Posts Tagged ‘stun gun’


Self-Defense for The Rest of Us

Friday, February 24th, 2017
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Violence in the news

Purse with weapon. . . against religions, immigrant or racial groups. Violence in the streets, violence threatened by our government – it’s enough to make you want to lock the doors, crawl into bed and cover your head.

Some people are stocking up on guns and ammunition. But for most of us at Emergency Plan Guide, daily life goes on without dramatic changes that include firearms.

Still, if you’re feeling less secure these days, it’s worth taking another, no-nonsense look at personal safety and self-defense.

1 – Martial arts skills are a potent defense for some.

Trained martial arts masters no doubt have a much better chance of surviving a violent attack by someone without a weapon or even with one. In fact, everyone can become more skilled, without having to become a master. (I’ve seen classes advertised for children, for young women – “Don’t get raped” — and for senior citizens.)

I think even I could handle several of the self-defense moves illustrated in this article: http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_1376_16-self-defense-moves-to-impress-your-friends-muggers/

But – and here’s the big caution. I am NOT in the best shape of my life. I have NOT trained or practiced these moves. I’m NOT confident that I would remember exactly which move to apply when. And I don’t have a martial arts class in my future.

So what about you?

In other words, unless you are willing to sign up for a professional class and become proficient if not professional, a casual approach to martial arts is useless and probably even dangerous.

2 — Mental attitude will KEEP you out of trouble.

Being aware is the very first defense, and is likely to be the key to your safety. We have written several times about the concept of situational awareness.

But awareness also requires action.

For example,

  • If you find yourself driving deeper into the “wrong” neighborhood, an unknown part of town, or into a dark parking lot or alley – make a smart decision, a quick U-turn and simply get out of there before you put yourself at risk.
  • If your normally familiar neighborhood or work environment suddenly “feels funny” – you see people you haven’t seen before doing things that don’t make sense, hear sounds that could be gunshots – make a smart decision and remove yourself (and your family, no matter how much they resist) before something happens.
  • if you enter what we’ve learned to term a “soft target” area – like a mall, movie theatre, sporting event, or shopping area – make constant note of alternate ways to get out of the area. In an emergency you’ll know just what to do and you won’t be trampled by all the others who will naturally try to get out the way they got in.

All of these mean you have to 1) recognize a potentially dangerous situation and 2) overcome doubt and other people’s criticisms or reluctance and 3) GET THE HELL OUT.

Explain or defend your actions later.

3 – When you have to fight, your ultimate goal is still to get away.

There may be a time when your “antennae” just didn’t work and you can’t avoid a person who is threatening you.

Or, and I hate to say this, YOU may have provoked a situation by threatening, annoying or insulting someone (Road rage? Street protest?) to the point they attack you. At that moment, you need to be able to let go of your own emotions and recognize the danger you’ve put yourself in!

Either way, if you decide that you must fight for your life, then commit to that fight. Any half-hearted attempt will be inadequate and could put you in even more danger.

Some self-protection suggestions that make sense to me:

Yell sharply and loudly right in the face of the attacker!

“BACK OFF!” makes it clear you are not going to be a willing victim. Your aggressive resistance may even be enough to make the attacker look for an easier victim. Note you are yelling at the attacker, not yelling for “Help!” from some unknown source.

Use what you have or can find as an improvised weapon.

If you have keys in your hand, use a key to scratch or cut. (If you are holding a whole bunch of keys in your hand, however, you are likely to stab your own palm if you actually hit something hard with that hand.) Hurl a handful of pocket change. Toss dirt or sand. Launch a pot of hot coffee. Spray an attacker with perfume or hairspray.

Use what you can to distract the attacker so you can get away.

Use “weaponized” personal items.

Any device is useless unless you understand how to use it, and you have it in your hand ready to use. This takes us right back to “situational awareness” and “mental attitude.” Here are some ordinary items that become weapons if you use them that way. Click the blue links under the images to go to Amazon to get current prices and full details.

