The following 13 homemade survival weapons are badass.
I preach the “art of preparation” like it’s my business because it is.
I am here to instruct, inform and discuss how to prepare for all survival situations.
And preparation is the key to survival.
It’s why I stash weapons, bury survival caches, collect tools, stay in shape and stock up on food.
But let’s be real for a second: chances are, if you end up in a fight for your life, it likely won’t occur when you’re home.
It’s more likely to happen when you’re away from your stash of resources.
Why? Because you can’t spend 100% of your days laying in wait.
Hiding out in your house, guns in hand, locked, loaded.
We have to go to work, leave the house to see friends, go on vacations, and all of us shop for food from time to time…
The point is, you should prepare yourself to handle a bad situation even if it happens when you’re unarmed, unprepared, and unaware.
Because otherwise, you’re dead.
That is why I put together a guide of 13 of our best homemade survival weapon ideas.
Even if you don’t have your main resources, you can still find some scraps and use your noggin to create something useful, and life-saving.
Before You Begin
Tools and building materials are more abundant you first realize. As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention.
And if a situation arises such as:
- an atom bomb goes off while you’re at the office
- your family is kidnapped while on vacation
- the government turns on its own citizens
- or a revolution begins and blood runs in the streets
While everyone else is running around frantic and unarmed, you will be coolly putting together your homemade survival items for self-defense.
Survival weapons that will help get you through whatever catastrophe you face.
Heck, even a non-lethal weapon is better than nothing.
This guide is not meant to teach you how to create every possible homemade survival weapon that exists. That would take way too much time, and you would lose interest well before we got through them all.
Instead, consider this a guide to thinking outside the box. A way to train your brain on how to process what is around you, and how random items can be handy in survival situations.
This is the biggest takeaway from this article. The number of useful resources you have in any situation depends solely on your capacity for innovation.
If two people are locked in a room, with the same materials laid out before them, one might have no hope, while the other has an entire toolbox at their disposal.
Don’t be the first person, be the one who can invent their way out of any tight spot.
Making Something Out Of Nothing
It would be incredibly useful if you were a blacksmith, a fletcher, gunsmith, a staff carver, a bomb technician, an engineer, or woodworker. But chances are that most of you are not.
And even if you are, in most cases you won’t find yourself trapped in a smithy, an engineering lab, chemical warehouse when the shit hits the fan. So don’t forget some general rules:
- Everything can be a tool
- Tape (especially Duct Tape) is your friend
- If you need a tool to build something else, make that tool first
- Always start from the ground up
- Time and efficiency are extremely valuable
- The simplest solution is almost always the best one
- Think outside of the box
13 Of Our Favorite Homemade Survival Weapons
1 – Flamethrowers
I wanted to come right out of the gate with my very favorite homemade survival weapon. It’s badass, relatively easy to make, and highly effective when the SHTF.
However, before you build this one, just know that this homemade survival weapon is inherently dangerous for both user and target. Using the wrong type of fuel or pointing it into a strong wind and you’ll set yourself on fire with a homemade flamethrower.
That being said, here’s a video on how to turn a fire extinguisher into a legit flamethrower.
Oh, and this dude is nuts, which makes this video entertaining to watch.
2 – Homemade Pepper spray
If you’d rather not spend the $9 to buy a high-powered pepper spray, then you can make your own pepper spray at home. Get your hands on a spray bottle or can.
Clean out the container and combine the hottest dried chili peppers you can get your hands on. You’ll also need some water.
Mix the chili peppers and in a bowl. Add water, you’ll only need enough water so the chili flakes are floating. Next, use a spoon to crush the dried peppers so that the seeds are completely exposed.
Add black pepper and stir.
Add a bit more water and then heat the mixture up using a microwave, over a fire or an oven. Heat to the point of boiling. Let it cool and then add it to the spray container.
Here’s the basic concept and this “how to” video:
3 – Bow
When confronting the prospect of constructing a bow, one is faced with a lot of questions.
Time is an essential resource for making a bow. If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands and access to a variety of tools, I’d recommend crafting yourself a legit hunting longbow.
On the other hand, if you don’t have time (or a significant amount of tools and resources) you can decide to build yourself a makeshift, cheap PVC bow.
So here are two ways to make a bow on a budget:
PVC Bow (this is just one of many methods for creating a PVC bow)
- Cut a piece of 1”- 1 ½” PVC piping into a 4’ segment.
- Cut grooves into each end of the PVC segment to hold the string.
- Take string (ideally mason wire) and tie loops around each end with two long sections of string, and bend the PVC pipe gently to create a bend.
- When you have achieved desired curvature (shallow bend is better as it generates more force when fired than deep bend will), tie the two pieces of string together in the middle and cut off the excess string.
- Similar to the PVC bow, you just need to find yourself a 2” – 3” section of plywood about 4’ long and some string. It strengthens the bow if you have time to glue another identical segment of plywood to the first, doubling up the power essentially.
- Trim the section down to the desired width for the handle and tapering on the ends.
- Carve notches for the string on each end.
- Attach the string to one end and bend the plywood to the desired curvature and tie off.
4 – Arrows
Arrows are important if you decide to build a bow. But luckily, they are easier to build than the bow itself.
Find or make something barbed for the arrowhead (a nail, a screw, or a bent piece of scrap metal) and something straight for the shaft. Feathers obviously work great for fletching, but in a pinch, cardboard, cut plastic, or folded paper can work as well.
You just need a straight rod with a sharp point and a fletching to make a homemade arrow.
