Police and prison officers are sometimes bewildered with the improvised weapons that they’re discovering. It’s really a surprise how inmates can make weapons out of well, nothing. Prisons make it to a point to prevent prisoners from gaining access to things that they can potentially turn into weapons. But still, shakedowns usually lead to discovered weapons.
There are also some individuals who make their own weapons at home, most of them illegal. They carry it with them for self defense but they failed to check local laws. More commonly, criminals often resort to making their own weapons because they don’t have the money to buy them. It doesn’t help that one can easily make a weapon using common materials.
Here are some improvised weapons discovered by police and prison officers.
These are makeshift weapons found in the Mansfield Prison throughout the years. As you can see, shanks (aka shivs) are the weapon of choice for inmates. This is because they can easily make one using materials that they can find inside prison. But this picture doesn’t really do justice to how nasty they really look like. Here are some examples of shanks discovered by prison officials:
An inmate got lucky (or resourceful) and he was able to get a flat piece of metal. Judging from the rust, it was probably discovered by the inmate in some forgotten location. This shank took a lot of work to sharpen it. Well, it does look pretty sharp. Some old piece of cloth around it makes a comfortable handle.
Here’s another shank that started off as an innocent spoon. While a lot of shivs can only hurt others, this shiv looks like it’s capable of being used to kill someone.
But of course, the most popular is the toothbrush shank:
This is probably the easiest to make. Prisoners sharpen the edge along the prison walls or when lucky, they have their buddy over at the workshop sharpen it for them.
A lot of inmates became creative and attached razors to them:
This particular shank almost took the life of prison officer Harry Harrison when an inmate slashed his neck with this toothbrush shank. Harrison survived due to his muscular neck but another few inches would have hit his jugular vein. There are a lot of ways on how to make one. But the most popular is applying heat on one side of the toothbrush. When it’s hot enough, the inmate attaches the razor to it. While Harrison was lucky, a lot of prisoners died because of this particular design.
Using razor blades is very popular because an inmate can easily hide it. It’s also popular due to its effectiveness. As mentioned, a quick slash to the neck can prove to be fatal. Although there were some discovered weapons that cannot really kill, but can cause some nasty damages like this:
This weapon was made by a drug-addict inmate in Germany. This was discovered back in 1996 and was made by the inmate to demand more Methadone.
Inmates also gain access to wood workshops sometimes if they show good behavior. This is where they make crafts since they have a lot of time in their hands. But apparently, an inmate in Germany had too much time and ingenuity in his hand when he made this dagger:
You’re probably thinking that there’s no way he could have hid that weapon. Well, he did until it was discovered in 1994. It escaped detection since it’s disguised as a crucifix.
This is another weapon that was crafted from a prison woodshop:
This is a zip gun which is a popular homemade gun. It’s very easy to make this at home but the mere fact that it was made in prison makes this weapon very fascinating. Compared to shanks, guns do have the upper-hand in most situations. This is the reason why inmates will always make them if given the chance.
Take this prison shot gun for example:
This is a shotgun made from bed posts. It had pieces of lead as bullets and it was fired by AA batteries and parts of a bulb. Two prisoners were able to escape using this weapon when they took a jailer hostage.
It’s a known fact that with all the gangs inside prisons, inmates sometimes resort to improvised weapons to gain an advantage when a riot breaks out. Prisoners sometimes steal materials so they can turn them into a weapon like this:
This is like a brass knuckle on steroids. While it’s not going to kill anyone, a punch to the face can be devastating.
Nails are also a favorite of inmates so they can make something like this:
A punch to the abdomen using this weapon is like being stabbed by 4 rusty ice picks.
These are just some improvised weapons found by police and prison officers. This article showed that ingenuity and a few materials around the area can go a long way in making weapons. This also proves that they can be as effective as store-bought ones.