I try to carry a flashlight all the time, for light and as a weapon.  Lately, we have the choice of “tactical” flashlights that serve both purposes.

My favorite “tactical” flashlight has a ridged grip that won’t slip and a sharp front edge that would cut seriously when used as a slashing weapon. Here’s a tactical light that has a wrist strap for easy carrying, offers a super-bright m adjustable flashlight and comes in a gift box. The blue arrow points to the sharp edge.

tactical flashlight

LED Tactical Flashlight,Akaho 900 Lumen XML T6 Portable Outdoor Water Resistant Torch with Adjustable Focus and 5 Light Modes,Rechargeable 18650 Lithium Ion Battery and Charger

I also carry a “tactical pen.” (The image at the start of this article shows it clipped to my purse.) It looks pretty ordinary but is anything but. It’s solid, heavy, has a pointed end and a thumb rest on the other end for secure grip. It could break a car window in an emergency. And plunging it into any part of anyone’s body would hurt BAD.

Here’s a better look and a link to the description at Amazon. There are other pens that are more pen than weapon, and pens with small flashlights built in. Take a good look to find what would suit you best.

Tactical pen

Hoffman Richter Stinger Tactical Pen

Be prepared with legal, dedicated self-defense items.

In my estimation, carrying guns or knives requires a level of training outside the scope of an Emergency Plan Guide Advisory. But there are other options to consider.

Stun gun. You hold a stun gun in your hand.  When you press it against the body of an attacker, its “electrical punch” can completely disable and disorient him for seconds or minutes, giving you the chance to get away. Before you purchase, be sure a stun gun is legal in your state or county. (For a lot more on stun guns – and tasers, which we do NOT recommend — see our earlier Advisory.)

I like the model shown below because it has a safety disable pin. If you lose control of the gun, the pin pulls out and it won’t shoot. It comes with a wrist strap, too – and in pink and black.

Stun guns

VIPERTEK VTS-979 – 230,000,000 Stun Gun – Rechargeable with Safety Disable Pin LED Flashlight, Pink

VIPERTEK VTS-979 – 230,000,000 Stun Gun – Rechargeable with Safety Disable Pin LED Flashlight, Black

Pepper spray

As I just said, for your stun gun to work, you have to press it against your attacker’s body.

That means the attacker is VERY CLOSE to you!

That’s why I prefer to carry a canister of pepper spray. It can shoot a spray at least 8-10 feet! (For more details, see this Advisory.) Anyone over 18 can buy and carry pepper spray.

Here’s one I recommend; I chose the pink color because if you bury this in a purse or briefcase, you’ll find it a lot easier if it’s colored. (This brand comes in black and aqua as well as pink.)

Pepper spray pink

SABRE Red Pepper Spray – Police Strength – Compact, Case & Quick Release Key Ring (Max Protection – 25 Shots, up to 5x More)

Does any of this make sense to you? Should you make a change in what you normally carry in your car or on your person?

Remember that in all these cases – driving, shopping, defending against an attack – you will only be successful if you

Make a quick assessment

Decide what to do, and

Do it!

Here’s to your safety,

Virginia
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

 

 

Update on Self-Defense Products

Thursday, May 5th, 2016
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Scary Parking LotAbout a year ago I researched and wrote my first Advisory about stun guns and tasers for self-defense. It generated a number of comments then, and continues to be one of our most popular posts.

You may want to take the time to read it here, then come back for this update.

Obviously, self-defense products are NOT for everyone.

At the same time, our readers’ personal safety continues to be a concern.

So we keep up with the news and reviews about all aspects of self-protection, including the Second Amendment controversy. I’m not ready to jump into recommending firearms yet, but I certainly can suggest some non-lethal alternatives that may serve ALL our readers.

Stun Guns vs. Tasers – They are NOT the same.

The confusion about these two items continues in the public, at least. Even on Amazon, there is no distinction!

