What Type of Self-Defense Weapon Should I Carry?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from women in my self defense program is, "What type of self defense weapon should I carry?" And the usual answer is, "It depends."

The reason for the "it depends" response is because women have this idea that if they buy a self defense weapon they are automatically safe. The reality is, that weapon does nothing for you if it is not in your hand and ready to use. Most women won't take the time to train with the weapon they bought so that they can become proficient with it. Why? Because when you are being attacked, your muscle memory needs to kick in. You don't have the time to figure out how to use a weapon you've just bought.

So here are the questions you need to ask yourself if you are thinking about buying Mace, Pepper Spray, Tasers, Knives or Firearms:

  • Are you willing to use it?

    I know it sounds silly. "Of course I'm going to use it, that's why I bought," you say. However, when you really think about, if you are attacked will you use the weapon to inflict physical harm to the person attacking you; especially if it's someone you know?

  • Can you use the weapon with your eyes closed?

    Again, I know it sounds silly, but if you can use the weapon with your eyes closed, you've practiced it. And should you lose vision in an attack (it's dark, sweat is in your eyes, dirt in your eyes, just got punched in the eye), you will be able to stay composed and utilize your weapon.

  • Where will you carry the weapon?

    This is an important question. If you are simply going to drop it into your purse with the other 300 items in there, how are you going to access it when you need it? Remember, you have a split second to get to it.

  • Is it legal to use in your State?

    This is a biggie. You need to know and understand what the legal ramifications are for using any weapon in your state and what fines / jail time you could face for doing so. Do not take this lightly or be misguided in thinking, "we'll I'm only going to be using it in self-defense, I'm fine." Your definition of self defense and a jury's definition may be quite different at sentencing time.

    By far, my favorite weapons are the mind and the body. Why? Because they are always with you. Your mind can improvise and find any object in the surrounding environment to utilize as a weapon. Your arms, elbows, legs, and knees are always accessible and ready to fight and defend.

    So use the four questions above to determine what, if any, weapon you should carry. But most importantly, don't forget to train the ones you already carry - your mind and body.


    **Angie M. Tarighi is the CEO & Founder of Women’s Self-Defense Institute providing self defense training, education awareness & personal protection products empowering women to fight back against crime.