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4 Deadly (And Easy-To-Make) Self-Defense Weapons

weapon 2 -- richGuns have been referred to as “the great equalizer,” and there’s no weapon which can come close to them in that regard. A lot of the popularity of firearms is due to the fact that anyone can use them effectively, not only the strong and agile. The young, the old, men, women and child can take up firearms in defense of home and family and do so effectively.

But what do you do if you can’t use a gun – or if you don’t have a gun — to protect yourself?

It only makes sense to have a backup plan. That way, in the case that a firearm malfunctions, you run out of ammunition or somehow get separated from your weapons, you still have a way of defending yourself and your family.

Common Alternate Weapons

When people think of alternate weapons, they either think of non-lethal weapons or they think of two of the most common weapons in history. Those are the knife and the bow. Both are excellent weapons, but they have one drawback as a secondary weapon: They require extensive training to use effectively. Unless you are willing and able to spend the necessary time to become proficient with them, owning those weapons really isn’t much of a benefit.

The non-lethal weapons, such as a taser and pepper spray, don’t require much in the way of training, but are extremely limited in range. This makes them a poor choice for more than avoiding a mugger or rapist. Even then, I’m not all that sure how effective they would be, unless you were able to catch the assailant off-guard and use them. They would not be effective in a situation where there was a breakdown of society and you had to defend your home.

Introducing Melee Weapons

Melee weapons are weapons created for the purpose of use in a melee. According to, a melee is “a confused hand-to-hand fight among several people.”

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There are two basic problems with being caught in hand-to-hand combat. First of all, the person who has practiced with his or her weapon has a distinct advantage. Second, the advantage always goes to those who are stronger and have a longer reach. That makes hand-to-hand combat a bad place to find yourself, especially if you don’t have an equalizer with you.

Berserker Weapons – a Sub-Category of Melee Weapons

Criminals use their weapons primarily to intimidate. That’s why many use a knife. They aren’t expert knife fighters, nor do they really want to gut you like a fish, regardless of what they say. They want to scare you with that knife. Even so, they aren’t really all that concerned about hurting you. So, the worst thing you can do is meet them without a weapon or with a knife, giving them the advantage.

Okay, so what do you use? That’s where the weapons below come in. These melee weapons could also be referred to as berserker weapons, because they are the type of weapons that you just go berserk with. While training would help, the main idea is to just beat on them with the weapons. Violence, not training, gives you the advantage.

Making Simple Melee (Berserker) Weapons

What’s the advantage of these weapons? Simple: It’s reach. If a criminal is coming at you with a knife in his hand, the reach is limited to the length of his arm. On the other hand, if you are holding a weapon that’s two or three feet long, you’ve got a longer reach than they do, even if your arms are shorter. So, when it comes down to it, you’ve got the advantage.

1. The Quarterstaff — The quarterstaff is just a wood pole. Perhaps it is easiest to think of it as a long walking stick. Originally, they ran from six- to nine-feet long; but in reality, it’s hard to work with one that’s more than six-feet long. You’re likely to spend more time hitting the ground than you are your assailant.

weapon 1 -- richIn the Middle Ages, when one wanted a quarter staff, they simply cut off an appropriate tree branch or sapling, about two to three inches in diameter. It should be fairly stiff wood, but lightweight. The biggest trick is finding a long-enough branch that is straight. I tried a willow branch and it was too flexible. Then I tried an oak branch and it looked like a crooked finger. The best I did was to improvise one by grabbing a closet rod. This works if you have wood closet rods. The metal ones have built-in hangers on the ends, so they are a bit awkward as a quarterstaff.

In use, the quarterstaff is held in both hands, dividing the staff in three sections. The middle section is used for blocking and both of the ends can be used for striking. A sweeping blow from a quarterstaff carries enough force to cause considerable pain or even knock an opponent unconscious. An assailant with a knife doesn’t stand a chance.

2. The Axe — Although not something you normally make yourself, the axe is a natural berserker-style melee weapon, especially the axes they had in olden times. Modern axes aren’t quite as good, because the blade is extremely short, but axes in olden times had a much longer blade.

A warrior armed with an axe could put fear into the heart of an experienced swordsman. That’s because there is no art or science in swinging an axe. More than anything, the axe is held in two hands and swung with pure wild abandon. This makes the axe-wielding warrior unpredictable; therefore, it’s hard to counter in battle. The longer the handle on the axe and the heavier the head, the more that damage can be inflicted.

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If you want to use an axe as a weapon, I’d recommend buying a double-bitted axe. A standard woodcutting axe has two things against it. First of all, the head is off-balance, with almost all the weight to one side. That will tend to make that side turn downward, rather than being naturally pointed at the enemy. Secondly, the handle is curved, which is great when you’re cutting a tree, but horrible when you’re using it as a weapon.

