If you are ever faced with an imminent or active life threatening attack you can significantly increase your chances of survival by creating an improvised weapon out of everyday items that you would find around the house, on the street, or in the woods.
Creating basic improvised weapons in most instances is not a complicated process. This skill, like any other survival skills requires improvisation with the materials at hand. A weapon, as I would define it in this context is anything that could injure or deter an attacker allowing an escape from the conflict.
An improvised weapon does not necessarily have to be lethal it just needs to be dangerous enough to give you a physical or mental advantage. In the case of an inexperienced, insecure, or unmotivated attacker, the presence alone of a simple improvised weapon might be enough to deter an attack.
Perhaps the simplest improvised weapons are those that are used for striking. Simple improvised weapons also happen to be the most primal. For most of human existence we have been fending off enemy attackers and large wild creatures with nothing but sticks and rocks.
However, in modern times we can add a short piece of pipe, a wrench, or chain to the list. The advantage to these weapons is that they do not require much, if any, modification, time, or ingenuity. The disadvantage is that they can be very ineffective if used improperly and/or against someone who knows how to counter them.
For example, if you swing a stick at someone who anticipates your action it will not be difficult for them to step out of the way or glance your blow. If swinging with force, the action of the swing will likely throw you off balance which will in turn give your attacker a momentary advantage.
The next major category of improvised weapons is those that are designed to puncture. You can make puncture weapons fairly easily by finding or creating a rigid pointed object. To resolve a long propagated myth of Hollywood, if you stab an attacker with an improvised puncture weapon they are not going to collapse and die instantly like you see in the movies.
Realistically, their injury might not physically alter their immediate body function at all, however, being stabbed is a tough thing to deal with psychologically and will generally be enough of an assault in itself to allow escape. Inmates in many high security prisons have mastered the art of the improvised puncture weapon. If you ever get the chance to see a display of confiscated prison shanks you will observe that the ingenuity is quite impressive.
To illustrate this point with an extreme case, inmates in some prisons have been caught melting down thin plastic packaging and molding it into rigid weapons. In your case, barring a trip to a maximum security prison, it is unlikely that you will ever be put in a situation where all you have to work with is heat and cellophane but it is cool to know that it is possible. In contrast to the cellophane shank, the best improvised weapons often need very little modification. Here are some great examples of some improvised puncture weapons.
The last category of improvised weapons that I would like to discuss is cutting weapons. These weapons will usually puncture as well as cut, but their primary purpose is to cut. Perhaps the most abundant material that can be used to make an improvised cutting weapon is common plate glass.
Though simple and really easy to create, an improvised weapon made from broken glass is incredibly sharp and can be very lethal. The simplest of which might simply be a shard of glass that has been abraded on one side to dull the edge before being wrapped with cloth to create a handle. Another abundant material that can create a really sharp, and much more durable edge than glass, is porcelain. A broken shard of dinner plate or toilet bowl can make a very effective weapon.
In the end, like any survival skill, the only rule for improvised weapons is, determine the materials that you have at your disposal and improvise. It is however important to note that no matter the quality of your weapon, there are no guarantees in any fight. Even if you do win in the end, there is a high likelihood that you are going to be injured in the process. Additionally, by introducing a weapon into any fight you are escalating the fight to a more dangerous level.
There is always a possibility that you will lose control of your weapon and have it turned against you. Therefore it is always better to avoid or attempt to deescalate conflict whenever possible. The best way to avoid getting injured in a fight is to avoid the fight all together.
The ability to create improvised weapons for hunting and self defense is what not only skyrocketed our species to the top of the food chain but also what has kept us there.
Do you want to know how to create and use improvised primitive weapons like these?
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Dave Scott is the Founder and Lead Instructor at Earth Native Wilderness School, an Austin, TX based wilderness survival, and self-reliance school. For more information about Earth Native Wilderness School, to sign up for a class, please visit www.EarthNativeSchool.com or contact Dave directly at [email protected]