11 Hand Tools and Common Items You Can Use for Self-Defense

What are some hand tools and common items that can be used for self-defense?

  1. Padlocks: Attaching this to a chain and swinging it can easily cause damage.
  2. Newspaper: Rolling it up to be really hard can make a makeshift bat.
  3. Knives: These can be found anywhere and used with ease.
  4. A Hot coffee pot or mug: Breaking these over an attacker’s head can knock them out, wound them, and burn them
  5. A pen or screwdriver: With enough force, you can stab a threat with these.
  6. Keys, carabineers, or watches: These can act as brass knuckles.
  7. Flashlight: The heavy duty versions can act as makeshift batons that you can keep in your car.


While hand tools and other tools are mainly used for building and repairing, they can also be makeshift weapons in an emergency situation. With so many acts of terrorism haunting 2017, it’s a grim reality that such events are becoming more and more frequent. Just this Halloween, a terrorist in New York killed 8 people by running them over with a truck. There is also terrorism in the Philippines, most notably the very recent Marawi incident.

Granted, hand tools may not have helped in the truck situation, these and other common items would be useful weapons if you found yourself stuck in hand to hand combat. For situations similar to these, here are the tools and items you can use to protect yourself.



Attaching this to a chain or a sturdy cloth is a quick way to make a makeshift morning star. For those that don’t know, a morning star is a medieval weapon that looks like a spiked ball on a chain. With the makeshift version, swinging it at a threat can easily cause damage. A large one might even be enough to break a bone.

Alternatively, you can use an aluminum water bottle, filled with water of course.


Newspaper (The Millwall Brick)

Yes, you can use a newspaper as a weapon! All you need to do is to, simply, roll it up. No, your threat is not a flimsy cockroach (and are far more dangerous and disgusting), a rolled up newspaper can disorient and disarm a grown man if it’s rolled up tight enough to be as hard as a baseball bat.




You can find these anywhere: in restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores, etc. It may be one of the most basic hand tools, but it can certainly be one of the deadliest! While the previous two items in this list can injure a threat, this one can actually be used to kill a man when worse comes to worst. 

Just remember that knife-fighting is not about attacking; it’s about defending and surviving. So don’t be too aggressive with it and reserve it for a desperate situation.


A Hot Coffee Pot/Mug

When you’re attacked in a home, office, or café, there will surely be a pot of hot coffee somewhere. Breaking this over an attacker’s head will surely incapacitate him. If it won’t be because of the blunt force or shards of glass, then it will be because of the boiling liquid. In fact, if you were served some fresh coffee and the mug looks breakable, then you can do the same thing!



A Pen or Any Pen-like Hand Tool

There is almost always a pen or two lying around. Even better, there could be screwdrivers and other pen-like hand tools in the pantry; these would be a better choice. Take these in an overhand grip for the best leverage and stab an assailant if he gets too close. Going for the face and throat will surely put him down.


Key or Carabineer/Wristwatch

The first is a commonly recommended weapon for when walking in a parking lot or down the sidewalk late at night. As much as possible, have your keys held together by a carabineer. You can find these right next to the hand tools in hardware stores. 

Both will make good replacements for brass knuckles. The carabineer can amplify the blunt force of your fist while pointing out the keys can add extra damage. Alternatively, a wristwatch can also be used to increase your punching power. Watches are more common so it would be a great tool to use in a less dangerous situation that still requires you to defend yourself.




Here’s another item that you could find next to some hand tools. Heavy duty flashlights are sturdy, heavy, and can be used as a sort of mini-baton. You should keep one in your car at all times primarily in case of car-related emergencies, but also as an alternative form of defense.


Key Takeaway

While terrorism in the Philippines and in all parts of the world may be one of the worst emergency situations you can be in, the thought of simply being attacked should be enough for you to think about self-defense. Even if you can’t always have weapons with you, it’s best to know how to improvise. The items above are great examples, but with some creativity and quick thinking, you can protect yourself in any situation with some hand tools and common items.

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