Outdoors people will understand:
There’s nothing like going out for a run.
The fresh air, the scenic views, that feeling of euphoria as you hit your runner’s stride. Those endorphins!
Unfortunately, running outside can be dangerous.
Sometimes, taking the precaution of running in populated areas you’re familiar with is not enough. Many victims of assault have reported being attacked while out on a daily run, during both the day and at night.
In this post, I’ve gathered my top self defense products to have while running.
In a hurry to hit the trail? Grab my top pick, the Spyderco Pacific Salt, on Amazon by clicking here.
How can you protect yourself on a run?
Fortunately, there are ways to help combat a potential assault while running.
In order to prevent yourself from being another statistic, it’s important to have some kind of self defense product at hand while running.
You might not need it, but you’ll be glad it’s there if you do.
How do you choose the right one for you?
Find out next…
How do I know what the best self defense product is for me?
So, what should you look for in a self defense product to carry with you while running?
Here are my main recommendations:
- It will be lightweight. A self defense product is only useful if you are able to access it and will actually bring it with you on a run! So it should be small and light enough to carry comfortably in your hand or on your body while running.
- It will have stopping power. A self defense product is only useful if it is actually able to stop an attacker or give you time to retreat.
Know your self defense “personality”
Different self defense products will be effective for different personality types and risk tolerances.
The main 3 types of self defense products that you can have while running are:
It’s the most basic and ancient of self defense weapons.
A good blade will be small, portable, and potentially deadly if needed. In addition, it can be used for different purposes outside of self defense, making it a useful tool to have in many situations.
A knife is best suited for a more aggressive personality, who is not afraid to do what it takes to stop an assailant and risk potential repercussions later on.
Tasers and Stun Guns
Quickly growing in popularity, stun guns can be very effective deterrents due to their close range capabilities.
They can be easily carried and all it takes is one touch to incapacitate your attacker for a moment, giving you a window to escape. Stun guns are a good product for all personality types, since they are a relatively easy product to use. However, they mainly work through pain compliance, not through actual muscular paralysis.
Enter the Taser:
Tasers are better for mid-range self defense, and are generally more reliable in their stopping power.
This is because they create a 2-part circuit through the body and pump a ton of voltage in. This stops the muscles from working, disabling an attacker long enough for you to get away.
They’re quite a big pricier than stun guns, though.
Pepper Spray and Pepper Gel
Next up is pepper spray or gel.
Pepper spray is one of the most popular self defense weapons because of the ease of access. It’s relatively cheap, easy to find, and simple to use.
Pepper spray is also a good product for all personality types, but are potentially the least reliable of all 3 categories due to their tendency to blow spray in the direction the wind is blowing.
Be warned – this could potentially blow the spray back towards you. In many ways, using a gel version helps to avoid this problem.
How I grade products – Quality, Price, and Survival Score
I graded these products on a scale of 5, based on 3 important factors:
When you’re fighting for your life, a faulty piece of equipment is the last thing you want in your hands.
Quality is one of the most important factors when considering your self defense product, because a poor piece of equipment that doesn’t do its job right could cost you your life.
You want the best quality product, but at a price you can afford.
Obviously, if you can’t afford something, you won’t be carrying it.
Then what good is it?
What good is a self defense product if it can’t help you survive?
We base this grade on whether or not a self defense product will have the power to stop an attacker in their tracks.
Top 5 running self defense products
|Spyderco Pacific Salt||*****||****||*****|
|Vipertek VTS-880 Stun Gun||****||*****||***|
|Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray||****||*****||***|
|Fox Labs Pepper Spray Cone||****||*****||****|
Spyderco Pacific Salt
The coolest thing about this knife?
It’s basically rust-proof, and therefore waterproof. That’s the big reason why it’s great for outdoor running.
It also comes with the usual Spyderco quality, which makes it one of our top tactical knife brands. It’s also a perfect lightweight knife for running, weighing in at just 3oz.
Running with a knife? Better either clip it to your armband, or keep it in a runner’s belt like this one.
Check out the Taser Bolt, a high-end non-lethal self defense device that can put down an attacker from 15 feet away.
The Bolt, unlike its cousin the Taser Pulse, has a unique shape and trigger mechanism. It features a slide away opening, which has a button inside rather than a trigger.
This helps to keep the device from discharging while you’re on a run.
