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6 Types of Non-Knife EDC Self-Defense and Utility Tools

The term “every-day carry” (or “EDC”) carries a whole bunch of connotations, especially to knife aficionados. Fans of bladed implements typically use the term to describe blades with a focus on utility, knives designed to fit into a pocket and perform everyday tasks. If you need to cut a piece of fruit, whittle a stick, open a stubborn package, or defend yourself in a scrape, an every-day carry knife is what you’d want. However, in recent years, EDC has expanded as a category to include … well, pretty much anything a person wants to lug about on a regular basis. Technology. Wallets. Pens. Notebooks. Firearms. Handheld video-game consoles. Even little homemade rolls of duct tape have been highlighted as part of EDC kits.

If you enjoy knives (and we’re guessing that you do since you’re here!), such comprehensive every-day carry lists aren’t incredibly useful. Still, there are some EDC items that aren’t knives which you still may find worthy of a place next to your favorite OTF knife or folding knife. In this article, we will highlight some of the most useful non-knife self-defense and utility EDC items available.

Self-Defense Spikes

Easily concealable and available in a variety of different form factors, self-defense spikes do away with the cutting edge of bladed weapons in favor of a slim, pointed profile. These weapons are rarely much longer than a pencil and thus easy to conceal. They can pack a lethal punch, though, and easily deter potential attackers.

While most self-defense spikes are metallic and look like a miniature spear, other configurations exist. Some manufacturers produce them in a hard resin. Others may come in tiny sizes, fitting easily within the palm of your hand. Still others incorporate the spikes into hybrid designs, such as punching rings. While better known for its tactical keychains (which we’ll discuss in greater detail below), manufacturer Kubaton has created a spike weapon that incorporates the pointy bits with a bar meant to be held like dusters.

If you’d like a self-defense spike, check out our extruding, single-action spike made out of 440C stainless steel.

Disguised Weapons

When you think of disguised weapons, you likely imagine the odd devices that frequented Bond movies. Talcum-powder tear gas. Shoes concealing daggers. Garrote watches. Cigarette guns. While most of these implements are nothing more than works of fiction, even real-life examples can seem plenty outlandish. Umbrella knuckle dusters, pepper-spray rings, stun-gun umbrellas, and 50 cent pieces concealing tiny blades (no, really) sound neat, but offer little in terms of practicality.

Not every disguised weapon is a gimmick, though. Here at TacKnives, we offer EDC Sharpies that contain an incredibly sharp titanium pick. One twist of the cap, and you’re ready to defend yourself.

Knuckle Dusters

A mainstay in crime films and noir novels, knuckle dusters (aka brass knuckles) are designs to add oomph to a punch. These weapons support the striker’s hand through a set of metal, plastic, or resin rings connected to a grip nestled in the palm. They also increase the damage done to the target by focusing the force down to a very small striking point. Ancient and widely used worldwide, knuckle dusters have existed in India for nearly a millennia and saw widespread use in the Civil War. Knuckle dusters are also prohibited in many nations and in multiple U.S. states.

TacKnives provides a unique variation on the classic knuckle dusters. Our single-finger duster combines all of the functionality of traditional dusters with increased concealability. Designed to fit around your middle finger, its flat palm end provides protection while punching. Additionally, titanium construction ensures that it’s built to last.

Pliers and Multitools

On the utility side of things, having pocketable pliers and multitools helps ensure that you’re never caught without your tools when needing to complete a practical task. Though marketing verbiage may vary, “pliers” and “multitools” really refers to the same kind of implement. These foldable utility devices typically look like thick pocketknives, and though they may contain one or two very small blades, they can also house can openers, screwdrivers, hex wrenches, corkscrews, choke wrenches, saws, and (of course) pliers. Popular brands of mulitool include Gerber and Leatherman. However, the best known would have to be the inimitable Swiss Army Knife, which has the distinction of first coming to the market in the late 19th century.


Flashlights are one of the few items in this article that can pull double duty as both a practical tool and a tactical self-defense item. Most EDC flashlights contain LED bulbs, which last (at least according to some estimates) up to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs.  In addition to being significantly smaller than traditional flashlights, they also often feature waterproofing, multiple beam options, and emergency modes.

Many EDC flashlights also double as emergency self-defense weapons. While that may sound unlikely, some flashlights are bright enough to disorient assailants if shined in their eyes. Additionally, specific models feature strike bezels, which are a kind of scalloped design near the rim of the lens. When wielded with a downward stamping motion (think of a librarian stamping a book), it can cut and bludgeon. Add in knurled grips and impact resistance, and you have a functional weapon on your hands.

Tactical Beads and Tactical Keychains

Tactical beads and tactical keychains both take items that are intended to be decorative and make them into something practical. Typically made of various types of metal, tactical beads dangle from lanyards and are supposed to increase the gripping surface of whatever they’re attached to. They’re also heavy enough to serve as a lashing weapon in a pinch.

Tactical keychains focus more on combat applications, typically take the form of either a small baton or a stabbing weapon. Some act a mini-dusters, covering a knuckle or two, while others expand into weighted batons. All tactical keychains are small enough to fit easily into a pocket or purse.

If you need to add additional protection to your EDC kit, check out the EDC options we have at TacKnives.