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Makeshift Weapons (Everyone Needs One Sooner or Later)

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Writing is one of my several hobbies, and lists like the one below help me with writer's block every now and again.

Two swords are better than one, right?

Two swords are better than one, right?

Improvised Weapons Can Save Your Life

The odds of someone having to make improvised or makeshift weapons in real life, thankfully is somewhat low, but having your character make home-made weapons to defend themselves in a battle for life or death is almost a necessity in stories and films nowadays. While almost anything can be used as a weapon, not all items will be as effective as another. Choosing something unusual or unique as your weapon of choice can differentiate your story from a lot of other ones. The stuff found below can be used to inflict damage on anyone if the intent is there, and as writer's, having a basic list of every day items that can be used to cause harm can be an invaluable tool to inspire your story onward to better things.

Although this article won't be the "end all and be all" list of weapons, it will be an ever growing list that I know I'll be using myself when experiencing a bit of writer's block. It doesn't matter if you write books, draw comics or make movies; you'll eventually need someone you created to take something in their hands and cause someone to bleed. Decide your poison.

Homemade Weapons Are The Best!

Things That Can Be Used As Weapons

Chain: All shapes and sizes can be used to swing at, choke or trip up an opponent. Its effectiveness will depend upon how well you control the weapon.

Squirt Bottle: Any type of squirt bottle that holds liquid can be shot into the eyes to blind and distract to give you the chance to either run away or attack.

Fireworks: These are great when used as a distraction to get away. Be careful about firing them directly at someone, as it will likely only enrage the attacker.

Bee Hive: If you are wearing a bee suit and the other guy isn't, it's a good thing. Also keep in mind that if you're fast enough the bees won't react within the first few seconds; so throw it at you enemy immediately.

Broom: This common makeshift weapon is most effective if you thrust the sweeping end towards the eyes. If you can dip the head into something like Clorox, you can also blind and burn your attacker's face.

Bedpan: Most are steel and will leave a psychological impression as well as a physical one, especially if there's something particularly nasty in them.

Shirt: An extra shirt laying around can be wrapped around your arm to defend against a knife attack or used to protect your knuckles as you hit someone. I wouldn’t recommend using the only shirt off your back as a weapon though.

Frozen Turkey: Of most use will be the ones that have the plastic netting loop for you to hold onto securely. Choose a size that you can handle fairly easily. Fresh turkeys would also do damage, though not as much.

Magazine: They're not very useful until you roll it up tightly; it then becomes a club that can be used to administer a beating. You can also use them for armor if you tie or tape them around your forearm and shins.

50 lb Bag of Un-popped Popcorn: In all fairness, 50 pounds of anything would do damage if you brought it down on someone's head.

Scissors: They don’t even have to be sharp to be effective. If by some chance you have some duct tape to make you a more solid handle, the stability factor will be greatly increased.

Plates: Dishes can make for very dangerous weapons, and plates are some of the best to choose from. They all can be used like throwing stars, but smaller saucers are more controllable. Aim for the face.

Light Bulbs: These are best used as a detection device for hearing someone trying to sneak up on you. Break the bulbs and scatter the glass along the floor. No one in the world can walk across this type of glass and not make a noise. Thicker glass could work, but extremely light people might not be heavy enough to make the glass crackle.

Hot Food: Any type of hot food, especially when in a pot, can be a real threat to an attacker. Thicker foods like mashed potatoes, gravy or beans are even worse because they will stick to the skin and much harder to get off quickly.

CD’s: These can be used like throwing stars, but be aware that due to them being so light, the possibility that they veer off course is a lot more likely. If you had a bunch to throw all at once, it might buy you some time to put some distance between you and the people who want to do you harm.

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Paper: You would think that thicker paper would be easier to cut with, but I've heard that thin is the way to go. Experimentation is needed. Death by a thousand paper cuts! Be sure to spray a little alcohol on there.

Long handled weapons are cool... and effective.

Long handled weapons are cool... and effective.

Choose Your Weapon

The Jolly Rancher Shank

Need An Improvised Weapon In A Hurry?




