Talk:Defensive weapon

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I am removing the statement "Or the criminal will act with greater, possibly lethal, force at the onset of the assault, so as not to risk anything" because this does not appear to be the case.

1. Interviews with criminals have shown that they fear armed victims more than police ( This is backed up by the far lower percentage if occupied home invasions in areas with permissive firearms laws.

2. Even unarmed victims are likely to be seriously injured (

  • 28% of the violent inmates said they had killed their victims
  • 21% had raped or sexually assaulted them
  • 11% had inflicted major injuries, such as knife or bullet wounds, broken bones, and other internal injuries, or

had knocked them out

3. Areas that have passed shall-issue concealed weapons laws have almost universally seen drops in violent crime, not increases in homicides related to robbery, while areas that have passed handgun bans have seen near universal increases in violent crime.

4. Killing the victim of an armed robbery out of hand will definately get an assailant charged with first degree homicide, which in many areas brings the risk of capital punishment or incarceration without parole, which is certainly a greater risk than a lesser armed robbery conviction. Also, gunfire is more likely to attract unwanted attention, and homicides are investigated far more vigorously than lesser crimes.

scot 19:57, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I think the article would be helped by an explanation of the legality of using such weapons in countries across the world. 07:30, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Citations / OR[edit]

The article is in serious need of citations. A lot of the article seems to be disputable. eg. the katana being a standard defensive weapon in Japan. During it's prevalence, the katana was restricted mainly to Samurai and due to it's size, a smaller knife such as a tanto would seem a more likely defensive weapon. This sounds especially like an opinion about stun guns being "of very questionable use as a deterrent due to the low voltages they use." Beta34 23:16, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Swords, especially short swords, are often used as defensive weapons; the dagger is either auxiliary (if you fight with sword and dagger) or a backup. It all boils down to a matter of intent; an offensive weapon is one you intentionally carry to a fight, a defensive weapon is one you carry just in case. scot (talk) 23:15, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
The article as a whole seems tenuous- a weapon is a weapon. There is no such thing as a weapon that can't be used offensively- defensive or offensive is a matter of the intent of the user, not the object. Furthermore, there's only one reference given for this term "defensive weapon" being a specific term of analysis- and that's just an en passant mention in a review of a specific handgun. What evidence is there that "defensive weapon" is a category of weapon that is considered separately from other weapons? There are obviously weapons inappropriate for daily defensive carry (pikes, torpedoes, etc.), but is everything else then a "defensive weapon"? It seems like original research. --Clay Collier (talk) 23:18, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
While anything, even a MIRV, can be used as a defensive weapon, we're limiting the topic to what is in practice, used or has been used as such. A pike, a matchlock, or a Barrett M82 are horrible choices, while a sword, a flintlock, or a compact handgun are good choices. Yes, the article does need more references. Here are a few:
  • Preparedness Now!: An Emergency Survival Guide for Civilians and Their Families By Aton Edwards, p88 and on, at Google books, has a long list of lethal and less-lethal defensive weapons
  • The Social Organization of Self-Help: A Study of Defensive Weapon Ownership, Douglas A. Smith, Craig D. Uchida, American Sociological Review, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Feb., 1988), pp. 94-102. Shows scholarly use of the term "defensive weapon", describes the motivations involved.
  • list legal defensive weapons in Florida
  • Judicial and Statutory Definitions of Words and Phrases By West Publishing Company, volume 8, p. 7423 at Google books, defines "weapon of self-defense", and specifically excludes brass knuckles as a specifically offensive weapon. General definitions of "weapon" begin on page 7422
  • Judicial and Statutory Definitions of Words and Phrases By West Publishing Company, volume 6, p. 4918, at Google Books, defines "offensive weapon"

