Those Who Act Like Sheep
I recently read a news article that hit a little close to home. A real estate agent in northern Utah was shot and killed when visiting an apartment.
I have at least half a dozen friends and family that work in real estate and being from Utah - the proximity makes a difference.
This got me thinking about personal defense. While I respect everyone’s right to choose whether or not they practice their 2nd amendment right, I firmly believe that everyone, especially women, should be able to defend themselves in some way.
So I’m hoping that this can be a resource for those who may need or want some different ideas about personal defense.
Hand to Hand Training
One of the most helpful things that I think you can do for yourself is learn some hand-to-hand personal defense techniques. Everyone should know a few basic moves if they were to get into a dangerous situation and you can always integrate this knowledge with any self defense tool. You can look up videos on YouTube to get some ideas, but it is much better to find a class so that you can practice and get some instant feedback.
Tasers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and strengths making them another popular option. If you purchase a high quality taser, it is not just a distraction to give yourself more time, like some other personal defense tools do, but it can actually immobilize your attacker for around five seconds.
Alert Key Chains
Alert key chains are totally non lethal and are strictly a way to alert someone else that you need help. They emit an extremely loud siren and some flash bright lights to startle your attacker and provide an alert signal for you. When looking at alert key chains, make sure to compare the volume and range, as well as reviews from other customers.
Alert Key Chains are not my personal favorite, because you are having to rely on someone else to come to your aid. However, the noise and sudden bright lights may startle your attacker allowing you more time to escape or it may deter them completely if they worry that someone may have heard the alarm. Either way, I think it would be wise to have another defense mechanism handy and ready as a backup.
Here is one alert keychain that I found that has over 1,000 reviews, a 4.8 rating, and claims to be "police approved."
**This may be a really great tool for your kids to have!
EDC or Tactical Pens
EDC (every day carry) pens are typically more discreet than a Tactical pen, which often comes equipped with a glass breaking tip.
Another functional EDC tool is a flashlight. The iProtec PRO 210 Lite is a the flashlight that we have had in our house. I like it, because it has a cover around the aggressive end that when it is up allows it to look just like a normal flashlight, but you can easily jab someone with it and the cover will slide down exposing the self defense face.
Pepper spray is one of the most popular self defense items because it is inexpensive, easily carried, easily used, and very effective. Pepper spray causes irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory system, but it is really important to realize that it will NOT stop an attacker. Pepper spray is meant to be a diversion so that you can give yourself more time to escape.
When shopping for pepper spray, two main things you want to consider are the credibility of the manufacturer (a lot of pepper sprays have a 30% failure rate) and range of fire.
Amazon has a plethora of choices when it comes to pepper spray options. You can browse through sizes, shapes, colors, price, and reviews to find which one would fit your needs best.
Personal Defense Keychains
Easily carried and accessible, personal defense keychains are a great option. You can get everything from tactical and aggressive, to cute and subtle like this kitty keychain.
Munio Self Defense Keychain is not your typical tactical keychain. It comes in a variety of fun colors and prints, is discreet, legal in ALL states, will pass through TSA checkpoints, and has a lifetime warranty.
An app called PANIK I recently read about is a personal assault alarm that activates a loud siren, flashing screen lights, and the flashlight on your phone to help draw as much attention as possible.
PANIK has a lot of different features, but a couple that I thought stood out were that you can have a silent alarm as well as the loud siren and you can integrate your social media and text messaging into the alarm. So when it goes off, it can send out a distress call to your friends on Facebook and through text, letting them know that you need help.
Along with the same thoughts as an alert keychain, you are relying on someone else to help you, but since we all have our phones attached to us at all times anyways so we might as well take advantage of being able to use them to help protect us. I would, again, suggest having a backup tool.
A lesser known tool is a collapsible staff. These are super handy because they can go from two inches to five feet in length in seconds. I like the thoughts of this, because those five feet can give you more distance between you and your attacker.
Check out a version I found by Lancastor called the PocketStaff.
This is actually something I just found out on a Women's Concealed Carry forum just a couple weeks ago. I was super surprised that I hadn't heard of it before - I think it is neat, but my husband....not so much. Neither of us have tried it though, so still going to throw it out there as an option and let you take it for what it is worth to ya!
A SapCap is basically a baseball cap with a "sack" of lead beads sown into the back so you can use it to hit someone.
Self Defense Knives
A knife is one of the best self-defense tool that you can carry. In some instances it can be just as effective weapon as a gun. Knives inflict a serious amount of damage and in extremely close encounters may be more effective than a firearm. An example of this would be if your attacker is pressed against your body and you are unable draw or provide enough space to effectively utilize your firearm.
As with everything, there is such a wide variety of self defense knives, such as concealed keychains like this knife that folds into a key, fixed blade knives, folding knives, automatic (or commonly known as switchblade) knives, and push daggers.
Here is a picture of my push dagger with a kydex sheath that I carried when I worked for a company that didn't allow firearms or any weapons over four inches in length.
Obviously I am very pro 2nd Amendment, so I have a personal preference for concealed carry. I think a lot of this is because I feel like a firearm levels the playing field. If I am confronted by a large, muscular man, I am not worried about having to out "muscle" him. I also like the distance that it provides me from a potential attacker. I don't have to wait until they are right on me before I can do something to protect myself if I feel my life is in danger.
There are dozens and dozens of holsters and concealed carry options out there. And while I don't think there is any one perfect style, I do have a personal preference for on the body carry.
Whatever you decide to use, remember these three things:
1: You need to be comfortable with your personal defense device and know how to properly use it. This means that you need to practice! Practice in different lighting, positions, clothing, etc.
2: You can't use it if you don't carry it. So make it easily accessible for you at all times.
3: Practice situational awareness! If you are being alert to your surroundings, it takes the surprise advantage away from your attacker. Don’t be staring at your phone for long periods of times, watch for anything that looks unusual, look for possible escape routes or how you could fight your way to safety. While it is quite a bit of readying, there is an online course http://www.womensselfdefense-seps.com/ that helps put some of these concepts into words and may help you "think like a predator".
As sad as it is, this world is full of evil people who wish to do harm to others. So whether you carry a gun, pepper spray, or taser, please be ready to defend yourself (or others) if the need arises.