Survival Without Firearms

Doomsday Preppers Apocalypse 101

The current furor over the threat of a new round of restrictive firearms laws in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook killings has gotten me to think further about what kinds of weapons we might choose to protect ourselves.


By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to

Here we are talking about defensive modes of protecting ourselves against any uninvited menace that might befall us.  Doomsday Preppers Apocalypse 101However, and intended only as a sidebar, consider also if we were to find ourselves without traditional defensive firearms, then some of these same weapons choices could also be as easily applied effectively in an offensive mode.  How does the government intend to protect us against these tools?

Which of these “weapons” could be used for self-protection, an AR-15, 1911 in 45ACP, a wheel gun revolver in .357 Magnum, a swing blade, combat knife, screwdriver, ball peen hammer, a pipe wrench, sledge hammer, machete, 12-gauge shotgun, an ax, a 30-06 deer rifle, a ball bat, length of log chain, or a Kaiser blade?

The Prepper Scenario

A common thread among the planning tactics for both Bug Out and Bug In preppers is the concept that we might eventually be confronted by rogue groups or a solo assault of “zombies”, common criminals, starving crowds of non-preppers, aggressive neighbors, or others just wishing to take from you what you have.

We tend to rely on a first front of defense using firearms.  There is no need for an in depth discussion of that here.  Our arsenal would likely include rifles, shotguns, and handguns.  Any types and all types in a wide range of suitable (or not) cartridges chambered for self-defense or property protection can expected to be found in stock.

A gross generalization of a tactical stance would be to use rifles for long(er) range defense or deterrent, shotguns with Doomsday Preppers Apocalypse 101buckshot (not slugs) could be used for closer ranges, but perhaps not point blank, but maybe.  Handguns would most likely be relegated to close quarters work.

Hopefully what you choose to use works for you best because you are confident and skilled in the use of the weapons choices you have made.  If not, then get there as soon as it is feasible.

But in all of this keep in mind that despite the fact that you may have an ample supply of firearms and ammo available to defend or protect yourself, family, and escape hide out partners there are other alternative tools to consider.  Plus there may be times when a firearm is not the closest defensive tool within reach.

On the Cutting Edge

I am not a knife fighter or blade expert.  My plan is to be the one that brings a loaded 1911 Kimber to the knife fight, but being a realist I know that might not always happen.  Still I have a wide selection of blades, long and short, fixed blades, folders, meat cleaver types, pocketknives, fish filleting knives, and nearly everything else in between.  While most of my blades are not designed for defense, at some level any one of them could be pressed into service likely with varying results.

I do not harbor a desire for that kind of hands on self defense work.  But what if we get faced with a situation in which that is the first or only option?  Then some training is called for as well as keeping such tools within reasonable reach just in case.  Knives may not draw attention like a firearm, so it is reasonable to add these to your kit.

One of the characters on the program Doomsday Preppers believes one of the critical weapons to his theoretical “circle of seven” tools of self defense needs to include a samurai type sword or other similar long blade with a long handle or hand grip.  There are many such tools on the market made by outfits like Cold Steel, Gerber, and others.  Even hardware stores and farm supply outlets will have a variety of tools that are for brush cutting and other heavy duty cutting/hacking tasks.  Add these to the mix.

Blunt Force Instruments

As we work around the house or at a bug out escape location, we are highly likely to have a variety of impromptu weapons Doomsday Preppers Apocalypse 101around.  We might think we’ll always have a firearm within reach, but maybe not.  If someone comes up on you in the workshop, garage, or storage shed, what might you grab to defend yourself?

Viewing another movie recently of the fictitious zombie genre’ I was taken by the choice of a sledgehammer as a tool of offensive and defensive self defense by one of the actors.  Understanding that depiction was “Hollywood” nevertheless it spirited my consideration of such heavy tools as a possible weapon of choice.  A ten pound hammer may not be a first choice, but it could an effective one at any rate.  A forward thrust to the throat or knee cap is likely to change the course of an aggressor.

Now I own a mega sledge and I would be the first to admit I would not want to tote that thing around all day.  At camp I strap it in the carry rack of the ATV.  At my age swinging a sledge about ten times is the equivalent of trying to do twenty pushups.  Good luck with that.  My point is to consider the defensive strategies with any tool you might buy for bug in home or bug out camp use.

Look in your garage on your pegboard wall or in your tool boxes.  See what items in there could be used as a last resort grab.  Perhaps all this sounds too elementary, but when is the last time you thought about taking a shovel off the wall to defend yourself?

Consider other tools as well.  What about a pipe wrench, a rake, heavy long shaft screwdriver, pry bar, broom, claw hammer, or any number of dozens of other implements found around the house.  At the very least consider thinking through the process.

Again, I don’t personally promote close quarters essentially hand-to-hand confrontations.  It’s only that whatever we are prepping for or planning for will likely not work out exactly as we had imagined.

Choosing and selecting weapons for our prepping strategies does not automatically imply the sole source of self-defense tools have to be firearms.  In reality and practice, I think we all intend to include that component, but there are many other options to have at the hand if needed.

