Violence seems to be on the rise across the country. Every day there are news reports of school and workplace shootings, robberies, sexual assaults, and drug related attacks. Many people are left feeling insecure and helpless as the world seems to fall apart around them.
With violent crime on the rise, it is more important than ever to have effective self defense strategies available. The need for effective self-defense may lead individuals to ask what are less than lethal weapons, and how can they be used for personal protection? Learn more about the options available, so you can make a choice that best suits your needs.
First and foremost, let’s define what less than lethal weapons are. Less than lethal weapons have been used for many years in police and military circles. Tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons are all examples of less than lethal weapons used by police, security, and military organizations. They are weapons that are designed to wound or injure, but not kill. Less than lethal weapons can be an effective solution in the fight against violent crime. They can help defuse violent situations and allow the suspect to be apprehended.
While police and military organizations may be the first group of users that comes to mind, private citizens may also find less than lethal weapons as a potential solution. Many of them can be used with little or no training, making them easy to implement as a deterrent against violence.
Who Are These Weapons Appropriate For?
Less than lethal weapons can be used by a wide segment of the civilian population. With a wide variety of consumer choices on the market, it is easier than ever to find an effective solution.
As previously stated, many of these weapons require little or no training, making them a smart choice for individuals from various walks of life. A few examples of the types of people who could benefit from less than lethal weapons are listed below.
• Students who are required to travel across campus at night.
• Night shift workers who may be arriving at or departing from their job in the dark.
• Elderly individuals who seek an additional level of home security.
• Anyone who may be required to travel through neighborhoods with a higher rate of violent crime.
• Individuals who rely on public transportation or who travel great distances on a regular basis.
• Workers required to park in a parking garage or other poorly lit area with low visibility.
• Socially vulnerable populations who may have a greater risk of being attacked.
• Anyone seeking additional security in their day to day activities.
As you can see, less than lethal weapons can be an effective tool for a wide segment of the population. They can be used for self defense in a wide variety of circumstances.
Why They Are A Smart Choice
In addressing the question what are less than lethal weapons, it was noted that they could be used to defuse a violent situation. In many cases, lethal weapons may actually escalate a violent situation, particularly if they are wielded by untrained individuals.
Less than lethal weapons can be used to incapacitate a perpetrator, allowing an innocent victim a chance to escape. They can also be used to subdue a suspect until law enforcement arrives on the scene. They are simple to use, and do not result in the same type of survivor guilt that can be prevalent in users of conventional lethal weapons.
How These Weapons Work
Less than lethal weapons are typically used to incapacitate a perpetrator. There are different styles of less than lethal weapons, but at their core all of them are designed to stop a perpetrator by inflicting pain. The difference however, lies in the fact that they are only designed to injure or wound, not to kill.
This is not meant to imply that these weapons cannot still be deadly in some situations. If enough force is applied, nearly any type of weapon can be lethal. That is why they are referred to as less than lethal as opposed to non-lethal. It is still possible to kill using a less than lethal weapon. However, it is significantly less likely that the perpetrator will be killed with a less than lethal weapon as opposed to a conventional weapon. Learning more about what are less than lethal weapons will help users understand the difference between the two.
Using Them As A Deterrent
Due to their ability to inflict high levels of pain, less than lethal weapons can also be used as a deterrent against violent crime. No one likes to experience pain, and that includes criminals. Simply brandishing a less than lethal weapon may act as a deterrent against an attack. In many cases, the weapon doesn’t even need to be used. The threat alone is enough to discourage the perpetrator from continuing to pursue the victim.
In order for this strategy to work, the person wielding the weapon must be able to handle it in a confident and educated manner. They should know how it works and show that they will follow through in using it if necessary.
So, what are less than lethal weapons that could be employed by law abiding citizens? There are many different types to choose from. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks that should be considered before making a purchase. Learn more about the various types of less than lethal weapons available for personal defense.
Sprays – Many people are familiar with the brand Mace. In some circles, it has become synonymous with the category of pepper spray. Pepper spray is easily accessible, and relatively inexpensive. It comes in containers that are small enough to be easily tucked into a pocket or handbag. It is also relatively simple to use. While it is still wise to test a canister to make sure you have the nozzle directed properly, it does not require any special training.
Pepper spray comes in an aerosol or pump style container, or even a gun. It is made from a derivative of the cayenne pepper, which burns when it comes into contact with the skin or mucous membranes. When sprayed in the face of an attacker it burns their eyes, nose and mouth. Some models also use UV dye to mark the perpetrator’s clothing. This feature is useful in helping identify the attacker if they try to flee. While complications are rare, it is possible that pepper spray can aggravate the airways and lead to asphyxiation.
