Options in collapsible impact weapons
In the field of executive protection we occasionally have to use weapons. In most high-threat circumstances not involving war and civil unrest, we prefer not to allow agents to carry guns. We take this stance for two reasons. The least important is that there are often statutory issues involved in the carrying of guns which prevent us from being able to doing so legally. More important, however, is the fact that carrying a gun might impel a protective agent to feel brave or aggressive, resulting in his or her wanting to confront a problem, rather than avoiding it.
That said, it is still often of benefit to have less-than-lethal weapons at hand. One is the collapsible impact weapon. Collapsible batons have two tapered metal shafts that fit inside a handle. They extend out, so you have the choice of a full baton for defensive use, or a small device that can be conveniently carried on the belt or in the pocket. Batons have the virtue of allowing you to break glass without getting cut, as well as being used as an emergency safety tool for defense.
In our experience, the largest collapsible impact that can comfortably carried in a pocket or a concealed holster is a 21 inch (when expanded) baton. We have generally carried either the 21” ASP Tactical Baton (long left) or the 21” Monadnock AutoLock (right). If we need something even more concealable, we favor the 16” ASP (short left, which fits really comfortably in the pocket or on the belt. The ASP batons lock in place using friction when expanded, and are closed by tapping on a hard surface to break the friction. The Monadnock AutoLock uses a mechanical lock, and you push a button on the handle to close it.
A relatively recent choice (though it looks suspiciously like the previously-issued Winchester baton) is the Rapid Containment Baton (left) from Peacekeeper Products (http://peacekeeperproducts.com/). The folks at Peacekeeper Products have been known over the decades for their striking dummies, rather than for batons. Like the ASP, the RCB is a friction lock design. It is 25 grams lighter than the 21 inch Monadnock AutoLock with Hindi Cap, but heavier than the ASP.
The RCB has two features we find attractive. The most important is that the center of gravity in the expanded state is in the shafts – the part that will be striking large muscle mass – not in the handle. We believe this
increases energy transfer, which would make this baton somewhat more effective than the others.
Interestingly, while all three batons are roughly equivalent in weight, the thinnest shaft on the milled (rather than extruded) RCB is thicker than the thickest blade on the extruded ASP or Monadnock. While this makes the baton fractionally slower, we are striking people in large muscle groups, not fencing. The balance is good, and we don’t feel that even a small officer or agent would over-swing.
The second thing we like is that the handle of the RCB is thicker than that of the ASP or the Monadnock, and felt more comfortable in our hands.
However, it was not thick enough to cause problems for those with small hands. This is clearly a matter of personal choice.
While we are delighted to say that we did not have an opportunity to use the RCB to control a subject (our goal is to avoid problems, not deal with them). However, we did use it on training bags, and on ourselves. It is our impression, unverified by scientific measurement, that there was indeed more energy transfer from the RCB, which we attribute to the somewhat larger striking surface of the larger-diameter shafts, combined with the location of the center of gravity. We suspect – but again have no field experience to back it up – that the thicker shafts may be less likely to cause physical damage than the thinner shafts that we normally use.
We have not yet gone through the training course associated with the RCB (we are instructors for other batons, but not yet this one), but there is training associated with the device, and we will take this training because we will not carry this – or any other – emergency safety tool without being certified in its use.
We like this baton, and would very much like to see a version that is two inches shorter. While the 21 inch version fit in some pockets, a shorter version would be way more appropriate for close protection use.
In any case, if you are looking for a collapsible baton, we would recommend you consider the RCB as one of your choices.