Improvised weapons that you can carry almost anywhere

If it were up to me, I would carry my firearm absolutely everywhere. Sadly, this isn’t always an option. Restrictive (and ridiculous) weapons laws make it illegal to carry your firearm into certain places. Courthouses, police stations, schools, houses of worship – depending on what state you live in, you may not be able to carry at any or all of these places. But that doesn’t mean that you have to unarmed, and it doesn’t mean anyone needs to know you’re armed with items that seem harmless to most. There are several everyday items that can doubles as weapons that won’t draw any attention and can legally be carried everywhere—even through the wonderful TSA screening process. Let’s take a look at a few.


A sturdy metal pen or even a simple wooden pencil plunged into your attacker can end an assault immediately. Excluding the roughly four inches taken up by your grip, you’ve got three or more inches available—ample length to reach vital organs or arteries. You can aim almost anywhere; eyes, torso, inner biceps or thighs to cut major arteries, or even outer areas of the limbs to make muscles useless.

Magazinemagazine weapon 300x194 Improvised weapons that you can carry almost anywhere

In my time studying various forms of Martial Arts, my instructor once showed me a strange trick. He took a regular old copy of Time Magazine and rolled it as tightly as he could, forming a sturdy baton. He then had a student hold 2, one-inch-thick wood boards, and with one swift strike – broke completely through. Most people don’t realize the strength of a plain glossy magazine. When used correctly, it could inflict serious damage on an attacker.

key as weapon Improvised weapons that you can carry almost anywhere

Everyone has a set of keys and that makes them a great weapon that few attackers would even notice. Placed in the palm of your hand protruding between your fingers, you’ll pack one hell of a punch that would make even Wolverine proud. Aim for soft spots like the eyes, throat, or solar plexus, and your attacker will either drop like a sack of potatoes or flee in search of easier prey.


It may seem like a pain to lug around, but even an empty briefcase can deliver some serious damage; especially the heavy-duty aluminum type. An added benefit is that they can shield you from attacks by edged or blunt weapons, such as knives or baseball bats. Swing hard with a motion similar to a hook punch, aiming for the head, elbows, or knees. If your attacker tries to block, there’s a good chance you’ll break their forearm, preventing them from attacking you again.


Carrying an umbrella is far more common in Portland than Phoenix, but it’s unlikely to draw much attention no matter where you live. It gives you the ability to stab your attacker or keep them at bay, and it can even be used to parry their blows. Just be sure to invest in a sturdy model.


Even a small 2- cell Maglite flashlight can be a formidable weapon when used to strike the temples, nose, or ribs, while the larger 3-cell models, with their substantial size and weight, can easily be used as a baton, striking your attacker’s limbs, or if necessary, their head. Even an elderly or weaker person could break bones or render an attacker unconscious with this tool, allowing for a safe escape.

435288 lollipop lolliprep43 epsicuaitwlfo42x7yedw6mpvtncurxrbvj6lwuht2ya6mzmafma 610x343 300x168 Improvised weapons that you can carry almost anywhereLollipop

How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? I have no idea, but I do know that a lollipop, when used in the same manner as I described with the keys, produces a devastating weapon. Its cardboard stem is, of course, not as rigid as keys, so your most ideal target is the eyes of your attacker; any harder targets may bend or break the stem leaving you weaponless.

Hot Coffee

You may not get this through TSA, but you can surely buy it on the other side. If you have a long walk down the street and you’re not feeling too comfortable with the neighborhood, carrying a near boiling cup of Joe in a travel mug may be a great weapon to throw in the face of an attacker. (and a tasty treat once it cools.) Worried about the guy in the airplane seat next to you? Keep a cup of hot java near by just in case.


Is there an everyday item you carry when you can’t carry a firearm that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments below.



How to Stockpile on a Budget

080423 pantry 300x243 How to Stockpile on a Budget

Building up a large food storage system from scratch can be extremely expensive and financially demanding, but if you’re serious about prepping, it’s a financial burden that you’ll simply have to face. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do to make the process less harsh on your pocketbook, even if you’re on a tight budget.