Here are three differences you need to know:

1 – Different technology

While both these devices operate using a charge of electricity, the stun gun generates a shock when the probes on the gun itself are pressed against someone. The taser shoots a projectile that creates the shock when the projectile hits someone. Stun guns are available starting at around $20. Tasers start at around $300 and quickly go up in price from there.

2 – Different uses

Obviously, given the technology, the stun gun is an up-close weapon useful when you are being physically attacked. The taser can be put to use from a distance – typically from 10 – 25 ft, away.

3 – Different regulations

Stun guns seem to be legal in most states. Tasers may not be legal without a weapon carry permit and the training that goes with it. It all depends on the state – or even the county – you live in.

Here are two places you begin research about your own state:

http://outdoorsmagazine.net/stun-gun-laws/ (NEW as of 12/21/2016) and http://bestpepperspray.net/stun-gun-laws-legal/

No guarantees! Check with official agencies in your OWN town to be sure you know the rules.

Warning about these NON-LETHAL devices.

The taser really isn’t non-lethal. It has been reported as causing the deaths of hundreds – yes, as many as 800 – of people in law-enforcement related incidents. Only some of these deaths seem to have been accidental.

My recommendation – Unless you are willing to come up with the cost for a taser, get the appropriate training and licenses and run the risk of a tragic accident that could get you mired in the legal system – I’d stay away from a taser.

Stun gun vs. Pepper Spray

The disadvantage I see to a stun gun is that your attacker has to actually be within arm’s reach for you to use the device. Yes, its colorful “Zap” may have some deterrent effect, but that’s it.

When it comes to stopping an attacker before he gets too close, I’d prefer pepper spray.

A hand-held canister of pepper spray can shoot a spray or cloud at least 8-10 feet, and probably more.

The important questions to ask about pepper spray:

Size of canister – Does the spray canister fit easily and comfortably in your hand so you can grab and use it? Sizes range from lipstick-tube-size to much larger cans. The 2-oz. size offers enough liquid that you can test a couple of times without emptying the canister.

Safety features – If you hang your canister on your key chain or onto the outside of your purse, or carry it IN your purse, what keeps it from accidentally going off? Flip top? Twist top? Can the safety features be operated WITH ONE HAND?

Life of product – Pepper spray won’t last forever, although it should last at least a couple of years. Check the expiration date on the packaging, and test to see that the spray is working every 6 months or so. You don’t want to need it and discover that nothing happens when you press the button!

Product quality – There are a number of manufacturers of pepper spray, and while I am usually happy to get “the best deal” on anything I buy, in this case the cheapest is not likely to give me what I am looking for.

My research has led me to one particular manufacturer of pepper spray – Fox Labs.

Reviews from law enforcement users as well as “regular” people are compelling. This product seems to work when other products, similarly priced and highly promoted, do not.

Here’s what the 2 oz. canister looks like. It should provide 18 or so ½ second bursts, so you can practice a couple of times. Its range is advertised as 17-20 feet.

Click on the image to get the latest pricing at Amazon. (It was just under $17 when I last looked.)

There is also a 4 oz. canister that may shoot even farther and has double the number of bursts, but that size is not legal to be shipped in California, so may not be legal where you live, either. Again, check local regulations!

Note that this product must be shipped via ground, so it may not arrive immediately.

If you purchase pepper spray, check your canister carefully. Note its expiration date. Then . . .

Practice!

Practice getting it out of your purse, unlocking the cover and shooting. You must be able to do it in the dark and when you are nervous!  Get your moves down, and then refresh your skills from time to time.

If you ever need this, you’ll need it.

Virginia
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. Joggers and bike riders say this spray works great on threatening dogs, too.

 

 

Personal Safety – Should You Consider a Stun Gun?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
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The news is so frightening these days!

Threatened bombings, actual shootings and beatings, rape. Awful. Disheartening. And, unfortunately, reality.

Here at Emergency Plan Guide we try to be as upbeat and level-headed as possible. At the same time, it seems sensible to be aware of personal safety options.

