Improvised weapons are devices that were not designed to be used as weapons but can be put to that use. They are generally used for self-defence or where the person is otherwise unarmed. In some cases improvised weapons are commonly used by attackers in street fights, muggings, murders or during riots, usually when conventional weapons such as firearms are unavailable or inappropriate.
"Improvised Weapons" is a term used to represent common everyday objects that can be used is a variety of defensive applications. These objects are not physically altered in any way, in an effort to make them more functional as weapons. They are generally utilized in their normal state.
Examples[edit | edit source]
Any object that can be picked up and used by one to cause bodily harm to another can be considered an improvised weapon. For common, ready-at-hand weapons, they can include:
- Common sports equipment (baseball bats, golf clubs, cricket bats, ski poles, pool cues, croquet mallets, hockey sticks, dumbells and their handles)
- Any object made of glass (beer mugs and bottles)
- Clothing accessories (belts or scarves for choking, walking sticks, umbrellas, finger rings (used as knuckle-dusters), steel-toed boots, chain-wallets, spike bands; belts can also be used as an improvised whip, a common form of domestic abuse.)
- Tools (Hammers Sledgehammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, chisels, awls, saws, box cutters, hatchets, pick axes, crowbars, nail guns, fire extinguishers)
- Construction materials (2×4s, pipes rebars, chains, bricks, wood, ropes (for strangulation))
- Vehicular maintenance tools and parts (tire irons, bike chains, bicycle pumps, chain-style bicycle locks, car antennaes, windshield wipers)
- Kitchen utensils (knives, forks, meat cleavers, icepicks, frying pans, rolling pins, cheese graters)
- Musical instruments (cymbals, drum sticks, piano wire (for strangulation), guitars or any stringed instrument with a long neck)
- Farming and gardening tools (pitchforks, axes, shovels, spades, hoes, machetes, pruning shears, kaiser blades, brush hooks, chainsaws)
- Nautical and boating equipment (oars, paddles, anchors, harpoons)
- Office, art and school supplies (letter openers, scissors, X-acto knives, pencils, rulers, staplers, paper cutters)
- Cleaning and janitorial equipment (broom/mop sticks, plunger handles, dust pans, squeegees, long thick handled brushes, litter sticks)
- Interior decorations and furniture accessories (fireplace pokers, curtain rods, Candelabra or Candlesticks, pillows (for suffocation) chair/table legs)
- Personal grooming products (straight razors, scissors)
- Medical equipment (scalpels, syringes)
- Any liquid that causes pain upon contact with skin or eyes (Hot coffee, soup, boiling water, battery acid)
- Natural debris (tree/bush branches (used as a primitive club or staff), rocks, sand (throw at eyes).
- pocket knife
Improvised weapons in martial arts[edit | edit source]
Throughout history, common tools were used so often as weapons in self-defense that many of them have evolved specifically into weapons or were adapted with the secondary purpose of being used in self-defense, usually by adding modifications to its design. Well-known examples include the Irish shillelagh, the Japanese Bō and hanbo, which were originally used as walking canes and the Buddhist Monk's spade, a shovel monks used for burying corpses which often had sharpened edges to defend against bandits with more ease.
Thusly many martial arts throughout employ the use of common objects as weapons; Okinawan karate features items of farming equipment that were later used as weapons by Okinawan peasants due the prohibition of weapons imposed by the shogun regime during feudal times; Filipino martial arts such as Eskrima include practice with machetes, canes, bamboo spears, and knives as a result of the 400 year Spanish colonization that took place in the Philippines which prohibited the ownership and use of standard swords and bladed weapons; Chinese martial arts and some Korean martial arts commonly feature the use of improvised weapons such as fans, hammers and staves. There are even some western martial arts that are based on improvised weapons such as British quarterstaff fighting and Irish stick fighting.
