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The need for self-defense and self-protection is nothing new, but the recent spate of violence against Asian-Americans and the African-American community has led to a surge in sales for personal safety kits and devices.
Axon, the company behind the popular TASER StrikeLight, says it’s seen a 400% increase in sales of the StrikeLight, and a 300% increase in sales of their TASER Pulse devices overall, over the last few months, which company GM Matt Angorn attributes to “a rise in personal safety awareness.”
“All of our products have seen a rise in popularity but the TASER StrikeLight has seen the most significant increase in sales,” Angorn adds. Billed as a “self-defense flashlight baton,” the StrikeLight combines the usefulness of a high-intensity, 80-lumen flashlight, with the protection of a street legal stun gun. Small enough to tuck into a bag or fanny pack, the StrikeLight can be used as a flashlight to guide your way home, or it can discharge a five-second stun pattern, to fight off attackers. The StrikeLight can also be set to release a loud warning sound, to help deter would-be threats.
Axon also has two other personal safety products that are selling well right now: the TASER PULSE and PULSE+, which the company says are “consumer versions of our law-enforcement products and can incapacitate an attacker for up to 30-seconds, allowing users to escape a dangerous situation without using deadly force.”
“We have seen an interest uptick around TASER products partly as a result of uncertainty and violence in recent U.S. events,” Angorn says. “More individuals are seeking to keep themselves and their families safe, but do not want to take on the liability of gun ownership.”
A stun gun, Angorn explains, is an easy — and legal — way to carry protection without having to carry an actual weapon. And unlike a gun, TASER products can be easily purchased online. “Designed to incapacitate an attacker without causing permanent damage, our devices are offer an effective alternative to lethal force,” Angorn says.
It isn’t just self-defense products that are seeing a rise in popularity — sales are also up at GetFlare.com, where co-founders Quinn Fitzgerald and Sara Dickhaus de Zarraga says orders of their Flare safety bracelet have grown “over 30x” since launching last February, with the bracelet selling out three times.
Flare is a piece of super wearable jewelry that doubles as an emergency alarm of sorts. “Disguised” as a beaded bracelet or cuff, a hidden button on the back connects to your phone, to let you discreetly alert authorities if you are in danger. Your phone can immediately dial 911 while sending through your GPS location. You can also press and hold the button to send a text to your friends and family. Or, tap once to get an “incoming call” that you can use as an excuse to leave a potentially dangerous situation.
While the surge in crime and violence has led to an increase in people thinking about self-defense, Fitzgerald and Dickhaus de Zarraga say having the tools to stay safe — and feel safe — is something people are constantly searching for. “To be frank, we don’t attribute this growth to our safety changing or getting worse,” they says; “it is because safety is a very universal need that way too many people feel every single day.”
“The rates of violence, especially against women and marginalized communities, generally have remained consistent. What is changing is that people are talking about how they experience safety more. It is rightfully getting more attention,” the two add. “As survivors who believe that products like our own shouldn’t have to exist, we are encouraged by everyone who is speaking up and standing up.”
What Makes a Good Personal Safety Device?
“When safety is on the line, you want the absolute best product in your hand,” says Angron. “It should be portable, easy to use, and effective when you need it.”
The team behind Flare, meantime, says that a personal safety device is just “one tool in your safety tool belt” that should also include a working (and fully charged) phone to call for help, a self-defense tool, and something to “help you get out or call for backup at any point in a situation, whether it’s an emergency or you are just getting an iffy vibe.”
What Are the Best Personal Safety Devices?
When shopping for the best personal safety devices online, it’s important to look for something that’s portable enough to carry, easy to use and safe to store. Here are three of the best-selling personal safety devices online, along with a site offering highly-rated personal safety classes that you can take from home.
At the end of the day, “safety is deeply personal, so there are a variety of ways you can take action to keep yourself safe,” the Flare founders say. “Flare has a wide range of users — young to old — who use Flare for a variety of reasons, from anxiety, to health concerns, to wanting to always feel connected.”
1. Pepper Spray
It isn’t just independent companies that are seeing growth in the sales of personal safety devices. Amazon’s current best-seller in the outdoor category is this Sabre Pepper Spray Keychain, billed as a “police strength” spray that the brand says is used by law enforcement in New York and Chicago, among other cities. The keychain has a 4.8-star rating (out of five) from more than 55,000 reviewers online.
The ½ oz container gets you a 10-foot range with up to 25 bursts of pepper spray to help de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation. Sabre says its spray nozzle creates a more direct and powerful stream, to decrease wind blowback. The spray also leaves a UV-marking dye on clothing, to help authorities find and identify your assailant.
2. Personal Alarm
This Sabre Personal Safety Kit gets you their pepper spray keychain and a keychain personal alarm, that delivers an eardrum-piercing 120dB siren to deter would-be attackers or to attract attention. Sabre says the siren is audible from up to 1,280 feet away. Everything turns on and off with the touch of a button.
3. Dorvus 5-in-1 Self-Defense Kit
Dorvus markets this as an “all-in-one” set, and it includes a personal alarm, panic whistle, a sharp “Kubotan” tool (great for breaking windows) and a self-defense “stinger” — basically a tiny device you clutch between your fingers if you need to punch or hit someone in self defense. The set also includes a “no touch tool,” which was made popular during the pandemic as a way for people to press elevator buttons or street crossing buttons without having to use their fingers.
The company says their “Stinger” is made from “nearly unbreakable” nylon plastic, while the “Kubotan” is made from solid aluminum. This set comes in a handy storage box (great for gifting too). Individually, all the self-defense tools are tiny enough to hide in your pockets or bag.
4. iWALK Mini Portable Charger
Your phone is perhaps your most essential personal safety tool, letting you call for help, take a photo (or video) of your attacker or situation, and helping you find your way home with its built-in GPS and flashlight.
To ensure that your phone never runs out of battery, we recommend this lipstick-sized charger from iWALK. Weighing less than 78 grams, it tucks easily into your pockets without weighing you down, while its 3350mAh battery is powerful enough to charge your iPhone 8 almost 1.5 times, or deliver about a full charge to an iPhone X.
5. Udemy Self-Defense Courses
Want to pick up some self-defense tips from the comfort and safety of home? Udemy.com has a number of top-rated self-defense classes online, that teach you everything from physical training and de-escalation techniques, to verbal self-defense, mental mindset and outdoor survival skills (if necessary). There are even easy-to-follow self-defense classes for kids.
Pricing for Udemy self-defense courses start at $13.99. Watch the instructional videos at your own pace and schedule; download course materials to take your learning offline too.
At the end of the day, personal safety brands say business may be booming, but the ultimate goal is to eventually not have to make or sell these products at all. “With creating Flare, we wanted to offer an effective, practical tool, not a solution, that would give people more options to take action earlier in a moment of uncertainty,” say Fitzgerald and Dickhaus de Zarraga. “[But] Flare’s mission is simple: to put ourselves out of business and create a world where safety products like Flare are no longer needed.”