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What’s In YOUR Manpurse?

Let’s say you wanted to put together a small but simple bag of gear to help a person in a non-permissive environment survive and possibly save other lives in a homicidal attack.  Further suppose that despite the moral and ethical arguments for ignoring stupid rules, the carrier has decided to comply with the idiotic prohibitions on defensive weaponry.  This rules out obvious useful items such as pistols, blades, OC spray, tasers, ASP batons and the like.

Given those restrictions, what would you like to find in your manpurse when the fit hits the shan?

So far I’ve got:

  • Rubber door stop wedges
  • A really damn good first aid kit. Not lame bandaids and butt wipes, but tourniquet material, heavy gauze, airways (suggestions in this area would be HIGHLY useful)
  • LED or xenon flashlight, spare batteries
  • Cyalume light sticks (for static illumination, signalling, marking exits, etc)
  • 10″ crowbar/prybar for opening or breaking windows (or hammering above door stops into place)
  • (For multiple story schools) length of paracord with knots tied at regular intervals for a last-ditch rope ladder

Your suggestions are invited!

{ 27 } Comments

  1. Tam | April 19, 2007 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    At the risk of sounding corny, I wonder what would be the easiest way to put some large ball bearings, surgical tubing, and some type of frame for a wrist rocket in there without it being immediately detectable as such.

    Having seen what one can do to a piece of plywood, well… it wouldn’t be my first choice of weaponry, but it would definitely beat a handful of nothing.

  2. Brad | April 19, 2007 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Wedges? I’m guessing to jam doors shut? Or to give you an excuse to say “Wedges, we don’ need no stinkin’ wedges!”.

    Penny locking might work too. Not to advertise, but poke through a Cheaper than D*rt catalog and you may get some ideas. You might at least find a decent “man purse”.

  3. Arni | April 19, 2007 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Any batteries in your manpurse should be disposable lithiums, such as the Energizer e2 L92 AA sized batteries. Far better shelf life, cold temp performance, leak resistance, pH neutral electrolyte, better longevity, etc. than alkalines. Yes, they’re more expensive, but as an emergency cell there’s no comparison.

  4. Marko | April 19, 2007 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    You know those gun locks that Beretta and other companies toss into their handgun boxes?

    Those are nifty for, say, securing a bike…or for cracking an attacker’s skull. Neat thing to have in a manpurse for venturing into Victim Disarmament Zones.

  5. pdb | April 19, 2007 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m not willing to write any ideas off as corny yet. Heck, I was even thinking about a smoke grenade, but that would probably fall under the “get your ass fired” heading. Not to mention slight problems with low grade pyrotechnics in an enclosed area…

    Penny locking sounds more fiddly than I’d like to get in a crisis. But Cheaper Than Dirt is spoken here!

    Good points about the batteries.

    A padlock on a bike chain would also be a good melee impliment.

    Good stuff, folks.

  6. Peter G | April 19, 2007 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I note your condition that the person concerned won’t carry a weapon. Nevertheless, ask him/her if they’d be willing to consider something like this:

    Looks totally innocuous, doesn’t show up on scanners (even at airports), and might make all the difference in a tight spot. I’ve just bought 10 more for my buddies!

  7. Emeril | April 19, 2007 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Duct tape? I don’t know if you can effectively tape a door shut, but it is generally useful. Though, if you did tape the door shut, you’d need a boxcutter or something to quickly cut it open in case of escape.

    Window breaking tool? These are small “car escape tools” that can easily shatter glass. However, I saw them used on car side windows, not double-paned building windows or “wire mesh” windows. They may not be effective in those situations.

    Spray paint? It could be used to write messages on windows to the outside world, or to block anyone from looking into a room. Bright orange would probably be best. Of course, you could use bright orange duct-tape and accomplish the same thing, though slower.

    Gloves? Surgical and work/protective gloves. Surgical for medical aid and work gloves for handling glass or debris.

    A multitool? Like a Leatherman or something with small knife, pliers, and wire cutter.

