Note: For informational purposes only. Please comply with all applicable state and federal laws regarding the use, manufacture and possession of anything discussed in the following article.

Caltrops have been in use for thousands of years as an anti-personnel and anti-movement weapon. According to historian Roman Jarymowycz, author of Cavalry From Hoof to Track, the nasty little things were used as far back as the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC between the Romans and Parthians. The Japanese also had a version, called makabishi. 

A caltrop is basically two or more sharp nails or other spined object, arranged and attached so that there is 1) always a stable base, and 2) always a sharp point facing up. Even one of these can completely destroy a tire, injure a human foot, or otherwise cause general ruckus and should be handled with care. They can be used for perimeter/property defense and much more, and can be made at home for next to nothing in cost.

To make them, start by bending a fencing stable (basically a U-shaped nail) back into a 110-degree bend by putting a piece of pipe on both arms of the staple.


Next, use a welder to attach a pair in the correct shape. Feel free to use a simple, even cheap welder such as the one from Harbor Freight. It’s that simple.

You can use these for a host of applications, such as protecting your property from unwanted vehicles during a grid-down scenario. Again, check your state and local laws before making or deploying these tools.


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