The Seven Categories, Four Ranges, and Five uses of Found Weapons

Guest essay by  ‘Grand Mama Duck,’ aka: Michael Johnson, our very own Silhouette! (with editing helps from Toma).

"I want to thank the members of the Animal List for helping me devise these categories and ranges. A special thanks to the moderators of the list, Marc "Animal" MacYoung and Diana Gordon." ~ GMD


The seven categories:

Single-handed weapons: hook, book, shoe, improvised weapon home invasionpen, etc.) can be wielded (stick, umbrella, bailing effectively in one of the combatant’s hands.

Double weapons: (R&D, 2 sticks, 2 shoes, 2 pens, 2 pots, etc.) are a single-handed weapon/object held in each hand of the combatant.

Double-handed weapons: (mop, broom, shovel, chair, stool, etc.) usually need both hands of the combatant to wield it effectively.

Flexible weapons: (belt, towel, pillow, bra, shirt, etc.) wrap around a combatant’s body.

Projectiles: (rocks, pots, shoes, rice, black pepper,self defense: cat etc.) are objects that are launched by the combatant either manually or mechanically.

The body: (elbows, knees, woman's self defencehead, legs, feet, teeth, hands, etc.) in fact, our bodies are made up of virtually every category and range of weapons.

Environmental structures: (wall, fence, tree, ground, car, boulder, etc.) weapons that cannot easily be moved by a combatant.

These weapons/objects are not necessarily limited to one category. For example, a stick can be thrown; a whip is both flexible and single-handed, and wielding two of them makes them double-handed, flexible demons in the hands of an expert. My favorite example is a car (environmental structure). Slam your opponent, face-first into the car, then turn it into a projectile by getting in, starting it up, and running over your opponent! (Yes, I am a Nasty Bastard.)


The Four Ranges:

(based on the ideas of Mushtaq Ali)

This goes from one end of the spectrum to the other end.

Hard 5 –4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 0 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 Soft

Heavy 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 0 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 - 5 Light

Blunt 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 0 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 Sharp

Long 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 0 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 Short


The Five Uses: 

(based on James Finney’s system)


Thrust: Self-explanatory.
Quash: Bludgeon, hack, cut, slash, and smash, etc.
Capture: Trap, check, hold, lock, etc.
Shield: Protects the body from injury.
Distract: Deliberately shifting opponents’ attention in another direction

The most important weapon, of course, is your MIND. How well you use it determines how creative you can be in turning any object into a weapon. (For help with this, see Animal’s review, below.  Ted)



So, how should we use this information? If you are at home in a home invasion or date rape situation, your house is full of things you can use as weapons. Have some useful objects strategically placed throughout your home but not looking like you are armed to the teeth - don’t want to scare the visitors, do we? The only thing better than this is a real, dedicated weapon, a firearm or blade. One good self defense strategy is to have various weapons hidden about so when you retreat, you retreat to where you hid them.


If you are out on the street in a self defense situation, probably you will have brought what you can use with you, a fighting cane or whatever. If you didn’t, when the time comes, the proper fighting strategy is:  do not spend a lot of time looking for a suitable obect. Fight hard and fast and pick up what you can as it goes.


Further Reading:

Absolutely the best book on the use of improvised weapons is Animal’s

Pool Cues, Beer Bottles, and Baseball Bats: Animals Guide to Improvised Weapons for Self-Defense