Prepping has entered the mainstream. Not just awareness of the term, but actual prepping itself.
Brownells is a name that should be familiar to most anyone who owns a firearm, as they are one of the largest gun/ammo/accessories retailers in the country. They have in excess of 100,000 different items for sale on their website, and they recently started an Emergency and Survival Gear section.
At last count there were already 774 items in Brownells' ESG section, which might be a bit overwhelming to the casual shopper. While most of them squarely address prepping and survival in natural disasters, many of the same tools are also useful for personal defense, which only makes sense as personal defense is all about survival. Here's a few of the top picks.
Top Cop .68 oz. Stream
Oleoresin capsicum (O.C.) was first developed as a bear repellent. It was soon found to work even better on humans, and now it's hard to find a police officer who doesn't have a small can of 'pepper spray ' on his belt for subduing unruly subjects.
As a less-than-lethal option, OC works very well on almost everyone. The strong liquid causes stinging and tearing so bad it usually disorients the subject, so you can get away or more easily defend yourself. As a former police officer, I recommend products like this one
that produce a stream rather than a spray, so it has less chance of blowing back into your face. Streams also tend to reach further than sprays and are rather easy to direct into the face of attackers.
Not all predators you might encounter in emergency situations walk on two legs, and I've found that OC works as well on dogs as it does people, which is why a lot of mail carriers carry a can or two.
Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST) Strikeforce
Fire keeps you warm, cooks your food and purifies water. It can also harden spear points, illuminate danger and keep dangerous predators at bay, and because of that, I'm including a fire starter on this list.
is relatively small and can fit into any pocket or glove compartment, and it still works even if you get it wet. The hollow space in the cap is a perfect place to store extra tinder.
I have used this and other similar products for years. With this, all you need is dry tinder, and you can start a fire with very little effort. It's just like rubbing two sticks together, only in this instance, it's flint and steel, and they generate a rich shower of sparks with very little effort. Flint and steel have been used to start fires for centuries because it's simple and easy.
Voo Doo Tactical Tri-Fold Shovel
Anything that you have with you when trouble shows up that you can use as a weapon counts as a weapon. This lesson is drilled into military recruits, and it has been very common over the years for soldiers to be taught how to use their E-tools (Entrenching tools, or folding shovels) as weapons.
Folding shovels are very handy to have in your car in case you get stuck in mud or snow. They also will not raise any eyebrows or violate any laws, no matter where you're driving. They will, however, work very well as a striking weapon (ala an axe) if necessary.
The Tri-Fold Shovel
from Voodoo Tactical
is a very basic design, with a triangular handle and a nicely pointed blade that works well no matter what you're jabbing. It takes up very little space when folded, and even when extended and locked, it is very flat — not to mention inexpensive.
Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST) Jetscream Whistle
Whistles have long been advocated as a great way to summon help in an emergency. If that emergency happens to be a human threat, often the worry of someone coming to help because of the whistle is enough to scare off a predator.
The JetScream Whistle
from Ultimate Survival Technologies
is designed as a powerful signaling device, but at 122db its shriek is almost painfully loud, and under the right conditions can be heard over a mile away. Sometimes the best defense is a really loud noise.
Stansport Expedition Trekking Pole
About 20 years ago, before Michigan became a 'shall issue ' state for CCWs, concealed pistol licenses were issued on a county-by-county basis. And Wayne County (Detroit) didn't issue them — even though the city had the highest crime rate in the state. Or maybe that was why the city had the highest crime rate in the state. Hmm.
Not wanting to be left defenseless, it was very common to see Detroit residents out walking around with canes or walking sticks, even if they had no infirmity. These canes were usually wood or metal and very sturdy€¦.and because a cane isn't considered a weapon, this was all perfectly legal.
If you're one of those people who chooses to live in an area of the country where you can't carry a 'weapon ' to defend yourself, you might want to think about something like the Stansport Expedition Trekking Pole
. It is a walking stick, nothing more or less€¦but it is constructed of 7075 aluminum, the same alloy as AR-15 receivers. It is extendable, and has a steel tip on the bottom if you need it. I'm not saying€¦.I'm just saying.
Moultrie P-150i Game Camera
For those of you non-hunters, you might not know just how popular 'game trail cameras ' have become. Basically they are motion-activated cameras secured in weather-proof boxes that turn on and take several still photos a second or video(depending on settings) whenever something walks by. Even if you don't hunt, think of them as remote security cameras. Even if they don't send real-time video to a screen in your house, they can be very useful to determine if you are having unwanted visitors either at your house or other properties. Forewarned is forearmed as they say.
One of the most well-known names in trail cameras is Moultrie
. Their P-150i Game Camera
has three infrared motion sensors, and with an IR flash, it works during the day or in complete darkness (at up to a 70-foot range). Get still photos or HD video across a 150-degree arc, all for a surprisingly low price.
SureFire P2X Fury Flashlight
Part of personal defense is avoiding trouble when you can. If you can't see it, however, you can't avoid it, so I always recommend having a quality flashlight available whenever possible.
A flashlight with a 100-lumen output is considered the minimum when it comes to lighting up most rooms indoors and identifying threats. That amount of light will be more than enough to help you avoid obstacles when moving around at night. 200 lumens is a good number when outdoors. That's what you'll need to get a good look at anyone approaching within threat distance and spotting any weapons in their hands. 500 lumens, on the other hand, is enough to temporarily blind someone, exactly what you want when someone's heading your way to cause trouble.
The P2X Fury
is a high-output handheld LED light with dual illumination settings. Use the 500 lumen high-output mode to identify and disorient assailants, or use the 15-lumen low mode to read or carry out chores without burning out the battery. In low mode, the battery will last up to 46 hours.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Fixed Blade Knife
No prepping or survival kit is complete without a knife. Knives are the most useful tools ever invented by man, and no matter what else you have in your kit, a knife should be in there as well.
The Bear Grylls Ultimate Fixed Blade Knife
has so many extras Brownells
considers it a multi-tool. I have owned one of these knives for several years, and it is perhaps the best value on the market. In addition to a fixed 4.8-inch partially serrated stainless drop-point blade with a high-visibility rubber handle with orange highlights, it comes with an emergency whistle, a fire starter, a diamond sharpener and Priorities of Survival, a little pocket guide written by Bear Grylls himself.
While folding pocket knives are nice, if you're picking out a single knife for an emergency situation — and personal defense sure counts — it should be big enough, small enough, and strong enough to do anything you might need done. This means a blade between 4-6 inches long, and preferably fixed as opposed to folding. Fixed-blade knives can be strapped to poles and used as spears, and a 4.8-inch blade is more than long enough to be viewed as a serious weapon. Suggested retail on this knife is only $62, and Brownells sells it for less than that!
Gerber Legendary Blades Downrange Tomahawk
If the situation is dire enough, almost anything can be used as a self-defense weapon. One highly useful tool that has also always served well as a weapon is the axe. Heck, the term 'battle axe ' is self-defining. American Indians fought with tomahawks, and they have been used by American servicemen in several conflicts.
The Gerber Downrange Tomahawk
has been designed not just as cutting implement but rather a multi-tool in the shape of an axe. The head has a cutting edge on one side, a hammer head on the other and is hollow with finger grooves so you can use the handle as a pry bar. You could even use the end of the pry-bar handle as a stabbing weapon.
The steel has been Cerakoted, and the grips with integrated scales are made of G-10 laminate. Over 19 inches long, this is one serious tool, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. Plus, look at it — it pretty much pegs the cool meter.