The professional use of impact tools as a means of subject control is an essential piece of the defensive tactics pie. Whether used for self defense or judiciously applied to subdue the criminally intent, heavily drugged, emotionally or mentally disturbed subject, this is a critical piece of equipment in your defensive tactics arsenal.
First why do I speak of these as tools when most people refer to them as weapons? My reasons are both legal and political. Whether in court or in other public venues, when you speak of weapons, people think in terms of intent to harm, mass destruction, etc. When you speak of tools, you speak of a professional performing their work.
How much more critical can this use or misuse of terminology be when you're on the stand with twelve people in the jury box whom the defense lawyers will have made very sure have never been in an altercation, let alone a fight and of course, it would be inconceivable they should have ever been involved in a professional use of force situation?
Now you're up there talking about using your "impact weapon" and what are they automatically thinking with no fighting background whatsoever, especially if your subject was empty handed at the time? Weapon!
You can drone on for hours about all your best intentions, about all of your fears and concerns, but even if only some of them got hung up on that one word "weapon" you may be only digging yourself a hole. Now if you move from criminal court to civil court...oh boy!
So, I refer to "tools" because I am a professional and this "tool" assists me in doing my job in an efficient and humane manner.
Now let's clear one other thing up. There are no magic bullets. Speaking for myself, and no doubt you can find many others who have experienced the same thing, I have had occasions when I have struck someone as hard as I can (and with my background that's pretty hard) with a 26" steel baton and they've simply wobbled and kept coming. Now what?
You are going to have to know both the potential effects of your baton and understand that there are circumstances and individuals where that same tool will appear to have zero effect and you're going to have to go back to another piece of your defensive tactics arsenal.
Now that's a piece of information that if you bring it up anywhere outside of professional use of force circles, your most common reaction would be along the lines of "ya right!"
Most of the public, and most likely your jurors will be simply unable to believe that a human being can be struck with what amounts to a steel rod, using considerable force, and suffer only negligible effects.
So, what else do you need to know about impact tools before you attempt to use them?
Impact Tool Academics
Before carrying or attempting to use this piece of equipment everyone should be thoroughly familiar with each of the following:
Impact Tool Selection
- Types, nomenclature, selection and care
Impact Tool Legalities
- Use of Force Continuum, legal authority, carries and draws, legal targets
Impact Tool Applications
- Targeting, strikes and striking, grappling standing or prone, use the whole stick - tip, body, and butt
Impact Tool Retention and Weapon Disarms
- Effective baton retention and weapon disarms essential yet under-trained skills
Improvised Impact Tools
- Calling over-sized flashlights, kubatons, etc improvised impact tools will land you in legal trouble
Bite Stick Applications
- Using your tactical baton as a bite stick
Bodily Harm and Lethal Applications
- When you've drawn your baton and the situation escalates it may be too late to select another option from your duty belt.
Depending upon the nature of your work and your likelihood to be in harm's way, as well as whether or not you have other tools available (chemical restraints, sidearms), it can also be extremely useful to be thoroughly familiar with the following baton applications :
- "Grappling"/joint articulations
- Deployment and use from prone position
- Use on prone subject
- Advanced striking
For Animal Control Officers it's the same tool but now called "bite sticks". These professionals should cover the same materials but as related to Bite stick applications and with canine subjects. The practical applications differ dramatically from baton work with human subjects.
Many times an officer who has taken the time to become proficient, confident, and competent in their use of batons will select that tool when a more lethal option might well have been another officer's first choice.
Unfortunately, budget restraints being what they are, most of the time far too little time is spent on training with these versatile tools to ever achieve proficiency and thus we have incidents that make National News where professionals appear to be merely thugs applying a beating with large sticks.
Impact tools, whether the old straight batons or so-called night sticks of old, or today's collapsible batons (also used as "bite sticks") are an invaluable piece of your professional defensive tactics arsenal. While often maligned, they can and do save lives. Both yours, and often times the life of your subject.
Use of Force
Celtic Combative Systems