Non-lethal weapons can be incredibly useful in long-term self-sufficiency scenarios. Being off the grid essentially earmarks an individual as a self-sufficient, hard-working, and forward-thinking person who is not afraid to prepare. Non-lethal weapons can make the difference between being fully prepared and falling short.
These types of weapons allow for a huge amount of flexibility in such a situation and can provide an invaluable asset in training for the unexpected. These items will range from detention and restraint items, to practice weapons, to crowbars and hammers—essentially multipurpose and safety-enhancing items that could sway a situation to your side.
*Note: Not all situations will automatically require you to be defending your life or to act as the aggressor in a comprehensive way. Some situations just require the forethought and planning that places these items in a space to assist you in meeting your goals.
Miscellaneous items which can help in a given situation:
- Zip ties
- Crescent wrench
- Demolition hammer
- Screwdriver that can accept ¼ inch bits and other assorted common bit tips that fit
- Heavy-duty plastic bags
- Duct tape
- Flexible handcuffs made from cut-resistant plastics
- Heavy-duty fishing line and four heavy-duty hooks
These items can help you fix problems on your vehicle and in your living space but can also come in handy to help keep someone restrained until you can better decide how to deal with them (should such a need arise). You will be able to perform basic emergency shut-off procedures with the tools and create water from vegetation with these items, as well as hundreds of other uses. They are utilitarian and useful in many hunting/fishing/defensive/offensive scenarios.
- Several manufacturers make a practice sword out of super-tough ABS plastic or wood
- Rubber or ABS knives for training
The need here is pretty apparent; they are useful items to keep you in top shape and help keep your maintenance chores from consuming too much time. A stand out might be the ABS swords by Cold Steel, which can double as a weapon outside of the training ground. Hatchets will be infinitely useful when you need to split wood to small pieces or have to use it in a pinch as a last ditch weapon. If you understand how to use your weapons in the real-world situations they were made to handle, you have a leg up. Training in any defensive situation is always crucial; these items make it easy and realistic, while also lowering your chances for personal injury.
Non-lethal add-ons and ammunition:
- Rubber pellet ammunition
- Smoke cartridges
- Marking rounds
- Foam bullets
Oddly enough, many “less than lethal” items are outlawed in some states, as misuse is essentially underwritten into the marketing plan. It’s sometimes hard to round these guys up, and out-of-state gun shows may be your best bet. From marking pellets to highly disruptive hard foam projectiles, these cartridges usually launch from shotguns or add on grenade-style launchers (think under the forearm of an AR-15) and can provide excellent alternatives to the rest of your self-defense arsenal. Smoke cartridges may simply be enough to introduce the cool factor, but they have a low usability. Most of the off-the-grid community would rather avoid conflict than seek out places to breach and compounds to overrun. There may be the occasional use out there, but for the restrictions and complexities (not to mention the cost), it may be best to stick with more all-purpose rounds like beanbag rounds or foam deterrent projectiles, both of which are fairly readily available. These items will allow you to feel less guilty in providing a first line of defense against intruders and will signal that you mean business but aren’t necessarily looking for a fight. Use sound judgment in using non-lethal and lethal projectiles; the last thing you want is people knowing you are there, with valuable items that they can use to further their goals. Exercise caution and restraint.
Self defense items:
- Pepper spray/self-defense spray
- Taser/stun gun
- Single-use edged weapons
- Ballistic protection gear
This is the inexpensive highly defensive value category, as these items are relatively cheap and provide incredible results. Pepper spray or self-defense spray is available as far reaching as big-box retailers and can subdue an enemy or prevent an escalation in conditions in a variety of situations. The products range from dye-colored foam that can stick to the soft openings of the face for long-term exposure, to huge bear-sized cans of propellant-charged spray. Either way, these products can provide an excellent defensive cover in a pinch and are safe and easy to use even by young people. Several cans should be included in any set up.
Taser/stun guns are electrically charged stubs that deliver a targeted jolt of current to an assailant and can completely incapacitate an individual. Even those with severe psychosis or on drugs can be subdued with excellent efficiency, as the process controls the electrical responses in the body and cannot be defeated when placed accurately. The jolt of electricity will essentially control the electrical system in the body while it is in use. Designs are getting easier to use and more effective, but they require understanding to use and should be trained with.
Some companies provide covert plastic knives for breakaway wounds and various other reasons, but the real draw here is the cost per use for a weapon. Some of these single-use knives and daggers can be had for three to six dollars and can be stashed around the house in unlikely places. Some of them are even concealable as combs or other daily use items, to allow for better camouflage and more utility. Ten of these spread around the house can provide an excellent weapon in a pinch, while costing a negligible amount. Look at the versions made by the Cold Steel brand.
Bullet-proof vests are not legal to buy in most states without a military or law enforcement endorsement, but if you are good friends or family with one of these people or are lucky enough to live in a state which still allows citizens to buy them (although those states are few and far between), then you have the type of protection that can swing the odds in your favor during a firefight. Ideally you would never have to be in a gunfight in self defense or as a proactive measure against someone, but crazier things have happened. Expect to pay a premium for these items, and make sure you are getting the right size. Costs generally run $750 to $1800 for a quality vest. Perhaps more usable in the off-the-grid arena are cut resistant gloves/gauntlets, which are commercially available and can prove their value beyond a knife fight, like when you are working with sharp objects, animals with dangerous protrusions, and aggressive targets. They will provide an excellent amount of value for the money. Thin lower-quality versions can be had for about $15 to $35, but opt for the multi-layered full-coverage ones that can cost upwards of $250. The one time you need them, you will be thankful you didn’t go for the chef’s version, and instead opted for the law-enforcement version. Think modern-day chain mail gloves.
Be extremely comfortable with these items before you trust your safety to them, as any stressful situation can compound stress and decrease the percentage of sound decisions you make. These items are cheap enough that you have no excuse to become familiar with them. Train for that one time it might happen, and you will not regret your capabilities if it doesn’t happen.
There is no replacement for proper planning, situational self-awareness, and good decision making, but non-lethals can be an excellent supplement to these practices and provide a guilt-free option for those who are desiring a self-defense option. They tend to be one of the most defensive of all weapons, and while they aren’t as intimidating as a .50 BMG, they should be used with absolute understanding and care.
©2011 Off the Grid News