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8 best self-defense products of 2021 and where to buy them

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No matter where you live, crime happens — but in New York City, there’s been a serious surge, with six major felony categories spiking between March 22 and March 28, according to the NYPD’s latest CompStat report. 

This also comes in conjunction with a spree of horrific attacks on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in recent weeks, resulting in a ramped-up NYPD patrol presence amid a whopping 3,800 reported anti-AAPI hate incidences nationwide in 2020.

While much of this is out of our hands, there are steps we can all take to feel safer. Whether you’re coming home late at night on a dark street or just taking a solo stroll in a sunny park, being prepared to defend yourself is never a bad thing.

From pepper spray to secret safety jewelry, we’ve compiled a list of options women and men can carry in their bags — or on their person — in any situation. Please check the legality of purchasing and carrying any of the below in your state, as some have requirements regarding stun gun devices and pepper spray.

A black canister of pepper spray and a practice cartridge
Amazon

The device not only has pepper spray inside, but also contains CS tear gas and dye detectable by ultraviolet light to stun and mark the predator, giving you time to flee. The spray can shoot up to 10 feet away as well, farther than the reach of a baseball bat or a stun gun.

Sold on Amazon to residents of many states, please check with your specific state’s policies regarding ordering pepper spray online, as in states such as New York and Massachusetts, while carrying spray is legal, ordering it online is not, as it must be purchased in-person at an authorized tactical shop or pharmacy.

A pink pepper spray shaped like a lipstick tube
Walmart

Keep it casual and covert but stay on alert with this mini pepper spray canister disguised as a tube of lipstick.

Again, be sure to check your state’s laws about the legalities of ordering the spray online, and see where to legally buy pepper spray in person in New York for those of us in the Big Apple. Otherwise, this lipstick-look-alike self-defense spray can be found at Walmart, and contains 12 bursts of spray that can project up to 10 feet. It contains red pepper and a UV-detectable marking dye, as well, with a powerful stream to reduce wind blowback.

A yellow self defense keychain and a key
Amazon

Legal in all states, this keychain-sized device may look innocent — but once you pull the pin from the top of Birdie, a 130-decibel siren (that’s as loud as a jet plane!) and a blinding flashing strobe light take action. The alarming result could not only stun your assailant, but alert everyone around you to the emergency.

The device is sold on Amazon in a variety of colors, and comes with the metal clip to easily attach to a purse, backpack or belt loop when heading out for the day.

A TASER brand black stun flashlight
Amazon

For those 18 and older, and with the proper training, of course, you may feel much safer with a Taser stun gun in hand. Bonus points: This baton also has a high-powered tactical flashlight that shines with the power of 80 lumens.

“Keep your attackers at bay when a close interaction is unavoidable with Strikelight’s crenellated bezel contact stun feature,” hypes the product description. “This device also features a loud Stun Arc Warning that can be used as a de-escalation tool which would deter potential attackers.”

As previously stated above, residents of Massachusetts and New York may not order this device online, and one should check their own state’s guidelines on carrying any stun device.

A woman's arms with a gold bracelet and a cell phone on the Flare app
Flare

Sending an SOS flare is now as easy and discreet as pressing a button on your fashionable bracelet.

Flare is a jewelry company on a mission to one day no longer need to exist. Built by assault survivors, the jewelry is made to make wearers feel safer going out knowing they have a plan in place if they end up in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation.

First, download the Flare app and pre-load any emergency contacts you want to have your Global Positioning System (GPS) location. The bracelet also allows you to trigger an automatic message — sending your contacts a text as well as your GPS location. You can even contact 911 at the press of the hidden button on the backside of the bracelet.

“Flare offers wearable safety jewelry designed to help users exit potentially unsafe scenarios with the push of a button,” according to the brand’s mission statement. “While not ‘the solution to safety,’ Flare’s mission is simple: to put themselves out of business and create a world where Flare is not needed.”

Five pointed self defense grips
Amazon

Another addition to your self-defense keychain, or to be used on its own, these aluminum tools are small enough to carry around — but pack a mean punch in a necessary situation.

The Anti-Wolf comes in a pack of five, sized for tossing in all of your bags and giving out to other friends who may need some peace of mind and protection. The pointed end isn’t sharp enough to hurt you while in your pocket, however, the “micro-pointed attack head” is powerful enough to do some serious damage when directed at a target’s body, or to break glass when needed.

These tools are sold on Amazon in an array of metallic colors, each with a loop for a key ring or handbag, and made of solid aviation aluminum.

A gold necklace and a pink flower
invisaWear

Another covert option for those who want to feel secure but don’t want to carry a spray or stun gun is this beautifully designed jewelry with a hidden secret.

InvisaWear is a safety accessories company that carries necklaces, bracelets, keychains, scrunchies and even arm bands for running that can be paired with ADT Security Services for 24/7 protection. If you opt to activate the ADT option, pay just $19.99 per month for around-the-clock access to a trained ADT agent who can stay on the line with you, see your location and call for additional help if the situation escalates.

Without the added plan, the jewelry still serves a purpose, as once you press the charm two times, it is programmed to automatically text up to five of your emergency contacts, send a live GPS location link and even make a free call to 911 during an emergency. The charm comes fully charged and will last one year at least, sending you a notification through the app when the battery is low, and it’s time to purchase another.

A black tactical pen
Amazon

One of the most undercover self-defense items that can hide in plain sight is this sleek tactical pen from CRKT Williams. The black pen is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, built to hold up when used as a self-defense item.

Yes, when used correctly, the tip can pack a mean punch — but it’s otherwise safe and easy to carry with you in a shirt pocket with the attached clip or in a purse or book bag when not in use.

However, the coolest part is that the pen actually writes, as well, with a black ink cartridge inside that can be replaced as needed.

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