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The Best Self Defense Keychains for Everyday Carry

Best Self Defense Keychains 00 Hero

Not unlike smoke detectors, self-defense weapons are items that, while hopefully never needing to be used, are much better to have and not need than need and not have. While handguns and full-size knives have long been obvious go-to options in this arena, there does exist a wide range of much smaller and more unassuming self-defense weapons that still provide ample security and defensive capabilities in markedly more compact and pocketable packages.

From keychain knives to Kubatons to knucks, keychain-style self-defense weapons not only come in an enormous variety of forms but can also massively differ in terms of quality and construction — an area that’s particularly important considering these weapons are typically deployed in life-threatening situations. Knowing just how abundant this space is, we’ve scoured the segment for the most effective and trustworthy items currently on the market in order to deliver this guide to the best self-defense keychain tools.

The Best Self-Defense Keychains

Styles Of Security

What Are The Different Types Of Self-Defense Keychains?

There are many different types of self-defense keychains and other highly pocketable yet highly-effective self-defense items on the market, however, every single one falls under one of two main categories; passive (or defensive); and active (or offensive). Passive — or defensive — self-defense keychains consist of items like flashlights and pepper spray which are designed to only allow for defensive capabilities but aren’t made to be used in an offensive attack. Active or offensive weapons, on the other hand, include items such as knives, knocks, Kubatons, and other striking weapons that can be used in an active attack to hurt or disable an attacker. 

Passive weapons are primarily intended to help their carriers escape a situation, rather than fight through it. An active weapon can also be made all the more effective — and made into an even better deterrent — when paired with the right passive item, such as carrying a knuck or Kubaton in one hand in conjunction with a strobe-equipped flashlight in the other, as the torch’s ability to blind the attacker makes it substantially harder for them to defend themselves from blows and strikes from the knuck or Kubaton in their would-be victim’s other hand. With that said, there are also self-defense items that straddle the line between passive and active such as a stun gun. 

Pocketable Personal Protection

What Factors Should I Consider When Buying A Self-Defense Keychain?

Now that you’re familiar with the two main types of self-defense keychains that exist, let’s move on to what areas you should focus on when shopping for one — the most crucial of which we’ve highlighted and broken down in this condensed mini-guide directly below. 

Weapon Type: Whether it falls under the umbrella of being passive or active, there’s a plethora of different types of self-defense keychains to pick from. This includes tactical pens, Kubatons, dusters or knuckles (or “knocks”), striking keys, stun guns, flashlights, pepper spray and mace, and keychain knives, just to name the main varieties that exist. These items can all massively range in terms of shape, size, construction, and quality. 

Materials: Just like with any weapon or piece or EDC gear, the materials used to construct a self-defense keychain play a pivotal role in the item’s overall durability and performance. Because these instruments are meant to be utilized in dangerous, potentially life-threatening situations, it’s crucial that they don’t break or fail when being used, which is why it’s so important to opt for a well-made weapon crafted from quality materials. The good news is that quite a few of the most common constructions in this segment — such as aluminum and stainless steel — are sufficiently hardwearing for this application, and are relatively affordable. There are also more high-end titanium construction self-defense keychain on the market, as well. 

Deployment: Because of the potentially-perilous scenarios in which they’re intended to be used, how quickly and easily a self-defense keychain can be deployed is of extreme importance. Because these items are all meant to hang on a keychain, though should be fairly easy to access, though this area is still very much worth taking into account when shopping as every fraction of a second truly does count in CQC situations. 

Ergonomics: As weapons that are used at full speed and at full strength, it’s also imperative that you can get a firm grasp on any keychain-style self-defense item. This area primarily boils down to the object’s shape, how well it fits in the hand, the material used to make it, and if it has any type of knurling, texturing, or pattern to bolster grip. It’s also worth pointing out that weapons like Kubatons are often sold in multiple sizes, ensuring there will be a model that fits snugly in your hand. 

Range: Practically every item on this list is intended for close-quarter-combat use, however, with that said, some weapons require their user to get closer to their attacker than others, such as flashlights and pepper spray versus a knuck or knife — the former of which can effectively be used at a distance while the latter requires their user to get much more unclose and personal with their attacker(s). If you feel uneasy about the idea of having to get that close to an attacker, then you may want to consider a more long-range self-defense weapon such as a firearm or larger can of pepper spray. There are also plenty of non-lethal long-range and projectile self-defense weapons such as tasers and sidearm-style pepper ball guns. 

