Roughly 80% of assaults each year are deemed less-lethal in nature, but most gun carriers feel that there is no need for a dedicated less-lethal weapon. Go figure. Just like your firearm, a less-lethal tool should be standard carry. I don’t understand the dudes with long beards and sleeve tats that walk around with a pistol and several reloads, two knives, a 900 lumen light, but no less-lethal option, something they are far more likely to need. Likewise, the heehaws who carry their 45s (because they don’t make a 46) and say “I’ll just shoot em” might want to re-consider that attitude before they go to prison for life. Carry a less-lethal weapon.
I really like the ASP Defender series of pepper spray devices. They offer pretty good spray performance for their size, but just as handily, they provide focused impact utility. And, to be honest, I love this device because it tucks in the waistband and holds my keys better and more securely than any form of belt clips that I have tried. The ASP Key Defender has become an absolutely integral part of my everyday carry.
There are three models in this family of devices: the Key Defender, which I use, the Palm Defender, which is smaller, and the Street Defender, which is substantially larger. I like the Key Defender the best. It is pretty much the size of a traditional kubaton. The Palm Defender is nice and small but it is too short to be really leveraged as an impact weapon. The Street Defender has a lot more chemical capacity and it is a great tool, but I find it a bit big for everyday carry. All three models are nice, though, it is just a matter of preference.
The ASP Defenders do something that I like in any tool: they serve multiple purposes. Rather than just being pepper spray they are also a nice kubaton. They also serve as a tool that can break glass, of course, which is always a good thing. So, this is several different functions provided in one implement. Any other form of pepper spray does only one of those things. Granted, a service size pepper spray canister will do that one thing better, usually, but it is only one thing in a package that is less convenient to carry. For utility-to-size ratio the Key Defender is excellent. I have tested the unit I have several times and the spray performance is quite good for small device that sprays a cone pattern, no complaints there.
I carry the Key Defender at about the three o’clock position which for me is opposite of my gun since I am left-handed. I like deploying less-lethal with my support hand. Many people are not comfortable with doing this as they prefer deploying spray or an impact weapon with the dominant hand. I am fairly ambidextrous so I like reserving my dominant hand for going to the gun if necessary. Based on what I have seen in training if an individual deploys spray with the dominant hand then goes to the gun, they often just switch the spray to the support hand and don’t drop it. I prefer to start with spray in the support hand to avoid this switch entirely.
With the ASP when deploying the spray the device is raised in a typical ice pick position and this sets it up to immediately be used for striking. A hit to the face with this device is substantially more effective than a strike with open hand or fist, of course, and having this defense mechanism immediately available is a great option if the assailant presses the attack after catching some spray. Overall the ASP Defenders are great tools that I highly recommend if you want the impact ability along with pepper spray.