Legal Self Defense Weapons for Traveling

Legal Self Defense Weapons

A huge concern among travelers is the safety of new places. While you can read up on any area, the fact is that we're more vulnerable when we're in a place we've never been to.

We could stumble upon unsafe areas, come in contact with people trying to take advantage of travelers, or simply experience regular crime that could happen in any area. It's important that we travel safely, and that means preparing ourselves with legal self-defense weapons.

We've compiled a list of 10 self-defense weapons you can consider bringing with you on your next trip. You can even think about purchasing these tools for your daily life -- you never know when you might need one!

Legal Self-Defense Weapons

Some of the items on our list might not be realistic for your trip. In other words, you may not be able to get them through airport security if you're flying.

Rules about carrying weapons during air travel are stricter than ever. Luckily, you're still allowed to bring several kinds of weapons with you, but only in checked bags. Always double-check with your airline to see what their rules are.

Also, check your destination's regulations on the weapons you intend to bring. 

We'll note the items that could give you difficulty at airport security when relevant. You may be able to purchase the weapon when you reach your destination if you feel that it's necessary, however.

1. Stun Guns

Stun guns may seem excessive, but can you think of a more useful non-lethal defense weapon?

The use of stun guns is legal in most states. (See stun gun restrictions page to check your destination state.) Make sure you put the device in your checked baggage and not in your carry-on.

The Runt Stun Gun

Transportation Security Administration will certainly give you trouble for carrying these. You could conceivably make it through TSA if you follow regulations (put it in checked baggage) and research the laws in the country that you're traveling to.

Normal stun guns, however, don't use a projectile as a mechanism and don't have the shocking capacity needed to warrant a permit in most states. Be sure to look into the rules and regulations of the area you're traveling to, but intra-United States travel will allow you to fly with a stun gun in your checked bag.

2. Tactical Gloves

These are useful if you know you're going into an area where you might get into physical danger with someone. Tactical gloves are essentially gloves with hard knuckles. SAP gloves have steel shot sewn into the knuckle area.

Gloves with Hard Knuckles

Steel Shot Close-Up

These are, of course, only useful if you're engaged in a fight with another person or need to show that you're prepared in order to scare someone off. They can be extremely persuasive, as the power of a punch amplifies when it's coupled with a tactical glove.

Additionally, you'll need to have them on for them to be useful. You could wear them as you're walking through unfamiliar areas at night or are in an area that is known for its muggings. Unless you're extremely comfortable with your ability to fight, it's not recommended that tactical gloves are the only defense weapon you bring with you.

You can also take them in your carry-on bag without any trouble from the TSA.

3. Household/Multipurpose Items

There are a number of things that you can bring on your trip that you might not normally think of as defense weapons. Because this category is kind of broad, we'll keep it contained to one section in our list.

To start, you can always pack things like knives and scissors into your checked baggage. Use whatever size of knife you're comfortable with, although pocket knives are typically the most practical while traveling.

There are also a number of practical items that can serve as defense weapons when approached by a potential threat. An aluminum water bottle works well if it's readily available. Thick magazines are also useful batons when they're rolled up.

You wouldn't think that a magazine would be useful as a weapon, but they are actually quite effective. It serves as a great way to deflect the knife or fist of an attacker and can do some damage if you strike the face or groin.

Keep an open mind while you stroll through your home before your trip. There are sure to be a number of items to carry on your person that you could use for self-defense.

4. Flashlight

Another extremely effective object is a flashlight. Of course, you should avoid miniature "keychain" flashlights that hardly hold any weight. A flashlight that sits at about 8-12 inches, though, is an extremely useful tool.

The effect amplifies if the flashlight has extension straps. You can use them as protection tools to swing the light and pick up more velocity. A metal light will work better than a plastic one.

Mini Baseball Bat with Flashlight

Flashlights are also useful because they can stun people with their light. Some lights come with a strobe function, and that will certainly halt an attacker for a moment or two. Additionally, the simple presence of a spotlight in a dark place will make attackers less likely to target you.

5. Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is a clear choice for any traveler. It is lightweight, easy to conceal, easy to take out, and can easily get through airport security if it is in your checked bag.

Additionally, there are a lot of customizations you can make with your choice of pepper spray. You can choose a spray that is cleverly disguised as something else, pick the level of potency, and select the range that you want your spray to have.

Travelling Pepper Spray

It is extremely effective as well. The pain of pepper spray is difficult to overcome, and the perpetrator is virtually blinded for a period of time. In other words, people won't want to mess with you once they know you're armed with pepper spray.

Be careful if you have pepper spray attached to your keychain! Many people tend to forget about that out of habit and accidentally take it through TSA security checkpoints. No amount of pepper spray will be allowed through and will quickly find itself in the trash.

6. Tactical Pens

Tactical pens are another option that could serve any traveler well. While they write like any other pen, they are also designed to do a couple of other things.

They're equipped with glass-breaking tips, LED lights, and impact edges which work to dissuade attackers. Tactical pens do damage when they're used as a weapon of self-defense. At the same time, they aren't designed to kill anyone, so they're non-lethal.

