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10 Best Non-Lethal Self Defense Weapons For 2023

Home invasions and violent crime remain problematic issues for many communities inside the United States.

In fact, the country still reports over a million violent crimes per year, warranting the need to arm yourself.

Fortunately, there are numerous weapons for self-defense that are non-lethal.

Consequently, they deliver enough protection to keep you and your loved ones safe yet not powerful enough to produce fatalities.

Thus, non-lethal self-defense weapons are generally a wise choice for renters and homeowners.

Learn more about the 10 Best Non-Lethal Self Defense Weapons:

Lethal vs. Non-Lethal Self Defense Weapons

self defense weapons non lethal
Image: Flickr

The U.S. Department of Justice still reports a considerable amount of violent crimes and home invasions each year.

Thus, as a homeowner or someone that wants to protect loved ones, finding a self-defense solution is vital.

For most Americans, they have the choice between arming themselves with lethal or non-lethal self-defense weapons.

While gun ownership is common and popular within the United States, a firearm is often not the best choice for most self-protection needs.

As a result, non-lethal self-defense weapons present a method for detouring violent crime without the risk of fatalities.

Sidearms are outstanding for self-protection when the individual is responsible and well trained.

However, others may feel much more comfortable armed with a non-lethal weapon.

There are numerous benefits for electing to carry a non-lethal self-defense weapon:

  • Non-Lethal
  • Compact
  • Legally Carry About Anywhere
  • Little Training Necessary*

It’s important to prepare and plan for worst-case situations that may impact your personal safety or family security.

For this reason, consider arming yourself with some of the 10 Best Non-Lethal Self-Defense weapons:

#1. Pepper Spray

best pepper spray for self defense

Pepper spray is the most common non-lethal self-defense weapon known to citizens.

Women have largely been linked to carrying pepper spray as an affordable, compact, and effective method for self-defense.

However, pepper spray is not just restricted to gender and stereotypes because it works amazing for anyone, including law enforcement.

Pepper spray delivers a potent yet non-lethal way to subdue a criminal by targeting eyesight.

The formula contains an extraordinarily powerful agent known as Oleoresin of Capsicum (OC) which causes numerous side effects.

These nasty side effects are effective at granting a victim several minutes to defend themselves or flee an attacker.

It’s important not to confuse pepper spray with other agents like tear gas (CS) or mace.

While these agents also work for personal protection they are not quite as powerful.

Here are a variety of reliable pepper sprays to consider for self-defense:

Pepper sprays for self-defense are sold in numerous variations.

If you travel alone or at night, it’s never a bad idea to have pepper spray easily accessible.

#2. Self-Defense Alarms & Whistles

Emergency Self Defense Personal Whistle Alarm Keychain

“Deterrence” is a term that is familiar to those in law enforcement.

The term means something different for every weapon.

Nonetheless, deterrence is the ability for a weapon to insight fear and panic without the need to actually use it.

While self-defense alarms and whistles may not be as thrilling as brandishing a firearm, the deterrence factor remains comparable.

Consequently, self-defense alarms and whistles are terrific non-lethal weapons for a variety of reasons.

Alarms and whistles used in self-defense situations alert others in the area to danger and generally detours criminal activity.

Criminals have a motive to act quiet and discreet to avoid getting caught.

In other words, they want an “easy target” that will not make much noise or put up resistance.

Thus, whistles and self-defense alarms bring attention to yourself and the situation, especially when traveling alone or in the dark.

Unless you are well-trained in hand-to-hand combat or have concealed carry, these types of alarms are the most practical.

The annoying, blaring sound of these alarms will get the attention of anyone in the area and likely detour the attacker.

In fact, some of these self-defense alarms are so loud that the decibel level reaches higher than gunshots and train horns.

Here are a few quality examples of personal self-defense alarms and whistles:

Unfortunately, these alarms and whistles will not provide any type of defense if the attacker elects to use force.

Therefore, you may want to consider purchasing an alarm and whistle along with another non-lethal self-defense weapon.

#3. Personal Items / Household Goods

Those that are short on cash should take a quick visit around the home.


You would be surprised how many household goods or personal items can transition into an effective non-lethal self-defense weapon.

For example, have you ever heard of how you can escape a rear chokehold in seconds?

