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Survival weapon  RSS feed

 
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Hi all,
In your opinion, which one is the best survival weapon? To me, it's machetes though, but knives are also very handy when it comes to survival.
 
pioneer
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Are we talking about weapons against people, or animal predators ("lions, tigers and bears, oh my!"), or tools to hack down brush?

I'm not quite sure permies is the place to talk about weapons against people, especially outside of the Cider Press forums. But, we could probably talk about what tools and weapons we use to defend against predators when hiking or in the far edges of our property.

I personally am not skilled with any weapons (knives, guns, etc). I do like machetes and pruning shears and sheering knives (used for trimming Christmas tress) for clearing out blackberry and salmon berry bramble. I like having bear spray, too, as it shoots far and is non lethal. I believe wasp spray (which is pretty toxic and probably not what permies recommends using against wasps) is also effective against predators, but I haven't researched to know for certain.
 
Danny Matteo
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No, I'm talking about weapons against animals. You know, when you are out in the wilderness!
 
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As a survival "weapon" I would prefer a Knife, because it can be turned into a spear.
Machetes tend to be not as pointed at the tip since they are designed for chopping motions instead of stabbing motions.
If you are in a jungle where the machete comes from, your biggest animal to worry about is the Jaguar, if one of those pounces you, your probably dead by the time your arm can swing the machete, but a stab can be made much faster.
 
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If I were out in the woods with a bear I would want a big gun.

There are several states in the US where this is possible.

While walking in my woods it is possible that I could encounter a bear but not likely.  Most likely I might encounter a feral hog so I would still want a gun.  Other animals likely but not probable would be cougar or mountain lion.  We definitely  have bob cats.

If I couldn't have a gun I would want a bow and arrows.

I don't feel I would be very good at trying to fight off any animals with a knife.

A sword would be my choice over a machete. More distance between me and the animal.

Now if we are talking survival as in building a debris hut and fires then it would be a machete.
 
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I prefer using knives for survival weapon too.
 
pollinator
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I would go with a shovel, that way I can bury them after :)  No, really it's just that I already have one in my hand so much that it would always be at the ready.
 
pollinator
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I am really loving that shovel idea.
It can hold/carry a bit of water, dirt/sand to build stuff.
Trample down bushes,
Wack some animals in the head.
BUT MOSTLY IT CAN MAKE THE MOST AMOUNT OF NOISE. And Super loud noise will warn most animals that you are possible large, have lots of tools and SCARY.

Actually.
1. Whistle to communicate with other animals that I am big and scary
2. FIRE to attack and kill the bacteria and virus and fungus that wants to have me as a meal.
3. Rope to set traps, climb, build stuff
4. Knife to build stuff, turn into a spear to fish/hunt/defend.
 
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This is the weapon I carry every time I go running. Did I mention that our community has a huge problem with loose dogs? It's been useful in other situations...


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A big stick
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The bite that incited me to start carrying a weapon while running.
 
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Anne Miller wrote:If I were out in the woods with a bear I would want a big gun.



I've never met a bear. I strongly suspect if I did come across one in the wilderness I would choose a large steel or concrete box (with bullet proof glass for observation), followed by an air ticket back home (or somewhere else where there are no bears).
 
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I was out in the garage the other day and noticed my plumb bob hanging from a nail with about 6 feet of string attached.  It is brass,  weighs about 8 ounces and it has a steel point.  As I stood there I realized if you could hold the string and throw it like a rock from a sling.  It would be a very deadly weapon.  

But, if I had to choose I would take my shotgun. I have used it to harvest more wild game that I can list and I fear going hungry more than being attacked by wild animals
 
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Well I'd have to say an air horn or bear mace. Noise is a lot better protection against anything that can take on a human, than any hand-to-hand weapon is. Just practically speaking. You can use a gun to fire warning shots, but guns are heavy and if you're scared and confused and it's in your pack you're probably going to have a hard time getting it out in time for it to do any good. So I would wear bell(s) and keep a horn or mace on my belt where I can access it quickly and easily, if I were to go trampsing through thickets infested with bears and wildcats. The fact is if it gets close enough to use a sword, machete, knife etc. on and it's aggressive towards you, it's prolly gonna hurt you even if you hurt it back. It's better to just deter an attack in the first place.
 
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The only defensive weapons I have ever used are a rock and a real estate sign. One human caught the rock in the center of chest (I was 8 years old and brought down an adult who I could never beat in a fight) one dog had his legs chopped with a strong stroke of the real estate sign. Both were weapons of opportunity, gathered from the landscape. In Kenya, I showed a man my very strong scissors that were normally hidden. That was enough to get him to stop following me.

