Impact Tool Selection
Today, impact tool selection almost 'defaults' to a collapsible baton. This was not always the case and most of the other options are still out there. Some are still in service by various agencies. Other choices can include:
- straight sticks - 'nightsticks' or 'Billy Clubs', usually 18-24 inches long and one to one and a half inches in diameter
- the PR24 - the police version of the 'Tonfa' these could be 20-26 inches long, one to one and one quarter inches thich with a six to eight inch handle, protruding at right angles to the stick from approximately the one third point along the length of the tool.
- the 'Septre' Baton - a Canadian design meant, specifically, for smaller framed/handed officers. This looked like a letter D with the uprights extended one inch beyond the semi-circle on top and bottom and the main 'stick' sticking out of the center of the curve of the letter. These had a one inch diameter and approximately 22 inch length.
- the Truencheon - These were of various lengths, were thicker at the business end and tapered towards the small side of the handgrip, with a 'knob' left at the end to prevent the user from letting it slip through their hand.
- the Sap - In essence these were leather bags, of varying lengths and widths, filled with lead 'birdshot' and stiched shut to retain the loosely packed contents.
The collapsible baton, usually in straight but occasionally PR24 configurations, has steadily replaced them all. The ease of carry and speed of deployment, with its reduced bulk, simply make this tool a preferred choice and less likely to be left in the cruiser when, in fact, it is needed.
Whatever your agency's selection or choice, each of these tools come with instructions on their proper care and a diagram detailing the names of the various 'parts'. Follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions carefully to enjoy long term safe use of your impact tool. Whatever your choice, buy a good one. I've seen 'knock off' versions come apart placing the user at an increased risk or injuring the user, their subject, or an uninvolved party.
Imagine being faced with a dangerous, possibly armed assailant. You draw your baton. Snap it to your shoulder to 'open' it and... all but the grip section that you are holding, simply flies off behind you! Sure, it makes for some funny stories...if you survive! Buy a good one. You may get to live longer.
Regardless of your tool selection, there are certain part names that are consistent from one to another. The 'tip' is the end farthest from your hand. The 'butt' is the end protruding past the small finger side of your hand in the common 'sabre' grip. The 'grip' is the section approaching the butt and is, of course, the section you are intended to hold onto. The 'body' refers to the length of the tool between the tip and your grip.
Regardless of your selections configuration, impact tool applications are simple to to learn and deliver effectively. This is why batons have been around for so long and will remain a part of our defensive tactics arsenal for the foreseeable future. Their judicious employment can and does save lives and prevents injuries.
These are the real reasons for becoming skillful in all aspects of baton use; the prevention of greater harm. For settling close quarters altercations and getting to the point of being able to employ other subject controls, skilled use of impact tools is remarkably effective.