Primitive Weapons

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

When we think of self-defense, it’s only natural that we think of firearms. Not only do we live in a modern society, where firearms are the chosen weapon for defense, but firearms are the great equalizer, allowing the average person, or even the below-average person, to stand on equal footing with a trained killer when needed.

But what if you don’t have a gun?

I personally believe in having a gun with me at all times. At the same time, I recognize the reality that I might find myself in a place where guns are not available to me. Even though I live in a state that is transitioning to constitutional carry, we still have areas where even those with a license to carry can’t go armed. What do we do in such situations? For that matter, what can we do if we step out of the shower, to find that someone has broken into our home?

I’ve long held the belief that anything can be a weapon in a pinch. Perhaps I’ve just seen too many James Bond movies, but I often find myself thinking of ways that some object I just happen to be holding could be used as a weapon. The good thing about that is that if I’m ever caught with nothing else that I can use, at least I’ll have some idea how to use that item to defend myself, whatever it is.

Recently, I was asked to work on a project where I was making weapons out of what I could find in the wild. Obviously I couldn’t manufacture a gun out of anything I found and I’m really not skilled at knapping knives and arrowheads out of flint; but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t come up with anything. I was actually able to make a number of different primitive weapons which would be quite effective, unless I had to use them against someone armed with a gun.

Perhaps one of the most important things that many of these weapons had in common was their ability to extend one’s reach. That’s important in a fight, as he who has the longer reach has a distinct advantage. An advantage, I might add, which could become the deciding factor in a fight.

We must always remember that there are always two parts concurrently happening in any fight. The first one is us attempting to injure whoever we are fighting against and the second is preventing them from injuring us. It doesn’t do any good to land a killing blow if we are killed in the process. So protecting ourselves can end up being at least as important as attacking the other guy.

That’s where an extended reach comes in. Leaving guns out of the picture, if someone attacks you with a knife, you’re better off having a sword. It’s not that the sword is any sharper or that the sword can stab deeper; but rather that you can keep them away from you with that sword, while you are still attacking them. As I said, that’s a distinct advantage.

If we go back through the history of weapons, we see many examples of weaponry which was invented with this idea in mind. Much of the weaponry of the Middle Ages, for example, was designed with this in mind. Everything from swords to halberds was specifically designed to allow the wielder to reach the other guy before the other guy could reach him.

While I still depend on my guns as my primary weapons, it seems I keep adding to my collection of primitive weapons as well. While that’s really a collection, more than anything else, if I had to use any of them, I wouldn’t hesitate. Facing an attacker with a primitive weapon in my hands is a whole lot better than facing them bare-handed. Those may not be the best weapons, but at least they are weapons.

Let me pass on one other tidbit that I learned in the process of making those primitive weapons. That is, rawhide is about the best cordage you can use to attach the various parts of primitive weapons together. I first saw this in an antique American Indian tomahawk that my dad had, and after trying it myself, I’m sold on rawhide as cordage.

Rawhide must be used wet; but when it is wet, it becomes very elastic. So it can be stretched as it is used to tie a spear point to a shaft or a rock to a stick to make a stone hammer. Then as the rawhide dries, it shrinks, drawing the parts closer and locking them tightly together. Anything tied together with rawhide lacing is going to do an amazing job of holding it together.

Just another trick to have in your bag. Works well if you don’t manage to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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