6 Discreet Weapons You Can Carry Anywhere

February 10, 2013 by | 39 Comments

If I could, I would carry a firearm everywhere. Unfortunately, it isn’t always an option because it’s illegal to carry into certain places, such as courthouses, police stations, schools.

That doesn’t mean that you have to go anywhere unarmed though, and it doesn’t mean anyone needs to know you’re technically armed.

There are several everyday weapons that won’t draw any attention and can legally be carried everywhere—even through the wonderful TSA screening process.


Everyone has a set of keys and that makes them a great weapon that few attackers would even notice. Placed in the palm of your hand protruding between your fingers, you’ll pack one hell of a punch that would make even Wolverine proud. Aim for soft spots like the eyes, throat, or solar plexus, and your attacker will either drop like a sack of potatoes or flee in search of easier prey.


It may seem like a pain to lug around, but even an empty briefcase can deliver some serious damage; especially the heavy-duty aluminum type. An added benefit is that they can shield you from attacks by edged or blunt weapons, such as knives or baseball bats. Swing hard with a motion similar to a hook punch, aiming for the head, elbows, or knees. If your attacker tries to block, there’s a good chance you’ll break their forearm, preventing them from attacking you again.


Carrying an umbrella is far more common in Seattle, WA than Yuma, AZ, but it’s unlikely to draw much attention no matter where you live. It gives you the ability to stab your attacker or keep them at bay, and it can even be used to parry their blows. Just be sure to invest in a sturdy model.


Even a small two-cell Maglite can be a formidable weapon when used to strike the temples, nose, or ribs, while the larger 3-cell models, with their substantial size and heft, can easily be used as a baton, striking your attacker’s limbs, or if necessary, their head; even an elderly or weaker person could break bones or render an attacker unconscious, allowing for a safe escape.


How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? I have no idea, but I do know that a lollipop, when used in the same manner as I described with the keys, produces a devastating weapon. Its cardboard stem is, of course, not as rigid as keys, so your most ideal target is the eyes of your attacker; any harder targets may bend or break the stem leaving you weaponless.


A sturdy metal pen or even a simple wooden pencil plunged into your attacker can end an assault immediately. Excluding the roughly four inches taken up by your grip, you’ve got three or more inches available—ample length to reach vital organs or arteries. You can aim almost anywhere; eyes, torso, inner biceps or thighs to cut major arteries, or even outer areas of the limbs to make muscles useless.

Is there an everyday item you carry when you can’t carry a firearm that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments below.

Melanie Swick (a.k.a. Survival Chick) grew up wanting to be a rocket scientist, but when she realized she that required way too much math, she took to her second dream—spending time in the wilderness. Today, when she's not hiking, camping, or hunting, she's blogging about it. You can connect with Melanie on Facebook.

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  • Shane White says:

    Great tips! Soon after our second amendment rights are reversed these may be among our only options.

  • I carry a pair of cuticle nippers that will rip flesh easily. It might not disable someone unless the eyes or neck are targeted. But, it would be the weapon I have on me that would not be suspicious. It would be as easy to get to as my keys. The nippers are very pointy and sharp.

  • michelle mohr says:

    metal mail file

    • Jeremy Knauff says:

      Michelle, that’s a great idea! I can’t seem to confirm whether TSA will allow them on a flight, but since they do allow screwdrivers up to 7″ long as well as knitting needles, you *probably* could carry a nail file without a problem. It wouldn’t even get as much as a second look anywhere else—unless you happen to be a guy 😉

  • Buck Masterson says:

    I keep a cigarette lighter and a travel size can of hairspray in my jacket pocket. If it’s summer time and don’t have a jacket I definitely keep my keys on hand with a monkey knuckle.

  • John says:

    A credit card can be used as a slashing ‘knife’, in close combat. Go for either side of the throat; about a 45 degree angle from the ear to the trachea.

    • Jack says:

      Yes John, I have an old expired visa that I carry in my shirt pocket. It has been sharpened on the bottom and I breeze through security without a worry.

