01 February 2012

The 5 Best Improvised Weapons in the World

Improvised Weapons
WHAT IMPROVISED WEAPON IS BEST?
Improvised Weapons can be a great equaliser.

They can be acquired at short notice.

Improvised Weapons can prevent the need to carry an actual weapon, which legally is very good.

They can be just as effective as actual weapons.

But not all Improvised Weapons are created equal.

In this article, I will be having a look at what makes a good Improvised Weapon, what makes a bad one, the benefits of Improvised Weapons and then finish by highlighting the 5 Best Improvised Weapons in the world for today's day and age. A modest aim.

Let's get into it.

Many people talk about how good improvised weapons are. A lot of the time though, what a person recommends as a good improvised weapon, is often a poor one. There are a number of things an improvised weapon should be.

An improvised weapon should:
  • be a benign item that is not automatically viewed as a weapon
  • be strong enough for its purpose
  • be better than an unarmed option
  • have a use outside of a weapon
  • be able to be used quickly
This list is not exhaustive. But already, it rules out some potential improvised weapons. Let's have a look at what we want.

It Should be Benign

For an item to be used as an improvised weapon, it should be able to be carried by a person (or be close to an area where conflict is likely to occur), without drawing attention to it being a weapon. If an attacker can see an items potential for use as a weapon, they may quickly mentally develop counters in the event it is used. They may even desire to use it themselves. 

If it is benign, they do not consider it. They cannot be prepared for it. If they do not consider it, we can harness the element of surprise when we bring it to bear. The element of surprise is a massive advantage to whoever holds it.

Strong Enough for its Purpose

An item may look to be good as an improvised weapon, but consider for a moment the forces that it will be required to sustain. It will be used at a time where our very life may be at risk. It needs to be strong enough to be used at full power against a hard object. Of course, you can expect it to be slightly damaged, but it should not immediately cave in, break or shatter. 

If you would hesitate to use the possible improvised weapon against a wall or heavy bag, it probably isn't suitable to be one of the 5 best improvised weapons in the world.

Better Than an Unarmed Option

This kind of sounds obvious, but an improvised weapon needs to be better than an unarmed option. Consider a good unarmed option. This would be an attempt at a knockout, perhaps by using an open palm strike to the chin. This is a solid strike to a well known and effective knock out zone. An improvised weapon needs to offer advantages beyond this unarmed possibility. If an improvised weapon cannot achieve this, it is not one of the best 5 improvised weapons. Perhaps it is not a good improvised weapon at all. 

An improvised weapon could offer any number of advantages. It could offer us a reach advantage. This is very good, especially if the attacker is armed. It could offer an impact advantage. It may offer a more solid and less forgiving striking surface and/or weight. It may be completely unexpected and provide the element of surprise. It may offer us a sharp edge for us to cut or stab if we need to. It may be able to be used as a shield, which would be especially useful in an armed attack.

A good improvised weapon should offer us a clear advantage over a good unarmed response, otherwise we should just use the unarmed response.

Useful Not as a Weapon

An improvised weapon should have another use, not as a weapon. If it doesn't, it is probably just a weapon. A knuckleduster is not an improvised weapon. A folding concealed knife is not an improvised weapon. A balisong is not an improvised weapon (no, it is not a 'letter opener'). These are weapons.

If you carry one of these or use one, it wil be considered as a single purpose weapon. An improvised weapon is more innocent. This will be explained further, below.

Quick to Deploy

An improvised weapon needs to be able to be used, when needed. It should not take long to get and deploy. A car jack (or its handle) may be a good weapon, but it will be in the boot. If you keep it on the passenger seat it may raise some questions by the police if you do use it. It can seem premeditated. And you cannot really walk around carrying a car jack. This limits its utility. Although in a home garage it would be fine.

If it needs to be carried in your backpack, it is not really up to being a top 5 improvised weapon. It will take too long to get by the time you may realise you need it. So any good improvised weapon needs to be quick at hand and/or quick to deploy. This area can be massaged...

A Bad Improvised Weapon

Besides the points raised previously, a bad improvised weapon may maim an attacker, but will it stop them? 

