8 Non-Lethal Defensive Tools For Women


Launching this spring, the discreet TASER Bolt 2 can help users quickly establish 15'
of safety and deliver up to 30 seconds of full lockup on an attacker. (Photo: TASER)

It’s no surprise personal protection is the primary reason gun owners buy firearms, particularly first-time users — many of whom are women. But, for women not yet comfortable with everyday carry or situations where carrying a firearm isn’t feasible, it’s important for dealers to be equally well versed in non-lethal self-defense options.

For example, in many states, it is prohibited to carry a firearm into an establishment that serves liquor — like bars and nightclubs — regardless of whether the person possesses a concealed carry permit or doesn’t consume alcohol.

There’s also the issue of guns in the workplace. Some states side firmly with employers, giving business owners the right to prohibit guns in the workplace on company property, which can extend to the parking lot and company vehicles. Or maybe the person is traveling and the state they’re visiting doesn’t have reciprocity with the state that issued their permit.

The point: Regardless of permit status, there are numerous scenarios that can prevent someone from carrying a firearm. Therefore, it’s important — especially for women — to know what their options for personal protection are beyond a firearm.

Pepper Spray & Kits

One of the most common tools for self-defense is pepper spray, a chemical inflammatory agent that irritates the eyes and nasal passages of an assailant causing difficulty breathing, burning pain and temporary blindness.

What some people may not realize is pepper spray comes in a variety of options, such as a stream, fogger, foam and gel. The gel formula is particularly great for avoiding any blowback.

The great thing about pepper spray is its portability and versatility. You can find options disguised as common items like lipstick or a pen. However, for ease of access, a keychain holster or hand sleeve to use while running or walking outside may be a better option.

One of the most top-rated options is the Tactical Pepper Gel from SABRE, which boasts the same police-strength protection as law enforcement. This particular model offers protection from an impressive distance of up to 18′ and against multiple threats with 18 bursts. It also contains UV marking dye to help police in suspect identification. The flip-top safety mechanism prevents accidental discharge, and the included belt holster allows for easy carry. According to SABRE’s website, the pepper-gel formula virtually eliminates wind blowback with no in-air atomization and can even be used safely indoors. Plus, SABRE pepper gel is made in the U.S.

Sabre tactical pepper gel

Another great option is the SABRE Runner Pepper Gel which contains 35 bursts and protection up to 12′. It comes with an adjustable hand strap, enabling the user to hold the spray in the palm of her hand for instant access to protection.

For those looking for an option that packs a little more punch, Byrna may be the answer. A first-time SHOT Show exhibitor in 2022, the Byrna SD Pepper Kit is powered by compressed air and shoots a .68-caliber round kinetic and/or chemical irritant projectile that can disable a threat from up to 60′ away. Features of the Byrna SD include up to 300 fps average projectile speed; ergonomic honeycomb grip for better control in all conditions; improved sights for faster target acquisition; straight trigger with a 6.5 lb. trigger pull weight on the second shot and smoother press; and ambidextrous safe/fire switch that allows for easy toggling for both left-handed and right-handed individuals.

The Byrna SD is not classified as a firearm, therefore, does not require a permit or background check to own, but a buyer must be 18 or older to purchase. Due to chemical-projectile restrictions, shipping is prohibited to some areas of California, New York and Hawaii.

Byrna SD Pepper Kit

Stun Guns & Tasers

Stun guns and TASERs are other popular options. However, despite being legal for civilian self-defense in 48 of the 50 states, the laws about where someone can and cannot carry vary widely.

In Michigan, for instance, it’s illegal to carry a concealed stun gun at a school, private daycare center, sports arena or stadium, bar or tavern, religious facility, entertainment facility, hospital or dormitory. Laws like these are quite common across multiple states so it’s important for prospective buyers to understand their limitations.

For those interested in carrying a TASER, one of the most exciting new products at this year’s SHOT Show was the new civilian TASER device from TASER Self-Defense, the consumer division of Axon Enterprise Inc.

The TASER Bolt 2 features a 15′ range, enhanced accuracy in low-light conditions and a companion app that alerts emergency dispatch and sends a GPS location to police when the device is discharged. Axon has dubbed it the next generation of self-defense.

5.11 Tactical XR1

Tactical Flashlight

Tactical flashlights are arguably the most underrated self-defense tool a woman, or any person, can have in her arsenal. They’re great to keep in the car, in a nightstand or in a purse, and there aren’t any restrictions in terms of when or where they can be carried. Beyond lighting up dark or dimly lit spaces, flashlights are great for deceiving home intruders, defending against assailants and signaling for help in an emergency. Tactical flashlights with a serrated edge at their head can also do some damage when hitting or scratching attackers.

The Response XR1 from 5.11 Tactical emits 1,031 lumens at its highest setting with a maximum beam distance of 235 meters and an estimated run time of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has three additional modes (medium, low and strobe) and can run on disposable CR123 or 18650 rechargeable batteries. The Response XR1 is just 5.75″ in length, making it a great mid-size option. For those wanting something ultra-portable for everyday carry, 5.11’s Rapid L1 is 3.5″ long and weighs just over 2.5 oz., with batteries. With improved water resistance, this light will shine despite the rain or being submerged in 3′ of water.

TASEr StrikeLight

There’s also the TASER StrikeLight stun flashlight which combines the usefulness of a high-intensity 80-lumen flashlight with the protection of a stun gun. It’s a useful device for everyday civilian self-defense, and makes the perfect addition to a glove box or a discreet self-protection tool for everything from girls’ night out to neighborhood dog walks. The light’s high-voltage stun both startles and repels attackers, providing users with added comfort and safety.

Knives, Tactical Pens & Striking/Stabbing Tools

When it comes to finding an alternative to carrying a firearm, knives are probably the most common. Tactical pens and other striking/stabbing tools are good options as well. However, depending on how they’re used, some of these items can be lethal.

The Williams Defense Key from CRKT was cleverly designed as an innocuous key by former Army officer and martial arts instructor, James Williams. As long as a person has their keys, they’ll always be prepared. An added bonus, it can double as a Phillips screwdriver.

CRKT also offers several defense pens also designed by Williams.

The effectiveness of these smaller, fist-held tools is largely dependent on proximity and skill, considerations dealers should share with prospective buyers looking for a non-lethal personal-defense tool.

Don’t Forget About Training

Of course, being in possession of any self-defense tool isn’t going to be effective if the person isn’t trained on how to use them properly. If it’s not already part of your offerings, consider adding a non-lethal personal-protection training course to your lineup in order to help your customers make educated purchases.

If you can position yourself as a knowledgeable and trusted resource, you have one key to retaining customers.

Click To Read More Shooting Industry April 2022 Issue Now!