Violent Crime Is on the Rise: Here Are the Most Effective Self-Defense Weapons
You may have noticed by now that certain media companies are more interested in scaring you than informing you. Maybe that’s why people are often surprised to learn that despite the threat of mass shootings and terrorist attacks, the country is much, much safer in 2021 than it was in previous decades. Starting in the mid-90s, the United States has seen violent crime rates fall by 50%. Though many people still carry self-defense weapons here in New York City, the streets are actually lightyears safer than they were in the early 90s and 80s.
Unfortunately, the so-called Great Crime Decline may be coming to an end.
Since the pandemic began, violent carjackings are up sharply in major U.S. cities including Washington, D.C., Chicago, New Orleans and Minneapolis. According to The Washington Post, carjackings in New Orleans are up by 154% between 2019 and 2020, while the number of violent carjackings in the nation’s capital has more than doubled in that time as well. Recently, Americans were shocked by a horrifying video that showed the attempted carjacking of Pakistani immigrant and Uber Eats driver Mohammad Anwar, who lost his life in the attack.
Meanwhile, there was an unprecedented rise in the murder rate in 2020, with large U.S. cities seeing 30-36% more homicides than in 2019, per data reviewed by The Intercept. (The cause? The wide availability of guns, the economic recession and COVID-19 have all played a part, although we still don’t know for certain why violent crime is rising.)
But we’re not done. The Asian-American community has been on edge following a spate of random and unprovoked attacks, often against the elderly. Hate crimes against Asian-Americans are also rising sharply, and these shocking attacks have been taking place from coast to coast. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has begged New Yorkers to intervene if they witness an attack taking place. Nationally, President Joe Biden has issued new guidance to law enforcement to help stop the attacks and support the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.
We don’t share these facts to frighten anyone. However, if you want to be able to defend yourself, then you’ll want to purchase self-defense weapons for men and women. Below, we’ll share the best self-defense weapons for a variety of situations. From personal safety alarms to pepper spray, you can find plenty of affordable everyday carry tools for sale online to keep you safe.
How To Protect Yourself: Self-Defense Weapons
While the average man may proclaim a fearless outlook, the truth is that everyone harbors some fear of unexpected attacks, no matter how small. Whether it’s terror-related, completely random or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s never a bad idea to channel your inner Boy Scout and be prepared. Carrying one of the best men’s self-defense weapons on you at all times could, in the most extreme cases, be the difference between life and death.
The best self-defense weapons are the ones that help prevent a violent crime from taking place. We are, of course, only encouraging you to use these weapons in the defense of yourself or others, and only a fool would go seeking out violent encounters. While some people do carry knives or firearms for protection, if you are not properly trained to use these weapons, you are more likely to injure yourself than a potential attacker. This isn’t the proper place to learn about firearms and lethal weapons, so in this piece we’re going to focus on the best self-defense weapons for the average person. Remember that while these tools are typically considered to be non-lethal, any tool can be deadly if misused, and both stun guns and pepper spray can lead to fatal health complications in extreme cases.
Successful use of these tools usually involves some kind of distraction or painful deterrent, whether through noise, light or electrical immobilization. Examples of the best non-lethal self-defense weapons include:
- Pepper Spray
- Personal Alarms
- Stun Guns and Tasers
- Tactical Whips
- Steel Batons
- Tactical Pen
- Baseball Bats
- Emergency Whistles
Carrying the best self-defense weapons isn’t always about prevention, either. Just knowing that you’ve got an alarm or a pepper spray ready to go can provide a level of comfort and help keep fear levels to a manageable level, especially if you’re visiting a new place or walking through a sketchy part of town.
Shipping Restrictions on Pepper Spray
It’s important to note that not all of the items below will ship to every U.S. state due to state laws. As of 2021, New York, Alaska, Hawaii and Washington, DC prohibit the delivery of pepper spray. So even though you can buy pepper spray, stun guns and other self-defense weapons on sites like Amazon, not all of these items can be legally shipped to certain states (even if they are legal to use in those states, as is the case in New York). Please double-check your home state rules before ordering. In states like New York, instead of buying self-defense weapons online, you can buy them in person from some pharmacies and licensed firearms dealers.
In addition, whenever you choose to carry a weapon such as pepper spray, knives or firearms, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are following all state laws, otherwise, you may end up in serious trouble. Finally, you must be 18 years or older to purchase many common self-defense weapons.
