POLSON — Polson father Dave Duford worried about his young daughter’s safety during her trip to Las Vegas and wondered how she would protect herself. A gun was not an option, and he thought of downsides of a variety of non-lethal weapons available. He wanted her to be safe in a possible attack and something that would inflict pain and shock to an offender and allow ample escape time, but not be fatal.
Duford, a former engineer at Jore Corp., used his life-skilled trade and invented a self-defense tool — the only of its kind anywhere — for his daughter.
Duford’s invention called, “Fast Strike” was developed in 2016 and by 2017 it was ready for market.
While not perfect, it’s still pretty good and effective if needed, Dufford said “You got to be willing to protect yourself — and fight if you need to.”
The mini-whip “Fast Strike” is a three-ounce steel-reinforced striking cable that allows a person to deliver multiple fast blows that are extremely painful – even with a minimal amount of force - to deter an attacker.
Duford said he wanted to design a tool that would be reactive, quick, and generate a lot of pain, but not kill anybody. He said it took months of his own testing to get it right – he had the welts to prove it. He went through melons, dummies, other surfaces and even his own back to prove it worked. The light cable – when used properly - can even break fingers.
Duford’s daughter, Shalaina Neighbors, 23, said, “When my dad first developed Fast Strike and he showed me the product I knew that it could inflict a serious amount of pain.”
The key is in the wrist, not the swing, said Duford. When you raise your arm it gives the attacker time to grab and stop your arm he said, but with this tiny whip there is no time or way to grab it out of one’s hand. “It is so small, quick and slick, it is hard for someone to grab it from you,” he said.
Although the product was designed for a young woman, some men are using it, and many are saying they use it for jogging or bike riding in case of aggressive dog attacks.
Duford said they are against hurting any animal, or violence against another, but there are incidences where one might need to defend with force. Montana law does authorize the use of force for self-defense.
The first pilot “Fast Strike” was the GEN 1 model without the option to coil up. With Neighbor’s evaluation her dad’s second model, the GEN 2, includes a hole in the handle so the cable curls to a sphere that can easily be stored in a pocket or purse. “By putting the hole in the handle, I believe made it perfect for both men and women.”
Neighbors said now that it coils she takes it wherever she goes in her purse or latched to her hip.
Duford said he designs and manufactures the lightweight weapon from his Polson home. He says it is a great option for anyone wanting some quick and easy and effective protection in a sudden attack. He said his invention is an attempt to ward off violent offenders, not kill them. He said it’s always the person’s personal comfort level that determines how to protect themselves. He said there are two things to ask: “What am I willing to use? And what’s accessible?”
Duford said he looked at other weapon options that he felt were too complicated. Nun chucks and batons were multifaceted and knives are too dangerous and pepper spray could be ruined by extreme temperatures or blown in the victims face by wind.
“This (Fast Strike) is non-lethal, so when I use it I don’t have to worry about killing someone,” said his daughter, Neighbors. “It doesn’t take any special training or techniques to use, so anyone can pick up this weapon and successfully defend themselves.”
As a young lady, Neighbors said she likes the fact the defense mechanism is always ready to go, no battery to charge, nothing to load, no intense training is needed or a malfunction to happen — just the simple flick of the arm to use it to inflict a “serious amount of pain.”
Duford said with a little practice of quick, wrist action, anyone could be proficient and confident with the small self-defense device.
A police officer from Texas wrote to Duford saying he carries a Fast Strike device with him as a personal security. “The amount of force delivered through the thin steel cable is capable of causing extreme pain and trauma without the danger of lethal force that a solid baton or club might cause. Whether used to inflict general damage to a target, or to attack an assailants hands that might be holding a weapon, the Fast Strike would be very effective,” said Sgt. Roy Guinn of Harris County Texas. Guinn said the design is solid, compact, and very easy to deploy.
Duford and his daughter Shalaina have pieced together every Fast Strike whip with Montana made materials in a shed yards away from their home. “We average (building) about 100 a day,” said Duford. The $22.95 product has caught momentum across the nation on Amazon, but in recent months Amazon developed a new policy against selling any “weapons or related items.”
Duford said he is also willing to demonstrate with anyone locally how to use Fast Strike.
For more information visit www.faststrikedefense.com; or call (406) 813-0442.