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During times of emergencies and disasters, it is unfortunately true that certain elements of the population will take advantage of a lack of authority to commit lawless acts. These acts can include looting of stores, which will not directly threaten you, or the invasion of homes or robbery on the street. A normal person will not look forward to using a weapon against another person except in the most extreme circumstances, but a normal person will also take care to provide protection for themselves and their family. The lawless situation that existed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina provides some insight into what may happen when life is turned upside down.

Non-Lethal Defense

Both pepper spray and mace have been used by thousands of people to stop criminals from attacking them. However, there are important differences between the two, and understanding what these are will help you to make a rational choice. Pepper spray is actually considered to be superior to mace on several counts – it will instantly incapacitate anyone sprayed by it. Pepper spray is an inflammatory agent while mace is an irritant similar to tear gas. Most malefactors will be stopped by mace as well as by pepper spray, but only pepper spray will work against someone who is on drugs or drunk.

Another non-lethal defense instrument is the Taser. This works by applying enough electric current to an attacker’s body to interrupt the normal function of the muscles. When someone is hit by the current from a Taser, it causes immediate and fairly violent contraction of the muscles. Tasers will stop someone who is drunk or high on drugs, included PCP. Most Tasers have a light built in to help you target the device more easily.


Regardless of how you may feel about firearms, guns are basically the ultimate self-defense device. If you decide that you are going to use guns to defend your home and your loved ones, especially during unsettled times that may follow a disaster, make sure that you understand how to use them correctly. Anyone who is new to using firearms should take instruction from a qualified individual. This will not only help them to use the gun safely, but will also help to get them over any ‘gun shyness’. This last will be especially apparent in women, but it can be overcome with training and practice.

When you are going to choose a gun or guns for your home, you should consider several things. One of which is who will be using the gun. For excellent stopping and protection, a shotgun should be your first choice. A shotgun loaded with buckshot will stop any intruder, as will slugger ammunition. Many women may find it difficult to handle a full-sized shotgun, but there are shotguns designed for women that have comparable stopping power to those a man would use.

In addition to a shotgun, it would be advisable to have a pistol available, too. A man might be most comfortable using a large caliber pistol such as a .44. As a woman might find it hard to use such a large weapon, a .32 might be a better choice. It is generally considered that a .22 is fairly ineffectual in stopping an attacker.