scot (talk) 22:01, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
  1. The Preparedness Now! citation is just a survey of some legal weapons that might be good for self-defense. It doesn't indicate that these weapons are, in and of themselves, primarily for self-defense, or discuss them as a distinct class of weapon. Here's the link
  2. Don't have access to the second resource here. Can't assess.
  3. Again, just a list of weapons legal for self-defensive. Doesn't indicate that these weapons are primarily employed for self-defense, as the article states, or use the term 'defensive weapon'. It's much narrower than the article.
  4. The "weapon of self-defense" entry just says that a weapon of self-defense is a weapon that can be carried legally for self-defense, and says that brass knuckles aren't, apparently because they were called the "index of a murderous heart" in a South Carolina criminal case. Again, this refers to the legality of certain weapons for certain purposes, rather than a general concept of certain weapons being themselves "defensive" by virtue of being primarily for self-defense.
  5. This just defines "offensive weapon" as being a synonym with "dangerous weapon", and mentions that bats and rocks can be considered offensive weapon. It provides no indication of a comparable category of "defensive weapon"; indeed, under this definition, anything that is being called a "defensive weapon" in this article seems to also be an "offensive weapon".
To me, "weapon of self-defense" makes sense as an article, since it is a clear legal definition. This concept of "defensive weapon" still seems ill-defined; is it a weapon that can be used for self-defense (you say anything can), a weapon legal for self-defense (this seems to be a narrow definition than what the article embraces), a weapon that is particularly convenient for self-defense... How does it differ from Side arm, for example? There doesn't seem to be a clear connection among all of the weapons being discussed here- when talking about a dagger, sword, or pistol, you're in the realm of weapons that can be carried openly or concealed by civilians for self-defense. A shotgun or riot gun is a weapon used by police in very specific circumstances- for an assault/entry or to control a large crowd, or used for home defense. Or hunting. Or robbing banks. There's a mention of carbine rifles- this is non-concealable weapon issued to soldiers in non-front-line roles. The sword/katana thing is another problematic area area- these weapons were worn as a sign of status (essentially a fashion accessory) and could be used in dueling. They were much more commonly employed as an indicator of status or authority than as a weapon of any kind. The only thing I can see here is that a defensive weapon is a weapon that is not meant to be the primary weapon of an infantry soldier: we've got a mixture of civilian, law enforcement, and military use, differences in carriability/concealability, differences in legal status. What is really needed is a citation that says "a defensive weapon is (blank)"- otherwise, the entire term seems to be a synthesis. --Clay Collier (talk) 06:16, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
The problem is finding a source that says "a defensive weapon is X" is things like the British law that defines ANYTHING carried for the purpose of self defense as an "offensive weapon", be it a gun, knife, or pair of fuzzy bunny slippers (though in the last case you've got a good chance for an acquittal on diminished capacity grounds). I have no problems with moving this article to weapons for self defense; since we've already established that the difference between "offensive" and "defensive" is entirely a matter of intent, and perhaps law, that does seem to be a better fit. On that note, let me get rid of all these indents, and start a new topic... scot (talk) 16:38, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Re-naming and re-purposing article[edit]

Assuming we were to move the article to the title "weapons for self defense", I think that would change the tone. It would be more of a list of characteristics and examples, which should be fairly easy to source; for example, there are going to be many articles on choosing a handgun for defensive carry, or a firearm for home defense, ammunition for various defensive uses, etc. It could also list lethal vs. less-lethal alternatives, and include legal and statistical information. For example, here's a good, recent source from the USDOJ that touches on the subject of defensive weapon use: Guns and Crime: Handgun Victimization, Firearm Self-Defense, and Firearm Theft. How's this for a potential section layout:

  • Legal self defense; what is "self defense", in what situations is the use of force justified, and to what extent.
    • Legal examples; Some examples what is justified, and where.
  • Self defense environment; review crime victimization stats, see what circumstances are common (i.e. close range, low light)
  • Less lethal weapons for defense; pepper spray, electroshock, batons, and the like.
  • Lethal weapons for defense
    • Knives; there are many marketed for defense, but their actual use is questionable and hard to document
    • Firearms; note CCW issues, home defense, legal restrictions, DOJ stats on effectiveness of defensive use
  • Defense against animals; defense against dogs and wild animals (typically bears) is a concern for some people, and it does change the requirements. A handgun suitable for defense against an armed robber isn't likely to deter an upset bear much at all...

Let me know what you think, and I'll see about a re-write soon. scot (talk) 16:38, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Personally, I think rather than creating a new article the best solution might be to merge what is here into the Self-defense article; that article is quite anemic, and badly needs expansion in terms of what the various laws and recommendations are with respect to defensive use. The Right of self-defense article deals more with the theoretical aspects (what self-defense constitutes, how the right is interpreted)- the Self-defense article could make a really good practical companion in terms of what is commonly used for self-defense, how it is taught, etc. --Clay Collier (talk) 22:07, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Redirect to Self Defence[edit]

Okay, there seems to have been little progress on fixing the issues with this page, so I'm going to go ahead and redirect this to 'Self Defence'. I think there is a systemic issue here that 'Defensive weapon' is a term of language, not easily defined, and that the article as it currently is seeks to define it as one meaning, based on what appears to be Original Research. There is nothing unique to this article that isn't discussed elsewhere on wikipedia, and in more depth and with fuller context. --Barberio (talk) 05:11, 4 December 2008 (UTC)