One option, legal in most states, is a stun gun.

You hold the stun gun in your hand, and when you press it against the body of an attacker, its “electrical punch” can completely disable and disorient him for seconds or minutes, giving you the chance to get away. In fact, the zapping sound and electric blue flash of a stun gun being set off may discourage the attacker from approaching in the first place.

Here are two examples, directly from Amazon.com.  Both are made by Vipertek. The first image (right) shows VIPERTEK VTS-191 – 25,000,000 V Heavy Duty Stun Gun – Rechargeable with LED Tactical Flashlight (Black)

This stun gun is incorporated into a heavy-duty LED flashlight.

The second model, below, comes in different colors and while the image doesn’t exactly show it, it is much smaller and lighter than the flashlight. It is about the size of a small TV remote.

VIPERTEK VTS-979 – 30,000,000 V Stun Gun – Rechargeable with Safety Disable Pin & LED Flashlight (Pink)

Is this really something to consider carrying?

Here are the questions I asked as I was researching for this post.

1. Is a stun gun legal?

Stun guns are treated differently in different cities, different counties and different states! Sometimes you have to go through a registration process to own one.

To give you an idea, one stun gun advertised on Amazon carries this disclosure: “We do not ship to the following locations: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, District of Columbia, Annapolis, MD, Baltimore, MD, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore County, MD, Crawford County, IA.”

If you intend to purchase one, I recommend you check carefully to find out the LATEST rules governing buying and carrying stun guns in your town. If you plan to travel with your stun gun, then check again, because different rules apply there, too. (Mostly, it appears as though a deactivated stun gun can be carried in checked luggage. But don’t take my word for it!)

A good place to start your legal research: http://www.stungunbuyersguide.com/stun-gun-laws/

2. Is a stun gun the same as a taser?

When it comes to legislation, stun guns are sometimes lumped together with tasers, and other times are treated separately.  For our purposes, though, there is a distinct difference.

  • A taser is a “long-distance” (15-20 ft.) weapon. It shoots out wires that carry the electrical current, and once it’s shot, you can’t quickly reload. Tasers start at around $400 and the “professional” models used by police cost more than $1,000. These tasers are of colored plastic in the shape of a pistol, with a hand grip and trigger, and are worn in a holster.
  • The stun gun, on the other hand, is a close-up defense tool. It has to be pressed against the body to create the circuit; it can be used repeatedly as long as its battery is still charged. Stun guns start at just over $10 and there are many available in the $20-40 range. They could be carried in a purse or pocket.

3. How do you charge the stun gun?

Obviously, your stun gun needs to be charged to have any impact. The typical gun comes with rechargeable batteries and a cord that you plug into the wall. You’ll get instructions to charge it fully (10-12 hrs?) when you receive it and then to “top it off” on a monthly basis.

A solar-powered charger suitable for charging your computer or phone would likely work to charge your stun gun, too. Check.

4. Other features to consider?

Stun guns have been incorporated into other personal items. We mentioned the flashlight/stun gun style above. Stun guns have also been incorporated into iphone lookalikes, into actual iphone cases, and into batons and other professional law enforcement tools.

There are many sizes and styles.

Pick the one that suits your own needs and lifestyle.

If I felt threatened, or were heading into an unsavory or dangerous place, I’d have my stun gun in my hand and ready to use. I personally like the “safety disable pin” that comes with the pink example above. The stun gun comes with a wrist strap which is attached to the pin. (Scroll over all the images to see the wrist strap.) If the stun gun is taken away from you in a struggle, the pin will be pulled out. This stops the stun gun from working so it can’t be turned against you.

In my opinion, the stun gun is closer to being a weapon than other safety items we’ve talked about. I’d investigate carefully before deciding to carry one or to give one to a family member.

It might, however, be something that would give you new peace of mind.

Virginia
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. Do you already have a stun gun? Have you ever used it? What more information can you share with Emergency Plan Guide readers to help us make our decisions?