ReadyMan Challenge 6.6
by Evan Hafer
The boys have covered the essentials of immediate survival using a shot-up car as their primary resource. Each team has an assault rifle, but now that their food, water and shelter are handled, we challenged the boys to make weapons so that the rest of the team can fight.
Turns out, a shot-up husk of a car bristles with potential weapons. But, are all weapons created equal?
In a fight, what’s the best weapon? For the most part, I think we’d choose a gun. Better yet, a rifle.
Since it’s rather difficult to create a rifle out of the gutted hulk of a car, what’s the next, best thing?
The boys came up with several options and then they evaluated them by beating the daylights out of one of the dead cars.
They created a dull, bladed broadsword-like weapon. They created a double-pointed spear with rebar tips and a wood handle. They created a mace-like bludgeon at the end of a long strap.
And, they created a battle-axe made from a post and a fan.
On top of all that, Jason and Jeff made several shepherd slings from the seat belts.
Which would you choose?
Of course, that question would depend on the weapons you believed your adversaries would be carrying. Assuming that you'd be attacked by a mishmash of Road Warrior types with some guns and a bunch of medieval weapons, which weapon would you choose?
In the right hands, a warrior can viciously damage and demoralize a force with a shepherd’s sling. The rocks whipping out of the sling come close to matching the velocity and terminal energy of a .45 ACP and their outside range is a couple hundred yards. But both Jason and Jeff have slung 10,000 rocks apiece and they still can’t hit a man-sized target more than one-out-of-ten times, even from twenty yards. While deadly, the sling lacks consistency and accuracy. It should be considered a “volley fire” weapon, where hits at a distance would happen more by chance than anything. Any time a ranged weapon can be used against a force, doing damage without exposing the fighter to risk, they should be used.
But what happens once the enemy comes inside of the range of your slings? The next layer might be the spears. Most pole weapons can be used as projectiles within close ranges. Also, they’re great for delivering a death blow that’s still outside of sword and knife reach. Still, they’re not great once an enemy gets inside the spear tip.
At greater-than-arms-reach, the centrifugal weapons, like the bludgeon created by Team ‘Merica, cause blunt-force trauma that’ll end a fight. But, they take time to get up-to-speed and they’re slow to recover. If you miss once, you’re done.
Ultimately, the guys decided that the simplest weapon was the best. They loved the axe-like fan attached to a metal rod. The cooling fan on a minivan is a lot more burly than you might imagine. It’s heavy and sharp. By attaching it to a stout pole, the boys felt like they could attack at more-than-arm’s-length and still recover quickly. This axe works as a short-distance weapon and still functions at sword and bludgeon range. It’s a good balance between lethality, stand-off ability and close-in fighting usefulness.
Another idea that sprang up was the use of a shield. A seatbelt combined with a tough, plastic fender, makes an amazingly effective shield. We tried attacking the shield with Jeff’s favorite six-inch Glock knife. The shield stopped the knife and bound it up in the shield, tearing it out of the attacker’s hand.
When you think about it, the choice of a melee weapon is tricky. Everything becomes a trade-off. Luckily, an abandoned vehicle offers lots of sharp, heavy and tough objects that can go into a do-it-yourself weapon.
With this evolution completed, more than ever, we concluded that the best thing we can do is to hang on to our firearms.