A lot of us live in areas that are gun unfriendly or for other reasons cannot or choose not to carry a gun. One good alternative is canes, walking sticks or umbrellas. They can be quite effective for self-defense and you can take them into places you would never get a gun or knife.
This is an especially good choice for older people; sometimes a young person will be questioned if they don’t look handicapped. If you are reasonably well dressed and carry the right type of cane, walking stick or umbrella they go right through metal detectors.
What is a good choice for a cane or walking stick to carry? There are many types of canes available but in my opinion, the most is a sturdy all wood cane. Sword Canes are available with steel blades in the shaft. They are illegal in all states and will get you in trouble if one is found in your possession. The best type of wood cane has a curved horn or handle. The horn can be used for striking and hooking. The horn should be large enough to wrap around a neck or ankle. Some canes are designed for combat and have carved gripping areas for pulling and sharpened horn tips for attacking soft tissue. I would avoid any of these tricked out canes, they can attract the attention of law enforcement.
I like canes made of American Hickory or Oak. They are very strong although some feel heavy. The primary purpose of the cane is a walking aid for balance and stability. Do not refer to your cane as a combat cane or fighting cane or stick. If an aggressive party approaches you, you want to appear as an innocent bystander to anyone in the vicinity. Your cane should be cut for proper fit to be used as a walking aid. Standing erectly with your cane in supporting hand, your elbow should be slightly bent.
I do not like the aluminum canes, they do not hold up well for striking. Umbrellas should be sturdy and the tips pointed (not sharpened) so they are good for jabbing.
There are many good sites on the internet that discuss various styles of combat using canes. In addition, many martial art schools will teach you how to use one effectively. The more you hold it, swing it and carry it the more comfortable you will be with it.