Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Which weapons are legal for self-defense?

Many women ask me my opinions on weapons in self-defense. 
"Should I carry a switchblade?" "Should I carry a knife?" "Is it legal to have mace?" 

The answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO

*The below answers are for Canadians, and there may also be differences province-to-province. Always check before you buy or carry a weapon. 

Firstly, and most importantly, many weapons that people think are legal to carry are, in fact, illegal:
  • Mace/Pepper SprayIllegal - In Canada, any product with a label containing the words 'pepper spray', 'mace' etc. or are otherwise originally produced for use on humans are classified as a prohibited weapon. Only law enforcement officers may legally carry or possess pepper spray.
  • Dog Spray/Bear Spray - Illegal - these chemicals are regulated under the Pest Control Products Act. While it is legal to be carried by anyone, it is against the law if its use causes "a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person" or harming the environment. It carries a penalty of up to a $500 000 fine, as well as a max. jail time of 3 years.
  • Switchblades - Illegal - In Canada, switchblades are illegal to sell, buy, trade, carry or otherwise possess. The Canadian Criminal Code defines the switchblade as, "A knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife." Different subsections of the code describe possession offenses and penalties. Belt-buckle daggers, push-daggers, finger-ring blades, and innocuously concealed blades are also Prohibited Weapons in Canada under SOR/98-462 Part 3. If you are found to be in possession of a switchblade, you can get up to 5 years in jail, and your weapon seized.
  • Knives - Legal - There is no length restriction on carrying knives within the Criminal Code of Canada; the only restriction is for concealed carry. Every person commits an offence who carries a weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition concealed, unless the person is authorised under the Firearms Act to carry it concealed. The general rule is that if your knife is regarded as a tool (i.e. Swiss Army knife), police are generally ok with it; however, if they feel that the knife is for self-defense or for fighting, they will take it from you and charge you with possessing a dangerous weapon.
  • Nunchaku (homemade or store-bought), shuriken, brass knuckles - Illegal

Brass Knuckles 


  • Fixed blades - machetes, khukuris, swords, bayonets - Legal
  • Tasers and stun guns - Illegal  
Now that we understand what weapons are legal, and which are not, let me advise you to NOT carry a weapon. Keep in mind that if you introduce a weapon to an altercation, it has the potential to be used against you, particularly if you are no adept at wielding said weapon (...and even if you are!). 

Secondly, if you introduce a weapon into an altercation, there are legal implications (including the possibility of losing the ability of claiming self-defense).  

If you are keen to carry some sort of protection device, I'm going to be writing about improvised weapons next week. 


  1. Here is the US things are a little different...

    Pepper spray - Legal (most states)
    Pistol - Legal
    Concealed Pistol - Legal (with license)
    Assault Rifle - Legal
    Mini-Gun - Legal
    Knife - Legal
    Sword - Illegal (many states)

    My country is weird...

    1. Your information is a little bit incorrect... Swords are not illegal in the US. Miniguns are also not available for civilian purchase. Concealed weapons permits are not easily available in many places, i.e. New York, California, etc. Certain knives are illegal. Certain pistols are banned from import into the United States (i.e. centerfire modern handguns from Russia or China). Fully automatic "Assault Rifles" are highly restricted, but single shot (functioning the same as hunting rifles) rifles that LOOK like military weapons are legal (however there is a huge misconception that rifles that look like military weapons, i.e. AR15, are thus somehow automatically designated as having the same firepower when in fact they do not). Just wanted to let you know some of your info was incorrect there...

    2. This blog is actually a Canadian blog, and all the information presented therein is from Canadian sources - I quote from Canadian Acts, the Criminal Code, etc. Be that as it may, thanks for sharing what the rules are in the US. Cheers!

  2. Thanks for sharing - it's always good to know where which weapons are legal

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  4. from this article I gather that I am permitted to own a expandable 26 inch baton for home defense, but not on my persons.

    1. but not carry either concealed or open on my persons **

  5. Dog spray is legal...as you mention below. But put illegal up top. If you are being raped and use your dog spray on a human, I think you will be ok. Reason? Said rapist ain't Goin tell the cops you used a weapon whilst he tried to stick his penis in you.
    Also. Stun gun is legal if it's over 480mm. Check it out.

  6. Well, I have a tendency of using any portable weapon for self-defense except for a gun. Thanks for the info; I will try to stick with the legal weapons. I have a question, though. Which is the best self-defense weapon between tasers and pepper sprays? Here is another great post on self-defense: http://survival-mastery.com/skills/defence/homemade-self-defense-weapons.html

  7. Hello, who know, and ca explain to me what is this Imperceptible Stun gun and how this product should work? I never seen this one.

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  9. If I carry hairspray would that be considered a non-lethal weapon if I used it to give me extra seconds to get away?

  10. This is really nice and appreciable blog-post for self protection. In the modern era individual safety is basic necessity. And with the rise in this necessity we should have some non-lethal weapons and home self defense products with us every time. Great share. Keep sharing information like this.

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  12. I did read the whole blog and I get good information. This is a helpful blog for me.Self Defense Products

  13. You have discussed an interesting topic that every body should know. Very well explained with examples. i have found a similar websiteHome Safe visit the site to know more about Access Controls Melbourne

  14. Nice blog, These gadgets are good but for safety of girls they should learn martial art .

  15. what about a throwing knife is that under shurikan or is that seperate