The “lighter trick” is just one of many ways to avoid an assault with nothing to defend yourself from an assault.

You never know what you may be able to arm yourself with for personal defense for close to nothing in cost:

  • Pen
  • Watch
  • Keys
  • Belt
  • Warm Coffee
  • Cleaning Products

These are just a few of the crafty ways to defend yourself if you get attacked.

Furthermore, it’s never a bad idea to do your homework and research helpful tips and tricks for self-defense.

These strategies and techniques keep you safe without having the need to become concealed carry if you would like to avoid brandishing a sidearm.

#4. Self-Defense Knives

best knives for self defense

Knives utilized for self-defense are difficult to classify in terms of lethal vs. non-lethal weapons.

However, most categorize a knife as a tool more so than a lethal weapon.

Thus, self-defense knives are deserving of being on this list because of the image they project to a criminal.

Experts agree that there are very few non-lethal weapons that can replace the practicality of a knife.

Knives are resourceful tools that are generally kept in pockets for quick access.

Thus, you can quickly reach for one if an attacker poses a problem without inflicting fatal force.

There are several factors to consider when shopping for a knife for self-defense, including if you want a fixed blade or foldable knife.

In general, fixed blade knives are superior in regards to strength and durability.

However, they are not nearly as compact for those that prefer not to carry with a holster.

While self-defense laws vary depending on the state, many locations are more tolerable for carrying knives compared to firearms.

Top-Rated Self-Defense Knives

The best personal protection and self-defense knives include:

These are just a few of the many outstanding self-defense knives available for sale.

Click Here to read our full article on the best self defense knives on the market.

#5. Batons

best collapsible baton for self defense

Batons are not another term for clubs (also sometimes referred to as a truncheon).

Citizens may assume that all batons are similar yet there is quite a bit of variety.

For example, batons are available that are fixed, collapsible, flexible, or even miniature versions.

Batons also can double on multi-purpose tools.

The material used to produce the baton is the biggest aspect to keep in mind.

Anything made with steel is going to produce severe damage while lightweight plastic batons are surprisingly dense.

Batons are common with law enforcement because they get officers out of tricky situations.

For example, a high-quality baton is capable of busting through a vehicle window or transforming into a defense shield.

Those looking for a non-lethal weapon to defend themselves will like the fact that many modern batons are compact and collapsible.

For this reason, it’s relatively straightforward to pack these in a backpack or purse.

There are several techniques you can utilize armed with a baton such as putting someone in an arm-lock or restricting the airway.

Technically, batons are lethal because a clear whack to the head can easily cause serious head trauma, even death.

Thus, those looking to use a baton for self-defense should aim for soft tissue on the hands, arms, or legs.

Batons can stun this soft tissue causing transitory neurapraxia, incapacitating an attacker for minutes.

Here are a few self defense batons that we personally recommend: 

#6. Personal Security Umbrella

best self defense umbrella

Personal security umbrellas may sound cheesy yet if you have watched films like “The Kingsmen” you may think differently about these nifty self-defense weapons.

Umbrellas used for self-defense are also extremely practical for individuals that live in cities where it rains frequently.

The need for an umbrella is always necessary which allows you to double it as a non-lethal weapon.

The City Safe Security Umbrella is a terrific multi-purpose tool that you can draw quickly from the hip.

The device is essentially half-umbrella, half-baton.

The solid stainless steel tip will produce a noteworthy jab while the thick fiberglass rod is also heavy enough to crack bones.

While you may not have a need for this item in certain settings, it just goes to show how creative you can get when planning self-defense.

There are many items that we haul around that we can use to protect ourselves with the proper knowledge and training.

Best of all, these self-defense weapons are non-lethal.

Thus, you are not as likely to get into legal trouble or register for conceal carry in order to protect yourself and your home.

Here’s a link to their website to learn more and / or order:

#7. Tactical Flashlights

best self defense flashlight

Tactical flashlights are extraordinarily practical for anyone traveling in the dark.

First, they obviously produce light which allows you to navigate safely in foreign places.

Staying illuminated is one of the many methods you can use when traveling alone to stay safe.

Secondly,  tactical flashlights are heavy-duty and can transform into a self-defense weapon.

Tactical flashlights are not going to produce a lethal blow but can neutralize a criminal, enabling you time to escape.

