*Coach Helder may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
We all have our favorite tools when it comes to self defense. Whether you are offensive or defensive minded… There are a wide array of choices available when it comes to choosing a suitable self defense tool. One tool that has been used by humans, for thousands of years, is a stick or club. A stick is readily available and can be easily manipulated to adapt to the user’s preference. Being able to wield a stick by using relatively natural movements tends to make it a viable weapon, even for those with little training.
You can effectively deploy a stick by using a forehand or backhand swing, mimicked by many sports that we play from early childhood on up. This makes using a stick for self defense much less intimidating than other weapon choices, that tend to require a bit more skill. There are various martial arts that focus on the stick as their main tool. These Arts are still taught today, and for a very good reason… They work!
The stick or baton has been used for hundreds of years by law enforcement agencies, as well as military units, all over the world. They vary in shape, size and construction depending on the country. However, they all had a couple specific tasks in mind… To attack utilizing blunt force to specific targets on the “bad guy’s” body, and to defend against an attack. Regardless of the scenario, the baton was and remains an effective self defense tool.
The baton, when applied to self defense, has greatly evolved over the years. They are no longer strictly made of wood. In addition to wood… rubber, metal and plastic are currently used when manufacturing “batons” for self defense. The specific type of baton that I will get into via this article is the expandable baton.
When it comes to the expandable baton, there are many choices in the current market. Just like any other tool, there are continual arguments as to which make and model is the best. The batons come in different lengths, widths and even colors. The shaft construction is telescopic and usually made from aluminum alloy or steel. The tip of the expandable baton can be solid metal or made from various rubber composites. These tips are even interchangeable in many of today’s expandable batons; each with a specific purpose.
The baton has proven itself as a viable addition to anyone’s self defense arsenal. In an emergency scenario, it may become the one tool that you can depend on to save your life. It may not be your primary weapon of choice, but in the right situation, it may be your best choice.
I would like to go into a few of the reasons why you may want to add an expandable baton to your self defense kit. So let’s get started…
Easy To Conceal:
The fact that the expandable baton is telescopic, enables it to have a relatively small profile when it’s completely retracted. This allows me to conceal it in my cargo or even front pocket. There are various sheaths and holders available for the expandable baton. These holders can be affixed to your belt or even the webbing on your backpack. But if am in a scenario where I do not want others to view or even know about my baton… Concealing it is my preferred way to carry.
I practice deploying my baton from the places that I choose to conceal it. Just like any other self defense tool, continual practice drawing your baton is a must. As I stated earlier, carrying my batons concealed is my preferred method. But if I cannot get to my baton, when I need it the most, I really shouldn’t be carrying it in the first place.
The expandable baton is relatively light. This is another feature of the baton that allows me to carry it in my pocket. When I am working security and am roving around the venue on foot, it is nice to not feel as if I have a loose brick in my pocket. Fixed batons are a viable solution for a self defense application but when it comes to concealment, the expandable baton is my go-to baton.
Does Not Require Ammo:
Many of my other self defense tools require ammunition in one form or another. Firearms head the top of the list when it comes to this bullet point. But even pepper spray can be emptied before you are able to get yourself out of harm’s way. There are countless factors that can contribute to running out of ammunition during a confrontation. Luckily, the expandable baton does not require any reloads or refills to get the job done.
Use Of Non-Lethal Force:
We hear the old adage of: I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. There is a lot of validity to that statement. There is no means of self defense that is too harsh when it comes to life threatening scenarios. If mine or a family member’s life is in danger, I will do whatever I can to keep us safe. At the moment, the last thing that I will be thinking about is some criminal’s well being while he tries to harm my loved ones.
Keep in mind that I am referencing a situation that is occurring at the heat of the moment. If my plan only includes lethal force, than lethal force is all that I have to combat the situation. By planning ahead and including a means of protecting myself, that is less than lethal, will give me options. Choosing that, less than lethal option during the battle, may give me peace of mind for the rest of my life.
Will You Be OK With Taking Someone’s Life & Dealing With It For The Rest Of Yours?
There are some unpredictable things going on in the world… People are exposed to mind-altering drugs without even being aware of it. We hear about folks having a drink at the bar and all of a sudden… They lose their freaking minds!
