Believe it or not, you are already hard wired to care about non-lethal defense. We do it naturally when we try and de-escalate a situation by talking calmly to someone who seems upset. We also have a pretty strong flight instinct, where when we feel that something isn’t right, we leave the scene.
As a former Law Enforcement Officer and Police Captain, I know these two instincts are the first steps to non-lethal defense. But what I found speaking to victims of violence is that they seldom know how – or when – to defend themselves or others.
So why should you care about using non-lethal defense?
Non-lethal is the “porcupine” of the self-defense world. Defending yourself without using violence can eliminate one cause of hesitation in a difficult decision-making process when seconds count and help is minutes away. Simply put, it provides an option an individual would be more willing to use.
Non-lethal means just that: no other person dies by the hands of the user when defending themselves. Humans hesitate to take the life of another, and hesitation can cost a life when seconds count.
Merely brandishing a non-lethal has ended many, many dangerous encounters. The attacker knows you are willing to use it.
4. Non-lethal does cause pain, but with varying quickness.
Don’t believe what you’ve seen in movies and on TV. In most cases, pepper spray does not initiate an immediate response. Just ask any cop who has been sprayed as part of their training and fought through several challenges before the effects kicked in. That being said, when it does kick in, it is very debilitating. On the other hand, Presidia Gel® from Reflex Protect® produces an immediate response on contact.
5. Most non-lethal has a significant downside.
Electric stun guns require you to be within arm’s reach of your attacker and only cause localized pain on the surface of the skin. Attackers are not debilitated, and worse, the device can be batted away which allows the attacker to continue an assault. Pepper spray particulate travels in the same manner as smoke. It can negatively impact you at the absolute worst time.
6. Non-lethal does take practice.
The first time you use a non-lethal should never be in a real emergency. Adrenaline is a normal response to an abnormal situation; however, it will completely diminish fine motor skills. Practice will build confidence in your ability, offer some muscle memory on how it works, and increase your ability to react under the influence of adrenaline. Practice cans that contain an inert spray (usually water) are available for most spray products. Practicing with an electronic device is a bit more complicated. Good luck finding a willing volunteer.
7. Doing nothing is the worst-case scenario.
You are confronted by violence, and you do not know what to do. When in crisis, your brain will go into lightning fast search mode for experiences, memories or training you have, that may remotely resemble the situation so you can react and survive. If you have not thought of, experienced, or planned for crisis, you may freeze and loose precious life-saving seconds. This is the same as your computer not being able to find a file: “Error 404.” Be prepared, not paranoid. Think about how, when and where you may need your non-lethal from time to time. It will likely give you the “file” your brain needs to find.
Facing violence is difficult to think about, let alone to prepare for. That said, most people are inherently good and avoid causing harm to others. Having a non-lethal option means you have a tool to gain an advantage and a plan that you can practice, the first step to piece of mind and survival.
Ben Gladwin is the Government Sales Division Director at Reflex Protect,
maker of America’s only “hospital safe”
non-lethal active defense solution