Photos by:
Mr. Smashy
Dr. John J. Woods

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{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

ticdoffus January 31, 2013 at 2:25 am

i hope your not giving up on the 2nd ammendment


The Strongest Karate March 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I know a few preppers, and I've got a bit of the prepper bug in me too (currently building my seed vault right now) and there is something I have always wondered about: why is it that nearly every prepper i have encountered thinks that we are one stiff breeze away from getting our 2nd amendment stripped from us?

i'm not asking why you think this might be true. i am asking why this is nearly ubiquitous among preppers.


T.R. March 23, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Because they understand the motivations of Communists , and make no mistake , they are at the top levels of government …………they will deny being communists ……..but they are communists in every action other than registering as one .


S.B. May 18, 2013 at 11:00 am

its the most talked about and one of the most likely threats


@wrolblogcom January 31, 2013 at 2:27 am

As a prepper your concern should always be that any item you have on you (or in your kit) serves at least a dual purpose (more = better). When it comes to not having firearms, your concern should be the distance you are likely to engage at. For close quarters any of the above mentioned objects will do. For medium-range my advice is: get a (cross)bow and/or a slingshot: they will work perfectly for hunting and self-defense (again: dual purpose). If a (cross)bow is not allowed where you live, either get a slingshot or all the parts you need to make one when needed. A slingshot is both an effective short-range (small game) hunting tool and an effective self-defense tool that is underestimated in my humble opinion.


prepperscanyon February 27, 2013 at 6:25 am

I cannot agree more. I think many people become to dependent on type of item such as a gun and forget that other items make great weapons. Of course using some of them takes a bit more thought then point and shoot, but still having them is a great thing.

Best advice is to be prepared to use whatever you have with you and be at worst familiar with each item and its uses in the event that you would need to defend yourself.


Minarchist_1776 January 31, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Let us not forget such things as a walking stick (used either as a club, a short staff or a quarter staff), spears, and thrown rocks (and/or other items that are both disposable and throwable). I am not a fan of throwing knives, but if you have a bunch of cheap ones you won't cry over losing and have practiced with them then go for it.

One idea that I have had which should in theory be reasonably easy to implement is to get oneself a walking stick that is long enough it could be used as a quarterstaff if one desired. Then what one does is to modify one end of it so that it can accept the bayonet of your choice. Once that is done simply carry the bayonet when you take your walking stick. A man with a walking stick and what looks like a regular sheath knife might not attract as much attention as a man walking around with a spear. But with only a second or two to attach the bayonet to the walking stick one would have a quite serviceable spear.


Dave H February 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm

+1 on the walking stick/ hiking staff! Also don't forget that a C0-2 fire extinguisher can be devastating on 2 or 4 legged predators. They are actually much more effective than pepper spray!


Guest September 29, 2013 at 7:27 am

who the hell carries a dang fire extinguisher?!


Guest September 29, 2013 at 7:28 am

* Bubba Stik, yo!

Google it.


Joseph Friday January 29, 2014 at 10:28 pm

I found some interesting "knives" in a salvation army store and it only cost $5 for both! One is a cold steel Bushman and the other a SOG spirit! Talk about a steal! I had to drop an additional 10 spot on them. They were a tad grimy and withouth sheaths but both have a common application – spear tips! The bushman has a hollow handle in which a regular wooden mop stick fits and sports a hole where a nail or screw can be inserted to help hold the blade to the handle! The Spirit has a handle of sorts that unscrews and you can use a standard threaded broom or mop handle to screw into it. I have some metal mop handles that fit good but thing a wooden handle would work better! In addition I could actually use both blades on a wooden handled "staff" and am having sheaths made for each of these blades so I can get multi purpose use from them both! Don't discount these discount stores like Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePauls or Easter Seals as they often have stuff people donate and have no clue what they are! You can make some good "finds" at these places and even get discounts. I am still having some grief with thinking I stole these at the price I paid!


PITA45 January 31, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Rule one: All Ways have a knife
Rule two: All ways have a knife
I am not a knife fighter or blade expert.
But I have carred a knife longer then I have been carring a firearm!
My job does not allow me to even have a gun in the car.
But I still have my knife
When I went to Canada, no gun again. (My Ka-Bar was with me!)
No! As the auther said I hope never to bring a knife to a gun fight!
IMPROVISE! Should be a preppers creed.
Good article! Thanks!


BamaMan February 5, 2013 at 8:06 am



greg January 31, 2013 at 10:24 pm

If you wanted a big weapon of killing death get a spade an actual full sized job. Sharpen the hell out of it and it is a fearsom weapon.

Yoi can also do spade stuff so the weight is not completley wasted.


Guest September 29, 2013 at 7:26 am

Right, and nobody looks twice at the dude with a shovel.


BamaMan February 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Article makes you appreciate firearms.

I would rather die from gunshot then be beaten to death.

I would rather even the fight with gun vs. gun then fight a bigger human with hand to hand weapons.


T.R. March 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Here is a video about the reality of knife fights , it pretty much agrees with your observation .


Tatersalad February 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm

"Can anyone guess what one of the "shooters" – is The President in the following video? Here (in the following video) we have Barack practicing before he went to Camp David (supposedly) for his photo op and shot one round (maybe), dropped the rifle and ran back to the house with a load in his pants."


