Improvised Weapons: Self-defense in the Real World
by Robert Richardson, Off Grid Survival 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. 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. 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.
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 advice 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.