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3 Ordinary Things That Can Be Terrifying Weapons


chainlock (also known as “smiley”) is as simple as an improvised weapon can get. It has precisely two parts: One heavy piece of metal (usually a large padlock) and a length of cloth or chain it is tied to. The weapon is operated by swinging it at the enemy like a medieval morning star (a club with a spiked ball attached on a chain). Although it is technically classified as a non-lethal weapon, a properly constructed chainlock can easily break bones and crack skulls. Because it’s very cheap and easy to assemble, the chainlock has been adopted by gang members and, sadly, even some school kids.

Hot Sugar

Sugar is relatively harmless, unless you happen to be a tooth. However, the sweet stuff can actually be used in ways that make even battle hardened soldiers shiver in fear. As every pastry chef (a chef specializing in desserts) can testify, boiling sugar can cling to almost anything. Its damage on exposed human skin is not unlike that delivered by napalm: It sticks on you while it keeps on burning.
While sugar is a valuable commodity and therefore rarely weaponized, it can be used to terrifying effect if there is no other artillery available. In the 17th century, a supposedly defenseless Chinese Sampan ship gave a crew of Dutch pirates a surprise of a lifetime by pelting them with boiling sugar. The Chinese crew managed to send no less than 14 pirates to a horrifying, sticky demise before ultimately losing the battle. These days, the horrors of boiling sugar are appreciated by prison inmates, who occasionally use scalding sugar water to attack each other.
Urine Bombs

The CIA are no strangers to inventive manners of hurting people. From poison darts that cause heart attacks to shoe polish that is supposed to cause beards to fall off, their arsenal is straight out of a cartoon. Perhaps the most ingenious device they’ve come up with is a mixture of nitric acid and certain other things that explode with deadly force when mixed. The main ingredient of the bomb is something the agent can make in any conditions: His or her own urine, boiled and mixed with the other stuff. As theingredients of the bomb were fairly easy to come by, this explosive disaster provided a lethal weapon the agents could literally produce whenever they needed.

Tonfa Clubs

When the island of Okinawa was struggling against Japanese rule in the 13th Century, they had virtually no access to weapons. Thankfully, the locals were well versed in martial arts. They learned to make weapons out of virtually everything around them. Their most ingenious invention was the tonfa club, which was essentially just the wooden handle of a grindstone. As grindstone handles broke down all the time, spare handles could be carried around without suspicion… right until the locals started beating up the Samurai with them.
The tonfa was extremely efficient in hitting the enemy over the head, and also provided the option of blocking blows with ease. That’s why (unlike many other improvised weapons) it never really went away. In fact, the tonfa club is still used today: Police officers in many countries carry side-handle batons that are made with this specific design.

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