“So I bought a stun gun.”
I keep saying that sentence over the past couple of weeks, and honestly, it’s kind of fun to watch people’s reactions.
I walked into a cowgirl store to talk about dresses and necklaces and fun accessories … and walked out with something else for my wrist: a purple stun gun.
I’ve considered buying something to protect myself over the years, but never done the research. I knew myself enough to know pepper spray would do more harm than good, and I had heard that you needed a permit for a stun gun (not true).
It’s not that I feel under threat of attack on a daily basis or anything. But as a single woman who spends a lot of time alone in public (and one who is self-aware enough to know she’s too klutzy for self defense), it’s definitely something I think about.
So when I heard that Cowgirl Clutter, a store that just opened in Clovis, sells stun guns, I was immediately intrigued.
Store owner Codi Ricken’s mother, Dena Byers, is a former police officer. The two have partnered on Chick Defense, which sells personal protective devices for women and concentrates primarily on stun guns.
Why stun guns? There are several reasons, according to Chick Defense. Pepper spray (usually preferred by women) can be unpredictable – if it’s windy, for example, the spray can get in your own eyes. Byers also says that women are most likely to be grabbed from behind, in which case it would be hard to reach your attacker’s face. And in Byers’ experience, women tend forget any self-defense they’ve learned in the moment. (I’m pretty sure what little knowledge I had would fly out the window, and if it didn’t, I would definitely end up hurting myself instead!)
I spent quite a bit of time talking to Byers about the stun guns and getting a demonstration on how to use them. I would recommend any of you talk to one of the ladies of Chick Defense before you buy one. The most important message I got? Always carry your stun gun in your dominant hand when you’re walking alone, leaving purses and shopping bags in the other. “I hope you never have to use it,” Byers told me, but she reiterated that it would be useless to me if I simply kept it in my purse. The intended use of a stun gun is to make contact with your attacker immediately, rather than trying to grab it from your bag while you’re struggling against someone. (Stun guns only work on contact. They don’t shoot out like police tasers.)
There are several different kinds of stun guns available at Cowgirl Clutter, and talking to Byers about the pros and cons of each one also helped me decide which device I’d be most comfortable with.
I ended up buying one that deactivates if it’s pulled away from the pin on the wrist strap – that way, it can’t be used against me. A loud alarm also sounds when that happens, and I liked the idea of automatically drawing attention to myself. But there are lots of options, including ones that look like iPhones and others that look like large flashlights. They’re all reasonably priced, ranging from about $30-50.
I’ve been carrying my stun gun for a while now, and I can honestly say that not only does it make me feel safer and more empowered, but simply having it in my hand makes me more aware of my surroundings.
Cowgirl Clutter is located at 1526 Clovis Ave, just south of the Barnyard Shopping Center. Chick Defense will also come to your home or business if you would like to host a women’s safety seminar. They offer discounts on their equipment if you host a group.
You can contact Dena Byers at (559) 930-0900.
Self defense is obviously a personal issue, and you alone should decide how you might want to protect yourself, but it’s definitely something that we should all be thinking about!
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