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Self-Defense Weapons – 8 Points To Think About

Should you carry a self-defense weapon to protect yourself?

Google the term, “self-defense weapons” and you’ll get over 2.8 million results!  Do you think self-defense weapons are an important personal safety issue?

It’s sad that we need to consider arming ourselves to feel safe. The truth is however, that bad things happen to good people far too often.  If you are thinking about carrying a self-defense weapon, you need to give it some serious thought.

Here are eight questions you need to think hard about when making that decision:

1. Is It Legal?

Are you willing to risk being arrested and criminally charged for possessing an illegal weapon on the off chance that someday you MIGHT need it to protect yourself? Before investing in a weapon for self-defense, find out if it’s legal to possess and carry where you live.

2. Will I Carry It All The Time?

My guess is that people seldom leave their homes thinking, “Gee, I think I’ll go out and fend off a violent attacker!”  In the real world, bad things usually happen when you least expect them.

What good is a self-defense weapon if it’s at the bottom of a purse, in the glove box of your car, or the bottom of a kitchen drawer?

Is the self-defense weapon you are considering practical enough to carry with you at all times, discretely, without feeling paranoid? If not, don’t waste your money.

3. Will It Be Immediately Available When I Need It?

Even if you do carry it all of the time, will you be able to arm yourself with it in time to use it in the event of a sudden attack?  Is the self-defense weapon something that you will have ready, preferably in hand, if and when you need it?

4. Do I Have Legitimate Confidence In My Ability To Use It?

Military and law enforcement research confirms that people who lack confidence in a technique will not resort to it in a stressful situation.

Many people have been seriously hurt in violent encounters with a potential weapon in their hand. In the stress of the moment, they didn’t think to use it or doubted its’ ability to resolve the situation.

Perhaps they were afraid that it would only make matters worse. If you are thinking of carrying a self-defense weapon, are you prepared to learn how to use it and practice to become proficient with it?

5.  Is It As Effective As It Has Been Held Out To Be?

Over-inflated claims and quick-fix promises are the “cancer” of the self-defense business. Often, unscrupulous self-defense instructors and gadget salespeople exaggerate the benefits and capabilities of their products.

Whenever you hear words like “guaranteed, quick, and easy” or claims that the product will “subdue any and all assailants regardless of their size, mental state or sobriety,” it’s time to call, “bullshit!”  Walk away; someone’s trying to rip you off!

Understand the psychological and physiological control principles associated with the weapon. In other words, how is it supposed to impact the assailant’s intent or behavior? What is the science behind the claims being made?

NOTHING works all of the time. Always acknowledge the limitations and potential failure of a weapon or device and have a back-up plan.

6. Could It Be Taken Away And Used On Me?

This is probably the most common concern about self-defense weapons; and it’s a valid one. Are you prepared to use the device aggressively on an assailant to protect yourself or your loved ones?

Are you knowledgeable and skillful enough to retain the device if he attempts to take it away from you? Never carry a self-defense weapon with the intent to “bluff” your assailant. If you are not prepared to use it decisively, don’t carry it!

7.  Am I Physically, Mentally And Emotionally Prepared And Capable To Use It?

Carrying a personal safety device without investing the time to become knowledgeable and proficient in its use is a big mistake.

You must prepare physically by practicing the necessary skills and techniques associated with the device. You must prepare mentally by knowing when and how to use it and in what situations it’s use is legal and appropriate. You must prepare emotionally by deepening your emotional and moral resolve to protect yourself.

8.  Are You Prepared For Potential Criminal And Civil Consequences Of Your Actions?

I agree with the old adage, “It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.”  But, in all seriousness, resorting to the use of a weapon is a very serious matter and carries with it the potential for serious consequences.

Are you educated about the standards required to justify “deadly force?”  If not, and you’re going to carry a self-defense weapon, you need do so some homework. (I can help you with that in future blog posts)

Two Last Things To Consider:

1.    A Weapon Is An Extension Of Your Empty Hands:

I do not believe in training exclusively with weapons as a self-defense strategy.  For starters, you would be “disabled” if you were ever disarmed, unable to access your weapon in time or didn’t have it with you.

Secondly, very few people “practice” with weapons on a regular basis.

I believe that a far better approach is to incorporate ongoing combative workouts, such as I describe in this blog or in my Toughen Up Training Guides…  In addition to building skill, confidence and getting in great shape, you will develop a strong basis of self-defense skills.  If you know how to strike effectively, picking up a weapon and using it in a self-defense situation will be much easier.

2.    Weapons Of Opportunity

Weapons are all around us.  When thinking about your self-defense options don’t forget that there are numerous environmental objects that can be picked up and used as a weapon in a life-threatening situation.  Rocks, boards, bottles, pens, furniture etc. can all be resorted to if the need arises.  If you already have a solid self-defense skill set, converting these objects to protect yourself is a simple matter.

I hope this post has give you some food for thought.  If you have questions, comments or would like to pursue this issue in greater detail please feel free to comment or email me.

Take care, train smart and stay safe,


About Randy LaHaie

I’m the founder of “Protective Strategies,” a training and consulting company providing self-defense and combative fitness solutions to law enforcement, high-risk professionals and private citizens since 1994. I am a retired police officer, court-declared expert in use-of-force and critical incident performance, and a life-long student of self-defense and combative fitness. “My Thing” is to help people incorporate functional and minimalist workout strategies to improve their health, fitness and personal safety.

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  • According to crime stats I have read, over 70% of street crimes involve some kind of a weapon. With that in mind, I would say carrying a weapon would be logical.

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