View Full Version : Covert Defensive Tools

October 30, 1998, 11:24 PM
I relish tools that are as low-key as possible. That would be a reason, for instance, that I carry a folder daily instead of a fb. (There are legal issues as well, but legality aside, the folder is less likely to attract unwelcome attention.) There are obvious combat-effective tools such as Cross pens and metal mini-flashlights, but I am always eager to find new ideas for things that may serve to pull my bacon out of the fire, should I fall in.

Most especially, I am interested in things that can be regularly carried on my person, and that arguably serve other purposes. A well-made necktie has applications, and I am sure it is only a matter of time until Kevlar or Spectralight http://www.thefiringline.com/ubb/wink.gif versions are available. I have seen a variety of necklaces and chains that appeared sturdy enough for hard use, and I know ornamental and functional jewelry of this type would be easy to have custom-made. Other suggestions?

Rob Pincus
October 31, 1998, 01:33 AM
You can grow your hair out and wear it Geisha style, with spikes in it.

Shoes with wooden soles, if you can stand clacking when you walk, offer advantages over rubber, should you be the type likely to kick someone in the eye or step on their throat.

I have a belt that lends itself to being used as a weapon rather effectively. Though now that I have sold my harley I fewer opportunities to wear a 2lb metal belt. http://www.thefiringline.com/ubb/smile.gif

Rich Lucibella
October 31, 1998, 09:24 AM
Come on, Rob. We can do better than this, though the belt is always an option, unless it's holding up your handgun. It's a good question.

You might consider an 8" or 10" length of paracord on your keychain with a heavy "ornamental" item at the end. Rolled quarters or dimes in the pocket can be a plus, though I'm not sure they're worth the added weight. This bears some thought.

[This message has been edited by Rich Lucibella (edited 10-31-98).]

October 31, 1998, 09:57 AM
keychain itself with short keys sticking up between bunched knuckles of tightened fist. How about a raking or slashing with a pair of folded eyeglasses across the face? Right where the temple piece (don't know what it's called) hinges to the front can be rather sharp as the hinge is metal. Though I'm not sure with the cheap $5.00 sunglasses from convience stores.

October 31, 1998, 10:32 AM
Hm. I think I will have to start my own Tactical Jewelry line. I'll call it...uh...Spirit Wear. I'm thinking of two different type medallions. One would be relatively flat, the other heavy and relatively compact. I will have to work out a quick disconnect method, perhaps a low tensile-strength piece of line...These medallions to be in several metals and colors. Take 'em through airports, into courthouses...

November 1, 1998, 12:16 AM
Shortly after I inlisted in the Army, I was given a .22 Magnum Mini-revolver. There was a hole drill through the grip and a ring through that... So, naturally it ended up on my key chain. it served as a key fob for 3 years. During which time I was a medallion level frequent flyer on Delta airlines http://www.thefiringline.com/ubb/smile.gif . I never had a problem with it - put it in the bowl with my wallet and change and pickt it up after I got passed the detector... I actually forgot about it as a real gun...
Untill a guy I knew got busted for a similar thing, then I was like "Oh, man - that could have been me!" So I put the .22 in the ash tray of my Audi. And carried an EK boot knife instead.

Rob Pincus
November 1, 1998, 12:27 AM
Once I walked up to the security station with me head up my ass and Benchmade auto in my pocket, so I rolled the dice (I knew the blade was legal). I threw it in the bowl and got a sphincter cramp when the $7 an hour about to bust me chick picked it up and took an interest. I went to take it from her saying "it has a lock" and opened it *slowly* with my hand while pushing the "lock" button. she fell for it and I started remebering to throw it in the bottom of the carry on bag from then on....

November 1, 1998, 02:33 AM
About 6 months ago there was a big whoo hah about a device that looked EXACTLY like a keyring car remote control. The difference was that it fired 2rnds of .32 OC gas. Authorities were concerned in AUS about BULLETS being used in them. OUCH,,,,that would HURT ! ps I think they were made in Belgium....HS

November 1, 1998, 07:59 PM
I almost bought a pen that fired .22LR...
But it wasn't H&K... so i passed.

Besides - there was now way attach either a Lazer or Tac-light. http://www.thefiringline.com/ubb/wink.gif

4V50 Gary
November 2, 1998, 10:03 AM
The best victories are those not fought.
Don't rely on gimmicks as your mind is your best defense. Reliance on gimmicks can make you too dependent and hapless if deprived of the same.

