Alternative Survival Weapons

I kind of hate to talk about alternative survival guns because the first image that comes to mind is a SWAT team breaking down your door and confiscating all your firearms.

Nevertheless, as I like to say, we need to have plans B and C for everything. Besides, you never know when you might be attacked by someone only to realize your gun is out of reach.

Now, you may know that pretty much any household item can be used as a lethal weapon. Your keys, the dirt on the ground, a mug, and even a pen can inflict enough damage for you to be able to escape an attacker.

But let’s take things even further and talk about items that can prove themselves to be real weapons. When I say “real” I mean they should allow you to actually stay and fight, instead of giving you just a few seconds to flee.

What did people use as BEFORE firearms? What are some of the weapons that can inflict damage?

Let’s keep in mind that not only guns can be taken away but also crossbows. And, if you happen to live in the U.K. or Ontario where the legislation is even tougher, that’s all the more reason to take a good look at the following list.

So without further ado, here’s the list of the best survival weapons to consider for your protection…

sabre pepper spray featured

Pepper Spray

Wasp and bee spray may be considered illegal. In fact, I just read a news article last night about a girl in the Netherlands who almost got raped had she not had pepper spray. The police spokesman told the press she’s the one who might get in trouble because pepper spray is illegal. These are some interesting times we live in…

Still, she got away without being raped. By the way, there are mini-pepper sprays you can attach on our key ring such as this one.

Bows and Compound Bows

It doesn’t hurt to have one of these because you might be lucky and government raiders might not notice it or could even allow you to keep it.

If you’ve been making your own bows and arrows when you were a kid (like I used to), then you know this is one of the most inexpensive weapons you can have, costs to maintain are next to nothing.

bow diagram

Yeah, there’s a chance they will confiscate such a modern, complex bow…

However, if they don’t, you’ve got yourself a powerful weapon that doesn’t make the loud noise that firearms do which can attract a lot of unwanted attention.



Slingshots can hit a target up to 100 yards and, just like the bow and arrow, they’re easy to manufacture. The best part is that they have an unlimited supply of “ammo” in the form of rocks and other similar objects.

If you want, you can make your own. You will need:

  • a Y-shaped branch
  • a leather strip (that’s where the ammo placed)
  • and some latex surgical tubing

Stun Guns

If you’re dealing with only one attacker, a stun gun is a great weapon to use that doesn’t require a high level of skill. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can easily electrocute your target. The obvious downside is that they might not work following an EMP disaster.

paracord sling final


If you want a sling that’s oldschool, something like what David used against Goliath, you can make your own sling from paracord.


spear drawing


The first thing that comes to mind is fishing, but what if an attacker breaks into your home? A spear may come in handy and cause permanent damage (as long as it’s handy and you know how to use it). Also, you may consider a spear thrower (a.k.a. an atl-atl) to increase the velocity of the spear, though you probably don’t want to use it indoors.

knife pike

Knife Pikes

You can easily make your own knife pike by taking a survival knife and attaching it to a pole, such as that of a rake. Ideally, you’ll want to remove the knife handles and attach the tang directly.

g17 airoft

Airsoft Guns

I just had to mention airsoft guns because right now (at least), they’re not regulated by the U.S. Government. They’re are also legal in some countries in Europe, though threatening an attacker may be considered an offense and can earn you a criminal record (even if it was self-defense).

Flare Guns

Keep one in your INCH bag, just in case you get lost and need to signal for help. I wouldn’t worry about them if all you have is an bug out bag (INCH bag’s little sister), because you probably won’t be in the wilderness for too long.



These are easy to make from PVC pipes or even bamboo if that’s something you have, while the darts can be made from needles (even cactus needles).

survival knives


No government in its right mind will ever leave you without the ability to slice bread but the real question is: can you carry a knife or at least a folding knife with you in your EDC? The other problem, is of course, learning to use it.

If you’re thinking about having more, how about a wasp knife for close-combat? Or a dagger?

Or how about a throwing knife? Yes, this is a long range weapon but still worth mentioning. The alternative would be to learn to throw your survival knife – practice makes perfect.

credit card knife

Credit Card Knifes

A seemingly innocent credit card is actually a survival knife that’s only 2 mm thin. The benefit is you can safely conceal it inside your wallet. No one will ever know you have it, unlike a folding knife which might raise some eyebrows. The thing to worry about is to get to it in time.

monkey fist good one 56

Sailor’s / Monkey Fist Knot

This knot was used by sailors but it can be an effective way to hit someone. Best of all, it has no sharp edges, so it’s legal even in those European countries that don’t allow knives for EDC. Step by step explanations and photos on how to make it here.



