ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

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ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Guest on Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:35 am

IMPROVISED WEAPONS (Silver Bullets)

2007


Believe it or not, you're better off hitting someone with your hands than most of the 'improvised weapons' out there.

Ripping lumps out of someone with a key isn't actually as effective as a good solid bang in the head - it's messy undoubtedly but definitely not a high-percentage 'stop'. It's true that you can turn anything into a weapon, but it's usually not much of a weapon if you look at it objectively!

Unless it gives a distinct advantage, such as increased 'stopping' power (not just wounding - this is a big difference), increased range (not something that will exist for long anyway) and/or durability it generally falls into the 'gimmick' category in my book.

I personally dislike 'gimmicks' and 'tricks' that are pushed out as real solutions, attacking the eyes with the thumbs is as effective, more in fact, than going mad with a key - especially for women.

Personally I teach everything from empty hands, to impact and bladed weapons, all the way to the tactical use of personal firearms, and I have taught the use of improvised and concealed weapons extensively, including to specialist military units from various countries, not to mention having used virtually every conceivable object as a weapon throughout various live encounters - the point I'm making here is that some things are effective, and that some things are gimmicks that don't perform as well for real as they do in training - often they may look 'nasty' but can be a hindrance in actual usage.

A lot of this stuff looks more effective than it really is, and there is always the thought of the slashing etc scaring people to the point where they back off - problem is, that's an awfully big positive assumption to make, I've used all manner of 'tools' for real and it's not as simple as that - more often than not it drives the aggressor into a panic/frenzy and amidst all the red mess I've had to revert back to 'Speed Dial #1' and just bang a big dose of sleep into them!

Generally there are 3 certain ways of stopping a human:

1. Kill them - actually very difficult, regardless of what movies you've seen, plus outside of the moral reach for most.

2. Incapacitate via Trauma - causing so much injury that the person is physically incapable of doing anything offensive, including pulling a trigger. Very difficult and distasteful for most - would be a very messy aerobic workout with a key or pen implement.

3. Incapacitate via Knock Out - actually the easiest and most accessible of all the above. Can't be done effectively by any means other than direct impact to the head/neck area, or some form of strangle/choke. Puncture/slash wounds won't have this effect unless the victim loses so much blood as to become unconscious.

A lighter and weaker person, male or female, can render a man unconscious using impact - during the late 80's I was teaching women almost exclusively as an advisor for a division of the Metropolitan Police and used to subject them to padded assailant drills using some of the first FIST gear in the UK, we had numerous big tough padded assailants knocked clean out by some tiny girls who just got stuck in with basic repeated strikes and a truckload of attitude. I did cover improvised sharp weapons on that course also, but mainly as anti-grappling tools, and other items as impact enhancers, but always chosen so long as they fitted the criteria set out above - otherwise it was the Mk1 hand that did most of the work.

In the vast majority of cases a simple bare hand blow, not even from an especially heavy or powerful person, will produce more stopping power, and this stopping power is increased using repeated blows to the same target.

The crucial thing is that most items such as keys and pens will cause a superficial wound only. It's a malicious thing, that's all. This stuff isn't training theory to me, I assure you. Forget Hollywood stuff when it comes to 'fashionable' improvised weapons. It's fiction!

The amazing 'access' sequences of grabbing some 'innocuous' item and employing sometimes elaborate blows are most often ridiculous if you stop to think "Could I have just piled in barehanded instead?" - as the answer is generally "Yes" and you'd be landing credible shots long before you would have some half-cooked 'weapon' in your hand!

My advice is to only consider using something as a weapon if it affords a real and distinct advantage concerning reach, durability and/or stopping power. If it doesn't it is possibly a foolish stunt that will probably prolong a situation and make it worse.

I'm not talking mere cynicism here - you name it and I've more than likely had a real go with it! I taught the use of such items to an 'interesting' group once upon a time, and it quickly became apparent with research, practice and actual use 'operationally' what worked, better than a bare hand, and what didn't. Whole lessons spent practising against actual meat targets, not milk cartons and cardboard sheets, using a variety of drinking glasses, keys, pens - everything possible that can pierce or tear flesh - and the results were disappointing, as were the operational attempts at the same when compared with far simpler means of being unpleasant!

Making lots of little holes in someone with a pen or a key looks fabulously deadly in a movie, but is a different reality when done for real - it's messy and might dissuade a half-hearted attacker (wish I had more of that type!) but a decent right hand, or two or three, will end the encounter. It's as simple as that.