Several of these flashlights include other safety features like alarms.

Moreover, tactical flashlights can double as batons much like the personal security umbrella concept.

Here are a few self defense flashlights that we personally recommend: 

Consider checking out our full list of the 10 best self defense flashlights here.

#8. Pocket Self-Defense Weapons

self defense brass knuckles

Pocket self-defense weapons are a broad description of any item that can inflict direct force on another human being, while being small enough to fit in your pocket.

These self-defense weapons are sold in a variety of formats, and include compact variations of larger self defense weapons like tasers and batons.

These self-defense weapons are compact and discreet yet useful in many different situations.

Pocket self defense weapons are perfect for those that want the safety of carrying a weapon, with the added benefit of being as discreet as possible.

Here are some popular pocket self-defense weapons:

It’s worth noting that the laws surrounding possession of some of these self-defense weapons varies from state to state, so be sure to check your states laws before ordering.

#9. Stun Guns

best self defense stun gun

Stun guns, as the name implies, are incredibly effective at subduing anyone.

Therefore, it’s easy to comprehend why they are popular for self-defense even if not always the most practical solution.

Stun guns feature a straightforward design and application.

While often confused with tasers, the self-defense weapons are technically different based on how they shock a target.

Additionally, the laws regarding using stun guns and tasers are different in many states, so make sure you are informed if you choose to carry them.

Stun guns, while effective, are not always the most mature response in a self-defense situation.

Furthermore, you may get in trouble with the law as stun guns are not legal everywhere.

These devices are technically non-lethal yet improper use may cause serious or life-threatening problems.

Moreover, stun devices produce a strong enough shock to light material on fire.

They are extremely flammable especially when paired with other non-lethal weapons like pepper spray.

Stun guns have become very cheap which is both a good and bad thing.

However, if you can legally operate one in your location, why not consider these stun guns for self-defense:

Learn more about legal restrictions regarding stun guns across the United States.

#10. Tasers

best taser for self defense

Tasers are considered the king of non-lethal self-defense weapons for a reason.

These non-lethal weapons are stun guns yet only produced by one brand.

As a result, tasers have developed a reputation similar to how Frisbee has replaced the throwing disc and Kleenex the wiping tissue paper.

Tasers are generally a lot more expensive compared to stun guns based on their reputation yet cheap knock-offs attempt to fool customers into believing they are the same.

Additionally, consumers make sure they are purchasing a Taser in a state that allows you to carry and operate.

Tasers operate by firing two electrodes that embed into the skin of an attacker.

A high-frequency wave of electricity is delivered to the central nervous system once the electrodes make contact with the skin.

It produces a variety of nasty effects like minor burns, puncture wounds, uncontrollable spasms, moss of motor function, nausea, and extreme pain.

Tasers, like some of these non-lethal self-defense weapons, have been linked to deaths.

However, these cases generally involve a target being struck by the Taser, falling down, and striking their head on something hard.

Moreover, Tasers may produce lethal consequences on people that suffer from heart conditions.

Like most self-defense weapons, it’s wise to learn the proper use and training to operate a Taser correctly.

Best Tasers for Self-Defense & Home Invasions

Here are the top tasers for home invasions and other personal protection needs:

Tasers are unique in that they require cartridges much like a firearm needs bullets to function.

Cartridges are reusable depending on the model, so make sure you are aware of what the Taser does and doesn’t support prior to purchase.

Lastly, Tasers require battery replacements (traditionally after 50 discharges).

They are a little expensive to purchase yet necessary to keep the charge powerful enough to deliver a devastating blow.

Consequently, Tasers may not be appropriate for every individual yet reputation still makes it among the most popular non-lethal self-defense weapons.

* While training to carry these is technically easy, you need to be aware that you still need to familiarize yourself with the use of these self-defense weapons. The more training, the better off you’ll be in a real world situation.

References / Resources

State Requirements – Taser Self-Defense

Pepper Spray Laws By State

Brass Knuckle Laws By State

See Also

10 Best Concealed Carry Revolvers

12 Best Combat Fighting Knives

6 Best Navy SEAL / Special Forces Knives


Kevin R.
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Check out our list of the 10 best non-lethal self defense weapons, for both home defense, as well as defense on the road.
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