Those serious about personal protection generally prefer to carry a weapon. Unfortunately, there are many places around the United States where firearms, knives and even pepper spray are prohibited. So what are we left to do? While open-hand techniques are also a part of most self-defense training, sometimes we need a weapon. In fact, there are weapons all around us, and all we have to do is improvise to arm ourselves.

Instant Defense

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Stabbing weapons can be anything ridged with a small enough point to puncture flesh. One of the best improvised stabbing weapons is a pen. Held firmly in the hand with approximately a third of it protruding beyond your grip, it can be a devastating weapon. As with any improvised weapon, we will need to focus on the best targets for our new tool. With a pen, it is best to focus on the soft tissue surrounding the neck. This area of the body is dense in veins and arteries as well as sensitive to pain. Another effective stabbing tool can be a screwdriver. For defensive purposes, a screwdriver is a solid choice because it is metal and includes a preexisting handle. As with the pen, targets around the neck will yield the most effective results.

If the day comes that you are forced to stab with an improvised weapon, technique will be important. The human body is resilient and stabbing will be more difficult than you may imagine. To get the quickest results, stab at right angles. This is especially true with a pen because they run the chance of breaking. Use your entire body to strike and drive the weapon. Done with intent and focus, your improvised stabbing tool will stop even the most dedicated attacker.

Strike Back

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Unless you have trained and conditioned your hands for striking, you should use a weapon. Striking a hard surface such as a jaw or head can seriously damage your hand and leave you less capable of defending yourself. Finding a suitable weapon for striking can be easy so long as you know what you are looking for. Generally, we want something that has some heft to it yet is not unwieldy. At the top of the list is a computer keyboard. Medium weight and easy to maneuver, it also has great hard edges to amplify your strikes. Right up there with a keyboard is a stapler. Generally made of metal, a stapler shares many of the qualities of the keyboard. Its individual strengths are a solid design and hard edges.

RELATED: 5 Everyday Objects to Use for Self Defense

Like stabbing, striking takes technique and focus. When using your improvised striking weapon, strike using the hard edges. The target that will give you the greatest response is the bridge of the attacker’s nose. Striking down with a continuous, firm blow using your whole body weight causes a great deal of shock. The nose is a highly sensitive area, and striking there causes great pain and blurred vision. One last thing to note is the need for multiple strikes. Never assume that one firm blow from anything will stop an attacker. By planning on delivering multiple strikes you improve your odds of survival dramatically.

Choking Tools

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While choking your attacker may not be your number-one choice as a defensive maneuver, it is nonetheless very effective. As with striking, however, without training it can be difficult to pull off without putting yourself in greater jeopardy. It is once again time to improvise. This time we are looking for something to use as a garrote or choking tool. Depending on the weather, most of us have something useful in this area on us daily. A great example is a scarf. Lightweight, easy to manipulate and strong, a scarf can be very effective when used to choke an attacker. A belt can be used along the same lines. While not as quick to deploy, leather belts have seen their share of the action as an improvised weapon through the years.

Using a scarf to choke an attacker is not a quick affair. Technique and commitment to your task are paramount. The goal with improvised choking weapons is not the elimination of air, but rather blood. Our target of choice is once again the neck. By wrapping your weapon tightly around the neck, you begin to limit the blood flow to the brain. In doing so, the attacker will begin to weaken and eventually fall unconscious. Similar to techniques used in judo and jujitsu, the goal is to render the assailant unconscious and thus unable to continue their assault on you. The time it takes for this to occur depends on a variety of factors, such as the attacker’s physical condition, the tightness of the choke and how much they struggle. The best place to administer your choke will be from behind or at an angle that limits the attacker’s ability to strike you. Dig in and stay put until they lose the desire to fight.

Blind Your Attacker

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The effectiveness of pepper spray is undeniable. Its ability to cause pain and dysfunction are the reasons it is carried by law enforcement around the world. Surprisingly, there are many states and municipalities that do not allow citizens to possess pepper spray or any other chemical agent defense spray. Fear not, we can once again improvise. There are countless spray chemicals that serve as well, if not better, than pepper spray in self-defense situations. Some of the best are cleaning sprays that incorporate bleach. These are often bathroom or sink cleaners that have a very distinct aroma when used. We will target the eyes for this defense, with the intent of not just hitting the eyes themselves but the brow as well. If the assailant suddenly closes their eyes when you spray, the effects will not be instantaneous. With a serious dose of the spray now running down from their brow, their eyes will shortly begin to burn. This is a very effective way to protect your life. A special note to ladies: perfume used in the same fashion has blinded many a would-be rapist. Regardless of the spray you choose, be aggressive and turn their own attack against them.

RELATED: Everyday Carry Essentials

Your imagination is probably running right now with what you believe would make good improvised weapons. You are perhaps looking around the room or thinking about what is in your office. You are encouraged to “war game” your self-defense plans. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. It is that exact attitude that will keep you safer in the event you are ever forced to leave behind your traditional weapons.

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  • CountyRat

    An additional weapon: It is legal in all states, inexpensive, and commonly found in many work and home environments. In fact, you might have this weapon on your desk, or even in your hand right now. The weapon? A cup of hot coffee. Thrown in the face of an attacker it will stun him and cause his eyes to close reflexively, giving the defender an opportunity to run, strike, or, if legally justified and necessary, draw his or her side arm.