Heck, carry a sharpened pencil with an eraser. That's innocent enough. With the eraser against the palm, thrust up beneath the chin or through the neck. Having grown up with them, I prefer the yellow color pencils. The lead grade is your choice.

Nestor Rivera
November 3, 1998, 12:24 PM
For you of you who carry a bag/purse/dayplanner there is on great concealable. The Screwdriver by a small handle screwdriver prefreably or 2 (slot/philips) and you now have a wonderfull puncture weapon and as a computer tech a very handy tool set.

November 3, 1998, 02:52 PM
4V50 Gary...
I think we are all in agreement with you - gimicks are just toys, and will not make up for a lack of skill.
Even though I am a student of various martial arts (Kendo, Shoto Kan, Judo, Jujitsu, PPCT, Koga, Kung Fu, and the Forest Gump "Run forest RUN!) I will NOT be with out a weapon of some sort... preferably one of my knives and or guns.
Besides, I am too old to buy my toys at the toy store... I buy them at the range!
My knee is starting to get some strength back and I am looking forward to sparring again against the last guy I was fighting. I can think of a dozen things I SHOULD have done instead of what I did - which led to my injury.
Point? Oh Yeah... My point is that what ever your situation is... you dont have to out fight or out run anything you can out think.

November 3, 1998, 05:27 PM
Heck ya, Kodiac. The ultimate covert defensive tool: your mind.

Koga ryu? Talk to me, sometime.

I suppose items such as briefcases with Lexan or Kevlar inserts in them can be used for defense, as well as a shield...and, they're great for carrying the Sub-9 (you've got your PDF on body, right?).

November 19, 1998, 05:26 PM
Late into the game again. :) Lately, I'm experimenting with a new toy. I noticed that on my campus (I'm in college), many people are wearing these dog leashes that they put around their neck to carry their keys. Very dumb idea. However, the item itself caught my interest. For anyone familiar with Hojojitsu or anything similar (or if you just want to flail your keys around), this can be quite useful. I mean, considering that at some point in your day you have to manipulate your keys anyways, might as well turn it into a defensive tool. Even better is that it has ZERO intimidation/suspicion level.

Not satisfied with the usual dog leash, however, I took a thin, colorful length of tubular webbing (roughly 5'-6') and tied that to my keys instead. To add weight to the end of your flail, or just to make it easier to grab, you can add a petzel (not pretzel :)) oval screwlink. So far, it works pretty good, but it's also slightly cumbersome. I'm not sure how long I'll keep this around, but it's still a fun experiment.

[This message has been edited by SB (edited 11-19-98).]

November 19, 1998, 06:33 PM
Good idea, SB. Tuesday night, one of the instructors at BAD mentioned that he used to work at an arcade. There were lots of keys for various machines. At some point, he taped quite a few of them togther, at the end of a chain...

I suppose there's always the outsized (and perhaps, mildy sharpened) key.

Bottom Gun
November 20, 1998, 01:00 PM
I'll bet a glossy color photo of Janet Reno would repel most attackers in short order. 

November 21, 1998, 12:45 AM
Spectre: I carry a .45, spyderco police, asp keychain that also serves as a kubaton, oc, as well as a key fob, a super leatherman that can be used like a roll of quarters. And a cold steel neck knife. They have not failed me yet!!!


Harry Humphries
November 22, 1998, 09:36 PM
I have to agree with "Bottom Gun" but if this bit of WMD is not available consider Folder training and get a good folder with liner lock system.

Michael Carlin
December 1, 1998, 09:31 PM

Your recommendations for a "folder trainer" currently operating are sought. Please.

yours in marksmanship


December 2, 1998, 12:32 AM
A picture of Janet Reno wearing a THONG would certainly be considered a weapon. But, it would "shock the conscience of the court" and be viewed as excessive force.

Rich Lucibella
December 2, 1998, 09:08 AM
Go to our links section and click on Harry's site, GSGI. His EW Course description may be found there.

