Web Extra: What Self-Defense Tools Work, What Doesn’t

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It’s not easy to spot, but Alyssa Gibson’s skull claw keychain goes with her everywhere.  
 
“It’s always on me. My keys are always clipped to my purse,” said Gibson. “There’s been times I’ve put it in between my fingers and felt like if I had to, I was ready.” 
 
It’s this ready-to-fight mindset former Metro police officer James Buford Tune said is key to surviving an attack. 
 
“If you make the determination that you’re going to fight, you will,” said Tune. “If you say, ‘Oh my gosh, don’t hurt me,’ curl up, you’re going to get killed right here.” 
 
This mindset forms the core of Tune’s self-defense classes, but with so many personal protection tools on the market, what products are most effective? 
 
“There’s a lot of gimmick stuff,” said Tune. “Stuff that’s going to get you killed if you don’t know how to use it.” 
 
Tune explained the general rule of thumb – you want to leave distance between where you use the device and your attacker.  
 
“Just like anything, it’s going to work at the right time at the right place for the right person to use it.” 
 
He said what works is what’s existed for years. 

“With the firearms, we want to train you here first,” said Tune pointing to his brain. “Then you move into other options, batons, sprays.” 
 
The technique is specific. 
 
“Don’t just pssss,” said Tune. “I want you to lay into them, hose ’em down.” 
 
Try to avoid gels and foams. 
 
“Another sales gimmick,” said Tune. “Stuff does work, but not as good as the direct pepper stream because when stuff hits, you have to wait for it to melt and gel.” 
 
Batons and kubatons now require certification to use, but knives and tasers are legal for Tennesseans to carry. 
 
At most gun and outdoor sporting stores, you can find these self-protection tools, most for under $20.  
 
But it’s important to make sure they’re charged, check expiration dates, and most importantly, practice so you’re ready to swing into action when crime strikes. 
 
“With any tool you’ve got, you’ve got to train with that tool,” said Tune. 
 
He said there’s no one tool that works best for all situations – that’s why training is key, to be ready when it’s time to fight back. 
 
“Luckily I was never in that position and hopefully never will,” said Alyssa Gibson.

Click here to read more stories from our “Protecting You and Your Family From Crime” series.  

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