One commonly espoused improvised weapon is a set of car keys. I have even mentioned these on this site before, some time ago. Sure, they may have their benefits. They are harder than knuckles when held appropriately. But do they offer knock out power? Or will they just cut up an attackers face? That is my concern with them. You get blood all over you from some crim who has what blood born diseases? AND it doesn't really stop them? This is an example of an improvised weapon not being as efficient as an unarmed option.

Wouldn't an unarmed knock out blow to the chin be more effective at stopping an attacker? Yes, keys may instil some confidence to fight back. That is really the main benefit of the use of keys as a weapon. For a weak defender, it may even provide more damage than what they could deliver unarmed. So that is an option for them, but overall, they are an average improvised weapon. And there are better options than keys.

Another bad improvised weapon is one the user cannot use effectively. If you cannot use an improvised weapon well, it will likely be largely ineffective. It may even be taken off you and used against you. If you identify a good improvised weapon (some will be listed below), learn how to use it. Consider one to three moves and practise them again and again. Know where it will be, know how to go for it and know how to utilise it. Spend time thinking about its deployment. Think about legal consequences.

A bad improvised weapon will just break as you crash it over an attackers head or even break as you begin the swing. Do not annoy the attacker with an ineffective improvised weapon. You will just make the attacker more committed and determined in his attack when he realises you are attempting to fight back with a weapon of some sort. He will likely go further with his attack. There are times when an uncommitted attacker will flee but don't chance your luck by assuming that will be the case.

A bad improvised weapon will not be there when you need it. You may not need an improvised weapon on you all the time, 24/7. Think ahead for the high risk times and places. At those times, you need to be able to have access to one. No matter how good you think your crowbar is, you will not be able to take it to the shops.

There is a time and place for many improvised weapons.

The BIG Benefit of Improvised Weapons

The biggest benefit with using improvised weapons is that in the eyes of the law, you were not using an actual weapon. You did not use a knife or baton. There was no apparent pre-meditation or preparation for using a weapon. You did not pre arm yourself.

Considering the law is so important.

If you need to use force in a real self defence situation, a great equaliser is a weapon. It is the "street tough's" number one rule of a street fight. Grab anything you can, and hit them with it. A weapon is such an equaliser, especially if the attacker has a weapon or there are multiple attackers.

But using a weapon you had secreted on your body, in the eyes of a court or jury will be much harder to justify self defence than if you just used some item you happened to have nearby in desperation. This also applies for home invasions.

Can you see the difference here?

This is why an improvised weapon must have another benign use.

Also consider that using any weapon, even if it is improvised, is using more force than an unarmed attacker is using. Unless they are much bigger than you, they have a weapon, they are kicking your ass or there are more than one, or you are female and they are male, it is not recommended to use an improvised weapon, or even any weapon. Just another legal consideration. 

Considering all of the above, the following include short and long range, cheap and pricy, for home defence and defence when out and about as well as when travelling. A good spread of requirements.

What are the 5 Best Improvised Weapons in the World?

5. A pocket of loose change

LOOSE CHANGE
This is a simple and basic projectile weapon. A bunch of loose change thrown really hard straight at an attacker will likely trigger a flinch in them. Just get the change out and throw it really hard. An alternative would be a suitably small rock or rocks. Anything small and with weight. To conserve ammo, throw the coins one or two at a time.

Benefits:
  • Extra long distance
  • Projectile weapon
  • Delay an advance
  • Multiple volleys can be used
  • Surprise an attacker
  • Used to regain the initiative and launch into follow up attacks if required, or escape
  • Enable space to manoeuvre
  • Provides time to call out for help, gain attention of third parties, deter willingness for attacker to continue etc.
  • Quick to get to, especially if it is a mugging type attack, hand in pocket etc.
  • Can be used to buy coffee, fill parking meter
Disadvantages:
  • You need to have a pocketful of loose change
  • You may not be a good thrower and miss entirely
  • May only get one throw
  • Unlikely to deter a committed attacker
4. A Backpack

BACKPACK AS SHIELD
A backpack (or other suitable bag), can be used as an excellent shield. A backpack can quickly be swung around and held up in front of the body acting as a modern day shield. It can even be held by one arm leaving the other free to use a weapon or fend or whatever.

