Carrying a weapon for self-defense is a question more and more popular. With all the stories of aggressions and murders, we can see on the TV news, people are starting to feel insecure, even at home. The demand in self-defense schools increases every day. Some might even question themselves about whether the should be carrying a weapon at all time or not.
In this article, we will discuss briefly what kind of weapons exist on the market and why they are so appealing. But we will mainly talk about what are the hidden risks to consider before taking action.
What kind of self-defense weapons?
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There’s two type of self-defense weapons: lethal and nonlethal. The most popular self-defense weapons include :
Pepper Spray is a derivative of cayenne pepper containing capsaicin. Spray some into the eyes of you attacker and it will cause an excruciating burning sensation. That will give you the opportunity to flee. It is known for its ease of use and concealability.
Example: Sabre Pepper Gel
Self-Defense Stun Guns or Tasers.
Stun guns or Tasers are self défense weapon that immobilizes an opponent by sending a high electric voltage through his body. Although it sounds scary, it is usually nonlethal because of the low amperage (if not used abusively). It takes much more space than other self défense weapons hence is less easy to carry. But some devices are being developed in the shape of a common object such as a cell phone.
Guns are not some light decision. Owning a gun implies a lot of responsibilities for you and the others. You will have to get a license, a security lock and many others expenses will be necessary. The law for owning such a weapon can be very strict depending on where you live. But for many, the perceived benefits outweigh the burden of all theses responsibilities. They are passionate about the maintenance. They feel empowered just by owning it and they love the feeling when they touch it.
A new kind of self-defense weapon is making is way on the market. The tactical pens consist of a pen, often made of steel, aluminum, or titanium, with a strong pointy end. The size and shape make it very convenient to carry and very easy to conceal.
Example : Stinger spy pen
And the finally: the knife. When you say self-défense weapon, most of us with immediately think of a knife. And this not without reason, it is convenient to carry, easy to conceal and can do a lot of damage. It is also an everyday tool that can be used by anyone. You can buy one almost everywhere and for cheap. There even exist hidden knife in a pen or credit card.
Why do people want to carry a self-defense weapons?
Carrying a self-defense weapon with you, makes you feel very different. You feel more powerful and you walk more confidently. That will often translate into a taller posture. This attitude will save many times. Attackers tend to choose insecure victims.
What are the risks of carrying a self-defense weapons?
Most of the weapons carrier thinks that self-defense weapons are some magical tools that will make invincible. But the reality is quite different.
No matter what weapon you are carrying, it will only be effective if you had a proper training with it. If you don’t you will only make a fool of yourself or worse your weapon might be turned against you. You might hurt yourself with it or you aggressor might take it from you and use it against you. So yes it will make you feel better and more secured but if you not and expert in self défense that will be just an illusion.
Now imagine that you are that expert, you have practiced many years practicing with your weapon in your dojo. Someone is threatening you in the street. You get your weapon out. You threaten him back but he doesn’t move. Now are you mentally ready to hurt him ? With or without a weapon, if you fight back you have to be mentally ready to hurt someone really bad and sometimes for life. It is just easier and more destructive with a self défense weapon. The sound of bones breaking, stabbing someone in the flesh, or even killing someone with gun. You might be traumatized for years or worse. If you decide to carry a weapon prepare mentally as well as physically.
There can also be non-desirable consequences that can involve innocent people around the scene. For example, it is extremely difficult to avoid hitting another person with a gun because of the bullet’s ricochets. Are you ready for this? Are you willing to be a danger for innocent people to be safe yourself?
Most of the time, the aggressors carry a weapon in order to scare, not to use it. Sometimes, robbers will even use a fake gun. They will use it only if you push them to.
Self-defense weapons in the law
Each country and sometimes each state has their own regulations about self défense weapons. It is critical that you inform yourself of what the law says where you live. Ownership of some categories of weapons can be forbidden in your region. Be careful to verify and get a permit if necessary before any purchase.
Possession of a self défense weapon and use a weapon in a self défense situation are totally different things. On this second matter, the law is generally the same everywhere. There are three components that define a self-defense situation and justification :
- An imminent threat: words that imply a threat of force or actual show of force. The threat must be ongoing, otherwise, the response will be considered as retaliation and not self-defense. As soon as the threat stops, there is no use of a response.
- Reasonable fear: although this point seems more trivial, it is as important. If you’re being threatened by an old person who can barely walk, the fear that would initiate a self-defense response is questionable.
- Use of a proportional force: you may not use deadly force to respond to the threat that was not deadly, it must be proportional to the situation.
As you can see, it is not as simple as a lot of people would think. Having the feeling to be threatened is not a sufficient reason to harm someone although it is part of the conditions you need. The response must be proportional to the threat. More specifically, if the person threatening you don’t hold a weapon, you cannot use one either. You cannot draw a knife to someone who is “just” robbing you. This questions the utility of carrying a weapon because you probably will never have the occasion to use it.
Our conclusions about owning a self-defense weapon
Choosing to carry a self-defense weapon is a personal choice. There are many pros and cons associated with it depending on which weapon you decide to acquire. Depending on where you live, the probability of using it can be very low if not inexistent. In that case, taking classic self-defense classes where you’ll learn to deal with threatening situations might be an idea worth considering.