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Best Mall Ninja Weapons: When You Want to Tacticool

Ready to embrace your inner mall ninja? We've got the must-have weapons to complete your mall ninja arsenal.

We’ve all seen a Mall Ninja…

You know the type, dudes who claim to be experts and badasses in firearms and tactics but don’t actually have any real-world experience or training

Denim Snake
Denim Snake might be the gray man but he’s also a bit Mall Ninja.

Mall Ninjas are usually obsessed with gear and things that look tacticool to their own detriment.

While most gun people look down on the Mall Ninja, I want to give them a moment to shine.

We salute you, Mall Ninja man.(Photo: Iraqveteran8888)

So, I’ve tracked down the best (or rather worst depending on where you fall on the Mall Ninja scale) gear to bring out to celebrate this unique culture — or maybe throw a little side-eye.

Let’s take a look at the best Mall Ninja gear the market has to offer…

Best Mall Ninja Gear

1. Handheld Crossbows 

Crossbows can be effective hunting tools capable of launching hefty bolts at several hundred feet per second.

But those aren’t what I’m talking about today.

I’m looking at handheld, pistol-style crossbows that grace the aisles of many flea markets. 

mall ninja crossbow
An example of a mall ninja crossbow (Photo: u/OneTaoThree)

These little crossbow pistols fling tiny, lightweight darts at about 150 feet-per-second. They are effective for punching paper…and not much else.

But they sell themselves as a lightweight, almost silent weapon for dispatching your enemies — so long as your enemies are paper targets, watermelon, or cardboard.

A small crossbow made out of pencils, rubber band and tape.
You might as well just make one of these. (Photo: ThoBel-0043)

However, effectiveness is never the goal of the Mall Ninja.

The goal of the Mall Ninja is to get as many weapons as possible at the lowest price possible.

If they make you look like an edgy 1990s character from a PS1 game, that’s even better. 

If you think dual-wielding $25 handheld crossbows isn’t cool, you clearly aren’t part of the club.

Diablo Demon Hunter
I’m pretty sure the dual-wielded crossbow concept has been lifted from RPGs anyway, but whatever. (Photo: Lord.Blackthorn)

2. Ninja Stars 

Blame anime and 1980s action flicks for ninja stars entering the mainstream Mall Ninja consciousness.

The historical nature of ninja stars seems to be debated quite a bit. 

Ninja Star
Ninja stars look cool but are tragically ineffective in real life. (Photo: Gina Collechia)

Though small, sharpened, throwing weapons might have been used throughout Asia in yesteryears, they didn’t come in the form of the gas station ninja star.

These tools were used to injure and distract an opponent in battle but throwing small knife-style weapons is simply not a great way to assassinate a person. 

In the hands of the Mall Ninja, a ninja star certainly looks neat, though.

Also, like most Mall Ninja tools, these things are made from cheap steel.

After a little practice, this cheap steel will chip, break, and bend. And good luck getting these things sharp enough to be effective in the first place.

Also, let’s not forget those folding Mall Ninja stars. This way, you can conceal and throw your crappy knife. 

The skill to master a throwing tool is well beyond that of your typical Mall Ninja.

Diamond Dave’s got it figured out though.

Trope wise, they enter the realm of a knife is better than a gun.

Remember Trent, the karate master private investigator from Walker Texas Ranger? He refused to carry a gun, so Walker gave him ninja stars to increase his effective range. 

To be fair, when this is your fighting style, throwing stars feel like a consistent branding choice.

3. Wannabe Wolverine Claws 

Listen, Wolverine is cool as heck and always will be. His tri-blade claws rip and tear through bad guy after bad guy in movies, TV, and comics. I can see the attraction.

Animals effectively use claws, so why can’t I? 

X-Men Origins Wolverine
Because clearly the thing stopping Mall Ninjas from looking like Hugh Jackman is the lack of claws. (Photo: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009))

Though they are unique, they are almost universally made from crappy steel that breaks, rusts, chips, etc. after just a little bit of use.

