You would think that when the weather outside is frighteningly cold that violent crime would abate… and to some extent it does.  However, just like in nature’s wilderness, bad weather usually means that only the most brazen and aggressive predators are on the prowl.

Self-defense experts will tell you that with winter weather additional concerns present themselves for the potential target of an assault.  Cold weather can actually assist the assailant and make it harder to defend yourself once targeted. In this article we are going to address some of those concerns and provide some suggestions on how you can better prepare yourself to survive such an attack.

Winter Coats…

The average Cop will tell you that given the choice, their preferred “beat” to walk would be the beach!  Yes, the views may be better but the main reason patrolling the beach is a great assignment is because people who are wearing minimal clothing, have fewer places to hide a weapon.  If you think about it, concealing a weapon in a bikini or bathing suit is harder than doing so under winter coats and jackets.

Hence, concern number one during the cold weather months is that predators find it much easier to conceal weapons on their person due to the layered levels of clothing they wear.  Of course, wearing heavier clothing or more layers of clothing also presents concern number two, and that is the assailant actually has added protection when wearing winter clothing.  Punching or hitting someone who is wearing an undershirt, a heavy flannel shirt, possibly a sweatshirt or similar garment and then a heavy parka or winter coat…can definitely help absorb any blows you may deliver when trying to defend yourself against an assailant.

Of course concern number three is the most obvious one that winter clothing can demonstrate.  If someone approaches you in July wearing a ski mask…you (and everyone around you) will most likely identify them as a potential threat from three blocks away.  However, during the dead of winter it is not uncommon to see many people on the street wearing a ski mask…or at a minimum some type of tight fitting hat or beanie with a scarf or muffler around their neck up to just below their eyes.  The bottom line is that a street-thug has an excuse to hide their identity from those they accost!

…and Slippery Slopes

On the other hand, what we choose to wear in cold winter weather can be just as dangerous for us as well.  As an example, the footwear we rely on can become concern number four if it is not highly functional in a winter environment.

When you consider that most of our tastes in clothing and footwear are based on fashion and comfort rather than functionality, it stands to reason that “heels” on icy streets and sidewalks will not be as effective as winter boots if we have to affect an escape by running.

We may also find that large scarves or mufflers wrapped around our necks can become a deadly garrotte if grabbed and pulled from behind.  Heavy coats can also be confining, limiting our ability to move freely and effectively as we attempt to counter an attack. Even a scream for help will not travel as far or as loudly in extremely cold air.

Frozen with Fear…

Extreme winter weather can minimize the effectiveness of certain defensive tools as well. To remain vigilant of your surroundings when you are distracted by frigid temperatures and trying to stay warm is only part of the problem.  The tools you rely on to protect yourself during the warmer months may be far less effective during the icy, windy winter.

Concern number five, is will your defensive tools perform as needed? Will pepper spray work in extremely cold conditions? Well, that depends on several factors.  What type of propellant does the canister use? If it is carbon dioxide or compressed air it may actually freeze inside the canister thus neutralizing its ability to spray.

If it will still discharge the contents… is it a stream, gel, foam or fog? The assailant will most likely be more covered so your target will be far smaller so your aim will need to be more precise.  The expected range of a fog may be greatly diminished due to air-density and moisture so you may need to be far closer than expected to be effective. Gels and foams may actually freeze or solidify more quickly in colder temperatures, mitigating their effectiveness.

Expandable batons or impact weapons may not open as quickly or completely due to the colder, damp temperatures.  Even if they due open completely your heavy clothing may limit your ability to wield them effectively while your assailants clothing may offer them some protection from the blunt force impact of the weapon.

Frostbite…not the Only Sting that hurts!

While we never claim that a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) or Stun Gun is the perfect defensive device in every scenario, it may be that a legitimate Stun Gun will remain highly effective in winter weather.  If someone grabs you and attempts to gain control of you, no doubt they will expose some target area to your Yellow Jacket. Whether it is their hands as they attempt to grab you or their face and eyes if they pull you into them…a high-microcoulomb discharge deployed against those targets will be effective.

Yes, the deep freeze of winter can generate at least five major concerns from a defensive tactics standpoint, but that doesn’t mean that you must remain frozen with fear.  By keeping your wits and knowing your Yellow Jacket is in your hands and ready to deploy…you will have a distinct advantage against your attacker. A discreet yet formidable defensive tool that is “four seasons” effective.  Remember, the future of self-defense…is in your hands!