Milk Crate


Nail Gun

PVC Pipe

Football Helmet

Deer Antlers



Traffic Cone


Tennis Racket



Bowling Pin

Mop (a dirty one)

Fire Extinguisher

Electric Drill

Welcome Sign



Car or Vehicle

Fun weapons are still weapons.

Fun weapons are still weapons.

More Improvised Weapons That Can Be Used For Self-Defense

BB Gun: Some of these look very real, especially if you paint over or remove the red tip. This is more of a bluff than anything, although you could use it as a bludgeon to beat your opponent.

Books: Hardcover books can be used for offense or defense. You can put them under your clothes to use as armor or place them against someones head and then hit the book to hide any bruises.

Car Battery: If you have the muscle to use it, you have a devastating weapon.

Darkness: Many don’t consider darkness a weapon, but they should. It can be used in your escape or to destroy someone as you pounce on them out of nowhere.

Plastic: Probably only useful if within reach and you are on top of opponent to suffocate them. Could be used for strangulation if it is long enough and wide enough not to tear easily. Saran Wrap anyone?

Hay Hook: Of course, just about all kinds of farm tools can be used to kill, but not all of them cause intimidation like this one (well, maybe a pitchfork).

Rope: An underestimated weapon-at-hand that many people have access to, but don’t know how to use. Strangulation is the first thing that comes to mind, but if the rope is thick and heavy enough it can be used as a shield against a knife. Simply wrap it around your forearms.

Car Antenna: These things can be used like a fencing sword, but be aware that just whacking someone with it will only make them mad. Try lunging for the eyes or face or hitting across the nose.

Chainsaw: A truly terrifying weapon that can be turned against the user if they are not careful. Just the sound of one cranking up in the middle of the night will instill fear. Most people will run when confronted by one (if its running).

Drumsticks: Holding a pair of these would be like holding a pair of sai. Put one in each hand while holding the thicker end and aim for the face.

Marbles: A single marble would be of no use, but if you had a jar of marbles and were trying to get away from someone, then just throw them down in between you and your pursuer. Chances are good they’ll at least slip and fall once or twice on them.

Bicycle Tire: If you can somehow trick your opponent into grabbing the spokes and then quickly turn the wheel, you’ll hear some screams of pain (probably due to broken fingers).

Weed Eater: Always makes an effective weapon if you can handle it well. Beware that they don’t always crank as fast as they do in the movies.

Firewood: Perfect for a defensive weapon. Hold with both hands with each hand holding an end. If you find yourself close enough to the face thrust with great force and break a nose or knock out some teeth.

Soy Sauce Packet: Make a small pin prick in any sauce packet and you’ll have a projectile weapon that will be fairly easy to direct. Aim for the face.

Cardboard box: Use it to shield against an attack or break it down and tape it around various limbs to use it as armor.

8 Badass Weapons From History

Makeshift Weapons Can Be Devastating If You Know Where To Strike

There are certain places on the human body that are much more vulnerable than others. While pinpoint accuracy is not always necessary, whacking body parts listed below will cause some pain.

  • The whole face area in general is quite vulnerable to almost any weapon.
  • I've been told by several woman that a punch to the boob is not a lot of fun.
  • Groin (Only on men, of course.)
  • The instep of the foot or the toes themselves (especially if they have ingrown toenails).
  • While targeting the knees or elbows is not likely to result in a total stoppage of an attack, it will affect the ferocity of an attack.
  • The throat is always a popular choice; striking the side works almost as well as striking the front.
Mixing a gun and brass knuckles is a win win.

Mixing a gun and brass knuckles is a win win.

Cool Guns Used In Movies (AKA The Easy Way Out)



McMillan TAC-338A (sniper rifle)

RPG-7 (anti-tank)

.38 Special Smith & Wesson

Ruger Number One - 1967

Sawed-Off 12 Gauge Shotgun

Walther PPK .40 S&W

.22 Winchester Rifle

M120, 120mm Heavy Field Mortar

Desert Eagle .50

Colt AR-15 .223 Remington Rifle


.475 Wildey Magnum

CZ 700 Sniper Rifle

Heckler & Koch MP5

Harmonica Pistol

Ruger 10/22

Uzi Sub-Machine Gun

Beretta 92 9mm Pistol

AK 47 Assault Rifle

RG-6 Grenade Launcher

Everyday Items That Can Be Made Into Weapons

Even More Unusual Weapon Ideas That Flat Out Work

Pencils: Likely to break if used with great force. Make sure you aim for a vulnerable area and make sure your aim is true with this improvised weapon.

