WON Landing Page OCT 2022

7 Things to Carry … When You Can’t Carry

I recently shared a story about empowering your daughter. I mentioned several things we can teach young women, and how they might defend themselves in a compromising situation or attack. Digging deeper into the topic I’ve found 7 things to carry when you can’t carry a firearm for self defense.

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Note: Until we share our experience with hand-to-hand defense, we’ll refrain from sharing items such as knives and batons.


I’ve interviewed several experts about this, and in all of them there is one recurring theme. First and foremost, our little gals need to have a sense of situational awareness. This can and should be taught at a very young age.


A Strong Mindset

Numerous body-language studies have proven that a predator is more likely to seek out a victim who appears weak. This is common animalistic behavior; those of us who enjoy the outdoors may have watched coyotes or wolves pull out the youngest, slowest or weakest deer for a meal. Confidence deters predators.

A Friend

As wild animals run in packs, so should your teenage daughter. When you observe a herd of wild sheep, ewes and lambs, you’ll see they post sentries at either end of the herd. They instinctively know that they need eyes watching for predators in a 360-degree radius. Walking with one or two friends adds sets of eyes, and intuition as well. If your daughter teaches her friends this tactic, they’ll be able to spot an unsafe position and remove themselves from harm before a confrontation occurs.

Sound 911 personal safety alarm-1

Whistle/Air Horn

I once scoffed at the idea of blowing a whistle if a would-be attacker headed toward me. Now that I’m exploring the concept of carrying a deterrent for when my daughter or I can’t carry a firearm, I’ve been swayed slightly. Not that a whistle’s going to completely stop a threat, but it does serve as an alarm. It’s a warning, the same as how a momma cow-elk will bark at you if you get too close to her and her baby.

I also found an alarm that may incapacitate an attacker: the Sound 911 personal safety alarm. This, my friends, is not a toy. At 112 decibels, the horn is ear-piercing. I recommend learning to use it before you need it, because if it’s directed in your ear, it can cause nausea and hearing loss. Sound 911: MSRP $13.29.


One of the experts I spoke with, retired Navy Seal Chris Sajnog, listed some of the above items but also mentioned a cell phone. As of late, we rhetorically refer to cell phones as distractions. They pull our attention away from what’s immediately at hand. But they can also be used to dial 911 and call for help. I’ve also used my cell to photograph/document suspicious characters and forward the images to a police officer when I was far from police support.


Sabre photo

Mace/Pepper Spray

Most of us know about mace and pepper spray for use in self-defense. I spoke to Dan Kidder, chief instructor and CEO at On Target Defensive Training, about self-defense options. He and Sajnog both emphasized the need to train and practice with every tool, but also to protect your weapons.

When I asked Kidder the most crucial non-firearm item to carry for defense, he said, “The number one item would be Sabre Red Pepper Spray. It gives you 15 feet of standoff, works rapidly, fires repeatedly and will work from any angle if you go to the ground. Some of the less-expensive brands are not as effective, contain less spray, and won’t work from multiple angles. Something with a stream is what you want, so there is less chance of blowback and self-contamination. Like any tool, it is only as effective as the person using it.” Sabre Red Pepper Spray with test kit: MSRP $14.99.

One last thought from Mr. Kidder: “Batons, baseball bats, golf clubs, et al., can be used to incapacitate, but the odds of being effective decrease the more motivated an attacker becomes. If they charge inside your swing radius, they render the weapon ineffective and may beat you to death with it.”


A priceless gift you can give a young lady is The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker. “True fear is a gift,” writes DeBecker, “because it is a survival signal that sounds only in the presence of danger; yet unwarranted fear has assumed a power over us that it holds over no other creature on earth. It need not be this way.”

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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.