Benefits:
  • Can be used as a shield
  • Can leave other hand free to use a weapon (such as No. 5, 3 or 2)
  • Can slow down and/or confuse/delay an attacker
  • Unexpected use, can put attacker off
  • Can be swung or used as a weapon, primarily to create distance to facilitate manoeuvre
  • Can freely carry around out in public
  • Quick to use
  • Can leave lying in house at strategic locations for home defence
  • Can carry around your stuff, handsfree
Disadvantages:
  • Limited use as an offensive weapon, no stopping power
  • May not always have
  • Can flail around, be hard to control
  • Can be too heavy to hold up if carrying heavy/numerous items
3. A Drink

BOTTLE OF DRINK
A bottle of drink (glass or plastic), a hot coffee, a can of soft drink, glass of soft drink etc. can all be used as excellent improvised weapons. These are cheap and you can have one anywhere. They can be used a number of ways.

Benefits:
  • Can carry a drink almost anywhere
  • Very benign, common
  • Half filled or more in a bottle with lid on can be used as an impact weapon
  • Hot fluid can be used to scald
  • Cold fluid can be used to distract/cause flinch/harness element of surprise and regain initiative
  • Cheap disposable item
  • Various drink types are available everywhere
  • Full unopened can is a solid impact weapon, especially when thrusted straight out
  • An Aluminium Can can cut when scrunched up and twisted and the sides split
  • Half full or more bottles and cans as well as glasses can be thrown as projectiles
  • Drinks can provide sustenance
Disadvantages:
  • Limited range advantage, unless thrown
  • Limited hard, solid surface except unopened can
  • Scalding from hot coffee gets one shot
  • Broken glass can injure self
  • Almost empty plastic bottles offer limited advantages over unarmed strikes
2. A Maglight Torch

MAGLIGHT TORCH
My Maglight torch is an excellent, solid impact weapon with bonus light that can be used tactically as well. I have had one for years and it will always feature in my home defence strategy.

Benefits:
  • Solid weight
  • Good to use as an impact weapon
  • Very Strong
  • Used for offense and defence/blocking
  • Common household item in event of blackouts etc.
  • At night, can turn light on in attackers face for further effect, even set up a strike
  • Excellent for home invasion situations
  • Offers some range beyond unarmed
  • Good for striking weapons or weapon bearing arms/hands
  • Lots of systems that formally teach stick of similar length so can gain proficiency
  • Can be used to provide light when it is dark out
Disadvantages:
  • Difficult to have at hand in public places, no bags, cannot get into bag in time etc.
  • Many situations would be unable to have
  • Need room to swing
Learn more about the Maglight HERE.

1. Unbreakable Umbrella

UNBREAKABLE UMBRELLA
I have had my Unbreakable Umbrella for a couple of years now. I got the knobbed end rather than the crook, curvy end. I find it easier to hold and wield. This umbrella  is perhaps the ultimate improvised weapon as you can take it anywhere you want to go. You just need to get over the fact you are carrying an umbrella around, they can be kind of dorky to some. Good for home defence, travelling and when out and about.

Benefits:
  • Excellent long range, can strike weapons or weapons bearing arms, hands etc.
  • Can swing out wide extending with one arm or can be held close with two hands and thrusted
  • Can use to keep attacker away, enabling time to call for help
  • Can keep multiple attackers at bay, at least for some time
  • Can be used in stabbing/thrusting motion to strike with the tip
  • Can be used as impact weapon
  • Common benign item
  • Can be taken even on aircraft
  • Used for offence and defence/blocking
  • Can be carried in public places
  • VERY strong
  • There are lots of systems that teach stick fighting of similar lengths to the umbrella so you can gain proficiency
  • Can keep rain off you and a friend
Disadvantages:
  • Can be odd on bright sunny days
  • Some can feel awkward carrying around an umbrella
  • Can be cumbersome to carry around at first
  • Can be seen as 'uncool'
Learn more about the unbreakable umbrella HERE.

How would you use these improvised weapons? You could use some for at home, some for when you go out at night, some for travelling, some for during the day, some for commuting etc. Think of a way to layer the use of improvised weapons.

So there we have it. The 5 Best Improvised Weapons in the whole entire world.

