Defend Thine Self: A Goth’s Guide to Self-Defense, Part 3 [ARTICLE]

Improvized Self Defense Tools

Legal Notice:
This article is the opinion of the author. This is, in no way, based on professional legal opinions. Different areas have different self-defense laws. What is allowed in one municipality (state, city, county) may not be allowed in another municipality.

Improvized Weapons can be any number of things that you have at home, at the office, or in your garage!

Improvized Weapons can be any number of things that you have at home, at the office, or in your garage!

There are times when you are attacked and you don’t have access to a gun nor are you able to run. You can use open-handed self-defense, but, if you’re like most people, you would prefer using an actual object, because you want to be able to defend yourself as best you can. You don’t have a designated weapon (knife, machete, bow/crossbow, gun) available, so you have to improvise. This article will cover normal, everyday, things that can be used for self-defense.

Self-defense isn’t always about using something as an offensive weapon. Shields have historically been a major tool for soldiers as both a defensive tool as well as a weapon. Today, the same concept can work with modern items one would see every day. If thick enough, even garbage can lids, panels of wood, or a cafeteria tray, can shield you from a knife or a fist. You may still feel much of the force behind the fist or the thrust of a knife, but it could prevent you from getting the full damage or getting stabbed.  With these objects, you can also use as a weapon to hit your assailant(s).

Large, hard to move or immoveable objects may also be used as shields, although without the ability to offensively attack with them. If a single person is chasing you or trying to kill or do severe damage to you, getting behind a large table, a car, or a barrier of some sort can shield you from the attacker. Regrettably, if you’re being chased by more than one person, they can go on either side of the table or car so, in that situation, your best option is to practice run-fu (running away terribly fast).  If someone is attacking you with a gun, try to hide behind extremely dense objects like a car’s engine block or a concrete pillar (like those found in a parking garage), so you won’t get hit by a bullet. Don’t stay there, though. Your attackers will eventually come up on you and you need to get out fast.
No matter where you are, you can get attacked.  So, what happens if there is no barrier and your avenue of escape has been shut off (or is very difficult to get to)? There are several common things that you can use to defend yourself that you see every day, but probably never think about.

Remember that your goal is not to beat people up like a Goth Jackie Chan, but to get away uninjured….so use these elements to distract, disarm, and delay your attackers while you do so.  Here are some objects you can use in everyday locales.

Parking Lot

    • Cars – Get a couple cars in between you. They serve as barriers. 
    • Keys – put keys in between your fingers in a fist, you can be like Marvel Comic’s Wolverine and able to claw or stab your assailant. (As with all weapons, be careful, however, that these don’t get taken from you and used against you).
    • Rings – if you’re wearing a ring with large stones, spikes, or large skulls, remember that no one wants to get hit with those.  Just remember to put these rings on your index and middle fingers, as those joints can take the rigors of punching people without breaking!  These also are hard for the attacker to take from you.
    • Purses/bags – Swing one of these with something significantly hard or heavy inside, the crooks will feel it and may think twice about continuing their attack. Now, if you only have a couple credit cards, lipstick, lip balm, and a cell phone, it may not be as effective, although it could still blind and distract them.  (And you could always use the strap as a garrote if things got really bad.)


  • Clothes (on hangers) – No, they won’t hurt, but they will draw attention and obscure their vision enough for you to get away or perform an offensive strike.  Wrapped around your arms, they can protect your arms from a slashing knife attack for a short time.
  • Belts – Wrap them  around your fists and punching is much easier and more protected.  If they’re spiked belts, they’re now likely to rip up your attacker’s face!
  • Shelves – How would like to have a shelf full of books or other heavy objects fall on you?


  • Cars – Just like in the Parking Lot, but now you can dodge between moving cars.  (In city streets with low speeds, jumping on cars is a great way to scratch the paint and make sure the driver stops to call the cops, a situation that tends to scare off would be attackers!)
  • Dumpsters – Good for hiding and shielding, but not good for much else since you can’t move one very easily. I doubt digging in the garbage for items to throw will work very well, either.
  • Well-lit areas with cameras – Crooks usually don’t like to be seen and clearly identified, so running through areas like this can buy you time.

Home or Office

  • Chairs – Some can be temporary obstacles. Smaller chairs like kitchen, dining room, or folding chairs can be used as a shield and as a weapon.
  • Kitchen knives – In the office, many break rooms contain knives that can be used for self-defense.  It’s not just great for cutting Doris’s birthday cake; that serrated knife can also take out a jugular!
  • Glass Coffee pots – Especially filled with hot water, anyone getting hit with one of those would be cut from the glass, and maybe slightly concussed if it is full. If it’s full of hot water or coffee, it’s possible to inflict second degree burns.
  • Bug and Cleaner Sprays – Aerosol sprays can temporarily blind someone and may even bring about lasting damage, depending on what the spray is. While the bad guy is reeling from the attack on the eyes, you can use the can you sprayed from to start hitting.  (Or, if you still have the Cake knife from earlier, stab him someplace dangerous, and make like the Flash!)
  • Fire Extinguishers – Much like aerosol sprays, it can cause a hindrance to one’s eyesight, both with the chemicals in the eyes and the obscuring clouds they create. While they’re having trouble seeing you, the extinguisher goes from spray to club. Trust me, if you hit someone with one of those professional grade ones found in the office, they’ll feel it for a long time. If it’s a home one, it will still leave a mark and, hopefully, an attacker unconscious.
  • Staff Based Items – Look for broomsticks, baseball bats, mop handles, pool cues, etc.  Then play Tee-Ball!
  • Doors – Slamming one of those in an assailant’s face can’t be a pleasant experience for them.

These are just some suggestions of improvization just to get you thinking about what is around you and what can be used to defend yourself that you may not normally think of. You can be creative, but make sure you have a good handle on what you’re using and what you’re doing. You don’t want your self-defense tool to be taken and used against you. It rather defeats the purpose and can get you into deeper trouble.

To repeat what I opened with, these are to be used in self-defense alone! We live in a society where, more and more, if you defend yourself, you may still have to spend a night in jail or a few hours in back of a police car until they figure out what happened. If you do damage to someone, even if it’s purely in self-defense, you may still  have to go to court and defend yourself against assault (or worse) charges. Then, even if you are not brought up on criminal charges, the person who attacked you may sue you for damages. Even if you’re totally innocent, you could still be forced to pay for court and lawyer fees. What a system. So, if you have to defend yourself, make sure you have no other option (like running away) and when you do, try to do as little as possible in order for you to get yourself out of danger. 

Author: Kevin Letts

Kevin Letts is a Steampunk writer from upstate New York with his wife and is continually learning how to shoot and archery. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and enjoys using arrows or bullets to put little holes in pieces of paper with concentric circles on them.

Legal Notice: Kevin Letts is not a lawyer or a law enforcement officer so his articles are not advice that should be taken as fully legal. If you need to know the laws in your local area or state, consult a lawyer to understand what you are able to do. Each area has its own laws regarding self-defense.

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