Part of prepping is being prepared for situations that are borderline unthinkable. If you refuse to believe that something is true, when it invariably happens you’ll be caught flat-footed and that’s no good.
You might have all of the modern firepower in the world at your disposal, but circumstances might conspire against you in such a way that you are deprived of your guns and other weapons.
In a long-term survival situation, that can spell death. You’ll still need weapons no matter what, certainly for self-defense and perhaps even for hunting as well.
Considering the complexity of guns manufacturing your own without benefit of high-quality metals and the machines to work them means you’ll have to take your chances with an improvised zip gun, a great way to lose your fingers or worse.
A better plan is to turn to ancient, even primitive weaponry. Among such weapons, the spear has long been called the king of battle.
Swords may get all the glory and axes have a brutal appeal, but only spears have the reach and versatility, combined with minimal material requirements, to make them an excellent go-to option for low-tech self-defense or hunting in long-term survival scenarios.
Today’s article is bringing you six foolproof plans for making deadly DIY spears.
An Ancient Weapon that Remains Effective
Just because the spear is an ancient weapon that doesn’t mean it is any less effective when put to use in a fight or a hunt.
Compared to other melee weapons spears have huge advantages as long as one has the room to wield them.
They are fast both on attack and defense, they have incomparable reach compared to anything else except perhaps a pole arm and they are easy to wield effectively with relatively little training.
even better, if you are outfitting an army or just a group of ragtag survivors who have banded together to survive the apocalypse, spears require less metal overall than weapons like swords or even other blade on a stick type weapons like axes and hatchets.
A sphere does not need a humongous head to be deadly or produce grievous wounds. The thin and comparatively light weight of a spearhead is more than capable and easy to craft with just a little bit of know-how and some scavenged materials.
Before you go down some flight of fancy trying to craft an overly stylish, awkward apocalypse melee weapon, look to the past for inspiration and you’ll see that the spear has so much more to commend it and anything except the closest and most cramped of quarters.
Spears are Effective and Adaptable for Hunting and Defense
Another point of praise for spears is their extreme adaptability for hunting and defense against hostile humans alike.
A spear affords you the reach to tag prey at a range that is greatly extended from a handheld weapon like a knife or even something like an ax.
Spears can be crafted in a variety of ways to make them suitable for big game or small game, even such edible critters as reptiles or fish.
As the saying goes “there is a shoe for every foot”, and there is a spearhead design for every quarry.
Even if you are hunting game with significant defenses, like wild pigs or male deer, a spear can be equipped to set you up for success and help protect you.
Winged or lugged spears have a crossmember to prevent the spear from over penetrating the target or allowing particularly tough prey to run up the shaft and gore you. Spears with broad, barbed heads will stick in prey to hamper their escape.
There are many more designs besides for hunting, but spears optimized for use against other humans likely have simple triangular or leaf shaped blades that are sharp and slender, perfect for inflicting horrendous lacerating or penetrating injuries at a safe distance.
What’s more, spears can make excellent throwing weapons, especially ones that are optimized for the job.
Although you would be foolish to throw away your only primary weapon in most cases, it is nice to know that a thrown spear is lethal indeed, and it is also easy to whip up a bunch of simple javelins in case follow up attacks are needed.
6 DIY Improvised Spears
1. Broad Hunting Spear from a Leaf Spring
Hunting spears are primarily intended for exactly what the name says, hunting, but they can work damn well as a spear against dangerous, two-legged critters also.
This hunting spear features a broad head for inflicting gnarly, deep wounds, and is in the category of what is known as a winged or so-called lugged spear. Spears of this type feature a prominent cross piece that trails behind the blade and is intended to prevent the spear from over penetrating in the target.
Against dangerous prey, particularly boar or bears, this allows the wielder to maintain better control as it prevents the enraged and wounded animal from charging up and over the shaft to get at the spearman. Definitely a good feature to have in a tight spot.
This spear is comparatively easy to make with rudimentary tools and skills using a salvage leaf spring from an automobile as raw material to make the spearhead.
Many cultures around the world have a proud history of repurposing parts like this to fashion high-quality, sturdy blades and you had better believe that your spirit will really kick ass if you make it out of the same thing.
2. Simple Field Improvised Knife Spear
One of the best overall spear designs for preppers is the very literal knife-on-a-stick spear type. Using anything from their bush knife to a pocket knife or even the replaceable blade from a caping knife or box cutter and a sturdy branch is all that is required to fashion a rudimentary but highly effective spear.
Naturally, you’ll need to find a good branch first and whittle or notch it to better accept the blade before attaching it fast with cordage.
