In this article I’ll share with you some great non-firearm options for protecting yourself on the streets or against home intruders.
If you use a home security system or just plain old motion detector lights, you can drastically minimize the chance of someone breaking into your home.
But if you don’t have any security system, intruders can easily hack a regular lock or enter through the sliding glass door you forgot to close properly.
Either way, you want to protect yourself and your family even in the scary case of an intruder in your home. So how can you keep yourself and your family safe against an intruder.. or a hitman like Agent 47?
Avoid confronting the intruder
In almost every situation the intruder will try to be as quiet as possible and avoid getting into a direct confrontation with you. This is especially the case with regular burglars, who make up over 95% of reported home invasions.
Staying in your bedroom and calling the police is the best thing you can do. There are multiple reasons why you shouldn’t confront an intruder, unless you have to. First of all, you don’t know what type of weapon they have. They could have gun, and in that case things could get pretty ugly, especially if you come at them swinging a bat. Even if he doesn’t carry any special weapons, the intruder could be a martial artist, which can make him extremely dangerous as well.
So if they’re only interested in stealing your stuff, it’s better to lock the bedroom (if possible), stay inside and call the police, then risk your life by fighting the unknown villain.
But what if the intruder(s) are coming at you, or at your family? What if they decide to check out the area where the children are asleep? In that case, staying idle will not help. You have to act, and surprise the intruder so that they don’t know what’s coming. In other words, you need a home defense plan.
Have a home defense plan
I hope you’re reading this post BEFORE rather than AFTER a home invasion has already happened, because you have enough time to prepare.
Why do you need a plan? Because when the intruder is in your home, you’ll be under so much stress that you won’t have the time or the concentration to make rational decisions. Unless you’re a trained policeman, solider or a SWAT member who’s dealt with similar situations already.
But even if you’re Superman, if you have children at home, your adrenaline will be rushing like crazy and you could make rash decisions based on your instincts that can get you or your family members hurt.
You can prevent this by having a home defense plan. Here are some things to consider:
Know your fighting potential
Are you a kickboxing champion, or someone who’s never bit in a fight, or maybe you’re somewhere in between?
Are you strong and fast enough to do damage with a baton or a baseball bat? Or should you keep your distance at all times and pepper spray the intruder instead?
Unless you’re a skilled fighter, keeping distance is always preferable to getting into a direct physical confrontation up close.
Are you willing to use lethal force?
If someone broke into your home and could potentially threaten your life or life of a family member, would you be willing to use lethal force?
If the intruder has a gun, you’ll be at a big disadvantage trying to defend your home unless you can sneak up behind them or surprise them with a burst of pepper spray.
But using a gun has its own disadvantages. Perhaps you’re not interested in keeping one in the bedroom or a living area. If you keep it locked away in a safe or hidden in a special box, it can take a lot of time to get hold of it, and various unexpected complications can happen in those critical moments when you need it.
Even if you’d be ready to use lethal force, you might be limited in this regard by your state’s laws on the usage of lethal force, which could put you in jail instead of the intruder, even if you were objectively correct to fire away.
Know the environment
One major advantage you have over a regular intruder is the layout of your home. You know where things are, and you know how your home is designed, which can give you a major tactical advantage.
For example, if you have long and narrow hallways, using a large swinging object like a bat or an umbrella is not the best idea.
For long and narrow areas, it’s better to use smaller weapons like a baton (like the ones used by the cops), a pepper spray, stun gun, tactical pen or a knife. A pepper spray can be especially effective in narrow hallways because it makes it almost impossible for the intruder to escape the debilitating stinging that will spread across the area, and if there’s a large distance between you, they’ll be forced to retreat or suffer the consequences.
For larger areas, a regular bat is an excellent weapon because you can swing it around without any obstacles limiting your movement, and do a lot of damage to the intruder as a result. Bats are also longer than other options, and allow you to keep a solid distance. A pepper spray can also be really effective, especially sprays with a long maximum distance with bursts that spread over a large area in all directions.
So now that you’ve thought about your home’s layout and potential weapons you can use, here are my top 12 picks for non-lethal home defense weapons.