Telescoping Batons – Telescoping batons, sometimes referred to as night sticks, are another option for personal protection. They retract down to a small size, so they are portable and convenient. They can be used to put additional distance between you and your attacker. A simple flick of the wrist can expand the baton, so it can be pulled out and used at a moment’s notice.
Telescoping batons are available at a variety of price points, from $10 to hundreds of dollars. They are most frequently sold online but can be purchased through some local stores. Batons may be constructed from either metal or plastic. While it is helpful to practice with the baton from time to time, no special training is required.
Electroshock Weapons – The most commonly known electroshock weapon is the Taser. It fires two barbed probes at the target. The probes are connected to the device by thin wires, which carry an electromagnetic shock. It leads to neuromuscular incapacitation, literally locking up the attacker’s muscles so they can’t move.
One of the unique benefits of the Taser brand is their Self Escape Program. If you ever need to use your device, they advise you to leave it behind and escape. They will replace the device free of charge.
Stun guns are another familiar type of electroshock weapon. Unlike Tasers, they do not cause neuromuscular incapacitation. Stun guns incapacitate perpetrators by causing high levels of pain from electric shock.
While electroshock weapons are considered less than lethal, they are not risk free. One of the greatest dangers associated with any electroshock weapon is the risk of death from cardiac arrest. Whenever possible, it is recommended that electroshock weapons should not be aimed at an attacker’s chest, but rather at other parts of the body.
Anyone interested in using an electroshock weapon for self-defense should commit to training with the weapon on a regular basis. This is to ensure the best-case scenario for everyone involved. Users should practice their aim and firing skills, so it becomes second nature. This is especially important as nerves are typically high during an attack, so wielding the weapon needs to be a well-ingrained habit. Users should be able to handle the weapon instinctively.
Electroshock weapons are typically more expensive than other less than lethal weapons. Tasers and stun guns typically start at several hundred dollars each, with some models costing over $1,000.
Guns with Less Than Lethal Ammunition
Guns using non-traditional ammunition are another option for self-defense. There are a wide array of models of guns as well as types of ammunition to choose from on the personal defense market. Less than lethal guns are typically designed to fire at a lower velocity than traditional firearms. They rely on the use of blunt force trauma to incapacitate an attacker. While most forms of non-traditional ammunition are not lethal, they can be if shot at a close range or in particularly vulnerable areas of the body. They are also capable of permanently maiming the assailant and should be used with caution.
Guns always require training, even if they use non-traditional ammunition. Concealed carry laws apply to guns with non-traditional ammunition as well. Likewise, there are courses that must be taken to learn how to properly handle the weapon. Users will also need to practice firing the weapon, as well as learning how to safely handle it. Special precaution should be taken when loading and unloading the ammunition and cleaning the weapon, just as it is with traditional firearms.
Weapons using non-traditional ammunition can range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars, making them one of the more expensive choices in less than lethal self-protection. The mandatory training and registration fees also add to the cost of ownership.
There are many less than lethal ammunition choices available on the market. Rubber bullets, beanbag rounds, wax bullets, soft polymer rounds, and ring airfoil projectiles are just a few of the options to choose from. All the above options are effective at disabling an assailant. Because they can be fired from a distance, they are an effective solution at stopping an attacker without the need for close proximity.
How to Choose the Best Less-than-lethal Weapons
Since many different types of less than lethal weapons are available on the market, it may be confusing for consumers to decide which ones will best suit their needs. There are several points to consider when choosing which weapon to purchase for self-defense.
• How much training is needed to be able to effectively wield the weapon? Some weapons require users to be trained and others do not. Consider whether you want to expend the time and effort necessary to complete the training.
• Where will the weapon be used? Will it be kept in a single location, or does it need to be portable? If it needs to be portable, is it small enough and light enough to make transportation appropriate? Can it be easily concealed?
• Does it require ammunition? If you don’t want to deal with purchasing and loading ammunition you may want to choose an alternative weapon.
• What is the cost? Some less than lethal weapons are inexpensive, while others are quite pricey.
Less-than-lethal Weapons Are a Smart Choice in Personal Security
Violent crime is on the rise, and many law abiding citizens are concerned about safety. They desire effective solutions to help protect themselves as well as their loved ones. Less than lethal weapons are a smart solution in personal defense. By learning what are less than lethal weapons, civilians are empowered to make choices that help provide an additional level of personal security.
They can be used as both a deterrent and a self-defense system. There are many different styles and models of less than lethal weapons to choose from at varying price points. Some require training, while others are simple enough to be used right out of the package. Choose the less than lethal weapon that is right for you and take back your personal safety and security.