If getting shot and stabbed with real purpose-built weapons, several times, won't stop committed attackers, what is your biro, key, mobile phone or 'tactical' (i.e. is black and has a clip!) torch going to do? Get real for goodness sake! As I've stated so many times already, wounding isn't enough - it's 'stopping' that needs to be done, and surprisingly enough this can be done often more easily with an empty hand. The blunt empty hand causes head 'displacement' and shakes the brain - whereas a sharp pointy object causes penetration, but little head movement. Jagged slashes across a face may cause someone to back off, but they have next to no 'stopping' power - so they may do the exact opposite - you wouldn't stop me with a facial wound, or any number of guys that I know, you'd just start me properly.

Sharp pointy things like pens are great for breaking a grappling hold - sometimes! They rely on pain, which is a wholly subjective animal. They can be used to extract passively resisting people from vehicles, and can be used to 'persuade' the truth out of a person for sure, but if you want to have a real fight with a credit card, pen or key, then get ready to be VERY surprised. Sticking a pen, pencil or key, in any fashion, into someone's neck is far less efficient than a good bang on the jaw when trying to incapacitate someone, or stun them so you can get away. You're talking about wounding; not stopping, someone like this - and that won't be enough.

Are you trying to end the attack through making the guy bleed to death? I hope you're a patient man! What effect will it have upon the guy? Do you think that some crazy will just stop and either roll over or run away when you stab him in the neck with your pen or key? It's very likely that you'll make the situation a whole lot worse for yourself, when you could have ended it early.

Sure you can puncture a major blood vessel, with enough holes to cause a massive bleed-out, but this is the only way it's going to be effective - talking of movies this would be the 'Casino' method - are you really prepared to do that, or do you just tell yourself that you could, at the time? Don't take killing a man for granted.

Ask yourself, could that situation have been resolved with simple blows to the jaw or side/back of the head, for example? Of course it could, but they needed to establish the character's viciousness, so something extreme was used.

Using a pen mid-fight? We're talking 'Bourne Identity' I suppose - fabulous fight-scene I agree, very nasty, but the pen was ineffective - even in the scene, it was done for the 'ooh/aah' effect!

Stop looking for the same attention-grabbers that Hollywood looks for - they're trying to give the audience something new and exciting, whereas you can more than make do with a plain-old punch or elbow to the jaw!

more....


Last edited by Mick Coup on Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:35 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Guest on Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:35 am

continued...

Think 'stopping power' every time. When you consider the use of any small item as an improvised weapon apply these tests:

1. Can it produce instant incapacitation like a basic punch-type technique?

2. Can it be instantly accessed like a basic punch-type technique?

3. Will it withstand repeated use like a basic punch-type technique?

If you get just one 'No' then just stick to the punch - or is that too boring, and too simple? Obviously insert 'elbow' or 'slap' or 'hammerfist' as required, but the overall concept is the same - avoid the Hollywood 'variety' approach and the desire to make more of a simple solution than is necessary.

If you can 'pick something up and hit someone', then fine - but you could have just 'hit someone' - even the sentence is shorter and easier to say! Do you get the point? Anything held in the hand limits the hand - so it had better be worth it! Don't rely on gimmicks over solid dependable 'always available' methods. The crucial factor when it comes to using any weapon, improvised or not, is access - it has to be ready to use when needed, and this is often spontaneously - if we are using good threat management practices progressive input gives options for avoidance, over and above the preparation of weapons.

Small hard heavy objects that increase impact by virtue of weight and/or striking surface are real and valuable improvised weapons - such as rocks, pool balls, steam irons etc. What real damage is a mobile phone going to do? Less than a punch without it is the real answer. Just a note on using a mobile phone here - most of the units currently available don't improve upon the Mk1 hand at all - in terms of weight or durability - and tactically it is a VERY bad idea to destroy a means of communication in such an emergency!

The best use for handheld objects that have no combative stopping power is that of 'Distraction' - throw the item at the face and follow-up with good solid explosive shots to the primary targets. Either 'casually' flick/toss the thing and pile in, or full-on 'launch' the object for maximum 'flinch' distraction, spontaneously engaging the visual cortex, then unload with all you've got.

This way, everything CAN actually become a weapon, but of DISTRACTION. Even a screwed up piece of paper, food/drink, a wallet, a coat - something you might actually have in your hand at the time!

