How To Make Use Of Improvised Weapons

By on February 10, 2014
improvised weapons

(This article was originally published on and written by Chris Black.

To Read this article and more like it please click here)

We all love our guns and we can’t imagine life without them.

We live by the survivalist’s golden rule, the 3 G’s : guns, gold and a getaway plan.

But, if you’re a realist, you must take into consideration any plausible scenario and one of them (maybe the most disturbing one) is the following:

What are you going to do in a survival situation when you’re out of ammo and the bad guys are still coming?

I don’t know if you saw the movie “Snatch”, but if you didn’t, I highly recommend it.

Don’t expect a survival-movie, but it contains one epic scene where “Boris The Blade”, a Russian weapons dealer, is trying to sell a big bad-ass looking pistol to some guy, and he says (after the customer noticed that the gun is pretty heavy): “Heavy is good, heavy is reliable, if it doesn’t work, you can always hit him with it”.

Basically, this sums it up: when you’re running out of ammo, use blunt force trauma! It always works, if you hit hard enough and are fortunate enough to beat your opponent to the punch.

Now, on a more serious note, in any kind of scenario including societal collapse or zombie apocalypse, you can find yourself in an unpleasant situation where you’re out of ammo for that nice AR-15 of yours and you have to protect your life or your property. Don’t worry, there are ways of surviving without firearms; humanity managed to endure for thousands of years without guns.

I don’t advocate relying on cold weapons as your primary means of self-defense, but here’s a list of “alternatives” that every survivalist should be aware of if SHTF and you’re out of ammo:


Consider carrying a knife on your person at all times. Knives are tools in the first place and they come handy in a multitude of situations not associated with violence. But, when the moment comes, you have to do what you have to do. Carrying a solid knife presents obvious advantages; blades don’t need reloading.

Aside from cutting rope and opening boxes, a knife may save your life someday. A word of caution though:, use it wisely and remember that knife fighting exists only in B-rated movies. In a real life survival situation, a knife must be use stealthily, quickly and decisively.

Car Keys Final

Melee Weapons 

Besides knives, there are plenty of other “melee” weapons that can be used for self-defense in a survival situation.

Weapons like spears, swords, clubs, hammers, police batons, baseball batshell, even a fire extinguisher, a crowbar or a shovel will do the trick in close combat when absolutely necessary. They aren’t as portable as a knife but they’re still pretty good for home-defense in a pinch.

A high-tech melee weapon would be a Taser, but if you’re out of ammo and you can’t resupply, I seriously doubt that you have power available for charging such a gizmo.

Bows and Arrows

If you enjoyed The Hunger Games (the movie), then bows and arrows are familiar to you. The good thing about bows and arrows is that they can be improvised from scratch, even if you don’t own or can’t afford a high-tech modern bow bought from Sporting Goods. You can easily manufacture one and the same goes for the arrows. The hard part is to train yourself in the fine art of archery, but it can be done.

Aside from protecting yourself, bows are pretty useful for hunting game, so you should take bows and archery seriously if you’re into prepping.

Crossbows are basically high-tech, mechanized bows, just more powerful and more precise and also much easier to master and to aim with.  They are easy to load and some of the high-end models available on the market come with scopes. Using them is childs play compared to aiming and firing a recurve or compound bow; they are reliable and make for a formidable cold weapon.

The biggest advantages when using bows and arrows are that they’re stealthy, silent, deadly and, perhaps most importantly, you can re-use the arrows(unlike bullets) and also you can build new ones from scratch.


The Slinghot

Another old-school cold weapon, used for thousands of years, is the slingshot. If you had a real childhood, like I had, you surely know what I mean when I say that slingshots are awesome! You can build yourself a powerful slingshot or buy one; they’re pretty cheap.

Getting ammo for a slingshot presents no significant problem, and if your aim is good, a slingshot can be as deadly as a firearm from close distance. If you aim for the head; remember the story of David and Goliath. You can use anything from rocks to scraps of metal for ammo and you can even hunt small game if you have the skill..

Last but not least, you must deal with the fact that sometimes you’ll have to improvise, in the heat of the moment. There are no definitive solutions (nor answers) to all life’s problems.

Training makes perfect and a positive attitude may save your life someday. Being able to think on your feet is perhaps your greatest weapon. When practicing, make a habit of thinking outside the box when you consider running out of ammo.

That way, your brain will already be in that mode if you actually find yourself in that situation.

One final word of advice: when using cold-weapons (or any other weapons for that matter), keep in mind that you’re not a ninja or a vigilante and don’t use them against fellow human beings unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Use your best judgment at all times and be prepared for the worst!

