Improvised Weapons: 9 Best Discreet Self-Defense Weapons to Carry

Evil lurks around us at all times. It is hard to know when you need to carry a self-defense item and when not to carry a weapon because an attacker can strike at any time. So what about the items you use everyday? We take a look at the 9 best improvised weapons that you probably already carry.

Crime is not predictable. It can happen at night, in broad daylight, in the shopping mall or at home. The only thing we can do is to make sure we are prepared for when it happens.

The problem is, having a weapon on you at all times just doesn’t happen. Sure, a few people are lucky enough to have weapons on them everywhere they go because of the nature of their jobs. But for most of us, we simply do not have that protection.

For us normal everyday law-abiding citizens, there are certain everyday carry items that can quickly turn into lethal survival weapons to defend yourself against terrorism or urban crime.

Even better, these weapons will not draw any attention to you. As much as they may be out in the open, they are effectively ignored and any potential criminals will not even guess that they are self-defense weapons.

We have consulted ex-special forces personnel, survivalists and law enforcement to find, from the experts, what everyday items make the best weapons.

So let’s take a look at the improvised weapons those experts have said can be used to efficiently pacify, or even neutralize, an attacker.

1. A Set of Keys

Best discrete weapons

Almost all adults always carry a set of keys. They may be for our cars, our houses, and office or storage lockers. No one will wonder why you are carrying a bunch of keys. That’s what makes them wonderful improvised weapons. Besides, a set of keys can inflict serious injuries on your attacker if you use them correctly.

When you sight a potential attacker, simply place the keys in the palm of your hands with their pointed shafts protruding between your fingers. If the attacker advances towards you, strike him with your fist in a sensitive area. Try to target soft areas where the keys can inflict maximum injury.

The soft areas to target are eyes, solar plexus, and throat. The attacker will definitely not see this coming but the strike will stop him at his heels (assuming your attacker is male, of course).

While keys can inflict enough injury to slow an attacker, do not continue the fight. Simply look for an opportunity to escape. But if you are cornered, strike repeatedly until you are free to escape.

2. A Newspaper or Magazine

Improvised weapons

Do you love reading the current news from newspapers or magazines? Most of us do. But did you know that a newspaper or a magazine could save your life in an attack? The answer is yes.

This is perhaps the most inconspicuous improvised weapons you can carry anywhere without drawing attention to yourself. In fact, you’d give an impression of a very intelligent and informed person, if you weren’t already.

It may surprise you that special forces professionals have always been trained how to use this improvised weapon for self-defense. Those acquainted with this knowledge refer to a newspaper as Millwall Brick.

So, how do you use a newspaper as a self-defense weapon in the case of an attack?

The key to using a newspaper or a magazine is rolling it up tight or holding it appropriately. Do not roll it towards the fold. Doing this will make it impossible to have all the pages of the newspaper layered out alongside for it to hold better.

An intelligent way to use the newspaper the right way is to pre-roll it and keep it tightly rolled with a rubber band. This makes it very effective.

3. An Umbrella

Discrete weapons

In a hot summer sun, an umbrella provides the shade you need to avoid sunburn. On a rainy day, the same umbrella will be valuable in sheltering you from the rain. So, it would not be strange for people to see you carrying an umbrella. Yet this item is potentially the most effective and lethal improvised weapon you can carry anywhere.

First, it can give you more reach than other improvised weapons. This means you won’t have to wait for the attacker to get really close to you in order to use the weapon. The more reach can give you an advantage. Secondly, it can hit hard and cause your attacker to flee. Although it is still great to target soft areas, the hardness of an umbrella allows you to hit anywhere and still manage to slow or stop your attacker.

However, you need to be careful when choosing an umbrella to use as a discrete weapon. Most umbrellas are made of materials that tend to break easily especially if you hit swing them forcefully. Besides, they tend to pop open with significant shuffling. This does not mean you can’t find an exception.

4. A Cane

Best improvised weapons

A good cane can be extremely valuable as a discrete weapon. They are stylish as they won’t draw attention to you as improvised weapons but as flashy accessories. Always choose a cane that does not look like a weapon. The cane should also be strong enough with a heavy handle on the end.

It would be great if you can get a hardwood cane fitted with brass handles. The fancier the cane is the better it is in concealment. Fancy things attract attention as nice looking but will never be confiscated for being weapons. Keep in mind that a cane is always associated with a limp. So, you should improvise some subtle limp if you intend to carry a cane as a weapon.