I realise that what I'm outlining above might be controversial - to some, but those of you that have 'been there' and not just 'researched' or 'practised' it, know the truth of the matter.

I most definitely don't discount the use of certain items as weapons - a heavy ashtray definitely fits my criteria of an object that lends weight and decent striking surface - and it used to be one of my weapons of choice in a bar situation - however it has to be said that they can disintegrate under repeated heavy use and I have the marks on my hand to prove it!

I don't completely discount the use of the pen either - again it used to be one of the main tools I taught to a certain group of professionals once upon a time, and I have used it on several occasions. Read above and you will see that I wholeheartedly agree that repeated blows to the neck will cause potentially fatal blows - but then ask yourself how many people would be prepared to do that?

As for screwdrivers and suchlike, I don't even class these as 'improvised' weapons - they are the real thing!

I disagree in some ways with the notion of psychological advantage - in that I believe any 'perceived' advantage can be dangerous, if it is merely psychological, and not physical. Not discounting the psychological aspects of combat obviously, without will there is no chance, but ultimately the immediate problem is fairly physical after all!

I am brutally honest when I teach, and when I learn, I want a 'real' advantage, not just a 'psychological' one. Just because you or I can perform in the extreme, doesn't enable everyone else to. Like I have stated earlier, I believe many people ignore the gravity of certain issues - to a point that believing that they can blind and maim, and kill, is taken for granted.

Practising a thousand ways to maim and disfigure a man whilst 'tooled up' can often lead people down the wrong path, and such acts are often taken far too lightly in my opinion, if a person is going to baulk at the notion of punching someone in the face as hard as is physically possible - and more than you imagine do - then what chance do you stand ripping a hole in a face? Most people will say, "but if I had to I could" and they'd be making a great big fat assumption, a positive one that isn't qualified and could fail badly - unless they have already done it.

Learning 'offensive knife' and suchlike from instructors who have never had a knife in hand whilst facing another man can be a touch 'off' as far as I'm concerned, it's theory plain and simple - learn new weapon handling methods and improved ways to cut and stab if this really interests you, but learning to butcher another person for real? If you really need to know how to do this, learn from someone who has, and see how it doesn't resemble what the theorists recommend - as usual!

I would rather focus on solid dependable skills, that I know will be employed when needed, rather than something so extreme that it will require a superhuman act of resolve to execute - maybe. We play the hand we are dealt in life, it is better to realise limitations and seek ways to avoid, than to fool ourselves into a false sense of security, with perceived abilities.

I have seen people fight on with the most horrific wounds and still pose a very real threat - and in the line of work that I choose I will most probably see so again. Stab wounds are often perceived as punches, and only take effect when shock sets in, so this in itself proves that wounding is not instantly incapacitating. Often stab, and gunshot, victims do not realise they have been wounded until after the incident - sometimes even being alerted to the fact by a third party. And they might have even 'won' the encounter!

What I do know, for a fact, is that an unconscious man poses zero threat, compared to a severely-wounded man who might go either way; curl up in a ball or make a frenzied last-ditch assault.

But my main reason for the cynical approach to the current fashion of 'improvised weapons' - which you must concede can start to get a little ridiculous, is to encourage people to stop looking at 'gimmicks' to give a quick fix - and leave that to the 'ninja/special agent' subculture types (apologies to any real ninjas/special agents out there!).

This is my major gripe against this subject in particular and the way the 'RBSD' movement can sometimes make a 'magic wand' out of it, when they should be doing good solid and functional training first, and second, and third.

I will always steer people interested in REAL self-protection away from such things and concentrate instead on the core skills, initially at least. If you are some covert-operative - fine, one day you might want to drive a stainless-steel pen into someone's subclavial region, or a gangland enforcer might elect to 'stripe' a rival with a credit card as punishment, or maybe you want to 'plunge' another convict on the landing with a sharpened heat-hardened toothbrush handle - but I guarantee a simple, boring, punch on the jaw, or two or three, with plenty of practice will serve you better, no matter who you are, whatever gender or what you weigh in at.

All these opinions on the utilisation of certain improvised weapons must be taken in context - where limitations are considered before capabilities, so there are no nasty surprises when it 'doesn't do what it says on the box' when the chips are down and the stakes are high! Always pick fact over fiction, and function over form when it comes to real combat - reverse this when making a movie or nobody will watch it!

