Do It Yourself
Improvised Weapons: So Easy A Caveman Can Do It
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?
Check out these related articles from our site:
Primitive Navigation Without a Map or Compass
Improvised Weapons: So Easy A Caveman Can Do It
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 DaveS@EarthNativeSchool.com.
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December 27, 2012 at 3:29 PM
I purchased the material above last night, but I cannot get access to the material. Any ideas?
December 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM
Hey, sorry your having this issue! I just talked with my customer service and it looks like there is a small glitch with the site, we are working on getting it fixed right now!
December 28, 2012 at 1:33 AM
Try wasp spray. Less than $5 for a can, shoots 20 to 30 feet with a stream of irritating liquid, will temporarily blind and thus provide seconds to minutes of confusion for a nut intent on mayhem. No license required, can be used at home or school just like ant spray and needs no approval to use.
December 28, 2012 at 5:15 AM
Hey Ed, great idea! Dual purpose mace!
another one would be OFF or other canned mosquito repellent. Not quite the range of wasp spray but I know for a fact that it is flammable in a pinch.
December 28, 2012 at 5:26 AM
It is not the weapon that makes the fighter but the fighter that makes the weapon. That means that if you are well train and understand the movements of weapons then you will be able to use what ever is handy. I know from personal street experience this is true and I am still alive to talk about it. If you look at Native peoples weapons you will find a modern material city equivalent you can use. Try looking at Paleo planet and primitive ways for the best ways to do this.
Rev. Scott U
December 28, 2012 at 7:53 PM
“Avoid or de-escalate conflict whenever possible”–
Very good advice–
KNOW by quick assessment of the threat, your strengths in the situation & peripheral vision etc., whether you are better off resisting, not resisting or fleeing.
Once for example a guy in Brooklyn stepped in front of me as I walked uphill. He spoke as if an innocent questioner for directions BUT as I replied my peripheral vision saw him drawing a knife from his belt.
Because I was wearing my sneakers, when I calculated that it would take a moment for him to complete drawing the knife UPWARDS before he could thrust it DOWNWARDS or OUTWARDS at me, I used the element of SURPRISE by interrupting myself in MID-reply, by immediately wheeling around & fleeing downhill as fast as I could. Of course I had the downhill advantage over a man who couldn’t immediately run full speed with a big knife drawn AND I said to myself “AINT NO WAY this punk is gonna catch me alive!” The only sound in the city was my heart pounding and our shoes hitting the pavement for a full minute as he gave chase. When he finally yelled out I remembered a statement that a pursuer wouldn’t yell unless you were beating them so my adrenaline kept me flying 5 more blocks without letting up or looking back as I circled back uphill to where a police cruiser was wandering past…
The point is: IF he’d been standing UPHILL from me on an empty street, or IF I hadn’t been in speedy shape, or IF I hadn’t noticed the knife before it was completely drawn, or IF I didn’t know one of the best ways to throw someone off (& get rid of telemarketers or bad telecustomers, by the way) is to switch modes (in my case, turn & FLEE) and interrupt MYSELF in MID-WORD with my unexpected response,
then I’d have been forced to A) forcibly resist before the knife was fully drawn or B) try to talk him out of it once his knife was fully poised to do damage.
Maybe we should try a self-defence training course like the one bumbling Pink Panther Inspector Clousseau did with his assistant who was trained to attack him at any unexpected moment…just to practice think-on-your-feet in different scenarios?
Stay safe, happy & healthy & have a great New Year everyone, & thanks Joe for this great article.
Rev. Scott U
December 28, 2012 at 7:58 PM
I meant to say in the 4th paragraph,
“The point is: IF he HADN’T been standing UPHILL from me…”
Thanks again Joe, by the way your Wilderness School looks great!
December 28, 2012 at 8:07 PM
Thanks for the kind words! The wilderness school is actually Dave Scott’s and it is a fantastic school! I met Dave by attending one of his survival 101 courses and I have to say I learned a ton from him.
January 5, 2013 at 5:32 PM
You let him get way too close to you to begin with. Lived in Chicago 7 years and quickly learned about staying away from corners and all other blind spots. And especially about people approaching, be if front, fear, left, or right. I suspect you were wandering around in what Colonel Cooper called “condition white”: unawares of anything but what a beautiful day it was to be alive in the USA and not a care in the world. It’s always great to be alive in our nation, but we have to remember that there are sociopaths and psychopaths out there who mean to do somebody, anybody, harm just because they can or feel like it.
What people call “gut feeling” or “something ain’t right” is actually your subconscious working to protect you. It searches the memory like an overclocked computer, looking for past instances of times in your life where one or several things it recognized as dangerous and then you had that “unh-unh” feeling. This is skill that can be enhanced by looking at your surroundings as though your were the perdator, and where and how you could best make your set-up work to your best advantage.
For me this has become semi-autonomous, and it is just a part of life. Paranoid? If you say, fine, I can live with it. Predators always llok for the weak and unwary. At 66 having lived, a life of hard physical labor in my rmployment, this ragged old, worn-out, broken carcase I call a body can no longer run, jump, ski, or do what it did when I was younger. But I can keep my eyes open and avoid many situations that may become problematic. And having a carry permit backed up by a .45 ACP doean’t hurt either.
January 14, 2013 at 7:36 AM
I’m glad things worked out for you, but in that situation I would have rendered him unconscious before he could finish drawing his knife. Running from someone with a knife isn’t as problematic as say someone with a gun, but in close quarters like that if he had fast reaction times he could have leaped upon you (not to mention the rare possibility he had a throwing knife. While weapons are great, the best weapon we have is our brain. I suggest people check out the “Target Focus Training”. It’s outstanding stuff, and unlike any other system.
December 28, 2012 at 8:10 PM
Hi Everyone, I just wanted to thank you for bringing the problem with the primitive weapons report to my attention. The glitch has been fixed and everyone who purchased it should be able to access the report via the instructions that were sent to your email.
Thanks again and sorry for the inconvenience!
February 20, 2013 at 2:04 PM
I paid you $7 for the hide your guns info & the offered free gift on Feb 6,2013.I emailed your support group earlier today & they sent the info I already had.The problem is,YOUR LINK DONT WORK,send info to rectify the PROBLEM.Thank you.
February 20, 2013 at 4:16 PM
I just spoke with the customer service department they just emailed you back, please check your email for the response, I hope this gets things cleared up for you
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