Gun Alternatives?

Reader Dev left this comment:

I tell my GF I want a gun because I follow this blog, but she tells me she doesn’t want me carrying it around her. She argues that pepper spray or a taser would be equally effective. Thoughts?

Its 2010, I mean growing up “2000” was thrown into EVERYTHING to make it look futuristic. Do we really need to be lugging around what is essentially late 19th Century technology for personal protection? I mean Captain Kirk is rocking his slick Phaser on Star Trek, you don’t see him with a 1911 or a Security Six in his belt.

Maybe is the future here? Can we dump these crude peices of metal for some better technology?

Well what do we have for options?

Pepper Spray (OC) and Tear Gas (Mace) have been around for a good while. They work to irritate sensitive tissues and cause pain, discomfort and blindness due to the tear reaction, and difficulty breathing due to mucus production.

Overall OC is the suggested chemical because it is considered more effective, also Mace has a high vapor pressure, meaning that if you live in Northern Climates like I do, on a cold day your tear gas canister might spray just liquid and not irritating vapor.

Still I listed the above biological effects of OC, and to be honest I don’t like them as self defense items:

OK he’s a hurting boy in that video, and hardly graceful. Still its not like he’s laying on the ground crying for mommy. He’s still able to fight, and he’s still able to function and react to his environment. He’s at a disadvantage, but is that disadvantage enugh for you to overcome the deadly threat?
More Videos Here and Here And more in the linking pages.

I wouldn’t bet my life on it. Seems that a lot of the debilitating effect of OC spray is a panic reaction. Your eyes slam shut, you feel burning pain, and your breathing becomes very difficult. Many people will just give up when this happens. That’s why the above videos exist. To Teach police officers that even tho if feels like the world is ending, that isn’t so, and they can fight through the effects. This works for criminals as well as officers.

Also note that more than likely if you spray an attacker you WILL also get a good wiff of the stuff yourself.

I do not like OC at all.

Next up are Tasers and stun-guns. First up, unless there are some products I’m missing stun guns (electronic stun devices that require direct contact) do not disable, but only cause pain and numbness. Because they need direct contact and only cause pain, pain thresholds very GREATLY from person-to-person, these are also of little value for personal defense IMHO. Now Tasers are neat! They fire darts at the target allowing targets to be engaged at range allowing a tactical advantage, and the electrical impulses actually cause muscles to seize and spasm. This is a mechanical reaction, and will not vary from person-to-person, if you get hit with a Taser you WILL fall down. A buddy of mine is Career Army, and while he was a pasty dork when we were in High School and College together, he’s a goddamn adonis of muscle these days. He got Tased at a trade show, and he was sure that he could ride the lightning. He sent me a video of him getting held up so he wouldn’t bounce his head off the concrete floor and screaming like a girl.

Still how effective are they? Bob S. has a great post up on this Go over and check it out, also check out Bob’s blog because he kicks so much ass there aught to be a LAW!!! 🙂
In his post (which you should read the whole thing…I’ll wait) was this video:

If the darts fail to connect, or the connection is broken, the subject is free to move again, with only some residual stiffness and spasms. How about if everything works just great?

You’ve got until the battery runs out (only a few seconds) before your attacker is back on the offensive.

I think Tasers are GREAT tools for Police. You see as a civilian I have one dichotomy when it comes to personal defense. Deadly force, and no Force.

I’ve heard people say you should always carry pepper spray or a stun device if you carry a gun because it allows you to respond to threats with other degree of force.

Technically I also have my fists and feet. Still I see it this way. Either I’m in physical danger, or I’m able to walk away. We can discuss that in another post or the comments if you all like, but I’ll leave it there for my point.

Cops don’t have that issue. Somebody being an asshole and violating the law, but not threatening life at that moment is STILL a police concern. A taser allows them to stun somebody without getting in contact with them, and handcuff them and arrest them.

I see packing a stun gun AND a set of handcuffs as a legal nightmare. Also a HUGE liability if your attacker has friends who don’t take kindly of the guy or gal playing Paul Blart.

Also remember that while Police DO carry OC spray, handcuffs, radios (for backup) and tasers….they still also carry guns and reloads.

I would say that if you aren’t sure about carrying a gun, or are waiting on your permit, the non-gun defensive weapon I personally recommend (and myself carry when I’m in a gun-free zone, or a place that doesn’t recognize my carry permit) Is the Ka-Bar TDI The short single-edged fixed blade doesn’t count as a “Weapon” under most laws (but check your state’s laws first, as I know it was illegal for me to carry this in North Carolina, so I left it in my hotel room at the NRA Convention), and its simple design makes it very easy for carry and use. Still it isn’t much of a force multiplier, it is simply better than foul-language or that dipshit liberal pie-in-the-sky bit of wishful thinking of carrying your car keys in your fist.

But overall when people are concerned about personal protection, or protections of innocents, they reach for a personal firearm. Its still the best tool in the tool-box.

