Many preppers who aren’t “gun people” have a gun or two for home protection or for the inevitable time when the SHTF. We have one in our home. To be honest, though, I haven’t gotten it out nearly enough.

The shotgun is a good choice for home defense. Why? It’s powerful, easy to operate, and the sound of a shell going into a chamber will put fear into the hearts of most anybody. They can be used against people and animals pretty equally. The different loads of ammunition make it possible to take game from very small squirrels to a large deer. Knowing this is a good part of making your shotgun most useful in a survival situation. Of course, it also helps to have a variety of ammunition types on hand.

For example, if you’re after quail, you want a shotgun load that’s going to give a lighter, wider load pattern. A squirrel or a duck on the wing needs a tighter load pattern. A large target (a man or a bear) demands a load pattern that is going to be tight and hit with more force.

Birdshot uses very small pellets and is so named because it’s useful for hunting birds. The size of the shot is given as a number or letter–with the larger number the smaller the shot size. Buckshot uses medium to large pellets. A slug is a single projectile. To use this, it must be aimed very carefully from fairly close range.

Buckshot is generally the best for home defense, because its larger size shot (pellets) is going to pack a more painful punch and be more effective against larger targets.

Whatever type of shotgun you have, practice just as you would with a handgun. Because the gun is larger and likely needs to be aimed more carefully, practice with a shotgun for hunting and self-defense is equally as important as for a handgun. Make sure you know how to load and manipulate the gun quickly, in low light, and at close range. Otherwise, what’s the point?

I don’t fly super often, but when I do, I always get anxious about not having any self-protection gear with me. It’s one of the most common topics that comes up here at Shadowfox Headquarters. What non-lethal self-defense gear you can take on a plane is a common question. Let’s look over what you can take on a plane.

First off, before you try to slip something past TSA agents, give this list of “What Can I Bring” from the TSA website a good look over.

Tactical Pens

Tactical pens are good punching and glass-breaking tools. (Read for tips on how to use tactical pens for self defense.)

The TSA website doesn’t specifically list tactical pens as an allowed or banned item. I have flown with tactical pens in my checked bags, and used them at my destination, then flew back with them in my checked bag. I didn’t want to try carrying it in my carry on bag and risk them taking it. Checking it is a good option, but it leaves you defenseless during the flight. After talking with other people who have flown with tactical pens, I don’t think there’s any consensus on whether or not they will get confiscated. It depends on where you are and the agent and if they have nothing better to do that day or not, it seems.

Millwall Bricks

Carrying on a broadsheet newspaper isn’t a bad idea. You can use it to make a Millwall Brick, so named for its use by the Millwall Football Club in England. Several large sheets of newspapers rolled up tightly and then bent so it’s held in the hand turns the sheets into a solid, hard blunt instrument.

A Roll of Coins

It doesn’t matter if it’s pennies, nickels or quarters. Use whatever fits in your hand.

A Padlock

A basic Master Lock can be held in the hand or strung over a sock or bandanna and swung.

A Flashlight

A sturdy flashlight can not only be a club, it can give you life-saving light if there’s an incident at night or in the dark of a plane cabin.

Your Body

Learn some self-defense moves so you feel comfortable using your hands, knees and elbows if you have to. Enhance your situational awareness skills with these suggestions written by Shadowfox’s firearms instructor.

Last week we wrote an introductory post explaining what stun guns are and how they work. There’s a big difference in the effective stun guns and the cheap ones. If you’re in the market for a stun gun, read that post to get a sense of what you’re looking for in a stun gun weapon. Today we’re going to take a similar look at pepper spray. Sprays typically come in small canisters, which makes them easily concealable in a pocket or purse.

If you’re using pepper spray as a defensive weapon, it must be accessible. It won’t do you any good if it is in the bottom of your purse and you can’t get to it when you need it. Many of the same states that have legal restrictions on stun guns have restrictions on pepper spray as well. For instance, stun guns and pepper spray intended to be used against humans (as opposed to animals such as bears) are illegal in New York and Massachusetts. In Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan and California, pepper spray is legal with certain restrictions on the potency of the spray and the size of the canister. So before you buy these and start carrying them around on a daily basis, inform yourself of your particular state’s rules about these defensive items.

The potency and range of pepper spray varies greatly, so know what you’re buying before you make the investment.

