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No one wants to think about being the victim of crime. However, the FBI has released reports showing that both the violent crime and property crime rates have increased again since last year.
This is the second year in a row that violent crime rates have been on the rise. And, while we can’t live our lives paranoid and nervous, it is wise to be prepared.
Carrying personal security equipment is one way to be prepared.
Importance of Personal Security Equipment
When it comes to being able to protect yourself many people instantly think of weapons such as a handgun. But, many people either aren’t comfortable carrying a deadly weapon or just don’t want to. Personal security equipment encompasses many more things than just handguns or knives.
Below we provide information on several of the most popular forms of personal security equipment on the market. Compare the pros and cons of each item to see which one is the right choice for you.
Chances are good that you have at least heard of pepper spray. Many people even carry pepper spray, but they know little about it.
Pepper spray is a nonlethal option you can use for your personal safety and security. The formula contains oleoresin capsicum, better known as OC, which is derived from peppers.
When sprayed in the eyes and on the skin, the pepper spray causes a physical reaction that stops attackers in their tracks. It causes temporary blindness, a burning sensation of the skin, and difficulty breathing.
Pepper spray is effective and nonlethal on both animals and humans. The advantage to using pepper spray is that it causes a physical reaction that is effective on even those that tasers and stun guns are ineffective on, such as those that are heavily intoxicated or under the influence of a drug.
What to Look For
When purchasing pepper spray there are a few key things that you want to look for:
- Range – Each different product has a different range that it will reach. The longer the range the further away you can stay from danger while using the product.
- Type of spray – Some brands use a stream spray, which is more powerful than a regular spray. This helps reduce the chance that the wind will blow the pepper spray back on you while you are discharging it.
- Amount of formula – Check to see how many sprays you should be able to get from the product. You want it to hold enough that you can effectively cover your target(s) and get away.
- UV Dye – Some pepper spray on the market includes UV dye, which helps in identifying an attacker after the fact.
- Safety – What type of safety feature does it have so you do not have accidental sprays. Make sure that you can quickly and easily use the product if you were under pressure.
- Carrying options – Some products attach on your keychain, others come with velcro wrist straps, and there are many other carrying options. Look for the option that matches your lifestyle the best.
Mace vs. Pepper Spray
Let’s take just a second to clear the confusion. Many consumers think that Mace and pepper spray are two different things. However, that’s not true. Mace is a brand of pepper spray.
The original formula consisted of different ingredients, but it now includes OC derived from peppers as well.
Using Pepper Spray
Pepper spray is incredibly easy to use, but there are a few key things that you need to remember.
- Get familiar with how to use it. You don’t want to be trying to figure out the safety feature when you are being attacked. You need to know how to use it before have to use it.
- Hit the face. Pepper spray is most effective when it gets in the eyes of your attacker. You want to cover their face with the pepper spray.
- Get away. As soon as you see the person or animal react to the pepper spray run to safety.
It is also important that you familiarize yourself with the shelf life of the product. Many are four years, but verify with the product that you buy. If you can’t remember when you purchased it, replace it anyway.
Pepper spray is affordable and it is better to know that you have a product that will work when you need it, then take a chance.
When using pepper spray it is important that you hit your attacker, person or animal, in the face. You want the product to go into their eyes and for them to breath it in. If you have bad aim or run out of spray before you effectively cover them you could be in danger.
There is also the possibility that on a windy day some of the spray comes back onto you and you will be effected by it as well.
There are lots of different brands of pepper spray available on the market. We have scoured the brands out there, the options available, and the reviews from other purchasers.
After doing so, we recommend these three pepper sprays:
A stun gun is another means of personal security equipment. Lots of people think that you can use the words ‘taser’ and ‘stun gun’ interchangeably, but that is incorrect.
They are two different products and you can read all about the differences right here.
Stun guns are a nonlethal handheld weapon that works by sending a high voltage shock into the person it is being used on. This causes the person to lose their ability to control their movements.