If someone tried to take on Sabertooth with their Mall Ninja claws, they’d experience some immediate issues.

Stabbing will push back the claws and likely dislodge them from your hand. Slashing will create a leverage point in your hand and push the blades backward as the leverage changes. 

Physics don’t matter, though!

You look like Wolverine, and Wolverine is cool as hell.

You’ll be able to slice and dice just like your favorite yellow spandex-wearing Canadian in the comfort of Mom’s basement. 

Seriously though: maybe just settle for the claws used for tearing barbecue instead.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

4. Kubatons 

Good ol’ kubatons. As a kid, I thought I was so cool because I had a kubaton on my keychain.

But also, no one cared because kubatons aren’t that great.

Kubaton with Ruler
Just what the average set of car keys needs: more bulk and weight.

They fall into that secret pressure point trope. A man armed with a kubaton can control an enemy twice his size via pressure points!  

Or so the claim goes.

In reality, a kubaton is a piece of cheap metal that makes your keychain heavy.

Speaking of, heavy keychains can also be bad for your ignition and can break your car key if you aren’t careful. 

Don’t get me even started with the little knives hidden inside of kubatons on occasion. Those are a joke as well. 

Bottom line: they aren’t useful for anything but retrieving your keys from your pocket. 

If you want a kubaton-like weapon that’s not a piece of crap, look at a good tactical pen.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

5. Cat Knuckle Keychain Things 

These cute little keychains sit en masse in gun shows, flea markets, and weird strip mall knife stores.

Those sharpened cat-like ears will surely do some serious damage when combined with your punch, right? Well, no.

Cat Self Defense Keychain
Sometimes they shake things up by being both bulky and useless. (Photo: BudK)

They might hurt the bad guy, but they’ll hurt you too — potentially breaking your fingers.

Also, if attached to your keychain and in your pocket, how fast can you start throwing haymakers?

Certainly not faster than a firearm in a good holster. 

PHLster Floodlight AIWB Concealed
Waaay more effective

These bash-and-dashers are super thin, poorly made, and frequently illegal.

While they try to claim they’re just keychains, under some state laws, these things still qualify as knuckle dusters — most states prohibit. 

Not only is your kitty cat keychain silly, but it’s also likely a misdemeanor. 

McDonald's Knuckle Dusters
If you’re going to risk it, you should at least lean into the aesthetic fully.

6. Knife-Guns

Americans love guns, and as such, why wouldn’t they love guns shaped like knives?

These knives look like guns, but a knife unfolds from the bottom pointing out the same direction as the “barrel.”

Replica Gun Knife
Why, though? (Photo: u/get-off-of-my-lawn)

Do you hold the knife by the gun’s handle and use it as such?

Or do you assume some kind of awkward grip that grabs most of the gun and some of the handle?

I can’t begin to understand the ergonomics behind it. 

Rifle gun knife
This one’s at least more usable. (Photo: u/trendchaser91)

You’ll see lots of Berettas, Walthers, and revolvers that are represented surprisingly well.

If I have to say something nice, I guess they’re good enough replicas to be a fun novelty.

If you’re looking for an actual tactical knife, check out our guide.

7. Ka-Bar Sword 

I love the Ka-Bar knife. It’s an old design, but an effective one.

The big 7-inch blade, leather-wrapped handle, and historical significance keep the Ka-Bar current. 

What I Carried KA-BAR (2)
Ka-Bar knives = good. Ka-Bar swords = bad.

So why not extend the blade out to almost 20-inches and make it a sword?!

To be clear: this isn’t a product made or authorized by Ka-Bar.

Someone ripped off the Ka-Bar design and lengthened the blade to an absurd size to get Senpai’s attention.

The Ka-Bar sword, or as Budk calls it, the US 1942 Combat Fighting Sword, is half katana, half Ka-Bar, and full Mall Ninja.

It’s for the modern tactical Mall Ninja that’s rocking that Blackhawk LBV and commando boots. 

