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Top 10 Best Improvised Weapons for Self-Defense

Updated on March 14, 2016
NateB11 profile image

I've been training in martial arts since the 1980s and consistently since the '90s. I am a 2nd-degree black belt in Kenpo Karate.


When it comes to a violent confrontation in which an attacker might kill you or seriously injure you, you will need to do whatever is necessary to save yourself. It is not a time to be hesitant about ending the confrontation by whatever means you have available. For this reason, it might be necessary to equalize the situation but, even more importantly, to gain an advantage. One way this is done is by having a weapon handy. While many of us do not carry weapons due to personal or legal reasons, this does not mean that weapons are not always available. Along these lines, I would like to explore what everyday objects are available, in our environment, for self defense purposes.

The Coke Bottle

You might be walking home from the store and, out of the blue, a predator has accosted you. Luckily, you've purchased a soda in a glass bottle; you might even want to have it in your hand and ready for use if you see trouble coming. A glass bottle is like a very hard club and, of course, can be used the same way. It should be mentioned that it is very possible a glass bottle is available in your environment whether you have one on hand or not; you might spot it, discarded in the street. Either way, it is a useful and often available self defense tool.


The Coffee Mug

You've sat down to relax and drink a hot cup of Joe when someone bursts into your home. Thankfully, you've got a weapon right within your grip which has a nifty handle that allows you to punch and strike with it with ease. Plus, you're hyped up on coffee!



Those big heavy Maglites that are metal and full of D batteries are equivalent to a lead pipe. Definitely a handy self-defense tool that you should keep in the home and carry in your car. It's a necessary tool for emergencies, like when the lights go out at home or if you run out of gas when driving in your car, so you have a legitimate reason to be carrying one; if it just so happens that you have to use it to defend yourself because some joker decided to try to make you a victim, so be it.


The Hair Brush

You're brushing your hair and someone crashes into the bathroom and decides to get unruly; the butt end of your hair brush is a good blunt instrument and the brush has bristles which make it a good raking implement that doesn't feel good on the eyes, though your nicely brushed hair may be easy on the eyes.


The Pen

You're in your office, taking down notes for a great idea you have for that important project you've been itching to finish up. Breaking your deep concentration, some disenchanted rapscallion rushes into your office with fury and bad intent. You notice the ball-point pen in your hand, which is conveniently pointy at the end. Time to go to work: Not only is such a tool good for stabbing actions, but it's useful for hitting pressure points and being used for locks and throws.

A pen is an effective weapon. Conversely, a rolled up magazine can be a good defensive tool (discussed more below).
A pen is an effective weapon. Conversely, a rolled up magazine can be a good defensive tool (discussed more below). | Source
Application of a wrist lock, which can turn into a throw, using the pen as reinforcement and to put pressure on the nerves on the back of the hand.
Application of a wrist lock, which can turn into a throw, using the pen as reinforcement and to put pressure on the nerves on the back of the hand. | Source
Applying a wrist lock and using the pen at the hinge point inside the elbow to gain leverage for a throw.
Applying a wrist lock and using the pen at the hinge point inside the elbow to gain leverage for a throw. | Source


Also handy around the house or office are magazines. You'd be surprised at the substance and hardness of a magazine which is rolled up tightly; it becomes an effective weapon, especially if used like a club, utilizing the butt end of it to hit vital targets on the attacker, such as the eyes or throat.


Cell Phone

You're walking up the street talking on your cell phone to your girlfriend or boyfriend and spy someone lurking around, seeking to get you for your valuables. Well, you have your cell phone, so you can call the police, but you also have a hard weapon; yes, the cell phone. Using the butt end of the cell phone in your hand, you can hammer the bridge of the nose, the philtrum nerve above the upper lip, the temple, the jaw hinge, the throat. It might be enough to get the attacker to think about some pain instead of attacking you so you can make your escape.

Food and Beverage

Hot oatmeal, hot coffee, a pot of boiling water; none of those feel good splashed in the face: I think you get the idea.