Think of your Stockpile like Investments

When stockpiling, buy items that you would like to eat, drink, or use, and don’t be afraid to start going through your stockpile as you add to it. Don’t like eating beans? Don’t buy them! Prefer rice over ramen? Buy more of the rice. Only like one type of soap? Don’t waste your time and money buying any other kind. Rotating items in your stockpile is also good. Eating through older food and replacing it continually with new food keeps your supplies fresh and helps you keep track of any potential expiration dates.

A stockpile should be a regularly used thing, accessed and utilized daily or weekly – not just a dusty shelf with cans that you may need some day. A stockpile shouldn’t just be there only in case of Armageddon. It should be a back up in case you just can’t go to the grocery store this week, in case you want to try saving gas money by taking less trips to the mall, or even, heaven forbid, in case you have some sort of emergency or have financially difficult times and can’t afford to pay for expensive grocery bills. A stockpile ensures you’re okay and well fed even if you hit your own personal disaster like a loss of job, auto breakdown or a major snow storm. This supply of goods ensures you peace of mind – that even if all else goes wrong, at least you’ll never starve. You’ll always have food on the table, some medicine in case you get sick, and of course some extra toilet paper.

So don’t think about your stockpile as though it’s an expensive tool you bought and stuffed in the back of the garage to gather dust simply because it “might come in handy one day.” Think of it as your own personal grocery store, combined with a emergency insurance plan.


Slow but steady wins the race

There’s no rule that says you have to build your stockpile overnight. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford to spend a lot on food storage and emergency supplies, or even if you would rather not spend all that cash at the moment, don’t hesitate to take small steps instead of big ones toward building up your stockpile.

For building your own non-perishable food storage system, I’d recommend trying to cover one type of food or household item per week. For example, try buying an extra bag or two of rice per person the first week, an extra 3 or 5 bags of dried beans the next week. Try to balance the food groups as much as possible, that way you don’t end up with too many carbs and not enough proteins or vice versa. Remember that a balanced diet is a healthy diet.


coupons 2 300x201 How to Stockpile on a BudgetClip Coupons and Watch for Sales

This is by far the best way to make sure you get the most for your money when working on your building a stockpile of goods. Each week, look over the newspaper ads, mail flyers and discount sites for any deals the stores around you may be having. If one or more items looks good to you, get a reasonable supply of those items. Wait for other products you may be interested in to go on sale, that way your not wasting your money in a rush to buy everything you want.

For household goods like soap, cleaning products, hair care products, tissue paper, paper towels, and toilet paper, buy in huge bulk when there is a major sale, so that you don’t have to worry about purchasing these again and again when they are priced far higher. Try keeping at least 2 months to a year or more’s worth of household products in stock at your home. Also, check your inventory at least once a month to make sure it isn’t disappearing faster than you expected. Buying in large bulk when an item is on sale not only reduces cost, but it also gives you time to wait for another good sale, in case sales are more spaced out with the product you want to buy.


Don’t Always Purchase the Brand Name Goods

Brand names don’t always mean a better quality product. Often times we will like a certain brand of food better than another, or find that a certain type of medicine is much more effective than the generic alternative, but this isn’t always the case. Next time you’re at Walmart, Kroger or your local Mom & Pop grocery, try a cheaper brand, or a no-name alternative. If you end up not liking it better, you can always cut your losses and continue buying the brand name you know and love. Otherwise, you’ve made a decision that will make your regular trips to the store much, much cheaper.


Buy Quality Items

If you go through the crappy (pun intended) one-ply toilet paper at triple the rate than two-ply toilet paper, you should really spend the extra dollar to buy two-ply. This also rings true for quality medical supplies and clothing. If you have to replace your Band-Aid once a day, but buying Elastoplast will keep your cut covered up until it’s healed, you might as well spend a bit more to get the box of Elastoplast. If your cotton socks are getting worn after two weeks of wear, but the expensive wool socks you bought have lasted a year and a half, splurge just the once and get the expensive wool socks. Saving money in the short run isn’t exactly the smart play when you can have bigger savings in the long run.