Once these drugs take over their nervous system, these victims become a completely different version of themselves. They end up doing some pretty crazy shit! They may also become violent and choose to attack people just like us. If it were your family member that innocently got slipped this drug, how would you want them dealt with during a confrontation?
I am referencing unknown drugs here but what about alcohol? How many people do you know that turn into instant assholes as soon as they had a bit too much to drink? These may be the nicest people in the world when they are sober… But add in some excess alcohol, for whatever the occasion may be, and you may have the next UFC battle on your hands.
Having the ability to end the threat, with less than lethal force, is an option that you need to consider having. That is where the choice of carrying an expandable baton comes into play. You can certainly take someone’s life with certain strikes deployed with the baton. But with a bit of training, you can learn target areas that will end the conflict while still keeping everyone alive. You can also utilize many different holds and locks with the baton. The more that you train, the greater the options that you will have.
As I referenced earlier, expandable batons come in varied lengths. Being able to extend your reach by 22 – 27 inches, will go a long way in keeping you safe during a confrontation. Knife attacks have always been prevalent and some may say that they are even on the rise. During a knife attack, we want to stay as far away from the blade as possible. Being able to extend your reach with an expandable baton, certainly helps your chances of walking away from the situation.
In addition, the attacker may be much more skilled than you in martial art techniques. The closer that you get to the opponent, the slimmer that your chances of boding well may be. Keeping the attacker at a distance will buy you some time to plan your next move. That move may be a complete, About-Face, as you run the hell out of there as fast as you can; Escape is always a viable choice. By using the expandable baton, you may be able to keep the attacker at bay until help or first responders get to the scene to provide assistance.
One issue that I find in the Emergency preparedness community is the lack of focus on physical fitness. Members tend to throw money at the latest and coolest gear. They have their water and food needs addressed. But working on their fitness… Not so much.
When I work with my NTC Members, they are always pumped to work on Combatives and survival skills. But when I implement a fitness protocol, I usually hear a grunt or two. Being aware of this, I give them what they want, with a big dose of what they actually need. I realize that they like working on Combatives and self defense. So I mix them both together to make it enjoyable for them, with a healthy fitness protocol.
As an example, I will work on striking with the expandable baton for 30 minutes to 1 hour. By the time that we are done, the members are out of breath, taxed and sweating. I elevated their heart rate and gave them a hell of a workout. Meanwhile, in their heads, they were working on self defense. In their defense… They certainly were increasing their proficiency with the baton, so it turns into a very fruitful task them.
If you are like many of my members, you may not be a big fan of physical fitness training. But if you choose to carry an expandable baton, you need to get comfortable with it so that you can perform well in an encounter. Use your motivation for shoring up your self defense, to help your physical fitness levels. The thought of doing a session of cardio may not get you off the couch… But playing with your cool expandable baton will! 🙂
Avoid Hitting Innocent Bystanders:
I often hear that nothing beats a firearm in a self defense situation. We can argue back and forth because of the lack of “normalcy” when it comes to most scenarios. But the one thing that is a fact, is that many innocent bystanders get caught up in the situation and experience horrible injuries… or worse. I harp on training quite often. After all, teaching self defense is a big part of my life. But even the best trained individuals face scenarios where innocent people end up getting hurt when the firearm is utilized.
Just by performing a quick Google search, you will find countless times when well trained law enforcement ended the life of innocent bystanders. Meanwhile, the actual criminal was taken away in an ambulance without life threatening injuries. If deploying your baton is an option, this greatly reduces the chances of someone not involved in the conflict getting hurt.
During an emergency, I realize that we will do whatever it takes to come back “home” alive. What I hope to accomplish with this article is to give you a bit of insight on why carrying an expandable baton may be a viable option for you. But adding any gear, be it for survival or self defense, comes with great responsibility.
We need to train with our tools and make them an extension of ourselves. We also need to be well versed in the laws and regulations of the tools that we choose to carry. In a SHTF situation, it’s every person for themselves… But if we chose to “practice” in current real world scenarios, we need to be aware of the repercussions. Check with our local laws and make sure that possessing an expandable baton is legal. If not, there are plenty of scenarios that you can work on, while on your own private property. If SHTF… You will be ready.