The 7 Deadliest Items You Can Take Anywhere

Last Updated: October 20, 2020

I’m a big supporter of everyone’s right to defend themselves with weapons. But it isn’t always legal or practical to carry a gun, knife, or other obvious weapon with you.

That doesn’t mean you are defenseless in event of an attack. You likely are already carrying a lot of discreet weapons on you.

If you are willing to improvise, these 7 items make for great weapons that you can take with you anywhere.


This is by far the best improvised self-defense weapon because it allows you to defend yourself from a distance.

Umbrellas also have pointed ends, which means they can be used as non-lethal swords. You can also use an umbrellas a club to hit an attacker. It isn’t quite heavy enough to knock anyone out, but should buy you some time or scare away your attacker.

Typical umbrellas are really cheaply made and won’t do you too much good in a life-or-death situation.

You might want to consider getting an unbreakable self-defense umbrella which is made just for this purpose. It will still keep you dry from the rain.


Keys make for a great improvised self defense weapon – but not the way that most people think to use them.

Most people think that they should hold their keys in their fist with the keys jutting out. Yes, this does look menacing and the sight of you ready to hit with those jabby keys might be enough to scare away an attacker.

Yet, that position is very unstable.

Go ahead and try it.

Put your keys in your hand and try to (gently) punch something hard.

The keys will probably spread apart and dig into your palm.

Instead, he gives other positions which work much better when using keys for self defense.   One is when you keep the keys deeper into your fist so just a bit of them is sticking out. They will be more stable and you could easily gauge an attacker’s eyes out with them.

Another position is to hold the keys enclosed in your first, with just one key sticking out. You hold the key between your closed pointer finger and thumb, which keeps it stable. You won’t have blade-like points coming out of your fist, but you will have incredibly slashing ability.

Note. You can also buy key chains that are specially designed to be used as an emergency weapon. More about the best self defense keychains.


This is not a weapon that I’d like to use, because it means I’d have to get really close to the attacker.

But, when used correctly, a pen (or pencil or other sharp pointy item) could save your life.

To make a pen an effective self-defense weapon, you’ve got to aim it at the right places. These are:

  • Eyes
  • Throat
  • Armpits
  • Base of neck
  • Groin

There are specialty “tactical pens” available. While some of these are really cool like this Atomic Bear “glass breaker pen” (Amazon Link), I personally wouldn’t spend my money on these.

The reason? It isn’t that they aren’t effective. It is just that, if I had to kill someone with one of these pens, I could find myself facing a lawsuit because it was done with a tactical pen and not a regular pen.

Yes, this is something we really need to worry about.


I keep a REALLY BIG and HEAVY flashlight in my car emergency kit, and in my wife’s car too. Not only would the flashlight provide a lot of light in situations like changing a tire, but it would easily knock an attacker out. You can also shine the flashlight into an attacker’s face to disorient him.

When choosing a flashlight for self defense, look for these features:

  • Long handle
  • Made from a heavy-duty material like aluminum (not plastic!)
  • At least 120 lumens
  • Waterproof
  • Heavy weight (those D battery flashlights are great!)

Handful of Change

A handful of change might not seem like a good self-defense weapon, but it could give you precious moments which are needed to save your life.

If an attacker is coming towards you, take the loose change from your pockets and fling it at the attacker. Even though this won’t injure the attacker, it will cause a flinch response. You will distract the attacker for just a moment. You can use that moment to flee, or to draw another weapon.

You could also use anything else to fling at the attacker. A cup of hot coffee would be good. As would be some gravel from around you.


You know those funny scenes in movies where the little old lady attacks a mugger with her purse? Well, they got it (almost) right. A purse would make a good self-defense weapon when used correctly.

No, you don’t want to beat an attacker with your purse. Instead, take your purse and rise it to shoulder level. Holding onto the strap, start swinging the purse around you. It might not be able to significantly injure the attacker, but it can distract the attacker and keep him at a distance from you.

Purses (as well as backpacks and briefcases) can also be effectively used to block knife attacks. It will take some practice and ultra-fast reflexes to be able to do this, so go ahead and sign up for that self-defense class now!

In the meantime, this free book has a good description of how to use a purse as a shield against a knife.

While we are at it, here are some items that ladies often have in their purses which can make great improvised self-defense weapons.

  • Hairspray or spray deodorant
  • Nail file (the pointy metal kind!)
  • Manicure scissors

Got a lighter and a bottle of hair spray? You can take a cue from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (from the 1980s movie, not the TV series) and use this trick: Light the lighter, then spray the hairspray in front of it. You will create a ball of fire which will definitely keep attackers at bay!

hairspray lighter self defense

Anything Around You

A big part of survivalism is situational awareness.

This goes beyond just knowing where your nearest exits are, and whether there are sketchy characters getting too close.

Situational awareness means knowing what is around you, and where it is. If you are aware that there is a loose pipe, or a big rock, or a sharp-edged wall close by during an attack, you can use these in your defense.

Be aware and be prepared!

What weapons do you carry with you? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation on Facebook.

