7 Of The Best Self Defense Batons (basic, expandable and collapsible)

I am a sucker for simplicity.

My coffee mugs are a drab display of ivory and beige ceramic. The garden outside 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 I like to use simple and practical tools when it comes to self-defense.

The baton is about as straightforward as they come, and that’s why I like to keep one near me at almost all times.

Top Pick
Ole Hickory Tire Thumper Ole Hickory Tire Thumper

Simple yet devastatingly effective. The Hickory Stick will deliver a crushing defensive blow to any would-be attackers.

Easily Hidden, Discrete, and Effective

Self-defense batons range from a simple wooden club (my favorite) to a collapsible, telescopic rod made 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 one-piece clubs 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.

These batons tend to be far more legal* to carry than large knives or other self-defense methods (beyond your own two hands).

*Please note carrying any weapon can be potentially illegal. Always check the laws in your state. Primal Survivor cannot offer legal advice.

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 of 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 always keep one in my car, and although I’ve never had to use it, I feel confident it’d put in one helluva thrashing.

Check Prices on Amazon

The self-defense baton doesn’t get any more straightforward 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 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 9″)
  • Simple, solid construction
  • Included lanyard string makes it easy to carry along
  • Cheap and reliable


  • Handle is a bit wide for some hands

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.

Check Prices on The Home Security Store

Unlike other collapsible batons, this one requires less effort to collapse back into its compact state; others require a stiff and robust stabbing motion on firm ground to collapse the metal pieces.

The fully extended length is 16,” which makes this tool viable for self-defense in most scenarios. Its collapsed size is easily stowed in a front pocket 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

The Brooklyn Shorty

Oh yeah, I love this kind of design! It gets everything right about batons because it’s simple, short, and beefy and packs a mighty wallop. It’s difficult to conceal, but if you’ve got a reason to carry it around, it’ll do the job.

Check Prices on Amazon

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 regularly make many calls to a local bar 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

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.

Check Prices on BladeHQ

The longer length of 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)

Expandable Steel Baton 26″

This baton 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 severe beating.

Check Home Security Superstore

This tool can inflict severe damage, with all the striking potential of solid steel.

When the SHTF, this might be the go-to tool for self-defense when severe strikes are called for over faster, less-lethal blows. After all, a striking end this tough will crush bones with ease.


  • Perfect compact size for discrete carrying
  • Solid Steel construction makes it durable
  • Great value


  • Retractables can be unreliable

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  1. What do you think of using a stick of Bamboo? It is very strong and very light and would hurt pretty bad. Won’t break very easy either..

  2. What about carrying a little league baseball bat. I have a 28” big barrel bat with me in the car at all times.
    I never thought of a cane, but will be looking at ways to make that work when outside of the car.

    • My husband uses a cane and it’s very useful in multiple situations. We (luckily) haven’t had to use it for self-defense but it’s great for things like getting fruit from high trees 😀

  3. I carry a solid oak hook cane every where I go. I would carry a hickory cane if I could find one. It has some weight to it, very strong and that hook allows you to grab things like feet and knees. It would easily break bones.

  4. I bought a flashlight at my local Menards. It is 12” long with a great textured grip. It has a good weight and is labeled as a “billy bat flashlight” made by Torquesmith model MC9000. A friend had one in the car and was pulled over for having a cell phone in hand at a red light. When retrieving insurance card in glove box, the cop saw it and asked what it was. The driver said a flashlight that was a gift from Mom! No problem.

  5. Good ole fashioned cane and stick fighting techniques by the Irish. There several books out there plus an online web site.

    • Hey Mike aka the shillelagh or bata. Seems like every culture has their own version of the fighting stick.

    • Never heard of that one! For anyone that is interested here is what I got from Wikipaedia:

      A patu is a generic term for a club or pounder used by the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. The word patu in the Māori language means to strike, hit, beat, or subdue

    • Couple small points…a wrist strap qualfies any club as a deadly weapon, even tire knockers. And with note is the venerable fanny pack. Loaded with a decent amount of change and a bundle of keys it makes a decent flail and has the added benefit of that whipping action, a respectable force mulitiplier. Not gonna do much for your career in faision though…

  6. If you are looking for an innocuous looking weapon that is legal anywhere, carry a tennis racquet. The edge of a racquet is vicious. I’ve carried them onto airplanes in a case without raising TSA eyebrows. Would have been interesting to see if a few of them on board might have changed 9/11 events.

    But if you want to just rumble, carry a hickory axe handle with a wrist cord drilled through the end. Light weight and you can “reach out and touch someone “ from a safe distance.

    • Sounds like a decent compromise Ed. Be careful though the use of any “weapon” would need to be justified if the law gets involved.

  7. I carry a golf fiberglass shaft with me in my truck. I’m not sure if it will shatter when I hit someone but I know it will focus the force of the swing in a very narrow area. It flexes a little just swinging it so know it will definitely make some hurts.

  8. Just a reminder, when striking. Below chest level, or it’s considered deadly force. Best area is the knee area. It’s hard to dodge a knee strike, as opposed a head strike, which is easy to dodge.

  9. I use a cane due to an old injury and really like Cold Steel’s Blackthorn. It’s heavy and the grip is big so it wouldn’t work well for small hands. I’m pretty sure I could beat your car into submission with it, one tough “walking stick”…

  10. Be aware that any baton can be illegal in many states and are considered “dangerous weapons” in their legal codes. Many were taught by a famous firearms instructor to carry a 6 C cell Maglight in the car. The size and weight are perfect and it’s 100% legal to carry in all states. Unfortunately, these are harder to find today but they are out there. I own ASPs and love them but it’s much more legal to carry a firearm than a baton in most states.
    You mentioned truckers carrying wood batons. Those are 100% legal for them because they are typically labeled “Tire Checker” and have a legit purpose so no one can question that. Similar to a full sized baseball bat and glove in your back seat.

  11. Why not carry a cane? Legal everywhere, longer reach. With the right materials, a very effective weapon. It doesn’t broadcast “looking for trouble.”

      • You’ve not encountered a cane with a brass head I take it… I’ve seen a dogs head cane weigh in at almost 4lbs… That’ll womp the life right out of something..

        • Looks like you’ve been training with the cane! It’s a very unassuming weapon and deadly when mastered. If the hook of the cane is sharpened…well, going fishing would have a whole different meaning! Very efficient!


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