  • Ryan says:

    You can’t rely on a pencil not to break. I’ve seen someone stabbed in the side of the neck from behind and the pencil broke. Granted if it didn’t break the injury would have been a lot worse, but with the break it didn’t even penetrate a 1/4″.

  • Geoff Bricks says:

    Toothbrush, sturdy belt buckle, coffee mug (even better with hot coffee), salt shaker / pepper shaker, fork, spoon, the plate at the restaurant. If you can pick it up, it can be weaponized! BTW, the flashlight mentioned in the article is also good for temporarily dazzling/blinding an attacker prior to use as an impact weapon.

    • Rob B says:

      When I was a younger man, I had trouble with this guy. He and two of his cronies, followed me to a deli in NY, and waited outside for me. I knew when I went outside, they’d put a good beating on me. I went inside to avoid them. I asked the deli owner if I could leave out the back. He said no, because of insurance reasons and he didn’t want any problems. After I told him what was going on, he poured me a large cup of black coffee in a styrofoam cup. Told me it was on the house, and said to give them a “bath”. And so I did. Got the bully right in the face, and the larger of the two cronies, then went to punching the crap out of the other one. I walked away unscathed. They didn’t mess with me after that. I was about 13 years old.

    • Lynne says:

      I have a small personal sized cans of Lysol and hair spray in my purse. I don’t carry a big purse….rather small actually from what I see around town. Plus I actually use the Lysol when I’m forced to use public restrooms.

  • Joshua says:

    It may not be everybody’s style, but you’d be surprised what you can do with about an 18inch wallet chain! I obviously carry my pocket knife. Someone mentioned the Monkey Knuckle/Monkey Ball. If you wear your keys on a clip, make it a little larger so as to slip your hand in as a set of Brass knuckles/blocking weapon.

  • doug willis says:

    I carry a plastic stinger from james keating of comtech. also there are massage tools that are like plastic knucklebow with a ball on one side of the knucklebow it would be between the index finger and middle finger. There is also kelly worden’s wrench from natural spirit school too.shomer tec and other shops carry these devices. massage tools obviously from a supply store too.

  • Dale says:

    A cane. Hapkido is a martial art that includes the cane in their curriculum.

    A cane might also get you moved to the front of the line.

    • Jeremy Knauff says:

      You are correct, and it’s illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act for anyone (TSA, police, etc,) to even ask if you are disabled.

  • walt henderson says:

    I cary a cane that I made myself (professionally) consisting of a 1 inch mohageny shaft 32″ long, topped with a grip made of about 1 1/2 lbs of Elk antler faced with hardwood slabs. Overall length 35″. Nobody questions it, many compliment it, sometimes move to the front or skip a line alltogether.

    • Lynne says:

      I usually have mine handy even if I’m not having to actually use it. It’s pretty solid and I’ve got a pretty good baseball swing. A mahongeny one would seriously knock the *** out of someone, wouldn’t it?

  • Rob B says:

    In NYS, you can’t mail order pepper spray into the state. BUT, you can order dog repellent, and bear spray. So for $35, I carry around a 9 ounce can of bear spray in my EDC bag. As well as divers dagger from Gerber.The bear spray can handle multiple aggressors and shoot 15-20 feet. It’s made for grizzlies, not for humans. Also, just a tip—hornet spray can do the same,but in most cases will blind someone permanently. Just saying.

    • Marty Thornton says:

      Well if they are so stupid for raping, mugging, killing or car jacking then they should be permanently blinded by hornet spray. They wouldn’t never do that again.

      • Jeremy Knauff says:

        A can’t say that I disagree. 😉 But if you use it at your home, it makes it kind of tough to deny doing it. Now, when you’re out and about, spray away.

  • Amy Shelby says:

    I carry a rat tail comb. I filed the very tip of the handle to a fine point and sharpened the ages of the handle with a scissor sharpener. I live near an inner city type area where everyday is survival! I have used this twice to ward off muggers.

  • Jaime says:

    You forgot Kubaton …

  • Aaron says:

    Bandanas work fairly well, especially if they’re loaded with a good sized weight.

