The Five Worst Self-Defense Weapons

Boom, bang, pow, there are lots and lots of options out there for self-defense these days. More than ever before, legally armed citizens are carrying something for self-defense. A good self-defense weapon can take you far, but a bad one? Well, it’ll allow an ambulance to take you far. Today we are going to cover five of the worst self-defense weapons out there.

The Worst Self-Defense Weapons

Surely having a weapon is better than having no weapon, right? Well, maybe — but maybe not. I didn’t necessarily choose ineffective weapons, although some of them are. I chose weapons that create liability for the user. Some of the worst self-defense weapons might cause physical and legal liability. Others seem great and would certainly hurt somebody but aren’t practical in a real-world scenario.

So without further talking and jawin’, here’s what I think are the five worst self-defense weapons.

1. Brass Knuckles

If someone punches you with brass knuckles, it’s game over. They can break a bone, crack skulls, and rip and tear skin until it’s done. That’s all very true, but they make the list for worst self-defense weapons for a few reasons. First, they are often illegal. Very few states allow you to conceal brass knuckles.

brass knuckles
Brass knuckles can cause a lot of pain but aren’t exactly great for a self-defense situation.

Second, most of them suck. Many brass knuckles are gimmicky garbage more likely to hurt you than a bad guy. Those famed cat-eared keychains often found at gun shows and flea markets are often not only illegal but ineffective. You’ll need to hunt down a solid set.

Third, how do you plan to use them? If someone attacks you, do you have time to retrieve your knuckles, put them on, and engage? When the fight occurs so close that you can effectively engage with brass knuckles, then it’s likely moving too fast to reach in your pocket, retrieve, and start fighting.

2. Wasp Spray

Was spray shouldn’t even be on the list. It’s not a weapon, right? I didn’t include rubber chickens on the list. I included wasp spray because people keep suggesting it as a firearm and pepper spray alternative. Well-intended idiots love to tout its range versus standard pepper spray, as well as its affordability, legality, and commonality.

Sure, it’s affordable, legal, and easy to find. However, that doesn’t make it an effective weapon. While legal to own, it might not be legal to use it as a weapon. The can I use (for wasps) specifically says, “It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.”

Wasp spray, one of the worst self defense weapons
Wasp spray is best against wasps, not determined human attackers.

Plus, even well-designed chemical weapons can fail to stop an attacker. What’s the chance a wasp spray will efficiently and effectively stop a determined threat? I’ve been OC sprayed in training and then had to complete various tasks. It sucked, but I could do it. Would wasp spray be pleasant? No, probably not, but there is no evidence it’s an effective weapon.

Therefore, it’s easily making our list of the worst self-defense weapons.

3. 99% of Stun Guns

I think I hate stun guns because of gun shows. Once every few seconds, someone lights one off. The loud, annoying crackle haunts my dreams! I also hate stun guns because most of them are giant pieces of crap. 99% of stun guns are poorly designed, and they love to advertise their hundred bazillion volts as something to be proud of.

Damsel in Defense stun guns
Stuns guns should only come from reputable sources.

Voltage means nothing. It’s the charge that matters and that is measured in micro coulombs. Companies like Rassettica Technology Limited test good stun guns and they set standards that police and military forces adhere to. Most cheap, made-in-China stun guns suck. They deliver the same charge as an electric horse fence, making them mildly uncomfortable.

Not all stun guns suck, but a 15 dollar version from the gun show certainly does. If a company like Taser or Sabre does not make it then it’s likely not a very effective weapon. Not only will they be ineffective, but the shoddy construction makes them downright dangerous. When dealing with an electric weapon, (or weapon of any kind, for that matter), you don’t want shoddy constructions. That’s why 99% of stun guns are the worst self-defense weapons.

4. Kubotans

Another favorite of the flea market and the gun show is the kubotan. The kubotan is a small metal rob design to fit into your fist and provide a small impact tool. Kubatons are used to work pressure points and other stupid things. They are typically mounted to keychains, and if you carry enough keys, they can be used as a flail, and that’s likely the most effective a kubotan can be.

Kubotans are terrible keychains and worse weapons.
Kubotans are terrible keychains and worse weapons.

It’s just a small metal rod with some finger grooves. It’s likely made from pot metal and won’t take much abuse before it breaks, bends, or craps out. Those cut little ones that offer a knife or small OC vial are just stupid. The vial offers no range. The knife is pitiful and slow to access. By themselves, kubotans are an impact weapon that’s rather weak and doesn’t deal much damage.

Can a kubotan work? Sure, but I don’t think anyone makes one from quality metal. I’d rather have a good metal pin….because at least I have a pen out of the whole situation. I’d rather just have a knife if my form of self-defense requires jabs.

5. Derringers

I had to include a gun on the list of worst self-defense weapons. Admittedly, of all the items on this list, I would take a derringer over anything else. Derringers might be the worst gun aimed at the self-defense crowd. They are fun and admittedly a blast to shoot but they suck for self-defense. First, the most obvious issue is the fact that it only holds two rounds.

Derringers are cool, but not efficient.

Two rounds total, and after that, you are capped out. Plus, many centerfire derringers aren’t much smaller than something like the six-shot Ruger LCP. Deringers are remarkably inefficient in their design and are a product of the 1840s. While modern derringers can be well made, they are not good self-defense weapons.

They can be tough to hold onto, hard to aim, and the shooter will feel every foot-pound of recoil. Plus, even with two shots, the majority require you to manually cock the hammer before firing the weapon. That drastically slows down your first and then follow-up shot. They aren’t the worst self-defense weapons but are the worst firearms for self-defense. It’s tough to be a .410 revolver, but I feel derringers certainly do.

Just the Worst

It’s a big world, and you know what they say about opinions… Anywho, what do you think are the worst self-defense weapons? Do your choices match mine? Yay? Nay? Let me know what you think below.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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