Police officers never know when they will find themselves in a dangerous place. To increase their odds of going home at the end of the shift they take the proper tools with them. Since you don’t know when you may be in a dangerous situation you should be prepared for the worst. You could easily spend thousands outfitting yourself with useful self defense tools. The key is to have the most effective tools that are easy to carry, and therefore, readily available. Here are a few I would put at the top of my stack.

Cell phone. Plug in the most important numbers and know how to access them quickly. PhoneIf you have a smart phone, I suggest adding a navigation application and an application which identifies registered sex offenders police department and hospitals on a map. A cell phone is a great defense tool when you have both time and distance on your side. It tends to be ineffective when the bad guy has his hands on your throat. Kim Komando keeps an up-to-date list of safety applications at her website,

Flashlight. One of the keys to avoiding criminals is knowing where they are. You can pick up a 3-Watt LED flashlight that puts out a bright 250 – 450 lumens and will only set you back $25 – $35.  Illuminate shadows and reduce the risk of walking into danger. Shining a flashlight into the eyes of a bad guy can disorient him and give you a few needed seconds to escape. A solidly built flashlight can also be used for striking. I have several Utilitech LED flashlights I picked up at Lowe’s for under $25 each. They are compact, solidly built and bright.

FX-42FTS-1Pepper spray. Pepper spray is a medium to short range weapon, effective from 6-15 feet. Pepper spray is by no means the perfect weapon and simply doesn’t work on about 10% of the population. If you carry it, know how to use it. Be sure to read the Pepper Spray primer in the Preparation section.  Fox Labs or Sabre are both great brands.

Kubotan. Kubotans are small enough to fit on your key-chain or in your purse making them convenient to carry. They can be used to strike or control an opponent using pressure points. The muscles oOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAf the upper chest, the throat and the temples are all good targets. Realize that a strike to the throat with a kubotan could be lethal. My favorite is the Cold Steel Mini Koga which retails for under $10. It is made of a lightweight polymer, fits the hand well and can help generate a lot of force easily.

That’s it. All four of those will fit easily in a purse. You can purchase a quality flashlight, pepper spray and kubotan all for under $50, a very reasonable price to help guard your safety.

Handgun. If you’d like to next step in both in cost and effectiveness, it’s hard to beat a handgun. This is a big step in taking personal responsibility for your safety. If you’re considering taking this step, read everything at The Cornered Cat and then talk to Tommy and Lisa Judy at Feel free to contact me on this issue.

A Stick. OK, a stick sounds silly but an 18″ rattan stick can be extremely effective as a deterrent and in fighting off both bad guys and bad dogsimages. You can pick one up for about $10. They are light weight and very strong and are a great tool for joggers. Bad guys recognize the Kali or Escrima stick, used in Filipino martial arts, and they send a strong message to stay away. They are a good deterrent to the would-be attacker and are light enough to carry when jogging.

Taser.  Tasers are an electro shock weapon that can either fire a pair of electrodes or used in contact with the target. Law enforcement officers nearly all carry Tasers and there are plenty of stories that ended well because of the effective use of a Taser. However, I’m not a fan and don’t recommend them for several reasons. Police keep theirs charged and ready and have had the opportunity for training and practice. If you don’t, you may be carrying around an expensive paperweight. Tasers that fire two electrodes are typically a one-shot proposition. If you miss you better have a backup and be able to access it very quickly. In the stun drive mode, a Taser becomes a contact weapon and requires you to be in physical contact with the bad guy. “Hold still while I shock you” simply isn’t going to happen. Discovering your Taser needs to be charged or realizing you don’t know the strengths and limitations of the Taser is not going to lead to a happy ending. If you choose to carry a Taser get expert training and keep it ready.

With any tool, you must learn how to use it and you must practice. Buying a gun and then not practicing with it does not make you safer. It makes you more dangerous.

raid2DO NOT USEwasp spray.  Unfortunately, this has been passed all over the Internet as a suitable or even better alternative to pepper spray. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t even think about using wasp spray for self defense. 1. It’s never been scientifically tested as a self defense weapon. Effectiveness and side effects could be very hard to predict both for the attacker and for you, should the spray blow back at you. 2. It is almost always marked with specific limits on its use, frequently listing it as a federal offense to use it for anything other than its intended purpose. Even if you effectively used wasp spray for self defense you should expect to face both criminal and civil charges. You survived, now go to jail, and pay your assailant. That’s just not going to happen with pepper spray or a handgun. DO NOT plan to use wasp spray for self defense.  Use anything that’s handy if you are attacked.  If it happens to be wasp spray or aerosol paint, go for it.


Coastal Kenpo Karate – Nick Dreiling teaches the street-real style of American Kenpo Karate.  If you’d like to take your personal preparation to the next level check out Coastal Kenpo.




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