American Survival Guide - - GEAR GUIDE -

Packin’ some ex­tra help? Re­mem­ber: A weapon is only good if you know how to use it suc­cess­fully when you are con­fronted by ag­gres­sive in­di­vid­u­als. Fre­quently, peo­ple who don’t want to be victims will carry all types of self-de­fense aids with­out first know­ing how to prop­erly use them— and, more im­por­tantly, how to keep them away from their in­tended re­cip­i­ent. Be­low are the pros and cons of sev­eral com­monly car­ried self-de­fense weapons. Check ap­pli­ca­ble laws and reg­u­la­tions be­fore de­cid­ing to carry a weapon of any sort.

Pep­per Spray/mace. This self-de­fense item, usu­ally found on a key ring, is ef­fec­tive when sprayed at an at­tacker’s face—specif­i­cally, their eyes and nose. It needs to be ready to shoot, with its safety switch off, prior to a pos­si­ble con­fronta­tion. The down­side of this weapon is that it can be used against the vic­tim if taken away by the at­tacker. In ad­di­tion, dur­ing a windy day out­doors, the spray can ei­ther miss its tar­get or af­fect its user in­stead.

Ex­tend­able Ba­ton. This is a great of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive weapon. It is perfect to gain dis­tance from a knife-wield­ing at­tacker. The ba­ton can be hid­den in your back pocket or purse un­til it’s needed, and it works great in close quar­ters. How­ever, with­out the proper train­ing, it will most likely only be used as a heavy “stick” that is swung care­lessly at the foe.

Firearm. A firearm can be deadly for both the at­tacker and the user. With­out proper train­ing in con­ceal­ment, draw­ing, aim­ing and keep­ing the weapon in your pos­ses­sion dur­ing a con­fronta­tion, it might cause more harm than help. Plus, the fi­nal­ity of the re­sults of fir­ing a weapon at an at­tacker could have lon­glast­ing men­tal and le­gal im­pli­ca­tions.

Stun Gun. A stun gun can be highly ef­fec­tive to stop an at­tacker im­me­di­ately by shock­ing their body with an elec­tri­cal charge, thereby giv­ing you the time needed to es­cape. The suc­cess of this de­vice de­pends on hav­ing the unit in your hand and ready to use, as well as get­ting the stun gun’s con­tact points in con­tact with your at­tacker’s ex­posed skin (thick jack­ets or coats will ham­per its ef­fec­tive­ness).

High-pow­ered Tac­ti­cal Flash­light. An amaz­ing non­lethal and non-harm­ing de­fense tool, the tac­ti­cal flash­light can tem­po­rar­ily “blind” an at­tacker, al­low­ing a per­son to es­cape from the sit­u­a­tion. Some flash­lights are built tough so they can also be used as a strik­ing de­vice once the at­tacker is mo­men­tar­ily dis­tracted. Unfortunately, the flash­light, when pit­ted against nearly any other weapon dur­ing a con­flict, will come up short.

Knife. An­other eas­ily con­ceal­able weapon, a knife can be used to keep at­tack­ers from ad­vanc­ing. Even so, as with a firearm, the re­sults of us­ing a knife against an at­tacker can have mixed re­sults. The in­tended vic­tim can have it taken away and used against them or on nearby fam­ily mem­bers or friends, who can be ac­ci­dently cut or stabbed dur­ing the scuf­fle.

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