Scroll down to find our guide to the best self-defense items for you to carry to deter potential attacks. If you ever find yourself in a fight or flight situation, you’ll be glad to have these self-defense tools at the ready.
1. Sabre Self-Defense Kit
Sabre is one of the best-known companies in the self-defense market, and you can trust their products to perform when you need them most. This self-defense kit comes with both pepper spray and a stun gun for double the protection. The peppery spray keychain has a 10-foot range and can be deployed many times in a row. It sprays in a tight, concentrated stream to avoid injuring yourself. The stun gun delivers a painful and intense 1.60 µC charge. In addition, when in use the stun gun generates a loud 95 dB zapping sound and bright 120 Lumen light. For under $25, it’s a great deal for anyone worried about self-defense.
2. VIPERTEK VTS-979 Stun Gun
BEST STUN GUN
This VIPERTEK Stun Gun packs a powerful punch. When discharged, it will send a painful jolt of electricity through your attacker’s body. The stun gun also comes with a wrist strap and safety disable pin, which prevents the gun from being used on you. If an attacker does manage to rip this away from you, the safety pin will be removed, rendering the stun gun useless. For ease of use, this tool is covered in a non-slip rubber coating and comes with a rechargeable battery. With more than 6,200 5-star reviews from Amazon customers, it’s one of the top-rated self-defense tools for sale right now.
Buying this as a gift? This stun gun is also available in pink.
3. Sabre Advanced Compact Pepper Spray
BEST PEPPER SPRAY
Sabre Advanced Compact Pepper Spray is one of the most trusted names in self-defense, and they provide some of the best self-defense products for both civilians and law enforcement officers. This compact pepper spray sports a built-in belt clip which ensures your spray will be right at hand should you be facing a real-life threat. This pepper spray also includes a UV marker, which could help police identify your attacker.
4. Self Defense Siren – Safety Alarm, 2 Pack
BEST PERSONAL SAFETY ALARM
Sometimes, the safest thing you can do is call for help. The Self Defense Siren is designed to alert anyone nearby so that they can call the police and come to your assistance. Because many muggings and carjackings are crimes of opportunity, the loud sound of your alarm may be enough to deter attackers on its own. These safety alarms emit a screeching 130db sound that can be heard from hundreds of feet away.
5. Sabre Safe Escape 3-In-1 Pepper Gel
BEST SELF-DEFENSE KEYCHAIN
If you’re looking for a pepper spray that can fit on your keychain, then you’ll want to pick up this ultra-compact pepper spray, also from Sabre. This multi-function self-defense tool also comes with a seatbelt cutter and window breaker in case you are trapped inside your car in an emergency. Instead of the typical spray, this canister uses powerful pepper gel with a 12-foot range to ward off would-be attackers. Not only that, but this self-defense weapon marks attackers with a UV dye, which can help police identify them following an attempted attack.
6. Addalock Portable Door Lock Self-Defense Weapon
BEST DOOR LOCK
Great for when you’re traveling or even when you’re at home and just want one extra layer of security, this portable door lock from Addalock is super handy to keep in your luggage. Addalock works simply by inserting the device into the strike plate of the door closure wherein it sits and acts as a door stopper. Lightweight, fast, and easy to use, it’ll make a huge difference when you want just a little more peace of mind.
7. CRKT Williams Self-Defense Key
You may have heard stories about how you can slot your keys in-between your knuckles in case a situation starts to turn dicey, but what if you didn’t have to? This defense key tool from Columbia River Knife & Tool is meant to ease that process by taking the hassle out of having to place the keys. The slight bellow at the bottom of the key makes it easy to grip in-between your hands with its secure grip. The tool itself will naturally fit on your key ring and looks incredibly discreet. Oh, and it has a Philips head screwdriver on it, adding to its value.
8. Smith & Wesson Heat-Treated Steel Baton
A collapsible steel baton is a standard-issue form of non-lethal defense for many law enforcement officers. Because they’re compact, easy to use and can be worn on your belt or kept in a purse, they’re a handy tool to have on hand. If you aren’t afraid of trading blows with your attacker, this heat-treated steel baton from can give you the upper hand when you need it most. Smith & Wesson’s 16″ Heat Treated Collapsible Baton is crafted from black 4130 alloy steel and comes with a textured grip and a belt sheath. It might not look like much, but like the best self-defense weapons, we promise it packs one hell of a punch.
