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Best Batons for Self-Defense: The Good, the Bad, & What to Buy

Batons have been used for hundreds of years. Find out the pros/cons of batons and then a couple of our favorite choices for self-defense!

The baton is one of the oldest weapons that’s still used today – and with good reason! A wide variety of cultures and civilizations have been using batons and other clubs for thousands of years.

After all, who can deny the value of a hefty piece of wood or metal in the ancient game of survival?

Tested Batons
Tested Batons

These days, firearms tend to be the go-to when it comes to putting meat on the table. But that doesn’t mean the modern baton has lost its value.

Police, security guards, and military powers around the world still use truncheons as defensive weapons. And you can too!

For many people, batons are a popular and budget-friendly option for personal and home defense. Have we perked your interest yet?

We should all be as ready as Rosa. Gotta love that quick release!

Good. Today, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of owning a baton and review my top baton choices for self-defense.

Disclaimer: we’re not lawyers so you should check your local laws for baton ownership and use!

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Advanced Option

    Talon Infinity 50cm

    Advanced features and excellent grip make this a solid choice.

  2. LEO Approved

    Friction Loc Baton 21"

    This baton is trusted by law enforcement.

  3. More Concealable

    Agent Infinity Concealable Baton 40cm

    Here's a small version that's still useful.

  4. Lightweight Option

    Smith & Wesson Heat Treated Collapsible Baton

    A lightweight option with a sheath.

  5. Shock Option

    Streetwise Barbarian

    Not collapsible, but comes with a shocking surprise.

Table of Contents


Why a Baton?

Alright, fine. We know a baton may not have the same visual impact or “cool factor” as a firearm, at least at first glance. But we aren’t snobs, so let’s start by discussing why you should consider a baton for your self-defense needs.


Less Lethal: A baton doesn’t require the use of lethal force. As a situation escalates or deescalates, you can quickly adjust your level of force without switching defensive tools.

Fry vs. Batons
Batons are a less lethal method of self-defense. Even in the far future, Fry will be okay. Probably. Remember, a baton is still a weapon.

Multipurpose: Batons are great for broad strikes and jabs, blocking attacks, and can even sweep an attacker’s legs out from underneath them. They can also be useful in other emergency situations, such as breaking windows to escape your car or home.

Simple: Batons are easy to use. They require no power or ammunition, can’t suffer from mechanical failure, don’t expire, require little maintenance, and rarely need replacing. Talk about reliability!

Affordable: A high-quality, lightweight, and concealable baton can run around $100, but it’s also easy to find equally effective options for less than $50.

Win Win Situation
Easy to use, affordable, and legal to carry? That is a win-win-win situation!

Effective: You can do pretty significant damage with a baton, even without a lot of strength or strict form.

Legality: Batons are legal in many places where other weapons aren’t and generally don’t require a permit or registration. This is especially true for items that can serve as a baton but aren’t strictly made for self-defense, like baseball bats or hefty flashlights. 

Relatively Easy to Conceal: Batons, particularly collapsible models, can easily slip into bags and deep pockets. At home, you can covertly rest the weapon next to your bed, in a nightstand drawer, or by the doorway. 

Safe: With a baton, you don’t have to worry about accidental discharges, and there is very little risk of self-injury. Plus, they are typically bystander-safe, so long as you don’t go wild.

Don't Be This Guy
Don’t Be This Guy. He has the right spirit but needs to complete a few more safety courses.

We condone only responsible baton use in this house!

Consider These Drawbacks First

Are you feeling the tingles of baton envy yet? We share the hype, but before you race off to the store, let’s examine the downsides of baton ownership.


Less Lethal: Guns are more effective at stopping or deterring an attacker. It’s just a fact.

But Still Lethal: A single baton strike – intentional or accidental – can result in severe and even fatal injuries. A baton may be “less lethal,” but it’s still a weapon that needs to be handled with respect and consideration, much like any firearm.

I've Made a Huge Mistake
Be careful! You could face serious legal repercussions for intentionally or accidentally harming someone with a well-placed strike.

Expense: Yes, batons are more affordable than handguns, but they’re often more expensive than other handgun alternatives, like pepper spray and stun guns.

Training: Compared to other defensive weapons, batons are relatively easy to use. That said, you still need to train if your goal is to be effective during an altercation. Practice makes perfect, after all, and you want to keep your skills up.

Range: A baton is a melee weapon. It doesn’t provide the range of a firearm, pepper spray, or taser. This could leave you in a vulnerable position if your attacker is armed with a ranged weapon.