December 4, 1998, 03:54 PM
Being a teacher, I sometimes go back to school at odd hours to work (night time and weekends).During home night games and off hours, you never know what (or who's gang) you might run into. (Lots of stuff to steal in a school, and usually pretty poor security.) Since I can't carry while on school grounds, (and could be fired for anything remotely resembling a weapon) I have given much thought to potential weapons. I've got to admit to some pretty far out thoughts (losts of nasty acids and bases in my lab room).4V50 Gary hit on my regular routine, a very sharp pencil behind the ear.

February 11, 1999, 10:05 PM
A benchmade folder and a Surefire 6p are good constant companions. A can of OC doesn't hurt also. I have one of those nylon/fiberglass knives for flying, but never really thought to much of them. Most cases, when traveling, I fed-ex my benchmade/surefire to my destination!

Also remember, some weapon is better then no weapon!!

February 12, 1999, 12:28 AM
possibilities if you carry a briefcase
or bookbag;

nails, picture hanging wire, and a 20oz
framing hammer...

haircutting scissors (you'l' have to work
on your lisp)...

a sports gear bag with a bunhc of quarters
and a softball bat; "I was going to the
batting cage after work..."

a big Crescent wrench to handle that
leaky faucet at work...

a 2-piece cue stick; "I was going to the
pool hall after work..."

an all-metal drafting pencil...

a good-quality photo tripod and camera;
the tripod, when collapsed, might make
a nice HBO (Heavy Blunt Object)...

a heavy stainless steel drafting

cornered rat
February 12, 1999, 09:22 AM
Photo monopod? Candle holder? An FN 90 (looks weird enough no one would know it is a gun)?

cornered rat
February 12, 1999, 09:25 AM
Oh, and a suggestion from one time when I was explaining utility of guns to a friend and his family. His 17 yr old daughter said "If attacked, I'd just lick them in the face. That would surprise them long enough for me to split."

I'd like to see her do that!

Would a hooded cobra in a basket or a bag-full of scorpions qualify as "not obvious"?

Walt Welch
February 12, 1999, 11:52 AM
Genelemen; I see many useful suggestions above. I, however, have walked down many a street, with my 4D cell Maglite (set up with HiCap NiCd batteries, and a 1.7mA krypton bulb, which is as bright as any Li cell light, such as Sur-Fire, etc), and no one has every bothered me.

Further, it isn't objectionable, or aggressive. It sure is intimidating, however. Walt

PS; there is a new flashlight bulb out, which uses xenon gas, yields 30-50% more light. Usable only with alkaline cells, but is more efficient than krypton, and battery life is about the same. I am getting a bunch, if you want to try them, let me know. They run about $4. Walt

February 12, 1999, 08:10 PM
Walt, sure surprised it took so long to come up with the NYC legal weapon. Another I thought the martial art people would get is the common Cross pen. Works well as a kubotan, but breaks more often. GLV

February 12, 1999, 11:10 PM
For late-night trips from the corner store, I used to put half a dozen cans of cat food in a triple-layer plastic grocery bag. Makes a mean Face Cruncher, but man, what a dumb idea!


February 13, 1999, 02:10 AM
Walt, the last I heard, California has
passed yet more laws, including the
classification of heavy flashlights and
tire irons as illegal to have in a
motor vehicle. probably applies to
walking around, too. and not too
surprisingly, many LEOs out there have been
gleefully enforcing said laws, particularly
in the Bay Area. another reason I'm glad
I left.

Cornered Rat; I sure like the snake idea.
maybe not too practical, or legal, but
it sure invokes some of those prehistoric
instincts to do the "200 step kata".

it does lead to the obvious solution; dogs.
I figure two dogs of "protective" breed
(Shepherds, Dobies, Rotties, etc) will
intimidate most bullies. maybe not 100%
effective, but what is?

February 13, 1999, 12:56 PM
Dogs are a great idea, and gave me some measure of comfort when I lived in Chicago. I had two concerns, though:

1. Most places I had to go to wouldn't let dogs in (stores, the bank, etc...), and tying up the Shepherd outside was nerve-wracking. What if someone DID something to her while I was inside? (define "uncontrollable rage"!)
Even worse, what if she hurt a passer-by? Not likely, given her temperment, but the consequences for all would be terrible.

2. If I was accosted, and had to run, would I be handicapped by my dog? Would she run with me, or stop to investigate that fire hydrant? Would I have to abandon/sacrifice her to save myself? I'm glad I never had to make that kind of decision, but it weighed heavily on me every time I took her out.