KansasScout February 3, 2013 at 7:22 am

Well whether it's PITA45's rule number one followed by his rule number two or Leroy Jethro Gibbs' Rule Number Nine it's always wise to carry a knife. I carry usually at least two. The main reason to carry a knife is that you never know when you'll need one.


Minarchist_1776 February 5, 2013 at 9:34 am

Actually, I always carry two, in a survival situation I'd carry three :-)

The two knives I always carry with me are folders. I have a Cold Steel Triple Action tanto blade folder, and Victorinox's Swiss Tool (their answer to the Leatherman). I don't think that Cold Steel makes the Triple Action folder anymore, but any reasonably sized lock blade folding knife will do. The Swiss Tool (or whatever variant you choose to carry) is simply too useful to be without. I am constantly finding any number of small chores that the Swiss Tool will either enable me to handle at all or handle easier than I would be able to do if I didn't have it. The Triple Action folder is reserved for potential defensive use and so far it hasn't been needed (knock on wood). I carry each of the knives in an Uncle Mike's magazine pouch on my belt.

In a survival situation I would also add a relatively large sheath knife with a blade about 9" long or so. The current knife set aside for that role is a Becker Knife and Tool Brute (alas, this is another model which doesn't seem to be made anymore). However, any reasonably sized bowie style knife would fill the bill, and I will probably get an Ontario "Marine Raider" Bowie to use in place of the Brute. The Brute IMHO is simply a little too "clunky" and doesn't have a hand guard. When all is said and done I prefer a large knife that has at least a vestigial handguard on general principles.

Note that while I prefer large knives, there is such a thing IMHO as too large when it comes to selecting a knife for belt carry. Quite simply it comes down to having only so much room on one's belt or one's person to carry all the gear that one is going to need, and while the various knives are valuable there are other things one is going to want to carry as well. Based on my unscientific ad hoc experimentation with various blades I think a knife with a blade of over a foot long or so is probably going to be too big (it's size and weight starting to interfere with other gear you might want to carry), and a blade about 10" or so long might be a reasonable upper limit. Of course, if you're going to carry an entrenching tool or a tomahawk you might want to punt the sheath knife.

Last but not least, even though this thread is about doing without them, is the pistol. I recently acquired a Smith and Wesson Governor and am currently experimenting with various types of concealed as well as open carry for the piece. To this end the fact that the Governor is a relatively new piece with a cylinder that is much longer than the standard cylinder found on most revolvers means that finding suitable holsters/carry options for that is something of a challenge (as well as the various different types of gear you'd want to carry in support such as moon clips, speed loaders, etc.) . However, in a worst case scenario where all you have is what you can grab quickly and have have to seriously worry about drawing attention by being obviously armed, the Governor's ability to digest multiple different types of ammo and not too unreasonable concealability make it worthy of a careful look.

FWIW, all the noise that the current crop of idiots in Washington is making about using large numbers of drones here in America and being able to "legally" target U.S. citizens for any reason or no reason IMHO puts a premium on concealability. Thus if you want to have a battle rifle or carbine, fine, but it should have a folding/collapsible stock and be able to fit in a duffle bag or case that does not by its very size and shape scream that it is holding a rifle or shotgun. The sheath knife can end up getting carried on your torso in a shoulder holster setup, and a loose fitting jacket that hangs to mid thigh can cover quite a bit of gear that might otherwise attract more attention than you want. And given that you can now never be sure when you will be under surveillance a certain amount of caution is in order.


KansasScout February 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

In my everyday carry bag I have a Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife, three means of starting a fire, a small pry-bar, three of five spare magazines for my M1911, a new testament, some Kleenex type tissue (tender, nose wipes, etc.), a small first aid kit, a toothbrush, some pens and pencils, a small notepad, and sometimes boxes of raisins and packages of granola bars.

On my person I have my wallet with I.D., a Gerber Multiplier (Gerber's answer to the Leatherman), a Gerber Paraframe II lock-blade knife, some loose change, and on my belts or in my EDB my M1911.

On the outside of the EDB I have a dual pistol magazine pouch with two spare magazines, sometimes a canteen/ universal pouch with a water-bottle, and a grenade pouch I use for anything including up to four more boxes of raisins. My cellphone sometimes rides in an LC-2 first aid/ compass pouch on the sling of my EDB. In an M56 first aid/ compass pouch fastened to the back of the EDB I keep another small first aid kit.

Back inside the main pocket inside a side pocket I also have a light weight Mylar emergency blanket.


PITA45 February 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

Jethro rules I do like. But they are for working at NCIS. I have had my rules about having a knife for waaay to long. I wish I had a dime for every time someone has ask me, You got a knife? Most of the time my reply is Yes! Other times it is Yes! Why don't you?
One is none two is one!


Guest September 29, 2013 at 7:25 am

I carry a knife everyday because as a Boy Scout, you learn that on like, day 2. On day 1, if I recall, you learn the bowline and the motto, "Be Prepared"


Forester Archer February 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm

best distance weapon other than a gun? high powered (at least 60#) traditional bow. once you get the hang of it, you can shoot much faster than you could with a crossbow. as for hand to hand, i like the hanwai tactical wakizashi. and as for the knife, i like the united cutlery fixed blade tanto.


