Non-Lethal Weapons                                Back to LINKS


Nonlethal weapons (chemical sprays, kubotans, stun guns, etc.) can be a useful intermediate step between empty hands and more deadly weapons such as knives or firearms. I'm not aware of any Internet related information dealing specifically with knives for self defense, though many of the Southeast Asian martial arts address knives as part of their training. If you are interested in firearms, see the Firearms Training section.




OC/Pepper Spray

Julius Chang wrote this excellent outline on various aspects of OC, and recently authored an article on his personal experience getting sprayed.

A lot of people wonder about the effects of OC on dogs. I've personally sprayed at least a dozen dogs with 100% success, but none of them were trained attack dogs--just hostile. 

Here's an article that was posted a couple of years ago on rec.martial-arts about effectiveness of pepper sprays. Although this article describes the shortcomings of pepper sprays, they are still one of the most effective nonlethal weapons if used properly and with an understanding of their limitations. You need to remember that while pepper spray will affect an opponent's vision and breathing, it's not, as Massad Ayoob puts it, "a magic spray that makes the bad guys go away." If you combine it intelligently with other self defense tactics, however, it can be very effective.

Stun Guns

Stun guns are often promoted as effective nonlethal self-defense weapons. They are not. Julius Chang, a frequent contributor to various on-line martial-arts/self-defense forums, wrote this article about his experiences with electric stun guns. I also have some recent experiences with them.


I've never been particularly impressed with the Kubotan as a weapon, though I have carried one from time to time. I suppose it could be effective for a police officer in arrest/control situations, but they usually have better tools for the same purpose. If you're interested in training with one, both AWARE and Lethal Force Institute offer classes. Note too that the pointed plastic end of a closed Spyderco or Benchmade knife can serve the same purpose as a Kubotan.



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