P.S.- Tire irons illegal in an automobile? Pray for The Big One, and send Cali into the sea!

[This message has been edited by boing (edited February 13, 1999).]

cornered rat
February 15, 1999, 06:10 PM
Given that gun control is following, in general, Jim Crow precedents, I would expect "attack" dogs soon to be illegal as well.

Civil disobedience might work, but anyone involved would be awfully vulnerable to asassinations. Henry Bowman, where are you?

If you believe in freedom and means of protecting it...you might be a gun nut.

February 20, 1999, 07:17 AM
I feel like I am bragging, but this is funny and helpful: A fellow instructor in my fighting art and I once went to lunch at a Vietnamese place to get some high-energy food. After we exited, we had had to go to our car in the alley behind the restaurant. Some asian thugs jumped us for who-knows-what, and we used what was in our hands for defense: our chopsticks! Ever since then, I have often been known to carry a pair of chopsticks when I can carry nothing else, (and I eat with them too!). It is amazing the kind of damage you can do with a long, strong, pointy-thingy.

Other good covert items that I actually carry:

Steel toe boots

Climber's carabiner (get the right size to fit your hand, works as a very light pair of "brass knucks" and clips anywhere)

Grip exerciser: works like an impact Kerambit, and you can also work your grip!

Large Hankerchief: you'd be surprised

Streamlight Super Scorpian light (good medium size for regular carry, but enough to whollop someone with, as well as blind with 16,000cp)

Leatherman tool (like a roll of quarters but much more handy, and many people get very suspicious when you carry a roll of coins as opposed to a Leatherman)

Stout mechanical pencil or pen

Well, the list goes on, but I make a hobby of this. Those are some off the top of my head that look innocent. Just be creative. Most are just strike-enhancers, but the better ones do even more than that (like chopsticks!). I won't go into details, but with proper training, it is not hard to dispatch of someone with some of these tools.
Of course, I usually carry more effective stuff, but those are some real benign looking items for those times when you are under severe scrutiny.


February 20, 1999, 01:43 PM
Great story, Thad. I have just begun carrying a carabiner (with keys innocently attached), after a buyu told me of using one on a troublemaker while in the army. I don't know how comfortable I am placing my knuckles inside the ring, but a whipping blow easily dents wooden benches in dojo dressing rooms...OOPS. :)

February 21, 1999, 01:11 PM
I've got a purse with a tire chain strap... goes fashionably well with the combat boots and no one ever bothers me.

"Oh, grow up, 007."

Byron Quick
February 22, 1999, 09:31 AM
Does anyone know where to get steel toed boots that don't look like, well...steel toed boots :) What about steel toed shoes?

March 5, 1999, 12:56 PM
Ehh this subject is somewhat ramboish but, oh so fun :)

Small pockett fitting maglight works very well for Olisi-palad techniques, or kubotan if U prefer that name for mini baton.
My leatherman Wave does the same thing, but due to the quick open blades won't probaply never end up in such role.
A belt is good for lubid techniques (~ropework) this providing that user's pants wont drop and belt loops are loose enuff for "fast draw" :)
A hankerchief with some coins/nuts/whatever similiar small solid objects tied on works as a light spring baton/flexible club.
(Those are pain in the neck to block btw.)
and so on and such :)


March 5, 1999, 01:19 PM
Oh yes I forgott, Sievin Jalkine of Finnland makes even "steel capp" sandalls for warm industrial enviroments that demand protective footwear (such as papermills) dunno if they export thou.

The toe protector actually is somesorta carbonfibre/composite stuff that don't conduct heat in cold enviroment applications in the way true steel cap does.
Not being steel isn't actually a disadvantage since the toe protector can stand aprox. 1/2 ton load before caving.

Besides people usually have this "weapon mania" the objects that one is never apart from are knuckles,shins,knees,elbows and forehead.

After all it is quite probaple that when fight breaks up one doesn't have time to present allkindsa improvised weapons :)
This providing that the agressors behaviour/presence was unpredictable.

So besides inventing disguised weapons it might be usefull to keep on doing the "morning/evening prayer" :) (=jump pushups on knuckles and the necessary flexability excersices)

Gattling, again.

March 11, 1999, 03:18 AM
Thaddeus - Thats the spirit!! Go to a beauty supply store and get a heavy duty rat tail comb. The handle is a 5" spike, target heart, throat, eye socket, ear, brain stem. Try Lehigh Boots for steel toed anything, they even have steel toed jogging shoes.