I think a walking stick and a dog, would both work as early warning, weapon and deterrent.
 
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In suburbia: my Dad, being a country bloke, showed me a good weapon to carry to fend off dogs, angry cattle, etc was using three or fours strands of heavy fencing wire plaited around each other with a loop on one end for a handle and the ends bent ninety degrees at the other - as he said: 'a good swipe would just about cut a dog in half'.

In the bush: we don't have too many wild animals in the bush that would purposely inflict severe injury - notwithstanding crocodiles, feral pigs, camels, cattle. But the single biggest nasty are VERY venomous snakes. Best protection is to stomp the ground because they feel vibrations and gives them a chance to get away. Carry a comprehensive First Aid Kit!
 
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My first weapon of choice would be my mind.  Then, a knife.
 
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Living 30km from the nearest city, surrounded by farmland and national park, in the tropics, i have a need for protection from snakes, giant centipedes and the very occassional (often very poor) stranger. Carrying a large knife on my belt and a stick is very advisable here.
The knife, being a clearly visible deterrent is also very helpful in gardening (a bowie kind of model) and the stick (at least 1.5mtr!!)  is for carrying away the snakes if they do not move out of my vicinity by themselves. Another "weapon" is noise and stamping feet.
 
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Daughter & I had a bear encounter last year. It strolled through camp at dawn. I had a .45, some bear spray, & a big stick. In the end just a lot of REALLY LOUD yelling scared it away. Some other guy came running down barking like a dog. Thanks mountain dog guy! It was amazing to see the bear effortlessly come towards us across a gully a human would have struggled with. Poor daughter thought it was just a dog until the bear walked by & looked in her tent. Heck of a wake up call. I was close enough to touch it at that point. We got it done without incident. Whew. Beautiful creatures but you don't want them in your camp.
 
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A gun is by far the best weapon for defense against wild animals, however many legs it might have, but only if the bearer of said gun has the wherewithal and skill to use it. Same with any weapon, in virtually any situation. Whether the weapon is a knife, club, machete, sharpened stick, shotgun, rifle, bow, etc.; it isn't going to especially useful to someone who can't be bothered to take the time to learn to use it competently.
 
Danny Matteo
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These are really helpful tips and suggestions that you all have shared!
 
pollinator
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It depends, as noted above, on the specific situation. Honestly, though, a knife for me is a tool to make more tools out of softer materials, and a perhaps a fine instrument for the preparation of food, both animal and vegetable. There are no winners in a knife fight; in a serious one, one person dies, and another perhaps dies a little later, or is simply scarred and crippled for life.

So I would definitely take my knife, or knives. But if I was in a situation to expect bears and cougars, I would want a firearm, one with sufficient stopping power for large animals that I could bring around quickly and aim easily, and with enough rounds in the magazine that I wouldn't have to worry about a reload.

I agree wholeheartedly that the most valuable weapon or tool for survival is a flexible and well-prepared mind.

-CK
 
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When I think of animal problems, I think of bear, mountain lion, dogs, moose in rut, wild pigs, alligators/crocodiles, snakes and poisonous insects.  Most wild animals (except some dogs) generally prefer to avoid confrontations with people.  We smell bad, are potentially dangerous, and are not their normal prey. 

The general over all rules are: 
1.   situational awareness (joggers are often either concentrating on their running or in their "happy place").  Snakes, alligators, crocodiles, pigs, poisonous insects aren't likely to come hunting you, you walk up on them.  LISTEN!!! I find ears work better than eyes in heavy brush (other way around, of course, in open country).  Don't talk or sing all the time, enjoy the silence, just make significant noise fairly often.  If you realize you've moved in on something, move back, but don't turn your back or run.  The primary weapon (defensive or offensive) we have is an engaged mind.  If your mind is elsewhere, you are defenseless.
2.   Let them know you're coming so they can avoid a conflict (don't ghost through the woods, make noise).  Once you surprise them, some of these may run the wrong way, at you, so let them know your coming and they will generally just fade back out of your way and you won't even know they were there.  
3.   If a predator is nosing around, it's evaluating you.  You want to discourage any animal as early as possible, while they are still in the 'is this dangerous or edible' stage of evaluating you rather than the "looks tasty" stage.

