Making a Running Self Defense Weight

Materials

You'll need this: At least ten feet of 30 lb test nylon cord; a 5/8 x 6 inch hex head lag bolt (larger diameter if you have big hands) and a matching nut; plus a good knife (I recommend the Buck 110 Folding Hunter)

Now that Alice has moved to the Motherland she’s running in different territory with a different set of potentially troublesome people and asked if I had any advice about something efficient to carry. Apparently the local police recommended a cell phone and a whistle. I don’t know about that, they’re handy for conversation and parades but I’d like something that does more damage.

first loop

Starting the Whipping -- back the nut off a couple of turns so you can squeeze the wrap tighter later

But, it’s not the good old days, and you can’t just carry what makes good sense. You have to stay legal, and carrying weapons gets people into real trouble. Today it’s like living in old Okinawa, where the Chinese farmers weren’t allowed weapons after the Japanese samurai took the island over. Samurai started getting whomped with farm tools, which were still legal to carry.

Starting the Wrap

Working from the opposite end -- just reverse the bolt for convenience, you'll understand why

Today the situation is probably tougher, we don’t do manual labor any more (most of us, anyway) and we don’t walk around with pitchforks and oars and sickles. Most of us don’t. I’m excluding me from this argument. We’re limited to last resort defense with what we do have, which for most of us is something like a set of car keys, a cell phone and a credit card, and hey, might as well just surrender.

Starting the Turns

Wrapping tight against your nut -- harhar, a pirate joke! but seriously, keep the turns tight against the nut

Alice had wondered about the practicality of using a small hand weight as a self defense weapon, the sort of dumbbell people carry when running. That’s an intriguing thought, but I have some issues with that particular design. For one thing, it’s pink, and it’s usually fuzzy and looks comfortable. Not that this matters, really, except that it blunts edges and makes a strike less effective. Pink is actually good, a non-threatening color that takes people by surprise.

The first half dozen turns

Take about six turns to secure the nut end -- just enough to hold firm

Sorting through ideas, I mulled over the various things I’ve enjoyed carrying, and actually they aren’t knives. They’re tools. If you carry a knife you’ve become obvious, and knives really aren’t going to do much more than get you blamed for anything that happens. Besides that, people get seriously sliced up by knives and don’t even notice it until the fight’s over and they won — or thought they won. If you want to put a quick end to the argument and move on, you need something else.

Reverse the bolt/weight for convenience

Reverse the bolt/weight for convenience -- because it's easier!

So, here’s what I’ve come up with, a homemade running weight that’s cheap and effective as a self-defense tool, and not a weapon unless somebody attacks you first. If they do that, you’re justified. Anybody can build one of these in less than half an hour, for about $6, and it’s also a very good running weight if you want to burn 12 extra calories on that five mile run.

Wrap to the bolt head

Wrap to the bolt head

Lest you not take this seriously, take a 5/8 x 6 inch lag head bolt and jam either end of it into your own elbow with moderate force and judge the result. A strike with a small blunt instrument causes far more pain than a stab with a knife. To be effective and nonlethal, attack the bony areas of the body. Any part of the body that isn’t covered by a pad of muscle and fat is open season. To be effective with this sort of self defense weapon requires very little training and practice. Running is a good thing to combine with the skill, because after you inflict that disabling pain on somebody the smart thing to do is get the hell out of there, otherwise you may have to do it all over again. There are more advanced applications for this type of sidearm but I won’t get into that here.

Add compression turns

Add compression turns -- enough extra turns to fill that gap

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Thread the loop

Thread the loop

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Observe opposite end!

Observe opposite end! -- Pull on that rope there and draw the loop tight, then tighten the nut against the wrap

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After first tugging

After first tugging -- you're not done, pull harder and drag the end of the loop under the first half dozen turns

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After pulling tight

After pulling tight -- ok, maybe it's five turns, anyway enough to secure the end of the loop and the free end of the cord

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After trimming

After trimming -- this is what it looks like after you trim the extra cordage off. No need to sear the ends, just let them fluff

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Done

Done -- and a nicely brutal instrument it is!

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About JTHats

Avid backpacker and outdoorsman with old skills and interests in old ways of doing things; equally fascinated by electronics, from the days of Sputnik, to the Zilog Z80A, to the present day of black box circuitry. Sixty years of experience with growing my own food and living simply. Certified electronics technician, professional woodturner, woodcarver, and graduate of two military survival courses -- Arctic and Jungle.

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