Self defense tools for small women.


Carl Levitian
May 26, 2009, 03:07 PM
Karen does volunteer work with a womans group that helps out and mentors abused women. Over the course of the past year or so she's become friends with this one younger lady thats had a bit of a rough time putting her life back together. It's been an eye opener.

This woman, Kate, is in her mid 40's, but she's been kind of shelterd in one way, in that she married right out of high school, and her husband took care of everything, so she never learned to do anything. Her husband had her employed as an exotic dancer, if one wants to call it that. Her first husband of 20 years did treat her well, but died of panchratic cancer, and her second husband of 2 years was a ------ well, never mind. After having enough of him she left, with some help from a womans support group, and started to put her life back together.

The jist of all this, she had some unique outlooks on the subject of self defense that my better half Karen thought noteworthy. Since she had been employed as a nude dancer in some bad parts of Washinton D.C. she was familiar with dark parking lots with not so nice people lurking about. In light of the recent subject of boxcutters, I found it interesting that Kate carries at least one on her.

Looking at her, I found it hard to visualize her fighting with someone. If she's more than 5' 3" or so, I'd be surprised. But she surprised us. One evening, we were on the subject of defense, and she pulled this cutter out of nowhere. She'd taken needle and thread, and some velcro, and made little hidden pockets in her clothing for small items like boxcutters, a Buck Hartsook, and a Browning .25 auto.

Like I said, she and Karen have developed this relationship, and Karen has become like an adopted step mother, since Kate never knew her own mother much, her mom being killed in a car accident when Kate was a little girl.

I questioned if she could really use what she had, and we did some drills. Karen and I both at one time acted like the bad guys, while Kate had a magic marker. We both attacked her trying to gain control over her, and we both ended up with blue marker streaks all over us. I tried to get control over her "knife" hand, and got sliced for my effort. The little blond ex dancer had some moves. Later she revealed she was on her high school gymnastics team. Okay, she's agile. In theroy she sliced and diced both me and Karen.

But she made both me and Karen think about the tools we recomend to people. Overwhelmingly we recomend a Spyderco this or a Benchmade that if a knife, or a Glock this or SIG that if a handgun. But for a small female, we have to ask ourselves, where are they going to put it? One night when Kate was stayng over for the weekend, I mentioned that a .25 Browning was a bit light for the job, and she stood in front of me and said, "Look at me, where am I going to put anything bigger?" She was dressed in a little sun dress thing with sandels and aside from her purse there was no place to put anything. But yet, the little dress had hidden pockets along the seam that was invisable to a glance, and had small bladed weapons within reach. And Kate is adamint about putting a weapon in her purse. Won't do it. To make it even a little funny, she has a Virginia CCW, as she lives just over the Potomac river a few miles away, in Falls Church Virginia. She carries either her little .25 Baby Browning, or a .22 NAA revolver. Sometimes she does not carry a firearm because of where she is going. Into Washinton D.C. of course, and over here in the peoples republik of Maryland, when she visits us and goes hiking or kayaking with us. But she always has some little edged weapons stashed about her person. Dressing as she does, one would never know it.

Our friendship with Kate has been educational for both me and Karen. It's given me a different insight into the problems females face in trying to armed and protect themselves, while still dressing and acting like a woman. And when I recomend a nice pants suit to conceal a bigger gun, Kate won't do it. She made herself a promise that she was not going to wear a pants suit ever. She says she doesn't go to Balys three times a week and jog 45 minutes every morning to dress like a man.

But one thing she said that I'd never thought of. Kate said that if somebody was going to assault her, they were coming to her. She wouldn't need a weapon to reach across a room, but something she could shove right in thier gut at contact range.

Hearing a womans viewpoint was interesting.

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May 26, 2009, 03:12 PM
Excellent information. If she wants to post here, tell her she's more than welcome.

May 26, 2009, 05:28 PM

Excellent post!

Give your Karen a hug for me, for her work with the ladies she does.
And one to Kate.