Carabiner: Climbers use them, but many people also use them to hold their keys. A solid, large and locking one make great knuckle dusters.

Pens: Slightly more resistant to breaking than pencils. The metal ones are best.

Bowling Ball: The weight is a drawback and a plus, but you should also be careful about someone grabbing it and twisting with your fingers still in it.

Belt: Can be used as a makeshift swinging weapon, but if it causes your pants to slide down during the fight, it could backfire big time as it could cause your escape to be slowed down considerably.

Barbed Wire: To trip, tangle and strangle (just remember to wear gloves).

Sock Full of Quarters: Fans of the “Death Wish” movie will recognize how dangerous this makeshift weapon can be. Anything with weight can be used, just make sure your sock isn’t flimsy or has holes in it. You need to also make sure you have enough room to swing your weapon.

Stick (flimsy): Any kind of stick, whether sharp or not can be an effective weapon if you aim for the eyes.

Stick (solid): Use as a club; aiming for areas such as the knees or ankles is more likely to catch someone by surprise.

Weights (in a gym):While heavy weights will do damage if your victim is laying underneath them, choosing lighter, easier to handle plates or dumbbells might be the better way to go. In a battle between metal and bone, metal usually wins. Choose weights that you can move and attack with fast. Any blows landed, they will feel. Small 2 ½ pound plates are easy to hold and devastating when hit with.

Brass Knuckles: Also known as knuckle dusters, pretty self-explanatory.

Thorny Plants: Cactus, rose bushes with thorns on them, etc. can be used to shove into the eyes of an assailant, and if you happen to have a glove to protect your hands, their effectiveness as a weapon goes way up.

Feces: Reasons to use poop as a weapon won’t come along too often, but when it does, it’s effectiveness will depend on how motivated your attacker is. If they are focused and determined, it might be ignored all together; if not, excrement in the face might cause them to immediately stop and give you a chance to run.

Soft Drinks: Shake, squirt and run (or strike). You'll only have a second to make your move.

Trampoline (large): If you are already in the middle of one of those large trampolines, your attacker will have to try and climb on, when they do, kick them in the face.

Blow Torch: Although this weapon has a high intimidation factor, you won't be able to move super fast with it.

Campfire: If you can keep the campfire in between you and your attacker it will buy you time, but be aware that they may try to jump over or through it to get to you. If they do this, you could step forward somewhat and diminish their advance just enough where they fall into the fire.

Christmas Tree: Fake trees have really thick wire for branches and can really do some damage if you aim for the face. You can also use it to strangle someone if sneaking up from behind.

Deadliest Ninja Weapons

Simple, Yet Dangerous Weapons You Might Find Just Laying Around


Hiking Stick


Knitting Needle

Tire Iron

Kitchen Knife




Iron Pan

TV Remote Control

Coat Rack

Motorcycle Helmet

Golf Club



© 2016 Don

Any Ideas for Weapons?

GalaxyRat on May 22, 2017:

Pens and pencils are good, but if you want to give your attacker poisoned blood, stick the object's point there.

The lead or ink can poison the blood!

BeanieD on June 30, 2016:

Cool weapon ideas make any movie better, but they don't always have to be improvised weapons, sometimes a really cool looking gun can do the job just fine.

PeachyKeen on May 18, 2016:

I'm a bit of an amateur writer myself and agree that using an unusual weapon helps make the story more entertaining. The improvised weapon I use depends on where my characters are at. Some places provide better weapon choices than others.

I once had my characters fighting under the water, in the ocean and had one of them grab a starfish to smash the other on the head with. Talking about a weapon you don't get to use that much, right?

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