ShootingStarr: Britney Starr gives 5 concealed-carry alternatives for everyday use.
Although I am a fierce advocate of on-body carry of a firearm for self-defense, I realize that not everyone is comfortable doing so, and those who are, may be prevented from carrying at their workplaces or in certain areas due to their individual state’s laws.
For example, in Michigan, I am prevented from carrying a firearm in a number of different areas, including schools (but may carry in the while in a vehicle on school property while dropping off or picking up if a parent or legal guardian,) public or private day care centers, sports arenas or stadiums, taverns where the primary source of income is the sale of alcoholic liquor by the glass consumed on the premises, churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, or other places of worship (unless the presiding official allows concealed weapons), entertainment facilities that have a seating capacity of 2,500 or more, hospitals, dormitories or classrooms of community colleges/colleges/universities and casinos.
So, what items can I carry when a handgun is not allowed? Below are 5 concealed-carry alternatives for everyday use.*
Knives come in various shapes, sizes, colors and costs, so there is sure to be one that will fit your needs. It is easy to conceal a knife in the back pocket of your jeans or in the small, zippered compartment of your purse. You will want to check your state’s knife laws to make sure that your knife is within the allowed blade length before concealing. Also, please note that knives are considered lethal weapons.
According to Lou Ann Hamblin, owner of LouKa Tactical Training, LLC, “If an individual produces a knife to either a civilian or a law enforcement professional and that civilian (aka victim) or police officer felt they were in imminent danger, their lives were in jeopardy and that the individual holding the knife had the ability to carry out an assault with the knife, then shooting the person (aka suspect) would be justified. Knives are therefore considered lethal weapons.”
According to a recent column post by former Illinois law enforcement officer Sara Ahrens, “Pepper spray is available in 3 methods of disbursement: spray/cone, stream or foam/gel. For brevity’s sake, the best option is stream, because it allows for a more direct hit to the target area, while minimizing contamination of other areas. If a spray disbursement method is selected, the user should be aware that, like any aerosol, the direction of the mist is influenced by wind direction and speed. Foam or gel is also a poor choice because it can be wiped off by the aggressor and thrown back at the deployer.
“Proper deployment of pepper spray might seem obvious — point and spray. It’s actually not that easy. First of all, the proper method of dispensing the canister is to place the thumb on the actuator (top of canister). The method of deployment is contingent on your spray pattern.”
- Stream = Horizontal pattern, ear to ear/across the eyes
- Cone/Spray = Vertical pattern, up and down/center of face
- Foam/Gel = Circular motion/around face
If possible, stay aware of the wind direction when deploying pepper spray, in order to avoid self-injury.
Pepper spray is available by a host of different brands, and in a number of different sizes. Small, portable pepper sprays that attach to your keychain or are disguised as lipstick are available from Armed in Heels ($8.99 to $41.99).
A Taser can be a good option for a less-lethal carry object, because it sends 50,000 volts of incapacitating energy to the assailant’s central nervous system and is small enough to fit in your coat pocket or purse.
Like any personal-protection device, there are pros and cons to using a Taser. “A pro of a Taser includes a red dot superimposed on the would-be assailant that could serve as a deterrent. A con is lack of training, as most individuals do not train in the area of deployment and contingency in the event a failure occurs. And they do occur. Another issue is retention training. Without proper training and mindset, the operator of any defense system is more likely to have a self-defense device taken from them. Lack of confidence and competence can lead to hesitation, and a fumble, if you will,” said Lou Ann.
According to Sara, Tasers can be used as both a stun gun and an incapacitation device. “When using it as stun gun, no cartridge is installed. When using it as an incapacitation device, the use of a cartridge is necessary. A cartridge is attached to the front of the Taser, and fires 2 probes that can be shot from a distance of up to 15-feet away. This allows the user the ability to create distance between him/herself and the malevolent.”
Sara recommends the Taser C2 civilian version ($299.99 to $399.99) that uses a Lithium Ion Magazine for reliability.
Not just a writing utensil, a tactical pen has multiple uses, including breaking glass and delivering a blow to an assailant. Gunsite Rangemaster Il Ling New recommends carrying a strong pen because it can make as an excellent impact or knife-like weapon. When traveling via airplane, tactical pens can pass through TSA security without a problem due to their inconspicuous looking exterior.
I carry the Smith & Wesson Tactical Pen ($39.95) in my purse at all times, even if I’m only using it to check items off of my grocery-shopping list, I know it’s there if I’m ever in a jam.
As stated above, pepper spray can be attached to your keychain, depending on its size. There are a few other items that can be attached to your keys that also appear inconspicuous.
“One ‘tool’ I like to have handy is a ‘monkey fist’ ($9 to $32) on my keychain. ‘Monkey fist’ actually refers to a kind of knot, usually made with paracord. But, use that knot tied around a 1-inch steel ball on a 1- or 2-inch long cord that attaches to your keychain, and you have a deceptively effective weapon. Strikes with this weapon will be exponentially more effective than your hands, feet or elbows. It’s small and with you whenever your keys are in your hand, a time at which the probability of an attack rises,” said Diana Liedorff, law enforcement officer and professional 3 Gun competitor.
In addition to pepper spray, I also keep a small Leatherman Style CS multi-tool ($24.99) and Streamlight Nano Light ($8.39) on my keychain. They have come in handy on numerous occasions, and the knife on the Leatherman can be used in self-defense.
What concealed-carry alternatives do you use and recommend?
*Please be sure to check your state laws in detail, and seek professional training before carrying any personal-protection items.