Battery Life: While this only applies to a handful of self-defense keychains, some items in this segment — such as stun guns and flashlights — run on batteries, and as such need to have their battery charged on a regular basis. This requires them to occasionally be plugged in, which isn’t all that big of a deal, though it’s worth remembering that, unlike a knuck or Kubaton, electronic self-defense keychains simply won’t function on a dead battery. This means they can’t simply be tossed on your keychain and forgotten about. 

Intimidation: Self-defense keychains have two main jobs. The first is to hopefully intimidate any attacker, or at least serve as a potential deterrent that makes them move on to an easier target. Should one of these items not serve as a deterrent, their second job is then to function as a self-defense weapon — be it a passive one or active one. For this reason, you’ll always want to consider the intimidation factor of a self-defense keychain as this is essentially your first line of defense. 

Appearance: Self-defense keychains can also wildly vary in terms of appearance, with items like knucks and knives having markedly more aggressive looks compared to flashlights or tactical pens. There are also more subtle and non-aggressive-looking items on the market that won’t raise any alarm if seen on a campus or at an office, however, these weapons with more understated aesthetics typically lack the intimidation factor that some of the more aggressive-looking options possess. 

Additional Functions Or Utility: The main reason to carry a self-defense keychain is obviously for their personal defensive capabilities. Having said that, there’s no shortage of self-defense keychains that manage to afford additional utility, making them even more conducive to everyday carry use, while also upping their versatility — and thereby also bolstering their overall value. As an example, this includes keychain weapons with integrated bottle openers or bit drivers, or self-defense items that can also be used for non-defensive daily-use applications such as a flashlight or tactical pen. 

CRKT Williams Defense Key

Photo: CRKT
  • Very discreet appearance
  • Has integrated Phillips screwdriver
  • T-shaped handle is incredibly ergonomic
  • Offers great value
  • is TSA-compliant & travel-friendly
  • Provides limited offensive/damage capabilities

Best Key: Rather than a product that weaponizes a standard house key, this item from CRKT is a purpose-built self-defense tool that’s designed to sit on a keychain and resemble a regular key. The brainchild of former U.S. Army Officer James Williams, the Williams Defense Key is comprised of a T-shaped handle that’s made from glass-reinforced nylon and mated to a pointed 1.76” 3Cr13 stainless steel “key” with a natural-looking tumbled finish. Designed to maximize piercing or striking power, the tip of the 0.11-inch-thick defense key can also double as a Phillips head screwdriver, giving it additional utility outside of self-defense scenarios. This self-defense weapon is also TSA-compliant and can be taken on flights.

Construction: 3Cr13 Stainless Steel
Length: 3.57”
Weight: 1.1oz
Keyring Compatible: Yes

WeaponTek Tactical Pointed Tip Grooved Grip Kubaton

WeaponTek Tactical Pointed Tip Grooved Grip Kubaton
Photo: Home Security Super Store
  • Has super ergonomic shape
  • Offers great value
  • Massively concentrates striking forces
  • Weighs only 2oz
  • Backed by lifetime warranty
  • Is rather large on a keychain at nearly 6.0″

Best Kubaton: Offering incredible bang for your buck, the WeaponTek Tactical Pointed Tip Grooved Grip Kubaton is a lightweight yet effective personal self-defense tool that’s nothing short of deadly with the right training and when in the right hands. Equipped with a keyring attachment for easy carrying, this blacked-out striking weapon spans just 5.75” and weighs in at only 2oz. Backed by a lifetime warranty, this machined aluminum item features a classic ultra-ergonomic four-groove design that fits perfectly in the hand and culminates in a pointed tip that greatly focuses impact forces when striking. 

Construction: Aluminum
Length: 5.75”
Weight: 2oz
Keyring Compatible: Yes

Tallen Damascus Two-Hole Duster

Photo: Blade HQ
  • Two-finger knuck machined from Damascus steel
  • Features beautiful layered construction
  • Weighs less than 1ozSimple but highly-effective design
  • Has dual points for concentrating striking forces
  • Sold w/ leather carrying pouch
  • Can’t be carried on keyring (or at least can’t be used when carried on one)

Best Knuck: While technically sold as a “novelty item” or “paperweight,” some astute self-defense aficionados have noticed that the Tallen Damascus Two-Hole Duster just happens to also make for a stellar double knuck. Crafted from a 0.25-inch-thick block of Damascus steel, this item measures 2.125” wide and 1.25” tall and features two side-by-side 1.0-inch finger holes that easily allow a fist to be made around the knuck. Weighing less than an ounce, this knuck also sports a slightly pointed profile on the outside of each finger hole — a design that better concentrates striking force and maximizes the damage being dealt out, making for a more effective self-defense weapon. It is important to note that knucks are illegal to carry in certain regions so we highly recommend checking your local laws before ordering one.

