Improvised Weapons You Must Look Out For When SHTF

Today’s article is aimed at doomers, and by doomers I refer to those folks who believe that our uber high tech society is prone to collapse at any given moment for various reasons.

Ranging from an EMP attack courtesy of our more-or-less sworn enemies (North Korea, China, Russia) to a natural disaster, like Tunguska or that catastrophic solar flare/solar storm from 1859, also known as the Carrington event, which hit the Earth and disrupted the telegraph system.

Back in the day, technology was quasi-inexistent, but if such an event would took place today, we would be basically thrown back in the 18th century. Basically, with all the perks deriving from such a leap back in time, the likes of no electricity, no running water, no modern navigation systems such as GPS, no industry, no communication (no internet) and so on and so forth.

So, today’s article is aimed at giving you some suggestions about improvised weapons to look out for when (not if) SHTF. Because if society falls, your stash of ammo will not last forever, and if you ask me, Darwin was right in regard to evolution principles: it’s not necessarily the strongest who will survive (a societal collapse), but the best adapted.

In this particular case, I would bet on the survival of those who are capable of turning everyday junk into a deadly weapon, whether for defense or offense. To give you a quick hint about how efficient “scrap yard technology” can be, 11 percent of deaths and 15 percent of casualties during our war with Vietcong (the Vietnam war for millennials) were caused by traps/booby traps, and similar sneaky methods.

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The lesson to be learned from America’s wars abroad with technologically inferior enemies (read Afghanistan for a more recent example) is that it doesn’t really matter if you’re equipped with the best gear and have the best training, if you’re confronted with a cunning enemy who knows how to exploit the advantages of the terrain and is well versed in guerilla warfare tactics.

Hence, since I’ve mentioned the Vietnam war and Vietcong’s booby traps, let’s begin today’s article with some of the best ideas for booby traps that may be used to protect your property, including your home, in case of a SHTF event or who knows what.

To keep it simple, a booby trap can be described as a rig or device of sorts designed to threaten, harm or even kill an intruder/an enemy with the element of surprise, which in most cases is triggered by the victim. The most popular (because it’s hugely effective) booby trap is the trip wire, i.e. a cord or a wire stretched closed to the ground, which is attached to an alarm or an explosive device, thus preventing/deterring the enemy from entering one’s property/a designated area. This is arguably the most effective yet very basic type of booby trap one can make.

And here’s another idea for DIY-ing a trip wire home defense noise maker booby trap alarm, which is the ideal project for perimeter protection. However, be advised that if you’re contemplating building a “lethal” or potentially lethal booby trap to protect your property and you end up hurting somebody with that device (regardless of his/hers rap-sheet), you may end up in prison, as the US law specifically prohibits anyone to build a booby trap intended to harm a person. Period. End of story. So, stick to DIY home security alarm booby traps, at least for now.

Booby traps aside, let’s see about other potentially deadly DIY weapons you should never build, using common household items. I am not kidding, really, because these gizmos are pretty edgy, as in semi dangerous DIY projects.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to things to never DIY with regard to home protection is that if they involve match heads, a pipe and gasoline, it’s not kosher. However, some ideas are pretty cool, at least when it comes to creativity and effectiveness in a zombie-apocalypse scenario, so stick with me.

Enter the squirt gun flame-thrower. I bet you never thought of your kids’ squirt guns as potentially lethal weapons to be used when your ammo is low and you have to protect your keep by all means necessary. However, as far as edgy ideas go, this one ranks high in the best-ever category. Yes, squirt-gun flame-throwers sound (and are) very dangerous, but that’s the point of building weapons for SHTF scenarios.

The general idea is to fill a top notch squirt gun (like a Super-Soaker) with gasoline (high octane preferably, alcohol over 100 proof would work too), and then turn it into a flame thrower. Use your imagination for further “modding” of your DIY flamethrower.

Another potentially awesome project for building an improvised weapon is the bleach bomb. What’s a bleach bomb good for?

Well, imagine a situation when there are intruders inside your home, and you’ll have to create a diversion in order to be able to escape, or something along these lines. Say, they’re downstairs in the hall-room and you’re upstairs with the bleach bomb, you throw it down at the “enemy” and thus create a cloud of poisonous gas to knock them out cold.

The trick is to mix hydrochloric acid with sodium hypochlorite for an effective bleach-bomb, i.e. drain cleaner with bleach. When mixed, a spontaneous chemical reaction takes place and chlorine gas is produced, together with unreacted hydrochloric acid. Chlorine gas was used in WW1 and WW2, it’s very poisonous and even minute amounts of the stuff are very bad for one’s general well being, especially in closed spaces.

Also, hydrochloric acid burns basically everything, hence it makes for an awesome defensive or offensive weapon. How to make a bleach bomb? Nota bene: this is pretty dangerous, so be extra careful with your “toys”, okay?

