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I'm a big supporter of being able to protect yourself no matter what. You never know what a bad guy is intending, and without an edge in the fight, it could end very badly.

I have my concealed carry permit, and I take my trusty little 9mm with me 99% of the time, because you never really know what's going to happen. I'd much rather be prepared and not need it, than to find myself struggling to fight off an opponent without anything to defend myself.

But I get that many people don't have the ability to buy a gun (or carry it with them at all times). Perhaps the rules in your state forbid it, your age, or just your personal beliefs and situation mean it's not practical to have a firearm. Because pulling out a gun gives you one of two choices.

  1. Brandish and hope the threat of your weapon de-escalates the situation
  2. Realize the only thing that will stop your opponent is deadly force

There's no middle ground with a firearm. Forget those old cop movies where a bullet to the leg takes down an attacker. Every time you fire your gun you risk a fatal shot, even the leg will bleed out if you hit the femoral artery. And you've got accuracy to consider too. In the stress of an attack, you're not going to be able to stop to take aim. The last thing you want is to shoot and miss.

So what options do you have?

Luckily there are a whole host of alternative weapons you can use when a gun isn't the answer to your problems.

Defend with pepper spray

One of my go-to items for self-defense is pepper spray. If you're wanting an option to completely blind and disorient an attacker, a short spray in their face will send their eyes tearing up and take them out of the fight. It's probably one of the most effective options on this list, as you can strike at a distance (most pepper spray canisters give you a range of at least a few feet, some much more), and it's very effective. Take down your opponent before getting a chance to escape.

Defend with a strike light

My wife keeps a strike light in her car at all times, and for good reason. It's a combination flashlight and baton, crafted from an aircraft-grade aluminum so it's lightweight yet incredibly sturdy. Giving you the ability to hit hard and fast, before your attacker knows what's what. The strobe feature is another nice addition, as the blinding torch gives you an added edge, while the wrist strap ensures this weapon remains firmly in your grasp, no matter what happens during the fight. It's one of the most versatile survival items you can carry with you.

Defend with a baseball bat

You've seen the movies, right. As soon as the star hears a bump in the night he reaches in the closet for his trusty baseball bat before going to investigate. Now while U wouldn't recommend this strategy in a home invasion, a baseball bat is a wonderful piece of defensive gear. It not only extends your reach, but it's a weapon designed specifically for hitting, and that's what it does best. I've got a small duffel of baseball gear tucked under the back seat of my car, so I'm always ready to toss a ball around with my kids, or grab the bat if someone is intending us harm.

Defend with armored fists

Also known as a brass knuckle, the knuckle duster is a solid piece of metal you slip over your fingers, like a series of metal rings, to amplify your punching power in a fight. It's incredibly effective, allowing you to hit with more strength and a heavier swing than you could using your fists alone. When I'm running in the early hours of the morning, I like to wear these as they add a nice bit of weight to my hands as I run, and give me an advantage should I need to defend myself. Plus, it would look a little strange going for a run while carrying a baseball bat…

Defend with a strikepen

Building on a device known as a kubotan, the strikepen follows a similar concept. It's a hefty and solid self-defense tool, small enough to fit in your purse or your pocket. And to the untrained eye looks just like a bulky pen. It even works the same as a normal ball-point pen. Until you need to defend yourself that is. Gripping the strikepen in your fist, it becomes like a pick axe, with a hardened tip that does an immense amount of damage when you swing it, especially if you're targeting sensitive areas like the temple, head or the neck.

Defend with a taser

There's a reason many police officers carry a taser, it's a staple for non-lethal self-defense. Essentially a small electronic device that delivers a high-powered electric shock to your attacker, it's extremely painful and will drop anyone to the ground, rendering them helpless as their body succumbs to painful convulsions and muscle contractions. You can get both handheld options as well as types known as a "stun gun" which shoot two prongs that deliver the charge. Plus, you can usually continue pulling the trigger to deliver repeated shocks until the charge runs out.

Of course, a concealed carry firearm is the most effective means of self-defense, especially if you've got an ankle holster or a means of keeping your firearm within easy reach in any situation. But if you've not got the luxury of having a gun with you, or prefer a non-lethal means of fighting back, these alternative options for self-defense are your best bet. Arm yourself right, and you'll always have the edge in a fight.

SANDRA in STANTON, US purchased a
Compass Zipper Puller + 6 items
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V.D. in North Las Vegas, US purchased a
Combat Knuckle Duster + 1 items
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Enrico in River Edge., US purchased a
Survival Bracelet
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Richard in Ashland, US purchased a
Hand Gun Cleaning Kit + 6 items
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Jerry in Sheffield Village, US purchased a
Bullet Bottle Opener + 11 items
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Joe in Colorado Springs, US purchased a
Collapsible Metal Cup + 13 items
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Bruce in Riverton, US purchased a
Strikelight™
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Sylvia in Wichita, US purchased a
Fire Laces
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Kerry in Orem, US purchased a
Paracord Rope + 1 items
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Alex in Collinsville, US purchased a
Self-Defense Stinger + 2 items
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