Short stick techniques for use in self defense and in controlling unruly subjects have been around for centuries. The concept is pain compliance through the use of strikes, jabs, joint locks, and pressure point control techniques. The application may be as simple as intuitive strikes to targets of opportunity, to the more complex techniques involving nerve disruption and joint manipulation. The tools used are designed for the tasks, but the concepts may be transferred to use with objects at hand, such as pocket flashlights, sturdy pens and markers, or even a stout hairbrush.
The actual history of the short stick, or pocket stick, is long, and includes such manifestations as the yawara, the Kubaton, the Koppo Stick, and the various modern interpretations. A history and description of these and other self defense tools may be found at Don Rearic's excellent website. Tools have evolved as materials improved—the yawara was originally a wooden rod or sheath, and required some bulk in order to survive use as a striking instrument. The Kubaton is generally smaller and made of either aluminum or high impact synthetic materials. To improve upon the Kubaton, the Koppo included a finger loop of para-cord to keep the user from losing the stick during use, but it was still in the user’s palm.
The Alpha Hornet, designed by law enforcement officer Myron Gaudet and Alpha Innovations own Jeff Farrand, improves upon the Koppo design by replacing the center section of the pocket stick with rigid finger loops. This makes location of the finger loops much easier under stress since they do not collapse, and positions the bulkier portion of the stick outside of the palm so that the user may use that hand for other tasks, such as gripping, grasping, or transitioning to another weapon.
The Alpha Hornet is 6 ½” long, ¼” thick, and about 1 ¾” wide, and constructed of rigid reinforced polymer. It has a comfortable, textured matte finish, and is extremely lightweight. Each end has a hole where a lanyard or keyring may be attached. While the finger loops are somewhat reminiscent of those on a pair of knuckle dusters, such use is ill-advised as there is no underlying support for frontal strikes, and use for frontal strikes could cause considerable damage to the user’s hand. These ain’t knucks—this is instead an excellent modern interpretation of the pocket stick using space age materials.
The Alpha Hornet can be carried in the waistband with keys or a lanyard attached, or carried unobtrusively in the hip pocket alongside one’s wallet. It will fit nicely in an old eyeglass case, or, if carried in the front pocket, fits nicely in a small pocket holster positioning it for instant access. The finger loops can be located quickly and easily by touch, and the operator may easily access and position the Alpha Hornet for use without alerting the subject who has raised his concern.
The Alpha Hornet is a great tool for both law enforcement use and for civilians who are concerned for their safety but who live or work in non-permissive environments where guns and knives are frowned upon. Videos demonstrating its use have been posted on YouTube by Officer Gaudet and are well worth watching.
Jerry D. Amstutz
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