PHILIPPINES – There has always been that endless debate as to whether a Concealed Carry Weapon (firearms), or an Alternative Weapon (knives, pepper spray, stun guns, etc.) are the best tools for self-defense. In the modern setting, Alternative Weapons such as small blunt objects and cutters are the best bet for a defensive confrontation with an opponent. Cutters are the closest items to knives that are completely legal in the eyes of the law. They are the front-line tools of the trade, followed by knives and firearms, depending on the situation.
Defining The Line
Recently, self-defense has evolved due to the technology available. These developments have led people to use Everyday Carry, or EDC. Everyday Carry is a common concept among self-defense enthusiasts, focused on the tools one would carry everyday, according to their lifestyle. This may include self-defense items, as well as essential items for survival. Many people who use EDC would feel safer with a firearm than with an alternative weapon, while other EDC users prefer to go with the traditional method. Many newer advocates of defense, however, prefer to make use of the best of both tools. Each side has its benefits, but one thing that is frequently overlooked is the legal definition of self-defense. Here in the Philippines, both tools types are linked with the recent RA 10591 as well as the Philippine Constitution. These are the defining factors that determine the tools of modern day self-defense enthusiast. In the case of the Philippines, thanks to the new firearm law and the constitutional law on knives, the treatment is that people should be equally armed or unarmed. If the opponent has a knife, then it is okay to use a knife. In a recent interview with Tagaytay Police Chief Superintendent Quirante, he emphasized that the law favors fighting on an equal ground, as opposed to bringing a gun to a knife fight. He claimed that the only time one can safely use their firearm is when someone else points at them or fires at them. In this case, that is the only time a gun can be used as a first line of defense. The same applies when using a knife. The laws do not, however, take into account the use of pepper spray, stun guns, cutters, or tactical flashlights.
The Pro’s and Con’s
The common pro’s and con’s with regards to CCW (Concealed Carry Weapons) or Alternative Weapons are always being debated on. There are always points coming from the Alternative Weapons side, as well as points coming from the CCW side.
Generally, the PRO’S of a CCW are;
- Can do damage from a distance, with multiple enemies
- Can do a lot more damage
- Lowers the risk of a confrontation
- Evens out the playing field against gun wielding criminals.
The CON’S of CCW are;
- Limited ammunition
- Can easily be disarmed
- Is more difficult to carry around.
For the Alternative Weapons’ PRO’S;
- They are mostly easy to carry
- Are difficult to disarm
- Are efficient against a handful of close opponents
- Have no ammunition.
The CON’S are;
- Cannot damage from a distance
- Are difficult to use against multiple attackers
- Cannot be used efficiently against a firearm
- Cannot do as much damage to the opponent.
To put things into perspective, here is a list of the pro’s and con’s of using guns vs knives, coming from one of the defensive community forums.
The Finish Line
In summation, both CCW and Alternative Weapons are important tools in any defensive situation, whether at home or on the go. Each tool has their own specifications and legalities. Only a handful of Alternative Weapons do not have limits in the Philippine laws. In terms of Everyday Carry the Alternative Weapons category tends to eliminate two opponents with one blow. Tactical flashlights serve both as a defense tool, as well as a utility item. The same applies for cutters, knives, and others.
As much as it is favorable to carry both types around, the legal constraints limit their use. The best front-line for a self-defense situation would be to use an Alternative Weapon that is legal, and has little to no restrictions. It has become a matter of adapting to one’s skills and environment, with the tools at hand. Self-defense will always involve everybody, especially when taking Murphy’s Law into account. As the people from nononesenseselfdefense.com would put it: “In order for what you do to be self-defense, your actions must stay within legal standards and boundaries.”