There are places you can’t carry a concealed handgun, but a Taser or pepper spray, such as Kimber’s Pepper Blaster II, is usually an option.

I’m all about carrying a firearm, but there are times when I prefer a less lethal option. Still, just because I’m going to a swank cocktail party doesn’t mean I have to check all my defensive options at the door. Who knows what vermin is lurking in the parking lot afterward? The same goes for “gun-free zones.” For situations like these, I carry the second best thing, and that’s a Pepper Blaster II.

Sold by gunmaker Kimber, this pepper spray device is shaped roughly like a handgun and fits on the belt so you can wear and draw it just like your sidearm. While it won’t kill, it can incapacitate an attacker from 13 feet away. It shoots dual steams of debilitating liquid pepper. It can also be used for mean bears and other critters that want to fight. It features front and rear sights, two nozzles for a dual stream of 10 percent OC (Oleoresin Capsicum, the oil taken from the stem of a pepper), a swing-away trigger guard to prevent accidental discharge, a wrist-strap attachment, and an optional holster.

While pepper spray can never take the place of a firearm, it’s a great option when packing a firearm isn’t one. It retails for $39.95; a three-pack goes for $79.95.