Stun guns can bring a large grown man to his knees when stunned. Unlike a taser, where you shoot prongs into the attacker, a stun gun needs to be used when you are next to the attacker. The stun gun needs to actually touch the person in order to shock them.
What to Look for
- Check the voltage – if you want a stun gun that is going to work you need to check the voltage. Stun guns that have a high enough voltage, over 800,000 volts will show a bright “lighting” style bolt between the prongs of the stun gun when the trigger is pulled and it is in the air. This is a good way to deter attackers from getting too close to you. Higher voltage also means it will be more effective and faster than other stun guns.
- Comfort for usability – How does it feel in your hand? Are you comfortable holding it and able to use it quickly if needed?
- Extra features – Stun guns can come as batons, with flaghlights, alarms and other additional features. Think about which ones you would like and why. For example, if your stun gun has a flashlight you can use it in the dark to guide your way, while still having a means of protection at the same time.
- Security features – Some stun guns include a disabling pin that is attached to a wrist band. You simply put the band around your wrist and if the attacker pulls the stun gun away from you the pin will be removed from the stun gun making it ineffective. This is a great safety feature to keep it from being used on you if you happen to lose control of it.
Using a Stun Gun
- Always make sure that your stun gun has been charged and you can easily get to it. Do not let it be one more item loose in your purse.
- Make sure that you know how to quickly turn the stun gun on, safety off, and know how to use it. Practice, practice, practice (just not on anyone)
- Learn the best places on the body to use the stun gun. Areas like the forearm, bicep, and inner thigh are a few of the best areas to target.
- When using press the stun gun against the body and fire for 3-5 seconds. You cannot be shocked through contact with the other person, only if the stun gun is on you.
- Get away. The purpose of the stun gun is not to hurt the attacker, it is to stop them in their tracks long enough to allow you to get away.
To use a stun gun you have to be within arms reach of your attacker. This eliminates your chance to stop them in their tracks like you could with pepper spray before they are right up to you.
There are stun batons you can use, which gives you a little bit of distance from your attacker. There are also some people that stun guns are not effective against.
People that are don’t feel pain like normal might not be stopped by the shock. This includes people that are intoxicated, using drugs, or those with some mental disorders.
Here are some of the best stun guns on the market:
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of carrying any type of weapon you may want to consider a pocket alarm. Some of these devices also have rings on them to allow them to be carried on your key ring.
If you are walking to your car at night through the parking lot and are approached by a criminal, you can simply push your alarm.
The noise and possibility of others being alerted is enough to make many would be attackers take off before having a chance to do anything. Even if you carry another device for personal security, it’s also a great idea to carry an alarm.
What to Look for
- Battery Life – Look for an alarm that has a long battery life. Some alarms have rechargeable batteries. There are some consumers that prefer these so they don’t have to buy replacement batteries, and there are others that feel buying one with batteries you can swap out is a better idea.
- Size – You want an alarm that is small and lightweight. It should be easy to get to regardless of what you are doing. You want to be able to carry it when you are walking or running, along with being able to carry it if your hands are full and you are walking to your vehicle.
- Sound Quality – The most important thing when buying an alarm is making sure that the alarm works and that it is loud. If your alarm is not loud enough it will not deter an attacker, leaving you in danger. 120 dB is the minimum of what you should look for. Many alarms are at 130 or 140 dB.
- Safety Pin – Some designs come with a safety pin. If you are in danger you pull the pin and are able to sound the alarm. This helps to avoid accidentally setting off the alarm while carrying the alarm on your key chain or in your purse.
- Flashlight – Consider if you would like an alarm that comes with this additional feature. It is a nice option to have available if you are going to be out and about at night.
Using an Alarm
Alarms are nice and simple to use. Some are are a simple push of a button. Others include needing to pull the pin out (think similar to a grenade).
Familiarize yourself with the process. Most importantly, make sure that you are keeping or carrying your alarm somewhere that you can quickly reach and set off the alarm if you are in trouble.