1. A pepper spray
A pepper spray can incapacitate an intruder in a few seconds without causing any long-term damage. It’s the perfect non-lethal self defense weapon for home and when you’re wandering the streets. The cool thing about it is that it’s effective regardless of where you find the intruder. Whether it’s a hallway or your living room, most of these sprays can burst the stinging liquid up to 10 ft or 3 meters.
They’re also really affordable. You can get a can of pepper spray with 20-30 bursts for for around 10 dollars. This one from Amazon provides 25 bursts and has a 10-12 feet range.
One potential downside of pepper spray is that it can get into your eyes and skin if you mishandle it. For example, if you try to spray someone against the wind, it could go back into your face. Or if you have a strong fan blowing in the room, it could potentially change where the spray is going. But this would require a pretty strong air current and is almost never a concern in regular situations, especially for indoor areas.
I highly suggest having a can of pepper spray as a first long-distance option, even if you have another home defense weapon such as a baton at hand.
2. Stun Gun (Taser)
A good stun gun is really effective if you can get close to your target. It’s a proven choice for narrow areas like hallways and if the opponent sees it they will be less willing to approach you even if you don’t look big and strong.
However, the fact that you have to reach the target is its major weakness, especially if the intruder is carrying a weapon like a knife. So you’ll either have to risk getting hit or sneak up to the intruder and then fire away. A stun gun will render the intruder immobile as they twitch on the floor for minutes or longer, depending on the strength setting you choose to use.
This is enough time to tie them up with rope. If you don’t have any rope, you can lock them up in a room that has a strong door and no windows, and wait for the police to arrive.
Like pepper spray, stun guns are also easy to carry around and can keep you safer when your out and about. They’re also really affordable, costing around $25. This is a great stun gun and baton and it has excellent reviews from users.
Batons are very similar to bats, but they’re smaller and this makes them easier to use. Especially in close situations where your opponent could hit you.
A regular baseball bat however is good for keeping distance and swinging it at your opponent. But unless you’re an expert in close-quarter fighting, its size can be a detriment.
That’s not the case with batons, which is why they’re used by law enforcement. However, you still need to have some physical strength and quickness because you have to hit the intruder and perhaps even block their attacks if you don’t do serious damage with your first few swings. If you get in this situation, put all your strength into your swings and aim for vulnerable areas, namely the head.
In comparison to pepper spray and stun gun, a baton can cause some permanent damage, depending on how strong you are. This shouldn’t derail you from exerting maximum force, because whoever broke into your house and has become a physical threat needs to be dealt with.
While there are many similar batons to choose from, there’s one that really stands out because it’s also a stun gun. And a stun gun with longer range. So as an intruder approaches, you can try to stop him with the stun gun. If that fails, you still have a regular baton in your hands to fight with. It’s definitely superior to having just one of these weapons for defense.
4. Baseball Bat
Many people have a baseball bat in their bedroom just in case someone brakes in. This is a really powerful home defense weapon that can do significant damage if you swing it correctly.
Even if you’re not physically strong, you can do some damage with a long baseball bat, plus it’s a good weapon for keeping the intruder away from your body.
However, it’s disadvantage is when you have to swing it in small spaces where your strength and speed can be limited by walls or furniture. That’s why I recommend using a baseball bat in large living areas and a baton in hallways.
Having both at hand is ideal, but if not, think about how your home is set up, especially the first area outside of your bedroom. Because if you ever get into a fight with an intruder, this is most likely the place where it will happen.
Knives are extremely powerful weapons in close one-on-one situations. Just like swinging a bat, a baton or pressing the stun gun to issue electric threats, swinging a knife in front of your will make most intruders make a run for it instead of trying to mess you.
In my opinion it’s better to have a larger knife that provides you with longer range, rather than a small pocket knife. The reason pocket knives are used for self defense is because they’re much easier to carry. When you’re at home this isn’t a huge issue, and a sharp kitchen knife is often a better option.
But there is a danger when using it if you stumble upon someone knows how to disarm a person wielding a knife. Especially if you don’t know how to properly use it to begin with. In that case, even if they didn’t plan on fighting you, a lot can happen in the heat of the moment.
Considering the fact that to cause any damage you need to get close to the attacker makes this a dangerous possibility. Not to mention causing more damage to the intruder than you planned on doing. So I would keep this as one of the last resorts, if you have no other weapon to use.