101matt February 9, 2013 at 9:11 am

Ok so what about a "HAWK" a tomyhawk is great tool for the woods and it has a 20inch handle/with the correct swing it will disarm anyone close!
Its a great tool for cutting and the correct one has a hammer head also.
I have one and tested it again a 14 inch log/well it stuck very well..My point is that its pacfic tool and has many uses just like every thing else.
But Its one of my MAIN carrys…and I dont leave home without it!

If and when I come against someone with a KNIFE…well I win…JMO


T.R. March 30, 2013 at 11:22 pm

I also have a hawk , I agree , its a fantastic tool , I ditched my machete in favor of one and have not gone back . Its a chopper , a hammer , a scraper , etc. , but not so big that its in the way . No wonder the frontiersmen always had one .


Guest September 29, 2013 at 6:59 am

@ bottom of page 2 I talked about my own experience with having a tomahawk handy after a bad storm in Florida and how what I thought was just a fun camp doohickey really saved our butts by way of serious, abusively hard labor – and that was just the cheap SOG 'hawk!

Also, the native Indians were onto something with the simultaneous 'hawk and knife combo, which is why the pioneers adopted the practice in-turn. WITH PRACTICE you can learn how to grapple with a tomahawk, to turn and trip opponents as well as land killing blows when the opportunity presents itself, meanwhile you can cut and slice with the knife much faster, primarily to wound and distract the enemy. Tomahawk fighting can be a pretty elaborate dance, but the natives were most deadly because of their gorilla tactics, so it rarely was drawn-out too long…


Guest September 29, 2013 at 7:19 am

Actually, if the assailant wielding a knife dodges your first swing then you're done because then he's within arm's reach and knife fighting is all elbow and wrist, not much swinging. If you intend to actually defend yourself with a tomahawk, not an axe, but a true 'hawk, then you need to practice and spar with a partner. As mentioned above, you can include a knife as well once you learn grappling techniques, but don't set yourself up for disaster. Utilizing a tomahawk as a weapon requires speed, finesse and good reflexes – a martial arts instructor would first advise you to choose an alternate weapon, but if you're determined then you'd learn that anything you have to swing is best utilized as a counterattack which means that you have to wait for them to attack you first. Yea, a 'hawk should make anyone think twice, but don't count on psychological warfare to save you when the adrenalines pumping.


john February 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Close range , like within 15 feet, wasp spray to the face is very effective to impair any advance. Be careful though, if they're gasping with their mouth open, it may kill them.


Richard Court February 24, 2013 at 9:50 am

What is wasp spray?.


Guest September 29, 2013 at 7:06 am

I'll never depend on any kind of aerosol to save my life, even the cops don't use it for that purpose and they carry it everyday! I've just known too many people blinding themselves with that stuff in the heat of the moment, whether by aiming it the wrong direction in a struggle or simply because the wind was blowing. Not to mention the ladies' friends who have given themselves a full dose in the face because what they thought was there BFF's perfume bottle (they sell those now, "disguised" you see) contained anti-rape spray!


notquite October 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

This is a myth. Wasp spray is exactly as useful as throwing the can at them.


Bob February 9, 2013 at 6:37 pm

The Tramontina 14 Inch Bolo Machete is an awesome non-tactical looking addition to your stuff. And at $8-$15, it will not break the bank. I dig with mine, chop vines, small limbs (up to 2 inches thick), baton with it, use it as scraper for fire starting, make feather sticks, use it as a fire poker as well as cutting cords, ropes.


Bill February 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Pepper spray. I am frequently miles from home or cell service in the woods on my trail runs and prefer not to carry my Ruger 9mm when I am running. My primary concern is mountain lions, not bears. My secondary concern is getting home if SHTF and I am faced with defending myself against the maddened hordes trying to do the same at my expense.



ThatGuyinCA February 21, 2013 at 9:32 am

Pepper spray isn't bad but is ineffective on a windy day or in close quarters (you get the effect as well). I would suggest a good bright handheld tactical flashlight with a deep strike bezel (hand sharpened with a dremel) and/or a powerful stun gun. A bright tactical can temporarily blind even during the day. And the idea that if you are in direct physical contact with the object you are stunning, you will be stunned as well is false. Also, if your concern is mountain lions the best defense (and only defense) is awareness. Mountain lions NEVER attack from the front. Their main preference is from behind and above. If they chase you down from behind, you won't hear them coming either. Best to look for signs and if you are coming up on a boulder or some other type of ledge, check it out before running by. If mountain lions truly are a concern, wear a daypack that extends to the base of your skull. Mountain lions ALWAYS go for the neck. This will foil it's first attack and allow you to fight back. Sorry for the two cents but knowledge is the best survival tool there is.


T.R. March 30, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Bears are bad enough , but easy to spot and avoid vs. by the time you see or hear a mountain lion ………….its too late , not to mention that they can jump up to 15 feet vertical in a single leap . We were doing work at the MN zoo one time and the mountain lion enclosure was right next to us , they would let them in at 7 every morning …………….. absolutely beautiful animals . But you dont get the real idea of their capabilities until you actually see them in action .


Dale Clark February 9, 2013 at 7:48 pm

it was very common for our Soldiers in Iraq and still is in Afghanistan to see a Tomahawk. I would have one myself if I knew anything about them.
I like the Roman idea with the spear that would bend and be almost unusable by anyone trying to employ it after the first use. It bends easily. I would like to find a weapon that for one reason or another would be useless to anyone trying to reuse it. I scratched my head until I had a wet spot and other than the Roman spear could not come up with a good and viable weapon like that.