The goal is to avoid attack.  If you are attacked, you want to deal with the beast before it reaches your tender body.  Distance weapons, rather than a weapon for use once you're bloody.  For that reason I think a knife is almost useless as a weapon.  (It's still a great tool, always carry a knife!).   If you've ever tried to stab or cut through a fresh bear or moose hide with the hair on, you know it would take some serious adrenaline to do much damage with a knife if your were attacked.  (I know it's been done, I don't know of a case where the human came out of it without damage.  I think the people in those cases were probably better men than me and terrified to boot). 

A gun is really the best protection in the event of actual attack.  Not much outside of Africa can argue with a twelve guage slug within twenty feet. 

For those who opt for less violence, bear spray (pepper spray) works and is cheaper and more compact (make sure it's quickly accessable), but it is only effective if a good dose gets in the animals nose and eyes.  My brothers worked the Exxon Valdez oil spill clean up.  They saw a bear run out of the woods at some workers.  The bear guard sprayed the bear spray in the air and stepped back a few steps.  When the bear hit the cloud of spray he went to the ground.  He ran off and a few minutes later, returned with the same results.  The third time he ran out, the bear guard lifted the can and the bear turned and ran back in the woods and didn't return.  (note, bear spray is not a repellent.  When they first came out with it some people sprayed it on their canoes, etc., thinking it would keep bears away.  bears chewed up the canoe.  Turns out, some bears like spicy food, just like some people, but no bear wants a nose full of it, just like people.) 

An alternative to pepper spray I recently read about somewhere is wasp spray.  It's pretty cheap, sprays a concentrated spray thirty feet, and can cause some pretty serious damage in the lungs in sinuses.  A face full would be a serious deterrent for anything on two legs or four.  (Yes, I know, it's poison, that's kind of the point).  A large predator you hit will probably survive, but you would have taught it a potentially life saving lesson "don't mess with the smelly two legs, they hurt you from a distance".  That is really the lesson we are trying to teach, if you are against hunting.

I remember once my son and I were walking down a trail near a salmon stream in Alaska during the salmon run, we didn't have a gun (yes, I know, stupid) when there was suddenly an overpowering stench of rotting fish.  We froze in place.  After about a minute, smell was gone.  We never saw or heard the bear moving away from us.  It was unnerving to realize how quiet they can move.  We still had about 4 miles of trail to walk to get where we were going.  We sang every song we knew (a lot of hymns for some reason) loudly the rest of the way.

dogs - This is by far the most likely problem in most  areas I've been.  Feral or just aggressive, free roaming dogs don't have much fear of people.  They can get truly dangerous if they are in a pack.  A single dog is less likely to cause problems.  A staff is useful, a pocket full of rocks may be better, maybe with a slingshot.  I want to discourage them before they get close to me.  Most aggressive free roaming dogs I've known were very familiar with the motion of someone picking up a rock to throw.  A related problem someone is bound to mention is wolves.  They aren't  that common and they mostly avoid people like the plague.  If they start nosing around I would treat them like aggressive dogs.  (Don't let dogs get behind you, that's where they prefer to attack from)

mountain lion - He's an ambush hunter, if he wants you, he'll hit you from behind with no warning.  You will probably be on you face with his jaws around your neck about the time you realize he's there.  If you're alone, you're probably dinner.  Good news is that they are not that common and usually avoid people (If we still hunted them some, they would avoid us more.  I think most of the places with lion problems are places where no one has hunted them for a long time.)  Even if we didn't kill them, hunting them with dogs would teach them to stay the hell away from people.  A dog, better 2 dogs, is probably your best warning system, but you want them trained to the point that you can get them to stay with you and not go haring off after something that will kill them, or worse, come running back to you bringing trouble with them.

bull moose in rut:  Stay out of their way.  They remind me of some guys I used to run with, so horny they can't think straight.  They either want to fight it or have sex with it.  They can be seriously bat-shit crazy!  They even attack bears sometimes.  They won't hunt you down, so just get out of their line of sight.  Step behind a tree.  They really aren't thinking straight and if you remove yourself, you'll be fine.  A possible silver lining is that the rut often coincides with hunting season.