Leave a comment

  1. Technically a screwdriver is a more reliable emergency-stiletto than a nail file. Problem is most citizens are unaccustomed to the need of instant-deciding, how much losses which decision inflicts. Unhappy police, a zero-romance-date at a court of law, and prison seem very bad (and compared to a luxury apartment they sure are), but compared to being crippled or killed due violent crimes they … Could be the lesser evil some would choose.

  2. I carry rocks and elastic bands, the kind that honor vets and wwjd things. They work as slingshots and you can always just throw the rocks.

    • I carry a handle to the window cleaner for my front windshield.
      You can either drill out the handle and fill with lead shot and the refill with the drilled out plastic or it is fine just as is.

      It works like a police night stick and it will hurt.
      To make it fun put the handle back on the foam top and it looks like a normal squeegee for the windows.
      Surprize Surprize Surprize

  3. A 38 , knives, pepper spray, tasers, personal alarms, flash lights, lasers, hair spray and lighters, nail files, scissors, keys, tire billy, and my purse. I distribute these items in all vehicles and purses that I use or carry.

  4. Have you put solar spotlights in at your house? I’m talking about the type that you push the 4″-5″ stake into the ground and the spotlight and solar panel are on top. While trimming my grass i broke a light. I threw the light away and pulled out the stake. ONE sharp tough weapon!

  5. My car/apt keys are totally unsuited to close combat. I carry a “green” Robertson stubby screwdriver with the shaft protruding between my index & middle finger, with the pear-shaped handle grasped in my palm. It’s very stable, & since I’m a handy person with college wallpaper in “electrical” it’s a normal carry-everywhere for me. No one can say I brought it looking for trouble. As a screwdriver it fits most consumer-accessible electrical connections. True, yellow is sharper, but far less common. Red & black are more blunt & less of a weapon. Slot or Philips are more difficult to explain away.

  6. Everyone thinks that if you actually use a weapon designed as a weapon you open yourself up to charges..

    Then in the next paragraph they mention special flashlights..

    There is no difference between a sword , tactical pen, pencil, brick, gun, club, 1987 Buick and a pocket knife..

    If the defense is valid the weapon is valid…

    • You may be right, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to take legal advice from an unknown source. Always check with a qualified lawyer if in doubt.

    • Lol. Not in Oregon! The only law we have for self-defense is if you feel like your life is in jeopardy and they still put you in jail! I still carry a sring-assist knife on my key ring on my person as well as several tools, including a mag-lite in my truck and kukri, bowie, etc at home with my bow. I also have emergency blankets, flares, triangles, sleeping bags, tents, food, camp stove, etc. in my truck, cause you never know.

  7. A corkscrew ((along w/ a bottle opener so I look like a drinker, when truly I’m a teetotaler)). Also, a full metal rat-tail comb, like the kind used by a beautician & barber to go w/ my hidden shaft hairbrush.

  8. That’s a crock, swing a purse so the attacker can die with laughter! Look if you are worried about the location and getting attack few things before you start swinging your purse or throwing your change at someone 1) change location if possible if not 2) use the buddy system a single attacker unlikely mess with 2 people 3) join a self defense class preferably one that doesn’t tell you to swing your purse!

    • I beg to differ. My EDC purse weighs in at over 4 pounds. On it’s long strap, a head shot would surprise any attacking male who is dismissive of a woman’s ability to defend. Surprise = as slight delay. I’ll take it and run..

  9. I carry a Wilson Combat EDC X9 pistol…..with 15 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. I have a spare magazine in my pocket. 31 rounds of 9mm hollow points total. Plus a knife….and of course my License to Carry in my wallet.
    I’m retired, but I’m now a CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) instructor in California. You need to be prepared, but even more important is to be AWARE!
    Know what’s going on around you. Avoid confrontation. Be Alert. Remember: the 3 A’s …..Aware, Avoid, Alert. Know the law in your state regarding use of deadly force!!!

    • Hey Dave – can’t argue with anything you say there. Some vital points you raise especially about avoiding confrontation if at all possible.

    • You are fortunate to live in one of the “permission” positive counties in California. Most people think of California as a huge block of anti gun sentiment but are unaware that on a square miles instead of population basis that most of the state is relatively firearms friendly. My latest non-firearm self defense tool is a home-made selfie stick. Took an aluminum ASP baton and drilled the end and fitted the phone holder end of a cheep selfie stick to it. It looks innocent, even works well as a photography tool but retains the full baton function. I hope to do nothing but take pictures with it….

  10. 3 foot broom handle in car. That’s to save them from my sidearm if at all possible.
    As a distraction, a heavy set of keys on a long bit of paracord is minimum.
    What’s more effective is a car antenna worn around the waist under the belt.

  11. Being a woman i normally have a large purse or backpack; set of keys; pens and a pencil freshly sharpened (so can sketch when inspiration hits); loose change; loyalty cards; larger nail clippers; a pocket knife of two with nice edges (sharpness); a small hair brush; and being a rock hound and crystal healer, i also always have at least 2 small stones on me, but most of the time it ends up being a handful amount.


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