Seconds matter in an attack situation. So does the choice of weapon if one is forced to fight back.
Dave Duford of Polson believes his newly patented product, Fast Strike, may provide an ideal balance between effective and non-lethal self-defense. The idea for the device came about when Duford’s daughter planned a trip to Las Vegas.
Concerned about what a small-town Polson girl might encounter in the big city, Duford gave her a small knife to protect herself.
“I said, if you have to use it, use it. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “That’s not a very smart thing to say because if you use guns or knives in a confrontation, it’s a problem legally.”
Motivated by his desire to arm and protect his children without breaking the law, Duford developed Fast Strike with his daughter, Shalaina Neighbors, after finding drawbacks with other self-defense products advertised online.
Pepper spray can run out or blow back into the face of the victim, he said.
Fighting sticks require special training and can be complicated to use.
Batons, knives and guns can be lethal and are restricted or illegal in certain counties, states and countries.
Fast Strike, a slim device classified as a whip, essentially consists of a spring steel cable with a reinforced plastic handle.
Stretching about the length of a forearm, the cable gives the user the ability to strike rapidly and repeatedly without danger of self-injury.
Deceivingly lightweight, the 3-ounce device packs a punch, too.
A blow struck with minimal force can cause welts and bruising, while a full-force blow can break fingers and noses.
On the opposite end, the plastic handle features a blunt, pointed bottom that can be used to bash and batter, should an attacker get too close.
“I kind of designed it to be bad on both ends,” Duford explained.
However, the big selling factor for the product, he maintained, is the non-lethal aspect.
“People really want something that they don’t have to kill somebody with, they’re not going to get in jail for even if they were in the right,” he said. “It’s going to come across their head or their hands or their neck or something, and I’m just not going to stop until I can get a chance to run away.
“Because that’s the goal, to get away, not to kill somebody,” he added.
A product developer and engineer with 25 years of experience, Duford partnered with his daughter to make the whip not only effective but also practical to carry for both men and women.
Carriers can fold the whip in on itself for more compact pocket storage or wear it clipped to a belt, inside clothing or on a bag for easy access without feeling weighed down or encumbered.
Popular among joggers and dog-walkers, the device can be concealed until needed and quickly unsheathed to deter either animal or human attackers.
“It’s so small and easy to carry, and it’s such a surprise factor,” Duford said. “If someone was messing with me and just would not let me go, I have one right here on my hip and I would just pull it out and hit them before they would ever know even what happened.”
From design to production to shipment, Duford manages every part of his business with the help of his family out of their home in Polson.
Though he released the device in January 2017, he watched business begin to boom that August after posting a demonstration video on YouTube.
Since then, he’s sold between 18,000 and 20,000 devices and has shipped to clients all over the world.
At about $23 each, plus a $4.50 flat shipping rate, the whip presents customers in places where self-defense weaponry is restricted with an affordable, effective and legal option.
Duford keeps one clipped on his belt and his daughter keeps one hanging by her door or clipped on her yoga pants while running.
After utilizing a number of test subjects, from melons to heavy bags to himself, Duford said he feels confident in his device as an effective and durable form of self-defense.
“There’s nothing nice about self-defense. There is nothing called a fair fight,” he said. “It’s certainly not indestructible, but it will absolutely do what it’s supposed to do.”
Banned from websites such as Amazon, eBay and others, along with all other self-defense items, Fast Strike can be purchased through Duford’s website or the gun and trade shows where Duford can be seen demonstrating it on his striking dummy, “Bob.”
For more information or to purchase Fast Strike, visit FastStrikeDefense.com.
Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or email@example.com.