Improvised Weapons: stabbing tools

An improvised weapon is something that is not designed to be used as a weapon but which can be so used to various degrees of success. There are many things you can hold in your hand to help create more impact or penetration into a criminal who is attacking you. Stabbers like pens and pencils are just one kind.

Some folks have even designed special little non-weapon tools that they suggest you buy to carry with you at all times so you are always armed with their non-weapon. This may run afoul of the law in some places that would judge such an item as a weapon and therefore judge you under the laws about weapons. Don’t trust the hype that your simple little tool designed by some macho martial artist will pass as a non-weapon when a cop finds it in some miscreant’s eye. They are tool savy and internet savy and they know just what is out there.

But a little thinking is necessary before you place your trust in such devices. As our friend Animal likes to remind us, anything in your pocket at the time you are attacked is out of the fight. If you spend valuable fighting time to try to get it out of the pocket, your efforts at self defence will be compromised.  So when does he think a strike enhancer is at its best?

Fist loads like the ubiquitous roll of quarters and stabbers like the innocent pen serve the person best who has never learned how to punch with real power. Since I present this web site to older folks and women who are untrained, you guys are the perfect candidates for such things.

The other thing to consider is that if you are so positioned so as to feel that such a tool is necessary for you to have self defense success, that if you wait until the  bad guy is agitated enough that his attack is immanent and you try a pre-emptive strike of your own to forestall his attack (which is quite legal in many places), you will probably fail. Your trust in the tool is not going to carry the day in the face of practiced aggression. Using it on the sudden when ambushed is  an obvious use but it means the tool must be in your hand at that very time.

When such an improvised weapon may help is if you use it well before Mr.  Nasty has started to get worked up and adrenalized. This of course is certainly not self defense and is probably illegal. Although using a weapon before it is justified may be an optional tactic at a particular moment, it may not be the best strategy for your future life plan.

Knowing how to use an improvised weapon, (or buying a strike enhancer), is not a magic formula to keep you safe if you get into a physical altercation, nor is it a good substitute for training in some form of martial art, awareness training and practicing the people skills to de-escalate with someone irate, often called verbal judo.

To sum up:

    •  improvised weapons should not replace fitness and martial arts training

    •  unless it is in your hand, it is out of the fight

    •  they work best as offensive weapons, not defensive weapons

    •  having an improvised ’weapon’ with you, even in your hand, will not avail you if you have never practiced with it.

Further Readings:

Pool Cues, Beer Bottles, and Baseball Bats: Animals Guide to Improvised Weapons for Self-Defense




Real World Self-Defense: A Guide to Staying Alive in Dangerous Times,

cover of Real World Self-Defenseespecially Chapters 7 & 8:

7. Canes, Umbrellas and Other Impact Weapons: sticks and stones may break my bones

8. Nonlethal Weapons and the Overall Defense Package: Keep the pepper spray out of your face