Good Luck, Dev!

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0 Responses to Gun Alternatives?

  1. Bob S. says:


    Thanks for the link and the compliment – wow. Please don’t let the antis read that because while I really don’t want to have a law named after me, I especially don’t want one targeting me.

    The problem I see with TASERS and Pepper spray is that I think the limit your options, not increase them.
    If there is a need to deploy force, the courts and especially the court of public opinion, is going to demand the use of less then lethal options first.

    “You had pepper spray on you, you could have just disabled him”.

    The other problem is related to training and time. We don’t spend weeks straight learning which tool to use first, second, third. We don’t spend weeks practicing transitioning from less then lethal to lethal force.

    Even the cops who do spend that time training have problems transitioning between them — often resulting in greater injury to the cops, not less.

    The physical attack portion of most crimes happen fairly quickly, wouldn’t you agree? Given the victim time for only 1 response — draw the gun or grab the pepper spray – DECIDE NOW.

    Even when the weapon used is a firearm — most crimes are stopped short of death and violence. Even drawing the firearm and using it doesn’t mean that death is inevitable — look at the survival rate for gun shot wounds.

    Personally, I think that many people carrying OC or TASERS would be quicker to employ violence then those carrying firearms.

    Great post

    • Weerd Beard says:

      And you have a bigger chance of making the WRONG choice. You spray somebody with pepper spray or a Taser at range and they end up charging you, you’re now dealing with a force-on-force pistol draw, and if you’re doing things right, you’re now getting off the line of attack. BAD situation.

      Also “Draw Gun” does not mean “Shoot guy”. It definitely should ONLY mean “I am prepared to shoot this guy”, but as we know from statistics only 90% of defensive gun uses involve shots being fired.

      And of course you are 100% correct about violence being dispensed in a non-deadly-force scenario. You have some asshole in your face and being rude, but not violent and you hose him down with OC, how do you think this will effect the scenario? Maybe it’ll piss him off? Maybe it’ll drop him like a sack of potatoes and piss off his friends? Maybe Both? Maybe neither, but then what? Do you run away? Call 911? Run away and call 911?

      Better to just walk away and be mindful of your pistol.

  2. maddmedic says:

    1st off. I’d dump the GF. But thats just me.
    I spend a lot of time with Law Enforcement as I teach 1st Responder, CPR, Self or Buddy Care to many of them Both Tazers and OC are no the end all. I have seen tased victims pop right back up and people sprayed with OC act like nothing has happened. Now if you could hit everybody with the juice from and AED…now you have something.
    Showing your gun. Which I have done twice at Gas Stations when being scoped out at midnight on the way home from teaching a class has worked wonderfully. The first time I did not realixe it was showing, ooops, as I had just gotten out of the vehicle and I could tell some dude was working his way into something, until he noticed what was on my hip. Calmed him right down it did.
    And if you have ever dealt with someone cranked on drugs you know there is no stopping them unless you have overwhelming numbers. Or a clip/cylinder full of little friends.
    ut to many in their safe little havens are clueless as to what the world is really like.
    Gimme back my bullets. You keep the OC and Tazers!

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Great points. Tho I will say as a former Anti myself, and the Husband and relative of several former Antis, just because somebody is nervous or doesn’t like personal firearms is not a deal-breaker.

      As I’ve said before, I was an anti because I was not in possession of the facts on the issue, just about all reformed antis are the same way. I didn’t know guns saved so many lives per year, I didn’t know guns were so inherently safe, I didn’t know about things like the 4 rules, ect ect.

      But if she’s one of the antis who has her mind made up, and no facts in the world will sway her, I’d with Maddmedic. Not just because I’d never date/marry an anti, but I’d never waste my time with somebody who’s chronically illogical, that’s a viper pit in itself.

  3. mike w. says:

    The problem with OC, Tasers etc. is that their effectiveness depends upon pain compliance. You hit me right now with OC and it’ll probably disable me, you hit me with it during a life or death situation with tons of adrenaline running through my veins I might be able to fight through it.

    Cops have to get dosed with it before they go out on the streets and I recall my brother telling me that it had little to no effect on some guys. Some people are generally immune to it. With OC there’s also a chance you’ll get hit with it too, particularly if you hit the guy and it doesn’t stop him. He’s now covered in OC and if he’s right on top of you the OC is going to affect you.

    There’s a reason cops carry guns, because they’re still the most effective handheld means of stopping a violent attack. Not OC, not a taser, not an asp, but multiple jacketed hollowpoints. There’s also a continuum of force that the cops go through when dealing with encounters that is simply not expected of a civilian defending himself. If someone is a lethal threat and you OC him, it doesn’t work and then you’re forced to shoot him the immediate question will be “If he was such an immediate threat then why did you respond with non-lethal force?”

    And if you have ever dealt with someone cranked on drugs you know there is no stopping them unless you have overwhelming numbers.

