I am a sucker for simplicity.
My coffee mugs are a drab display of ivory and beige ceramic. The garden outside of my office has a handful of vegetables without a bit of pomp or frill and my clothing is barren of a single logo in the whole wardrobe.
Go figure that when it comes to self-defense I like to use tools that are simple and effective.
The baton is about as straightforward as they come, and that’s why I like to keep one near me at almost all times.
Our Top Pick
Easily Hidden, Discrete, and Effective
Self-defense batons range from a simple wooden club (my personal favorite) to a collapsible, telescopic rod made out of composite materials like rubber or steel.
They are hidden easily and although they require a bit of familiarity to use them effectively, they’re as simple a design for a weapon as you’re going to get.
Why is simple good?
Because the fewer bells and whistles a tool or weapon has, the more effective it is at its job. With a self-defense baton you swing and club your way to safety.
The fewer parts and moving pieces, the better odds that it’ll survive beyond one encounter.
Wooden clubs that are one piece easily fit into your vehicle or can rest next to your bed without taking up too much space.
The collapsible batons can be kept in a hip holster or even in deep pockets, if you are in a situation where wearing long pants or a jacket isn’t out of place or uncomfortable.
Best of all these batons tend to be far more legal* to carry than large knives or other methods of self-defense (beyond your own two hands).
Top Self Defense Batons Reviewed
I have a relatively light interest in batons as a whole, but my cousin knows them in and out. He is formerly a police officer with more than ten years experience on the force and has weeded his way through more than a few batons in pursuit of excellence.
Don’t worry, his choice for best bang-for-your-buck, most reliable baton is on this list. Keep on reading to see which one he picks.
The Hickory Stick
Here we go, my numero uno favorite! A straight-grained and solid piece of hickory is my go-to whomping stick.
I keep one in my car at all times and although I’ve never had to use it I feel confidant it’d put in one helluva thrashing.
The self-defense baton doesn’t get any more straight forward than this, and its ultra simple design is a thing of beauty by itself. The only ornamentation it needs is a couple of tally marks for the times it has defended the wielder from harm.
Our police adviser endorses this club over almost all others (except for his own selection above) because it is the tool he’s seen more tractor trailer drivers use than any other.
Those drivers depend on reliable and effective tools when on long hauls cross country, so if it’s good enough for them it’s plenty good for me.
- Great length (almost 18”)
- Simple, solid construction
- Included lanyard string makes it easy to carry along
- Cheap and reliable
- Handle is a bit wide for some hands
- Carries some weight with it
The Fast Strike
I like this one a lot, it’s one of a handful I’ve actually purchased and am delighted with its performance. It’s light, relatively easily concealed, and it packs one mean wallop.
Unlike every other baton on this list the Fast Strike is flexible and almost whip-like in how it strikes. It concentrates the blow in a very specific and narrow area and can cause serious injury to an attacker.
However its transportation options are pretty limited. You can carry it around your belt or attached with its belt clip, but that’s about it.
Still it’s a fast and effective weapon for any self-defense scenario.
- Quick, light, and easy to use
- Very concentrated striking area
- Relatively discrete
- Minimal options for carrying
- Grip could use some improvement to aid in drawing
ASP 16” Federal Expandable Baton
It’s the most expensive self-defense tool on this list, but it also received our adviser’s coveted Police Officer Endorsement of Effectiveness.
It’s as reliable as you can expect a tool to be and cuts zero corners. From a purely pragmatic perspective this baton steals the cake for top baton.
Unlike other collapsible batons, this one requires less effort to collapse it back into its compact state; some others require a very stiff and strong stabbing motion on firm ground to collapse the metal pieces.
The fully extended length is 16” and that makes this tool a viable one for self-defense in most scenarios. Its collapsed size is easily stowed in a front pocket for when you’re in those seedy parts of town.