Prioritize Stockpile Purchases

If you’re just getting started in this process, you’re going to need to look at prioritizing these purchases. When it comes to items like food, medicine, household goods, trade-able items etc, food should probably be the highest on the list. Household items, because they are relatively inexpensive and go on sale quite frequently, should probably be stockpiled at the same time as food items are but not chosen over food if your budget won’t allow both.

Once you have a good amount of household items stockpiled, you will likely be able to neglect this category for extended periods of time (months or even years), as these items never expire and so can be stored without any consideration unlike most long expiry date food. After having acquired roughly a one month supply of food and household items for your stockpile, you should then look into buying medicine and healthcare items.

 How to Stockpile on a Budget

Medicine will need to be replenished much less often, however keep in mind – it expires much more quickly. You might find it better to begin to stockpile medicine as you need it. This will make sure that the expiry date is the latest it can possibly be. That being said, not all medicines should be thrown out as soon as they expire. Most medicines are fine to take after their expiry date, and simply get weaker (rather than more dangerous to take) with age. See my previous article on RX expiration dates here.

The last thing you will want to stockpile are trade-able goods. Sure, you might feel like you’re investing if you buy a brick of gold once a month, but if you’re on a tight budget, that money would be better kept in a separate savings account as an emergency fund. What happens if the roof leaks and you need to fix it? That brick of gold is going to take a while to sell and trying to sell in a hurry will likely mean you’ll get less for it than you otherwise would have. Thus, until you’re completely happy with all of your other stockpiles (you have enough food, household items, and medicine to last you however long you want your stockpile to allow you to last), you should probably veer away from working on your trade-able goods stockpile.


So what do you think? Leave your comment below and add to the conversation!

How to butcher your own Poultry

duck jaroslav novak.jpt  300x225 How to butcher your own Poultry

Every so often I across an article and think to myself, “Wow, I couldn’t have written a better article on this topic myself!” So why reinvent the wheel???

Below is a great (and detailed) link on “How to Butcher your own Poultry”. (WARNING: Contains graphic images for those not used to butchering)

Now this information could be extremely valuable in a real collapse scenario. Many of us have large populations of water fowl nearby that will become a tasty dinner for us even though the kids used to feed them bread crumbs at the park.

How to Butcher your own Poultry

I highly suggest you take information like this in now, and though it may seem barbaric for the average city dweller (farm boys won’t bat an eye) find opportunities to butcher and clean game BEFORE things get bad. Because believe me, killing an animal for the first time is never easy. Better to get it out of the way now so you don’t hesitate when it truly matters.


Questions from a Prepping Beginner

im a prepper light tshirt Questions from a Prepping Beginner I opened my inbox this morning a found a great email from a new friend I connected with on Twitter. He wrote:

“Hello Skip,

I am a brand new prepper as I tweeted you on twitter. I took your advice on getting food… As well as I’m starting to stock up on flour, salt, oats and dogfood for my best friend (a dog). I have recently acquired two ar-15′s as well as a glock 9mm. I am looking at getting a shipping container to bury somewhere on my 5 acres. I was wondering how deep you would think would be nessary as it would become my bunker…

I have also gotten USMC military survival guides that I have from my time I was in the service and I am steadily studying. I’m sorry to bother you but I am very serious about this prepping. My biggest fear is the major changes in the climate or a possible nuke….
I am also considering in getting a hand op ham radio. Just wanted to get your input on all of this. Thank you”

- Chris L.


After reading this, I thought to myself – “If Chris has these questions, maybe others do too. So why not post my answers on the blog and help a few more beginners in the prepping/survival lifestyle?”


So here are my thoughts and answers for Chris’ email.


1) Great job on getting non-perishable food stored up as well as a source of protection for yourself in the form of the 3 firearms you mentioned. As for the flour, salt and oats (And even dry dog food) be sure to uses a storage method that will keep the items dry, protected from pests, and air tight. This will give you the longest possible shelf life for your goods. My favorite form of storage is 5-6 gallon food grade buckets and mylar bag liners. That coupled with oxygen absorbers and a cool dark place to store them is the best way to keep those items safe and sound for the long haul.


