View Full Version : in-flight improvised weapons

September 2, 2002, 05:13 PM
I've been trying to come up with good ideas for decent cqb weapons that you can actually take on a plane. I can no longer take my favorite security blanket, the long-neck bottle. Anyone have any good suggestions?

How about a pair of socks and something small, dense, and hard, like a billiard ball or a can of spam. Put the object in the doubled-up pair of socks, then whack the nearest islamikazi in the head.

A padlock and a headphone/power cord might do the trick as well.

I understand that canes are allowed on board, but I haven't tried taking one on a flight yet. Would a good hardwood cane or a Cold Steel City-Stick make it past a checkpoint? how about a 2-piece pool cue?

"CIA Letter Openers" seem like a good way to end up in jail.

September 2, 2002, 06:28 PM
A hardwood or baboo walking stick perhaps? Steel would seem too conspicuous, me thinks.

An extendable umbrella in your carry-on bag is also an option. A steel pen in your coat pocket is another idea (if allowed)

There aren't a huge number of ready-made weapons, unless your cabin provides steel knives and forks. Even a walking stick or cane is tricky to use in such confined spaces. The best thing might be to use 'sticky hand' techniques or grappling takedowns.

September 2, 2002, 06:53 PM
Among a short list of things that I carry/would consider good to carry:

** Several sharpened number 2 pencils
** A nice heavy harbound text book, probably somthing on the lines of an accounting text would do just fine
** A hand towel
** High school or college alumni rings
** Salt

All of these(they are not all but some of the more common) could be used for defense/offense if you think about it, and realize the potential uses of each.

Hard Ball
September 2, 2002, 07:22 PM
Try a good quality hardwood cane. Very effective and no problem in carrying on board an air liner and having available at your seat. :cool:

September 2, 2002, 08:16 PM
IIRC someone posted here that canes are being stowed out of the way in overhead bins...so that if there is an in-flight emergency they won't get in the way of other passengers ( :rolleyes: ).

Of course, that doesn't explain how the handicapped individual is supposed to get out of the other passengers' way without his cane, but raising that issue would require logic and common sense.


September 3, 2002, 12:03 AM
SALT! That's a really good idea. An eyeful of that stuff will make it awfully hard to defend against much. A fire extinguisher full of the stuff would be great for chasing away unwanted guests.

This might be a bit complicated, but I've seen someone make a hell of a fireball by blowing non-dairy creamer past a cigarette lighter with a straw. I don't supposed hairspray is allowed on board. You could ruin someone's day with a flaming gout of aquanet.

September 3, 2002, 02:54 AM
Try a cognac or wine bottle. They have them on board, or you can carry one on with no questions asked. You could break it off at the neck easily for a nice improvised stabbing weabon. I like the billiard ball/sock idea!
The lavatory mirrors could be broken into shards...

Dave R
September 3, 2002, 12:36 PM
The power "brick" for a laptop computer would prolly be a good weapon. If its the kind with the cord permanently attached. A strong pen would make a good stabbing weapon.

September 3, 2002, 12:47 PM
A sturdy fountain pen would be good probably. Or maybe the Fisher Space Pen. I knew those things were good for something!

September 3, 2002, 01:01 PM
I am told that a CD can be snapped in half, producing two not-perfect but usable slashing weapons.


September 3, 2002, 01:54 PM
I split a cd in "half" once and all I got was a lot of plastic splinters. It didn't so much split as shatter and fragment. None of the fragments was big enough to use as an effective blade nor were they particularly sharp. I suppose anything will do in a pinch, but breaking a cd would be a last resort to get a sharp object.

September 3, 2002, 02:12 PM
Here's where I get to show off:D ..just a little. (Long time in unarmed martial arts)...also having known some hard time prisoners....

1) Heavy soap bar in a sock. (a flailing weapon)
2) Handful of heavy coins in a sock.(a flailing weapon)
3) Belt with a heavy buckle. ( CQB brass knuckle)
4) Belt (a garrote type weapon)
5) Shoe with a hard heel (taps?) (a short clubbing weapon)
6) Keys (CQB stabbing weapon)
7) Sturdy pens (raking or stabbing weapons)
8) Shoe on feet(shin and knee kicks)
9) Food tray (shield) Frisbee type weapon.
10) Near full water bottle.
11) Telescoping pointer.
12) Cup of hot water(Distraction type weapon)
13) Correctly rolled up section of newspapper.
14) Elastic suspenders (CQB slingshot)
15) Etc., etc. (you get the idea)

September 3, 2002, 03:43 PM
13) Correctly rolled up section of newspapper.

OK, I'll bite.

How do I correctly roll-up a paper to make it into a weapon?

