Choosing a weapon for self-defense can be a real challenge. Ideally, you want something that offers both lethal and non-lethal capability, allows you to fight at a distance, is easy to carry, inexpensive, and is innocuous enough to be legal to carry virtually everywhere. Sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not. The weapon I’m referring to is the cane, and it’s one of the best-kept secrets in self-defense.

In addition to serving as a mobility aid, the cane can be a very potent personal-defense tool. Best of all, it is a weapon that you will invariably have “in hand” when the fight starts, so weapon deployment is never an issue.

While most sturdy canes can be used for self-defense, some are purpose-designed to maximize their potential as defensive weapons. Let’s take a look at two examples that take the humble cane to new combative heights.

TDI’s Heavy Metal

Unlike typical gun-centric schools, TDI (Tactical Defense Institute) focuses heavily on non-firearm defensive skills and is perhaps best known for its groundbreaking TDI/KA-BAR Knife, a weapon-retention tool that has found great favor with law enforcement officers. Recently TDI President and Chief Instructor, John Benner teamed up with KA-BAR again to offer another unique less-lethal weapon: the TDI Cane.

The shaft of the TDI Cane is constructed of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum tubing with a 1/8-inch wall thickness permanently mated to a solid aluminum crook. The end of the crook is finished to provide an angled—but not too sharp—edge that focuses the energy of the crook’s tip without turning the cane into a fisherman’s gaff. Two sections of machine knurling on the cane’s shaft, one near the crook and one a few inches up from the tip, offer a secure grip without being too aggressive or abrasive to the user’s hands.

Customize Your Cane

Right out of the box, the TDI Cane measures 39 inches long with a cylindrical shaft that is 1 inch in diameter. As all savvy cane users know, a cane’s length must be tailored to the user’s height to allow it to be used comfortably. With your arms hanging relaxed at your sides, the cane should reach the height of your wrist, so that when it’s in use, your elbow bends about 15 to 20 degrees. Achieving this with the TDI Cane is easy. Just remove the rubber tip, use an ordinary hacksaw to cut the shaft to the proper length, and replace the tip. The cane sports a durable baked-on black polyester powder-coat finish.

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