Generally available outdoors, a handful of dirt thrown into the eyes of an aggressor can blind him and keep him in misery long enough for you to pull off a life-saving self defense move or for you to escape.

Throwing the Attacker into Things

The ground, a wall, a bookcase, a parked car: These are all weapons. Throwing the attacker onto the ground or into a wall can do enough damage for you to end the confrontation and escape.


In conclusion, when it comes to saving your own life against someone intent on doing you harm, it is good to use your mind, be smart and perceptive and aware of what's available in your environment that will give you an advantage in a dangerous situation.


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    • NateB11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathan Bernardo 

      7 years ago from California, United States of America

      Yes, TCaro, it seems when it comes to self defense, we must consider everything possible and necessary and see there are answers in the simplest things. Thanks for coming by and commenting.

    • TCaro profile image

      Tony Caro 

      7 years ago

      Interesting article. Too often, the subject of improvised weapons is overlooked in martial arts training.

    • NateB11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathan Bernardo 

      7 years ago from California, United States of America

      Thanks for stopping by, Beulah, with that very funny and illustrative story.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I actually used a pen to scare off an attacker. I had just started driving an airport shuttle in San Francisco, and had pulled over to look at a map. Some guy tried to open the passenger side door as well as the back door, which were both locked. He came around to my door, which wasn't locked, and opened it. I screamed like a mad woman and wielded my ballpoint pen. I was ready to stab his eyes out with it! Haha! Apparently, he could see that because he ran away.

    • NateB11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathan Bernardo 

      7 years ago from California, United States of America

      Thank you, Mr. Lenchus. Those are very good ideas, I like the perfume idea; it just occurred to me that hair spray would be a good one too. I'm definitely appreciating your feedback, and definitely feel this subject is significant with seemingly endless possibilities.

    • Rick Lenchus profile image

      Rick Lenchus 

      7 years ago

      12 years ago I wrote a book (one or 4) Called "Coney Island Sensei a Brooklyn Street Fighters Guide" which includes many uses of everyday objects in fact 189 pages. I have been in the arts since 1949 and hold 10th Dan from Japan and recognized as one of the founding fathers of American Martial Arts. I use EVERYTHING in Hardware stores in Food centers. In Malls in your kitchen or shed or garden or Perfume which is an atomizer when sprayed while holding a match becomes a flame thrower. I include ways of compromising gangs and more than 6-12 people instantaneously.

      I think you are on the right track and I hope your readers take heart..

      Good Luck

    • NateB11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathan Bernardo 

      7 years ago from California, United States of America

      Hahaha! ESpeck, that's one of the greatest things I've ever heard; you guided them right into their own misfortune on the ice, and you had to do little more than be aware and let it happen. Good deal! I have a friend who used to drive a small bus in the city and she was stuck in traffic and a guy that didn't seem quite sane approached her window menacingly and she grabbed a pen and started screaming at him; that was enough to make him be on his way.

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      Emilie S Peck 

      7 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Great suggestions! I wouldn't have thought to use my hairbrush like that.

      I liked our suggestion about throwing the attacker into things. Being aware of the surroundings in general is a great idea.

      I'm a bus rider, and a rather petite, so there have been times when people thought I looked like a decent victim. The last time that had happened, it was in the dead of winter. These two girls who were bigger than I am and wanted trouble tried coming at me. They hadn't realized that I'd nonchalantly started walking on a sheet of ice when they started threatening me. Between the extra tread on my winter boots and my practice with unexpectedly slippery terrain, I was confident that I was good.

      When they came after me, down they went. Their wedge-heeled boots just aren't a good idea for winter walking in MN. They were too busy trying to get back on their feet and cursing at each other to come after me as I continued on my merry way.

    • NateB11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathan Bernardo 

      7 years ago from California, United States of America

      Thanks, Billy. Yes, you're right, being aware of what's available all around us can make all the difference. Glad you liked this piece and glad you stopped by!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent suggestions! So many times people think they are helpless, when in fact everything they need for self defense is within reach. Loved this hub.


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