What do you carry?
Why do you carry it?
What about it made you chose it over something else?
Is there something you could change about it to be more effective?
The tools you choose to defend your life with make the difference between, you guessed it, life and death. Choose wisely.
Today we're going to talk about four devices I currently have at my disposal; the pros, the cons, and why I do or do not actually carry them.
Pretty, aren't they?
I'll start with the least permanently damaging: the pepper spray.
Pepper spray is a great tool to carry around. They deter both dogs and people, and you don't have to get super close to the problem before engaging; pepper spray works from several feet away. Also, if you miss the target and hit someone else, they'll be mad but not fatally wounded. That's another huge plus.
They're small, light, easy to conceal, and yet not taboo to keep in plain sight. They can be in a handy spot in your car, or attach to your key chain. If you plan to carry one, make sure you get one of high quality, such as the Sabre CS Tear Gas Personal Defense Spray.
Some companies offer cheap training modules as well, and if you want to carry pepper spray as your main line of defense, you HAVE to train with them as though you would with a firearm. If you don't believe me, grab an expired can and try shooting it at a target's face (the paper kind). I bet you'll miss their face entirely.
Practice unlocking the nozzle, too. Pepper spray isn't my favorite for these reasons: it's tricky to keep it in the same spot every time, the nozzle is different from model to model, AND there's no sights.
So, train with it.
Also, keep an eye on that expiration date.
Next up, the Ladies Personal Defense, or the so-called Equalizer.
Folks, this is not an equalizer. It's barely a personal defense tool.
If you knew you were going to get into a head-on collision today, would you still drive your compact car?
If you knew you were going to be attacked in an ally today, would you still carry this?
(I'm not even sure how I ended up with two of these guys. I think it's because they have so many cool colors, and I sort of want to collect them all?)
The idea behind this is to get an attacker to think twice. Or for you to get a few jabs in their face and make them leave you alone; without actually blinding or maiming anyone.
While I appreciate the theory of this, it's not realistic. If you're close enough to use this, and it's all you have, you've already lost the fight.
The edges are not sharp enough to do actual damage fast. One jab, and your attacker will get control of your wrist and it'll be over. That's not my first choice. They're cute, but you're better off with pepper spray, or a push dagger.
Which brings us right to it: the push dagger.
Meet my nasty little buddy, the Safe Maker II. You can get these for between $30-$40, depending on where you buy them. This one pictured has a 3.24” blade.
When I was in car detail, it wasn't realistic to carry a gun (hoses, water); so I carried this little guy. The sheath it comes with has a belt clip, but it didn't fit on my gun belt. What I did was wear it around my neck on the black steel bead lanyard it comes with.
The thing about carrying a knife is that in order to practice drawing, you need to purchase the training replica. It's not like a firearm that you can unload and keep your finger off the trigger. It's a sharp blade, and it will cut you if you're not careful.
Nonetheless, if I couldn't have my gun, I would carry a push-dagger. It's small, easy to conceal, and if someone were to get the drop on you, this little sucker is vicious; both in appearance and in reality.
The beautiful thing about the push-dagger is that it relies on the most fundamental principle of defense: a punch. Everyone knows how to do this. Some can do it more effectively, but as a general rule, anyone can make a fist.
With the design of the handle coming perpendicular to the blade, the push-dagger takes that basic motion of throwing punches and makes it ten times more deadly. Think about it: if you were attacking someone, and they had a three inch blade coming out of their fist, would you wait around to see if they actually knew how to punch?
They make smaller and larger versions of this. There is one small enough that it comes with a little ring at the bottom, so you can attach it to your keys. It's a compelling place to keep it, unless you have small children
Also, it's worth noting that if you carry a push-dagger for personal protection, remember that that's what it's to be used for: personal protection. Do NOT use it as a letter opener or scissors; that's what a pocket knife is for. If you use your push-dagger as a utility knife, it won't be effective when you really need it. Keep the entities separate; one may save your life, the other makes life easier. Don't mix up the two.
And boom; saved the best for last:
Meet my babes, all three of them. *wink*
A firearm will always, always, always be my first choice. And if my outfit will allow it, I'll forever reach for my Glock 19.
Guns are the true equalizer, guys.
When I was about fifteen I was obsessed with self-defense books, specifically self-defense for women. I figured if I mastered every possible maneuver, from any number of positions, I would be good to go.
But there in lies the inherent problem with self-defense: the endless amounts of positions. The possibilities are endless, and not in a good way. You have to commit to learning them all, train frequently, and memorize every little tactic and trick.
It's not realistic.
Not to mention that the moves you learn are out there; published in book form and on the internet. What makes you think the attacker doesn't know them, too?
And if your grand scheme is to just kick him in the crotch? Well, nice plan. But guys have a sixth sense about a hit like that coming, so unless you're in the mindset of going complete animal, you're not going to be as effective as you might imagine.
So, I don't know about you, but I didn't like those odds.
The beautiful thing about firearms is that, it doesn't matter how big your attacker is.
A big thing I get asked as a conceal carrier is, do I shoot to kill.
No, I do not shoot to kill.
I shoot to stop.
If someone makes the decision to attack me, I honor that decision. I will meet it with my own decision: shooting to stop that attack.
Back in 2018, four people, (age ranging from 19-40) broke into an 83-year-old woman's house in Georgia, planning to steal her son's stash of money. When they couldn't find it, and the woman was unable to answer their questions, they beat her up. Both of her arms were broken, and her face was cut and bruised. Before they left, they poured lighter fluid down her back and set her on fire. They cut the phone lines, and pulled the woman's medical alert device off from around her neck. She died.
If your argument to not carry is that you're at home, or that you're too old to be a target, think again! This is not an isolated incident. Cowards like this prey on the weak, the easily overpowered. Unless you actually think you're the strongest, toughest person on earth, you might benefit to carry. Every day.
Some people also say that I should just shoot 'em in the leg, translation: shoot them in a non-lethal place. Please realize that they can just as quickly die from bleeding out from the severed artery in their leg, as from a gunshot wound to the chest. I'm aiming for the place most likely to get a hit, and the most minimal chance of missing.
And by the way, you can always carry more than one thing. It's good to have options. You never know when some staggering drunk will pester you, a dog starts chasing you down the sidewalk, and that mace will finally come in handy. Just whatever you do carry, carry like you mean it. Train.
Be confidently armed.