T.R. March 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm

its called a Pilum , as you know , it was a soft iron "ice pick" like spearhead , with a pyramid shaped barb at the end . What made it work was the softball size hardwood ball that was fitted between the iron spearhead and the wooden shaft . The long , thin" ice pick " would literally be hammered into a body , shield , or the ground by the weight of the lumber , would go through armor and shields like butter …….then bend over from the weight of the lumber . This thing is dirt simple to make if you had to . Even improvised modern materials would work as long as you followed the Roman principle of WHY it worked . Roman legions were expected to be self reliant , they had their own blacksmiths , leather , wood working setups everywhere they went , so recovery and reservicing pent Pilums was no big deal for them . Great Idea !


Guest September 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm

@ bottom of page 2 I talked about my own experience with having a tomahawk handy after a bad storm in Florida and how what I thought was just a fun camp doohickey really saved our butts by way of serious, abusively hard labor – and that was just the cheap SOG 'hawk!

Are they some magical, untapped prepper resource that everyone needs to have? Not really, even while being light they are bulky for a bug out but nothing that can't be worked around with the right set-up. If you're bugging in though, there's really no reason not to have one. These kinda weird, seemingly outdated "niche items" like tomahawks, etc. in my experience, seem to be consistently over engineered to meet with approval from those willing to commit and, hopefully, recommend to others. What often raises the skeptical eyebrow from some will occasionally reward those willing to give weird gear a chance to prove itself.

Case in-Point:
Henry .22 Mare's Leg


no. October 16, 2013 at 8:16 am

That is called a Pilum. It is less of a spear and more of a javlin. I have never cared for specifically made throwing weapons. Why have a tool specifically designed to disarm you when you use it properly?


John February 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm

A knife, like a weapon (pistol etc.), is only effective if you know to use one. My Drill Sargeant emphasied grab anything to use as a weapon. I purchased five different Khukuris, (from eight in. to thirteen in.) and watched the videos on knife fighting. Check out the Gurkas and their methods of using a blade, very impressive. Practice, practice, practice makes perfect.


Guest September 27, 2013 at 3:29 pm

The Gurkhas – living proof not to ever underestimate the "little guy"

…Gurkhas, just d*man. I mean, d*mn. Show me the back door, I ain't that hardcore.


Donna guiffrida February 9, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Baseball bat, sticks, things like that-jab with them, hard, takes too long to swing and you seriously telegraph the move with a swing. Shovels are great and don't forget sharpening the edge of a trowel, it's a nasty cut. You can stab somebody with a fork too. I keep all kinds of stuff nobody thinks about around my house, garage and my car. All rooms of the house and some thing you can reach from each door and trunk of the car. Car has old screwdrivers, aim for the face, eyes and throat. Nothing wrong with some cool looking rocks around the yard that fit your hand well and you can hit with or throw. I also keep 12to16 inch wood dowels( a little bigger aroung than your thumb) tucked by every door in my car so I can smack the crap outta anybody messing me in a parking lot. Ladies, we have all gotten in a car with kids, groceries, etc. and NOT paid any attention to what were doing.
Get a plastic kubotan for a key chain, they are very hard and hurt like when used on the face, neck, jaw, back of hand or anywhere there is a pressure point. I have thrown a cup of coffee in somebody's face, it doesn't have to be hot, it's just a distraction, then run or hit them for all you're worth,. That or a soda works just as we'll when walking down the street or across a parking lot.
. Knives are great, get a butter knife ( yes, you need dull for this so you don't hurt anybody) and walk around for a whole day to get a feel for handling it and how you have to move to keep it usable. This drill is a lot like 'wax on, wax off' but it is a fantastic drill for getting muscle memory!
Any weapon you use, you have to be prepared to use, do not hesitate. If you hesitate, someone will take it away from you and probably use it on you. Best advice I ever got, " when in doubt, hit something, just hit!"
Great thing to do is walk around your house just like you we're going to baby proof it for a rambuncious toddler. The only difference is to think not what the kid can hurt themselves with, but, what can you hurt someone else with. Then start stashing seemingly everyday items around the house, car, garage, shed, and workplace. Yes, I keep a pen in my ponytail at work, ( no guns or knives there) in case anyone sneaks up on me in the warehouse, that pen hurts and gives me time to get away.
Keep it simple, keep it savage!
Donna g


steve February 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm

There's a smart girl!


ThatGuyinCA February 21, 2013 at 9:43 am

Like your style. Excellent advice on the Kubotan. You can find all the training you need on YouTube for free (for just about anything). More excellent advice regarding the jab with batons/bats, etc., people expect a swing, not a jab. The swing can come after jab and has a better chance of landing as the opponent will be stunned. On a side note since we are talking hand to hand, NEVER use a fist to strike anywhere but the body. Use the palm heel and elbow for head/face strikes.


T.R. April 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Old Spetsnaz saying : ' YOU are the weapon , everything else is a TOOL " few here are as well trained as Spetsnaz , but its a truthful statement about the need to get yourself training .