What do you think? What do you think is missing from the list? Leave your comments below.

Opening Image via Bidrohi >H!ROK< and the remaining from the Author, Adam at Low Tech Combat.

Note: The Maglight and Umbrella links are affiliate links where if you buy them, I get a small commission. This will not make the item any more expensive. Any commission I get will help cover some of the expenses from the running of this site and the newsletter. This has not influenced my decision to recommend these AT ALL. I have purchased both of these items with my own money and genuinely recommend them. I'd like to thank you in advance for choosing to use my affiliate link to purchase any of these items. It is much appreciated.

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51 comments:

  1. Very good list! I'm glad you mentioned the problem with using keys as a weapon. I think that, in general, an improvised weapon should be protective: something that gives you time and space or something that shields you from attacks.

    If an improvised weapon extends your range, then it can probably be used to give you time and space. You will need to know whether to bash with it or thrust with it though. It might seem obvious, but bashing with a maglite torch is extremely effective, while bashing with a (regular) umbrella is not: the umbrella will simply break. So when using an umbrella, a bar stool or something with a similar shape, you should be prepared to poke towards your attacker to keep him at bay.

    By the way, if you want to add some stopping power to a bag or backpack, just put a laptop in there and start bashing ;)

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  2. I think you are fairly unlikely to be carrying a full size mag lite if you are away from home. I would expand that category to include just about any flashlight that is built from sturdy materials. I carry a small pocket flashlight that would make an excellent kubotan.

    You are also missing the common pen. Just about any pen, but especially those made from metal are excellent improvised weapons that can be carried all the time and found just about anywhere.

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  3. it is not really up to being a top 5 improvised weapon. It will take too long to get by the time you may realise

    martial arts equipment

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    Replies
    1. He forgot keys. Put them between the knuckles and they'll do some damage.

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    2. you obviously didn't read the entire article my friend.

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  4. @ Amir, I agree completely about bashing and thrusting. For the maglite I prefer to swing and hit with it. For the umbrella I prefer to thrust straight out with it. And good point about adding something to a bag to make it more capable. As long as not too much weight is added. Good stuff.

    @ Nick, I agree about the maglite. It is mostly for home defence. I am not totally sold about small hand sized torches though. I have one too, a Gerber one with multiple coloured lenses. Very strong. But not much weight. Good improvised weapon but not really something I would consider up with the best. However, great point about a steel pen. Very capable weapon. You may or may not have seen a video I posted on here some time ago. It has Ray Floro using a number of items to show the effects of numerous edged and improvised weapon. A pen went inside a leg of lamb quite deep. Actually, I will dig it out...

    Here it is,
    http://www.lowtechcombat.com/2008/09/edged-weapon-awareness-ray-floro-video.html

    So yeah, good suggestion Nick. Many people carry pens in their chest pockets too.

    @ Sana, not sure what aspect you are talking about. Were you talking about the pen? You are correct, if someone carries one in their briefcase or inside some other bag. However a lot of people do carry them in shirt pockets. You could do this if you wanted to arm yourself or knew you were going into a dodgy area you could not avoid. Or did you just want to spam your link... I am considering deleting your comment.

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  5. Greetings,

    Absolutely great article.

    I concur with Nick about the writing utensil. I prefer the pen, but it could also be a pencil.

    A pen is absolutely ok in the eyes of the law to have on your person. At least here in the States, it would indeed more even common to have on your person than a mag-lite or umbrella.

    An additional benefit of the pen is how it so easily transposes into combatives movements. Think of FMA that move from blade, stick, and empty-hand, all with the same movements.

    I am an instructor in Eddie Quinn's The Approach method. I can do *exactly* the same primal movements but with a pen in my hand, the movements change from hammers into stabs and stab-ripping.

    Just some thoughts.

    All good wishes,

    robert

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    1. Thanks for your comments Robert. Not too sure about a pencil. I think it may easily snap and shatter in your hands. Though it still may cause damage as it disintegrates easily enough. Also, you are very right about the pens use as a Filipino style weapon. Two pens one in each hand and sinawali anyone? Nasty stuff. Could be a way to 'defang the snake' so to speak as well.