In conclusion, weapons training can always be a 'crowd pleaser', and everyone wants the ability of being able to effectively defend themselves and their loved ones, especially when some disparity of capability is present - the problem lies with investing too much credibility in a perceived solution such as the ability to utilise any common object as an effective weapon of opportunity. A great deal of commonly held beliefs and practices simply do not hold up in actual use but are propagated by the uninformed that simply 'want' them to work, and this can create a completely false sense of combative capability which in turn can actually compromise personal security measures if relied upon.

My closing advice is to consider, very objectively, what will actually occur if you use an improvised weapon such as a key. Consider what the actual result will be, and what actual effect is probable - not possible - if it is used against a determined aggressive adult male, intent on really hurting you. Don't think of these things in personal subjective terms - this doesn't count. Then consider how easily such an item could be deployed, and finally would you be able to inflict at least as much stopping - not wounding - power faster and more effectively without the 'weapon'?

Save the silver bullets for werewolves.

Mick

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Sean M on Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:51 am

Now that is worth saving!
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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Lobo103 on Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:16 am

Excellent article! Very thought provoking. Many of the ideas presented certainly fly in the face of the current thinking represented elsewhere, and that is why this board continues to be on my short list of "must-read" material. Thanks!

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Ade on Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:03 pm

nice
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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Tazyman01 on Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:40 pm

Bloody Good Read !!! Thanks !!!
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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Get Back on Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:31 pm

I enjoyed reading this. I came to my own conclusion (similar but not as well thought out) when you presented at The CQB Services Special Weapons Seminar. I found that I could hit easily as hard with my hand, than with an array of blunt things.

What you say about pyschological advantage rings true with me, in that a threat should not be underestimated because you have your car keys (or some other perceived advantage) in your hand.

Mike
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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  PullupPastor on Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:52 pm

Top postage.


Now i just need to learn how to KO Wink
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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Random on Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:51 am

Outstanding!!

This goes into my vault.

I'm going to have a long hard think about what I put in my pockets in the future.

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  rioter on Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:16 pm

So were does it begin to be/ stop being effective?
Of the course hitting someone with a brick would count for something while 2 cm of bic-pen sticking out of a hammerfist would make things messier but not necessarily more effective, but where do we draw the line?

A 2AA minimag (not tactical/black) would ad some weight to the hand and the end of the light is probably more structurally sound than the hand, but is it enough to bother with?
Wouldn’t something solid, at least in theory, offer better energy transfer against a hard target and deeper penetration (not puncture) in a soft target?
An how much weight is enough?

Remember that some of us might be slightly less powerful than you or Nick.

R

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Guest on Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:36 am

Although the tone of that article may appear very anti-weapon, in actuality you'd be hard-pressed to find a person more in favour of using weapons, actual and improvised, than yours truly!

The truth is that I've used weapons extensively, not just in training environments but in actual use, and this has tempered my view on their effective use greatly - especially the improvised variety. Some are simply not worth wasting any training time on, when instead you could be improving an empty-handed option which will actually have a real stopping effect, and others are ineffective to the point of being dangerous when employment is attempted against an actively violent individual.

The main reason for the article was to put the use of these 'silver bullets' into perspective - I constantly see over-emphasis to some implement that will 'save your life' but in actual use, based on actual experience, the result is disappointing. What is good in a movie tends to be bad on the street!

As for anyone being stronger or weaker, I can guarrantee anyone reading this as having the potential to transmit more than enough force to my head to render me unconscious, using nothing more than their hand or elbow - not easily but possible, and that would be me stopped. It may take repeated blows - so practice them - to overcome any neck resistance enabling the shock to be properly transferred to my brain, and then lights out. Try it with a pen or key, or even a mini-torch in your hand and it would be a different story, and afterwards - once I looked at the mess in the mirror - I'd be right back on your case with a vengeance!

Stopping power is the key, when it comes to actually 'stopping' someone - nothing else really matters. If a 'weapon' doesn't have stopping power, then the bottom line is that it isn't actually a weapon!

Mick

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  rioter on Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:36 pm

So how do I decide weather it’s enough to bother with?

I understand that there probably isn’t a hard and fast rule (although “hard and fast” IS a good rule…) to go by but I can’t run out and start banging people in the head just as an experiment, can I?

Do I go by weight, size, density or all of the above?

