Car Keys as a Self-Defense Weapon

Car Keys as a Self-Defense Weapon

People like to share, tell stories and discuss what they do in order to protect themselves. One of the most common things people share is how they hold their keys as weapons while going to and from their car. Keys can be an effective weapon when used correctly. The “brass knuckles” method seems to be the most popular way of using keys as a weapon. This article will look at the downfalls of this method and discuss better alternative, the “pinch” method.

The “Brass Knuckles” Method

“Brass Knuckle” Method: Incorrect for Self-Defense
“Brass Knuckle” Method: Incorrect for Self-Defense

Let’s examine how most people carry their keys in anticipation of having to use them against an attacker. The common method is what I refer to as the “brass knuckles” approach. The brass knuckles approach involves making a fist with keys protruding between each finger. The assumption behind this is that a punch will drive the keys into an assailant and cause pain and injury. There are several problems with the “brass knuckles”  method:

  1. Telegraphing:  Telegraphing simply means you are conveying a message about your intent. Those who attack others will most definitely being sizing up their victim before they launch a physical assault. One of the first things an attacker will look at is your hands. If you are making a fist with your keys sticking out of your fingers you have just advertised what you’re going to do. An attacker will be able to easily defeat this. Keys sticking out from a closed fist are not a deterrent. It’s simply a message saying, “Hey, you need to kick me in the ribs and knock me down first.”
  2. Try Punching Something:  Not once have I ever met anyone who has actually punched anything with keys protruding from their fist. I have asked people to try it but they won’t. Why? Because it hurts like crazy when the keys fold up and cut into your fingers. Do you really think you’ll have the confidence to apply something under stress when you’re not even comfortable practicing it in a non-threatening environment?
  3. Focus Lock:  You want to be aware of your surroundings at all times by exercising good situational awareness. It takes time and focus to put a key between each finger. Focus should be on your surroundings and not on your hand. We are extremely vulnerable when entering and exiting vehicles. The key or fob needed to open and start your vehicle should be in your hand and ready to go. If you are carrying your keys like brass knuckles you will have to fumble around and find your car key when you are in an extremely vulnerable position.
  4. Limited Use:  Other than punching and perhaps slashing, the “brass knuckles”method of key carry is good for a very limited number of techniques. If you do use this method you are likely to end up with cut, hurt fingers.

The Natural “Pinch” Method

"Pinch" Method of Keys for Self-Defense
“Pinch” Method: Correct for Self-Defense

When our bodies are under extreme stress, such as in a self-defense situation, we lose control of fine motor skills. We resort to what comes natural. It is critical that the techniques you plan on using for self-defense take this into account. The “pinch” method is nothing more than holding a key in the same manner you would to open your door or start your ignition. You simply pinch the base of the key between your thumb and forefinger. It is a natural, instinctive way to hold a kay. It is always they best way to hold a key when using it as a weapon. The benefits of the “pinch” method are as follows:

  1. Discrete:  You will not draw any attention to yourself by holding a key in a natural manner. This will allow you to preserve the element of surprise. Tactics that take place leading up to a strike often times will determine success or failure. Having an element of surprise will go long way in your favor.
  2. Easy Access to Your Car:  You will not have to take the focus off of your surroundings to locate your car key. It will already be in your hand. You should not put your head down fumbling for your keys.
  3. Many Uses:  A pointed key protruding from your grip is an extremely effective weapon. There are numerous targets that can be attacked with a key property held. Target areas include:
    1. Eyes:  Simply holding your hands up like you’re surrendering and then slashing across an assailants eyes can have a fight-stopping effect when done correctly. If you are in close, you can simply press the key into the eye of an attacker.
    2. Hands and Arms:  If someone were to grab the arm or the wrist of the hand holding the key, there’s a good change you will be able to turn your hand and slash out of the attacker’s grip. You can also use the key in the opposite hand to slash or stab out of a hold on the opposite arm.
    3. Inner Thighs:  The inner thighs contain a lot of nerve endings. A common attack, especially against women, is someone approaching from behind and putting a victim into a bear hug. Often an attacker will pick the victim up to put in a vehicle, etc. When in a bear hub, your arms are trapped at your sides. However, your hands still can reach the thighs of the attacker. Gouging and digging a key into the thighs of an assailant will cause excruciating pain.
    4. Biceps: Biceps make excellent targets. They are large and easy to hit. Thrusting the tip of the key into the bicep of someone trying to harm you will get their attention and perhaps give you a second or two to escape.

A key is an effective weapon when used properly. With a little practice, a few simple techniques can be put to use in a variety of situations.

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3 thoughts on “Car Keys as a Self-Defense Weapon”

  1. Pingback: Force Multipliers: Overcoming a Disparity of Force - Mindful Defense

  2. When u put the keys between ur fingers u have a better chance hands down! I have a friend who was able to save her life by doing It! U dumb freaking ppl have to think about it like this… one key to protect yourself or 4?? Most ppl r gonna come up behind u to grab u when something happens!! My friend is an RN who was walking back to her car after her shift and some guy came up behind her and grabbed her! She already had her KEYS between each finger was able to stab him in the eye when he grabbed her bc she had more than ONE chance to get leverage!! She had FOUR!!! come on ppl!! Don’t let the internet lose ur sense of common sense!!!!!!

    1. I am glad that things worked out for your friend. Keep in mind that if you put the keys in between your fingers, you are now limited to one punch only, as after that the keys will be flattened. I agree that a lot of attacks will come from behind. If you are grabbed, such as in a bear hug, the pinch method will allow you to dig and cut with the key. The brass knuckles method you are advocating will allow you to do little to nothing. Furthermore, there is a proper way to rake the eyes with the pinch method that involves striking the temple and then dragging, or “raking” the key across the face which will increase the chances of impacting both eyes. Nothing is absolute. In the overwhelming majority of instances, the pinch method will allow you to do more.

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