This subject is near and dear to me.
The rest of my reply, will be in private to you sir.


James T Thomas
May 26, 2009, 05:42 PM
An additional benefit of that "petit" firearm is that the bang may attract attention and the summoning of help for her. Like blowing a whistle, but more so.

May 26, 2009, 06:36 PM
Carl, God Bless Karen, and good for Kate.

As you know since my wife cyndi was diagnosed with diabetes she has slimmed down to a size 4. Not to difficult to hide a .38 and and a spyderco native in scrubs as she is a visiting nurse. Dress clothes are more difficult and she came up with the exact solution for a SAK spartan and NAA 22 Magnum. And yes she has had training.

May 26, 2009, 07:15 PM
And when I recomend a nice pants suit to conceal a bigger gun, Kate won't do it. She made herself a promise that she was not going to wear a pants suit ever. I don't know many women who would go for that either ;) . But it is a similar problem here in FL where an overjacket is "out of place" in the summer heat. And shorts and tees are common. So that rules a lot of carry options.

May 26, 2009, 08:20 PM
I wonder if there is a clothing maker/alterer who specializes in this style of clothing.

May 26, 2009, 09:15 PM
My wife carries a Spydie Harpy (ironic, ain't it?:rolleyes:) tucked into the top of her bra.

May 28, 2009, 07:46 AM
She is very well organized in her choice, concealment and use of weapons. The element of surprise is likely to give her the edge most of the time. Smart lady.

May 28, 2009, 08:41 AM
[My wife carries a Spydie Harpy (ironic, ain't it?) tucked into the top of her bra.]

Same here. My wife has a knock-off off though, but it's still a serrated hawkbill. Scared the bleep out of this guy in college. He was more low-key harassing her but still being menacing.
She says "Oh excuse me a sec, I just need to open this."
*Click* *Riiiiiiiip*
Still holding it, "What were you talking about again?"

I wonder if hawkbill blades simply appeal to women in general. Pretty straightforward to use, and pretty darn intimidating.

Carl Levitian
May 28, 2009, 11:53 AM
[She is very well organized in her choice, concealment and use of weapons. The element of surprise is likely to give her the edge most of the time. Smart lady.]

This is what impressed Karen and I the most.

Given her background, she has introduced a line of thought on self defense that niether Karen or I would have thought of in a zillion years. Kate is a little slip of a thing, and maybe its nature's way of compensating, but Kate seems to be very carefull in picking things, tactics, that work in the gritty real world. Being a small person means you're coming from behind in a fight. Being a small female person is doubly so. Being a small, very pretty, female that gets attention from every male she walks by, means a triple threat most people don't identify with. Exept for a senior citizen.

Karen and I have been blessed with having a pretty normal life. Our kids were normal, we were soccer parents with the mini-van, doing normal middle America things. Kate is from the other side of the tracks, lived in a seamy world of cheap bars and strip joints, and had to survive in a semi-hostile environment. That she did so speaks well of her tactics and choice of tools. One night, when she was staying over our place like she does alot, we all were going over some defense stuff, and it struck both Karen and I that what Kate had done, was also very good for a senior citizen. At 5' 3" Kate is no match for a normal size guy. But at age 70, a elderly person is no match for a 30 year old of normal size. So what do you do?

You're too old to fight, too old to outrun them. So you get sneaky. Karen and I took our ques from Kate. Or the history of the Q-ship.

They'd take a miserable looking little tramp steamer, and put fake cargo crates on deck, concealing 5 inch guns. When a U-boat spied it, the U-boat would surface to sink it with gunfire rather than waste a torpedo on the run down looking little steamer. When the U-boat came to the surface, suprise, suprise, the fake sides of the cargo shipping crates fell away and the U-boat got blown out of the water by the 5 inch guns of the Q-ship that was manned and waiting for them. The U-boat never had a chance.