What Is Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is an aerosol spray made using the active ingredient capsaicin. Capsaicin or capsicum is a chemical compound isolated from fruits in the genus Capsicum, typically hot peppers. When it touches the soft tissues of the eyes it causes tears and temporary blindness. When it touches the soft tissue of the nose and mouth it causes pain and a burning sensation, along with coughing, difficulty breathing and a runny nose. It’s used as a weapon by spraying an attacker’s face with it. The temporary blindness incapacitates them, so they typically grab their eyes and may drop whatever weapon they have. They hopefully will back away or run and leave the intended victim alone, so they have a chance to get away.

Pepper spray is used against humans as a self-defense tactic. It’s also used as a defense against vicious animals such as dogs or bears. Long-term, exposure to pepper spray is not harmful. Recovery time could be up to 15 minutes.

Mace versus Pepper Spray

Mace is simply a brand of pepper spray.

Pepper Spray versus Tear Gas

Mace, pepper spray and tear gas are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably but they are not the same. Chemical “mace” has an active ingredient of phenacyl chloride. Tear gas uses an ingredient called orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile. Now, Mace is most used as a brand name. The brand Mace may have products that contain capsaicin extracts or tear gas. Mace is also the name of a spice that is used in cooking and is similar to nutmeg. These are not the same thing, nor is mace the chemical agent derived from mace the spice.

People who are on powerful drugs such as PCP were discovered to not be affected by tear gas. This is why many law enforcement officials switched to pepper spray. pepper spray seems to affect everyone, no matter how incapacitated they are by drugs or alcohol. Some pepper sprays also contain dye so that your victim is marked.

How Powerful Is Pepper Spray?

There is a lot of variations and inconsistencies in labeling pepper spray and how potent they are. It can be confusing and misleading. There is not a lot of regulation about the statements that companies can make on their labels regarding how potent their sprays are. Part of the issue is that there are different types of capsaicinoid extracts which can be used, which cause different levels of irritations.

Manufacturers do not need to state what type of extract is used. Most tactical (law enforcement) pepper sprays are in the range of 1.3 to 2% containing capsaicinoids. Pepper sprays can go up to 3% concentration. For bear sprays, the United States sets the concentration of capsaicinoids as between 1 and 2%.

Some labels will say that their product has a “high OC content,” meaning oleoresin capsicum, which is the pepper extract itself. However, a high content does not necessarily mean a higher potency, depending on what type of extract was used in the product. More of a lower-grade extract does not equate to a more powerful product. A lower grade oil extract will not penetrate the skin or soak through clothing as well as a higher grade extract.

The label can also say it has a high SHU content. SHU is a measure of Scoville Heat Units, which is how the strength (heat) of hot peppers is measured. Again, this is not a measure of the potency of what comes out in the aerosol. Some labels are measuring for CRC  which stands for capsaicin and related capsaicinoids. If you see this, this means there is a blend of higher and lesser potency oils and extracts in the product. You might also find a label that has a measurement for MC, meaning major capsaicinoids. These are the most powerful extracts. This is the best measure of strength.

The best approach to buying, because of the variations in pepper spray, is to contact the manufacturer and ask certain questions. Ask them what extract they use. Ask them the range. Ask them the number of shots you get per size container. Ask them about the shelf life.

What Is The Range Of pepper Spray?

Most pepper sprays will spray up to 8 to 12 feet. The size of your canister will affect how many sprays you get. The .54 ounce keychain canister can be fired approximately 5 times in quick bursts. Longer range also generally means you will get fewer shots per canister. A spray is considered to be about a half second long. Some sprays spray out in a stream while some spray out in a mist pattern. The mist may cover a wider area, but your attackers will need to be closer. The spray is similar to a water gun and it can be more easily directed to an attacker’s face. Streams also might be less likely to blow back in wind and affect you.

The age of your canister and whether you have sprayed it before will affect how long it lasts. Aerosol cans will naturally lose some effectiveness as months or years go by. Most pepper sprays should be replaced after two years, whether they have been sprayed or not.

Be Aware When You Spray

One of the biggest drawbacks to pepper spray is that when you spray it, you yourself can be affected by the fumes. If the wind blows it back on your, you can get as much or more of the effect of the spray as the person you intended to hit with it. This is one reason why a stun gun may be a better choice for you. You can’t control the environmental factors when you might need to spray. If you become debilitated by the spray, you can be in more danger than not having used it.

