Masada Tactical Blog

Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:15pm
Last week a news crew came to Masada Tactical to discuss our opinion of a new self-defense tool that hit the market.  It is a cellphone that doubles as a stun-gun.  This is not a new invention.  We have seen many fake phones that are actually stun-guns, as well as cases for cellphones that act as stun-guns.  But for whatever reason, this one has been making some headlines.

The question was straight forward: do we think, as self-defense instructors and professionals, it is a good idea?

As the case often times is, the answer could not be black or white, but rather a shade of grey.  Reality is that most tools out there have their benefits and potential risks.

For all intensive purposes the discussion is not limited solely to "cellphones gone wild", but is extended to OC sprays (pepper sprays), knives, batons, and an array of other products that have been developed and marketed as the ultimate self-defense tools.

Following are my two cents on the subject.

First and foremost, no matter how effective the tool may be, if you, as the defender, have little to no resolution to win the fight, the tool is pointless and will do you little good.  If at the moment of truth you freeze, fail to utilize your skills and tools, or just assume the fetal position and wait for the nightmare to be over, having a tank at your disposal won't help you.  As the saying goes:

Next, we must understand that every tool we carry and are ready to deploy can be taken away from us and used against us.  This is especially true to knives and stun guns.  An integral part of any training program that teaches how to use those tools must include lessons in retaining it.  Once taken away from a person trying to defend him/her self, the tool will most likely be used against him/her.  in the case of OC spray, the tool doesn't even have to be taken away from the defender.  Once the spray has been released it will disperse in whichever direction the wind blows, contaminating everything and everybody around...including the defender!  If you carry OC but never got sprayed you are up for a rude surprise when you decide to use it.
Next come the understanding of how your self-defense tool actually works, and as importantly what the different measurement units are.  OC spray is measured in Scoville Units.  Most are 2,000,000 units...but not all.  And out of that the percentage (concentration) varies as well.

People always discuss stun guns and their voltage, but reality is the voltage matters much less than the amperage they actually transmit.  Do you know the differences, or what each means?  research it...I don't have enough space to cover it all.  You may think you have the best tool out there, when in reality it may just be a very good marketing ploy by the seller.  Do your homework.  Don't fall prey to this guy...!

Lastly, did you consider the legal aspect of using the tools?  Are you allowed to use a "less than lethal" weapon?  Pay attention, the language does not state Non-Lethal, but rather "Less than Lethal".  A chance still exists that your actions can take another person's life.  As a general rule you are expected to use a level of force equal or less to that used against you.  Unless you can articulate your actions, we may have an issue.  
In your research of the differences between voltage and amperage you should take a second and also research your state's opinion regarding the Castle doctrine and the Stand Your Ground provision.  Hint: MD is not very accommodating to either.

Are you even allowed to carry a self-defense tool? Here's an example: OC is legal in MD, however, Baltimore City proper has a city ordinance that prohibits carrying it.  Are you aware of the legal right to carry and use the tool you so choose to have on you? What if your assailant has a reaction to the tool (allergy, cardiac, etc.) and dies?  Can you support your case in court? 
Can you live with yourself?
The goal of this blog is not to scare you or tell you that you shouldn't carry any tools.  Those who know me know that I am armed, and I am a big fan of tools that can keep me safer.  But I take the time to train with each tool I carry, understand the legal ramifications, and know when I should and when I shouldn't utilize it.

So what should you do?  Begin by training your mindset.  Our classes are designed to make warriors. Skills are secondary to mindset.  Then learn to use your personal weapons: hands, feet, etc.  You may or may not have your taser/stun-gun/OC-spray/knife/club/bazooka/B-2 bomber on you when you get attacked...but hopefully you always have your limbs.  And if you choose to carry a weapon, learn how to use it properly, retain it, and use judgement in utilizing it.
Join us on Sundays at 11:30 for our weapon classes.  Learn how to use knives and sticks to protect yourself.  And learn all the "other stuff" that goes around it too!

As always, Stay safe!

Tzviel 'BK' Blankchtein
Masada Tactical