TGIF! But what if you are just a few minutes away from logging out of work and news breaks that a riot or a terrorist attack is breaking loose just a few blocks away from your office? With your compact pistol and folding knife left at home, are there other non-firearm objects you can improvise to defend yourself?
I can give you two answers for that.
First, you have to pick practical weapons of opportunity. Movies tell you to just grab the next item on your desk and transform into John Wick. But you have to realize that some items are more efficient than others.
Picking up the next computer monitor you see and smashing it over a thug’s head could work. But even before it reaches his head (if you launched it accurately), he may already have shot, stabbed, or clubbed you.
My second answer to that question is to develop software over hardware. No good is a weapon that you do not know how to use. Your software – mindset and combative skills – matters more in difficult situations.
With the right training, you could turn your everyday stapler into a deadly tool. If you are trained in the martial art called Kali, edged-weapon techniques are adapted to both blunt and empty-hand weapons.
Keep in mind these two: 1) no two work environments are the same, so impromptu weapons may be different; 2) in a mass shooting, these are not tactics or weapons you should use.
Nonetheless, there are six objects that you should first reach into if and when hell breaks loose in or around your office:
- Long-Range Weapons
- Fire Extinguisher
- Medium-Range Weapons
- Close-Range Weapons
- Pen or Pencil
If you are a store manager on duty fighting an angry mob of looters or a fast-food cashier fending off an armed thief, distance will always be your first weapon. It gives you more than just space away from the perp, but also time to strike preemptively, counterstrike, and then to flee.
Fire Extinguisher. The best way to use this distance is to also have a long-range weapon. If you do not carry a pepper spray, a firearm, or if you do not work in a sporting goods store that sells archery equipment, your next best projectile is the one that is available on every floor of every building.
And this potential is a fire extinguisher. It is accessible everywhere as it is a requirement for every building.
A fire is not the only life-threatening event device can defeat. In order to temporarily stifle an attacker and even blind them, spray a thick cloud of fire retardant on his head. Then smack his legs and head with the extinguisher’s metal canister. Repeat until the threat or threats are immobile.
Make sure that you pay attention to your company’s emergency response drills even if you have done them every year. Also keep in mind the locations of fire extinguishers and fire exits.
If your workplace has never conducted emergency drills before, bring it up to your human resource management or volunteer to create one. They will be thankful when the day comes.
Brooms. Moving towards the second-line of improvised workspace weapons, you have to consider using a broom in order to protect yourself. The staff in the brooms have been used as weapons many times before. It gives powerful swings, thrusts, and blocks.
Usually, brooms’ staffs are an inch in diameter and made of solid wood or metal tubing. If you can remove the part where the bristles are, the staff now makes for a decent stabbing object. You can also make it sharper if you split the staff just above the bristles. You get an instant spear!
To use this correctly and effectively, grab one end with your supporting hand and use your dominant hand to grasp the middle of the shaft. This is much like a hockey player’s grip. This gives you ample strength and opportunity to successfully jab at faces or groins and still make circular strikes.
Slide down your dominant hand on top of your supporting one and fire in a baseball-style swing.
Chairs. Pick your chair up if you hear trouble brewing. This may not be as long and precise as a broom, but a chair can make for an office version of a sword with a buckler. Thrust this into the bodies of the perps and even swing them if you can. This will also shield you from clubs, knives, and takedowns.
Truth is, there may be a couple of caveats. Large executive office chairs may not work with this. You may find that these swanky seats are too heavy. The rollers or wheels at the bottom are in no way sharp enough to stab anyone.
A great alternative if you can find one is a solid wooden chair with separate vertical legs. These may still be heavy, but at least they create a sharp edge for you to use as a weapon.
Metal folding chairs are great potential weapons. These are lightweight, strong, and hollow. Because of its hollow metal tubing, a folding chair can be carried around as a mobile weapon. It is also maneuverable in case you are fighting multiple attackers.
Metal folding chairs only cost at least ten dollars. You can tuck it beside a filing cabinet or table to keep it at arms reach. If HR asks why you have one, just tell them you like to switch up your stubby office chair from time to time because of lumbar pain. They will not ask anymore questions.
In TV shows and action movies, we see chairs being used as a weapon. They are however holding it wrong — usually.
You should not be holding it by the backing. Instead, hold the legs and use the backing as the striking surface. This will provide a more concentrated point of impact. It also gives you more control and leverage. Besides, holding the legs toward the perp is like surrendering to him by giving him four handles to grab.
You simply cannot beat a sharp-edged weapon in close combat.
Scissors. These are on every employee’s desk. If you do not have one, why? There is a reason why your elementary teachers told you to never run with scissors in your hand. Wrap your fingers on the outside of the handles with your thumbs close to the bottom of the scissors. Attack accordingly.
Pen or Pencil. These are just as ubiquitous in almost every workspace. They are always on point and made to fit hands whether big or small. They can pierce eyeballs and stab deeply through skin. Grip them as you would the scissors. Make sure to place your thumb on the eraser or top part so that the pen does not slide out of your grip.
Stapler. Now we get to the stapler. To a determined survivor, as you should be, this can be a deadly weapon. How? Use a reverse grip and wrap your fingers around the entire body of the stapler. Pound the stapler on the perp’s face, neck, collar bones, and skull once you safely get close enough.
This can easily smash skulls and put undesirables in a coma.