The alarms are used to help protect you from a wide range of crimes: robbery, battery, rape, and kidnapping.
While an alarm can alert people that you are in trouble if the attacker is not scared off by that fact, the alarm will do nothing for you.
It is best used in addition to another product, like a stun gun or pepper spray. If you are in an area with no other people the person that you are trying to stop can simply ignore the alarm without worry.
It’s always smart to carry an additional item for self-defense.
Tactical pens are a great option for personal security equipment that many people overlook. It is a small self-defence tool that you can carry without being noticed, that can still provide you a means to protect yourself against an attacker.
There are different types of tactical pens that are used for different purposes. However, the basic tactical pen can be used as a writing instrument, but is made of high quality steel that allows you to stab an attacker, break glass, and collect DNA.
These can be used if you are being attacked or if you find yourself trapped. They have been used by officers to break windows, and could also be used to free yourself from a car underwater in the case of an accident.
The big advantage to a tactical pen is that you can use it in your everyday life. These are great tools for contractors and inspectors that are required to go onto other people’s properties and into their homes to file reports or complete work.
You can have a self-defense tool in your hand ready to go at any moment while completing your work.
It is important to remember that a tactical pen is a weapon. If you attempt to bring it onto an airplane, you could be arrested. Always remember that you are carrying it. You would not “forget” that you are carrying a gun or knife with you, and you should be just as mindful of a tactical pen.
What to Look for
- Strength of Product – You want to find a tactical pen that is solid and made of a strong material. You want to be able to use the pen to break glass and other materials.
- Ink cartridge – It is still a pen, so you want to make sure it is the ink color that you want it to be and that it is easy to refill. This is NOT a pen that you throw away when the ink runs out.
- Grip – You need to be able to have a good grip on the pen when using it in self-defense.
- Carrying Pouch – Does the pen come with a carrying pouch, and if so can you quickly get the pen out if you need to use it in an emergency situation.
Using a Tactical Pen
The key to being successful with a tactical pen is knowing how to use it, otherwise it is just a simple pen. A tactical pen can be used like a sword or a knife. It is crucial that if you are using it as a weapon that you have confidence, a strong grip, and powerful fast motions.
You also need to know the most vulnerable points on the body to use it:
- Head: Eyes, nose, ears, throat
- Body: Base of neck, armpit, ribs, sternum, back of hand, knuckles, groin
- Legs: Solar Plexus, knee, thigh
When striking remember to go hard and fast. Don’t strike once, but strike repeatedly. Look for an opportunity and don’t hesitate once you have one.
You have to be engaging in hand to hand combat, or at least close enough to connect directly with your attacker in order to use a tactical pen. That means you could be putting yourself in more danger by needing to get close to the person in order to protect yourself.
You also need to be experienced in using this self-defense tool. You need to know which areas to use it in and be strong enough to do damage with it. The ability to move fast and with power is crucial.
When choosing a pen you need to consider both reasons you are purchasing it. First for use as a pen. You need a pen that will work effectively and refill easily, and second as a means of self-defense. You want a strong quality product that will get the job done.
Choosing the Right Personal Security Equipment for You
As you can see there are many options for personal security equipment and self-defense tools. Choosing which one is right for you depends on your lifestyle and your level of comfort.
If you enjoy walking or running you may want to consider carrying something that you can use to protect yourself from animals as well as people. In this case a pocket alarm will not help you, but pepper spray or a stun gun could.
On the other hand, if you are not comfortable using a small tool like a tactical pen, but want something that would just draw attention to you if you needed help, a pocket alarm is the way to go. The best piece of advice is to find a product that you are comfortable using.
To use any of these options you need to be confident in your ability to use it.
Purchase a quality product that will come through with you should you need to use it. Check out our reviews to find the best products on the market and we will continue to bring you up to date information on the best tips and products on the market to product yourself, your home, and your business.