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    2. Depending on the situation a pencil can actually be better then a pen. You can break a pencil after you have stabbed someone with it and they would have to dig that out. That can be helpful if they have knocked you down and you are aiming for there leg to get away. If you stab them with a pen it would hurt but they could still chase after you when you try to run (depending on where you stab them). If you use a pencil then break it off usually there 1st reaction will be to try and dig it out which may give you enough time to get away. However if someone knocked me down like that I would be aiming for the achilles tendon, calf muscle, or the spot right behind the knee cap. Stabbing any of those spots should be good enough to allow you to get away but if for some reason you can not run (asthma) your best bet is the achilles tendon and the knee would be second (he can still run if you go for calf but if you hit the tendon he wont be able to put weight on that leg and if you get behind the knee (remember to break the pencil off) he most likely will not want to walk on that leg).

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  6. Great list Adam. Being an empty-hand martial artist, I've always thought about what kind of weapons are best suited for me. Would you mind if I were to reference this post on my blog someday (giving proper credit and a link, of course)?

    When I trained in Combat Hapkido we worked quite a bit with walking canes and what is called a "danbong" (basically a 12-inch dowel) - which can be made out of a rolled up magazine.

    The cane is an excellent weapon and I've flown with mine many times (even in our post-911 airports); all they want to do is x-ray the thing, which they are welcome to do. Acknowledging the limitations of doing so, I keep my cane in my car - since I am a young man it would seem odd to walk about with a cane.

    I also always have with my an old fashioned, metal cased, Swiss Army Knife. I don't carry is in hopes of deploying the blade in an emergency (which, at the best of times takes about 5 seconds), but rather to hold it in my fist to support my punch and even to add further power to hammer-fist strikes.


    -Brett

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    1. Hi Brett. For sure you can use some of the material from this site. Just include a link back to the relavent page is all I ask. Share away.

      Yes! I too like the cane. I did study Hapkido for some time and loved the cane. Only issue I have with it is I do not think I could pull of walking around with one. The look is too odd. If I ever did use one and the police interview me, I could not justify having a cane. As I get older though? Possibly. I think the umbrella is an excellent alternative to the cane, especially with the crook handle. Easier to justify having.

      Oh, also for a car, a steering club lock could be used in that environment too.

      Loading up your hand with a swiss army knife would be another good weapon to use hammer fist style. Good suggestion. There is a fair bit of weight there and a solid unforgiving surface.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Delete
    2. I wouldn't recommend the use of an edged weapon as an impact tool. This is pretty common amongst many instructors for some reason but they tend to overlook the fact that it's still a knife.

      The knife is considered a lethal force tool and should not be deployed in any situation that doesn't warrant lethal force. If we deploy a knife (even in a closed fashion) it can be considered an escalation of force. The attacker could then legally deploy a firearm and shoot us, and they would be justified in doing so. In a court of law we would be seen as the aggressor. Save the knife and gun for those situations that warrant lethal force. In any other case, emphasize less-than-lethal tools (any blunt force object works well here). If the situation warrants lethal force and you only time to deploy the knife in a closed fashion, then use it accordingly.

      Steve

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  7. By adding a plastic tip to my unbreakable umbrella (hooked) I converted it to a multitask device adding walking aid as a function.

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    1. Hi Anon, yep, not a bad idea. The steel tip on the umbrella is very durable but the plastic tip would certainly protect the finish. Good suggestion.

      Adam

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  8. Great article. I always keep a maglite in my car. i also like to keep a pen as a weapon. My training is open handed, and I find a pen can be a good enhancement.

    The backpack is a great idea. I always remember seeing an Army video of a soldier crawling in the jungle, and using the backpack against a snake attack. Classic predator, huh? :)

    Imaginary weapons can sometimes help too. I was once getting my car from a long term storage area, and found out someone stole the starter. It was in a bad area, so I wasn't surprised. I saw a car come up to the lot entrance, with two guys checking me out. The predator look seemed obvious to me. As I walked around the car, I looked at them and put my hand behind my back, as if to check for my gun, while looking directly at them. They luckily decided to drive away, which was great as I had no gun. :)

    Thanks for the great advice.