David Blinder
September 3, 2002, 08:22 PM
I tend to break improvised weapons down into four categories:
1) impact weapons- Any item that has weight and be be used to effectively strike. (see earlier posts for suggestions)
2) distraction weapons- Any object to distract so that you can escape or counter attack (spit, soda, dirt, magazine, etc.)
3)edged or pointed weapons- Any item used to slash or stab. (pen,fork,keys, broken bottle, etc.)
4) shields or barriers- Anything you can put between you and your attacker to protect you against a blow, weapon or as an obstacle. (wall, another bad guy, your own mother-in-law, seat cushion, briefcase, etc.)

Just use your imagination and you to can quickly master the ancient art of fork fighting.

Long Path
September 3, 2002, 09:51 PM
One can never overstate the utility of duct tape.

Break a glass or a makeup mirror, tape the largest shards to flashlight, roll of pencils, or the like, and you have a mean slashing weapon.

Bind your attackers when you've got them immobilized.

Join items, like pens and pencils, for more effective weapons. Make gripping surfaces. If your attackers are armed with edged weapons, as in 9/11, use it to armor your arms and hands. Heck, you could even pull a Mall Ninja (tm) and use it to tape a panel to your chest. I would suggest a paperback atlas or a heavy magazine.

What's your greatest weapon? The refusal to be a victim, and the mindset that insists that deadly force is to be met with instant, furious force that far exceeds what is necessary to put your attacker down.

September 4, 2002, 05:54 PM

Flour is also a good item. It combusts and can explode under the right conditions. Although, you might get delayed walking into an airport with a bag full of flour.

September 5, 2002, 01:20 PM
Roll up a copy of Maxim magazine as hard as you can. Hold one end so that the long part of the magazine extends down from the fist. Bring down in a hammer fist motion and you can mess someone up real good. This is also good for blocking blade attacks. There is nothing suspect about bringing a magazine on a plane.

Pull the AirFone out of its cradle in the seat in front of you. Yank until the cord pops out. Hold the end of the cord and swing the phone as a weapon or use the cord as a garotte (if you know how to do that kind of thing).

The CD thing works but you have to break it just right.

A credit card can be sharpened down to and edge, but its more effective to break it diagonally and use the corner as a stabbing weapon.

The floating seat cushion makes for good distraction and as a sheild against slashing attacks.

Laser pointers can blind an assailant.

Edited to add: Muslims believe that looking at a naked woman is unclean and they must make ablution if they see one, or they won't get the eternal reward. It they're the martyr type hijackers, have the stewardess or a female companion disrobe. They get reluctant if they think they won't get into heaven when they're done flying into a building.

September 6, 2002, 12:08 PM
Why hasn't anyone mentioned the obvious? The dinner cart! Have some big dude get behind it, have several other big dudes "brick up" behind him, and run with it. Seat cusions are indeed good shields against smaller bladed weapons.

Or, take off your shoes and put them on your hands if confronted with a knife; slap the blade away...could distract someone long enough for your buddy to clock him with a fire extinguisher.

Really, though, isn't this an academic exercise at this point? Does anyone thikn the box knife trick is going to work again?

Long Path
September 6, 2002, 04:57 PM
I'm not sure whether OTMG Jr. has a point or not, but the disrobing of the females is certainly worth a shot.

I think that exigency/contingency planning is always worthwhile. On a plane, in a courthouse, where ever hostages may be taken-- will you be willing to be taken against your will, without a fight?

Cans of cola and the little 6 oz glass bottles of club soda would make mean projectiles to throw.

Wear good solid boots on board.

Consider the possible effects of depressurizing the cabin. (warning! May be more harm than good!)

Don't forget the Smokehouse almonds. (No, they're not really a weapon, but they're really, really good!)


Mark D
September 6, 2002, 06:14 PM
Grab a blanket/curtain (coat or shirt works too) and wrap it around your weak arm and let the rest of the fabric hang off of your arm like a Bullfighter. Do not attempt to block blades with your arm, rather, entangle them with the loose cloth hanging below. This technique dates back to the 1300's or so.

Hot coffee/water/tea would make a good disabling attack.

Tear the overhead stowage doors off the hinges, use as a shield.

Depending on the construction of the cart... Destroy the food cart and part it out for weapons.

Remove and dismantle the Attendant Stations. There are usually corded mics there that would make good flails.

Memory serves that there are small fire extinguishers available in the galleys. Good distraction/irritant/club.

A grisly option, but one to remember... Any dead passengers or crew can be used as improvised ballistic shields.

Best option: A realistic and non-PC security apparatus that prevents hijackers from ever getting on the plane.

