> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Defensive EDC in Non-Permissive Environments



Defensive EDC in Non-Permissive Environments

Lots of people live/work in NPEs (non-permissive environments) where there are severe consequences if  caught carrying a handgun. You CAN carry a firearm, and some do. You just have to be prepared to deal with the negative consequences - losing your job, going to jail, etc. Most of us probably live safe enough lives that the choice in these situations is obvious - leave the gun at home or lock it up in the car while you're at work.

That, of course, doesn't mean that you need to be an unarmed, victim-in-waiting.


Knives are MUCH easier to carry than handguns. Compared to handguns, which are thick, heavy, and awkwardly shaped, knives are nearly effortless to conceal. You can always hide a knife with minimal effort and discomfort, whether it's just slipping a folder into your pocket or clipping it inside your waistband.

Knives don't typically scare the sheeple and don't carry the "serious" nature that firearms do; people don't faint and run screaming at the sight of them. People are familiar with them and see them largely as a normal item. They're man-tools for things like camping, whitling, opening boxes and cutting fruit.

Back in my time in college dorms, most everyone had a pocket knife or folder of some kind, with a couple Ka-Bars and balisongs mixed in. No problems, ever, though they were technically forbidden by the rules. If any of us had tried to have a gun of some kind, it would have been a big deal. Knives get overlooked and ignored.

The ideal self defense blade is a concealable fixed blade knife. Fixed blades are simple, fast and sturdy. If you could conceal a Bowie knife or maybe a katana, that would be awesome, but you probably can't, so you'll have to with something more manageable in size. There a number of good designs on the market; the Ka-Bar TDI, the Hideaway Knife, the Emerson LaGriffe, the Shivworks Disciple and Clinch Pick and the Cold Steel Braveheart are a few that come to mind. I am a big fan of push daggers as well, though they're a bit more difficult legal-wise.

A good sheath is just as important as the knife; it needs to hold the weapon snugly, carry comfortably and allow for fast access when needed. Most knives come from the factory with crap sheaths that compromise their utility. A good aftermarket kydex sheath will be a big benefit. I would not carry my TDI if I did not have an awesome sheath from In-Fight Access Kydex to go with it; seriously, it's like an entirely different knife. Highly recommended.

Unfortunately, many areas frown upon concealing fixed blade knives, but they will let you get away with a folding pocket knife. For folders, I like having the Emerson wave feature; a small hook on the blade that catches on your pocket as you draw it and pops the knife open. It's the next best thing to carrying a fixed blade, though definitely a bit slower and requires some practice.

Regardless of the Wave feature, you need to have a good, reliable lock, a way to open the knife one handed, and a good, sturdy pocket clip to hold the folder in place.

If you're concerned about putting the masses into panic with an aggressive looking knife, look for a boring, vanilla looking utility knife like the Spyderco Delica. Carry it high in your pocket, so that an untucked shirt drapes over the clip, or carry it inside your waistband. When you open it in front of others, do so slowly and with two hands. If asked about it, say that you always carried a knife as a boy (or in the Scouts, etc.) and the habit has stuck with you. It just comes in handy so often for doing random chores like opening boxes, peeling fruit and sharpening pencils.

Traveling and find yourself unarmed? You can buy a small kitchen knife at any grocery or department store across the planet and rig up a simple cardboard sheath for only a few dollars. Mora knives or simple picnic knives are a common sight even in Europe; pack an apple or some bread with your knife and you've got a legitimate reason to be carrying it.

There are lots of great knife combat instructors out there; my personal favorite is South Narc/Shivworks. Simple, dialed-in and brutally efficient stuff.

Other Options

If you CAN'T carry a knife, or perhaps in addition to a knife, there are numerous alternatives, including various non-lethal self defense products, blunt weapons and improvised stabbing weapons.

Pepper spray is the classic non-lethal item, but it's typically bulky to carry, has a limited range and won't stop a determined attacker. A good hit of pepper spray will slow most baddies down and give you an advantage if things go hand to hand, but don't expect more than that.

For blunt weapons, you could carry brass knuckles, saps, blackjacks and expanding batons, though most areas have outlawed these weapons for whatever reason. So just use your imagination and improvise away. Heavy belt buckles, metal thermoses or water bottles, caribiners, bicycle locks, sturdy flashlights, canes, walking sticks, the list goes on and on. If you're in your vehicle, you can add baseball bats, 2x4s, thick wooden dowels, tire irons and various tools. Heck, many many people have been killed with rocks, stones and bricks. Of the many possibilities, I'd probably vote for a high powered flashlight with a bit of heft to it; one of the maglites with a good LED conversion would work well. Blinding light + beatdown in one package.

Improvised stabbing weapons are just as ubiquitous. Shivs can be easily crafted from the most basic of materials; watch an episode of "Lockdown" if you need any tips. A pointy, stabby pen fits in even the most formal environments (though the overpriced tactical pens are silly, IMO). A glass cup, stein or bottle can become lethal with a little smashing.

If you want more info, may I direct you to an oldie-but-goodie, Don Rearic's site. It has LOTS of great content r.e. knives, improvised weapons and weapon carrying in a NPE and more than I can hope to cover in this blog. Do some digging; there's some great stuff!