    Iain

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    Replies
    1. Or you could live in Georgia! I don't have to pretend. I am a legal concealed carry licensee in 38 states.

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    2. Hi Iain, thanks for your comments. I like how you have an improvised weapon for your car and one for yourself on your body. I am sure you would also have one for home. It makes sense to have a system and have an improvised weapon best suited for when and where you are. And yep, a sudden snake appearance can really trigger the fight, flight or freeze response. I have certainly felt that feeling from a snake a number of times ( I am Australian so no surprise huh? hehe).

      I like your story about 'faking' a weapon. Good move. This would need to be done very subtly (though still noticeable) I feel for it to work. Well done and thanks for sharing your experience.

      Adam

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  9. I like how you remembered to mention that drinks can provide sustenance. Out of the improvised weapons, the drink has to be my favourite. When I'm in a sketchy area, if I have a bottle of water with me, I keep my mouth full of water. I figure, if I'm attacked, I can spray it into my attacker's face, hopefully buying me enough time to counterattack.

    I also have a maglite - I keep it next to my bed :)

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    Replies
    1. hehe I wasn't sure if people 'got' that.

      I like your idea of spraying the drink out of your mouth. Could be very surprising. I like it. I too keep my maglight next to my bed. Very handy piece of kit.

      Thanks for your comments Elias. Hopefully you have had no close calls since the train station.

      Adam

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  10. This may be activity-specific: many bicycle tools like chainlocks and Kryptonite locks would make good weapons. You could also plausibly carry them around even when not biking.

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    Replies
    1. That's not a bad idea. Chains and locks could be good improvised weapons. Solid unforgiving striking surface. Although I have concerns about the ability to get them to hand very quickly.

      Delete
  11. Sorry it took so long to leave a comment. Good point about the car keys. They can be good if you can temporarily blind your attacker with them, but other than that, they just might annoy the attacker. You could throw them, similar to change, but then you would have thrown your keys away.

    Very important point - You must know how to use the improvised weapon. I've met a bunch of women (and some men) who carry a kubotan keychain but have no idea how to use it. Sometimes they'll demonstrate intricate sequences completely foreign to their natural movements. An effective improvised weapon needs to be an extension of you. Ideally, the movement of an empty hand attack/defense should be the same movement with a weapon.

    The other area of concern in my mind is when people consider engaging an attacker because they have a weapon when normally they would have run away. False confidence can be very dangerous. A good improvised weapon should be used as a tool to surprise, stun and then run (or move to a position of safety.

    Great article.

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    1. Hi Journeyman. Thanks for your comments.

      The kubotan is a bit of a dodgy improvised weapon as it is clearly a weapon. This can be bad if it is used in self defence. This can be seen as carrying an illegal weapon in many places. Legally very bad. Plus if they cannot use it... like you say, not smart.

      And that is a good point about choosing to fight when they could have (and should have) walked (or run) away.

      Thanks for your feedback :)

      Delete
  12. Excellent article and I agree that most common objects in everyday life can be used to defensively and offensively.

    One not mentioned yet is a belt. As long as it has decent weight in the buckle it can be effective at keeping attackers at bay, etc. Also if it has sharp corners, etc, you get the idea.

    Just be careful on the follow through that you don't overexpose yourself and that your pants fit properly, you don't want your pants falling down if you have to empoy it!

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    1. Hi G, a belt would for sure make a good improvised weapon. As long as the pants didn't need it. A specifically chosen belt could work really well. A big disadvantage which would require some forethought and practise would be the time it could take to withdraw from the pants. You would require both hands to be free. But it can be done quickly. Done smoothly and quickly it would also surely be slightly surprising to an aggressor. Could give that psychological edge back to the defender. That is a good thing.

      Like has previously been mentioned, you would also need to train in techniques and tactics of the belt for it to be really effective. But good idea G.

      Delete
  13. Adam,
    Which version of the unbreakable umbrella do you recommend - the standard with fiberglass ribs, or the deluxe with steel ribs? I want to know if the latter is worth the extra cost.

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  14. I got mine years ago. Can't even remember what type it is. I think there may have only been one type back then. I think mine are steel but if Thomas Kurz is selling fibreglass ones, they must be ok too. His site has lots of info on them both. I can't comment too much on that one as I don't have one.