Kate, to survive, unconciously made herself a Q-ship. What got Karen and I thinking about it, is that as we are getting into the senior citizen bracket, we know we can't fight off an attacker like we used to be able to, nor can we outrun one. Kate started showing us how she does it, and it works. No macho BS, no martial arts mystic, just sneaky sudden counter attack to hurt them bad enough that they won't chase you when you do make a break for it. You use a small bladed tool to cut without warning, and break off.

I would never have taken to carrying a box cutter on my own. I like knives. "Real" knives. A box cutter was way to cheap punk for me. I was wrong.

One day after Kate had spent a weekend with us, I went to the Safeway near us and got a old ham out of the dumptster that was past sell date. I took it home and stuffed it in the leg of an old pair of jeans that due for the trash. A couple of quick test slashes surpised me. I suddenly understood why the lowly boxcutter got so much respect on the street. It went right through the denum and ham, and left some impressive gashes.

Kate is handy with needle and thread, so she's made these little pockets hidden away in her clothing for things like boxcutters. Different outfits have the pockets in different locations so one is never far from her right hand, but can be reached in a low key way.

As much as Karen and I are helping Kate get on her feet, and helping her get used to having the first real daytime job in her life, we're also studying her and learning from her. The little lady has survived on some pretty seedy mean streets. She must be doing something right.

May 28, 2009, 01:01 PM
I wonder if hawkbill blades simply appeal to women in general. Pretty straightforward to use, and pretty darn intimidating.

Another best kept secret besides the carton cutter, is the linoleum knife with the hawkbill blade.

Both for the criminal and law abiding.

Off the top of my head, I can count nine, THR members, ladies that keep these simple, wood handled knives - handy.

Some are under age 21, heck one is not legally able to drive by herself yet, as she is not age 16-yet.

There is a Pruner blade and "wood carving" blade similar to the hawkbill,

Now not all jurisdictions allow fixed blades, however the linoleum / pruner/ blade gets around this, most places, or has in the past.
Some places do not allow locking knives, so the SAK and other folding knives with this pattern or similar , in a non-locking knife are legal, most places. Even those with a blade length restriction, such as in the UK, can get by if they "have a legitimate reason for their work."

This is all old school, and proven.
We did not have all the fancy smancy tack-tickle knives...we have always had Software, not Hardware.

Again, both the law abiding and criminal have known about the hawkbill for use, especially ladies, forever.

One of the "tools for the toolbox" me and mine gave ladies, were these lino knives...

A Eze-Lap diamond sharpener, that is half round, with a groove down the center and looks like a aluminum pen, works fine to sharpen one of these.
Light, not expensive, and easy to tote to always have a means to sharpen ,anywhere.
Model ST and ST/K

I had a Harpy, for a few days. Received it as a gift after Sir Anthony Hopkins used one in Silence of the Lambs.
While I wish I had kept it, a lady needed it more than I did.
I never replaced mine...

Why a hawkbill again?
Like the claw of the Harpy eagle the C08 is shaped for controlled pulling cuts. The hawkbill blade shape originated in the marine/fishing industry where severing rope, line, webbing and netting is done at arm's length quickly and efficiently. The curving arc holds what you're cutting against the sharpened edge keeping it from slipping off the tip

May 29, 2009, 07:16 AM
Carl Levitian,

Yes; calculated is another word that springs to mind.

Much of this can be translated into use by anyone. I too am impressed that she came up with the idea of sewing her own "holsters" into her clothing. We are often stuck on conventional fashion in clothing, accessories - and thinking.

My father liked one-piece "jumpsuits" of particular fabrics and colors for comfortable casual wear. Matching fabric belts, loops, choice of coupling, breast pockets how, where he wanted, with slots in them for his pens etc. I don't know where he had them made, but they were the sort of thing the local asian tailor/seamstress could turn out to order for a reasonable price.

I remember thinking it was alittle odd at one time, but later on it made sense, and got me thinking,

One of the things about box cutters is that they are quick to employ, and relatively safe to carry. I have a sliding "rescue" knife with a serrated sheepsfoot type blade that works the same way.

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