September 7, 2002, 08:49 AM
On the seat cushion idea, if it fails to block the blade, you could always use it to smother the BG. A few seconds of all those latent pillow farts would take the fight out of anyone! :D

4 Eyed Six Shooter
September 7, 2002, 04:18 PM
Right after 9-11 one piolet got on the intercom and announced that if anyone stood up and announced a hi-jacking that all passingers were to throw everything that they had at the person and then rush them with blankets. It would work.
Hairspray is allowed on flights and could be used as a close quarters mace.

September 8, 2002, 01:39 AM
Hairspray is allowed on flights and could be used as a close quarters mace.

I was thinking more along the lines of an improvised flame-thrower.

September 8, 2002, 02:18 AM
Fires fuelled by aerosol cans aren't all that hot. I've been at the wrong end of those flames, and damage is usually only superficial, unless if it's a prolonged exposure.

Besides, you have to be careful that you don't:
1. Hold the lighter too close that the fire gets sucked into the can and explode.
2. Hold the lighter too far that you hurt your own hand.

Better to use it as a make-shift irritant.

BTW, fire extinguishers are an excellent idea. It won't stop someone, but it's a huge distraction, and can be very difficult to deal with when being sprayed in the face. Not to mention the fog it creates.
Someone could distract the Tango with it, then have a #2 guy run him down with a food-trolley, and then start stomping and bludgeoning.

September 9, 2002, 08:53 AM
I didn't see if anyone mentioned the really good stuff......all the bags stored in the overhead compartments....the carry on bags....good shields! (to rush the BG's forming a wall)
Otherwise, they could provide hours of fun distracting everyone by opening each bag to see what's inside.

Depending on how thick the newspaper is? Get it about eight inches long then roll it as tight as possible. Hold it like you're going to hammer strike with long exposed side downward, strike at eyes, throat, soft points of the body....or hold it like a stabbing knife strike at chest level, then strike upwards at soft points.
If you didn't make the rolled up newspaper tight enough? Don't depend upon it as a striking tool after the first hard impact.
Saw it used effectively twice.

Other times, I saw it used? When it was used to fake out the BG...one time, there was a pipe inside the newspaper. Other time, the guy had taped razors on the rolled up newspaper...devastating weapons...completely caught the opponent off guard.

Long Path?
Can we explore that stewardess disrobing as a distraction again? Never looked at it from that angle before....self-defense tool, ey?

September 12, 2002, 02:28 PM
DR. Martin boots. 100% legal and reliable, and effective.

September 12, 2002, 10:15 PM
Empty can of soda: crimp the center and work it back and forth a few times to fatigue the metal, then rip the can in two. That metal edge is VERY sharp. You can palm the top/bottom of the can safely and use it as a nice slashing weapon.

September 13, 2002, 02:46 AM
-- the overhead compartment doors or lavatory doors would make nice shields.
-- the oxygen tank or fire extinguisher would make nice impact weapons
-- lavatory faucets would make nice metal knuckles
-- airfone(tm) would make a great blackjack
-- bottles from the galley could be broken into shards

September 13, 2002, 10:32 AM
Zap 'em with the on-board defibulator.


September 13, 2002, 10:12 PM
Just came back from a trip where I had 3 carabiners clipped onto the outside of my day pack/carry-on luggage. Wasn't quesioned even once on the 4 separate planes I rode on, though I did have my shoes x-rayed twice.

They'd make good knuckledusters, or can be used to connect my leather belt to my cluster of keys for a flail weapon.

September 18, 2002, 09:18 AM
I'm not sure whether OTMG Jr. has a point or not, but the disrobing of the females is certainly worth a shot.<<

I agree, but the topic here is self-defense ;)

September 18, 2002, 11:29 AM
I'm not sure whether OTMG Jr. has a point or not, but the disrobing of the females is certainly worth a shot.

I agree, but the topic here is self-defense

It certainly is. If my wife got wind of my trying that, I'd definitely be in need of self defense ;)


September 18, 2002, 03:58 PM
Guys, airplanes are probably the safest places to be. Passengers have pretty much learned that a "victim" mentality will get them killed, and I suspect that the next "real" hijacker will end up in pieces.

HOWEVER, there are numerous "Unarmed Victim" zones that one may consider. Was at a mall the other day with the girlfriend. We were chatting, and I remarked that large public places with crowds made me nervous. She wondered why. I told her that there were too few entrances/exits, and that a half dozen terrorists with handheld weaponry could likely successfully herd the majority of the shoppers (a few hundred) into a central place, and kill a large number of 'em before the police even knew that they had a problem. I think she started thinking.

