A telescoping steel baton makes an excellent backup and alternative weapon to a pistol. A firearm is a "distance" weapon; it's most effective when you're out of arm's reach. The best way to make a firearm less effective is to close in to arm's reach distance, then knock it out of the way and use a knife or baton. A knife is an excellent "close in" weapon, and the way to negate it is to get beyond its range. A 26" baton has greater range than a knife, and can be just as effective or more so. If you're close enough, you can knock down weapons, break bones, use Hanbo (cane) type strikes, and use the baton to assist in joint locks. When closed, you can use the baton as a heavy "hand load" for punching, or as a Yawara or Kubotan stick. Also, if you actually have to use a weapon, you are almost certain to be in court later, and using a baton will create as assumption that you DIDN'T intend to kill (as versus a gun or a knife) - you're less likely to wind up getting sued and having to pay someone else for the rest of your life. Also, slamming out a steel baton and getting into ready position (held vertically next to your collarbone, ready to strike) lets any attacker know that he'd be smart to keep walking. Brandish a gun or knife like that, and you're likely going to jail. They're fairly concealable, but make sure your holster allows you to draw quickly and cleanly. Like every weapon, training is MANDATORY. There are some good videos on YouTube for basic moves. Hang a rug or blanket over a clothesline, or make a scarecrow, and practice drawing and striking.