- Tested by multiple police agencies with thumbs-up reviews
- High quality construction
- Comfortable grip
- Good length (about 16”)
- The foam handle can disintegrate after frequent use
- Not an inexpensive baton
The Brooklyn Shorty
Oh yeah, I love this kind of design! It gets everything right about batons because it’s a simple, short, and beefy and packs a mighty wallop. It’s definitely difficult to conceal, but if you’ve got reason to carry it around it’ll do the job.
Sold as a miniature baseball bat for kids to learn how to swing, it’s not-so-secretly designed as a personal self-defense tool.
Many users report its brute effectiveness at defending themselves from thugs, and more than a few cross-country truckers carry it as their whomping weapon of choice.
My cousin the police officer had to make many calls to a local bar regularly to take in rowdy drinkers, and the bartender was known for cracking wrists and ribs with his Brooklyn Shorty when they became too aggressive.
He gives this self-defense baton two busted thumbs up.
- Hits like a meteor
- Perfect for keeping in a vehicle
- Easy to handle for wielders who aren’t the size of Hercules
- Small altogether and with a relatively skinny grip
- Heavy for its size
The ZAP ZAP ZANE
This deserves your support simply for the name, but it’s definitely not a self-defense tool for the discretely minded individual.
The freakin’ thing has a zapper switch on the top of the handle and visible electrodes!
On the other hand, if you’re an individual who needs a cane and also lives in a rough-and-rowdy neighborhood the ZAP ZAP CANE might be the best option for you.
An inapparent advantage to this self-defense baton is that it has a built-in taser and flashlight, and that makes it incredibly effective against dogs and other animal attackers.
Afterall, defending against a human attacker is a different ballgame than something on four legs and with teeth that’ll shred you to pieces.
However these extra features go against my own preference for a simple and to-the-point self-defense baton, but the unique set-up of this tool deserves some consideration.
- Holds a charge for a long time
- Can be a major surprise for assailants
- Additional flashlight feature can be handy
- Incredibly situational use
- Not intended for prolonged use as a striking tool
- The on/off switch is in a less-than-ideal position
Smith and Wesson 21” Collapsible Baton
A brand I’ve had hit-and-miss luck with provides us with an affordable and trustworthy option for self-defense.
This collapsible baton features a nice foam handle that gives it a firm grip. It even comes with a convenient belt holster to keep on your side so it is accessible when you need it.
The longer length on this baton is a nice bonus, too, and gives wielders with larger handles a little more real estate to get a good grip.
I’d recommend carrying this discrete little whomper with you whenever you find yourself in less-than-savory locales.
My only concern is the aluminum tubing combined with the steel; if this baton is used when the SHTF you would probably want a backup tool to use in case that aluminum caves under repeated use.
- Reliable product with a familiar name
- 21” overall length
- Included belt carrying sheath is handy
- Comfortable to wield
- Foam handle can fall apart
- A bit heavy (over 8 ounces)
XWT Retractable Walking Tool
Our first entry for an all-steel and retractable self-defense baton, this one takes the cake when it comes to affordability and functionality.
When our police officer advisor tried this baton he found it strong, reliable, and capable of producing a serious beating.
On the flip side, he stopped using it because the self-defense tool did not extend reliably every time.
It took a bit of work and a regularly liberal blast of WD-40 to keep it smoothly functioning. It was a similar challenge to return the baton into its collapsed position.
But for those drawbacks the tool is capable of inflicting some serious damage.
In a situation when the SHTF, this might be the go-to tool for self-defense when severe strikes are called for over faster, less-lethal blows. Afterall, the striking end of the tool is 100% steel and will crush bones with ease.
- Perfect compact size for discrete carrying
- All steel construction makes it awfully durable
- Built-in glass breaker handle is handy
- Difficult to retract the striking area back into its collapsed position
- Somewhat short total length (about 12”)
- In poor weather conditions an all-steel baton could experience rust issues
Born and bred in rural Pennsylvania, Matt embraced the backwoods lifestyle. An early exposure to knives, firearms, gardening, and foraging developed him into the outdoorsman he is today.
Matt is fueled almost entirely by beer and hot sauce. Learn more about Matt here.