Ideally if you’re under attack, you have your favorite knife handy, perhaps a sidearm, or at the very least that novelty mini-bat you got at Dodger stadium before they outlawed them. Sadly, you probably won’t be in danger when the circumstances are ideal, which means you’ll be stuck fighting off an attacker – possibly armed, dangerous, and desperate – with whatever you have on hand. That means unless you outfit yourself with some quality EDC combat items, like a self-defense keychain, you’re going to be stuck using your briefcase or throwing a shoe like a distressed pop diva.
Picking your self-defense items isn’t just about thinking of what is best, it’s considering the combat tactics that work best for you. We sought out an array of items that would work for various people, from the small and sickly to those whose hands are already deadly weapons, but could use just a little more edge. Each is made to be easy to carry, concealable, and pose no danger to you or your clothes as you take them along for the ride each day. When you’re ready to take back the night, let one of the 7 best self-defense keychains help you do it.
Brutus the Bull Dog
Pro: Extremely difficult for attackers to remove
Con: Not easily concealed
Swing Away: If you can throw a punch – even a weak-sauce haymaker coming from the shoulder – you can use Brutus. This is a plastic knuckle-duster-style piece of self-defense kit that is made to both reinforce your fist by backing it up with a solid foundation and add a jabbing, gouging component to each strike with the protruding ear spikes. The ABS plastic is lightweight, but just as tough as metal without the added weight. The design is downright cute and completely banal, plus it comes in loads of friendly colors to add to the overall harmless mystique. The size might be a little daunting for those with smaller hands, but for most it will fit in your fist.
Aluminum Blunt Force Kubaton
Pro: No sharp edges to damage clothes
Con: Feels a little awkward to carry in a pocket
Heavy Hitter: A most basic Kubaton-style tool, this is very simple and meant entirely for blunt force strikes, either as hammer blows, ordinary punches, or for pressure-point impacts against an assailant. While many self-defense items are intended to hit your opponent hard and allow you to run away, the close-quarters nature of this Kubaton makes it prefered by fighters who don’t have a “flight” setting in their adrenal system. Durable aluminum, the way this is used depends entirely on how you hold it, offering a few different strategies for winning a brawl without needing to worry about fatally injuring your opponent. Designed to fit in any hand, it’s only a half-inch around and slightly over 5 inches long.
Fury Tactical SDK
Pro: Only two ounces
Con: Requires precision to use correctly
Grab & Stab: Best used by someone who is aware of key pressure points on the body, the SDK (Self Defense Keychain) uses a pressure tip and stabilizing thumb ring along with finger grooves to put mostly non-lethal stabbing power right in your fist. About the size of a marker and made of aircraft grade aluminum, this is a Kubotan that follows the basic weapon style created by Takayuki Kubota in the ‘60’s. Force is multiplied by the tip to injure attackers while the counter force disappears into your hand, spread out over the entire length of the Kubotan. You’ll want to at least watch some videos on how to use it to greatest effect, as jabbing away blindly isn’t going to be as effective as directed strikes.
United Cutlery Black Legion Finger Kubaton
Pro: Very small and thin
Con: Will only protect one finger from impact
Sore Surprise: Possibly the most concealable self-defense item you can own, this is relatively innocuous and small enough to go into a pocket without hogging space. Slip it on and it is capable of doing loads of damage without injuring your hand. The steel body absorbs impacts, even against hard surfaces, so you’ll barely feel it when you land a blow against soft flesh and bone. Since it looks like a bottle opener it’s far less likely to be noticed as a weapon should you decide to carry it on a plane or into a courthouse; though we don’t suggest you risk it.
Monkey Fist Paracord
Pro: Keeps attackers at a distance
Con: Heavy ball should not hang from keys in car ignition
At Bay: There’s a lot of pretenders to the throne when it comes to monkey fist-style self-defense items. This kind of tool requires a lot of length and a lot of tensile strength to work properly in a pinch. At nearly 10 inches, it can hold an attacker at better than arm’s length, even if they are larger and longer than you. The 550lb test military paracord body is dual threaded so it won’t fray or come apart when swung. Inside the cords is a 1” steel ball that is small enough to grip in most fists for pounding purposes, and heavy enough that even a panicked swing can do enough damage to make would-be attackers think twice…or just bleed once.
Cold Steel Micro Recon 1
Pro: Tri-Ad lock won’t close accidentally
Con: Not easy to open one-handed
No Nonsense: The Recon 1 doesn’t make any secret about being a weapon. You can try to pass it off as a utility knife, but the Griv-Ex style G-10 handle with the knurling shows it to be a tactical blade through and through. The Tanto point is equally good at stabbing and slicing, so while it may only be two inches long, all you need to do is connect to do damage. Made with AUS 8A Japanese steel, it won’t nick or dull too easily and can stand up to regular usage, though don’t open too many letters without sharpening it, lest you find it too blunted when it counts.
NukoTools FatBoy G10 Punchring
Pro: Painless to use
Con: Better on bigger hands/fingers
Anywhere Carry: You never need to sweat a metal detector since the Fatboy is entirely made from Black G10 fiberboard, meaning that even though it is as tough as nails and does as much damage as a chunk of metal would, it’s not going to raise too many eyebrows no matter where you take it. The end not only enhances the effect of punch impact, but has ridges so if you’re swinging across, it tears small, stinging chunks out of your adversary, which is ideal for backing them off and putting a little more fear into their fight.