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  15. i think a rock or something heavy in a tall sock would be effictive

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  16. I have been a proponent of improvised weapons for many years. This is a good article but I would like to comment on a few items. When teaching improvised weapons I tend to stress those tools that people will most likely have on their person or in their immediate environment at the time-

    Pocket change can be effective but given the the fact that the majority of people use credit and debit cards these days, the likelihood of having pocket change at any given time is pretty slim.

    The same hold true with the large flashlights. The majority of flashlights sold these days are small pocket-sized tactical flashlights. These also work well for self-defense but unless your already a tacical-minded person the chances of having a tactical light on you at any given time or within arm's reach is also slim.

    Umbrellas do make good defensive and offensive tools. However, like those already mentioned the likelihood of having one in the hand or within reach when needed is low. Not to mention the majority of umbrella's sold these days are the compact kind that are far from "unbreakable".

    All that said, there are many tools that can easily be carried on a daily basis or can be found within arm's reach in many environments. The common ink pen (as already mentioned), cell phones, water bottles as mentioned in the article (the aluminum and stainless steel bottles that are currently popular work extremely well). Other items that work well and can be added to the improvised arsenal- a simple belt (need to understand it takes some practice and time to deploy it if on your person), a common bandanna (can be carried in the pocket or belt line).

    I would recommend against using the commonly-taught keys between the fingers. I have interviewed people that have severely injured their fingers attempting this misguided tactic.

    Stay safe,
    Steve

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    Replies
    1. Hi Steve, all fair enough comments. It all comes down to thinking ahead and having something on you that you have considered and know how to use.

      Thanks for popping over.

      Regards,

      Adam

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  17. I always keep a ballistic plate in the laptop section of my backpack, a little more weight, and its bullet resistant

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  18. Also, along the lines of the backpack - purses make great improvised weapons too. I think potentially easier to use because of the way they are carried over one shoulder instead of two. I use a purse that has a zipped closure so that all my stuff doesn't go flying, but I have practiced striking with it and find that as long as the straps are strong, the weight in that purse when flung at the face has some stopping power. Plus, most women's purses are heavy, so if she knows how to work her hips into the strike she could create the opportunity needed to escape from the situation.

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  19. I like the tightly rolled magazine or newspaper,good thrusting weapon to soft areas a credit card can be sharpens for an edge weapon toothbrush into shank

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  21. I carry a small, metal flashlight at all times. It is on my belt. It will support my fist like any fist load and it protrudes from my fist, which will enhance a hammer-fist strike.

    A bandana or standard white handkerchief can also serve well. Load it with anything hard and heavy--metal change, Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool--and strike with it like a slapjack. Put the load in the cloth, grab the excess cloth tight, and swing away.

    I agree that a metal pen also works. In particular, the Zebra 707 or 404. Sturdy enough for abuse, legal everywhere, and inexpensive.

    A good ole belt and heavy buckle could work as a slungshot, but deploying it could take too long. Still, if it's all you have and you can get to it in time, it can be effective.

    Nice list you made. Thank you.

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  22. I have found the article and the responses very informative. I do have a couple observations. You stated in the article " If an attacker can see an items potential for use as a weapon, they may quickly mentally develop counters in the event it is used." Would an attacker not see and know the potential for an umbrella or cane to be used as a weapon, the same would apply to a large Maglite or even a hot cup of liquid?

    Shouldn't a person also think about improvised weapons as something that could have been found on the street to carry and then just swear they found it there? It would get down to your word against the attackers word, who probably has a criminal history.

    Last on the issue of a belt and the time to deploy. An old Navy trick was the put lead in the end of a belt, then carry it inside the blouse so the end was down the back and the buckle in the front. From this position it can be easily deployed and after the fact, it would then appear to be an item of clothing if used.

    In closing, thank you for a well done article and thought provoking conversation.

    "The mind is the best weapon."

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  23. Missing from the list: A Smith & Wesson M&P 40 with a 15 round magazine and one in the chamber, sensible laws on self defense and if you insist on living where common law rights have been curtailed a blackthorn walking stick.