pigs, snakes, lion, bear - You aren't their normal prey.  Mostly they just want to avoid a conflict.  So be noisy, be loud, stomp around, sing songs.  Don't ghost through the woods.  Let them know you're coming so they can mosey out of the way.  If you come up on something, try to fade back without looking like your are running away (predators and omnivores have a chase instinct).  If you surprise them, brown/grizzly bears natural response is to attack (since they are top of the food chain).  If a black bear is following you, circling you, etc. it is trying to decide if you are worth the risk of attacking (you are a pretty good sized animal you know, and vertical also, which makes you seem even bigger).  Get as big and scary as you can, yell, bang sticks, throw things.  Try to convince it that you WILL EAT IT if it gives you any shit.  (Some people will recognize this as the proper response in some similar social situations).  You may be saving the animal's life, because if it comes after you, you will need to kill it.   (if you don't kill it, and it eats you, it's just learned that people aren't that tough and taste like pork, so someone will probably have to kill it even if you don't).

snakes, poisonous insects, alligators/crocodiles - stay the hell away from them.  Don't be like Steve Irwin and 'poke em with a stick' (seriously, I loved the guy, but he is not the role model you want to avoid problems with animals).

lastly, as I mentioned, if it really comes down to an actual animal attack, a twelve guage or pepper spray are probably the best response. 
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I agree with Mick on the subject of animal attack survival tactics, be aware, if you are aware of your surroundings not much will be able to sneak up on you (mountain lion being the one that can and will).
I never go out (My farm has lots of woods and then there are more woods surrounding our land) without a pistol, long guns are great but harder to get aimed quickly when an animal charges.
Even a shot gun will be slower to get aimed than a drawn pistol if you aren't in clearing type conditions.
Calibers of the pistol should be either .44 mag. or .45, a 9mm is  marginal unless the carrier is well trained on where to shoot the animal.
The sidearm or shotgun are weapons of last resort, most critters, including the mountain lion, will move away if given the opportunity, this is providing they aren't already hunting you.

Those are the only things I can add to Mick's post on this subject.

I personally carry a U.S. Navy Seal side arm (P228, 9mm with 13 rounds per magazine) this is the sidearm I conceal carry as well (it's always worn), but if I am going off my property I carry the 9mm and a .44 mag. S&W model 29, 6.5 inch barrel with a speed loader.
 
Mick Fisch
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A common sense way to avoid some snake/ poisonous insect problems I didn't mention is, don't go tromping through thickets or thick brush needlessly.  It's a bad way to find hidden hornet nests and snakes.  You can also run into some nasty plants, mixed with the innocuous.

You can see a snake in the open, in a thicket you may not know what your stepping on.  Wear high topped leather boots if your going to be doing stuff like that.  Snake bites are usually around the ankle. 

Tuck your pants into your socks and spray repellent on you lower pants to keep crawling nasties off.
 
Mick Fisch
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long guns are great but harder to get aimed quickly when an animal charges



I agree.  I heard this argument before and couldn't comprehend how much longer it takes to swing a long gun around than a pistol.  Then, many moons ago I was involved in a seal hunt (several decades ago.  If you're in law enforcement, it never happened).  The seals would pop up near the boat unpredictably, anywhere in a 360 degree arc and anywhere from 5 to about 40 or 50 feet.  You had about a second or two at most to see them, line up and fire (realistically we each had maybe a 90 degree arc we were monitoring, to keep from shooting each other).  I was impressed at how obviously superior our single pistol was for this situation.  The long guns weren't even a close second.

Also, as you intimated, a weapon stowed where you can't get to it immediately is the same as no weapon at all.
 
pollinator
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Does anyone have experience with feral Hogs? I didn't see tracks on my property but I know they are a problem in the southern states. Was thinking about carrying a 357 revolver with a 3 inch barrel that someone offered me. I can't hit diddly with it though until the target gets about 10 feet from me and is standing still.
I do have concerns about being in the middle of the gas fields too. I like that idea of carrying a big knife all the time where it's visible.
 
Anne Miller
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Denise, like Mick said:

pigs, snakes, lion, bear - You aren't their normal prey.  Mostly they just want to avoid a conflict.  So be noisy, be loud, stomp around, sing songs.  Don't ghost through the woods.  Let them know you're coming so they can mosey out of the way.  If you come up on something, try to fade back without looking like your are running away (predators and omnivores have a chase instinct).



We had a feral hog that was using our pond as a wallow.  The pond is right behind our house though we never saw the hog.  We saw his tracks.  Most wildlife keep hidden behind trees when they know a human is around.
Finally our son in law staked out a feeder and was able to get rid of him for us.

Years ago I was on a hunting lease by myself when a bunch of feral hogs showed up.  I just stood quietly and let them feed without seeing me.

