Knowing physical self defense techniques (or a martial art) won't prevent someone from assaulting you. It might help your chances at defeating the attacker, but even that is questionable. Most attackers have several advantages; size, aggression, accomplices, surprise, a weapon, their choice of location, time and victim. Even a relatively-inexperienced but aggressive person with a knife can easily defeat and kill a skilled martial artist. The reality is that the best way to defeat an attacker is to have an effective weapon of some kind. However, no weapon is perfect. Following is a brief comparison of the uses, strengths and weaknesses of common self defense weapons.
||Highly versatile. Always with you. Inconspicuous. Instant deployment.
||Doesn't prevent an assault. Easily damaged. Requires training and practice.
||Small, lightweight, easily carried and concealed. Temporarily blinds, especially at night. Effect can last a few seconds, allowing for follow-up strikes. Requires very little training. Can be used as a "kuboton" or loaded fist.
Get the highest lumen output one you can afford, with the edged crowns for striking. A tactical flashlight is a necessary companion if you carry a gun for identifying people before pointing the weapon at them.
|Is not intimidating and wouldn't stop a determined attacker in and of itself. The ones that make effective clubs are necessarily-cumbersome.
|Sticks, Umbrellas, Canes and Improvised Weapons
||Can be found almost anywhere and are inconspicuous. Can be highly effective. In truth, almost any hard object, or most items in your kitchen or garage, could be used as a weapon in an emergency.
||Not intimidating to most attackers.
|Pepper (OC) Spray
||Small, lightweight, easily carried and concealed. Temporarily blinds and causes excruciating pain. Effect lasts about 30 minutes, allowing for an escape. Rarely lethal. Requires very little training. Great against dogs.
We specifically recommend the ASP Key Defender and ASP Street Defender models.
|Not always effective. Can spray back. Limited range. Dispenser is not intimidating. Takes several seconds to deploy.
Alternatives include almost any propellant-based spray; insect repellant, some perfumes, hair spray, etc. Some people mix their own ammonia-based sprays and keep them in a squirt bottle.
||Some intimidation factor. Small, lightweight, easily carried and concealed. Temporarily causes loss of motor control. Shock recipient often falls. Rarely lethal. Requires very little training.
||Recovery can be nearly instantaneous, and so must be followed with some other restraint or attack. Must be close to attacker and make contact. Sometimes ineffective, especially against thick clothing. Takes a few seconds to deploy.
||Similar to stun gun, but can be deployed at a distance of up to 20 feet, depending on model. Similar in use to a handgun. Some have a back-up stun gun built in.
||Same weaknesses as stun gun. Lead wires can be broken by someone who knows how to defeat tasers. Most have only a single shot. Expensive cartridges.
||Highly intimidating. Potentially lethal. Requires relatively little skill to use effectively. Easily hidden. Slashing limbs can immediately debilitate. Inexpensive and available everywhere. Has other utilitarian uses.
||Intimidating, useful ones are often illegal to carry. Folding (legal) ones are difficult to deploy quickly, and sometimes require two hands. Effects are not always instantaneous, and cuts are often not immediately painful. Cut person can continue to function until he goes unconscious from loss of blood pressure; this can take many seconds or minutes, even if cut in a vital area. Use requires close contact. Messy and psychologically difficult to use. Some social stigma if you carry a fighting knife openly. Because it is a lethal weapon, use may result in automatic arrest in ambiguous circumstances.
||Highly intimidating (known to prevent a million or more crimes per year just by brandishing). Easily concealed. Takes about 2 seconds to deploy with practice.
||Expensive. Requires substantial training and practice for proficiency. The most effective calibers are difficult to carry concealed. Not recommended for close encounters (one arm's length). Restricted by some governments. Accidental shootings are a valid concern. A determined shot person can continue to function for many seconds or minutes, even if shot repeatedly. Some social stigma if you are known to carry. Open carry prohibited or problematic in many settings. Because it is a lethal weapon, use may result in automatic arrest in ambiguous circumstances.