    Matches or lighter? You might be able to use these to set off the fire alarm if you are trapped in a room…

    Perhaps this should be called a MacGuyver kit?

  8. Josh | April 19, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    A first aid item that should be looked into would be a hemostatic agent of some kinda, like QuickClot or Celox. I’ve purchased Celox and QC ACS off of Amazon for my range bag, my school gear and my man purse. Kerlix is great, but you need to get that wound to stop bleeding. I personally would go with Celox, as it doesn’t heat up and potentially burn the victim or administrator of aid. Knowledge of how/when to use it is up to you to pursue – I’ve taken all kinds of aid classes.

    Maybe later tonight I’ll go thru my “messenger bag” (alright, man purse) and see what all I’ve got that you don’t have listed.

  9. Paul Simer | April 19, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Forget a lighter to set off a fire alarm. Most office buildings and schools have sprinkler systems with mercury tubes that pop when the temperature rises.

    They also break when you hit one with, say, a basketball. Ask me how I know. I also know that, at least in my case, the alarm system can tell when the water starts flowing.

    I also know that computer monitors make odd noises when wet.

    That knowledge could be useful if, say, in some sort of barricaded position without phone access during a hostage situation or shooting, when it’s not clear if the authorities have been alerted.

    I’d rather just use a cell phone.

  10. Emeril | April 19, 2007 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Since most classroom doors open outward, is there any way to effectively barricade them?

  11. Rick C | April 20, 2007 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Peter–you’re sure that Honey Comb doesn’t show up on an airport scanner?

  12. Peter G | April 20, 2007 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Rick C – yes, I’m sure.

    How do I know this?

    Trust me. I know this.


  13. Mathman | April 20, 2007 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Emeril –

    The door in my classroom and all the classroom doors in my school open inward. In fact I’ve only ever taught in one classroom where the door opened outward — and that door was a fire door made of steel that had one of those automatic locking mechanisms.

    You could attach a bungee cord or rope to the door handle and tie it to the wall or a hook on the wall if the door opens outward.

  14. existingthing | April 21, 2007 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Consider a “lanyard” made of a rated caribiner attached to a doubled over length of paracord with figure 8 knots tied every few inches. Wrap it around a doorknob, and something else, then clip the caribiner to the loop of cord between the knots. That should hold some weight.

  15. MattD | April 22, 2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Something like this maybe?

    Or other tools that this gentleman makes?

  16. Homer | April 22, 2007 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I’ll second the motion on rope; I work in a Victim Disarmament Zone, and in a nondescript box under my desk is an automatic center punch (tempered glass window breaker), generic ball pein hammer (gets the glass out of the way), and 100′ of 7/16″ climbing rope with a large carabiner on one end (the ground is only 30′ away, but a suitable anchor is 25′ from my window, and the extra length allows use from anywhere on my floor).

    My concern is mostly rapid escape from fire, but rapid escape from armed crazies is not dissimilar. I’d much prefer to have a 1911 on my hip for the latter, but statutes prohibit it.

  17. Austin Mike | April 22, 2007 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    The material contents of the manpurse are not as important as the intent of the person carrying it. Being situationally aware is as or more important than what one carries. Jeff Cooper, thanks for your color codes when we need ’em most – when we least expect to.

    Paracord, light sources, nondescript tools, batteries, duct tape, etc., are in the category of “It’s all good!” Looking around my cubicle desktop I see a heavy computer monitor, telephone handset & base, wooden award plaque, books, computer mouse with cord, can of aerosol office cleaner, heavy stapler, tape dispenser, removable metal drawers (never mind their contents, some of which are likely a firing offense here), a folding metal chair, and my own larger rolling chair. Nothing to stop an attacker from over 10 feet away without a lucky throw, but lotsa stuff for close quarters annoyance of an attacker. Especially if I’m aware enough to try an ambush under stress.