Construction: Damascus Steel
Length: 2.125″
Weight: 0.95oz
Keyring Compatible: No

Streetwise Pain Pen

Streetwise Pain Pen
  • Powerful yet pocketable pen-style stun gun
  • Has non-threatening appearance
  • Is equipped w/ 25,000,000 volts
  • Very easy to conceal
  • Noise of arc spark serves as major deterrent
  • Limited battery life

Best Stun Gun: With a cylindrical design spanning 6.13” and measuring 0.63” in diameter, Streetwise Pain Pen closely resembles your average ballpoint writing instrument, however, underneath the surface, it packs a whopping 25,000,000 volts — or 0.89 microcoulombs. Deployed via an arc spark, this immensely pocketable pen-style stun gun produces a very loud crackling sound that’s incredibly intimidating. If the sound alone doesn’t serve as a deterrent, the Pain Pen’s 25,000,000 volts can disorient an attacker and cause muscle spasms if pressed to them for 1-to-2 seconds — or can cause loss of balance and muscle control and fully put down an attacker if pressed to them for 3-to-5 seconds. Sold in half a dozen door options, this product also comes backed by a lifetime warranty

Construction: N/A
Length: 6.13”
Weight: 3.2oz
Keyring Compatible: No

ASP Palm Defender

Photo: Amazon
  • Constructed around anodized aluminum body
  • Sprays in cone-shaped bursts
  • Effective from 3’ away
  • Hold 3 grams of OC spray measuring 2 million Scoville Heat Units
  • Sold in multiple anodized color options
  • No safety or lock allows for possibility of accidental discharge
  • Can also affect/impact user
  • Contains only 3 half-second bursts

Best Pepper Spray: Another unassuming-looking keychain capable of dealing out some devastating defensive power, the ASP Palm Defender is a super compact keychain pepper spray item that’s constructed around a precision-machined aerospace aluminum or brass body. Securely sealed via an o-ring, the housing contains 10oz of a law enforcement-grade, 10% Oleoresin Capsicum formulation that’s rated at around a whopping 2,000,000 heat units on the Scoville scale. On top of offering a 3’ range, the ASP Palm Defender also affords its carrier three half-second bursts. This cannister also features the world’s smallest replaceable gas insert.

Construction: Aluminum
Length: 4.5”
Weight: 2oz
Keyring Compatible: Yes

Olight Baton3

Photo: Amazon
  • Offers 1,200 lumens & 166m throw in tiny sub-2.5” package
  • Has anodized aluminum body w/ knurled grip pattern
  • Includes multiple power modes including strobe function
  • Pairs wonderfully w/ striking weapon
  • Also doubles as one of the all-time greatest EDC flashlights
  • Doesn’t provide any offensive capabilities

Best Flashlight: While flashlights aren’t typically what spring to mind when talking about compact self-defense weapons, a powerful enough torch can actually be extremely effective, blinding potential attackers and making them incredibly vulnerable to any striking or attack. Unequivocally one of the best and most compact options on the market is Olight’s insanely potent Baton3. Equipped with five different power levels plus a strobe mode, the Baton3 boasts a maximum output of 1,200 lumens and a range of over 540’. On top of its self-defense prowess, the Baton3 also just happens to make for a fantastic everyday carry flashlight and is offered in a Premium Edition that comes with a true wireless earbuds-style wireless charging case that can replenish the Baton3’s battery more than 3 times.

Construction: Aluminum
Length: 2.48”
Weight: 1.87oz
Keyring Compatible: Yes

WESN Microblade

Photo: WESN
  • Crafted from titanium & D2 steel
  • Blade can be deployed via thumb-stud or flipper tab
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Pivot is equipped w ceramic ball bearings
  • Has frame-locking mechanism
  • Sold in huge variety of colors & LE variants
  • Tiny size hinders ergonomics

Best Knife: The knife that launched the WESN brand, the Microblade is an ultra-compact yet thoroughly hardwearing folding knife that’s crafted around a framework-equipped grade 5 titanium handle with a bare titanium or G-10 scale. Produced in five color options, the Microblade is one of the hundreds of compact knives on the market, though its beefy high-quality construction actually allows it to stand up to real-world self-defense — and EDC — situations without the blade or lock snapping or failing. Weighing only 1oz, the WESN Microblade can also be carried via its pocket clip, or in a leather sheath (which is sold separately). Smoothly guided by a set of ceramic bearings, the knife’s 1.5″ D2 blade can be rapidly deployed using its flipper tab (or thumb stud). And, with an included pocket clip — or leather sheath (sold separately) it’s remarkably easy to always have the Microblade at the ready.

