More on If You Can’t Own a Firearm, What do You Keep by Your Bed for Protection at Night?

A while back, I wrote an article discussing the best choices of weaponry for people who cannot for any one of various reasons possess firearms (  At that time, I recommended the use of a short sword or cutlass and a can of pepper spray.  Since then I have had discussions on the subject with several experienced police officers.

They all agree that the cutlass is legal in California. Wearing it on the street may even be legal but would cause you a problem.  Somebody would panic.  The suggestion of a riot baton was made.  In California the possession of a baton/ billy, even in your home can be charged as a felony.  A baseball bat or any other club carried in a car for self-defense purposes is considered a billy club and is a felony to possess in CA.  So keep a ball and glove with the bat.  Never admit you are carrying it for self-defense.

Anyway, as a result of the discussions with officers I want to change my options slightly.  At night instead of the pepper spray, carry a powerful flashlight.  When you spray someone with pepper spray you will also be exposed to it, especially in a closed environment like in a home.  Many criminals have been sprayed before and are more familiar with how it feels than you are and can fight through the pain.  In this case it may become more debilitating to you than to the attacker.  The intensity of the new LED flashlights will temporarily blind someone if it is shined into their eyes in the dark.  It also destroys their night vision and helps even the playing field.  If you question this give it a try on a family member at night.  Shine a bright light in their eyes and watch their reaction.  It will stop them in their tracks as they close their eyes and try to block the light with an arm or turn away from you.  This will buy you time and give you the initiative to act in a way you feel is appropriate for the situation.

Learn your states laws and what you can legally carry.

As far as training, get as much as you can.  For some people there may be physical constraints on this.  I may be old but I could still swing a cutlass pretty well.


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16 Responses to More on If You Can’t Own a Firearm, What do You Keep by Your Bed for Protection at Night?

  1. ram says:

    A big stick works quite well, too, if you’re willing to learn how to use it properly. There’s a reason Little John used a quarterstaff. It works!

  2. GoneWithTheWind says:

    I carry a wooden cane with me when we travel. I don’t need one but it’s there if I stop at a strange gas station or 7-11 somewhere. When we camp I keep my short handled garden shovel handy. It’s good to move coals, bury a campfire and fend of strange dogs or drunks. In fact the shovel is such an effective tool/weapon I am careful to not be too enthusiastic with it. Often with a dog all you need to do is show it or push it towards them.

  3. Bones says:

    I read an article not long ago on this topic. The writer suggested “wasp” spray. You can spray up to 20′ thus keeping the person further away. I’ve put it to use for my wife’s side of the bed.

    • EnderG22 says:

      I would avoid wasp spray. It is illegal to use as a weapon (read the can). Odds are the person using it will also be exposed.

  4. Wyzyrd says:

    I like the cutlass idea – a very good, time-proven close quarters tool. For a 21st Century ‘upgrade’ with more multi-tasking capacity, I’d highly recommend the Meyerco Blackie Collins sawback machete. All the cutlass advantages – heavy handguard, cutting edge, point, approx. same weight and balance as a naval cutlass, plus a saw edge for the backswing, and possibly, more ‘visual intimidation factor’ in an encounter. It’ll even trim brush like a champ. 🙂

    A hardwood bokken (Japanese martial arts training sword) or a Cold Steel polymer “training broadsword” are also not bad choices, if you happen to live in an area that has more draconic rules about firearms and cutting edges.

    Stay safe.

  5. tpdoldie says:

    I am thankful that I don’t have to worry about not have a weapon close by. Having been in LE for almost 4 decades I have concluded that anybody’s first line of defense should be a dog-does not have to be a 100 lb attack trained beast. My personal bodyguard is a 15 lb Afenpinscher-she puts to shame by GS for her alertness.
    My suggestion after the dog would be either an axe handle or a quality Louisville slugger.
    If someone gets in, you wait for them on your turf. Once in the zone, they would be bought and paid for.
    Can’t say anything bad about Pepper Spray except that it works. Works on both 2 and 4 legged animals. Just like any firearm, spray placement is critical. Aim for the mouth and then they should be down for the count and allow you to exit.

    • EnderG22 says:

      Having been an LEO for 14 years I have seen pepper spray work and I have seen it not work. You, as an LEO have been sprayed, know what it feels like. It wont take you out of the fight (at least I hope not). I have also been exposed myself most of the time its used by myself or another officer while in fights. It works great on dogs. I do agree with your comments about having one. My dog wont ever hurt anyone but she will let me know when someone is around. That’s all I need. The axe handle or slugger is considered a billy in CA, if it’s kept as a weapon. Not that it gets enforced much, usually only enforced on dirt bags. Just be aware of the local laws.

      • tpdoldie says:

        Been sprayed more than I can count. After almost 2 decades with PS, I have not seen it not work as long as it hit the mouth/nose/eyes.
        Over 35 years ago I carried MACE and that was a joke. The point I probably did not make was that once it hit the target, it should give you time to make an exit or respond accordingly. Here in OK, having a slugger isn’t against the law.
        Also liked the comment about getting the biggest MagLite one can carry. My first flashlight I carried on duty would house 8 D size batteries and weighed in at about 5 pounds.

  6. Dante says:

    Instead of a billy club, try a Maglite. Grab yourself the longest one you can comfortably wield, put batteries in and feel it’s heft. Best part about it is that, for now at least, no police officer would question why you’d have a flashlight in your car.

  7. Gus says:

    9mm handgun & 12 gauge shotgun for backup!

  8. Ivor says:

    A high-powered laser pointer costs maybe $100, is the size of a large pen and takes 2 small AA batteries. Shone in the eyes of an intruder it instantly blinds them. Permanently.

  9. Michael says:

    I am a fan of the tactical tomahawk. Very menacing looking and a long history of use in battle, including US forces in Vietnam. Mel Gibson made good use of one in the movie The Patriot set during the Revolutionary War. Definitely a close quarter weapon. Swinging a cutlass indoors could be a little restrictive, but you might be able to keep an attacker away with the point of the blade. The idea of blinding the intruder with the light and striking with whatever weapon you have makes a lot of sense. Not being averse to firearms, I have a .357 magnum in my nightstand loaded with Black Talon loads.

  10. SuzyQ says:

    Do laser lights and high powered flashlights work in the daylight hours? Not a troll, I seriously want to know. Looking for non-gun ways to protect.

  11. Ed Harris says:

    For SuzyQ,

    Flashlights, even very powerful ones, are much less effective in dazzling an attacker in daylight than they would be at night, when the pupils are more open. MACE Bear Spray has a 30-foot range, and is effective on most people as well as large animals. It has the advantage of being legal in some places in other chemical protective sprays are not. I also favor a pair of Klein telephone lineman’s pliers as a well-proven come-along and impact “weapon of opportunity”.

  12. Yimmmy says:

    Knife / pic ax/9/ 2dogs and I don’t lock my doors living in phila

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