    Here in my office we’ve had one heart attack over the past several years, early in the morning when few people were around. That sort of emergency in your office is much more likely than a physical assault. So as stated above, training in handling a medical emergency is likely the best equipment to get. And as for self defense, “Anything goes.”

  18. RRF | April 22, 2007 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Among the things I carry a 18′ x 1″ ratchet strap. This is a highly usefull item. You can use it on the door knob or panic bar to secure a outward opening door. Wrapped around a desk or table and ratcheted tight, no one will be able to get through that door. You can use it like a come-along as a means to move a heavy item that is being used to secure YOU in a location, or for rescue work. The webbing makes a nice handle, tourniquet, rope, belt, flag, drag line,etc. The ratchet end of the one I have has about 12″ of strap between a hook and the ratchet, which makes a excellent blackjack. And finally you can tie off the long strap, run the free end through the ratchet with out ratcheting it, hook the ratchets hook into your last chance belt, and you have a nifty field expedient descender. (think zip line) All this from a $15 item that is totally innocent. I mean. it might be weird to have in your bag, but no one would put you in jail for it.

  19. Avenger29 | April 22, 2007 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I keep a crowbar in my backpack. I am also considering throwing a KT Sub2000 in there. The only reason that I don’t have a handgun in there is that in my state, those of us under 21 can’t own/possess/transport a handgun, but if I have a compact rifle, it is only a violation of University policy but not any actual laws. Wierd, ain’t it?

  20. jed | April 22, 2007 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    A mini can of hairspray or WD40, plus a disposable lighter. If shooting is justified, I think an ersatz flamethrower is okay too.

    You can improvise a sap with a sock and anything heavy. Use a rubber band to secure the heavy thing(s) in the toe. If nothing else, use all the coins you have on hand.

    Zip ties for binding the perp if you can subdue him/her. Zip ties could also be used for quickly connecting rope/cord/strap to a door or something else, though I don’t know what the load rating is.

    If you need just a short piece of cord, consider your shoelaces in a pinch.

    A piece of sandpaper can be used to sharpen the edge of a credit card.

    A ballpoint pen or mechanical pencil makes a good stabbing weapon.

  21. FRed | April 22, 2007 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Knee length sportsock / pantyhose.
    INsert can of soup.
    Tie knot in open end.

    Swing the closed end with can at what offends your eye, really hard.
    Make two. Use one as a thrown distance weapon will you follow up with morningstar.

    (Do the same (Using it launch the ball-sock into the air instead) with an old tennis ball and your dog will think you are Einstein.)

  22. staghounds | April 23, 2007 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    If you WORK in a vdz, look at your desk drawers. Measure the inside of one. Go to the steel store and have a piece of steel plate, quarter inch or better, cut to those dimensions. Have a couple of holding slots cut in and voila, a shield.

  23. SurlyCurmudgeon | April 23, 2007 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    In addition to a normal flashlight, I’d recommend one of those ones they’re selling now that don’t use batteries, you just shake ’em and they charge up. They’re not as bright as battery powered lights, but having one around beats having dead batteries if the good light is farked.

  24. Rick C | April 23, 2007 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Those non-battery lights, if you get one that uses an LED, aren’t all that bad, either, in the darkness. I have a cheap $3 Chinese one and you can use it plenty well to get around a darkened room.

    Amusingly, a DS Lite with the brightness turned up makes a very good, if not very bright, floodlight indoors.

    Hm, let’s see if PDB’s still reading comments on this post. Dude, where’s my screwdrivers?

  25. Lokidude | April 23, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I actually carry a manpurse sometimes. It normally has an LED flashlight, a multitool, a large folding knife, my pistol and a spare magazine, my Palm (hey, it’s convenient), lockpicks, and various other small implements “du jour.” I will be adding to it, just looking at the things on this list.

  26. clark | April 29, 2007 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Load bearing carabiner with 60 + keys will work in any close quarter situation. =- Been there. Clark

  27. viridari | September 12, 2007 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I just posted a full dump of my manpurse for your enjoyment.

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