Here is a great tutorial on the entire process:



2) As for shipping containers, I think they are a great resource for an inexpensive shelter option for a bug out location (a place you retreat to in a time of emergency). As for burying them for a bunker application, its actually a lot more involved than you may think. Shipping containers were designed to handle incredible force from the top, but specifically at the edges and corners – NOT on the sides. So simply digging a hole, dropping in a container, and covering it with dirt would be a major mistake. Here’s another great video outlining how to set this up the right way.


3) Finally, the most important part – Knowledge. Again, I commend you on acquiring books, studying up on the subject, and taking the time to reach out to experts like myself with your questions. These bits of wisdom and skills are far more valuable than many other items you could buy. Those military guides are a good start! I would also suggest books like “Where there is no Doctor” and “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” to help you learn medical skills, and traditional agricultural skills.


Also, I’m awfully proud of my own book – The Expert Prepper’s Ultimate Survival Guide. I created a short presentation to help wake up people (unlike yourself) who don’t see the looming dangers ahead. After viewing this helpful info, you’ll be able to click on the add to cart button and purchase a copy of my book.


So to Chris and all the other readers who send us messages, emails, and tweets – thank you for your input and for being part of our community. Keep the questions coming! Do you have a question or comment? Leave you input in the comment section below!   - Skip Tanner


Choosing a Survival Machete for your Bugout Bag

Sugarcane Machete M205A Choosing a Survival Machete for your Bugout Bag

A few weekends ago  I headed out to our local swap meet (flea market) to see if I could come across any deals for my survival preps. The place was packed, especially with my favorite kinds of tables – camping items and military surplus. In case you never realized it, these sales can be a gold mine for great survival and prepping gear at a very low cost. I combed through the bins of gear until I found a real gem of a machete, perfect for the Bugout Bag I was assembling for my younger brother. How did I know it was a good blade for the job?

Here’s how I pick out a new machete:
1. Solid Metal. The machete I ended up buying was made out of 440 steel, and the spine (the thick blunt end) of the blade is 1/8″ thick – that’s pretty tough and solid. If you’re able to physically handle a machete before you buy it, knock on it with your knuckles and shake the blade – if it doesn’t sound solid or if the blade looks flimsy, it’s not the best quality.
2. Full Tang. Similar to a quality survival knife, don’t even touch one that isn’t full tang. (the blade and handle are all one solid piece of metal with that piece of metal extending to the end of the handle.) Basically, you don’t want a machete that will end up breaking in your hand due to the fact that it has a handle that only has the metal from the blade going partially through it. With the rest of the handle made of less durable plastic or wood, it won’t hold up as well with out the metal support throughout.
3. “Dummy-cord” ability. ”Dummy-cording” is basically having the ability to have something physically tied to you, making it nearly impossible to lose. This is a good idea for nearly all of your important survival items, especially your machete. Make sure you get a machete that either has a hole at the base of the handle or an area between the sharp part of the blade and the top of the handle for you to tie on some leather straps or even 550 cord. This way you can have a loop for your hand to go through for safety, so you won’t fling your machete through the air if don’t have a tight grip.
4. Design Style. There are multiple different styles of machetes out there and each person will find they feel more connected to one or the other. Personally, I prefer the kukri style of machete. It is very blade-heavy; allowing you to put minimal effort into your swings to cut through whatever you may be hacking at. The thicker, curved part at the front of the blade also makes this chopping part of the blade much stronger because this is the part that you will be using for your heavier jobs such as chopping brush or cutting trees. The skinnier portion of the blade closest to the handle will be able to hold a razor sharp edge and can be used for your more delicate, smaller jobs such as filleting fish. (My personal favorite is the Ka-bar Kukri) However, that’s my personal preference. You may prefer another style, shape, weight or design. So take time to feel it in hand, and consider what tasks you’ll be using the tool for.1249 h lg Choosing a Survival Machete for your Bugout BagLike I stated above, my personal favorite is the Ka-bar Kukri (available on Amazon for $44)But other great models that I also enjoy and would suggest are: the Condor Tool and Knife El Salvador Machete , the Ontario 18in Military Machete , or the Ontario SP8 Machete.
Remember, these machetes are just another tool for the survivor. Be sure to practice with whatever materials you have so you’re comfortable with them and always remember to stay safe! Happy Prepping! - Skip