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The other day, Farago and I had a chat about carry guns. I was sitting in the I-35 parking lot on my way home talking about my First Time CHL project. (Update soon.) “Don’t get fixated on firearms,” RF counseled. “As the rabbi says, ‘a gunfight is a fight with a gun.'” Judging from the boss’s prior posts, I took that to mean that the grey squishy stuff between your ears is your primary weapon system. Your first line of defense: using your brain to avoid confrontations. It should be cocked, locked, and ready to rock at all times; although sometimes more than others. Nowhere was this more evident than the other night when I was leaving the office . . .

I was shooting the breeze with a couple coworkers while we packed our gear to head home. We were interrupted by a young lady. She couldn’t have been more than five feet tall and 100 pounds soaking wet. She calmly asked if one of us could walk her to her car. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. She’s can’t be carrying (gun-free workplace) and I doubt she’s a secret judo expert. But she just deployed her brain to keep herself safe.

And then I wondered: what if we weren’t there? What else could she (I) carry to keep herself safe? Pepper spray? Knife? Tactical pen? Her keys in her hand? What non-firearm fighting weapons do you carry when you’re not carrying a firearm, or even when you are?

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  1. It never hurts to have a “common pocket knife.” I always fly with a rigger’s belt that has a heavy steel buckle.

  2. Routinely: Brain, cell phone, pocket knife
    Less frequently: MP3 recorder, video camera pen, cane/walking stick

  3. Surefire flashlight.

    Low light scenarios are the most probable for attacks to occur it seems to me, and a bright flashlight will disorient the enemy and deny him information about what else I have on me. A disoriented, denied and possibly deceived attacker will more likely retreat than advance, or at least give me a moment to get inside his OODA loop.

    I started carrying it only when on duty, and now I just always carry it.

    • I’m also rocking a Surefire. Nick, which one are you using, if I may ask. Surefire E2D Defender LED on my end. It’s a solid handheld, but the multi-function switch on it has the potential to mess with you. First press is 200 lumens but if you press it again within 2 seconds, it switches to 5 lumens. Great for if you need to read something or conserve battery life. Bad if you want to strobe or repeatedly flash the 200 lumen mode repeatedly.

  4. In college I used to carry a pair of pliers in my left hand coat pocket. The reason? It was used to justify the Phillips screwdriver in my right hand pocket.

    Weapon? Why no officer, I’m an engineering student, we geeks always have tools on us.

  5. Minimum BRAINS, two knives, box braid para cord key chain with heavy clip on one end 5 to 6 inches long, metal flashlight (mini mag), and roll of quarters (paying the meter).

  6. Mostly edged tools or occasionally a multi-tool.
    In business attire I usually have a CRKT Drifter tucked away. In casual attire I step up to a larger Kershaw Blur. I probably need to replace the Drifter with something with an assisted opening for quicker deployment.

    I also carry a small LED key chain light and obligatory cell phone.

    Beyond that I try my best to maintain some common sense. You know… the whole do not be in bad places with bad people doing bad things philosophy.

    I unfortunately work in a gun-free zone type of location so I’m considered adding a taser or pepper spray option to my kit.

  7. Pocketknife, until some idiot cut himself with his at work and they banned them. I need to get better at remembering to carry it while not at work now.

  8. Always have flashlight and two clip knives on me. When flying that becomes flashlight and pens, bags and other striking weapons. Like a computer bag. Don’t get into the habit that something has to be designed to be used as a weapon for it to be used as such. Ever watched a bar fight? I know you wouldn’t be involved in one right?!?!?!?! Chairs, tables, bottles and anything that isn’t nailed down can be used as a weapon if needed. Any good edged weapon / grappling class will teach you that having knives available on either side is a must as you never know where your arms/hands will end up when you need to draw.
    Already hit on the obvious of having your brain at all times. Actually you need to use your brain at all times.
    As far as OC spray goes, get sprayed by it before you carry it! I expect all kinds of folks to poo poo that but, It was a year after meeting my wife and carrying OC all that time before we discovered that she had a quite adverse reaction to being just near to a discharge of OC. A few years later she was diagnosed with severe Asthma which explains the reaction but we had no idea at the time. Something to be aware of before you carry it.

  9. 6’5″, 260. That cuts out a lot of noise right there.

    One or another of Kershaw Blur, TOPS/Buck CSRT, Spyderco Police, Kershaw Leek.

    Leatherman Skeletool in offhand pocket. Everybody needs a screwdriver, right? This one happens to have a blade. I had hoped the blade would be bigger, but you take what you can get.

    Streamlight Stylus or Surefire E2D.