Knife to a Gun Fight
The same principle applies to batons.

Legality: Batons are legal in most places but not everywhere, including states like California. Check your local laws before purchasing or carrying any weapon. 

Best Batons for Self-Defense

Shopping for a new weapon can be exciting and overwhelming, especially online. It’s important to do your research before taking the plunge and coughing up your hard-earned cash.

To help you start the process, let’s take a look at a few batons that rate highly as self-defense tools.

1. ASP Batons

Armament Systems & Procedures (ASP) manufactures an impressive collection of expandable batons, but three products are a cut above the rest: the Talon Infinity 50cm, the Friction Loc Baton 21”, and the Agent Infinity Concealable Baton 40cm.  

These batons may be pricier than other options, but it’s a reflection of their quality. Plus, your purchase comes with a lifetime warranty!

ASP Talon Infinity Steel Baton
ASP Talon Infinity Steel Baton

ASP advertises the Talon Infinity 50cm as the “most advanced tactical baton in the world, period.”

To ensure precision and reliability, the manufacturer specifically designed this product with a limited number of moving parts and included a textured Vector grip option.  

ASP Talon Infinity Steel Baton, Open
ASP Talon Infinity Steel Baton, Open

Made from 4140 steel, this high-quality baton opens with a quick flick of the wrist and closes into the scabbard with a push of the end cap. Its retracted length is a little over 8 inches, so you’ll probably need a holster or bag to carry it comfortably.

The weight of this product varies because ASP offers a Steel model at 18.3 ounces (above) and a lighter Airweight edition at 11.2 ounces.

Advanced Option
at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Another popular baton is ASP’s Friction Loc Baton 21″. This model is a tactical impact weapon commonly used by law enforcement personnel across the United States.

ASP Friction Loc Baton
ASP Friction Loc Baton

The Friction Loc Baton 21” has a slender shape and telescoping construction that allows for fast strikes. It’s lightweight and easy to conceal at a retracted length of 7.70 inches, making it a fine defense option for police officers or casual user going about their day (or night).

LEO Approved
at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Opening an ASP baton be a little tricky to master. The manufacturer’s intended method is much faster than trying to pull the tip out of the baton manually, especially when an attacker is charging at you.

This video illustrates the concept:

Practice makes perfect!

Like the Talon Infinity 50cm, this product is available in two models, Steel (16.3 ounces) and Airweight (8.9 ounces).

Agent Infinity Concealable Baton, (Steel) 40cm
Agent Infinity Concealable Baton, (Steel) 40cm

ASP’s Agent Baton series was designed to be a low-profile weapon for investigators and undercover operatives, which means you can safely rely on its fine-line grip and striking potential in a pinch.

The Agent Infinity Concealable Baton 40cm is manufactured with a 4140 steel striking surface and weighs in at 13.2 ounces.

ASP Agent A40 Baton
ASP Agent A40 Baton

It retracts down to 7.75 inches with a push of the cap, and you can easily attach it to your waistband with a scabbard.

More Concealable
at ASP

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

If you need a lighter option, the Airweight model is only 7.3 ounces — less than a pound!

However, this product isn’t quite as reliable as the Friction Loc Baton 21” when it comes to long-term maintenance.

ASP Agent A40 Baton, Open
ASP Agent A40 Baton, Open

The ASP website recommends purchasing its Glide Baton and Cuff Lubricant to keep your Agent Baton in excellent working order.

What’s your take on ASP batons? Rate them below!

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (782)

Your Rating?

2. Smith & Wesson Heat Treated Collapsible Baton

Smith & Wesson (S&W) is best known for their firearms, but guns aren’t the only form of self-defense they offer.

M&P 9 M2.0 glamour
These probably look familiar

This trustworthy brand also produces an affordable alternative to the ASP Tactical Expandable Baton.

The S&W Heat Treated Collapsible Baton is a friction lock baton with a comfortable foam handle. It comes in four sizes: 16 inches, 21 inches, 24 inches, and 26 inches.

Aluminum tubing combines with steel to make this product lighter than the ASP, though not as durable. It’s probably not the baton of choice for law enforcement or security guards, but it can get the job done for most casual users.

Lightweight Option
at Smith & Wesson

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

A word of warning: This product comes with a belt sheath, but customers have reported that it’s not very user-friendly, as it can be somewhat tricky to pull the baton out.

the following sizes: 16 inches, 18 inches, 21 inches, 22 inches, and 26 inches. 

3. Streetwise Barbarian

The Streetwise Barbarian is an all-in-one baton, stun gun and flashlight.