For more ideas on cold weapons, check out an older article by yours truly about DIY self-defense weapons, about knives, bows and arrows and slingshots. One final word of advice: when using cold-weapons (or any other weapons for that matter), keep in mind that you’re not a ninja or a vigilante and don’t use them against fellow human beings unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Use your best judgment at all times and be prepared for the worst!

Written by

Chris Black is a born and bred survivalist. He used to work as a contractor for an intelligence service but now he is retired and living off the grid, as humanly possible. An internet addict and a gun enthusiast, a libertarian with a soft spot for the bill of rights and the Constitution, a free market idealist, he doesn't seem very well adjusted for the modern world. You can send Chris a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Next time, place a candle or other flame source near the bottle.
    The gas you are making is HYDROGEN.
    Think German Zeppelin blowing up.

    Also, if you use glass, place a balloon on top you can capture the hydrogen and make aerial bombs.

    All you do is tie a waxed string to the balloon and let it go up.
    When the flame touches the balloon it will explode in a spectacular fireball.

  • I have major problem’s with this article, the gasoline thing in general is just a really bad idea and gasoline by itself isn’t explosive, only the fumes are. . . So in the real deal (Which the Author claims to have been in, but now I really REALLY doubt it) they gel the gasoline or ethanol and then, and this is VERY important and what the Author either misses or doesn’t comprehend, they put it under pressure. . . It takes three things to make a fire, the fuel (in this case high octane petrol) then it takes oxygen (which will be inside the tank WITH the fuel, in most platforms the fuel and compressed gas, CO for example is kept in a separate tank) and then a source of ignition which could be whatever, but the point is that you have the worst setup possible, and it is only a matter of time before the under pressurized “super soaker” which doesn’t have a valve of any kind or sort on it for this sort of thing, gets into the tank that has everything in it needed to kill you, oxygen, fuel, and now a source of ignition, wonderful. . . This is all assuming you didn’t go ahead and put literal damn gasoline and try to spray it into some sorta ignition source, as again it’s the fumes that catch fire. . . This is not only stupid it’s outright obviously dangerous and will get you killed, the other thing about the chemical gas bomb makes me wonder if you are legitimately wanting someone to kill themselves and have someone sue you so I’m not even going to TOUCH that one but it’s another reason why there is a very serious and real difference between the talkers, and the actual knowledgeable doers, personally I know which side I’m on, and I also know which side the Author is on whether he wants people to make his status something because of previous accomplishments or not, stupid is as stupid does, and this article is flat out damn ignorant. . . I am waiting for a reply btw, and after this article I’m not sure I ever want to take any advice this site gives anymore, neither will I recommend it anymore because of the absolute ignorance and dangerous nature of this article. . .

    • Hello, Daniel!

      Thank you for noticing the issue. As you may have observed, we attached a video explaining the squirt gun, video that can also be checked following the link:

      Moreover, above the video, there was also an explanation stating that some kinds of DIY weapons should never be built, and I quote:

      “Booby traps aside, let’s see about other potentially deadly DIY weapons you should never build, using common household items. I am not kidding, really, because these gizmos are pretty edgy, as in semi dangerous DIY projects.”

      Thank you for your concern and for getting involved in our community!

      Stay safe,
      Alex from Survivopedia!

      • Least we agree it’s dangerous as hell, perhaps you should start your next article with the already well established “Don’t do/try this at home” as I don’t personally think you established the whole “Plainly and self-evidently these will get you maimed and or killed” premise, instead I see a much more of a “These are possible” tone to the article, but I suppose if it came down to using a flamethrower and chemical weapon. . . Thingy, made by someone who watched an online video, it would truly be a SHTF scenario lmao happy huntin’

      • Welp, that didn’t age well, did it?

        “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines”

    • As a chemist familiar with current injection molding procedures, and materials used in child toys, I disagree with your otherwise sound thoughts. Most child toys today are made from Polybutylene terephthalate(PETE/PET). PETE/PET is that brightly colored, shiny plastic that is impact resistant and also chemically inert against gasoline. The inner tubing is HDPE again chemically inert. The valves and check valve inside them, and even high end super soakers; however, are not. These inner components are intentionally developed this way as the energy levels which bond these materials together are much lower than the energy that is created from the reaction, meaning the item will fail, without igniting the contents.

  • Hey Survivopedia, this is a very interesting topic (I’m pretty sure for LE officers as well) and while we’re on it, why don’t you interview ex-convicts or war veterans from other countries (Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, etc) that were known to use improvised weapons and ask them on how to make more weapons. I’ve read Ragnar Benson’s Mantrapping and thought to myself that there’s probably more ideas out there. Cheers

  • On a side note – you can take 6 clean empty beer cans, put them in a container with sodium hydroxide, light the hydrogen (burns orange and doesn’t explode if you light it right away), and heat one small room for 1 hour.
    The chemical reaction also produces heat.

  • Please keep my email on your list.