Having said that, a tactical folding knife that you can carry in a pocket is a great addition to your personal safety. Especially if you live in the rough part of town. Check out my guide on the best tactical folding knives to find the one that suits your preferences and style.
What if you have no traditional home defense weapon at hand? A belt can definitely come in handy! If you know how to swing the belt fast, the buckle can be quite effective at hitting and keeping the intruder at a safe distance.
Just imaging swinging a wide leather belt with a large buckle on the other side at someone. It’s not an easy weapon to defend against. Of course, it can also be used to strangle if you can sneak up from behind the intruder.
But like a baseball bat, it won’t be very effective in tight spaces because you won’t have the space for swinging and building momentum.
7. Tactical Pen
Tactical pens are very similar to regular pens, and in fact some can be used for writing as well. They’re quite heavy, and there are different materials to choose from, mainly metal, wood and hard plastic. Some of them also have additional features like a LED flashlight, or they can be opened up to reveal a knife. You can also find those that can break glass, which can come in handy in case of needing to escape through a window, for example in a car accident.
When it comes to fighting, they’re very effective at poking and stabbing an opponent. The really interesting thing is that they often don’t cause any visible stabs on the skin like a regular knife, but they can at the same time break bones if you stab with enough force. The small size however means that you need to get close to your opponent to issue attacks. But once you get close, fast stabs and pokes will have them run away or get on the extreme defensive, protecting their face as if you came at them with a knife.
I suggest watching this video tutorial on how to use a tactical pen as well in order to improve your skill:
I really like tactical pens because they can be carried easily, even attached to a key chain, making it a versatile weapon for outdoor self-defense as well.
This is a versatile and pretty cool looking tactical pen. It can be used to break glass and for writing as well! This pen is commonly used in self-defense classes because of its durability.
When I go outside late at night, I often take a tactical pen with me. But I’ll admit, it sometimes slips off my mind completely. However, it’s not the end of the world, because keys can also be a powerful weapon in close combat. You can make a fist and allow one or a few keys to protrude between the fingers, and it can make your punches quite dangerous.
There are also key chain weapons that can make your punches harder and be used to break glass and ice. Aside from the tactical pen mentioned earlier, you can also attach a triangle or the Yogo self-defense keychain. These are larger than keys and can make it easier to get a hold of in case of an emergency when you don’t have the time to set the keys properly in your fist.
Don’t forget that keys and all of these small attachments can be thrown at the intruder as well. Practice your throws and it can save your life. If you hit the target in the head with a packed keychain, it will give you enough time to do more damage, get another self defense weapon or run away and call for help.
9. Umbrella/Cane/Mop Stick
Any swinging object can come in handy against an intruder. An umbrella, a cane or a mop stick can be quite useful in larger rooms with enough space.
10. Any heavy or sharp objects you can throw
They say that knowledge is power. It’s probably not meant in the sense of throwing books at a home invader but we can throw that on the list of reasons as well.
Throwing heavy objects is a great self-defense tactic. It can be books or even better, sharp or heavy objects like speakers, a screen, a glass (full of water?), a chair, or anything else you can get your hands on. Sharp objects like keys can come in handy as well.
The Krav Maga self-defense system for example emphasizes using your surroundings as much as possible in these types of situations. It’s important not to be stuck in your head. Instead, be aware of any unconventional ways you can defeat your opponent.
Since this is your home after all, you have an amazing advantage of knowing where different objects are located. The attacker is always at a disadvantage, regardless of whether it’s conventional warfare or a home invasion.
Be a capable protector of your home
I always emphasize using improved locks such as deadbolt locks and some security system, even if it’s a basic camera. Just having these around will deter most potential burglars.
Those who are professionals, even if they manage to sneak inside will not be as clumsy and dangerous as those amateurs who are willing to risk their lives for a thousand dollars worth of stolen goods. Either way, if anyone enters your home and there’s a risk of physical threat involved, it’s best to have at least one if not more self-defense weapons close by.
My suggestion for most people is to have at least a pepper spray at hand. It’s very simple to use and effective, while being non-lethal at the same time. In addition to that, having a baseball bat or a baton depending on the swinging space available should be enough to protect against any intruder crazy enough to enter your fortress.