    Reminds me of a story my brother told me where he and another officer had to assist a female officer who was dealing with a large, belligerent suspect on PCP. Dude got tased, hit in the face with OC and my brother had to wail on the guy with his asp. I mean this guy is getting pummeled in the legs, arms & body with an asp and he’s standing there like he’s getting poked with a stick. They had to transfer him to the hospital once the PCP wore off, but while he was on it he was NOT going to go down.

  4. Dev says:

    Thanks for the info. Weerd. I am going to discuss this with her this weekend.

    @maddmedic: LOL, dump my GF over a gun that I do not own? No thanks.

    Before following Weerd, I was an Anti. Now I’m of the opposite opinion.

    Thanks again.

  5. Lissa says:

    Numbers, numbers, numbers.

    If the bad guy has two or three large friends they’re going to laugh at your Taser and beat the crap out of you. If not worse.

    Can you take on three or four bad guys with one firearm? No — you almost certainly cannot.

    Will you be watching all four of them sprint for the hills as soon as you down the first one? (Or as soon as your weapon is drawn?) Probably. Unless they’re drugged up, in which case your Taser or pepper spray also doesn’t work.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      I don’t know if I 100% agree with you, Lissa. Certainly nothing is a magic talisman and a person can be bested or win ANY fight, be it one-on-one, or angry-mob vs. one, or anything in between.

      That being said a Taser specifically can only engage one target. It might scare everybody away saying OMG DEATHRAY!!!! But more than likely thug or thug’s buddies will take your now dead and useless taser and shove it up your ass.

      OC spray can engage multiple targets, but not many, and not if they’re spread far apart, and the wider the spread of engagement the more OC you’re going to get on yourself.

      With a firearm, you can most certainly engage multiple targets. Hell even at my least armed I’m packing a 5-shot revolver. So long as there aren’t more than 5 guys I have enough ammo to engage ALL of them. Maybe I’ll miss a shot or two, or maybe I’ll only superficially wound some of them, its still a HUGE force multiplier.

      With my 1911 and two spare mags, that’s a LOT of ammo to dispense, or say somebody with a Glock 19 or 17, ect ect.

      One tactic I’ve heard that sounds very good is if engaging multiple targets you engage EACH target with one shot each, THEN re-target for follow-up shots as needed.

      Just something to think about.

  6. Linoge says:

    I stopped being interested in OC spray when I had to be dosed with it for the military. In order for us to carry it on the quarterdeck, we had to go through an experience ourselves, which consisted of being sprayed, waiting 30 seconds, and then engaging in four separate “obstacles”, including taking on a red-suit-armored agressor, weapons retention, weapon disarmament, baton implementation, and submission of a particularly unwilling individual.

    To be certain, that gos-se hurt like hell, and I was not able to open my eyes completely for aobut two hours, and not be completely pain-free for about six hours, but the fact is, I was able to complete the post-spraying engagements.

    In fact, everyone was. And a few individuals (namely, a Pacific Islander and an Irishman – both first generations) did not seem to suffer from any reaction at all. So after I had the time to calm down and think through the training, I suddenly realized that over 250 separate individuals got sprayed with the OC, and yet were still able to inflict what would have been some pretty significant harm on folks had they not been padded batons and padded suits. It slowed us down, to be sure, and it would probably discourage a purse-snatcher, except that the use of OC typically counts as assault and/or battery, depending on the state, and then it becomes a complicated situation indeed.

    If folks want to give it a figurative shot, more power to them, and if it works out, awesome. But I will pass.

    • Dixie says:

      Then there’s the other end of the spectrum– some people react very badly to OC spray. I’d imagine that there’s at least one case out there where a bad guy got hit with a snoot full and promptly had an asthma attack.

  7. Sevesteen says:

    Not much to disagree with in either the post or comments. I lead a boring life, and avoid situations likely to result in violence. As a result, there is a limited amount of crap I’m willing to carry for contingencies. A handgun has the best balance of convenience to effectiveness. If I’ve got a handgun, nothing else adds enough capability to be worthwhile.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      another VERY valid point. How much storage ability do you have, and are you willing to have with you?

      Some days All I can manage to easily pack with me is my wallet, keys, cell phone, and my J-frame. Not even a reload. If I had room for a tin of pepper, I’d rather just put two speed strips in its place.

      Most of us don’t have, nor are we interested in a batman utility belt, and if we DO have one its already loaded with the goof-ballery of modern life. (Two cellphones, multitool, knife, flashlight, gun, magazine carrier)

      Why carry something that will have dubious results when you can carry something else that will work MUCH better and on more grave applications.

      • Dixie says:

        And then some of us live in warm climates. Carrying a can of OC spray PLUS my normal loadout (gun, spare mag, light, knife, keys, wallet, phone, pocket notebook, pens) would be pushing it– even cargo pants can only carry so much.

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