Water will not wash off pepper spray. The only thing that will remove pepper spray from the system is time and blinking, which is the body’s natural method of cleansing the eyes. If you get pepper spray on your skin, avoid rubbing it in. Wipes are sold along with pepper spray that can help decontaminate the body from pepper spray. If you buy pepper spray and plan to use it, it would be a good idea to keep some wipes in a handy location in case you get any on yourself, like your fingers as you are spraying it, or if the wind blows any back on you.

We’re planning a giveaway of pepper spray and a stun gun from PS Products in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! Keep in mind that pepper spray in the size we’re going to be giving away can go anywhere but Washington DC or New York. Stun guns cannot be shipped to New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Wisconsin or Michigan.

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There are a lot of reasons why you might want to buy a stun gun or pepper spray. For people who can’t own firearms for whatever reason, these are sensible personal protection options that can be used to protect yourself out in public and your home in the event of a home invasion. We recently publish a guide to understanding pepper spray. Pepper spray and stun guns are good choices for non-lethal weapons. Read our article, “Ready to Buy Pepper Spray? Read This.

For people who want a defensive weapon they can carry in their purse,  car or briefcase that they don’t have to have a license and training for, there really is nothing better, other than perhaps a knife. But you can’t take a knife just anywhere and they are likely to attract attention. Stun guns are illegal in some places and can not be taken on planes or into federal buildings like courthouses and things like that.

Stun guns intended to be used against humans (as opposed to animals such as bears) are illegal in New York and Massachusetts. So before you buy a stun gun and start carrying it around on a daily basis, inform yourself of your particular state’s rules about these defensive items. Some cities and even some counties might have their own rules.

A stun gun can go from home to car to the beach or to the office and no one will likely know you have it as long as it is tucked away but still accessible. There are a lot of options for stun guns so let’s look at the possibilities.

What Are Stun Guns?

A stun gun is considered an electrical weapon that debilitates an attacker with an electrical charge. The electrical charge interferes with the body’s normal brain/muscle communication and causes loss of muscle control and muscle spasms. The effects are temporary. So if you use one, be prepared to get yourself away from the attacker as quickly as possible. They are designed to be used at close range unless you get a tactical stun gun, like a Taser. So the attacker must be close enough to you to reach out and touch with the stun gun device.

The price of stun guns varies greatly depending on their amperage. Read on for more about that. The user of the stun gun does not feel anything. It is also ok to use a stun gun when it is raining or while standing in water. The low amperage of the stun gun simply disables the attacker temporarily. It does not electrocute him or her.

The stun gun will be most effective when used in the large muscles like the hip, torso and neck. It’s also best if you can maintain contact with the attackers body for 3 to 5 seconds. The application of the current does cause pain, and a sensitive body part will feel even more pain. I’ve never been stun-gunned so I can’t speak first-hand to what this feels like, but when you watch videos of people being stunned, it’s obvious that it is not a pleasant feeling.

A half-second shock will cause pain and will be enough to startle someone. Two to three seconds of application will usually cause the attacker to drop to the ground. Over three seconds of application will incapacitate the person for several seconds.  This time frame is what will give you a chance to get away or pull out another weapon if you have access to one. The longer you apply the shock the more time you have to get away.

Most stun guns use a battery that must be recharged as the power source. A good quality stun gun uses a nickel-metal hydride battery which is longer lasting and better at being recharged.

Tasers versus Stun Guns

A Taser is simply a brand of stun gun. Tasers are widely used by law enforcement personal because they are usable at a range of around 7 to 10 feet. With Tasers, you don’t need to be right up against an attacker.

How Powerful Are Stun Guns?

Stuns guns use high-voltage, low-current electrical discharge to disrupt the body’s muscle control. The amperage must be sufficient to stun. Higher voltage means faster immobilization. Higher voltage also means the current can go through more layers of clothing. Let’s give a quick explanation of the difference between the electrical terms here: current, amperage and voltage.

Voltage is measured in volts. Current is measured in amps. Stun guns come in a wide range of voltages, from 20,000 to millions of volts. The higher the volts, the more effective the stun guns is considered to be. Anything more than 1 million volts should have an immediate effect on a victim.

Amperage is what gives the stun gun its “knock down” power. Too much amperage is dangerous to the body, while too little won’t have an effect. Amps in a stun gun are typically measured in miliamps. Five miliamps is considered safe for the body. Many cheaper stun guns deliver only 1 to 2 miliamps, which makes them less effective.

