Non-Lethal Weapon Treatise
Or: Why I always carry a weapon but I don't always carry a gun
In the preparedness community, especially in the initial phases, there is a pre-occupation nearing obsession with firearms and ammunition. Certainly, firearms are irreplaceable and nothing can substitute for their effectiveness. The caveat of firearm utility is their limited use. They are decisive and have only one purpose: to kill with maximum efficiency.
This characteristic is what is problematic for the gun owner and CCW holder in everyday life. A gun is only used to kill. So, drawing it unnecessarily, drawing it prematurely, or drawing it when necessary but not using the weapon can be problematic. Rarely do shootings erupt instantly and spontaneously. Sure, there are instances of ambush or laying in wait where an innocent victim is gunned down without warning. However, most conflicts have a moment of escalation. This is a period of time, sometimes a very short period, where an initial contact moves into a lethal encounter.
Considering everyday civilian life and even life after some form of SHTF event, victims are deliberately chosen by predators. If an alert individual recognizes they are being targeted and acts prematurely by shooting someone they suspect may become aggressive, this is called murder. If only relying on a firearm, there is no middle ground between waiting to be attacked and the threat of deadly force. Non-lethal weapons allow a person to respond to a threat with an acceptable amount of force appropriate for the threat level. There are practical and effective options for self-defense to compliment a family’s defensive plan. It is possible and historically proven that any weapon used can produce lethal effects. However, weapons classified as non-lethal or less-lethal are not designed, intended, or assumed to cause death with appropriate use.
Enter the utility and practicality of less-lethal options. By using non-lethal force, a threat can be engaged deliberately before the use of a firearm is forced. Because victims are chosen, often moving to engage or responding to a perceived threat is enough to deter an attack. An aware person who is confident in their training and abilities will not present themselves as an easy mark. If someone relies solely on a firearm for protection, that is just another person who carries a gun because they cannot fight. Substituting bravery and confidence for a CCW will not make a person safer. It will only make them more likely to be chosen by a predator and someone who will more likely feel forced to use a firearm because they lack other options.
Consider the limitations of lawful firearms carry. For the fastest draw and presentation, open carry is needed. Even though many areas allow for open carry of a firearm, it is not reasonable or practical behavior in populated areas. Consequently, the firearm must be carried concealed. This means in an emergency; the user must be able to retrieve and effectively present the weapon in time to respond effectively while maintaining personal safety. A person with zero hand to hand skill will find this task difficult and even dangerous. Attempting to draw a firearm from a concealed location while already fighting with someone without properly defending the initial attack can be disastrous. The bottom line is that if a person cannot fight they should not count on carrying a gun as a fix all. Less lethal weapons may often be retrieved and used more quickly than a firearm. They may be pre-staged easily in a pocket or even held in the hand without alarming onlookers. There are many good non-lethal weapon options to consider.
The variety of less-lethal weapons makes the category suitable to a dizzying myriad of applications. A monkey’s fist can be looped around the wrist and kept in the hand. With a quick strike, this weapon can send an aggressor to the dentist to have all their teeth replaced in a heartbeat. Collapsible batons have a greater reach than other hand weapons and can be extended in a flash. Their utility and effectiveness makes them a top choice among law enforcement agencies. Even though a knife should not be considered non-lethal, they are light, easy to carry, and effective in close combat. Of course, there is the ubiquitous pepper spray. This weapons effectiveness has made it a mainstay among military, law enforcement, corrections, private security, and government agencies around the world. Besides being painful, pepper spray will temporarily blind an aggressor. When properly applied, a stun gun can be a powerful persuasive tool that causes no lasting harm and is even effective against aggressive dogs. There is one option that shines among the rest. Considered the pinnacle of non-lethal weapons, TASERs are legal for civilian use. They are feather-light making them easy to carry and permitted in places where carrying a gun is illegal. The trained martial artist will see the symbol of the vajra reflected in the TASER. Their irresistible power will bring down the mightiest enemy. With so many options, there is an excellent weapon for any application, budget, skill level, and scenario. Non-lethal weapons will not replace firearms. They were never intended to do so. They will augment and enhance a family’s defensive capabilities.
The greatest reason for non-lethal weapons is safety. Especially for a household that has children, non-lethal weapons should hold a prominent position in a family’s defensive plan. If a child shoots a TASER inside a house, it is not likely to cause an irreversible tragedy. Even if a child sprays a sibling with OC, they will recover without permanent injury even if nothing is done to decontaminate them and they just cry it out. The same cannot be said for an incident in the home involving the unauthorized access to a firearm. For this reason, families should seriously be re-evaluating their defensive plan to include non-lethal weapons.
One popular response to suggesting a non-lethal weapon for defense is the “They’ll just take it and use it on you” excuse. This excuse is rooted in personal fear. It translates to mean “I am too afraid to fight.” Here is the caveat to owning any weapon lethal or otherwise: you must be willing to use your weapon. If you have already defeated yourself by internalizing this “They’ll take it from me” excuse, do not be surprised when you are victimized. You should expect it. When forced to fight, accept the reality of the attack and know the only path to safety is through your aggressor. You must be willing to use your weapon, fight like you mean it, and not freely give up your body up to your attacker. Be brave in the face of your fear and fight hard for your safety and for your loved ones. Beowulf said “Often, for undaunted courage, fate spares the man it has not already marked.” Your safety and the safety of those around you is your responsibility.
To sum it up, less-lethal and non-lethal weaponry is an often overlooked but paramount need in any family’s defensive plan. Even though a gun is irreplaceable, it is not the only or best answer to the complex world we live in. The wild west shootout in the street is not practical prep. A more reasonable and prudent approach is to prepare for an escalation in use of force. The lawful and responsible approach is to use an appropriate amount of force in response to the treat. Using deadly force and killing a person, even if legally justifiable is not always a clear and freeing. A court decision in your favor does not necessarily mean clearing your name or securing safety for yourself and your family. Even if your actions are found to justifiable in court, the process may leave you bankrupt and change your life forever. Imagine today if George Zimmerman would have used a TASER on Treyvon Martin instead of shooting him. No one would even know his name and he would still be driving around his apartment complex as if nothing ever happened. Now, he’s world famous and a marked man for life. I’m betting he’d give anything to have traded his 9mm for a TASER on that day. Give less-lethal options some consideration and don’t be the next person the media makes into an international celebrity.
Here at Family Centered Prepping, we are a 100% NRA membership company with all employees and owners being active members. We support lawful firearm ownership and the 2nd amendment without any impedance.
At Family Centered Prepping, we also recognize and support an individual’s decision not to own or use firearms for any reason whether legal, moral, political, religious, philosophical, or ethical.
We support everyone’s right to lawful self-defense. If you have any questions about less-lethal options, applications, practicality, and/ or use, please do not hesitate to contact our helpful staff.