Improvised Weapons: Self-defense in the Real World

I’m a huge supporter of the second amendment, and I’m a big proponent of always being armed; that being said, far too many gun owners rely solely on their firearm as their only means of defense. If you’re one of those people who believe you’re ready for anything, simply because you carry a gun, you need to seriously rethink your self-defense strategy.

Why self-defense tools and training are so important, even if you carry a gun.

No matter how great of a shooter you are, or how many times you’ve been to the range to practice your shooting skills, there are going to be times when you may not be able to get to your gun — think I’m wrong? Check out my article on guns vs knives in close quarters combat, and you’ll see exactly why non-firearm self-defense skills are something that every gun owner needs to learn.

Improvised Weapons: Alternative Carry Options and Weapons in your Environment.

Many of the martial arts weapons you see today began as improvised self-defense weapons, fashioned from common everyday things like kitchen tools and farming equipment. In fact, it was innocent looking farming tools that allowed an unarmed Chinese population to defend themselves against tyrants, criminals, and anyone wishing to do them harm. It also allowed them to carry weapons in plain sight, without raising alarm bells or getting them into trouble with government officials.

Kama Farming Tool

Farming tools like the Kama were widely used throughout Asia to cut crops and rice; these types of tools are now common marital arts weapons that were often used as improvised weapons throughout history.

In today’s world, where criminals attacks are on the rise, it’s just as important to be able to use common everyday tools as weapons, especially when the government is making it harder and harder for us to defend ourselves from these crimes. The ability to quickly find and utilize self-defense tools in your environment is something that you need to get good at. You also need to start thinking about what every day carry items you should have with you at all times.

Everyday Carry: Beyond your Firearm

Because there are some who are going to think I’m playing down the importance of firearms, let me start off by again saying that I think everyone should learn how to use a firearm and carry one with them at all times. That being said, there are times when carrying one might not be possible (courthouses, airports, gun-free zones, etc..).

During these types of situations, or during an emergency where you’ve been disarmed or prevented from unholstering your firearm, knowing how to defend yourself without a gun is going to be a lifesaving skill that you need to have. The first place to start, after learning how to defend yourself in some sort of self-defense course, is what you carry on a daily basis.

The items you carry on your person should be selected from a preparedness and self-defense perspective. Everyday things like pens, flashlights, and work related tools can all serve as potential weapons; many of these things are now being constructed and sold with self-defense in mind.

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

Tools like the Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen allow you to openly carry something as innocuous as a pen, while being able to simultaneously carry something that’s specifically constructed to be a potent weapon, in the hands of someone with a little bit of training.

These so-called tactical pens are constructed with weapons grade materials designed to deliver maximum force when striking a target. They take the concept of a Kubaton — a martial arts weapon that looks like an innocent rod — and makes it even more innocent looking, and easier to carry inside any venue.

I mean who is going to ask you why you’re carrying a pen?

Knowing when, and where to strike.

Vital Points of attack for self defense

I’m going to warn you right off the bat, reading this article is only the start.

To really be effective, you need to practice these skills on a regular basis. I highly advise finding a local instructor who teaches real-world self-defense — not some black belt mill looking to suck your money, teaching you useless forms and other fancy looking nonsense.

One of the most important parts of utilizing these improvised weapons is knowing how to make those weapons useful, which usually means knowing how to target that specific tool towards the most effective points on the human body.

For instance, something like a rolled up magazine is going to be effective against hard targets and areas like the temple; while smaller tools like tactical pens or kubaton style weapons are great for striking the tops of hands, using pressure points to control an attacker, or jabbing into soft areas, eyes, and muscles.

Self-defense is much more than what you carry.

All too often people get caught up in what they carry and put far too little thought into why they are carrying it and more importantly how to use it properly.

Stop worrying about brands, stop worrying about conceal or open carry, and start learning how to protect yourself in the real world where all that shit goes out the window the moment you’re confronted by an attacker. Yes, certain brands are obviously going to be better than others, but when it comes down to real-world survival nothing beats training, and that fancy brand isn’t going to do squat for you if you don’t know how to survive an actual attack.

With a little bit of effort and training, anyone can learn how to make themselves and the things in their environment into effective criminal stopping weapons.

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  1. You would be surprised how effective a simple bandana can be as a self defense weapon. Its used for blocking and entanglement. It takes some practice, and some courage. But its damned effective. You also look pretty bad assed if you can do it. :)

    • Take that bandana and make a slungshot out of it. Almost the same thing as the old sap or blackjack. Fill it up with coins, key ring or even rocks and you have an extended reach weapon that will put the biggest one down or hurt them enough to reasses the situation. Sock will also work if needed. I have even seen all leather coin purses that will get through security without much of a problem.