I really have a hard time accepting that hitting someone with a flashlight could be less effective than the empty hand but you’ve got a lot more “research time” than I have so…

Of course, if I can’t kill a fly barehanded, a minimag won’t do me any good, but I thought there would be a cumulative effect.

Anyway, this is turning into a rant but I realy need to get a handle on this weapon-choice thing.

R

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Guest on Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:06 am

Rioter,

As I put at the end of the original article, just ask yourself some very objective questions concerning the use of some item in an offensive capacity.

Take the mini-maglite as an example - hitting someone with one using a hammering action will undoubtedly cause more injury than a bare hand - this has never been in question as far as I am concerned.

What I have tried to bring attention to is the over-rated value of such injuries in a self-protection scenario.

The result of each strike will be soft tissue damage, in the form of semi-circular open wounds where the skin has been impacted and incised against underlying bone, and deep bruising where the implement has penetrated solely into muscle tissue.

Strikes to the head may easily result in skull fractures, in addition to the superficial soft tissue wounds stated above.

Sounds nasty, looks nasty, and would certainly feel nasty - and this is partly the problem, you'd feel every strike because not one would put you away on its own, even an acculmulation of such wounds would generate more of a 'self-stop' where the victim gives up - fingers crossed!

The common usage for most of these items is as an augmentation for a hammerfist, and generally there is about 2-3cm sticking out of the bottom - here is a problem in itself, grab your favourite 'tool' and find something with the same consistancy as a human head - very solid inside, very lightly padded outside - and start hitting really hard. Where has that 2-3cm protusion gone? You have to have some serious hand strength to maintain it after only a couple of shots against a real target.

Do you see those semi-circular tears? That's a cue to add a generous amount of viscous fluid to the proceedings, better grab even tighter now, as it all gets a little slippery.

Ask whoever is holding the target to take note of the amount of shock being delivered - because of the increased pressure effect, holes will be made through the target, having a damping effect on transmitted shock - unfortunately it is this that will end an encounter immediately, those holes and gouges will end it eventually, hopefully.

I realise that a lot of what I'm stating here may appear controversial, and that a lot of people reading it may have much invested in the practices I'm bringing into question - but I feel that many of the currently accepted material on the subject is more fictional than factual, and more fashionable than functional.

Mick

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  the spaniard on Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:59 am

I know they're not improvised weapons Mick but i'm really interested in your opinion on blackjacks and saps.
Thanks.

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Guest on Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:49 am

To add to the above, which I wrote in a hurry while I was out and about, as I stated in the original article "anything held in the hand, limits the hand - so it had better be worth it" and this is very important when considering the relatively small advantage that a small torch can afford.

In this example, staying with a small torch, it reduces the action of the weapon-holding hand to two generic strikes - hitting with the bottom of the hand, or with the top. Now obviously you could punch with the hand, but doesn't this go against most of what is taught regarding open vs. closed hand strikes?

Staying with these two strikes, where is the KO shot? Neither of them will generate a good clean impact to shake the brain like a hook or punch would, unless a tremendous amount of training time is put in, which in turn can render the weapon use redundant as the hand would then suffice. Instead the weapon used this way leans toward targeting the head in a downward fashion, carving lumps out the person no doubt but severely limiting the KO effect.

Using the 'weapon' as a strike enhancer for muscle shots is a good option, done within the realms of a defensive tactics scenario where compliance is desired once the 'fighting bit' is over. So actually employing such a tool as a 'lower level' force option can make real sense, when you don't need to KO an active aggressively resisting subject for your own protection, but you want more effect for your effort when striking 'safe' areas such as centre muscle mass targets.

Concerning blackjacks and saps, these are great for knocking guys out with, as is an electronic stun-gun, but done as a pre-emptive, pre-meditated action preferably from a flank. They are not so good mid-fight as they too limit what you can do with the hand to whatever specifically works with that one item.

Mick

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  rioter on Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:36 pm

I’d like to thank you for a very good article and the very thorough answers.

You brought up some points I’ve never thought of that made me reassess my choice of tools.

If you get the time, I’d like to know more about your thoughts when It comes the choice and use of weapons.

R

P.s Any plans for a seminar up here in the northern parts?

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Guest on Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:40 pm

Glad you found it interesting and of some use mate - if you can make your intended questions fairly specific I'll be more than happy to indulge you, I've plenty on at present - the open-ended variety nail me down to the keyboard too much and have to take a back seat!

As for a seminar - no problem, give me a date!