Find out more about unconventional means of defense on Bulletproof Home.

Want more simple but effective weapons? Click here to find how to make your own weapons today with the How to Make & Use Primitive Weapons report. This report has everything you need to know, get it for $7, during a limited time only ==>

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  1. I’ve seen a few major riots where there was major looting.But most of the looting was not due to hunger but just to loot unless you consider TVs and other electronic equipment as very tasty.Just about every riot in the U.S.was under the excuse of racial inequality.I don’t think it would take much for riots here again especially if you take away the free cell phones and food stamps.I would advise everyone to stock up on ammo and food and forget about hand to hand combat and also stock up on barbed wire if you own a home.When the freebies stop,the fighting will begin.

    • Meathead

      Using a knife or a club or ??? to hold off a crowd of a dozen so starving individuals probably won’t be very successful. If you’re not well stocked on ammo (like DHS, IRS and the Postal Service, etc.) when the SHTF moment arrives, it WILL be too late to get any. Besides, ammo can be used for barter, especially when it is not available.

      • andy

        Homemade claymore primers.

      • andy

        They will have to get past my boobytraps first. If they make it that far then I would resort to cold weapons.

      • Dallas

        I am pretty sure I could hold off close to a dozen men with a bat/club with nail spikes coming out the end. Yeah, pretty sure. Most could not do that but I am a combat guy, so in a pinch, you do what you gotta do. It does not hurt if you are a raging fearless SOB.

  2. WarzoneB52

    One Quick note about all the above mentioned weapons. NEVER pull out a weapon unless you are doing one of two things; a. Hunting and out of sight of other people or b. Your Life is in immediate peril! Also, if you have a simple ball point pen you have a weapon. Simply take the cap off and keep it hidden until you have to use it, then go for vulnerable areas such as the eys, temple, throat, etc… Thanks for the tips. Good Stuff!

    P.S. Slingshots have evolved quite a bit from the time we were kids in the 60’s. They’re known as “Wrist Rockets” and have an incredible velocity to them and can take out game at 25 yards or better! I’ve seen standard steel balls from them punch through 1/4 inch plywood.

  3. C.D. Lamberth

    Good article and grest advice! I’m afraid many people have a very dangerous perspective on survival fighting and defense. In scenarios where not only YOUR survival is at stake, but your family’s as well, then the old military style combat mindset can get you killed. Ammunition DOES run out, firearms DO malfunction, and in most survivalist situations, the logistics corps AIN’T COMING to make an emergency air drop. Plus, in situations where you are facing opponents who do have near limitless logistic and support capabilities, such as government agencies, any and all weapons should and must be utilized. What is lost to the survivalist in numbers and materiel can be at least offset to a large degree in skill, cunning and out-of-the-box thinking and preparedness.

  4. john

    I did some re-loading of 9mm bullets & have a lot of primers left over. There must be some other use for these as either low yield support weapons or warning trip wire devices. Maybe some other readers have already accomplished this or can lend suggestions to pursue for future patriots.

    • codie

      The primers can be used as blasting caps for dynamite bombs and traps.

    • Ed

      Primers will be quite valuable as barter items, given they are the hardest reloading component to make yourself…I would keep them.

    • tom

      you should use them as explosive arrow tips

  5. I have a machete. I’ve read articles that it makes a good survival weapon. Another person said that there are better bladed weapons than the machete. I don’t own any of those. Even if he’s right, I don’t have one. Like the age old question of “which is the best gun in the world?” And the classic answer: The one I have on me.

    • Keith Rayeski

      I like the Indian Gurkha….but it really comes down to preference…..

      • Amren

        Exactly what I was going to say, Keith. What you lose in length, you gain in cutting power. Cold Steel has the best IMHO.

  6. Ken

    Another good cold weapon is a machete. Great for chopping plants and chopping heads, arms, chest, ect. A double edged one like a Cold Steel Gladius Machete is a great tool. In a life saving situation you start swinging until the threat goes down.

  7. Smith

    OK THE 3 G’s ARE

    Without God we have nothing!!!!

  8. Buck Crosby

    Ingenuity is the greatest weapon at your disposal . I once had a military laundry bag with a red brick in it do yeomens duty as a defensive weapon and save my neck . Another real good azz saver was a craftsman half inch drive breaker bar . Also NEVER forget your feet , always wear hard shoes ( not sneakers ) and remember how much more power you have in your legs than your arms , just be aware of maintaining your balance .

  9. codie

    I made a machete out of a lawnmower blade with my forge. Very very durable unlike the flimsy cheap ones.