It’s also got a less gun-like shape, opting for something a bit softer and more comfortable in the hand.
Last, but not least, it features a contact stun pad, in case the attacker gets up close – you can stun them using the electrodes on the front of the Bolt.
Also, you can read my full review of the Taser Bolt here.
Vipertek VTS-880 Stun Gun
This is a handheld stun gun that can cause serious pain by injecting a claimed 90,000,000 volts into your attacker.
Now, that’s most likely nonsense, but it can give you the chance to escape from an assailant while they’re in pain from the shock.
I wouldn’t count this as a substitute for a Taser, as this is more of a pain compliance device. It also only works up close, so it’s more of a “last chance” type of solution.
On the other hand, it’s got a flashlight included, so that’s a great benefit for those running at night.
Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray
With its powerful pepper spray, the Sabre 3-in-1 is likely to stop even the deadliest attacker.
Its powerful spray formula provides maximum stopping power. They ensure this quality by making the spray formula in-house.
Apparently other brands have something like 30% ineffectiveness – not a good thing when your life is on the line.
It’s designed to prevent blow back on the user, and allows you to shoot out 35 sprays in just one canister.
And at .8 ounces, it is extremely portable – great for running. It’s even got a clip, so you can put it on your armband or belt. This one’s very affordable, too.
However, purchasers should be aware that the stream is only effective at 4-5 feet max.
Fox Labs Pepper Spray Cone
Coming in at the higher end of the price spectrum, the Fox Labs Pepper Spray Cone is still a highly effective self defense weapon.
It’s got a lot of things going for it:
- At 3 ounces, it is easily carried in hand.
- Rated at 5,300,000 SHU, this spray packs a nasty punch.
- The flip top design makes accidental depression unlikely.
That being said, the flip top design could potentially slow you down when you try to use it. It also sprays in a “fog”, so if you are in a confined area, the spray may affect you too.
Let’s hit the road
I get it:
Nobody wants to have to carry a weapon, especially when they’re out for a run.
But it’s better to be safe than sorry.
For those who prefer to carry a knife while running, I recommend the Spyderco Pacific Salt due to its light weight and hardiness against the elements. Check it out on Amazon to get yours.
But any of the 5 self defense products I highlighted above will help make sure you’re always prepared. However, you still need to train regularly, maintain awareness, and keep your wits about you while running.
Got another idea for a running self defense product?
List it below in the comments.
In the meantime, check out this video that demonstrates the importance of staying alert and ready to defend yourself when you’re out on a run:
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the crime rates for runners?
Nearly a third of runners feel some kind of anxiety about running outdoors, especially if they are alone. Of those third, nearly 60% of runners change to running in the daylight only. A third of all runners switch to running indoors only, either on an indoor track or a treadmill, and another will take safety precautions by equipping themselves with items like we’ve featured here.
Runners do have a reason to feel this way, as many runners have been harassed, either by other runners or those who prey on them. In fact, over half of women runners have been sexually assaulted, whether with cat-calls or crimes more serious.
How else can you protect yourself while running?
Before you leave, be sure someone knows where you will be running and what time you should be home. While this is more of a precaution, you can also take steps to protect yourself. Always carrying your cell is important, not only for you but for others as well, since you may need to help someone during your run.
Don’t bring valuables with you on a run. Take off your watch, necklace, etc. Don’t carry a camera with you. If you can’t carry everything on you in small pockets or even an armband, try not to bring it. Large bags, or even fanny packs made for runners, will indicate to someone you have valuable items on you.
However, the biggest thing you can do to protect yourself while running is to be alert. This means not listening on headphones or earbuds, so you can be aware of the environment you are in and who is around you.
Is it safer to run in groups?
Every runner has heard that it is safer to run in groups at some point or another. However, it is very important to follow this advice. Runners who have someone with them are less likely to be targeted, and the safety factor only increases as you add more members to your group.
While running solo may allow you to clear your mind and enjoy your surroundings, running with others can help you socialize and enjoy your frequent runs.
Is it safer to run with a dog?
Having a dog with you on your run can help to protect you by being a deterrent for anyone thinking about walking up to you. However, it is important to train your dog to run with you properly. It can be quite dangerous to run with a dog who doesn’t walk on a leash properly and walks in front of you or pulls and tugs on the leash.
Once your dog is trained to go on runs with you, it won’t be so much of a physical hazard and can help keep would-be attackers from approaching you.