    Along the same premise above I carried 2 D-Cell batteries in a carry on when I flew internationally a few years ago, tucked the whole package in an outside pocket of my carry on and then slid my carry on underneath the seat in front of me. I didn’t get pestered about it either by TSA or the security where I was flying (Israel). On a related note the seat cushion on most airplanes detaches to be used as a flotation device and has straps on the back making it capable of being worn like a shield. It may soak up a few shots from a box cutter.

    Regarding pens, there seems to be quite a trend for “tactical pens” and other Self Defense specific writing utensils. These pens often retail for $50+, however a more reasonably priced offering is available from Zebra Pens in the form of their all steel bodied F-402 ball point pen. Since you’re not subsidizing Zebra’s use of the word “Tactical” (the F-402 is simply billed as something you write with) the above mentioned pen retails for a little under $3 at most Wal-Marts.

  • Jack says:

    In areas I can’t carry I keep a telescopic asp in my hip pocket. It is very quickly deployed and in most cases will ward off the most seasoned thug simply by deploying it.

  • Laura says:

    In terrorist/hostage training by Law Enforcement for my job, they specifically noted the keys don’t work well. People end up hurting themselves more then the bad guy.

    • Jeremy Knauff says:

      Having seen it in action first-hand, I disagree. A lot of what they teach police is designed to avoid lawsuits against the city. You would be surprised how few of their techniques actually work.

      • bihtf says:

        keys work well when used properly protruding through the knuckles is bad keeping a large key between you pointing finger and thumb and the rest out the bottom of your fist will keep the hurt on the attacker and not on you. just a little tip after seeing many many ppl with messed up fingers after using this…

  • Lynne says:

    The cane I occasionally have to use can come in handy, too. Swing it like a bat or use the handle to ‘grab’.

  • Jacquie says:

    Anyone who wears glasses, it is easy to break off the ear piece to use like a knife.

  • Toys- yo-yo, jump rope, wooden handles, majorette batons (pop the rubber stopper off of one end and insert a steel rod, then put the stopper back on), metal jacks, vial of glitter.

    Caribiners for brass knuckles, bandana for blocking/entanglement, P38, put your hair up with porcupine quills or metal chopsticks, ferrocerium rod with striker to startle & blind.

  • Wasp spray can actually work better than pepper spray and is perfectly legal to carry with you anywhere, it also has a longer effective range. And the person hit with it is going to be in serious need of a hospital or poison control center to treat the poison.

    • Andie says:

      I carry a can of wasp spray in my car. My husband carrys a baton right next to him when he drives. He knows how to use it too.

  • Dave says:

    carry a walking cane !! you can take it on a plane, courthouse..ect..its legal to take anywhere !!

  • Bitter Gun says:

    A simple comb can jab and slice; very effective and very deadly.

  • Man on a rampage says:

    you should try live here in Ireland, where we don’t have the right to own a gun, use any of the above as a weapon and you will end up in court for trying to defend yourself, nor are we allowed to defend our homes ( unless you can prove that with out a doubt the invader was going to kill you ( A Bit like southparks “it’s coming straight for us” )) the law here is so twisted, it favors the criminals.

  • jojo says:

    the best indescrete close quarters weapon imho is a simple flat blade screwdriver with about a 5-6″ long shank . i carry one in my pocket and in the cupholder in the truck … it can also remove screws , pry , scrape and break glass as well as stab and slash an attacker .
    a good screwdriver will only cost a few bucks almost anywhere and its easy to “accidently” leave it in your pocket after you hung that picture frame earlier.

  • Katoku says:

    You forgot one of the best a simple wooden cane. Great self defense weapon and much stronger then an Umbrella. Just strip the finish of the cane and treat it with a coat of linseed oil to add more strength to the wood repeat it 24 hours later and once a year after that.

  • sunnie c says:

    A tightly rolled magazine is a stick of wood…..when jammed into the solar plexus it takes out the wind and hurts like the devil….every flight has magazines…

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