Alternative Weapons You Should Consider

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

In last week’s letter, I presented the argument for why you should have alternate weapons and not just depend on a gun for self-defense. While I have carried concealed for years, that isn’t the only weapon I carry; nor is it the only weapon I practice with. I am prepared to use other weapons if the situation warrants it.

The key here is using the minimal necessary force. Using a gun against an attacker who is using his bare hands may be excessive. Likewise, using one against a knife-wielding thug can be seen as excessive, even though the courts usually side with the defender in this, as a knife within 21 feet is considered lethal force. But I’m personally not just concerned with escaping prosecution; I want to be able to live with my conscious as well.

In my mind (and you have to decide this for yourself) I want to use a weapon that is one step above what the attacker is. That ensures that I have the advantage, while helping to ensure that I can’t be accused of excessive force (either in court or in my own mind). So, a pistol might be a bit much against a knife, if I have something less-lethal at hand.

So, what are these less lethal weapons that I use?

Last month I mentioned pepper spray and tasers. While those are the most popular less-lethal weapons on the market, I don’t have either. I don’t like the idea of using a weapon that merely incapacitates, requiring me to run away to ensure they can’t come back after me.


I always carry two knives. One is a tool and the other is a weapon. The tool knife is a typical folding knife with a clip, which is attached inside the front pocket of my pants. While I suppose it could be used as a weapon in a pinch, I don’t use it that way. Rather, I carry a flat, non-folding, double-bladed knife horizontally on the back of my belt. This makes it possible to draw it with a similar motion as drawing my gun, using the same hand.

Typically, I would only draw the knife if I was facing a younger man who was using his hands, or there was some reason why I couldn’t use my gun (too many innocent bystanders). While the knife is still a deadly weapon, I can argue that it is not my most deadly option. So, using a knife is a “more reasonable” response to being attacked.

The key to knife fighting, for those of us who aren’t knife fighting experts, is to attack their knife arm, rather than their body. A couple of cuts in the arm will cause them to drop their knife, disarming them. Since they have to present that arm to fight, it is a much easier target to hit, than their body.

Melee Weapons

Many medieval weapons fall into the category of being melee weapons; swords, maces, axes, war hammers and other similar weapons. The big advantage they give is reach. If someone is attacking you with a knife and you have a melee weapon, you have the advantage of being able to hit them, while still staying out of their reach.

No, I don’t have a collection of medieval weapons sitting around my house. But what I do have are a few things that make effective clubs, such as baseball bats. I also have a cane sword, which I carry when I’m walking in areas where it might be appropriate. I also carry it in Mexico, where I can’t carry my pistol concealed.

Because of my age, it looks perfectly normal for me to be walking with a cane; at least, if I do a little acting. But the good thing is that it puts a weapon in my hand at all times, one that few people will see as a threat.


Fire has long been used as a weapon, from the Greek fire that was used on arrows and catapults to the flame throwers used in World War II. There’s something about fire that can convince people they don’t want to be there, especially when it is aimed at them.

While I don’t have a flame thrower, I do have a good torch. I keep it out on my workbench, where it is always available when I am in my workshop. I also have a flare pistol, which essentially shoots fireballs out of 12 gauge shotgun shells. That’s pretty freaky, when it is coming straight at you.

Basically, fire is a fear weapon, more than anything else. Even so, it can be quite effective.

Sonic Weapons

This is getting a little far-fetched, but it works. Sonic weapons were first developed to protect ships from pirates. The emitter puts out a sound frequency which causes nausea and fear for people in front of it. It’s actually quite effective as a deterrent, even though it doesn’t seem like much of a weapon.

I have a small sonic weapon mounted hidden above my front door. As such, it is in an ideal place to run off unsavory characters who might be trying to break into my home. Thanks to a little rewiring, the switch is located indoors, where we can trip it, without having to open the door.

Beanbag Rounds

The last less-lethal weapon I want to mention is the beanbag round. These have been developed for use by police departments, but they are also available on the open market. The bean-bag round is a specialty shotgun shell, which contains a small beanbag. It hits with a lot of force; enough to cause someone to double over, but it doesn’t penetrate. So it won’t cause permanent injury.

While I carry a pistol in my home, I have a shotgun loaded with beanbags available as well. Unless I have to get into an actual shootout with a criminal, this gives me a means of dealing with them, without having to kill them. There’s no way I’d use it if someone was shooting at me, unless I had no other choice, but I’d much rather have beanbags flying around my home, than having 00 Buckshot that can go through walls.

So, there you go. These are the best ideas I’ve come up with so far. All of them are in my personal arsenal, and I’d recommend them for yours as well. But either way, be sure to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Chris and Dr. Rich

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