14 DIY weapons that may save your life when SHTF
By Divina Ramirez // Nov 23, 2021

When SHTF, you'll need a way to protect yourself from attackers looking to make off with your supplies. Guns, rifles and other firearms will allow you to do just that. But when you have no firearms at your disposal, alternative weapons, such as improvised clubs, knives and slingshots, will do just fine.


Listed below are 14 weapons you can improvise in a pinch: (h/t to TheSurvivalistBlog.net)

  1. Club – The simplest of all weapons, a club is essentially a heavy stick, sometimes with a stone or a metal head. It is used as a hand or throwing weapon. In the wilderness, you can make a club out of a sturdy branch. Alternatively, you could use a table leg, an old tool handle or an old metal pipe as a club.
  2. Mace – A mace is a blunt weapon used for bludgeoning an attacker. In the Middle Ages, maces were particularly effective against opponents wearing plate armor. A mace is like a more formidable club since it has a thick, heavy head on the striking end. You can make your own mace by attaching a head to a club. Ideally, the head should be made of metal so that you can deliver powerful strikes.
  3. Axe – An axe is commonly used as a cutting tool, but it can also double as a weapon when push comes to shove. If you don't have a proper axe, you can make your own by attaching a sharpened, wedge-shaped piece of metal to a sturdy branch or a metal pipe. You may not be able to chop firewood with it, but it will likely hold up long enough for you to fend off an attacker.
  4. Spear – A spear allows you to fend off an attacker from a much safer distance than if you were using a mace or a club. To make a spear, simply attach a sharpened piece of scrap metal or rock to a long wooden handle.
  5. Fist load – A fist load is any object you can grip tightly but comfortably in a closed fist. It's meant to add weight to your fist so that you can deliver a powerful blow to your attacker. An example of a fist-load weapon is a roll of coins. You could also try positioning nails in the spaces between your fingers as if they were retractable claws. This will allow you to deliver a seriously painful and bloody punch.
  6. Carabiner – A carabiner is a coupling link with a safety closure that's often used by rock climbers. Most preppers also use carabiners to attach tools and other supplies to their bugout bag (BOB). In a pinch, carabiners can double as brass knuckles. (Related: Thinking outside the box: Common items with unusual survival uses.)
  7. Kubotan – A kubotan is a compact baton that looks like a miniature club. Originally intended for police officers in Japan, the kubotan is used for striking sensitive parts of the body. You can use any short, sturdy piece of wood, metal pipe or dowel as a kubotan.
  8. Shank – A shank, also known as a shiv, is a common prison weapon. It can be made by sharpening practically any object such that it can be used for slashing and stabbing.
  9. Flail – A flail is a weapon with a heavy striking head attached to a long handle by a rope or chain. It allows you to deliver a heavy blow even if your attacker has a shield. A common belt with a buckle can serve as a flail.
  10. Millwall brick – The Millwall brick is a sheet of newspaper rolled up lengthwise and folded in the middle to create a solid square end. It is used as a small club.
  11. Garrote wire – Historically, the garrote wire is used to strangle enemies. Today, any strong length of rope, cord or wire can be used as a garrote wire when you need to pull out all the stops.
  12. Slingshot – While often treated as a child's toy, a slingshot can be a deadly weapon when used correctly. At its simplest, this weapon is nothing more than a length of elastic cord with a pouch to hold a projectile and affixed to a forked branch.
  13. Boomerang – A boomerang is a curved throwing tool designed to spin about an axis perpendicular to the direction of its flight. When thrown overhand with force, chances are the target will be struck squarely. If you find yourself in a wilderness survival scenario, you can carve a boomerang out of branches.
  14. Crow's foot – A crow's foot is a weapon made up of two or more nails or spines arranged in such a manner that one of them always points upward from a stable base. If you are being pursued, throw a few of these to the ground as you go to slow down your pursuer. You can make a crow's foot out of scrap metal, nails and epoxy.

No survival arsenal is complete without improvised weapons. While homemade, the weapons listed above can give you a fighting chance and help you subdue an attacker in an SHTF scenario.

Sources include:



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