1942 U.S. Combat Sword
1942 U.S. Combat Sword (Photo: BudK)

If your local Mall Ninja unsheaths this bad boy, you better get ready cause it’s popping off!

It’s even made to be carried across the back fictional ninja style, allowing for that efficient but cool draw. 

The Ka-Bar Sword is outfitted with a short section of serration. You know, because of EDC versatility.

Mall Ninja powers activate!

A tanto tip blade ensures you’ll penetrate right through your drywall as you practice that dramatic draw. 

But for real, just go with an actual Ka-Bar…we have recommendations on the best ones here.

8. Shotguns Covered in Crap 

Finally, we have the grand pinnacle of Mall Ninja weapons.

The Mall Ninja shotgun is often a cheap shotgun like the Maverick 88 or the dozens of Turkish shotguns coming into the states. 

Axe head shotgun
An ever-practical ax head shotgun (Photo: u/Lukethe206)

Don’t get me wrong, lots of these are great shotguns.

The problem is how the average Mall Ninja goes about adorning them with accessories.

Mall Ninjas will attach the most ridiculous combo of side saddle and optics rails, complete with a Wish-grade Amazon optic. 

TacStar Sidesaddle
Side saddles can be practical when used correctly. But the Mall Ninja has no time for learning!

Also, expect to see not only a side-saddle, but some other crazy means to mount ammo….buttstock cuffs, slings that hold ammo, etc.

Another favorite of the shotgun Mall Ninja is the pistol grip only shotgun.

As we know, a PGO shotgun isn’t exactly an effective weapon for these tasks. 

PGO Firearms Mossberg Shockwave 590
Mossberg Shockwave 590…sans the ax.

Don’t be surprised to see a joke of a light mounted in a scope ring and attached to the optics rail.

Heck, a laser of some kind might be in place of the light on top of the optic’s rail if the Mall Ninja feels frisky. 

In total, with all the accessories, they’ve likely invested the cost of a single good shotgun and one good light into a pile of junk and crap. But at least they won’t run out of ammo. 

Pinty 3 in 1 at the Range
But you gotta go with this 3-in-1 optic.


I’m willing to bet most of us have had Mall Ninja tendencies every once in a while.

Mall Ninja

So if you’re feeling like you need to embrace it, have at it. I’ve given you plenty of recommendations to get started.

Were you a Mall Ninja? What’s your go-to Mall Ninja weapon? Let us know in the comments below. Ready to dive into more terrible designs? Check out the Worst AR-15 Parts & Accessories.

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5 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Lex Logic

    I have a pistol crossbow, but I always thought of it as equivalent to a cheap pellet gun; fun for punching holes in a few beer cans but hardly a decent weapon. There's a reason crossbows made for killing things cost about as much as (or even more than) a good hunting rifle.

    January 9, 2022 9:13 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Russell Everett

    I gotta take exception with #1. While not practical for self defense or hunting, some of these are not a total joke. I got one of these a while back when my kids were just learning how to shoot a bow. It was $15 and I bought it as a novelty (I'm also a sucker for spring loaded fly swatter guns, balsa wood gliders, & such).

    We got it home and tried it out on a 20" foam block target. We lost 3 bolts in the foam before we realized how deep it was going. It penetrated almost all the way with just the tip exiting the rear of the target at 15 yds. It will also sink to the fletch in 1/2" plywood from about 5 yards.

    November 5, 2021 11:48 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Thank you so much for the hilarious walk down memory lane! When I bought the oh so fine assortment of throwing stars back in the 80’s they made perfect sense. They were the perfect compliment to my nunchucks which were adorned with metal studs. Wish I would have had enough money for Sai daggers in order to complete the trifecta…

    October 21, 2021 7:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great article Travis, I think I was a subject to mall ninja stuff from the early 80's. After Rambo first blood it all went down hill from there.

    October 20, 2021 9:22 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    User Error

    I’ll admit I had (and might still have) a cheap set of throwing stars… mostly bc my state says I can’t.

    October 19, 2021 8:29 pm
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