The 8 Best Defense Keychains

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This wiki has been updated 34 times since it was first published in October of 2015. Protecting yourself from a would-be attacker is a nightmare scenario that you'll hopefully never have to deal with. However, it's always better to be prepared, which is why these defense key chains are wise investments. Whether you'll be hitting a criminal with an electric shock, a blinding spray, a deafening alarm or a painful object, our selections will give you a fighting chance to walk away. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Sabre S7B-HCBK

2. ASP Key Defender

3. Sabre Red Kuros

Editor's Notes

July 09, 2021:

Some long-term reliability issues led us to remove a high-volume alarm from our rankings. Instead, we've added the Original Defense SDS1, which is highly durable and as easy to activate as pushing a button. It gets extremely loud and has a bright, flashing SOS light.

As far as physical self defense goes, the Sabre Red Kuros and Sabre S7B-HCBK are still as comprehensive as anything else you'll find. The ASP Key Defender is a bit more simple and a great way to carry pepper spray. It's worth noting, however, that some of these models are considered weapons in some parts of the US, so make sure to always abide by federal, state, and local laws.

March 12, 2020:

Removed the Guardman Key Knife, the Huayang Coin Knife, the Vigilant Personal Alarm, and the Vexor Pepper Spray because of availability issues.

Removed the TI-EDC Titanium Triangle and the Fury Tactical SDK2 because their designs are ineffective for self-defense purposes.

Removed the Hornet Keychain Stun Gun because of false claims.

If you are looking for a key-chain sized stun gun, the market is currently barren. Those that are available make wildly implausible claims about the volts that they are capable of producing across the prong gap. You'll often find these stun guns advertised as capable of producing hundreds of thousands, millions, and even (laughably) billions of volts. Not only is this impossible across a one centimeter gap, volts are not even an adequate way of informing the consumer about how effective the device is - a much more informative unit is the microcoulomb. As such, we are unable to recommend them as we have been unable to confirm that they are strong enough to be used as a deterrent.

We have excluded all baton-style and knuckle duster-style options because key-chain sized batons (usually around 5.5-inches) and dusters have not been demonstrated to be effective at all for self-defense and their advertisement as such is dangerously misleading when someone intends to rely on them to protect themselves. Swinging 5.5 inches worth of aluminum at someone is just extremely unlikely to deter them.

At key chain sizes, pepper sprays like the ASP Key Defender and knives like the SOG Keytron are much more plausible options for defending yourself.

Self-defense weapons are heavily regulated and you should check your local code to ensure that it is legal for you to use and carry them.

4. SOG Pocket Knife

5. Mace 80141

6. Original Defense SDS1

7. Mace Spray Pen

8. Vigilant PPS-9

Who Can Benefit Most From Defense Keychains?

In some cases, guns may even escalate a situation further, making an assailant make rash decisions or resort to violence quicker.

Defense keychains are multipurpose tools that offer protection and confidence to everyone who owns one. Statistically speaking, women are much more likely to be the victims of sexual violence or aggression. Women looking for added protection on campus or while walking the streets of an unknown neighborhood may turn to defense keychains. Yet men can benefit from defense keychains just as much as women. Men are much more likely to be the victims of aggravated assault, and the added protection of a defense keychain may be the difference between serious injury and fending off an attacker.

What often comes up in self-defense talk is people trying to decide between a defense keychain and a more heavy duty protection option, such as a gun. The wildly different statistics presented for defensive gun use may be due to researchers' subjectivity, but many conclude that statistically, guns are rarely successfully when used for self defense. In some cases, guns may even escalate a situation further, making an assailant make rash decisions or resort to violence quicker.

The presence of a gun in the home also poses a significant statistical risk of death, as people that die from accidental shootings are more than three times as likely to have a firearm in their home. Additionally, over 89 percent of accidental shooting deaths of children occur in the home, where kids are within reach of a gun in their parent’s absence. While United States citizens have the right to have firearms, this does not mean they will not injure themselves. Defense keychains often pose no risk on their own, as they require physical force and concentrated use to cause anyone harm. Accidents may be less likely when using a defense keychain and could therefore be considered the safer choice. As an added benefit, some can also function as car escape tools.

What To Consider When Choosing Defense Keychains

The added assurance a defense keychain provides may be enough to still a racing heart while walking down a dark alley, but there are still a few things to consider when choosing the right model. One of the most important considerations is how useful the defense keychain will actually be. There are many powerful defense tools on the market, but some can be rather unwieldy, while others may be too small to safely handle if you have large hands. Aim for a defense keychain that will make you feel protected while also being easy to handle.

This is stupendous in theory, but in practice these tools may be difficult to use if your head is not clear.

Ease of access is another important consideration when choosing defense keychains. Time spent searching for a tiny keychain in a large bag is time that is not spent fending off an attacker. On the other end of this, a large keychain that can barely fit into your pocket may be just as difficult to remove should the situation arise. The average aggravated assault happens quickly, and as aggravated assault makes up nearly 65 percent of all violent crimes, it is important to be able to *respond just as quickly *.

The complexity of a defense keychain may factor into your decision. Many defense tools have locking mechanisms or other seemingly simple preventative measures in place to avoid accidental harm. This is stupendous in theory, but in practice these tools may be difficult to use if your head is not clear. The chances that a potential attacker will wait for you to unlock your complicated defense tool are very slim. For defense tools in general, simplicity is key.

Defense keychains are serious pieces of protection equipment, and they should be able to withstand the force required to fend off an attacker. Luckily, many are made of high-quality materials, including aircraft grade aluminum that can withstand pressures higher than a human could ever deliver. Self-defense keychains are a personal protection device, and should be carefully considered before purchasing.

The Importance Of Self-Defense

In modern First World countries, the idea of a life-threatening situation can seem a bit far-fetched. Social status cushions many from violence caused by people they don’t know, as many of the muggings and robberies they experience are on television. Yet the reality often lies much closer to home. An estimated 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States alone. In addition to this, millions of men and women each year are victims of sexual violence and stalking. An estimated 19 percent of women and two percent of men in the United States experienced rape during their lifetimes, and very often the rapist was someone close to them. So, while the chances of us having to defend our lives from a stranger may be relatively low, we are not so separated from violence and sexual predation as to remain unprotected.

In modern First World countries, the idea of a life-threatening situation can seem a bit far-fetched.

Self-defense is not simply about the physical ability to fend off an attacker. While the muscle memory that self-defense classes can produce may kick in and keep a person from flailing around during an attack, it also appears to be the confidence these classes instill in people that make them beneficial. A University of Oregon study compared two groups of women to determine the efficacy of self-defense courses. Women who took a 30-hour self-defense course were much less likely to experience unwanted sexual contact, sexual coercion, and rape or attempted rape than women who did not take the course.

The sociologist carrying out the study noted that the importance of the course was not in simply learning how to break common holds and fight off attackers. The philosophy of the course itself empowered women, rather than assuming women are helpless and cannot effectively resist attacks.

The course also reinforced the importance of setting clear boundaries before any dangerous behaviors occur. Even when physical self-defense is unnecessary, many women felt it was their confidence that removed them from a potentially harmful situation. Having the ability to look a potential attacker in the eye and stand up for yourself before any potentially harmful situation arises may be just as vital as carrying a defense keychain on you at all times.

Christopher Thomas
Last updated by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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