Axes and splitting mauls are great because in an off grid situation, you’ll need something to chop wood. If you’re a homesteader, no one will ever question why you have one. Or several.

expandable baton (open)
Photo: expandable baton (open)

Clubs / Expandable Batons

A club is one of the simplest alternative self-defense weapons you can have, but don’t let simplicity fool you: there is a certain level of skill required for you to use it successfully in self-defense.


Pitchforks / Garden Forks

Pitchforks as well as other tools you may have lying around your backyard are very effective self-defense weapons. For example, chains, hoes, shovels, wood garden stakes, and even chain saws!

war hammer

War Hammers

Though war hammers are not as hardcore as they used to be in medieval times, you can find modern versions of it on Amazon and Home Depot.



Machetes aren’t just fantastic weapons but they can help you with a bunch of other tasks as well. They are lightweight and have a formidable force. You can’t go wrong with the Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri.

peace pipe tomahawk


Tomahawks were used by the Native Americans for a variety of purposes, including self-defense. Though preppers prefer hatchets nowadays, a tomahawk will work better when you throw it.



Hatchets are a good choice for anyone making a rural bug out bag. If you plan on camping or bugging out tot he woods, they are a must. hanging outside your survival bag, they’e easy to take off and use in case someone attacks you.



The way tasers work is they use electric impulses to interfere with the signals that cause our muscles to contract. Don’t rely on them to win a fight, only to temporarily disable an opponent.

Caveat: tasers don’t work very well on large animals so don’t think that you can them as a self-defense weapon in the woods.

If we’re talking a bear, for instance, you’ll only make it even more upset when you taser it.

walking stick and boots

Walking Sticks, Canes and Trekking Poles

Who’s gonna arrest you for having a walking stick, right? Get the right one and you’ve got yourself a veritable alternative weapon that can do a lot of damage. Recommended: the Steel Irish Blackthorn Walking Stick. See it in action right here:

Other Alternative Weapons

A very important category of weapons are the ones that aren’t really weapons. If you’ve been reading about survival for some time, then you came across things like “this survival can double as a weapon”, right? Well, let’s see a list of these items, so you don’t have to rely on becoming creative when you’re under attack:

  • PVC pipes
  • paracord (you can choke someone)
  • shovels (and many other gardening tools)
  • the inner bark of trees
  • rocks
  • oilpot (in Medieval times, this was a clay pot filled with highly-flammable oil)
  • daggers (it’s lightweight, you can throw it)
  • chains
  • baseball bats
  • swords
  • handaxes (sharp, primitive stones that you can also throw to damage your opponent from afar)
  • bayonets
  • darts
  • flamethrowers (you can make them from fire extinguishe, or aerosol spray cans)
  • paintball gun
  • whips (when I was a kid, my job was always to stand in front of the cows and the oxcart, and make sure they don’t move why my grandpa loaded the cart with hay. It can be very painful…)
  • boomerangs
  • …and even dirt!


With so many alternative weapons to choose from, it’s easy to forget the ones you can use to defend yourself.

The best way to defend yourself against alternative weapons as well as bullets is to wear body armor… but you can make your own shield that will at least stop knives and many of the weapons we talked about above.

This video shows how to make an airsoft shield that will stop an airsoft gun:

Now What?

There’s only one thing you can do once you selected the arsenal of weapons that will protect you both in good times and bad. And that is PRACTICE. Don’t wait for the end of the world to get a chance to use them. Become good before it happens.

Another thing you can do is check out this other article on do-it-yourself survival weapons. The ones presented require some skill, but you’ve got plenty of videos to guide you step by step.

updated 07/23/2019 by Dan F. Sullivan

About Dan F. Sullivan

Dan F. Sullivan
My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don't like taking orders. I'm taking matters into my own hands so I'm not just preparing, I'm going to a friggin' war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.


  1. Avatar

    Thank you for your info. It was. Very helpful. Can you refur me to a store so that I can purchase survival items at a reasonable price? I am a disable vet and living on a fixed income, that’s why I asked about the pricing. Also can the gas masks they advertise can be safe to use? They all say never used on the narrative. Thank you for your time and onsite. Jason

  2. Dan F. Sullivan

    Hi Jason,

    You can find anything you want on Amazon.



  3. Avatar

    A shorty pneumatic speargun

  4. Avatar

    An alatl or swiss arrow

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