9. Mace Police-Model Pepper Spray with Tear Gas
MADE IN USA
Mace isn’t just a common name for pepper spray; it’s actually a specific brand, and one that’s known for making some of the best self-defense weapons for men and women alike. This Made in the USA pocket pepper spray has earned more than 4,000 reviews and a 4.7-star rating on Amazon. It’s a police-style spray canister with a 10-foot range. In addition to pepper spray, it also uses tear gas and UV dye for added protection.
Read More: The Best Emergency Kits
10. SABRE Bear Horn Self-Defense Weapon
However, if you’d prefer something that will sound just as loud from further way, this SABRE horn will certainly do the trick. While it’s originally intended to be used as protection against bears when you’re out camping, the air horn can be heard from over a half-mile away. Small enough to fit in a pocket or easily in the glove box of a car, the shrill and loud noise will make unsavory characters think twice.
11. Galaxyman Touchscreen Full Finger Motorcycle Gloves
There’s certainly more than meets the eye when it comes to these motorcycle-style gloves from Galaxyman. Within the knuckles of the gloves themselves are reinforced bits of steel to not only protect you should you happen to fall off your bike, but they can be used a bit of extra oompf should you get into a fistfight with someone. The breathable fabric makes them comfortable to wear, while the tips of the fingers allow for easy access to your smartphone.
12. VIPERTEK VTS-989 Stun Gun Self-Defense Weapon
Movies and television have shown us just how effective a stun gun is and this version from VIPERTEK is no slouch. Amazon’s listing shows just turning on the device produces a sound loud enough to deter the majority of criminals. If that’s not enough, the jolt it provides should be enough to do the trick. Furthermore, if an assailant attempts to remove the device from your hand, the sides of top portion of the device will also provide a jolt. Powered by a rechargeable battery, it’ll last a long time in between charges and will have you prepare should the worst arrive.
13. Smith & Wesson Quick Release 24″ Baton
Most self-defense weapons can be purchased for under $25, but if you have the money to spend, then we highly recommend this police-grade collapsible steel baton from Smith & Wesson. This steel baton is made with ultra-tough 4140 steel and has a rubberized grip. Best of all, it features a push-button for quick release in an emergency fight or flight situation. And if you choose fight, you’ll be glad you have this 24″ steel baton at your hip and ready for action.
14. Mace Pepper Spray Gun
BEST MACE GUN
Like Smith & Wesson, Sabre and VIPERTEK, Mace is one of the most-trusted self-defense brands in the world. The company’s pepper spray gun is Made in the USA and has an impressive 20-foot range, double the typical pepper spray canister. This police-style pepper spray gun uses replaceable cartridges, so you won’t have to keep replacing it as time goes on. In addition, it also marks attackers with UV dye.
15. Maglite Heavy-Duty Incandescent Flashlight
With its sturdy, heavy-duty construction, the Maglite Heavy-Duty Incandescent 4-Cell D Flashlight can be used for more than just illuminating your way in the dark. The tough, anodized metal is rust-resistant and drop-resistant to give you a reliable flashlight and potential weapon. This USA-made flashlight is also available in seven different colors and several different sizes, although the larger sizes are definitely most effective for use as a weapon to defend yourself.
16. FastStriker Quick Strike Safety Tool
BEST FOR RUNNERS
Hey, if whips work well for cinematic heroes, they’ll be more than good enough for you. FastStriker’s whip has a length of up to 17 inches when it is fully extended and weighs only three ounces. In short, you’ll be able to whip it good without worrying about somehow hitting yourself in the process. Additionally, the included hook means the FastStriker can attach to the interior of pants or a jacket for subtle hiding, making this a great choice when out running, cycling or during any other outdoor activity.
17. The Atomic Bear Tactical Pen
BEST TACTICAL PEN
As the old adage says, the pen is mightier than the sword, and that’s especially true with The Atomic Bear Tactical Pen in your hands. This all-in-one pen includes a glass breaker, multitool and built-in compartment for concealing items. The enhanced impact end is made from tough tungsten carbide and can be used to defend yourself against an unexpected attack. Plus, the pen’s inconspicuous appearance makes this a great choice for users who prefer to keep their weapon in view and close at hand.
18. Smith & Wesson High Carbon S.S. Fixed Blade Knife
BEST FIXED-BLADE KNIFE
With a 4.7-inch, 7Cr17MoV high-carbon stainless steel blade, the Smith & Wesson High Carbon S.S. Fixed Blade Knife should be enough to make even the most persistent attacker think twice. And, should things take a turn for the worse, this user-friendly knife sports a comfortable, rubber-wrapped handle to prevent slippage and provide a secure hold. Additionally, the knife is supplied with a button-clasp sheath which is easily mounted on your belt or boots. Remember, you should only carry this knife if you’re trained in self-defense combat. Inexperienced users may accidentally hurt themselves with improper handling.
