Below are the most popular and effective self defense gadgets for women and college students. First a few quick tips to help you decide which item will be best for your situation.
1. When it comes to picking the best self-defense device for women it basically comes down to what you find most comfortable carrying. If, for some reason, you find a specific self-defense weapon a burden carrying with you, you are likely to not have it on you which defeats its whole purpose.
2. Personal protection devices come in a few categories, there are impact weapons, sprays and maces, and stun guns and tasers. Before you buy a female self defense product decide if you prefer a range or melee device.
- Most women, and men too, will prefer to deal with a mugger or rapist from a distance. However, in certain situations this is not realistic. For instance when you need to defend yourself in really crowded spaces a melee weapon will be more effective.
3. Do your diligence when buying cute, non-masculine looking self defense items that are specially designed to look appealing to women. Shiny products that look like jewelry or have a bling factor might not be your most effective option.
4. Also keep in mind that no device is 100% effective. Yet the 19 products listed here are all known and proven to be potential lifesavers.
1. Honeycomb Hairbrush concealed stiletto dagger by Cold Steel
What looks like a simple round comb is actually a deadly weapon. Concealed in the comb’s head is an 8-inch dagger made from durable fiberglass materials that are weather-resistant. This self-defense item will look harmless to attackers, but should you need it, it quickly transforms from hair styler to aggressor neutralizer in a second. However, the Cold Steel Honey Comb Hairbrush is a weapon that is not ideal for preventing attacks and is close-range only.
2. Stun gun with flashlight
The Streetwise Smart keychain stun gun is a sure way to put your attacker down. It may look tiny, but this stun gun packs an amazing 25 million volts into your attacker’s body, rendering them immobile without killing or permanently injuring them. However, you’ll have to get close to use it, as in “up close and personal.” It doesn’t shoot out barbs; its prongs run an electric current between them. Shine your assailant in the eyes with the flashlight to blind him before taking him out with the stun gun. Unfortunately, this stun gun is illegal in many states.
3. Lipstick stungun
At a mere five inches, this lipstick tube can hardly be called intimidating. Removing the cap, however, changes most people’s opinions pretty quickly. A Lipstick Stun Gun packs millions of volts. Some incorporate an LED flashlight that can blind your attacker. College students and young women looking for an easily concealable and inconspicuous weapon will find this useful, though it requires contact with your attacker to work and won’t incapacitate them.
4. Sabre Red Police Strength Pepper Spray
Pepper spray is a more risky self-defense mechanism, but when used properly it can be incredibly effective. SABRE Red Pepper Spray offers free instructional videos to ensure proper use and boasts an effective range of up to 10 feet, all in a compact keychain. Users should be aware that pepper spray doesn’t work on everyone, and a 10-foot range can be too close for comfort for some. Some states do not allow this spray.
5. Lipstick pepper spray
SABRE also offers an equally effective lipstick pepper spray that uses a police-strength ballistic stream of pepper spray to fend off your attacker. Young women, both in college and elsewhere, can carry this with them in pockets or their purse. Unlike the keychain, the lipstick doesn’t have an attachment for your keys and can be hard to find in the dark or in the depths of your purse (even if its a small one).
6. Kuba-Kickz plastic knuckles for your shoes
Kuba-Kickz-style self-defense spikes are a lightweight solution that helps you instantly become a ninja. Kicks to the arms or legs while wearing these will deal some serious damage. A kick to the groin will be even more devastating than before.
Unfortunately, options for shoes are incredibly limited for women. These only fit shoes with laces and a tongue, meaning most fashion boots and even Converse tennishoes are out. They’re also pretty obvious, so more fashion-conscious women may steer clear of these.
7. Smith and Wesson tactical pen
As easily lost as pens are, Smith and Wesson might be on the wrong track with this one. Their tactical pen does, however, have its merits. The Smith and Wesson Tactical Pen can be used as both a regular pen and stylus for computer screens. Its striking tip can deliver a powerful blow, but the aluminum material used would be better suited as steel for self-defense.
8. Slap Hat
The Night Watchman Self Defense SAP CAP With Lead Pocket is probably one of the most disguised self-defense devices there is. The cap looks like a plain, ordinary baseball cap, but the material in it has the same density as lead, making it a powerful blunt weapon. The only problem is that you have to hold it by the bill; this unstable grip could render the cap useless if it’s knocked out of your hand.
9. Self defense knife Spyderco Matriarch Spyder Edge Knife with Emerson Opener
The Matriarch Spyder Edge Knife isn’t for the faint of heart; this velociraptor-shaped curve on the blade is meant to do extreme damage, so be prepared to see some blood.
This knife is a so called karambit style knife. Experts agree that these belong to the most effective self-defense weapons. With their serrated edges they are designed for gutting and ripping flesh instead of stabbing. This makes them ideal when in extremely close quarters. Which is often the case when you have to defend yourself.
Its Emerson feature allows for easy snagging on your pocket, so you can deploy it quickly from a tip-up carry position when needed. By simply pulling the knife up or down you can do maximal damage so prepared to cause serious injury to your slasher in order for you to get safe.