Tactical Pens

The glass-breaking tips are also extremely effective in situations where a person is uncomfortable in the vehicle of an attacker. Additionally, if someone sees you, say, signing a bar tab with a tactical pen, they'll probably choose not to mug you outside the establishment.

Because it is so versatile and easy to carry, we recommend that travelers get one if they have the option.

7. Tactical Knife

There's some debate over the definition of a tactical knife, but the general idea is well agreed upon. A tactical knife is essentially one that is small, effective, non-reflective, and is available to pull out at any time.

You can choose between knives that flip open and ones contained in a holder on your side. The side-holder knives are generally better for quick access, while flip-open knives are easier to conceal.

Check with the area that you're traveling to in order to see what the rules are regarding tactical knives. These are lethal in many cases, so states and countries have made a point to regulate their presence.

8. Personal Alarms

While the whistle is the traditional personal alarm, there is now technology that will readily alert anyone in the area that you are in danger. Many times, we are unable to defend ourselves against attackers. This is especially true if there is more than one person attacking you.

Alerting people in the area can be the only way of effectively dissuading violent attackers, so having a personal alarm is another option that we strongly recommend for solo travelers. The easiest option is the keychain personal alarm, which is easily accessible, small, and can rest in your pocket at all times.

Keychain Personal Alarm

It's still recommended that you pair this tool with another weapon that could defend you from physical danger. At the same time, alerting people nearby could prevent attackers from approaching or allow people to reach you before any real damage is done.

9. Phone App

There are a number of apps you can download on your phone that offer emergency services at a moment's notice. Features may differ, but seek out applications that can be accessed without unlocking your phone if possible.

On top of notifying local authorities, some applications will put out distress calls on your social media that could alert others near you. Additionally, those people will be able to contact people important to you so that you aren't isolated while traveling.

10. Practice Self-Defense Techniques

Ultimately, the best self-defense weapon is yourself. Tools are extremely useful, but may not always be available at a moment's notice.

Consider learning a few self-defense techniques if you're planning to travel soon. If you have more time, though, it may do you well to take classes in self-defense.

Looking to Beef Up Your Security?

Unique and unusual self-defense weapons are needed if you plan to do significant traveling or even for hiking self defense. But are you prepared for an attack at home?

If you're in need of some tips and tricks to improving your personal security, our site has all of the information you need.


It is also a shame that there’s so many different types of self-defense tools out there, but a lot of times women can’t use them because they’re afraid that they’re attacker might take them away and use the self defense tool on us. I’ll never own a stun gun, a whip, a bat, brass knuckles can hurt your hand pretty badly. Pepper spray down wind or if they spray you first. I took karate but doesn’t mean a man can’t pick me up and toss me. I’ve worked on cardio, women have strong legs, we are quick and can be agile. I would not pick a fight with a bigger man. I’d he’s more my size or 5”7 and depending on how much more they weigh than you. If you’re grabbed you can’t reach for a weapon. You have to fight. Pinch, kick scream, hurt yourself if it means hurting them harder, knock out their teeth with that thick skull your momma gave you! I was assaulted by a guy and he ran away thinking he could hit me with a drive by I had good cardio and ran a lot. I chased him down and pulled him to the ground. He was scared because now he knew he had to face the consequences. This was back in my school years. I took out his homework and school work dumped it on the ground and ripped his homework. Who’s the true bully?


Take karate. Its not about your skill in fighting. Its about your body's response to an attack and the fight, freeze, or flight reflex. You train yourself not to freeze but to run or fight back. You develop less fear. Whether it is CA or NYC or Turkey or India or wherever, you are equipped with some realistic moves and attitude of not backing down. For women especially Asian women who are taught to be docile and not assertive, self defense training is a must. I also agree with the guy who said to take a steel/ carbon fiber trekking pole with them. Works as a camera monopod where tripods are not allowed, as a walking stick, a snake removing pole, a dog removing pole, and an excellent alternate to a police baton, while looking quite harmless. Especially good if you are a senior and you say its your walking cane! I've also felt a steel vacuum thermos to be an excellent weapon. You walk with it everywhere in your bag. When filled with hot tea, it has additional weight. A punch with this to the side of the head will leave a dent in the skull. Plus you can sip hot tea after wiping the blood off. I always have two at home, one with me at all times. A nylon strap on it makes it swingable too like a flying missile with additional force. Or use the very hot liquid thrown in the face if you have time to unscrew top off. I use my 1" wide 6 ft long dog leash too like a swinging chain. Wonderful if you have a spiky pinch collar at the end of it but more versatile just by itself doubled up. Both free ends should be in your hand. Swinging it around ensures they keep a distance from you while you reach for the mace...


"Practice self-defense techniques" this is a joke right? Why is it so hard to defend yourself in CA?

The list of things we can use to protect ourselves is so weak. Why does the government want women, who are the main targets of predatory men, to be so defenseless?

Many of the items listed aren't legal in many countries. I would recommend a carbon fiber telescoping trekking pole.

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