It’s all those collapsible batons now,” lamented the Southern sheriff’s deputy on the phone. An aficionado of nightsticks, batons and the techniques such weapons are used most effectively with, he was hoping to get certified in the PR-24 side-handle baton (derived from the martial arts tonfa) by one of the few agencies still using the weapon. He was decidedly unimpressed by collapsible batons, especially the very short ones, and considered them flimsy and too light to transmit much authority. He carried a good, old-fashioned nightstick.

The nightstick, or billy club, has long been a symbol of authority. It is, for obvious reasons, most closely associated with law enforcement. Corrections officers have also carried them among inmates who vastly outnumber the guards walking in their midst. A club is both badge and weapon, shield and sword. The club offers certain defensive advantages over more sophisticated, more lethal weapons, giving up precision in exchange.

Bringing In The Billy
Thanks to myriad laws targeting weapons such as “any blackjack, sap or billy,” the simple club is often illegal where licensed pistols, pepper spray or folding knives are acceptable. When legal, the club offers the advantage of added reach, but its primary benefit is the shield it forms between you and your assailant. The length of heavy club between you and your adversary allows you to fend off and jab the attacker, and even block an incoming blow. (Note that the most effective way to “block” with a club is to strike preemptively at the opponent’s weapon-bearing limb.)

Read more in the November 2013 issue of Tactical Knives

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