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How to Make Caltrops | DIY Caltrops

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Caltrops are ancient military devices used for defensive purposes, primarily to impede or deter enemy movement. They are small, metal, or wooden objects designed with four sharp spikes or points, arranged so that, no matter how they are thrown or scattered, one tip always points upwards.

This strategic arrangement ensures that at least one projection is positioned to cause damage or immobilize a person or animal that steps on it.

Learn how to make caltrops – small, sharp spikes that are a staple in any survivalist's self-defense arsenal – in this novice-friendly 5-step tutorial.

With three common tools, some metal, and some creative cutting, you whip these bad boys up in no time at all!

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What You Need to Make Caltrops:

  • Small sheets of tin (quantity depends on how many caltrops you want to make)
  • Permanent Marker
  • Tin snips
  • Pliers

How to Make Caltrops | Create DIY Caltrops in 5 Easy Steps

Click here to jump to the instructographic.

Barbed Wire | How to Make Caltrops | DIY Caltrops

Step 1: Check if Caltrops Are Legal In Your Area

Before making these caltrops, make sure it’s even legal to have them in your area. Some states, like Texas, consider even possessing caltrops a felony, while in some other places, you’re liable for any injuries or damages to property you cause.

Your survival gear shouldn’t be the thing that can land you in jail.

Step 2: Mark Where to Cut

First, use a permanent marker to draw out two triangles on either side of your tin sheet. This tells you where to cut on your sheet of metal.

Step 3: Cut Along the Lines

Then, use your tin snips to cut along the lines you just marked. You should end up with a bow-like shape after.

Step 4: Bend the Edges with Pliers

Once you have cut down the metal sheet to the desired shape, bend the pointed edges on one side at a 45-degree angle opposite each other with some pliers. Repeat the process with the other side of the metal.

Your sheet of metal has now turned into a caltrop.

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Step 5: Repeat Step 2 to Step 4 As Many Times as You Want

Repeat steps 2 to step 4 until you make the desired number of caltrops. Make sure to cut and bend all your spikes the same way so you can stack them on top of each other afterward.

Step 6: Test Your DIY Caltrops Out

Once you’ve created several caltrops, throw them on a flat surface to test them out. As you can see, no matter how or in what direction you throw them, at least one of those spikes faces up when they land.

Note: Be careful when touching your DIY caltrops, as they are very sharp!

Those are all the steps you need to know on how to make caltrops. They are a super simple way of protecting yourself and your surroundings in a pinch using things you can find lying around in the house.

Just make sure to avoid stepping on them yourself after throwing them on the ground. They’re much more painful than stepping on Legos.

Here’s an instructor graphic guide. Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy instructor graphic for reference:
How to Make DIY Caltrops

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When scattered on the ground or strategically placed, caltrops effectively deter cavalry charges and infantry assaults and impede enemy troops' movement. They were also used as psychological warfare, creating fear and caution among enemy forces.

Today, caltrops are rarely used in modern warfare due to advances in weaponry and changes in military tactics. However, they remain a symbol of ancient military ingenuity and a reminder of the inventive defensive measures employed by armies throughout history. Caltrops may still find limited use in certain specialized applications, such as certain law enforcement scenarios or wildlife control.

Have you used caltrops in your own adventures? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

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