Legal issues[edit | edit source]
Because of the use of common objects as weapons in violent crimes, many countries have made laws to prevent the use of some tools and other non-weapon objects to be used to cause harm. It is possible for a person to be detained, or even arrested, by a law enforcement official or security personnel for carrying a potentially-harmful object in a situation where there is no reasonable use for it. For example, while it is legal and perfectly understandable for someone to possess a kitchen knife or a hammer and keep it for use in one's home, it would seem highly suspicious for someone to carry a kitchen knife or a hammer concealed on his/her person or in plain sight when walking down a city street.
Many areas even prohibit people from entering with objects that may used as weapons. Most public schools in North America will not allow their students to bring pocket knives, butter knives or chain-wallets, sometimes with harsh zero tolerance policies. Airports typically prohibit objects that could be used as weapons from being carried onto planes, with restrictions widely extended after the September 11 Terrorist Attacks to cover even objects like nail clippers and spiked wristbands. (See Airport security repercussions due to the September 11, 2001 attacks).
On the other hand there are countries where weapons are prohibited by law. In these locations a law abiding citizen's only options for self-defense are to use empty handed techniques or to utilize the aid of an improvised weapon.
Makeshift weapons[edit | edit source]
Makeshift Weapon is a term used to represent any everyday object that has been physically altered to enhance its potential as a weapon. It can also be used to represent the making of standard weapons such as guns, knives, and bombs out of commonly available items.
Examples of makeshift weapons consist of:
- Millwall brick
- Molotov cocktail
- Pipe bomb
- Zip gun
- Chainlock (improvised flail)
- Stink bomb
- Smoke bomb
The improvised Molotov cocktail was used with great success by the heavily outnumbered Finnish forces in the Winter War against the Soviet Union. The mixture of flammable petroleum, often thickened with soap or tar, was so effective against the Soviet tanks that the Finns began mass producing Molotov cocktails, and issuing them to their troops. While the first documented use of such improvised incendiary devices was in the Spanish Civil War, their use in the Winter War was much more prevalent, and it was at that time they were named after the Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- DEFENSIVE USE OF IMPROVISSED (sic) WEAPONS
- Baseball bat as used was a deadly weapon
- Mayorga, Carlos (May 2010). "N. Ogden man charged in golf course assault with deadly weapon". http://www.standard.net/topics/golf/2010/05/10/n-ogden-man-charged-golf-course-assault-deadly-weapon. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- Self defence or malicious revenge? Jail for brothers who beat burglar with bat
- TribStar.com (February 2008). "Wabash Valley Correctional Facility inmate in critical after attack". http://tribstar.com/news/x1155734900/Wabash-Valley-Correctional-Facility-inmate-in-critical-after-attack. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- Ratcliffe, Michael J. (August 2008). "Police say broken bottle was wielded as weapon in Princeton robbery". http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2008/08/police_say_broken_bottle_was_w.html. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "The Lawyers reports annotated, Volume 21" Page 506
- WGHP (2006). "Weapon of choice: Fire extinguisher". http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3991378695366614033#. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "The Lawyers reports annotated, Volume 21" Page 504
- Man accused in fatal lead pipe beating pleads not guilty
- Times on line (February 2010). "Mayfair partygoers throw bricks at riot police". http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article7024740.ece. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- Gregory, Chris (May 2010). "Attack happened in Kings Furlong". http://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/local/8169873.Brick_used_as_weapon_in_street_robbery/. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- Carson City deputies arrest three after fight with tire iron
- FM 3-25-150 Chapter 7
- Hadad, Shmulik (May 2010). "9 officers hurt in east Jerusalem riots". http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3895731,00.html. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- Escrima - The Filipino Martial Art
- Hurley, John W. (2007). Shillelagh: The Irish Fighting Stick. Caravat Press. ISBN 1430325704. 
- Digitale Bibliothek - Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum
- Chef Nate Appleman busted for weapons possession, a little jackknife - NYPOST.com
- One Nation Under Arrest: The End of the Pocket Knife
- Girl arrested for butter knife in backpack
- Post-9/11 Airport Security: Do You Know Where Your Dignity Is?
- TSA: Prohibited Items
- Urban Combatives
- History of the Molotov cocktail
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