CONCEALMENT 8 No Gun Shogun Matt Stagliano Join the Conversation The Warrior Within is Always Armed Areas of this country are growing more unsteady by the minute, with rising political tensions, natural disasters, or lack of funding for adequate police protection. As much as we believe in carrying our sidearm all day, every day, sometimes you may be caught off-guard without so much as a pocket knife at your disposal. Faced with a flash mob of black-clad protestors intent on causing mayhem in your city, could you defend yourself? This isn’t an inconceivable scenario. These types of mobs are known to carry makeshift clubs, bricks, camp axes, hammers, brass knuckles, and whatever else they can get their hands on. In this article, we take a look at improvised melee weapons to level the playing field and, more importantly, give ourselves an advantage. There are several categories of improvised weapons: short blades or blunt objects for up-close-and-personal interactions, extended pole-type weapons to keep folks at distance, flails or whips, and combinations of the above — think a “rock in a sock.” We started picking through our Rolodex to find folks who could provide practical insight based on their backgrounds. Some of their answers surprised us at the simplicity, while some caught us off-guard with their ingenuity. We also noticed a common thread throughout all of the feedback we received: Your safety is your own responsibility — get training. Our panel consisted of some of the country’s foremost experts on hand-to-hand combat, edged and improvised weapons, and methods of safety for getting out of bad situations. The experts included Steve Tarani, former CIA protective services training subject-matter expert and arguably the foremost expert on employing improvised weapons in the U.S.; Chris Fry, owner of Modern Defense Training Systems (MDTS) and member of the ShivWorks Collective; Benjamin DeWalt, lifelong martial artist and owner of OnSight Firearms Training; Jared Reston, full-time law enforcement officer and owner of The Reston Group; Kerry Davis, owner of Dark Angel Medical with a distinguished career in providing medical aid in the military and to civilians; and Freddy Osuna, Marine scout sniper, tracking expert, and owner of Greenside Training. CONCEALMENT: If you found yourself in the mob situation described above, what do you carry or wear everyday that could be fashioned into a defensive weapon? Tarani: It’s unrealistic to think that you can carry one item on your body that’ll solve every problem out there, like an auto mechanic expected to work with only a 5/8-inch wrench. Let your environment provide the tools you need to solve the problem. Being trained in how to identify improvised weapons, such as an edged, impact, or flexible weapon, is the first step. Knowing how to use it once it’s in your hand is the second. DeWalt: I live in New York, close to New York City. On the rare occasion that I do have to go into “gun-free zone” New York City, I try to compensate as best I can. Believe it or not, the brim of a baseball hat makes a good slashing weapon to the eyes of an attacker. The old faithful rolled up magazine also makes a formidable jabbing/stabbing-type object that can be directed to the face, eyes, throat, and groin. Fry: I wear some type of button-up long-sleeve shirt daily and always have my key ring with multiple keys and a small Gerber Shard Keychain Tool on it. Roll the shirt up like a wet towel you want to whip a little brother with. Thread the end of a sleeve through the key ring and make a knot. This has the potential to be a quick and effective flexible weapon with some bite. Davis: The Mean Gene Hot Tamale I carry could be an effective, blunt-impact weapon. For a little bit of added reach, I could take my sock off, put the Hot Tamale in that, tie it to my belt, and have a weapon with more reach. I’d also look around for any kind of broom, mop, or other device that could be used as a staff-type weapon. Reston: A slapjack, because it’s an intermediate weapon. Not all people need to get stabbed or shot, and the slapjack gives me the ability to defend myself. Also, any type of liquid, say a cup of hot coffee, or even iced coffee for that matter, splashed into the face of an attacker would serve as enough of a distraction to give you the half second you need to get out of that situation. If you’re carrying a liquid, don’t let it go to waste. 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