    When I travel I use the Leatherman Wave. Knife not so easy to deploy but it is a shade bigger. Not useful for stabbing but it’s somewhat intimidating all by itself if properly deployed and displayed. I usually carry some kind of tactical pen as well, definitely on the plane. The most subdued “tactical” pen is the Zebra F-701, it’s really just a ballpoint with a steel barrel and tip, and it’s only $8.95 at WalMart.

  10. At the very least a pocket knife. If I’m going to be at work sitting at my desk all day I usually ditch the multi-tool and flashlight in my car.

  11. Great post. My last Gunsite day (which I am still writing up) had a lot to do with managing an extremely close fight. Robert is exactly right. Be fight focused, not gun focused.

  12. Loose comfortable non-restrictive clothing and good footwear to run or fight in. Yesterday, I ordered two Filipno fighting sticks (28″ in hickory wood!). I’m going to use them for shoulder therapy and self-defense. I am going to get a kubotan (short hard stick) with a key-chain ring attached. Some may find these links interesting.

  13. A concern (probably overblown) that I have with using a knife for self-defense is that some city street thugs might be infected with HIV and I don’t want their blood on me.

  14. It’s probably already been said, but here’s my .02-worth on knife fights. If you get into a knife fight, you will get cut. Once you realize and accept this, you get to decide where that cut will be. Just my opinion; it’s worth what you paid.

    • If someone wants me to walk them to their car, I’m already at a heightened level of awareness. Situational awareness is probably more important than anything, BGs want first-mover advantage and you can potentially deny them that. Without any tools or weapons SA will let you at least start running first, which keeps encounters from being close encounters.

  15. Awareness and Mindset are my standard – issue.

    I also carry a Taser C2 with laser and LED light built in. I daresay
    that’ll smoke a knife, but I carry a Benchmade and Leatherman

    The wife can back me up with her Taser as well – cause you may
    be against multiple bad guys.

    I’ve been on the receiving end of the Taser probes (training), and it’ll smoke a knife anyday. I’ve also deployed it, and it worked perfectly when a gun would not have been appropriate.

    • I’ve seen the X26 fail on more than one occasion. Like you mentioned, awareness and mindset are key.

  16. I generally carry a knife of somekind.
    It’s a useful tool.

    Most often It’s a folder, either a cold steel tanto
    or a crkt m21-04g.

    I carry pepper gas, it’s pretty useful too.

    I carry an asp in my backpack, Those are really useful.

    I walk with a cane, sometimes, due to my health.
    Canes are even more useful than asp batons.

    There are a lot of non firearms weapons out there
    which could serve well as defensive arms, it’s just that none of them
    are as effecient as firearms.

  17. the airport and jury duty is the only place you will find me without a knife.
    I cary a sharp easy to open folder. I am ammazed how many guys don’t though . never understood that . how do they open the nearly indestructable clamshell packages everything somes in?

  18. Always have a flashlight (mini mag) on a boot lace thru the lanyard hole. Allows me to swing it 2 feet further than my hand will reach. Usually have at least one pocket knife, heavy keyring on a rope, my size 14 shoes, usually have a “tactical” pen, and being 6′-3″ and 295 helps a little.

  19. I always have a few levels of additional “safety tools.” The level below the concealed firearm is usually a folding knife, usually as large as is legal. The second level is something benign that would not normally be categorized as a weapon (I usually prefer a mini-mag flashlight).

    The idea is, if I have to go somewhere that restricts what can be carried, I leave behind the “safety tools” that are not allowed, but hopefully can still retain a decent level of “safety tool(s)”.

    It’s surprising what can be accomplished with a simple mini-mag flashlight.

  20. An easy to to carry (wear, really) and surprisingly effective weapon is a pair a steel-toed boots. You don’t have to be able to throw a round-house kick like Chuck Norris- a quick tap to the shin or knee (knee is better) can give you enough time to disengage and draw your handgun- but you have to remember that they’re there. I used to have a pair of dress shoes with steel toes– style need not be an issue.

    • Glad you brought that up. For two decades I’ve worn steel toe Docs mainly because I really like them but have always kept it in the back of my head that worse come to worse they could be handy. My other non-gun daily companion is my trusty 4″ Spyderco Endura.

    • Thats for damn sure. You’re more likely to have luck with a pair of Doc Martens than with a Sypderco.

  21. My non fire arm weapon I EDC is my Spyderco Tenacious. It’s a utility tool, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t make someone think twice about victimizing me.
    I keep it razor sharp and unless I’m going somewhere that knives aren’t allowed either it’s in my pocket 24/7.

