For years, I’ve carried one form or other of small impact tool as part of my everyday carry gear. A number of excellent, highly concealable handheld tools that can be readily utilized for proactive or reactive personal protection are available today. Small impact tools (SIT) offer the user another force option and are an effective force multiplier. Most importantly, SITs are an excellent option for carry in non-permissive environments such as municipal facilities, hospitals and airports -- places we may want to carry a more effective or devastating tool such as our handgun or tactical folding knife but cannot.
SITs share common movements with many practical empty-hand combatives skills, systems and point-driven edged weapon applications. SITs can provide the user with an alternative force option depending upon the circumstances of the situation. Pulling a folding knife out of your pocket and striking with the closed folder are viable applications of non-lethal force, but in some jurisdictions may still be construed as you pulling a lethal-force tool. Some individuals are simply not comfortable carrying or deploying an edged weapon, but embrace the suggestion of a small handheld impact tool without hesitation.
While it’s easy to assume that “anything” can be picked up and utilized as a small impact tool during a bad situation, methodology and application have to be trained in order to be dependable under the stress of actual attack. More realistic is to select a specific SIT that can be easily carried with you every day, anywhere you go, without drawing unwanted attention. Once an appropriate SIT has been selected, training in access and utilization of that tool needs to be conducted in order to integrate it into your personal protection profile.
|Traditional kubotan-type small impact tools can be effective but may also attract unwanted attention.|
In the early 1970s, the traditional handheld kubotan was introduced by Takayuki Kubota specifically for the Los Angeles Police Department. An offshoot of the Japanese Yawara stick or Filipino palm stick, the basic principle is to load into the hand a hard cylindrical object that protrudes from the hand at both the top and bottom. This allows use of these surfaces to maximize the body’s force and direct it into these small protruding points. Kubotans are available in a variety of configurations, lengths and materials, with the most popular today being made of light, durable plastic.
|Tactical and small handheld flashlights offer the user dual purpose applications.|
The tactical flashlight market has come a long way since SureFire introduced the original 6P. These high-output, compact and durable handheld flashlights are commonplace throughout law enforcement, military and citizen personal protection industries. Providing a dual purpose for both illumination and SIT, the handheld flashlight can be carried in most daily environments.
|Left: Tactical pens like the Tom Anderson Twister, Greg Lightfoot Timberline, and Smith & Wesson Black Tactical Pen come in a variety of styles and price ranges. Right: Standard pens and Sharpie markers can be found in any big box store.|
Tactical pens such as the Greg Lightfoot Timberline or Tom Anderson Twister are fairly recent additions to the tactical gear market. Excellent SIT options, these pens can be carried almost anywhere, but their price can be a deterrent. Therefore, do not discount standard metal-barrel pens and hard markers such as the popular Sharpie.
With touch-screen technologies taking over the smart-phone and tablet industries, more and more people are finding the need for a dedicated stylus or pen-shaped instrument. Unfortunately, these styli are often made with poor materials and are less than robust. Instead, consider custom styli such as the Barry Jones Defensive Stylus, which can be highly functional SITs manufactured out of hard wood, metal and durable plastics.
A number of custom knife makers and craftsmen, such as “Nok” of Nok Hard Contact Training Knives, make very attractive and effective small impact tools. Many of these items are patterned after sharp-tipped knives or animal claws and designed for carry in places where knives cannot go. They offer a unique, individual alternative to more commonplace SITs.
Research and consider integrating a small impact tool into your own or a loved one’s personal defense profile. A tool is better than no tool when it comes to personal protection. Every personal protection tool requires understanding of justifiable use of force and proper, effective application. Remember, it’s not the tool; it’s you, the operator, who makes the tool effective. No matter what type of SIT you choose, seek out training and learn how to maximize your impact during a critical defense incident.