Heavy-duty man-made cordage like paracord works great, but if you really get into a pinch you can always fashion your own from other natural materials.
Compared to making other spears using traditional techniques, this is one that can go together very quickly once you have a little practice with the basic procedures.
And also allows you to disassemble the spear and reclaim your knife, but as always, think twice before repurposing your knife in this way as loss or breakage we’ll definitely become more of a factor.
3. Throwing Spear from a Circular Saw Blade
Another great example of repurposing man-made metal components for fashioning a capable and heavy-duty spear, this design is a purpose made throwing spear that utilizes a cut down circular saw blade and other simple, easy to scavenge components for construction.
Compared to other spear designs, a throwing spear trades weight and power for range and ease of handling.
The spearhead itself is narrow, to reduce drag when striking the target, but also comparatively short to reduce the chance that it will deflect or bend upon impact.
Although it is not likely to inflict wounds that are quite as grave as a spear with a broader head it is no doubt a deadly weapon and can still work just as well when it wielded in the hands versus being thrown.
This is another design that will require basic tools and know-how to go along with the materials, but it is entirely within the reach of any prepper with even a little bit of DIY enthusiasm.
4. DIY Pole Spear Trident, 2 Ways
Not all spears are large, ungainly affairs designed for keeping a full at a distance or bringing down quarry at comparatively long range.
Some are small, delicate even dainty and design for capturing or killing much smaller animals or ones that are very difficult to catch in any other way directly.
For such purposes, we will need an equally specialized spear, but lucky for you we are here with plans that will do exactly that.
Enter the trident, or on a small scale, the gig. Though tridents can be made large or small, these multi-tine Spears are more than just a decorative element found clutched in the hands of ancient mythological sea gods or used in conjunction with a net by gladiators in the arena.
Compared to a spear with a single point, a trident affords the user better margin for error when striking, and the barbed tips ensure that slippery, delicate prey is captured upon the tines.
This is just the thing when you want to go a little more hands-on fishing, for capturing amphibians like frogs or even going after small, quickly scuttling lizards.
There are many ways to craft tridents but this one relies on a combination of pre-made and scavenged materials for the purpose, and if made to a high standard can rival the performance of off the shelf models.
5. Multi-purpose Bushcraft Spear
Sometimes you’ll have a little more than a sharp stick and be forced to make do in a survival situation.
In your case, that’s okay, because as it turns out using nothing more than a good, sturdy branch and a cutting tool to shape the point you can create a frighteningly effective spear with nothing more than that.
By whittling, cutting and shaping your branch to suit you can create a wicked variety of single point or multipoint spears, even hooked gaffs.
This in-depth article walks you through a variety of processes and even tells you how to flame harden the points for maximum durability and effectiveness. You might balk at how seemingly crude and desperate an all-wood spear seems, but you won’t be laughing anymore when you see what kind of damage they can inflict.
However, if you are able to obtain any additional materials, even trash, you can further improve these simple spheres to deadly effect.
This article will show you how aluminum or steel soup cans can be processed into thin, razor edge spearheads to suit a variety of profiles. Circuit boards, glass and even rocks can be broken, napped and sharpened into hair popping edges that would make our ancestors proud.
You can put another mark in the win column for the spear as a weapon system when you see how effective they can be made for so little effort and such a small investment in seemingly useless materials!
6. Garden Trowel Spear
Sometimes, in desperate, pressing times, you’ll need to resort to a little bit of hillbilly ingenuity. A great example, when it comes to spear crafting, is making a deadly broadhead spear from nothing more than a sturdy, suitable haft or branch and a common garden trowel.
Though it is true you would produce a reasonably effective weapon if you did nothing more but affix the garden implement to the end of the stick after sharpening the edges, you can produce something really special with just a little bit more work.
By flattening the trowel and carefully reshaping it before sharpening it, you’ll bring the spearhead directly in line with the shaft, making it much easier to handle and capable of inflicting even nastier wounds.
Considering how plentiful garden travels are, and how likely there is to mean abundance of sturdy handles salvageable from other garden tools nearby, this could be just the ticket for mass-producing spears for throwing or equipping your apocalypse survival group.
The linked article above has lots of information for making the most out of an otherwise useless tool!
The spear is one of mankind’s oldest and longest-lasting melee weapons, often called the king of battle for a reason.
Affording a nearly unbeatable combination of reach, speed and deadliness in conjunction with minimal material requirements and an easy-to-use nature, the spear might be just the ticket for a long-term SHTF survival situation when your guns are either missing or out of commission for one of ammo.
Be sure to study the linked plans above so you’ll have plenty of inspiration to draw from when the time comes to sharpen your blades.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.