After encounters with patients threatened the lives of pilots and medical crew, Will, a fixed wing medevac pilot, knew he needed to be prepared to defend.
“A lot of our patients that we fly are psychological patients that are either trying to harm themselves or others. And it's not uncommon for them to either start fights on the airplane or try to even get to the cockpit if they're not restrained or sedated,” he explained. Will said the aircraft that he flies doesn’t have anything to separate the passengers from the cockpit of the plane.
Will said he always wanted to carry some form of protection, but pepper spray is not an option on the aircraft, and neither is a firearm.
“We’re not trying to take lives. We are trying to help lives,” he said. “When I first heard about the Byrna, I kind of thought it would be the perfect tool.”
Will said before owning Byrna, the crew was “defenseless,” but now, he believes the presence of the Byrna stops any potential attacks.
“First off, just the way it looks. It looks like a firearm. I think if a person was trying to get into the cockpit, they see you draw that on them, most people would stop. If they don’t, I would use the solid (kinetic) projectile,” he said. “It would definitely stun them enough to allow the med crew to restrain them and sedate them if needed.”
The kinetic projectiles are helpful for his job as a pilot.
“I use the solid projectile because of the job. I don’t want a pepper spray type of item onboard the aircraft. I still have to fly the plane,” he explained.
However, he is also picking up chemical irritants to keep at home.
Will sees the benefits of having both types of projectiles especially after running into an incident where he needed to use his Byrna.
“I spend a lot of time on different reservations working, and every one of them has a little bit different rules against firearms. And so again, with the Byrna, not being a firearm, took care of that issue,” he said. “A lot of times we will be walking the dog, and there's a lot of stray reservation dogs out that are sometimes aggressive. And again, I'm an animal lover, I'm not looking to kill every dog that, you know, might be a little aggressive. So, I've had to use the Byrna once on a Chow-mix type of dog that was aggressive toward mine. One-shot the dog ran off and did not come back. And obviously, you know, didn't injure the dog, but it was enough to scare it away and not come back.”
Will said he recommends the Byrna for anyone looking for a self-defense tool.
“One of the things I liked about the Byrna is it doesn’t look like a toy, and I believe that just the presentation of it will deter a lot of problems. And if someone sees it, they don’t know if it’s a firearm. But it looks like a firearm, I bought mine in black for that reason. My personal feeling is it would probably deter most of your problems without even having to use it. Just by displaying it.”