The modern incarnation of the tomahawk really isn’t at all like an axe. First of all, it’s mostly intended to be a throwing weapon. But even when used in the hand, it is a single-handed weapon for striking; you really can’t go crazy with one, like you can with an axe.

3. Spear — The spear is another very simple weapon. Spears have evolved throughout the history of warfare, being one of the first actual manufactured weapons. Those early spears were about four to five feet long and hard wood points. American Indians chipped stone points for their spears, and the Europeans made metal points for them, once they learned how to work metal. In the later Middle Ages, spears became much longer, as they were intended to be used against men on horseback.

For a melee weapon, a four- to five-foot long spear works well. You can make one easily by taking a knife blade (with the handle removed) and inserting it in a slot cut into the end of your spear shaft. Binding the blade in place with strong cord, strapping or duct tape would finish off the spear. Not fancy, but functional.

It is easy to make your own spear point by grinding a piece of metal, much as I explained in the article on how to make your own knives. As an alternate plan, you could grind a spear point from a piece of 1/8-inch thick steel strap. The edges don’t have to be as sharp as they are for a knife, as the spear is mostly intended to be used as a piercing weapon.

4. Spiked Club — Man’s oldest weapons were the rock and the stick. The stick gave the advantage of reach over the rock held in the hand, but in turn the rock could be thrown, giving an even greater reach. Many of our weapons can trace their roots all the way back to those two basic weapons — none more obviously than the club.

A club is merely a heavy stick. Weight is important, especially at the stroking end of the stick, as the weight improves the velocity and force of the impact. Another thing that helps a lot is to put spikes on the business end of the club. Then, not only does the club provide blunt-force trauma, but also piercing trauma when it strikes.

All you have to do to make a spiked club is find an appropriate piece of tree branch for the club itself. This may require a little bit of whittling on the handle end, to make it thin enough to get a good grip on. You can then hammer nails into the striking end of the club, to be used as spikes. Cut off the heads of the nails and then grind points on them to complete the spikes.

Don’t worry about making your spiked club pretty; generally speaking, the uglier they are, the better they work. Oh, and, the easiest way to grind points on your spikes is to grind their ends at an angle, rather than trying to grind them to a conical point.

What is your favorite alternative weapon? Share your tips in the section below:

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  1. Great article. My favorite is from Scotland and Ireland, “A Rock in a Sock” a dice round rock the size of a baseball in a sock may be easily swung with great force and is almost impossible to defend against.

    Keep up the good work. Pop ’em up the side of the head!

  2. With the spear I have added barbed wire wrapped around shaft 10-12 inches below the spears blade. Would keep assailant from grabbing end of spear.

    • The problem with the barbed wire is that it may be entangled in clothing if it hits an assailant. That could make your spear useless to you if it is entangled and you cannot free it.

    • I think of some one who challenges me (a 73 Year old woman) as a vulnerable Target just get a bicycle inner tube, attach a large hook on the inner tube then about 25 feet of gaucho wire (very sharp and thin barbed wire) coil the barbed wire in a series of loops and tie a ribbon around the loops. at the other end fasten a wood handle. when he attacks run if you have something he wants he will chase run through a area where there are a few trees hook the large hook on a small tree keep running holding the wood handle, when you see him pass the tree run till the inner tube is stretched to it’s max and cut back towards him in a wide circle once you have passed him release the handle and keep running. the gaucho wire will curl back and drawn by the inner tube cut the attacker to shreds. then you escape.

    • Oooh, I like this tip, thank you!

  3. These are all great “apocalypse” weapons and are very likely to be the same weapons to be found in the hands of criminals, looters and predators, first! Plus, battling with these things is a brutal and grizzly business.

    Of course, today just having such obvious home made weapons of destruction in your possession might well be illegal. Having things as common as a “truckers tire club” or a common “baseball bat” in your car or in hand on a public street is illegal in many states and liberally governed cities today.

    Personally, since I walk with a bit of a limp anyway, I always carry and walk in public with a cane when I go to the big city. (Not your ordinary cane either). Mine is the hardwood type used for “punching cattle” that can be purchased at any farm and ranch supply.

    I’ve never been challenged by a cop, but I once turned away two wannabe knife carrying muggers. I think I broke the arm of one, before they both ran for his lives!

  4. 1. Golf club (iron)
    2. Pick axe handle. Most effective when held loosley in the left hand. using your right hand to drive the head
    forward, into the chest, face or solar plexus. Then you can take a full double handed swing to the (fatal),
    or the knee (incapacitating).

  5. It really doesn’t matter what weapon you have access to if you don’t have the mindset to employ it. So one must ask themselves….. “How willing to become violent am I?” If you can’t honestly say that you are prepared to gouge someones eyes out……. rupture ear drums…… crush a windpipe or break a knee….. then you’ll likely come up short in a CQC situation.