  2. the world is full of things that can be used as weapons. These are still self defense first aid kits. Guns are number one on the hit parade. Planning is important. Time is a consideration Do you need weapons right now or do you have the time to make weapons like a crossbow prison made knives are common in large prisons,. %e aware of what is around you and think always of survival They really are out to get you

  3. “MARITAL ARTS” weapon (see pic caption)? My wife doesn’t need any further coaching! She’s doing fine with the marital arts weapons she has!

    BTW – in travel, the TSA generally frowns on tactical pens. But Zebra makes some nice aluminum shaft ink pens that are sturdy and not considered “tactical”. When in travel, I also carry a small pair of scissors (TSA allowed under 4 in). They can be quite effective in an emergency.

  4. I’ve used a belt with a 2″ buckle wrapped around my wrist and hand and used it as a swinging weapon. If your attacker grabbed the belt you just opened your hand and the belt slipped off.

  5. Another idea, a pool cue in your back pocket wrapped in the bandana. Makes more sense than rocks and heavy coins.
    This isn’t rocket science, in these savage times where the criminal has more rights than the victim- one has to be creative and primal.
    Thanks to all the sue happy laws that exsist, nice job.

  6. Thanks for bringing up the subject. What you say is true. I have studied martial arts for many years and also taught self defense. There is a lot of good stuff in martial arts, and also a lot of junk! One of the great benifits is awareness training and being physically fit (something most attackers are not). Then I stumbled upon Krav Maga and all that training came together for me. I would highly recommend looking into it.

  7. On a walk with my wife one night we turned a corner and walked down towards the middle school. Someone was walking the mastiff looking dogs who immediately went into attack mode and headed towards us. The owner tried in vain to call them back. I had a western style belt buckle, not super big, but substantial. I slipped it out of my belt loops and twirled it around my head, held my ground and yelled at the dogs. The dogs veered off and circled us, barking aggressively, but we held our ground until the owners could capture their dogs. I don’t know if they would have bit us if we had run, so I don’t know if they were just big babies that were playing…but they didn’t seem so sweet or cute to me. This is probably a better outcome than if I would have shot one of them.

  8. Excellent article. I agree with all and commenters input as well. I would like to add that the most important weapon is a sharp and agile mind. Avoid and deflect violence. Drink only pure water. Take no drugs. Protect the mind of the unborn child. Never drink if you are a woman of child bearing age as the damage occurs before you even realize that you are pregnant. Men protect and defend women and children. And encourage them to learn to defend themselves, teaching what you know. We have to support each other if we are to survive. iMho.

  9. I wear an 8lb stainless steel chainmaile belt with a trick buckle set up to be used as a sap or restraints, works like a charm I’ve unfortunately had to use it. Court house security and TSA have no problems with and some have commented on how awesome it looks.

  10. I routinely carry four self defense items with me – my ZT folding knife, a belt with a heavy buckle, a tactical pen, and a “travel wrench.” A travel wrench is a plastic tool that can be used for striking an assailant – almost like brass knuckles. It fits nicely in a back pocket and won’t arouse any suspicion that it is even a weapon. If you are unfamiliar with them check them out on YouTube.

  11. A hatchet is probably one of the best self-defense weapons out there short of a firearm. Has plenty of stopping power which a knife does not have.

  12. Those “Tactical” pens are garbage. I have carried several (diverse makers) on me over the times, and they all break apart unrepairably at the thread where both halves are screwed into each other. This might happen during sitting, squatting and any mechanical stress against the middle of the length of the tube.

  13. I’ve had a few tactical pens and I’ve bought them for the wife and family. Never had an issue with any of them breaking, and that’s from expensive name-brand pens to $8 eBay Chinese cheapies. And I am not gentle with them. The only issue I have had is the torch dying in a cheap one, but it was otherwise fine.

    Unfortunately here in nanny-state Australia a tactical pen is about all you can legally carry for self-defence and even then they are a grey area.

    What brands have you had trouble with cogito? It would be good to know what to avoid.

  14. I carry a flashbang everywhere is go. Planes, concerts buses, schools. It is a high powered Edi flashlight with a crenulated end. If an assailant, either man or beast approach, I use the light first to deter and disorient the attacker. Works great on charging dogs with no further action needed as they will not charge something they can’t see. For people, you can blind,bash them with it and either disarm or abscond with little danger or further action. And no jurisdiction precludes carrying a light, to my knowledge.

  15. Get a cane.
    Ask your doctor if you could benefit in getting up from a seated position with a cane – of course he will say yes.
    Ask him to put it in your medical records that you use one. (BEFORE you use it for a tactical reason!)
    Carry it with you everywhere.

    Wood is light and fast but can break.
    There is a guy on eBay that sells tactical canes milled from SOLID aluminum billet. Heavier but won’t break.
    No one from TSA can tell you that you cannot take your cane on a flight.

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