With most confrontations happening between perpetrator and victim at around 10m distance, items that produce a projectile are best, says one expert in the industry. Legally, if one causes physical harm to another person with any projectile ~ be it anything from a catty to a high-powered rifle ~ you must be able to prove that the person was attempting to bring harm to a life. This can include livestock and animals. Any harm committed against someone causing damage to physical property would not constitute self-defense.

Derek Ernstzen of Air Rifle Mega Store (A.R.M.S) in Pomona says there are a number of options to suit any strength level, skill level and budget, that don’t require licenses but still prove effective depending on the situation.

Airguns – The HDR 50

The HDR 50 is a CO2 powered handgun. With a maximum 350m range, this powerful revolver holds six 0.50-calibre rounds in its rotating magazine. The CO2 cartridge, inserted in the base of the grip, can give you roughly twelve strong shots before it needs replacing. The gun holds Teflon, pepper or paint rounds, each with their own pros and cons. Ernstzen says, “the Teflon round at 10m, with a good shot, could crack ribs.” From 8m, the paint rounds have the ability to tear through a cotton t-shirt and split skin, leaving welts.

HDR 50 with Teflon (black) and pepper (red) shots.

With paint rounds retailing for cheaper than the Teflon, Ernstzen recommends users buy these to practice with. Magazines are also available to buy on their own, meaning you can have a few rounds prepared in case you need to reload. The magazine is released with a safety catch on the side of the weapon. Cartridges are changed with an allen key.

The gun is lightweight, and at around 230mm long it is easily concealed in a drawer or under a bed. A safety switch located on the trigger will prevent unwanted shots being fired.

At R3 500 for the gun, with canisters at R10 each, Teflon rounds at R1 each and pepper at R10 each, the HDR 50 is a cost-effective, portable personal defense.

Paintball guns

Gas powered, these weapons are much larger than the HDR 50 but have the benefit of being semi- or fully-automatic.

These take a 0.68-calibre round of pepper or paint and have a 20m maximum range.

When shooting pepper rounds from any weapon, Ernstzen recommends aiming for the chest. The impact of the shot will cause the assailant to take a sharp breath, thereby inhaling the gas from the round and causing maximum incapacitation.

Pepper sprays

For close range defense and cheaper options, Ernstzen recommends a small pepper spray canister. A direct-spray canister will allow the user to aim at a very specific target, without being affected by the spray themselves. With a 2m range and 100ml capacity, a canister is easily concealed but effective for up-close encounters and will incapacitate the intruder long enough to give you time to run to safety.

A shelf-life of five years and at under R200, this is a basic must-have for anyone.

A.R.M.S will also offer discounts for bulk orders, meaning you can arm your family, staff and neighbours for not much money.


Pepper grenades, used by pulling the pin and throwing into a closed environment, will empty a room in no time. Along similar lines, sonar grenades work with a trip wire ~ once the pin has been removed and the grenade set, breaking the trip wire will cause a 15 second ‘scream’ ~ useful as an early warning system, to protect your garages and carports and to arm your boundaries.

Shock sticks

Finally, one has the option of shock sticks ~ a baton with a torch and shock-emitting electrodes that can incapacitate an assailant for long enough for you to get to safety. The drawback of these however, is that one would need to be in very close proximity to your assailant.

handheld security devices
Shock Stick with easy-to-grip handle.

Contact Air Rifle Mega Store at 010 109 1748 or click here to browse their website.

This is part of a series on Security on Your Smallholding. For more, click here.

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