19. Cold Steel Brooklyn Smasher
The Cold Steel Brooklyn Smasher is made from tough polypropylene that is virtually unbreakable. In hand, this baseball bat will increase your ability to defend yourself and provide an effective way to intimidate potential threats, too. The durable bat will also not crack, rot, splinter or fade, making it a solid investment for the long term. Furthermore, it can be used for normal hitting use, no matter whether you’re at the cages or competing.
20. Guard Dog Security All-in-One Defense Tool
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that will have you fully covered when it comes time to defend yourself, this versatile device from Guard Dog Security has you covered. A multi-functional tool that includes a stun gun, a stunningly bright flashlight, and a glass breaker is a veritable one-stop shop. When carrying it, it simply looks like a flashlight, making it fairly unassuming to those who might look to do you harm. Plus, the aluminum construction will hold up should it be dropped.
21. GLOCK 19 BB Gun Air Pistol
BEST BB GUN
One of the most intimidating weapons a person can carry is a gun. With the GLOCK 19 BB Gun Air Pistol in your possession, you’ll enjoy all the visual benefits of carrying a gun without having to worry about the complexities and added responsibility of handling a live-round-firing weapon. However, it’s important to note that this CO2-powered weapon is capable of firing 177 caliber steel BBs at a rate of 400 feet per second.
22. MTech USA Fixed Blade Neck Knife
With this MTech USA Fixed Blade Neck Knife around your neck, you’ll know you’re ready to defend yourself should things take a real turn south. It comes in either black or digital green and sports a tough, stainless steel blade. The handle is also shaped like a grenade for an extra touch of style. Furthermore, you’ll have a choice when it comes to wearing the knife, as the accompanying nylon fiber sheath includes both a ball-chain necklace and a built-in belt clip.
23. SLFORCE Personal Alarm Siren Song
SLFORCE knows that a good defense can be as effective as a good offense when it comes to dealing with potential attackers. That’s why the SLFORCE Personal Alarm Siren Song delivers a hard-to-ignore 130dB alarm noise to attract attention and deter any would-be attackers. Plus, this compact device includes a built-in keychain for easy portability as well as a bright LED light, making it ideal for all kinds of eventualities.
24. Stinger Whip Multipurpose Emergency Tool
Keep this multipurpose whip tool in your car to ward off potential attackers and protect yourself from being trapped inside your vehicle in case of an accident. It features an ergonomic grip and comes with a hand strap for easy use. The whip portion can be used to back perpetrators away while the Stinger’s tip is designed to break tempered glass in the event of vehicle entrapment.
Also Consider: Sabre Self-Defense Kit
BEST GIFT SET
We featured this Sabre kit earlier in this guide, and it provides a trifecta of safety when it comes to self-defense. The spray dispenses a powerful stream to keep attackers at bay while the strong stun gun offers maximum self-protection if needed. The zapping sound paired with a bright flashlight can disorient an attacker, allowing you to get out of harm’s way. If you’re interested in buying this self-defense kit as a gift for a sister, spouse or daughter, this version comes in bright pink.
Frequently Asked Questions About Self Defense Weapons
Examples of the best non-lethal self-defense weapons include:
- Pepper Spray
- Personal Alarms
- Stun Guns and Tasers
- Tactical Whips
- Steel Batons
- Tactical Pen
- Baseball Bats
- Emergency Whistles
The legality of self-defense weapons depends on your local state law. As of 2021, states like New York, Alaska, Hawaii and Washington, DC prohibit the delivery of self-defense weapons such as pepper spray, although they may remain legal to own and use. Even though you can find pepper spray, stun guns and other self-defense weapons for salle on sites like Amazon, they can't always be legally shipped to you (even if they are legal for use in those states, as is the case in New York). Please double-check the laws of your home state before trying to buy self-defense weapons online.
You must be 18 years or older to purchase many common self-defense weapons.
Home Defense Academy lists these moves as the best self-defense tactics. These moves could come in handy if you find yourself without the proper self-defense weapon in an emergency.
- Elbow Strikes
- Closed Hand or Fist Strikes
- Knee Strikes
- Throat Punch
- Strike Nose
- Strike Ear or Temple
- Side Kick to the Knee
- Groin Snap Kick