you need to use a stun gun for self-defense.stun gun

What to Look For

A higher voltage is going to be important so the attacker really feels the pulse, but you cannot rely on that alone. A stun gun with a charger attached is important. If the stun gun isn’t charged it will be worth much less in a confrontation. Having the charger attached will make recharging extremely simple. Try to get a stun gun with a light attached so you don’t have to worry about trying to maneuver two tools at the same time.


If you can’t see, you can’t protect yourself. It really is that simple. Flashlights recommended for self-defense are often much stronger than your run-of-the-mill flashlight, but having any is better than none. Whenever you are going out at night or know you will be out after dark, have your flashlight ready and easily accessible

What to Look For

Try to get a light with at least 300 lumens. This level of brightness can temporarily blind your attacker and give you a chance to remove yourself from the situation. A small light that you can hold easily in your hand can be used as a hitting tool so this is something to consider as well. A heavier light will be less likely to break upon impact so look for a solid, heavy flashlight. I go into much more detail in my Flashlight Fundamentals article.

LA Police Gear Recon C1 Flashlight

Streamlight Macrostream USB 500 Lumen Every Day Carry Flashlight

Kubotan, Go Guarded, cat etc.

Another option that is very useful in the case that you are not carrying a gun is the hand-held self-defense tool. There are many different varieties in this category but many are considered “brass knuckles” so they are not legal everywhere. The main issue with these tools is that you have to be up close with your attacker. Though this is not ideal, there are times that you cannot prevent a close encounter and having one of these small tools could make a big difference! The best part about these is the size and affordability.

cat keychain Monkey Fist Ring knife Kubotan Skull

What to Look For

Know your abilities before purchasing one of these tools; this will help you decide what variety will work best for you. Make sure the hand-held tool is strong and made of a material that is not likely to break, leaving the tool useless. Local laws will also help you determine which of these to purchase.

Personal Alarm

Sound is a much stronger tool than most give it credit for… no, really! Having a small, portable alarm on you at all times can prevent an attack. Criminals do not want attention drawn to them. This may be the second worst outcome for the attacker other than being physically harmed because they will not be able to get away from the confrontation without being noticed.

Personal alarm with led Personal Alarm with motion det

What to Look For

Find an alarm that you can easily attach to your keys with a high decibel level. You want an alarm that is going to really make an impact, not something that chirps quietly. Don’t worry about being rude to those around you, your alarm is made for a purpose and making noise is necessary.

Home Alarms

Again, alarms can be the tool that saves your life. At home, it can alert you to incoming danger and give you the time you need to get prepared. There are options for doors, windows and garage doors so any entrance can be alarmed.

Door stop alarm Shed and garage door and window

What to Look For

Home alarms can be as simple or complicated as you would like. If you are planning to install them yourself, I would look for something simple yet effective. Easy installation and high decibels make for a great alarm. You want the sound to be loud enough to travel through barriers, like walls and doors, and wake you from deep sleep.

Cell Phone

So many people are attached to their cell phones at all times, which may help you in the case of an emergency. Having the ability to call for help at a moments notice is great, but that is not the only advantage. You can also use your phone as a flashlight or an alarm if needed. An attacker cannot cut your cell phone line so it should be able to function in most environments and situations. You must remember to keep it charged as much as possible so you are not left without it when you really need it.

Anything Close to You

You can use almost ANYTHING to defend yourself! Look around you right now… what do you see? A coffee mug? Pens? A vase? A clunky picture frame you got for Christmas? You can use all of these things to defend yourself. Anything you can pick up that will either distract or inflict pain on your attacker is fair game. I know you’ve seen movies where someone is being hunted in their home and the victim ignores all the items that could help with self-defense. Don’t be a victim! Be a fighter and use everything at your disposal.

Final Thoughts

Self-defense is about awareness and using everything you can to protect yourself. Yes, having a concealed carry gun paired with situational awareness is ideal BUT knowing how to defend yourself with any tool is essential. Make sure you know your surroundings and have some way to defend yourself in all situations. Read the item-specific articles linked in the body to find out more about these self-defense tools.

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One thought on “What to Look for in Self-defense Tools

  1. Sharon Williams says:

    Great information!

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