Franco R February 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm

When I was on a wildland firefighting crew I practiced taking down brush and small trees with a sharpened shovel. It's a wicked tool. With a little practice one can develop accuracy and learn when to put your weight on it for the best bite. I like your article very much. Add more options to the arsenal.


lonewolf14779 February 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I for one can not have guns here NY because I'm on SSI and just don't here the money, as of right now 4 knives, one folds, I one I like the best is my Swedish Mora Knife and a Hatchet…I have a Bow and 6 arrows at this time I also am making PVC bows easy to make and can be make to come a part the information for PVC bows is for THE BACKYARD BOWYER on youtube…The next thing I'm looking at to buy is a 20" Ninja Machete from BUDK it may be the best place to get knives from but it the best I get..Another thing you can get is a heavy duty Monkey Fist..Next I'm making a Stun-Gun…So if you just stop and think and look around your home you can find all kinds of weapons Yes I also like your article very much


SC Belle February 10, 2013 at 7:04 am

For our family's non-lethal weapon, we went with a stun baton. Unfortunately many areas that ban guns also ban stun guns. They must want only the bad guys to be safe.

Right now, our biggest group of customers is truck drivers who are no longer allowed to carry guns to protect themselves or their cargo. They prefer stun batons so they can keep the thugs away, but would rather have a trusty gun.

The model stun baton i prefer is…

In these uneasy times, all of the good guys need multiple types of defense. Great article to make us think about different items that can be used to protect our families.


labrat February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm

i go old school – a slingshot/ wrist rocket or a sling. you'll never run out of ammo, though it takes a lot of practice to be accurate with one


Daegar February 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Does 28 years of swordfighting count for anything? ;-)


Daegar February 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

of course it isnt worth anything if the other guy still has one bullet left….


BamaMan February 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm

like when indiana jones smoked that muslim. classic.


Minarchist_1776 February 11, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Many more years and many more pounds ago than I care to think about I was a half way decent collegiate fencer. The only real problem with fencing is that you would tend to look slightly out of place walking down the street wearing your cup hilt rapier :-) But I suppose you could also be in the Society for Creative Anachronism or some other group that specializes in recreating medieval/renaissance sword play.

Regardless of what style of swordplay you use it's not totally worthless. The English developed the technique of "single stick" which basically boiled down to using fencing tactics with a walking stick. Thus you would have the ability to have a weapon you're reasonably good with and not attract too much attention until you have to use it. If you do collegiate style fencing make sure to spend some time doing sabre. The foil and epee are a little too specialized to translate their tactics for other weapons, but sabre techniques will work better for that.


Guest September 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Actually, I believe that most of what's currently studied came from the Irish, who were disarmed by the tyrannical English monarchy, which in-turn, lead to the rise of the fighting shillelagh. See, the English weren't disarmed by their own government (back then) so had little need to learn self defense via wooden sticks, but the Irish on the other hand lost all their firearms and edged weapons, though it was considered a little too dishonorable to deprive old men of their walking sticks – which were often cored with solid iron ;-)


T.R. April 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

It will serve you well , you have to figure that #1 bullets eventually run out , and #2 , all the multitudes of lefties and liberals , do not own or know how to use firearms right now , they will be on the street with whatever they can grab , because they failed to arm properly . That will be the biggest group of people you will meet on the street by far . More people will be armed with knives than guns . Generally speaking .


Guest September 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm

and more people will be armed with blunt instruments than real knives, in-turn more will be armed with nothing. That is an excellent point though, I've heard very left leaning folks claim, when they allow themselves to foolishly be dragged into one of these conversations, that they're superior liberal minds will essentially win-out over conservative rednecks and that they'll simply utilize "tact" and "cunning" and "street smarts" to disarm whomever they choose because "a true survivor is resourceful in the moment" no preps required.

More of the "My Life Syndrome" obviously, the rest of us are just monkeys in their own personal, biographical stage play. The guy in question was dead serious and could not understand why I refused to see things his way or why I was laughing hysterically…


Guest September 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm

well, I wouldn't screw with you…


iriscutforth February 12, 2013 at 8:49 am

I have a problem with this Sandy Hook school story because it sounds like an "old story" in which some reporters got together to create a sensational story years ago. Gosh!?! If only I had money to snoop, I would want to check out their religious telephone calls to see which direction they go into because the last group were flying with a Hungarian calling himself a famous actor with ties to the newspapers…rite? Here again, sometimes, a writer, will do a set thing by using the news, so that he can say that he has the right to the copyrites…rite? But, look at the fallout for others who are responsible rifle/gun owners.