If you have a water source like a wet creek or a pond there is a chance one might show up.  If there is no water source or a food source, then maybe you will not have a problem.
 
pollinator
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You can take my guns, I can live without them, but I would be lost without an axe for survival. I keep one in every car for emergencies.
 
denise ra
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Anne, Even if i was comfortable with hiding from feral pigs, I would still feel obliged to kill them. The population is estimated at over 1 million in Oklahoma and they cost farmers lotsa moola in damages.
denise
 
Anne Miller
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Denisa, our daughter and son in law say they are good eating. I have not tasted one.

I might have tried to kill one of those I saw if I had had something to kill them with.  I didn't even have a nail file.
 
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Having been attacked by dogs in a rural area, I know the feeling of helplessness that would prompt one to want to carry a weapon.  In fact after that I didn't go out without a knife anymore.  This day, biking to work, one latched onto my left calf, and the other latched onto the rear tire of my bike, while the third circled me.  I yelled and looked frantically over the fields for help, but no one was within screaming distance.  Adrenaline took over and I began yelling fiercely, raised my bike over my head (which I'm not sure I could do under normal circumstances) and threw it at one of the dogs.  They seemed afraid, so I kept yelling at them and being intimidating until I could get away from them.  I asked myself, what if it had been a child biking past?  Or someone who didn't behave fiercely for whatever reason?  I was very lucky do have been wearing several layers of clothing (it was cold) and get away with only deep scrapes and large bruises.  It could have been much worse.  If I had any reservations before about using force to injure or kill an animal it was erased completely by that experience.  In the 80s, the farmers in my area were encouraged by law enforcement to shoot any stray dogs on sight due to their aggressive nature, as they ran in packs in the woods. 

Our land is in an area where there are more bear than deer, and a wolf pack is close by as well.  I'm not unhappy to share territory with them and they have as much claim to it as we do.  We have had encounters with both.  While I understand the attitude of weapons being for fearful people, as another poster has suggested, I believe they are for prepared people who have measured the risk of their particular circumstance.  We don't go out alone, or without a gun, even if it is used only to make a loud noise and scare away an animal who is trying their luck at a meal (twice this year so far).  They are opportunistic, and for their safety as well as ours I would rather not let them feel welcome where we are working and sleeping and eating.

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My hand next to a wolf print
 
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There have been some great responses in this thread.  So much of the response is determined by the thing you are attempting to survive. 

If I had to choose one all-purpose weapon to protect me from the greatest number of threats, urban/rural/human/animal . . . , I would go with a 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip.

Advantages:

-- A shotgun makes a lot of noise and has a wide blast radius.  A LOT of noise.  If someone is attacking you, the sound of that blast coming at them will make them think twice about taking one more step.  A dog, a bear, a mountain lion . . . or a person with bad intents, all will be reticent to take one more step toward you when they've been peppered with a blast from a 12-gauge.

-- A shotgun deals with the problem at a distance.  You don't want the problem getting close to you -- whether that is a bear, a person or a group of people.  A knife is only effective within 3 feet.  Frankly, I don't what the problem that close to me.  Even a snake -- keep it at a distance and dispatch it before it comes close enough to hurt you.

-- You don't aim a shotgun as much as you point it.  Thus, even if you are too startled to take careful aim, your likelihood of getting some lead into the thing attacking you is much more likely than with a handgun or rifle.  The shot pattern is determined by the chock of your barrel, but for most standard choke guns, the shot pattern is at least 15 - 20 inches across when fired at 10 yards.  In other words, your aim can be off by 2 feet and you will still put some shot on the target.  If wild dogs or a bear were attacking you, that would be a huge advantage.

-- If you have to use it indoors, the shot from a shotgun will make a mess of the person you are shooting at, but will not go through 2 layers of sheetrock, thus anyone sleeping on the other side of a wall will be safe.  A handgun does not offer that advantage.  Even a smaller caliber like a 9 mm can go through walls or a car door.  It's funny that you'd choose a gun for it's ability to NOT pass through something, but for home protection, that is important.

-- The pistol grip allows you to hold the gun at waist level and still be fully in control.  Firing from the hip keeps your line of sight unobstructed.  Again, because it's a shotgun, your need for accurate aiming is not so critical.

-- Ammunition is readily available everywhere.

No one weapon is good for every situation, but some weapons offer greater flexibility.
 
pollinator
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I wouldn't mind the Green Destiny from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon


But my Aikido stick bought from Japan made out of white oak will do for the moment
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Green Destiny
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Aikido Jo
 
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I keep a little shovel in all my cars.  It's short handled, but it's made by cold steel so that's a knife company.  Its mainly a tool, but push come to shove I'm pretty sure it would function stack.
 
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