Here's a quick round-up of inexpensive but effective self-defense tools …
Hoffner Folding Knife
In many "blue" states like mine, it's illegal to carry switchblades or even assisted-opening knives …
It is legal in my blue state, because it does not have a spring-assisted opening. However, the Hoffer cleverly uses gravity to easily open with one hand. So even with my tendinitis (I injured my wrists lifting way too much at the gym), I can easily open the Hoffner one-handed with a quick flick of my wrist.
Bottom line: Even in my big brotherish anti-self-defense state, I can legally carry a knife with which I can handily protect myself with quick-deploying, one-handed action.
Purpleheart Armoury Hickory Cane
If you'd like to carry a baseball bat around – but don't want to look so conspicuous – you can carry an elegant, all-hickory cane with a beefy metal handle. This thing is incredibly well-made, solid hickory, and as elegant as they come:
(My pictures don't do it justice.)
It is built like a tank – one whack on the noggin and the bad guy is going night-nite – and as classy as any cane in the world.
You can leave it in the car, in your bedroom, or take it with you.
$ 85 from Purpleheart Armoury.
Nitecore P12GT 1,000 Lumen Flashlight
I conducted hours of research to find a small, portable, tactical flashlight which would actually work to blind an attacker long enough to mount a defense or get away.
It turns out that there are 4 criteria for an effective self-defense flashlight:
(1) It has to be really bright
(2) It has to have a "strobe" mode. Specifically, it is very hard for a thug's eyes to adjust to a bright strobe than a constant bright light. It is also disorienting af.
(3) It has to be a great "thrower". That is, it has to shine really far, as opposed to casting a wide arc. Thinking of being able to reach the bad guy's eyes, and (metaphorically) have the light basically hit the back of their head.
(4) It has to be small enough to easily fit in your pocket.
When I started looking, nothing met all 4 criteria …
But recently, Nitecore released the P12GT, and it passes all 4 tests with flying color.
At 1,000 lumens, this is crazily bright (there are also 3 other settings for normal household uses).
It has a good strobe. And you can program the button on the thumb-end of the flashlight to "remember" the last setting you used. So you can auto-program the main button to go straight to the self-defense strobe setting.
It is a crazy good thrower … the light shines 401 yards. (That's more than 3 football fields!)
And at only 1 inch in diameter and 5.5 inches at length, it can easily fit in your front or back pocket.
I haven't received a cent for writing these reviews. I received a test sample of one of the above-described tools … but not the other two. I vouch for all three of them.