10. WarTech Super Bitch tactical spring assisted rescue knife
If you want a more all-round knife a spring-assisted rescue knife for women may be more of your liking. It may be less geared towards doing insane damage to an attacker but it does have features that increase your safety in other hazardous situations such as a car accident. It works well as a seat belt cutter and glass breaker and can obviously be a lifesaver when someone tries to harm you too. After all, it’s still a heavy, sturdy, razor sharp knife.
11. Personal safety alarm
If you need to sound the alarm to alert people to your peril, there’s nothing quite like 130 decibels to do the job. A personal alarm can be carried easily in pockets, purses and by hand. All you have to do is pull the pin and the alarm sounds. This device is most useful to college students when walking around campus as well as children and seniors being out and about. Cricital note: although personal keychain alarms are a loud and effective way to deter attackers, it is by no means a weapon to defend yourself with.
12. The Cat personal safety keychain
Cat keychains are adorable, aren’t they? Well, the thug that may end up on the receiving end will think otherwise as this one’s also an excellent self-defense weapon for women. The Cat Personal Safety Keychain is basically a set of brass knuckles in the shape of a cat’s head, with the eye holes being the grips.
This one is made of plastic (they’re available in metal too) but don’t be fooled, they don’t break or even scratch easily. It also requires the ability to throw punches, but even young women without fighting skills may find this keychain helpful in warding off an attacker. If only if it were to give you some peace of mind while walking home in the dark.
The formerly quite popular pitbull self defense knuckles don’t seem to be sold on Amazon anymore. Perhaps even better because they they are not instantly recognizable as self defense items when kept in your hands are TigerLady retractable cat claws. A simple women’s self-defense tool that captures DNA too.
13. Kubotan key chain stick
A Kubotan Self-Defense Keychain can be your best friend on those nights where you have to walk to your car by yourself. The nearly 6-inch stick is highly durable and delivers a powerful blow, but here’s the kicker: it requires a very precise, calculated strike to be effective.
The Kubotan is meant to deliver strikes to pressure points.It doesn’t come with an instructional booklet but there are highly helpful videos on YouTube. You may think it’s best left to those with the proper training but on the other hand, women who know how to strike a punch can increase their reach and impact with this easy-to-carry, lightweight tool.
What’s more is that going for the eyes, the upper lip, the sternum, upper rib cage or back of the hand doesn’t require any training. Hitting an assailant with it can proof a critical difference compared without the Kubotan.
14. Monkey Fist self defense keychain ball
The Monkey Ball looks like some sort of odd keychain, but it’s a powerful weapon in the palm of your hands. This keychain contains a 1-inch steel ball wrapped in high quality paracord. Swing it at your attacker’s head and you may just knock them out.
Attaching the keychain to a lanyard gives you more range on your swing and greater impact, but heavier opponents might be able to brush it off if hit in an area other than the head or groin. Use extreme caution when swinging your MonkeyFist; you might just injure yourself if you’re not careful.
Update: Amazon doesn’t seem to carry these keychains anymore. Instead they only sell bearing balls so you can DIY a MonkeyFist paracord. Look on Youtube to see how to make one yourself.
15. Go Guarded self defense ring
No need to push buttons or retrieve weighty or bulky self defense weapons from a purse. Nor will this tool be easily knocked out of your hand. The pointed tip of this ring automatically protrudes when you make a fist.
Sort of.. because as you can see on the photo, when you make a fist the sharp end of the ring points downward. So it’s more like a clawing or scratching weapon because if you would throw a traditional punch the ring wouldn’t hit the attacker straight on.
Slip this ring on your finger before you walk home at night and feel a bit more secure. Fisher Defensive’s Go Guarded ring is best used as a surprise defense measure: hit your assailant where it hurts most and run to safety.
16. Munio designer self defense keychain
We’ll put this one in the category ‘better something than nothing at all’. Some users claim it doesn’t hurt it all when trying the Munio out on their peers in a simulated attack situation. But perhaps they were just holding back.
Yet, despite these mixed reviews this popular little keychain seems to pack a punch as demonstrated by this, admitted, male Youtuber showing its impact on a coconut, watermelon, and pumpkin.
It’s designed to stab with its point at an attacker or to swing at him with the dangling keys. Make sure to learn how to use it optimally with the help of the accompanying e-book.
17. Pepper spray gun
Pepper spray is one of the actually viable self defense tools for serious situations. It is proven effective by the police and U.S. Military. Its main downside is limited range at up to approx 10 feet. If you’d miss or the attacker would be able to shield their face somehow they would have already reached you. The Salt Supply Pepper Spray Gun solves this problem as it has a range of over 150 feet.
With this non-lethal option, instead of shooting with lead bullets, you’ll be firing off rounds containing a combination of tear gas and powdered pepper spray that break on impact. Even if you don’t hit the target, the subsequent 5 foot chemical cloud that hangs in the air for minutes will cause temporary blindness, difficulty breathing, and other discomfort.
If necessary, fire again and hit them with the round itself as it’s going to hurt badly and stop them in their tracks. A pepper spray gun is an option well worth considering as an alternative to firearms. Either if you are a gun owner or if you’re not. Statistically, in most self defense situations, lethal force isn’t necessary anyway.