Streetwise Barbarian
Stun ’em! Blind ’em! Block ’em!

Because this model isn’t collapsible, it’s best to keep this 19-inch bad boy at home or in the car.

The company also manufactures a 14-inch long mini version, but it’s probably still too big for daily carry unless you’re lugging around a bag or have exceptionally large pockets (we don’t judge).

Both products have three electrical arc contact points for greater contact area, which is more than most stun guns have. Those contact points produce loud, visible sparks to aid with deterrence.

Shock Option
at The Home Security Superstore

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The full-sized version has a fluted rubber grip, while the Barbarian Mini has a foam grip.

In addition to the power switch, these rechargeable batons promise “triple level safety,” so you can have the stun gun ready to spark without the risk of accidental discharge.

If the stun gun doesn’t do the trick, you can always rely on the spiked top to add some extra oomph to your hits or the rough tip to make your jabs just a little bit more painful.

Need a flashlight? Both Streetwise Barbarian models include 180-lumen LED light with three settings: full strength, half strength, and a blinding strobe — you can never be too safe at night!

Streetwise Barbarian Flashlight
A flashlight is always handy!

The case is made from shockproof military-grade aluminum alloy. It has a wrist strap to aid retention and a metal belt clip.

Want to learn more about stun guns? Check out the 5 Best Stun Guns of 2020.

4. Cold Steel Brooklyn Bats

Cold Steel’s Brooklyn Series is predominately advertised for actual sporting use, so it makes sense that their products look like standard baseball bats.

But considering Cold Steel’s history as a manufacturer of knives, swords, spears, axes, and other weapons, it’s easy to figure out their actual intentions for this product line.

Cold Steel Brooklyn Whopper 38"
Cold Steel Brooklyn Whopper 38″

Since bats are legal pretty much anywhere, this product is a favorite for truckers and people with similar careers who are constantly crossing state lines.  

Cold Steel Brooklyn Bats come in five sizes:

These bats are comparatively affordable and highly durable. Made from polypropylene, a hard polymer, these bats hit hard and are almost impossible to break.

They’re fairly heavy for their size, but they are well weighted for swinging, and the narrow grip, combined with the knob at the end of the handle, helps keep the bat from pulling out of a user’s hands. 

Batter Up
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The larger sizes aren’t easy to use single-handedly, particularly for smaller people, but most won’t have any problems using the Shorty with one hand.

5. Maglite 6D Cell Flashlight

For something less sporty, how about a Maglite?

Maglite 6D Cell Flashlight
Maglite 6D Cell Flashlight

I keep one by my bed, mostly for power outages and the like, but it’s nice to know it can also be used as a 19-inch baton.

Within the 6D cell size, you have two options, the Premium version, and the Classic version. The Premium version is several times the price of the Classic, but it has a bunch of cool features that are worth the cost.

I recommend going with the Premium version that has a 694-lumen LED light and a 415-meter range.  

You can choose between four functions that have three light settings:

  • General (default): Full Power, Low Power, and Eco (reduced brightness)
  • Outdoor: Full Power, Low Power, and Strobe
  • Law Enforcement: Momentary Brightness (the light comes on as long as the button is depressed), Full Power, and Eco
  • Tactical: Momentary Brightness, Full Power, and Strobe
Improvised Impact
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The light has a 71-hour battery life when utilizing the Full Power setting. Pretty impressive! You can also extend the battery life by using the Low Power setting (73 hours) or the Eco setting (a whopping 177 hours).

Of course, the more budget-conscious can get the Classic model. At 19.5 inches long, it boasts a 178-lumen incandescent bulb with a 338-meter range and a single light setting that delivers an 11-hour battery life.

Both Premium and Classic models are water-resistant and weigh 50 ounces (a little over 3 pounds).

Fun fact—you can adjust the beam from a spotlight to a floodlight by turning the head of the flashlight.

Now, if you just need a normal flashlight because you’re not Conan on a mission, you should check out our review on Best Everyday Carry Flashlights. Or, if you’re in the market for options with a bit of gravity to them, try our post on Best Tactical Flashlights!

Tested Flashlights
Our In-House Tested Tactical Flashlights.

Final Thoughts

Batons are handy self-defense tools, and any of these products would serve you well.

Armed and Ready
Never leave home without your trusty baton.

However, like any weapon, you need to train with a baton to make sure you can use it effectively. This doesn’t mean swinging it around a few times; you need to make a habit of practicing with your baton to improve your technique and muscle memory.