Tammy February 13, 2013 at 8:08 am

This is a great article. I live in NYC, getting a firearm license is expensive and inconvenient. I have alternate methods of protection out of necessity. Bear spray, crow bars, knives, I'm still saving to take rifle lessons in NYC you don't need a license to learn at the range with a borrowed rifle.


christian preper February 14, 2013 at 9:26 am

you can always cary a baseball bat and som mace and not atract attention


Guest September 29, 2013 at 6:40 am

if you live in the US that is, in the UK you can't even store a Cricket "stick" or whatever they call them, in a vehicle without also keeping the rest of your sporting equipment there as well for the sake of an alibi. If you actually use the thing in self-defense they'll still throw you UNDER the prison like a domestic terrorist or something…


christian prepper February 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

preper in incorect it is prepper


T.R. April 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm

IN is incorrect , it's preper IS incorrect it is prepper . You also forgot punctuation , as well as misspelling incorrect . Just sayin


doc July 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm

drink dr. prepper?


te-te February 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Personally, I'm a bit of an archery addict, so, for me, in absence of a regular old pistol or rifle, I'd go with a knife for everyday carry, and a hunting bow for home defense. If the feds finally do take all our firearms away, it'll be the only option.


seansafetykornr February 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm

I have been learning the skills of archery so that I can protect myself and family. I also have a nice survival knife for my everyday carry, as well as stun guns, pepper sprays and mace that I can use quickly and discretely.. I always carry this stun gun with me because it is small and your not going to notice it until it's too late..,auction_id,aucti…


Guest September 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I'm not shooting down your potential bow/arrow skills, but I wouldn't really depend upon that particular weapon for self defense. Not to knock it in general, mind you, it can be ideal for hunting or even when you've got the upper hand in an ambush situation, but the VERY FIRST TIME someone with a gun, any gun really (save single shot) makes you, you're done. There's no counter argument to that unless you're a serious Legolas-esque arrow slingin' wild man with that bow, just saying. Also, if it's really your primary then, oh yea, do you have a bow press? Probably not, right?


livetoseetomorrow March 12, 2013 at 10:33 am

Id like to believe the wife and I have enough ammo to sustain us for awhile but realistically if shtf and i didnt have a fire arm id be reaching for my estwing hammer or estwing camp axe


Thunderba March 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I have an asp. It's also called a collapsible baton. It's very compact and mine came with a case that has a belt loop. I have a buddy who is a police officer (who routinely carry them) and a crack head attacked him. One swing from his asp and the perp had a broken arm. I agree that hand to hand should be avoided but shooting someone isn't necessarily the default setting either. I will tell you exactly why I got one. Imagine Katrina. There is still law enforcement but not enough to protect you. You don't want them arresting you for shooting someone because they don't have time to investigate properly. It's easy to detain you for a few days. You might want to go to the local checkpoint to find out some news or god knows what reason and someone is bothering you. Of course if it escalates far enough then it's a no brainer but deadly force shouldn't be something that's used indiscriminately.


Guest September 27, 2013 at 2:54 pm

YES, agree with that one! They seem a little too "urban" to come to mind for most preppers who imagine bug outs as wilderness hideaways, but these things are no joke! They're not quite light enough to conveniently forget their presence on your belt, but not too heavy either. The one time I ever had to deploy one on a suspicious character who'd been following me and the dog one night, he immediately stopped, put-up his hands and backed away; just snapping one open from concealment gives the impression of "Just you try it, bub"

Also, lots of cops still hassle law abiding CCW and open carriers these days. Funny enough, when I used to carry one and a curious cop would ask about it, they were usually quite approving of the choice. We all know, if not understand, that they kind of have to investigate "potential trouble makers" like us but these things, all closed-up, don't really draw many stares or complaints from those who squeal to the cops about regular folks just trying to protect themselves. Could I get a response from any LEO's about this?


T.R. March 23, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I love the fact that you showed a picture of the " Spetsnaz " shovel ! I have two of them , they come sharpened and are very well balanced , it feels like an extension of your arm . This is not surprising , considering they are made by a knife company ( cold steel) . They are a very nasty weapon if you had to use it as such , as well as a multipurpose camp tool …………it will chop down a small tree of 3-4 inches( have done that out in the field ) . Now you can get a real spetsnaz "shapirka " from ebay or russian army stuff .com ……….if you wanted to , but the cold steel version works very well and will probably be less costly . For the money , its a great tool to have around . I gave away my machete in favor of this and their pipe hawk ( the pipe is actually a hammer pull , which I found very useful )


blind_redneck March 27, 2013 at 11:11 am

I like what was said from everyone, but when you are in the same boat as me, you can't really use guns, bows and arrows, or anything that you throw. My wife and I are both blind, so we train in MMA, and weapon training. So we can find and use anything as a weapon. I either have my seeing eye dog or my 70 inch cane everywhere I go.


Jen Johnson April 3, 2013 at 6:48 am

I metal detect and have gotten compliments on my Raven shovel from these folks. I've also noticed that I don't get bothered in parks anymore. I think it is an excellent dual purpose tool and the craftsmanship can't be beat.


T.R. April 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

I wonder what all the rocks and gravel do to the serrations . Just sayin .


Chris September 20, 2013 at 5:13 pm

To those who want to knock not having a firearm, it would do well to remember that not all readers here live in the USA ! some of us unfortunately do NOT live in a place where guns are or will be availible, so other means are needed, I chose some large bush knives and have learned to use a long bow, kubotan and other common hand tools, the firearms are in my safe, till I get home they must stay there, if an invader comes to my turf, then its still handy to use a non firearm !.


Guest September 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I know some people think of it as another passing craze, but after having to literally chop our way out of the remains of a campsite that had barely survived one of Florida's infamous out-of-nowhere micro downbursts, I'll never bug-out without one of those Tactical Tomahawks. Ours' was the affordable SOG Fusion 'hawk, but they can get pretty expensive. The way I see it, they're light weight, made well and scary looking. As for utility, you can chop wood all season long, hammer down stakes with the checkered side, and smash windows and climb inclines with the spike end. Admittedly, I may have spent the money after watching Last of the Mohicans one too many times, but since then these things pay for themselves, no doubt!