We’re planning a series of posts about stun guns and pepper spray effectiveness with a giveaway from PS Products in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! Keep in mind that pepper spray in the size we’re going to be giving away can go anywhere but Washington DC or New York. Stun guns cannot be shipped to New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Wisconsin or Michigan. Next up in the series is a post explaining the effectiveness of pepper sprays, their potency and range. After that, keep reading for a post explaining the different types of pepper sprays and stun guns that are available and what situations they would be most useful in.

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Over recent days I think it’s fair to say that most of us have heard about the man who was dragged – literally dragged – off a plane because he didn’t voluntarily leave when the crew randomly appointed people to leave an overbooked flight.

This video that a friend showed us shows how to defend yourself in a similar situation. You know that Shadowfox has published other articles about self-defense, like “How to Use a Tactical Pen for Self-Defense” and “5 Ways to Take an Attacker Down.” Since we’re all about preparedness, we feel that emergency preparedness should extend to protecting your physical body from threats of violence as well as from threats of running out of food or water. The video gives an overview of what happened – when the man refused to cooperate, United Airlines invoked the “Involuntary Denial of Boarding Process” and forcibly removed him.

That said, we definitely don’t advocate violence. But, if you’re ever in a situation where things like this are out of your control, you might not make the same choice this guy did to be passively carried away. By the way, we’ve looked up the Passenger Bill of Rights and you might want to read it over before you get on an airplane next time. While passengers do have rights, unfortunately the agreement you agree to when you buy a plane ticket and board a plane is that once the airplane door closes most of your rights evaporate and you have little to no choice but to comply with the airline employee’s orders. If anything like this situation with this man happens to you, legal experts seem to agree that it’s in your best interest to do what they say, ie, leave the plane if you have to, and sort it out later.

Still, there may be other instances where these skills will come in handy. We can’t recommend doing these moves on a plane, but if you’re ever attacked by someone, here’s how you can get away. The video was made by a Jiu-Jitsu instructor, and has good basic self-defense moves that you can use in a variety of self-defense situations, but these are made primarily for people who are being dragged against their will, like what happened to the man on the plane.

The moves is to get your legs between you and the attacker. After that, you can follow through in six different ways, which the video shows, to get them off of you. This video makes me want to start learning jiu-jitsu. Seriously.

Remember this post, Top 10 Reasons to Give a Tactical Pen As a Gift?

Well, we now have a guide to how to use a tactical pen as self defense to go along with that one. And to sweeten the deal, we’re giving away an UZI Tactical Pen! You’ll earn chances to win one that you can keep for yourself or give to your Valentine’s Day sweetheart if you take part in our giveaway.

UZI Tactical Pen Giveaway

How to Use a Tactical Pen for Self-Defense

A tactical pen might not be your top choice for self-defense. You might rather have a gun or a knife. But there are many places where you can not take a gun or knife, such as on a plane. You might not feel comfortable using a gun or a knife until you have more training. A tactical pen offers real benefits for self defense to people who might be alter-abled or work in places where a gun is not allowed.

Your tactical pen can break glass

If you’re trapped somewhere where there is a locked door and you can’t escape, your tactical pen can give you the physical power you need to break the glass and escape. The pen’s sharp carbide-tip glassbreaker point has enough force to shatter glass and will not make a sound while you are doing it, until the glass breaks. The carbide tip is important because because carbide is stronger and will stay sharper up to 20 times longer than steel or aluminum, which is important for the longevity of the pen’s effectiveness.

Carry it at hand

It won’t do you any good if it is in the bottom of your purse or briefcase and you can’t get to it. Carry it somewhere where you can put your hands on it at a moment’s notice.

Once you do have your hands on it, here’s how you use your tactical pen:

Stab with it

Hold it in your hands so that your arm has the longest reach possible. Use the sharp point in a stabbing motion and try to aim for a sensitive place, like eyes or the Adam’s apple.

Depending on the type of tactical pen you get, one tip might be sharper than another. For instance, the UZI tactical pen with the DNA catcher has a sharp point that is designed to “catch” your opponent’s DNA. Striking or stabbing someone with this sharp point is going to hurt.

Aim for any weak spots

Use the sharp point of your pen to aim for any soft tissue weak spots. If you can’t stab, then use it to apply pressure. The backs of the knees, ears, eyes, feet and throat are spots that are very vulnerable if you can apply enough pressure. Even if you do not have full range of arm motion you will very likely be able to hold your pen somewhere where your opponent will feel it.