Construction: Titanium (w/ or w/o G-10) & D2
Length: 3.75” Open (2.25” Closed)
Weight: 1oz
Keyring Compatible: Yes

Toor Knives MarlinSpike 2.0

Toor Knives MarlinSpike 2
Photo: Toor Knives
  • Has ultra-ergonomic, tactical design
  • Super effective striking & piercing weapon
  • Absolutely stellar fit & finish
  • Highly concealable & easy to deploy
  • Made in America in small batches
  • Sold w/ included leather sheath + wide range of additional custom mounting options
  • Expensive (though fully justified) price

Best Tactical Pick: Made in San Diego by a boutique knife outfit from rugged 4140 chromoly steel, the Toor Knives MarlinSpike 2.0 is an updated take on an already stellar backup CQC weapon and personal self-defense tool. Offered in multiple finishes, this 4140 steel construction clocks in at 50 on the Rockwell scale. Measuring 6.5” in length and 0.375” in diameter, this easily-concealable and quick-drawable spike sports a series of machined grooves that allow it to comfortably nestle into the hand. And, while it’s sold with an included a black 8.0oz fold-over leather sheath with waxed nylon stitching, the 2nd-gen MarlinSpike is also offered with five optional mounting/carrying options including a MOLLE mount, an inside waistband clip, and severalUtiliClip models. Whether used for striking or piercing, the MarlinSpike 2.0 is a wildly effective weapon — and one with an intimidating appearance that alone serves as a pretty major deterrent. 

Construction: 4140 Chromoly Steel
Length: 6.5”
Weight: 2.2oz
Keyring Compatible: Yes

Benchmade Shorthand Pen

Benchmade Shorthand Pen
Photo: Benchmade
  • Made in America & backed by lifetime warranty
  • Equipped with AXIS-style bolt action mechanism
  • Body features machined knurled grip pattern
  • Doubles as stellar tactical/EDC pen
  • Also sold in full-length variant & in aluminum versions
  • Expensive price

Best Pen: While it technically isn’t a keychain and doesn’t sport a lanyard loop or any attachment points that allow it to be carried on a keyring, the Benchmade Shorthand is still a highly pocketable and highly-effective tactical pen that doubles as a Kubaton and concentrated striking weapon. Measuring 3.49” in length and 0.454” in diameter, the Shorthand is crafted from 303 stainless steel with a brushed finish and boasts an ergonomic barrel with a knurled grip pattern and the brand’s classic deep-carry pocket clip. The pen also features a spring-loaded bolt-action mechanism that’s activated using an AXIS-style bolt. Made in America and backed by a lifetime warranty, this tactical pen is also offered in a longer 4.62” length version — known as the Longhand — as well as in a 6061-T6 aluminum and in a black oxide-coated colorway. 

Construction: 303 Stainless Steel (or 6061-T6 Aluminum)
Length: 3.49”
Weight: 0.7oz
Keyring Compatible: No

WE Knife Co. Cat A07 Series

WE Cat A07 Series
Photo: Knife Center
  • Features cute, non-aggressive appearance
  • Is machined from Grade 5 titanium billet
  • Pointed “ears” focus & amplify striking forces
  • Weighs only 1.1oz
  • Can be carried on keychain or worn on necklace
  • Cute cat design/appearance not for everyone

Honorable Mention: While most knucks have very aggressive-looking appearances, the same can’t be said for the WE Knife Co. Cat A07 Series. Spanning 3.00”, this feline-shaped kunck is precision-machined from a solid block of 0.32-inch-thick 6AL4V titanium — giving it immense strength while also allowing it to tip the scales at only 1.1oz. Produced in a trio of different finishes, this admittedly cute-looking self-defense item also comes sold with a 31” stainless steel neck chain for easy carrying. 

Construction: Titanium
Length: 3.00”
Weight: 1.1oz
Keyring Compatible: Yes

The Best Non-Lethal Self-Defense Weapons For Home Security

Best Non Lethal Weapons 00 Hero
Photo: Salt Supply Co. s1 Pepper Spray Gun

Looking for some alternatives to traditional firearms for self-defense while in your house or apartment? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best non-lethal self-defense weapons for home security for ten of the most effective options currently on the market.