You might also be interested in reading about how to survive martial law and protect yourself.

5. A Pen or Pencil

A weaponized pen

No one will be curious to see you with a pen or a pencil even if you are illiterate. So, if you were to carry a pen or a pencil in your bag or pouch, no one will ever suspect you of any weapon possession. Yet, you will be having a formidable weapon that can buy you enough time to run from your attacker to safety.

While any pen can do, a tactical pen is a reliable alternative. In fact, it would be great to include it as part of your personal EDC kit. The problem is that people who know them consider them weapons and so they may be kind of conspicuous.

However, any pen could be used as a weapon as long as you choose the right one and use it correctly.  The pen should have at least an inch of it sticking out of your fist (between your fingers) as you hold it. Use it to poke holes into the fleshy parts of your target’s body.

6. A Flashlight

A weaponized flashlight

A flashlight, whether ordinary or tactical flashlight can be a formidable discrete weapon. It is very effective if you hit an attacker’s temple, ribs, nose ridge or even the shin. A good model of flashlight for this purpose is the 2-cell Maglite.

The 3-cell models are valuable improvised weapons if used as batons. Use it against the attacker’s limbs or even head if necessary. Sturdy flashlights can break bones of even an elderly attacker or render him unconscious. This will give you more than enough time to escape to safety.

Flashlights can also be great to use at night or in dark areas as a way to temporarily blind your attacker so you can leave quickly.

7. A Briefcase

Man walking with a weapon briefcase

Who will stop you and confiscate your briefcase accusing you of intending to use it as a weapon? I guess no one would dare to unless he or she is robber. Carrying a briefcase at all times could be difficult but it could be what would save your life.

Even an empty briefcase can deliver serious pain on an attacker especially if you were to get one made of heavy-duty aluminum. Furthermore, a briefcase can shield you from a knife or a baseball bat attack. To use it as a weapon, simply swing it hard in a fashion similar to a hook punch. Aim directly at the attacker’s elbows, head or knee joints.

8. Cuticle Clippers

Cuticle Clippers

Women love to carry cuticle clippers in their purses. These items can quickly be converted to discreet weapons in a manner of seconds. It would be a great improvised weapon to have on you without raising any suspicion.

Although they may not disable an attacker, clippers are very sharp and pointy. They can rip flesh open effortlessly and slow the attacker. This can buy you some time to escape to safety. Clippers are as easy to access as pairs of keys. You can use a metal nail file in a similar fashion.

9. A Belt

This is something gentlemen already know. But ladies too can use a belt as a discrete weapon. It is important to choose a pair of pants and a belt that will make it possible for you to pull the belt off with ease. Otherwise, your pants may drop off leaving you indecently exposed while you are in the middle of a fight.

A wide leather belt would be a great choice especially if it has a heavy buckle.  When wearing the belt, ensure the loop near the buckle doesn’t catch on the front loop of the pair of pants you are wearing. This may block the belt from coming when you need to deploy the weapon fast.

Final Verdict

Hopefully, this post has educated you on how to protect with discrete weapons you can carry anywhere. These items are inconspicuous because they do not draw attention to you. The list we have provided only discusses nine common items you can use as improvised weapons. However, the list could be endless if you have a creative, imaginative and ingenious mind. You are free to mention any everyday item you think of that could act as an improvised weapon.

This post was contributed to The Prepping Guide from The Survival Corps. If you would like to send in your own guest post, shoot us a message at our submission page.

1 thought on “Improvised Weapons: 9 Best Discreet Self-Defense Weapons to Carry”

  1. Keys. As shown, you are going to jack your hand up. With the targets given, you’ll telegraph your (jab) punch. Better: use one key between thumb & forefinger. Rake up across assailant’s face. He won’t see that coming.

    Magazine can just be rolled tightly. Use the tube to poke at eyes, throat, groin.

    Cane should be hardwood, not aluminum. Stay away from head, spinal cord, but target arms, legs, joints and use to poke and quickly withdraw. Can go anywhere.

    Tactical pens can go anywhere: court, post office, airport security. Keep the pen part out and put in carry-on bag. Officers have discretion on confiscation. I know of people going everywhere in the world with these. Only one was stopped in S.Korea. Yeah, that’s it. It’s my “Star Wars” pen. Flat top is better than crenulated crown.


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