How do you recommend using your UZI tactical pen? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Feel free to share this post with everyone you know who might want to win a tactical pen. We will choose one winner at random.

UZI Tactical Pen Giveaway

Let’s say you’re on the hiking trail and some creep starts getting too close. Or let’s say you’re at the grocery store and some creep starts getting too close. Here are 5 ways to take an attacker down if you can’t avoid them.

1. Use a stick. Many readers of this site probably have a gun, or two, or several. But you might not have it on you and you might not want to use it. If you’re hiking, take along a sturdy walking stick. If you don’t have one, at the start of each hike pick up a sturdy branch along the trailside. Just seeing that you are carrying a small battering ram might dissuade someone from messing with you, but if not, you can use the stick like a bo, like this guy. Wacking someone in the kneecaps is gonna hurt.

2. Move in the attacker’s direction.
If you’re carrying a heavy pack, use your extra weight to your advantage. Instead of resisting the attacker’s force, throw your weight onto him. You’ll throw him off balance, hopefully enough for you to recover and get farther away from him.

3. Jab for any soft tissue.
 I recommend carrying a knife with you for protection, and learning how to use it if you have to. But if you’re not armed, practice stiffening and straightening out your hands to jab at eyes, nose, throat, groin, and any “soft tissue” place you can reach. A palm strike to the nose can immobilize a great white shark, and just about any attacker. It won’t stop them completely, but it will give you time to get away. A kick to the groin will drop just about any man.

4. Snap his fingers. 
When someone reaches their hand toward you, grab one or two of their fingers and apply pressure downward (backward). Once the fingers won’t bend anymore, keep pressing. this causes intense pain and can cause them to release their grip. If they do continue to attack you, they might be able to do a lot less damage with one or two broken fingers or a broken wrist. Once he buckles to the ground, follow up with a chop to the ears or a knee to the nose.

5. Carry pepper spray.
Tear gas or pepper spray is “non lethal” but is a good defense. They may be illegal in certain states, so check to see if you’re allowed to carry this. If you do carry it, keep it in your hand. If it is in a bag or purse, you simply won’t have time to get to it and activate it if you’re in the middle of a surprise attack. Direct the spray right at the attacker’s face at close range. Pepper spray has a blinding effect, so this may buy you time to get away or get out another weapon. Be aware that if you spray against the wind, the spray will come back at you too. after you spray, avoid contact with the person, if you can, because the volatile oils will rub off on you. If you get some on your hands and then rub your own eyes, you will be debilitated as well.

There are a lot of reasons to love the invention of tactical pens. If you’re trying to figure out a good gift or stocking stuffer for someone in your life, consider a tactical pen. We got to test one out from UZI recently, the UZI Tactical Glassbreaker Pen ($22) and we think it’s just great. Here’s why.

It’s a smooth writing pen that is also a weapon.
Most of us carry a pen around with us on a daily basis. Women carry them in their purses. Men tuck them in their pockets. There’s always a pen or two in the car’s glovebox. With a tactical pen, no matter whether you’re in the grocery store or in line at the bank, you’ve got a weapon on you. The tactical pen is larger than a typical pen but still the same size and shape of a pen.

The Pen is compatible with Fisher space pen refills which write upside down or in the rain. It can write underwater, in zero gravity, and from below zero to practically the surface temperature of the sun.

It’s affordable.
While prices vary, this particular model is super affordable at only $22.

It’s a glass breaker.
This pen has an integrated glass breaker tip which could help you save someone’s life. Or your own. If you frequently drive around in vehicles that are not your own, this gives you a convenient way to get out of the car if you ever need to.

You can take it on airplanes.
When you’re traveling away from home, it can be a very vulnerable feeling to have to leave your weapons at home. When you get to your destination, you don’t have your EDC or survival gear on your person like you normally would, or your bug-out bag in your car like you normally would. The tactical pen gives you back some of that confidence.

You can carry them where you can’t take other EDC weapons such as knives.
In many workplace environments, guns and knives are not allowed. A tactical pen makes for a self-defense item that no workplace rules can take away from you. You can take a tactical pen into a courthouse, for instance.

It’s easy to hide.

These pens fit into a purse or pocket, suitcase, glovebox, lunchbox, or anywhere you might want to tuck a weapon that could be used as a punching tool. Tactical pens don’t appear as a weapon to most people. You can hold it in your hands and it is not obvious. This can give you the element of surprise in a self-defense situation.

