Non-Lethal Self Defense Tools You Should Carry

A policeman uses a Taser on a suspect

Last edited March 24th 2024

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Non-lethal weapons, also known as less-lethal weapons, play a crucial role in modern law enforcement. These weapons are designed to temporarily incapacitate, or deter individuals or groups.

They give the police the chance to bring things to an end cleanly, with nobody going to the hospital or morgue. Police are under constant scrutiny for their level of force and every death in the line of duty is investigated as a potential homicide. So it’s best to just keep everybody alive in the first place.

And the good news is that you can use these weapons, too, and they’re easier to get hold of than a gun for some people. Now we’d still recommend firearms for home defense, but if you can’t get them, or don’t want to, consider a few of the alternatives that the police use every day.

Types of Non-Lethal Weapons

Pepper Spray is just another thing you can have in your car or home for a quick form of self defense.

1. Tear Gas and Pepper Spray

  • Price: $15-35

Tear gas (CS gas) and pepper spray (OC spray) are chemical agents that irritate the mucous membranes, causing tears, pain, and even temporary blindness.

This can effectively incapacitate individuals for arrest for the police. For you, it can deter most attackers and give you the chance to escape a dangerous situation.

Pepper spray works at close range, and you can carry it in the compartment in your car door. It’s certainly no replacement for a gun, but it is something extra that could easily stop a potential carjacking or robbery at traffic lights.

You can spend up to $450 on a pistol that fires balls of CS gas and they are quite cool, but I’d trust them more for warding off dangerous animals in the yard rather than actually taking on an intruder with them. Basically if things have gone far enough that you are shooting at someone, you probably should be using something more serious, like an AR-15 rifle

Stun ghuns are cheap and effective forms of self defense. Make sure you have one in your car, and maybe even a keyfob electroshock device.

2. Stun Guns

  • Price: $25-90

Tasers and other electroshock devices can incapacitate individuals, allowing for their safe apprehension with minimal risk of injury. And in close quarters, they can be quicker, easier and more accessible than a concealed firearm,

Modern stun guns are pretty amazing and aren’t nearly as complicated as the Tasers that police carry. We honestly don’t recommend you try using those stun guns that fire electrodes into your target, those devices take serious training to get right and they still fail on the police from time to time.

But you can get much simpler tools that look like a torch, or even keyfob variants, that pack a massive punch. This is a last resort that you should have on you in case you’re disarmed or simply cannot reach your main weapon.

An extendable baton might not look like much, but it could save your life.

3. Baton

  • Price: $15-$105

A simple baton is a force multiplier. It’s way better than throwing a punch, and they are useful. But you need to train to get the most from them.

It’s the same with a lot of weapons that are simple on the surface. A complete beginner with a baton can get themselves into even more trouble. So if you’re going to use a baton, make sure you take a class or two. Practice at the very least.

The old school L shaped police Night Stick has given way to the one piece extendable sticks. They’re easier to carry, give a greater reach and the modern materials mean they are tough as old boots and pack a similar kick.

It’s a fun thing to have and it can very easily sit in your trunk, if you need to grab a surprise weapon for any reason. Although of course a 9mm micro compact handgun would be a safer option.

4. Rubber Bullets and Bean Bag Rounds

Now we’re getting into cop only stuff. You really shouldn’t be using rubber bullets, because if a situation is severe enough to shoot someone, you need to stop them, You still face all the same legal implications, but with much less chance of stopping the threat.

For crowd control and unarmed assailants, though, the police are big into rubber bullets and bean bag rounds. The green or orange shotguns some forces carry have this less lethal ammunition and the bean bag rounds can still flatten an assailant without inflicting life changing injuries, or worse.

These kinetic impact projectiles are fired from standard firearms or dedicated launchers to cause pain and compliance without penetrating the skin.


Non-lethal weapons are essential tools for law enforcement in managing crowds and controlling riots, offering a means to ensure public safety while minimizing harm. There are occasions when they might serve you well, too, so maybe invest in the basics to give you options when it comes to self defense. Maybe leave the water canon though.


  • Nick Hall

    Nick is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has a simple mission. He wants to find the best deals for guns online and help you make the best choices with weapons your life may depend on one day.Nick won a minor league shooting competition at the age of 11 and it all went from there. Now he runs one of the biggest firearms websites on the net and his work has featured in Playboy US, Tatler Asia, Forbes and a whole host of national magazines and websites.

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