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  24. I wonder have effective a pointed nail file would be.. It probably falls under the same category as keys but it's pretty good at unscrewing things so its useful to keep around, and its not suspicious either/

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  25. I carry a maglite with me everywhere, but I never thought of using loose change! Really great list. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. I also carry small spray type bottle of perfume - in a side pocket of purse or pack that is easily accessed. It can be used as a "pepper "spray if needed. For this use the smellier is the better, because an assailaint that smells like cheap perfume or cologne will certainly stand out for/when arrested.

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  27. For women, a heavy duty hair brush can be used as a thrusting and striking weapon. The handle sticks slightly out of my purse for easy access.

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  28. Sound is yet another weapon missing from this discussion. I regularly visit the federal and state courts; the whistle is on my keychain and not seen as a weapon. It does two things: (1) it robs the assailant of his privacy in his attack, and (2) it alerts any law enforcement in the vicinity that there is criminal activity in process. Mine is a small metal tube with a loud, high-pitched sound. And it's instantly deployable.

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  29. Two not often thought of weapons the are commonly carried are a lighter on a "leash" which makes a very effective flail as long as the leash fits snugly and also as a fist pack aiding in jabs and hammerfist blows and a pocket sized arisol can of body spray whick can be used in a pepperspray fasion or with the aid of the lighter as a small flamethrower. This, directed at the face, would deter any sane attacker, and can be deplayed as quickly as you can retrieve it from your pocket. Keys kept on a leash make an even better flail, and are a much better use than the aforementioned method of key use. A baseball cap with the common metal "button" on top can make a decent weapon, and if you can get one off quickly a shoe swung by the shoelaces can provide a good amount of force.

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  30. how about a sharp pencil, fine tip ballpoint pen, or a box cutter that slides out 2 inches of blade?

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  31. I have a tapered rolling pin, about 10 x 1" made of maple, that could be brought to hand easily in a home invasion. Most women have a rolling pin in the kitchen, common household item. Then we have a nice little wooden kubotan on my key chain that I am never without; lots of nice pointy keys, a cute little 2-3/4-inch knife. The whole thing would make a very nice dent in an attacker's face if need be. Also a nice tactical pen in my purse or could be kept in my pocket. Yes, I was taught these methods in martial arts class.

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  32. A shoe might work.
    If you happen to have one handy a book would work. I used a book when I was a child on the head of a bully after that he stopped.
    If you have an excuse (bad leg etc.) a cane would work as a weapon.

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  33. One thing that has not been mentioned is a radiator hose. You can get a metal reinforced hose that is flexible and can be cut to the exact size you want, both the length and diameter. When you use it with a whipping type motion it can be very effective. If you ever need an excuse for carrying one or having it in your car it's easy to explain that you are working on a car.

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  34. Yeah.......... I live in a place where people still have rights....... so it's a pocket sized pistol and a fixed blade knife for me.......but you kids have fun pretending those coins are ninja stars.

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  35. Interesting comments and ideas for various IMPROVISED weapons. The radiator hose in the car is a good one. Never a good idea to get mixed up in a road rage incident though.

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  36. After I read this article I realized that I'm a walking arsenal...

    I always have these items on my belt:

    - a Leatherman Charge (sic), weight to the fist and protrudes from fist
    - a Led Lenser V6 flahlight, virtually a solid stainless steel cylinder, can be used as the above
    - my iPhone 5, again can be used as the above since it is very solidly built of steel and hard glass
    - a Zippo lighter with a heavy emblem, adds weight and hardness to the fist but does not protrude

    All of these are on my belt at all times in leather or Cordura carrying pouches, so they can be deployed in seconds.

    In addition to these I always carry an electronic cigarette with me. Most of the time it is a V3tronics Flip V3, which weighs about 200 grams and is a tube made of stainless steel (Google that if you like). With a full metal atomizer and drip tip it can be utilized in various ways. I'd imagine that having it in my right hand (I carry it in the right side pocket of my jacket) and the flashlight in my left I can do a fair bit of damage and if I happen to lose one or both of them in the situation, I still have the phone and the lighter left.

    All of these items are completely legal and natural to carry, in fact I have carried them for years without even thinking of them as weapons. Although in a real life situation I believe that I would have thought of them very quickly....

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