    I teach my family that the best weapon you have is your brain and your ability to think creatively when necessary. 2nd thing in their favor is situational awareness. ALWAYS be scanning your surroundings for things which don’t seem quite right or out of place. Item number 3 is the willingness to be as violent as necessary to save your life…… which means being willing to render an opponent non-functional in the shortest time possible by attacking parts of the human body when make it impossible for that person to continue fighting. (groin, eyes, ears, throat, etc)

    Also….. remember that a “weapon” is anything that gives you a tactical advantage…. and usually you won’t need more than a second or two. For example…. if I have a hand in my pocket and flip a handful of loose change into your face….. your instinctive reaction is for your hands to come up in front of your face for protection. While your hands are there I have access to your windpipe, groin, knees, solar plexus, ears…. etc. As they say… a target rich environment. ANYTHING can be a weapon and give you that one or two second advantage you need to gain the upper hand. Just remember that once you begin you CANNOT stop or slow down your attack until the bad guy is no longer able to continue.

    • You are the only one on here that actually seems to know what he is talking about. Fantasies about makeshift weapons are all very well if you have serious practise in their use, and depend on you having the leisure to make them when the fan splatters the brown stuff. In my experience, a weapon is useful to you only if a) You know how to use it b) Are prepared to go all the way, if necessary to the death.
      If you cannot match these two basic criteria, then a weapon of any type is just a liability to you. Your opponent WILL take it away, then almost certainly hurt you with it.

  6. I prefer the SPEAR, myself A really simple version is 5 foot peice of 1 and 1/2 inch angle iron cut off on the business end at a sharp angle. You can also buy good spear points at “Celtic or Scotish Festivals” for mounting on wooden poles.

    It is very hard to attack or defend against a spear and I fee well protected defending myself with one. It is a thrusting weapon that is both quck and unpredictable–and potential LETHAL if need be.

    Most people are not adept at using thse weapon, or defeding against them–Which puts those of us who HAVE practiced (as in Medevial temed social clubs) at a distinct advantage. Their proper use is not obvios

  7. Being a woman I own a gun , I also keep a couple cans of wasp spray around the house. A good 25 feet, should take him off guard till I get my gun ready!

  8. Seems that a baseball bat would make an excellent spiked club. Easy to grip. Gives new meaning to Louisville slugger.

  9. Cut a piece of chain to the length of your liking, possibly eighteen inches. Wrap tape on six or so inches of one end for a handle. This makes a “spinning chain”. Walk in with it spinning ahead, to the side, or over your head.

  10. Why do you say a knife takes extensive training, but a spear or quarterstaff doesn’t? Guys in prison kill each other with sharpened spoons–grab, stabstabstab whatever is accessible, repeat to the neck. I’m also amused that you think the slight curve of an axe handle will somehow hinder you when you’re swinging as hard and fast as you can — are you aiming at a freckle on the guy’s forehead?
    You can make anything into a complex martial art, but there’s no reason to. Grab whatever you favor and practice hitting something with it. If you have a buddy, pad the weapons and hit each other, you’ll learn everything you need to know unless you plan to enter rule-heavy duels and contests.

  11. For a ready made berserker check out the Pickaroon made by Dixie industries, available at Norther Tool, Its a 36 in hickory handled kind of a hook blade ax , real nice tool as well, which it actually is.

  12. How about a sheleleah. They were so devastating at one time even owning one was outlawed. It’s nothing more than a tree limb with the upper part of a small tree made into a mallet. This is where the golf club came from.

  13. Here in the rural west of Texas a steel fence combination tool is quick and nice for up close work, in fancy duds, a oak walking stick with shiny brass bulldog keeps the mess at arms length.

  14. living in the uk were the carrying any weapon for the purpose of self defence is illegal i have trained with a walking stick and use a iron wood cane or my cold steel blackthorn shillelagh and can personally attest they both are capable of making multiple attackers non functional but as the reverend joe states unless you have the right mindset any weapon is useless you mite aswell be carrying a daffodil i recommend reading tim larkins book on the psychology of violence from target focus training

  15. Nothing beats a staff. Easy to make, great reach, and everyone has swung a stick… Having thrown javelin in high school and college, I prefer a good spear. I used to warm up by throwing it and objects nearby and developed pretty good accuracy. If you are going to throw your spear, you better have a back-up.

  16. Make a 3″ diameter monkey fist, using a large nut, (as in metal, not tree), for the inside filler piece. Dip it in poly repeatedly until it is a solid mass of hardness. Make your line about 36″ and swing away.

  17. I took a fairly sturdy metal fork (only some forks are useful for this, just experiment with them. You want a long handle and fairly thick metal, and the spikes fairly close together) I used the natural curve of the spikes as a start and wrapped the metal handle into an oval, with the very tail end of it “bracing” the front of the spikes so it can’t collapse on your hand. I used actual rubber tape, for a grip, it isnt cheap and you can probably just use hockey tape. It makes a really nice punching weapon and if you really want to do some crazy damage you could bend one or two of the fork spikes outward for a punch-dagger type of effect

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