  10. Dan Colley

    I have found that a simple automobile ignition or house door key makes a terrific ad lib weapon. If you hold your key ring in your hand and “pinch” one key between your index finger and thumb and “point” it like an extension of your thumb, it makes a great tool for “playing the xylophone” on a close-in attacker’s ribs. I have used it once to great effect. Just rub it down a person’s rib cage with about 5 pounds of force and the first thing they will want to do is get away from you. It does not take a lot of pressure to inflict some SERIOUS pain on someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

  11. Donald Abbott

    Besides the above mentioned item, a five foot metal pole or even a lead pipe can be useful in close infighting. you can keep people away from you more easily than with most cold weapons and then, if necessary revert to the other hand held weapons. A little practice is needed, but most moves come almost instinctively.

  12. Smoke Hill Farm

    I am also a firm believer in a number of “cold” weapons. A machete or even a baseball bat can be very intimidating — even when facing several attackers. Unless they have a firearm, they’re going to be somewhat reluctant to go against either one. While bats are readily available and often go for a buck or two at garage sales, I actually prefer either a nightstick or a cut-down baseball bat — easier to handle & faster. I recommend cutting a bat down to 23-24″ and perhaps adding a bit of lead to a hole bored in the end.

    Bows are excellent weapons if you’ve practiced, but I’d recommend buying a good bow and several extra strings for it. Homemade bows are NOT easy or quick to make yourself. Arrows are not that easy to make properly either, so you’re better off stocking up on at least a few dozen “factory” arrows, plus a lot of replacement points and fletching for the time you have to make your own- — if you can find some adequately straight limbs to work with. Probably smarter to just buy a LOT of 1/4″ or 3/8″ dowels for your stash.

    Wrist-rockets are great, but DO stock up on extra rubbers for them, and plenty of steel balls. Sometimes cheaper to buy ball bearings or marbles.

    In addition to machetes, you can never have too many other blades of various types. A good hatchet is very intimidating and has a longer “reach” than most fighting knives.

    Ammo can certainly run out, but I worry more about semi-automatics malfunctioning or needing some fine-tuning when you have to use scrounged ammo and there are no gunsmiths around. For that reason my arsenal is geared mostly toward revolvers (.357/38, .22 magnum & .22 LR), which is my main stashed bulk ammo. I also have a number of semi-autos (and a few hundred rounds for each) in case all I can scrounge is some 9mm, .380, etc. For long guns I rely mostly on pump shotguns & bolt-action rifles.

    And don’t overlook the high-power, target-quality airguns, esp. in .22 caliber or higher. My Model 34 RWS cost about 200 bucks, and the 20,000 pellets for it were VERY cheap. It will take small game (about 900 fps) and a decent shot will at least maim, and perhaps kill, a human at medium range. Even without using a scope I get 3″ groups at 40-50 yards, and the near-silent aspect might be very useful in a SHTF environment. In 22 yrs of heavy use (killing trash birds & varmints on the farm), I’ve never had a problem with the RWS in over 3000 pellets shot. But I wouln’t rely on the cheaper imported stuff like Gamo to perform as well, or as long.

  13. jim

    One of my favorite cold weapons is a piece of rebar. The diameter & length is up to the individual, the uses are unlimited. It can be forged, welded, flattened & sharpened or just pointed. Cheap & available everywhere. You can make several for each family member for that special moment.

  14. Ralston

    The bow and slingshot will be good hunting tools, no noise and reusable ammo. However not the best for self defense unless it is a “running” battle with lots of room to maneuver, and lots of time to “reload” (regardless of what Hawkeye did in the Avengers).

    For close combat against multiple attackers you will need to narrow the space so that only one or two can attack at a time. In doing so, you will also limit your ability to swing wide and will need a spear type weapon to fight with. If out in the open, sure, you can use your machete or hatchet, but you can be attacked from eight different angles, so you will need to practice swinging in eight different directions fast enough to prevent them from landing a blow on you.

    All that fight training will wear you out, and actual fighting is extremely physically demanding. It is better to keep your preparations and strategies hushed, shared with very few if any, and not tell your kids about what you do and don’t have (they seem to be very poor about keeping secrets).

    Avoidance and evasion will be the key parts of the survival strategy. While it may be prudent to be very well armed, it is essential to remain low key (off the radar). Pretending to not have anything worth taking, will keep you off the looters list of places to visit. Thus no fighting to the death, and staying safe and secure even when the SHF is all around you.

  15. Steve

    As for the slingshot, rubbers break. Consider the original sling. Cheap and easy to make with readily available materials, and lots of range and power. Needs practice to master.

  16. john

    Was just wondering if you had anymore of the match lighters that I could get or know where I could find them.

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