Dennis Glover
March 12, 1999, 06:40 PM
Thank God for life in a small town. Well hell if I have to give that much thought to what I would do I'd just carry.

March 24, 1999, 12:00 AM
Just to stir the pot a little, and admitted, being older helps, but a good cane or walking stick provides a nice first-line defense. Any other old farts with Blackthorn sticks out there? :)

Shoot carefully, swifter...

March 26, 1999, 11:07 AM
Spartacus - Red Wing makes real dress shoes with steel (or steel equivalent) toes. Even athletic shoes, if the memory serves me. If they don't have a web site, I do know that they do have a good mail-order catalogue.


James K
March 28, 1999, 04:48 PM
I'll add one more to the unlikely weapons category. A tightly rolled copy of a weekly news magazine. It is as stiff as a stick and can be very uncomfortable if shoved hard into the throat or solar plexus. Let's see if the press demands a ban on possession of reading material.

March 29, 1999, 03:44 PM
To sort of follow-up on Jim Keenan's suggestion, I've long used a couple of *thick * cardboard tubes (from the inside of that old roll-type fax paper)in a wide array of places that frown on weapon carry. (I wish I could talk more about it, but I don't want to mess up a good thing.) No one has ever looked at it long enough to determine that it's *much* thicker than a paper towel tube -- the walls are 3.5 mm thick. I've had to use one once, and it was very effective (leaving a brutal circular cut in a dazed forehead, and G-d knows what squished in a throat). I had my godson draw on the outside of one in magic marker, and when anyone gives it a second glance I just tell him it's some artwork my kid made for me that morning. Never had a problem. It weighs 1.4 oz. so it rides happily unnoticed in the inside breast pocket of a suit or blazer, and the cardboard provides a remarkably nonslip grip.

I've brought screwdrivers (in the commercial packaging) on planes before, but you can't get away with that in some of the other places I have to go. Mr. Cardboard tube has never failed me.


James K
March 29, 1999, 05:29 PM
I once knew a telephone repairman who carried a 2 ft. length of 100 Pair cable. I don't think he ever had to use it, so never had to try to show it was a tool of his job, but 2 feet of semi-flexible, 1" diameter nearly solid copper upside the head should discourage just about anyone.

Chris H
March 31, 1999, 10:54 PM
Speaking of telephone repairmen...

Being a telecom engineer (i.e. cable jockey) I carry a small pouch on my belt that consists of a cable knife (4" insulated handle, 1.5" blade) and a pair of electricians scissors). I carry these with me everywhere. They are legit tools for my occupation but should the need arise, those scissors would put a nasty gash in any ol' attacker. Granted they'd have to be close but they'd have to be close for me to be sure I was going to use them.

Use a gun if you've got the chance though

PS - you can pick up the tool kit I'm talking about at a hardware store (home base or home depot) - get Klein - $30

April 1, 1999, 04:44 PM
Well I haven't seen this one yet. A small spray can of starting fluid and a windproof lighter. One flick of your bic and a spray from the can is all it takes.

Chris H
April 1, 1999, 10:15 PM
Razz... that's just downright evil! ;)

April 1, 1999, 10:21 PM
We are having too much fun here! Just take my brother in law along after he and <Marc> have been eating pickled <stuff> all night and no one will be able to assault you, or even come near you for that matter! Beyond that, remember that if you can surprise your attacker you have made the first move. Be aware. Hank

James K
April 6, 1999, 05:12 PM
Unconventional -
I just heard of a guy who was attacked by a man with a knife. The intended victim said calmly, "You better not cut me, I have AIDS and if you get my blood on you, it's curtains." The would-be attacker ran, leaving the good guy without knife wounds or AIDS.

March 10, 2009, 11:07 PM
Gentlemen, I bet you have not heard of this one. A good friend working as a mortician told me one day that embalming fluid put inside a 60ml atomizer canister can have a disabling effect when sprayed on the eyes.:D:D:D

March 10, 2009, 11:16 PM
Biker key chain... Big bronze snap with a 6 inch cresent wrench, a motorcycle chain repair consisting of 2 master links, 2 inners and an outer with various keys and a 6 inch 4 strand leather rawhide lace fob.... Yes it works very well;)