Improvised Weapons, How to make an Improvised Weapon

Spies have to be well versed in all types of survival tactics and strategies. After all, they find themselves in all kinds of situations and in all kinds of environments.

As a former member of the CIA, I can very positively say you’d be surprised what situations can pop up. And while you might say, “Well, I’m not be a spy,” you can still use skills to keep yourself safer as you go about your daily activities.

Not all spies carry a knife and a gun with them. Sometimes the circumstances of the operation just don’t allow it. This is why a key spy trait is the ability to think fast and use anything and everything as improvised weapons.

Favorite Spy Improvised Weapons

1. Nuttin’ Fancy

Improvised Weapons, Nut and String

Go to your local hardware store and spend 50 cents or less on a big nut. Also purchase some paracord. Tie the nut to the paracord and you have a nasty weapon that can crack someone’s skull open. You can also take this anywhere, including airplanes, since it’s just a nut and a piece of string. In my training classes, we whack a coconut with this and it splits wide open.

2. Sock ‘Em

Improvised Weapons, Sock

Carry around a spare sock in your backpack or in your cargo pants. When needed, you can quickly pull it out and fill it with rocks, a padlock or anything else to give it weight. You can even drop a can of soda inside. When you swing this at someone, it can do some serious damage.

3. Roll & Go

Improvised Weapons, Rolled-Up Magazine

The Jason Bourne movies made this one popular, and it actually works: A tightly rolled-up magazine. You can carry a magazine anywhere and when danger comes, a hit to the side of the head or a thrust to the throat can give you that window of opportunity to escape to safety. Best of all, if you’re on an airplane and forget to bring a magazine, the airline will often give you one for free in the seat pocket.

4. Canned Heat

Thermos, Improvised Weapons

Spies have been known to carry around metal thermoses filled with coffee or hot chocolate. They also have water-soluble paper with their important notes that can be dropped in the thermos if they sense their cover might be blown. Of course, this thermos can also be used to strike a threatening individual, or it can even be thrown at them.

5. Barrettes

Barrette, Improvised Weapons

Go to Walmart and spend a dollar on some hair barrettes. When you bend off the top, you’re left with some seriously sharp edges. You can easily conceal the hair barrette in your hand, and if you needed to defend yourself, you could slice someone without them ever knowing what happened. These improvised weapons work.

This article is from the winter 2019 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Grab physical and digital copies at

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