FOX19 puts self defense tools to the test

The Slap Hat
The Slap Hat

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Would you ever consider using a ball cap with a weight to defend yourself? Or what about a plastic hairbrush with a knife? Those are just a couple of items that are sold online that promise to help you defend yourself in a dangerous situation.

But we wanted to know if they actually worked.

To find out, we headed to a class at Master Charlie Fry's studio in Newport. There, we found a few ladies who already arm themselves with self-defense classes. We asked them to test out five items. First up? The "slap cap." It's a plain, black, baseball cap with a metal insert about the size of a bean bag in the back.

"It would probably just serve as a distraction," said Debbie Williams, a sixth degree master instructor. "Maybe Enough time to get away? But then again, if you're going to be close enough to hit somebody with this, more than likely they have their hands on you."

We had one of the ladies put on the hat, and try to use it to defend herself. Within seconds, the hat flies off of Carly Varatta's head, but she keeps fighting, only this time, she uses her fists.

"Nothing against the people who made that, but to me, it was pointless for me," said Varatta.

Next up? The Honeycomb Hairbrush. The handle hides a knife.

"So are we going to be walking around the street with a hairbrush in our hands?" asked Williams. "Just in case somebody attacks us? Really?"

We still asked another lady to try it out. She stuffs the brush in her purse. In our exercise, the attacker approached her, but she didn't have enough time to reach in and grab the hairbrush. The attacker pushed her to the ground within six seconds.

Master Fry said if she had gotten the brush out of her purse, he would have then worried more about the weapon.

"Probably he's not going to take the hairbrush away and use it on me," said Master Fry. "He's going to throw that away and hit me with his hands, but if I give him this. He's going to want to get that. That's the part that scares me about items that are actually weapons."

Everyone here felt the same about the pink, pocket-size, mace sprayer.

"If I want to use a weapon against you like pepper spray, it could easily be taken away from me and used against me, and that is not a good scenario in my opinion," said Williams.

The group believed the Pocket Shark, an oversized ink pen that could be used to stab someone in the eye, is a good tool, but you must have it in your hands when you're attacked.

"All of the weapons or the utensils that you've showed us, you know, in theory, they're great, but if you're going to be attacked, you're not going to have those on you," said Tonya Tully, a participant in our experiment. You're not going to be able to get in your purse and pull them out."

Master Fry said that you already own the best weapons: your hands, legs, and feet.

He also gave us three easy tips: First, yell words like "stop" and "fire" to draw attention to yourself. Second, mix up your hits. Attack the face, ribs, groin, neck, etc. And third, always move towards your attacker; Never back away from your attacker while you're attempting to attack him or her.

In the end, everyone in the group did like one of the gadgets: the GE Smart Home door stop alarm. It costs about $10. You stick it under a door in your home, dorm, or hotel room, and if it's opened from the outside, a 120-decibel alarm will sound off.

"Well, I'm assuming this one would be used while you're sleeping or maybe if you're in the house alone," said Williams. "That's a pretty good distraction, in my opinion."

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