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Alternatives to brass knuckles

Updated March 23, 2017

Self-defence weapons, such as brass knuckles, are becoming popular in an increasingly violent and criminalised world. Brass knuckles provide a measure of defence in violent situations but are not legal in all states. Weapons, such as pepper sprays, stun guns, batons and hand guns, offer alternatives in self-defence situations.

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Pepper Sprays

Pepper sprays are a popular alternative to brass knuckles. Their name is derived from the ingredient oleoresin of capsicum present in strengths of 5 to 18 per cent. These sprays are available in gel, foam and mist forms, and have the effect of temporary blindness, tearing and coughing in the aggressor for up to 45 minutes. The disadvantages of these sprays include their limited range, generally 10 to 15 feet, and the need to spray the aggressor directly in the face. A permit is required to carry pepper sprays in some states and cities, such as Washington, D.C.

Stun Guns

Another alternative to brass knuckles is stun guns. These devices deliver an electric shock between 65,000 and 125,000 volts upon contact with the skin. The aggressor experiences loss of balance and muscle control for several minutes. One of the most popular stun guns is the taser. Other options include the knuckle blaster, which combines the physical damage of traditional brass knuckles with the electric shock of a stun gun. A license is required to carry stuns guns in some states, such as Florida. Other states, including Hawaii, have made possession illegal.


Batons represent another self-defence option. These devices, which resemble canes, are swung at the aggressor to inflict physical harm. Batons come in various types, including expandable versions that are easy to carry. Some states do not permit civilians to carry batons, such as California.

Hand Guns

Hand guns are the ultimate self-defence weapon. They constitute the use of deadly force and vary in calibres and dimensions. Larger calibres, such as 44mm, offer significantly more stopping power than smaller calibres, such as 9mm. The mere sight of a hand gun can cause your assailant to flee. All hand guns require permits, and concealment is illegal in some states.

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About the Author

Giulio Rocca's background is in investment banking and management consulting, including advising Fortune 500 companies on mergers and acquisitions and corporate strategy. He also founded, an online resource for graduate school applicants. He holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.

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