Mick

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  altc on Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:29 pm

wow. im new to this forum so im a bit late here, but this was an awesome article Mick. Very thought provoking.

Indeed i am seriously looking at my game now in regards to improvised weapons not so much in causing damage, but of stopping an attacker in the shortest possible time. I myself have advocated the use of keys and such things but will now reassess that as stopping an attack may be better achieved by an open palm strike to the chin or an elbow to the throat.

Great work Mick, i thank you for it.
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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Flash on Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:46 am

I never did buy the spectacles scene at the end of Godfather III Smile

My favorite semi-improvised weapon is a rolled up magazine, with the spine in the centre. I like it because you can carry it around anywhere without getting arrested, and it's as effective as a baton against a knife or a needle; striking at the weapon, the hand, or the forearm. Striking against the eyes may blind the assailant, and striking against the jaw, neck, or temple stands a good chance of a KO. May also be possible to break a collar bone with this.

If I ever need to walk anywhere remotely dodgy, or walk anywhere at a dodgy hour (usual for me at the weekends) then I carry a rolled up magazine.

As an added bonus it provides some handy reading material.

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Guest on Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:37 am

As reading material I agree, but that's all - as a weapon a rolled up magazine falls firmly into the gimmick category in my opinion.

With any such object there is a trade-off between advantage/disadvantage, and a rolled magazine doesn't fare very well when examined as such.

Primary disadvantage regarding any impact weapon is grip - what's the point in having an inanimate object that allows you to hit harder without injury, if your grip cannot support the extra power - which it rarely can. If it were an iron bar, or heavy piece of hardwood, this particular issue is almost redundant as the hard, dense, strking surface causes a great deal of damage without tremendous impact. The composition of a magazine, however tightly rolled, will not approximate this effect, so extreme impact is required to achieve a moderate effect instead - more impact than most can handle, in terms of grip.

I find a lot of favoured weapon applications to be highly subjective - does it actually give more advantage than just using the hand? Doing a little blind testing to compare results soon highlights how effective, and less than effective, certain 'fashionable' offerings actually are.

As for giving extra reach - what you get is neglible compared to what you lose, in this case the use of a hand, and only within a stand-off 'sparring' model is this notion of range important anyhow, all real fighting is 'in' range, and having longer weapons is usually a severe handicap when in the thick of it.

Given the choice of slugging a bad guy in the head with a rolled up copy of GQ, or a solid straight right, I'm certain that there is no choice - and if I had to take such a shot, I'd pick the magazine every time.

Mick

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  David Stanswood on Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:28 am

Hi Mick,
To be honest when i read anything anyone has written i take it with a pinch of salt until i have messed around with it myself. And im shocked to find that improvised weapons do not work that well at all (maybe i am no good with them or the situation was not for real). The thing that stuck out the most was the loss of my hand holding the weapon. Because my hand was occupied i could not change my strike or grab and hit with the other hand. I had to let go of the weapon first wasting time and getting over run in the process. Excellent food for thought on this topic. Keep em coming.

Thanks Dave

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Flash on Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:56 am

I see all weapons as an extension of the boxing fist. In fact I'd almost class the fist as a specialised weapon in it's own right. The advantage of the fist being that you can turn it off and on as opposed to dropping it or retrieving it.

The next issue is whether the weapon is deployed as a lead weapon (gripped in the lead hand), a rear weapon (gripped in the rear hand), or in some cases gripped in/by both hands.

For example I'd typically deploy a baton type weapon in the lead hand, and use it at range to keep someone at bay, for instance someone threatening with a knife. You let a knife get too close and chance plays a bigger part in the outcome. I don't like leaving things to chance.

However if I was the one with the knife then I'd tend to deploy that in my rear hand, where I can reduce the opportunities for someone to make a grab for it. I'd tend to use a knife purely for a stabbing as opposed to a slashing attack, and use the lead hand to create space for the stabs the same way that a jab creates space for a cross.

Sorry - should add that I believe in maintaining the same side forward.

***

Back to my magazine fetish... grip isn't a huge problem provided that you roll the spine in the centre, this causes the pages to fan out around the outside producing a very grippy surface, probably better than you'd get with a baton.

The other advantage with a magazine is that it become automatically decommissions itself when you drop it. Very few weapons do this, particularly batons! The attacker cannot simply pick it up and use it against you, they'd have to roll it up and that takes too long.