Note: the Salt Supply gun is basically a Tippman TipX paintball gun loaded with pepper balls. Make sure to read one of the first Amazon reviews to get this product at a discount by buying them separately.
18. Kimber Pepper Blaster II
If you want something a bit more powerful than traditional pepper spray the Kimber Pepperblaster II might be your best bet.
Its advantages over pepper spray include; doesn’t lose pressure over time, ergonomic grip makes it more accurate and easy to use, range up to 13 feet, more powerful as the more concentrated solution travels 13 feet in 1/10th of a second!
This self defense tool for women works in rain and wind and provides you with two shots. Has to be disposed after use as it can not be refilled. Read its raving reviews here.
The most effective self defense weapon for women?
Wondering which of these self defense weapons are best? If we’d have to pick one, the ultimate item to carry around so to say, we’d opt for pepper gel.
19. Pepper gel
Pepper spay is one of the most effective self defense options both for women and men alike. It’s non-lethal yet if aimed correctly really takes an opponent out for at least tens of minutes. Pepper spray also doesn’t really require much skill or training.
It only takes a basic amount of common sense such as pointing the canister in the right direction (away from you) and being aware of strong wind direction. One mayor downside is that pepper spray is less suitable in close quarters, especially indoor. Which is where the fairly new to the market self defense tool, pepper gel comes into play.
Pepper gel benefits
No spray blown back at you. Pepper gel does not nebulize into very fine particles like conventional pepper spray but is dispensed as a sticky substance. This means that pepper gel doesn’t carry the risk of spraying yourself due to wind blowback.
Keep a larger distance between you and your attacker. Pepper gel travels 20% further (up to 12 feet/ 4 meters) so you can protect yourself from more of a distance.
Can be used indoors too. Attacks often happen when you’re suddenly alone and a perpetrator grabs his chance. For instance in an elevator. Which is especially dangerous since you can’t get away. Spraying pepper spray would could you to at least breathe in microscopic droplets making breathing difficult or worse. Pepper gel is safe to use in enclosed quarters.
More stopping power. Foam and gel burn a lot stronger and quicker than spray. Clever attackers might know not to rub in their eyes and face when they are sprayed with pepper spray. It’s this instinctive reaction what’s for a large part responsible for the stopping power of pepper spray. If you don’t rub, chances are you’re less affected which might mean the attacker could come at you again. Pepper gel sticks to their skin so they can rub it off.
Easier identification. Often these gels are not only of police strength, they may have UV marking dye in it as well in order to more easily identify potential perpetrators.
Click here to get the best selling pepper gel on Amazon.
Tip: How to keep your mace or pepper gel at hand so you can use it when needed
When you’re suddenly in a threatening situation, your life may depend on how quickly you can get hold of your spray or gel. Which is why it’s wise to think about when and how you will be carrying your spray. Especially when you’re going for a run and might need to defend yourself from individuals with bad intentions or wildlife.
Some spray or gel canisters come with a clip, others with a velcro strap. Various carrying options exist. Hold the container with a jogging hand grip strap. Carry it on a wrist band or arm band or clip it to your running belt. To name a few options that belong to the most practical solutions.
The adjustable, sometimes reflective arm bands we reviewed didn’t really live up to their expectations as they simply didn’t secure the canisters well enough. Because of this we’re not linking to any of these product as of now and suggest using a running belt or an existing arm or wrist band and see if that works. Alternatively, this running belt with 120 dB personal alarm might work too.
Important note regarding your safety
We’ve listed these 19 self defense tools for women mainly to provide you with an overview of what’s available. We want to point out that some of these products are gimmicky and might give a false sense of security. Others can easily be used against you. A designer keychain isn’t going to help you one bit if a raging attacker who’s high on drugs or adrenaline is assaulting you. Or even when he’s planning to.
In our opinion your best bets are either pepper gel, spray, or foam and or a stun gun. It’s absolutely required for you to ensure you’re comfortable with carrying it and that you know how to use it.
In addition it’s highly recommended for not just women but anyone actually to get at least a few self defense lessons. You could inform at your local police station or your gym.
If you want to do it well… krav maga lessons for women are known to be highly valuable and can potentially be lifesaving. You will learn how to react when you get actually attacked. You will train to enhance your instinctive reactions and use them as brutally as is necessary to incapacitate your assailant so you can get away into safety.
Some of the personal protection gear mentioned here are illegal in some states. Not only a stun gun but also a spike key-chain or the hairbrush may be illegal in your living area. Be sure to check this before buying.
Also make sure to familiarize yourself with your new defensive item. Learn how to use it. How to grab it quickly. Make an habit out of carrying it close when in less safe situations such as late at night. This can all help you be ready when it’s necessary. It’s like the saying goes, “a prepared woman is worth two women who aren’t prepared”.
Editor’s note: This publication has been updated in July 2022 since it was originally published in September 2015. Some of the images may not correspond with the recommended products. This is because we regularly update the items for availability and actuality. As such some of the products in the photos are not available anymore.
Last Updated on July 16, 2022 by Tyler