September 19, 2002, 10:33 AM
I always have a flashlight with me, flying or not. One of the high speed SureFires works great as a distraction and as a pocket stick. And of course a bright blue or red MiniMagLite ($10 at a Wally World near you) was designed to work as a Kubaton and works very well as a pocket stick.

But, of course, what will always make the difference is your mindset, focused aggression and an absolute refusal to give up.

Someone once relayed a "mindset story" to me, they said it was an old Celtic tale. Anyway, the gist of it is this: The young, unbloodied soldier asked the old, battle hardened warrior "what was it like?", "How do you know what to do?" and hundreds of other questions. The old warrior responded, "Go into every battle having decided that if the enemy should cut off your head, you must pick up your head, tuck it under your arm, and destroy the one that did this to you."

Now, I've probably gotten the story a little wrong, but the message still comes through, I think. MINDSET. MINDSET. MINDSET.


September 19, 2002, 12:16 PM
On a serious note regarding disrobing females, remember that the a number of the terrorists that hijacked the planes on 9/11 hung around in nudie bars and drank alcohol. They would not have been any more distracted by a naked woman than you or I.


September 19, 2002, 01:14 PM
I was at a gun show here in God's country over the weekend, and came across a bin full of one piece molded kydex knives, about 6 inches long, selling for 3 bucks apiece.
On closer examination, they had no really effective cutting edge (though you might be able to change that with a file or dremel), but the wicked spear-shaped point made them a very effective stabbing/gouging/ripping weapon.

When I saw them, I immediately thought of this post; since they are not metal, they'd go right through a detector/x-ray in a boot, planner, briefcase, or backpack.

Could work for the badguys, too...but hey, if everybody's carrying, the playing field's level, right?

Add the 'No Victims' mindset, and those BG's are in for a hell of a flight. Or fight. Or both.

Anybody else seen these?

September 20, 2002, 11:57 AM
I'd have it coated with a good grade of lubricant, because if you get caught with it past the airport security zone...

September 22, 2002, 04:52 PM
Hi, Lots of interesting ideas, but I think the most effective weapon is realization of the situation & the consequences. You might get cut/injured but the alternatives are a lot worse. The first 2 plane's passengers & pilots thought it was a highjacking & acted according to the airline's policy( compliance). The third plane's passengers did the right thing knowing of the terrorist's intentions. The sheer numbers of unarmed strong willed people taking action is more effective than any improvised weapon in my opinion. nuke their ass take their gas!

September 23, 2002, 12:27 PM
I always thought that an X-acto knife would be really easy to get onto a plane. Just fill a pocket of your carryon bag with lots of metallic pens/pencils, and then stick the X-acto in with them.
For added camouflage, you might even stick a metal pen-cap onto the X-acto.

I was also thinking of the split soda can technique, too.

Of course, I think that Bogie is right. It's unlikely that there will be another series of hijackings that are as orchestrated as 9|11.

Assuming that there's a chance of another attack, it will be in a different way. Drizzt recently posted a link to an article that critiqued the Al Qaeda training tapes, and it seemed that they were gearing up more towards attacks in buildings, schools, banks, etc.

September 23, 2002, 02:17 PM
Since someone mentioned the al Qaeda training tape, I'll go ahead and toss this in; the review of the al Quaeda training tape that is making the rounds and is being attributed to everyone from "government alalysts" to "Army sources at Ft Benning" to "Mickey Mouse and the mousesketeers" was done by Mr. John Holschen of Insights Training Center (www.insightstraining.com). Holschen retired in '99 after a career in the US Army Special Forces. His critique of the tape has been making the rounds on the internet for some time and has recently been used in several news stories without attribution.

Here are a few links to the review:




Some give credit, some are silent and some claim the work is theirs.

Anyway, everyone should read John's assessment. Knowledge is power and forewarned is forearmed.

September 24, 2002, 05:45 AM
I like the idea of naked flight attendants. we should write to congress.

September 24, 2002, 09:59 AM
My favorite carry-on weapons would be a pair of Doc Martin's and a Surefire E2e flashlight. You get a distraction device that doubles as an impact weapon and two shod feet to use for stomping/kicking.

September 24, 2002, 02:31 PM
I just got done flying across country, to my 2 weeks of active duty and back. The only thing they found questionable was a large socket in my carry-on(which would go into my extra pair of socks as a bashing implement), and I always had to have my jump boots x-rayed. I had several carabiners clipped to the handle & zipper of my bag. One screener thought that my welding helmet and gloves were riot-gear, which is pretty pathetic for anyone involved in security.

I was chosen for 'random' search on every single leg of my flights.

On my last leg, one of the flight crew came out of the cockpit and assisted the flight attendants.