It’s a good conversation starter.
The tactical pen looks enough like a pen that using one does not call attention to yourself. But, if you really look at it and think about it, a tactical pen looks different enough that people who are wondering about it might ask. It’s a great opening for a conversation about self-defense and to let the people around you know that you are not to be messed with.

It’s a jabbing tool.
Tuck it in your pocket and it’s not obvious like a knife or gun might be. It can make puncture wounds similar to a knife. It can gouge eyeballs better than fingers alone. It’s lightweight but solid enough that it can be held in the fist to support a punch.

It’s difficult to get taken away from you.
Tactical pens let you keep a tight grip on them. Because of the size and shape, they fit very well into your hand. It’s difficult for someone to pry your grip off a pen and take it away from you.

They are overlooked in pat-downs.
Because they are the same size and shape as a pen, they are easily overlooked if you are in a crowd such as a concert venue. It’s nice to know that you can retain a weapon just in case you ever need one.

There you go. 10 fantastic reasons to get the UZI Tactical Pen.

We became impressed with JHO’s Nug Knife and wrote about it a short while ago. That knife ended up selling our fairly quickly, but JHO now has a different model, the Lynx Knife, that would be a great gift.
The Lynx Knife is $90 and is available in either satin or stone-washed finish. The photos show satin finish. The Lynx is a fine quality card blade knife that fits right in your wallet at a size of 3.46 inches (88 mm) x 1.96 inches (50 mm) and a thickness of  .079 inches (2 mm). Even though it is narrow, it grips well. The Lynx blade is made with vacuum heat-treated CPM S35VN steel (HRC:58-60) used only in high-end production and custom knives. It ships worldwide for only an additional $10.

We love these kinds of knifes because they fit right in our wallets, which we always have with us. We don’t need to worry about putting it on or putting it in a backpack each day, it’s just always in the wallet in case we need it. Most people don’t think about card-sized knifes, so we don’t have to explain or show people that we are actually carrying a knife. The blade is useful for shaving, slicing or chopping, or self-defense in a pinch. Purchase the Lynx knife by JHO for $90.

Traveling comes with a lot of challenges, especially when you may be worried ensuring your safety. Even though you can’t bring obvious self-defense weapons such as firearms or knives in your carry-on bag when traveling by plane, there are some effective tools you can pack for self-defense that are unlikely to arouse the suspicion of TSA agents. Here we present 5 self-defense tools you can carry on a plane.

1 – Pen

When used properly, a pen can make an effective self-defense weapon. You don’t even have to have a special tactical pen to cause some damage and fend off an attacker, although tactical pens offer reassurance and a writing utensil. Hold the pen in your fist with the sharp point extended out about an inch so you’ll be ready to stab the attacker as necessary.

2 – Monkey’s Fist Keychain

A paracord monkey’s fist is a great self-defense option that shouldn’t be an issue for plane travel. The monkey’s fist consists of a ball bearing that’s wrapped securely in paracord. To avoid the potential of confiscation, you should make sure the ball bearing is of a relatively small size so that it looks more like a key chain and less like it’s meant to be used as a weapon.

3 – Sock Full of Coins

So far, there are no regulations about the number of coins you can carry in your carry-on baggage. Some survivalists load a sock with coins as a self-defense tool when they’re traveling. It might not be the most menacing-looking tool, but you can use it to inflict some serious pain on your attacker.

4 – Rolled Up Newspaper or Magazine

With practice, a rolled-up magazine or newspaper can be an effective self-defense tool. Roll it up tightly toward the spine to contain the loose edges of paper. You can use rubber bands to keep it in its rolled-up position so it will be ready to use in case you need it.

5 – Flashlight

A flashlight can make a great self-defense weapon in a pinch. Although there don’t seem to be any rules against carrying a flashlight in your carry-on, it might not be worth packing an expensive tactical flashlight just in case the TSA agent decides it’s worth confiscating.

Although these tools can help you defend yourself, the best weapon against an attacker is training and preparation. Realistically, you cannot predict when you may find yourself a victim of an attack. If your TSA-approved “weapons” are still safely stored in your bag, you won’t have time to access them and fight off your attacker. In addition to carrying these helpful tools, it is a great idea to get training in martial arts. Many martial arts schools offer self-defense training to help you mentally and physically prepare for an attack.

Image of tactical pen courtesy of