When Self-Defense Backfires

In this week’s mailbag, I discuss which brand of pepper spray I recommend, my preferred hand-held radio and whether solar panels can withstand an EMP.

Plus, I’ll go over defensive weapons you can use other than a gun, food storage tips and how much money you should have on hand in case of a financial crisis.

Let’s get started…

Do you have a recommendation for pepper spray?

—Ryan R.

I recommend checking out the brand Sabre, which is a quality brand commonly carried by law enforcement. They make pepper sprays in different strengths and sizes that are available to the general public.

That being said, I’m not the biggest fan of pepper spray. It’s the type of tool that is unpredictable and can actually backfire. I don’t advise using it indoors. If you use it outside, the wind could easily blow it back toward you, hurting you instead of your attacker.

Pepper spray is also difficult to use accurately even in the best of conditions. However, it’s definitely better than not having anything at all.

What radio do you recommend that does not require a license to use?

William K.

I personally use the Baofeng UV-5R radio which sells for about $30 on Amazon. These radios are small, making them great for an emergency. They are inexpensive enough that you can purchase several to give out to family members.

A license is not required to purchase or listen to ham radio transmissions. However if you plan on transmitting from your two-way radio, you will need an FCC license.

Can solar panels withstand an EMP event?

John A.

In the event of an EMP, the solar panels themselves would likely survive and continue to function. However, the problem you would run into is that most likely the wires and solar charger that are connected to the panels would cease to work.

The thing about EMPs is that we truly don’t know what electronics will still work afterward. It’s one of those things where we can’t predict how bad it will be — and hopefully we never find out.

How much cash should I have on hand to weather a financial crisis?

Walt P.

At minimum, I recommend having at least six months’ worth of living expenses in your bank account and at least one month’s worth of living expenses in cash stored in a home safe.

The fact is you never know when a disaster could strike. This includes personal disasters such as a loss of employment. I strongly encourage everyone to save up their money. We all know that cash is king, especially during an emergency.

Other than a gun, what is the best weapon I can use to protect myself, my family and my property?

Dale R.

Here are a few suggestions: You could use a tactical pen, a stun gun flashlight, a knife or a baseball bat. That being said, a gun is always my first choice. After all, if someone invades my home trying to kill me, I want the best tool to stop them — and that’s a gun.

Do you have tips on storing food with a shorter shelf life?

Carol Z.

If you decide to stock up on food with a shorter shelf life, the best thing to do is regularly rotate it out. Let’s say you want to stock up on peanut butter. Simply rotate it with normal usage. Whenever you need a new jar, take one from your food storage, then buy one at the store to replace the one you used from your emergency supplies.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

Written By Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson is a former CIA officer and security specialist. He’s appeared on numerous television shows, including ABC’s Shark Tank and NBC’s Today show. To get free survival tips from Jason, click here.