Guest September 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Also, that SOG model in particular is a replica of the American Military's classic V-Tac (Vietnam Tactical) Tomahawk, so you've got to assume they've earned their stripes by now, even though it was mainly field engineers who had access to them. Really, the only differences are both improvements; reinforced shaft and a row of whistlers drilled into the blade which are really for getting a better grip while retrieving the axe from whatever/whoever it may be stuck in, as pulling directly from the head will preserve the connection screws instead of prying it by the handle – pretty smart


Roger January 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I use a black metal pipe, 5 foot long, 7/8 inch OD, threaded on both ends as a multi-tool.
I can screw on and/or lash on a bayonet, a frog gig (for fishing), a shovel, a pick head, use it as a blow gun, walking stick/staff (use screw on end-caps), fishing rod, the possibilities are almost endless. I carry any add-on tools in a shoulder bag. You will not accidentally burn it or melt it, and if you break it (not easy to do), you can easily replace it, you can keep one or more in a vehicle! It really doesn't look like a weapon by itself, and it is a little heavier than a wooden staff, but much more durable. Wrapping some duct tape (or other, cloth tape for better grip) at about chest height will fit your hand better and make it less cold in cold weather!


Rich January 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

One of my favorites is the Carpathian shepherd's axe (Polish: ciupaga; Hungarian: fokos; Slovakian: valaska). It combines a hatchet head with a walking stick, and a sharp point for either defensive use or for walking on ice/rocks. United Cutlery sells a commercial version (also available with a medieval-ish war hammer head), but I wouldn't trust a stainless steel head (stainless tends to be hard and brittle, if it is hard enough to hold an edge, so it could chip out badly if you hit something substantial). Mine uses a hand-forged head, with an ash haft and an ice walking tip pinned to the other end (which has a rubber cap over it for walking on normal terrain). Great for splitting kindling, extra support while walking, or for emergency self-defense.


Rich January 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm

I like short swords, myself – not stainless fantasy pieces and decorative wallhangers, but properly tempered carbon-steel blades, 18-24 inches long. Longer than 24 inches and a blade is too awkward in close quarters (unless you've got really long arms and can pull a longer blade back to stab – still awkward…). In fact, I am currently having a custom grosses messer (German single-edged sword with a handle constructed like a knife handle rather than a sword grip) with a 21-1/2" blade made for me.


Critical J June 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm

as I’m sure, on some initial planning scale, many of us have allowed Hollywood to influence at least a few of our equipment choices; I mean, even in today’s modern world, who doesn’t want a matching pair, .45 lever and wheel gun combo – am I right?

Some, these days, are members of the katana cult of mall ninjas and for them, nothing else will suffice. Some allow their attentions and finances to drift towards the new wave of cheap, lime green exotics or even the high end products from the folks over at Zombie Tools.

For me, if I could lay influential blame anywhere, it would probably be at fault of the old pioneer era films. For a long time, as a backwoods southern boy, I just knew I needed to have a Bowie knife, until I watched Last of the Mohicans as a kid. The whole knife/tomahawk thing is actually pretty logical, exit firearms. Also, a full-sized Buck Special or an affordable SOG ‘hawk on their own are highly utilitarian, so many of us are likely to have such items on hand anyway!


Critical J June 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm

It should be noted that different people will have different preferences by way of their own individual physiques. If your impromptu party includes a 30 year old Army vet and a 12 year old Girl Scout and you have a baseball bat and a switchblade to disciminate between them, “who gets what?” should be an easy conundrum to solve.

On the subject of females, in a SHTF type scenario where women must suddenly take new stock of their physical limitations and vulnerabilities (ex: Rwandan Holocaust of 1990s where rape was the rule, not the exception), acquisition of small and easily concealable edged weapons would probably become a priority on one level or another, for girls with any modicum of situational awareness.

If you are a woman or know one of whom’s welfare you are responsible, consider the karambit. This small, contoured blade from the indo-china regions was originally designed for gardening and harvest time, but at street level, garnered such nicknames “The Courtesan’s Friend” etc. Sex workers from India to Indonesia and the Philippines were infamous for carrying karambits on their persons, even tied-up in their hair.

A karambit’s talon-like inwardly curved razor blade is commonly wielded in both positions, up and down; for the prostitutes who primarily promoted the blade’s notorious reputation, when faced with a frontal assault the karambit would be wielded with the hook above the thumb in a traditional knife fighting grasp, for clawing at the attacker’s forearms. If the wielder did wind-up on their back, the blade could also be used in the reverse grip, with the hook positioned at the bottom of the fist, beneath the pinky, for upwards raking slashes at the attacker’s belly and groin area. Add to this that, now standard by modern considerations, a finger loop is built straight into the handle, karambits cannot be adult wrestled from one’s grasp…

Trying for a freebie in regions of the world was, indeed, risky business. If one can get past any non-intentional connotations, the karambit is an ideal daily carry, anti-rape weapon for the ladies. If I had daughters, they’d each be receiving one in their Christnas stockings!


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