Still have questions about batons? Have a favorite baton or a tip for buying or using batons? Let us know in the comments. If batons aren’t your thing, but you still want a less-lethal option, check out our guides to the best pepper spray and non-lethal weapons and ammo.

Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray Size Comparison
Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray Size Comparison

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8 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    A. Davis

    "can’t suffer from mechanical failure"... I'd have to argue with this one. I've had telescoping batons before and the parts that provide the friction can get scratched as its deployed and collapsed, leading to rust. The alternative is lubricating them, but this can results in issues keeping them collapsed in some cases. I'll concede that mechanical issues are rare, but I'd argue they *can* suffer from mechanical failure if collapsible.

    "Batons are legal in many places where other weapons aren’t and generally don’t require a permit or registration"... generally being the keyword here. I (unfortunately) started life in CA (you noted the issues with batons in CA... according to Rodney King... only cops in CA can have batons). Even back in the 90's you were required to have a concealed weapon permit to carry a baton (unless you were a cop) and basically no one in CA can get a concealed permit. Fast forward and I'm in NC now. Batons are legal... but with a caveat that is the same for knives here (other than pocket knives). In NC we don't have concealed weapon permits, we have concealed "handgun" or "pistol" CHP or CCP permits. They don't cover concealed batons, blades or any other weapon (not to be confused with the ATFs definition of an AOW). I truly miss being in FL where a concealed permit meant I could conceal anything I could legally own as a weapon.

    As far as bats go... there's been more than one case where a bat is considered a weapon even if you play baseball or softball. Usually it comes down to laws around intent, brandishing, etc. Pulling a bat out of a trunk has led to more than one arrest. Tire irons have been viewed the same. So it comes down to the situation. Err on the side of caution.

    Given the choice, I prefer the two is one; one is none rule which means a Sig P365XL with an RMR and backup suppressor height, co-witness'ing iron sights and a spare mag (2 sets of sights and 2 mags). If I need to get up close and personal, a knife carried horizontally (I recommend the Spartan CQB tool) in the small of the back works wonder (my two is one if my Sig fails). But all of these including batons can be significantly enhanced with some Krav Maga courses. In fact, should your adversary obtain your weapon, Krav Maga is indespensible for knowing how to counter their plans to use it against you.

    January 30, 2023 5:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    One thing not discussed much for batons is this: Batons are fine if employed properly and they work out for you. The baton although defensive in a way is defensive in more of a repelling/deter aspect if the bad guy can be repelled/deterred and not in a stopping aspect if the bad guy can get closer or continue to be an aggressor. If that bad guy wants to take some blows to get closer or charge you the baton is most likely not going to stop them.

    Just thought I'd bring that up.

    January 29, 2023 8:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      John - key phrase "if employed properly" - that will 'probably' keep one from (most) legal problems and certainly should be stressed in training courses.
      I make no claims to being a baton expert but I do have extensive training (from 36" 'riot' batons to MP clubs - that was what they were called back in the day - to ASPs and side handle versions) with them but have only had to employ them on a limited number of occasions. I still have a 'few' around ;-)
      I'll give one warning: Do NOT strike an aggressor in the head (training should emphasize this) - it 'might' affect the bad guy, but it may not. What it WILL almost assuredly do is split the scalp and cause bleeding = bad optics. I'll qualify that with - if it is a life or death situation, do whatever is needed to make sure you are the 'life' part - but be able to demonstrate there was no other alternative.

      January 29, 2023 2:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    William L Henderson

    Thank you, very informative.

    January 28, 2023 5:23 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Renee Hunter

    Your creative and innovative thinking has put you in a class all your own. No one else can compare. plz Visit Real Damascus Knive | Real Viking Axe

    August 25, 2022 4:14 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Lakey

    You are awful Megan! Now I want to buy a baton! Kidding aside good writing.

    June 3, 2022 5:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ross James

    Hello, Megan,
    A question. I have large hands and need long-enough handle Which baton would you advise?

    May 6, 2022 12:29 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Adam Bradley

      Just an average Joe here but in that case I would try to find a place where you can physically hold them to test what fits you. I was given a 26 in/66 cm but found it to long, even compacted down it is 8 in/20 cm.

      I found a shop that was selling them and tried out the sizes, the one that fit me was a 16 in/41 cm that compacts down to 7 in/17 cm.

      The other idea would be to experiment with some other object like a pipe and measure what fits your hand. Most sellers list off the dimensions of the baton in detail, and if possible get one that will accept returns.

      July 25, 2022 12:50 am
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