  22. Folding knife. The type depends on what I’m doing and where I’m going. Some cities in Illinois won’t let you carry a knife with a blade longer than 2″; so I’ve got a CRKT Graham Stubby Folding Razel for every day carry. If I know I’m staying near home, I’ll also carry a Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops First Responder. It gives me a longer blade, seatbelt cutter, and glass-breaker. It’s not as good as my older S&W blade–and I can think of plenty of more desireable folders–but it works and it is better than the Chinese knock-offs of this variety.

    I don’t have a lot of money for knives right now, so that’s all I have to carry. I’ve got some others at home, but I can’t get away with carrying a fixed blade knife around here. Especially at work.

  23. I carry a knife with an assisted opening feature, but this is more of a utility tool than a weapon. I also wear a grizzly beard.

    • The CS Spartan is too long for carry in my state. I EDC a Spyderco Sage Carbon Fiber which still is too long for carry into federal buildings; AFAIK that limit is 2.5 inch blade length.

  24. I carry both a Gerber Paraframe and a Multi-tool at all times. I also wear a para-cord bracelet and I often carry a spare magazine even when I cannot carry my pistol (it can serve the same purpose as a roll of quarters).

    I usually have a Mini Maglite or Surefire, and in the truck I have both a 4 D-cell Maglite and a larger fixed blade knife.

    I’ve contemplated leaving a Henry Survival Rifle or M4 in the truck with the roadside emergency kit. Some days living in Oklahoma can be a little rough weather-wise.

  25. Aside from my FNP45 (and two extra mags), I carry a 4″ folding knife, a can of pepper spray on my key chain, and a 24″ spring-billy in my coat.

  26. The Sawtooth Ironwood flatstick.

    “This Filipino Iron Wood Flat Stick is like no other. It is strictly a weapon used for doing serious harm to an enemy. This primitive looking Iron Wood Stick has a piece of forged steel sandwiched between two pieces of extra hard Gijo wood. But it doesn’t end there…
    …the steel in-between the Gijo wood slabs is hand filed into saw teeth, exposed beyond the wood. When you strike with this “stick,” it not only breaks what it hits but rips. The butt end of the saw-tooth stick also has a cresent design which adds to the danger on the receiving end of this “weapon of total destruction.”

  27. Things I carry that could be weapons,…
    Tuffwriter pen.
    One of:
    Hogue EX01
    Spyderco Manix 2
    Spyderco Paramilitary
    Benchmade Osborne 3″

    At night:

    Surefire E2DL or HDS systems with extended battery tube

  28. I carry the knife pictured above, actually. But its very foolish to think of knives as anything but a last resort. With very few exceptions, knives are tools, and not weapons. Can they be used as such? Yes. But I have also seen some one very efficentley use a beer bottle as a weapon, and thats just a container.

    Its more important to keep a keen eye out for other potential weapons that you can improvise than it is to carry a big knife.

    The key to hand to hand combat is range, range, range, range. If you can hit some one with out them hitting you, its golden. Knives are not very good for that. They give you maybe 4” past your hand. And unless you’re super huge, that means almost everyone else armed with a simmilar item will be able to get at you, too.

    I keep an axe handle in the back of my truck (Along with a pistol gripped Mossberg 500), and carry a GLOCK 17, my Zero Tolerance knife, a Swiss army knife (I like them better than multi tools…I have a tool kit with plyers that actually work well, thank you very much), a small but very brigt light, a S&W J frame, and, most importantly, a sense of paitence and a sense of humor.

  29. there’s literally nowhere you can’t have something on you that will give an edge. a briefcase with a detachable leather strap and something heavy to clip onto it can go with you anywhere.

  30. usually when I’m out in public i have my griptillian in my right front pocket, a fenix LD10 in my left front pocket and my awesome purple handled spyderco delica in my back right pocket…along with my infamous neatly folded pile of paper towels, you never know when youll need ’em.

    If you want to carry the bare minimum but still have something that can be used to defend yourself in a pinch, bring a sturdy metal pen, like a fisher space pen or attach a lanyard to your keys.

  31. As of right now, I am a college student at relatively liberal, Catholic school. As a result, we are not permitted to carry any sort of “weapon” at any time. We are only allowed to have pocket knives with blades less than 3 inches.

    However, the public safety officers there are usually a little bit more lenient, so we can get away with some stuff. Generally, I carry my Benchmade 530s (it’s a little bit more than 3 inches, but nobody seems to mind), a Surefire flashlight (when walking at night), and a large textbook. Seriously, a hardcover book would work as a respectable weapon in a pinch.

    When away from school, I have a plethora of bladed weapons, but usually, I always have my Benchmade and a Buck fixed blade.

    Because I’m 19, I’m apparently not responsible enough to exercise my constitutional right to effectively defend myself.

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