5 – Survival Slingshot
The classic neighborhood hooligan’s weapon. It really doesn’t get as much survival credit as it should. It’s small, simple, packable, easy to find ammo for.
The bottom line is survival slingshots are a very useful survival weapon.
And they’re fairly easy to make. Here is a guide that tells you everything you need to know about slingshot building, and slingshot hunting.
However, if you’re serious about using a slingshot for self-defense or hunting then you may want to consider buying a professional one before SHTF. The accuracy and power will typically be better than a homemade slingshot.
6 – Bullwhip
Indiana Jones made the bullwhip an iconic weapon.
But beyond Hollywood’s world of “make believe”, these can be useful in a survival situation.
They were invented to control animals (as well as punish human beings).
So buy yourself some survival paracord, cut it to 6’ – 8’. Pick which side you want the handle on and tape it up for a grip, and tightly tie a short string to the other end.
Using small strings is important because it’s what creates that famous CRACK when someone uses a whip it. That sound is the end of the whip breaking the sound barrier or a mini sonic BOOM. It still works to harm things without the string … but it’s less dramatic.
Here’s a video that shows you all the self-defense uses of a bullwhip.
And here’s a long video showing you step by step how to make a paracord bullwhip.
And if that seems like too much time and hassle, you can always snag one for about $25 bucks.
7 – Throwing Spikes and Stars
Bend some scrap metal to resemble the weight and shape of a throwing star. To do these right, you’ll need a few shop tools and some scrap metal.
You can also bind shards of glass together, but this is somewhat dangerous, and typically only good for one use.
8 – Caltrops
These are great for stopping pursuing vehicles.
Welding or some other method of fastening the blunt ends of nails together so that they form a road spike that always has a sharp end pointing up.
If strewn across a road, they will stop almost any vehicle using rubber tires.
9 – Blunt Force Weapons
Blunt force weapons are easy to find and you can upgrade them without a lot of guidance. Lots of random things can be used for clubs: table legs, broom handles, pots and pans, instruments, etc.
Just add a few nails to any club for a massive survival weapon upgrade.
Quote from the next video “they can never take away the junk you got laying around in your shop”.
10 – Homemade Taser
A small taser can be made without too much difficulty. All you need is a barbecue lighter, scissors, a pen and some duct tape.
Remove all the screws, then open up the lighter to access inside, and cut the cables close to the end that sparked the flame.
Next, strip the plastic off about a half-inch.
Dismantle the pen and use the empty body tube to hold the wires. Attach the pen’s tube with duct tape so the wires are exposed at the end. Pressing the button should create a spark between the two wire ends.
Needless to say, this is a fire hazard, so don’t go starting an accidental fire.
The following video shows how to make this work. However, a lighter won’t provide a constant electrical pulse. In order to make it a real taser, you’ll need to change the trigger from a single zap to a constant one.
Otherwise, it’s more of a toy than a real self-defense weapon.
Or you could always buy the real deal instead…
11 – Knife or Shiv
Many objects can be turned into knives or shanks, and they are even better when they have a handle so they can’t cut you.
In prison, they often turn harmless looking plastic toothbrushes into deadly shanks. Plus, any other number of mundane items into sharp shivs.
Here’s a good video showing you how to turn a normal wrench into a razor sharp knife.
12 – Homemade War Hammer
By fastening something heavy and elongated to the end of a pole, you can craft yourself a weapon for the likes of heroes.
Attach a brick or rock, or piece of metal to the end of a pipe or pole and that’s it! The more creative you get with the fastening part, the better off you’ll be.
13 – Pocket Dart Guns and Blowguns
These are easy enough to construct, you just need a long tube and some pointed projectiles (like nails or pencils, or carved wooden darts).
Make sure that the dart fits snugly into the blowgun so that pressure builds up before the object releases.
This can be achieved by wrapping tape around the blunt end of the dart shaft until it sits lightly in place inside the blowgun.
Here’s how to make a laser-guided blowgun for under $3.
Bonus #14 – DIY Sheet Metal Self Loading Pistol
This homemade survival weapon was shared with me by one of our readers in the comments (thanks, David).
It takes some serious metal working skill but it goes to show that with skills and patience you can build damn near anything yourself.
And here’s a video of the final product working as designed.
Prepare, Adapt, and Overcome – A Different Way Of Thinking
I have said it before and I will say it again: this article does not even come close to listing every possible DIY survival weapons or tools that one could dream up.
The possibilities are literally limitless.
The power of creation lies with the creator, and that is you; The Survivor.
But creative thinking does not always come naturally to everyone.
It takes practice.
Take A Lesson From McGyver
The crazy 80’s character who could think on his feet so fast and with such success that his name became a verb.
To “MacGyver” something, is to create it quickly, and with skill out of only a few random resources at your disposal.
While many of the MacGyver improvisations were a bit far-fetched (or ludicrous) the basic idea is still valid: be like MacGyver – think like MacGyver.
Sadly, no matter how much you train your brain to be creative on the fly, there’s only so much you can do when it comes to the factors out of your control.
It would be really nice to get stranded in the end-times with your whole family, alone in a hardware store where you have several weeks of food and can create whatever supplies you could ever imagine.
But that probably won’t happen.
On a final note: there are no wrong answers when it comes to homemade survival weapons. Anything can be used to accomplish your goals, anything can be a tool, and anything can be a weapon.
In a survival scenario, labels and categories tend to fall away. For more inspiration check out this list of real weapons found in prisons.
So what’s your favorite homemade survival weapon? Which ones did we forget to add? Which one do you think will help keep your family safe? Let us know in the comments below.
Nick – Elite Survival Club