3 Self Defense Tools as Alternatives to Firearm Carry

choosing self defense tool

Alternatives To Carrying Concealed


There are a lot of state restrictions on what constitutes a concealed carry weapon – and thus what you need a permit for in order to carry. So, in some states, the recommendations we’re about to make for alternatives to a concealed carry firearm may not apply. Check your state and municipal regulations – you may be better off simply carrying a firearm.


The upside of most of these is that they’re all great ideas for close quarter combat. The downside of all of these is that in order to use them, you’ll have to be in close quarters – which puts you in great danger. And the worst thing that can happen is to have your close quarters self-defense weapon taken from you and used against you. Worse yet is if your attacker brings his own.


That’s why, if you have the option – always run. Always. Close quarters sucks.


Tasers: Watt A Good Self Defense Tool


taser for self defense

Who can argue with a taser? Virtually guaranteed to take anyone down to the ground, it’s certainly a great weapon for last ditch close quarters defense.



  • Guaranteed to drop an attacker
  • Very concealable
  • Mostly non-lethal
  • Variable voltage for effect



  • Battery shelf life – a lot of cheaper tasers are simply not made to last
  • Electrocution can work both ways (puddle, rain, sweaty bodies).
  • If you don’t charge your taser – its ineffective… At the worst possible time.


Defensive Knives


knife for defensive use

Since the dawn of homo sapiens breaking rocks with sticks, knives have been an invaluable invention. Plenty of uses outside of self-defense, they can also serve as a last ditch effort to keep your fat out of the fire. That said, getting caught in a knife fight is almost as bad as getting caught in a close range gunfight.



  • Differing sizes, shapes, and serrated edges provides a lot of options.
  • With proficiency, there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to escape a fight
  • Can be visually intimidating to an unarmed or unprepared attacker



  • If you get into a knife fight, expect to get cut – bad. Try to attack whatever part of your attacker is exposed – whether it be hands, wrists, fingers. If they can’t hold a knife, they can’t stab you as easily.
  • The vast majority of people aren’t as proficient with knives as they’d like to believe. This means people are prone to making really bad, costly mistakes with them.


Pepper Spray


tool for self defense

Pepper spray is awesome! It instantly causes inflammation in mucus membranes, causing eyes to slam shut and nostrils to run worse than any Texan chili cook-off. It’s a great close quarters non-lethal weapon because it guarantees the loss of your attacker’s vision if you hit him anywhere on the face.



  • Deprives your attacker of clear vision
  • Distracts him with an unparalleled level of discomfort
  • Most non-lethal of non-lethal munitions



  • For those with prior combat experience, they’re trained to work past the pain and discomfort of pepper spray. While it still decreases their ability to see and move freely, it is not a guarantee for victory. If anything, it buys time for retreat.
  • By itself, pepper spray will not stop an attacker. It will inconvenience him severely for a short while.
  • Pepper spray works both ways. A strong gust of wind can blow it back into your eyes and put you both back on a level playing field.


All of the above listed options and plenty of others (brass knuckles, etc.) all require a significant amount of training in order to employ effectively. An inexperienced person expecting to thwart a seasoned criminal with any of these options is going to get himself very hurt in the process. That’s why all of these options are best used in conjunction to a martial arts program and all should be used to secure escape – not advance.

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James England is a former United States Marine Signals Intelligence Operator and defense contractor with over two tours spread over the Al Anbar province and two more operating across Helmand and Baghdis. He is presently a writer focused on Western foreign policy and maintains an avid interest in firearms. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, he presently resides in New Hampshire – the “Live Free or Die” state. He is finishing up his first novel, “American Hubris”, which is set to hit shelves in Fall of 2015.