The magazine works best just out of regular striking range, and is useful for keep someone at bay, especially if they have an edged weapon, and also potentially useful if there are multiple attackers, where you need to keep them at range. If the attacker gets too close for the magazine to be effective then have the option of dropping it.

Lastly try rolling up a GQ with the spine in the centre. I guarantee you that this is 95+% as hard and heavy as a piece of wood or steel. And like any baton it can be gripped anywhere along it's length. You really don't want to get hit with it - try hitting your training partner instead LOL, they won't like it much either. It's also very durable and resistant to edged weapons. Try it and see.

I've done a lot of training with this weapon, and my enthusiasm for it is based on my own experience. Prior to that I was skeptical, and would have placed it near the bottom of my list. It's very easy to test this weapon out for yourself, and I strongly urge everyone to give it a blast. Particularly against edged or sharp weapons.

I only class it as semi-improvised. I'm skeptical that anyone could pick up a magazine off a table, roll it up, and use it in a timely fashion. If I'm carrying one then I carry it ready rolled Smile so not hugely improvised. And as I already said it has the advantage of being completely legal... well until you hit someone with it.

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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Ade on Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:21 am

Flash how many times have you used a rolled magazine in a real situation?

...and how successful was it on these occasions?
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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Sven on Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:32 am

Flash, ever KO-ed anybody with this rolled up magazine of Yours? We're talking about stoping the attacker (or attackers), not fencing with him. I've tried it (in training) and the overall impression is that while it MAY hurt, it would definitely not stop any determined attacker.

It's funny how training may differ from real all-out fight... hurting does not equal stopping.
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Re: ARTICLE - IMPROVISED WEAPONS

Post  Guest on Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:17 am

Regarding the initial article, and my other posts concerning weapons, I suppose someone might draw the conclusion that I simply don't like anything other than bare hands in a fight, and possibly I had nothing better to do than write extensively about mere theories I hold in order to 'sell' my opinions...

Or perhaps I've tested, in training and elsewhere, all manner of objects against both pads and people, resulting in the information contained in the initial article and subsequent posts, and I am happy to jump off the 'weapons' bandwagon, and ignore 'fashionable' but unproven opinions, where the same 'old wives tales' are simply regurgitated with little to no empirical evidence as back up.

Maybe I have tried out the pen/key/comb vs. person, on more than one occasion, and not been overly impressed with the outcome, and perhaps I have carried a rolled up magazine with the express purpose of testing it out on someone's head - how about a pool ball plus pint glass in an issue army sock - even manufacturing situations where all this could happen...possibly I base my opinions on this sort of thing?

As with all proof, just one event doesn't qualify anything - positive or negative. So the little old lady who fends of a would-be attacker with her hatpin and makes the news might be hailed as proof by some - after all, they want to believe - but what about the little old ladies who achieve the same without such means? Kind of spoils the argument I submit.

Now possibly I come across as being anti-weapon - nothing could be further from the truth, in actuality I'm just anti-gimmick, and most 'improvised weapons' are nothing more than party tricks in my opinion - and experience - that might make the less initiated and exposed go 'Wow' but objectively don't produce the same results as far less esoteric methods and means.

Weapons obviously give certain advantages, but only if they actually are weapons - not just some innocuous item that someone wants to be a weapon. Hammers and chair legs make potent weapons, no way I'd take a shot from either of these - rolled up magazines don't come anywhere close in my opinion, and I'll take a free shot in the name of research so long as I can return the favour with nothing more fancy than a straight right...

As far as grip is concerned, it isn't the surface of the weapon that is the issue - but the simple fact that the body as a whole can generate far more force than the grip can withstand, and what invariably happens is that the power gets 'turned down' to accommodate this limitation - and with a rolled magazine the sub-12" length available to strike with isn't worth the trouble from a power or reach point of view.

Thinking you'll be keeping a commited adversary at bay with such an item is a little ambitious to say the least, and using a 'weapon first' strong-side lead soon comes unstuck when fighting, though it seems great for sparring with - a mistake I made many years ago when I too believed it was superior, based on great results during extensive sparring in training but choosing to ignore all the actual evidence I was exposed to several times each week fighting for real. When your adversary isn't interested in sparring, and wants to fight instead, a distinct 'lead' limb soon becomes neutralised and relegated to supporting the rear limb, another reason for choosing to square-up in terms of position in order to minimise the lead/rear effect, and maximise the equal usability of both limbs.

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