For most preppers, weapons will be among the many things you accumulate to get ready for a survival situation, be it a long-term or short-term one.
Chances are that means firearms much of the time, perhaps with a smattering of bows or crossbows along with our personal knives.
You definitely won’t hear any complaining out of me, and you can hardly say you have a well-rounded arsenal if you don’t have firearms. But what if things really went against you?
What if you’re in a situation where you didn’t have access to your firearms, you lost them, had to leave them behind or simply just ran out of ammunition?
You’ll need to rely on something else, and bows and crossbows might be all right for a while, but chances are you’ll have a need for something more repeatable and reliable in close quarters.
That means you’ll be looking at melee weapons.
When it comes to melee weapons, you can hardly do better than the seemingly humble spear.
An ancient weapon that has served mankind well in wars all across the globe and in every culture, spears have an enviable combination of reach, deadliness, and ease of use, and especially relevant to our needs they are easy to create, being a little more than a smallish blade purged the top a long stick.
Knowing how to make a good spear could be the difference between life and death, and today we are bringing you six foolproof plans for high-quality improvised spears.
Spears are Among the Best Ancient Weapons
Even now you might be turning your nose up at the idea of wielding a spear while hunting or for self-defense. Don’t do that!
Although much of prepper lore will steer you towards modern or at least modern-ish improvised weaponry like baseball bats, lengths of metal pipe or ramshackle contraptions that look like they were just carted off the set of the next Mad Max movie, don’t get sucked into that idea.
Chances are the spear will beat every single one of them in anything but the most highly confined circumstances. As the saying goes, reject modernity and embrace tradition.
Spears have so many positive attributes going for them, particularly for preppers, it’s not even funny.
They have incredible reach, are light and nimble in the hands and require very little in the way of proper training to utilize effectively, unlike a sword or something similar.
Simply use the spear by ramming the sharp end into the target and simultaneously staying out of reach from any retaliation. It is the picture of simplicity!
But perhaps of more interest to preppers who are getting ready for long-term survival in the aftermath of a major SHTF scenario is the sublime simplicity of the spirit itself. Spears have been around since well before recorded history.
Consisting of nothing more than a point or blade attached to the end of a long stick, the spear was in all likelihood the first combination weapon mankind ever devised.
Even though it is quite literally dirt simple, it is still extremely effective!
Spears work just as well for self-defense as they do for hunting, and whether you are hunting large game or small game there is a spear type that is easily made and optimized for whatever it is you’re trying to bring down.
For Self-Defense or Bagging Dinner, Spears get it Done!
Unlike other primitive melee weapons, spears are extremely versatile in use.
Some are configured for tackling larger game, including humans, while others are much smaller and more delicate, perfect for small prey or even for throwing.
No matter what your purpose, there is a spear that can do the job, and the variables are simple, consisting of nothing more than the shape and width of the spearhead along with the length and thickness of the shaft.
By way of a four instance, if you are after small game like rodents, reptiles, amphibians or even fish you would probably rely on a sphere with a multipronged head, like a trident or gig.
You may also go for one with barbs or other embellishments on the times that will help it capture the prey that would otherwise easily slip off.
A spear that is designed for battle against humans will usually have a smooth-edged, broad spearhead capable of inflicting devastating penetration wounds or even slashing someone open.
On the other end of the spectrum, hunting spears designed for bringing down the largest and most dangerous game that could feasibly be tackled with one will often feature an embellishment.
This embellishment comes in the form of a crossbar or set of wings behind the blade that are intended to prevent the quarry from charging toward the spear wielder up the shaft that is impaling them.
Gruesome stuff, but this does give the spearman better leverage and hopefully better control over his wounded but still fighting quarry.
It is even possible to purpose design throwing spears consisting of light and comparatively puny spearheads that are easily heaved a long way and will just as easily inflict serious wounds should they strike a target.
A bag full of such spears could make an excellent first strike weapon when firearms are no longer an option.
Whatever you need and whatever the circumstances, you can count on spears to get the job done!
6 Improvised Spear Types that are Easy to Make
Below you will find our list of plans for DIY spears that we have curated from across the internet.
Below you will find spears that adhere strictly to the spirit of improvisation and are easily crafted in the field from repurposed tools or found materials and require a minimum of investment on your part.
You’ll also find surprisingly refined and extraordinarily effective spears that you can forge or otherwise craft yourself from existing metal components and are capable of giving any historical battlefield weapon a run for the money.
You would be well served to review and at least be passing me familiar with the creation of all of them so no matter what situation you wind up in you’ll always have some idea of how you can assemble a useful spear.
DIY Spear with multiple Spearhead Types
First up on our list is an excellent, in-depth article that will show you how to craft a variety of Spears while out in the bush.
As it turns out, even the most primitive spear whittled from nothing more than a sturdy branch and equipped with a sharp, potentially barbed point is still more than adequate for most hunting and self-defense tasks in a pinch.
Pay close attention here because this will inform some of your design choices for other spears if you need to adapt them to various purposes.
Sharp, broad points without any barbs or other adornment are likely best for self-defense since they will not get snagged in the target but spearheads with one or more barbs are likely to snare your prey or make it difficult for the prey to get away.
Similarly, multiple, small diameter sharpened tines are just the thing for snagging small or wiggly prey like amphibians or fish.
Also, take note of how they upgrade their spears. Using the hot ashes from a fire the tip can be hardened for effectiveness and durability.
You don’t have to stick with just a little branch, either, not if you come up with some additional materials to fashion a better spearhead.
Folded and ground sheet metal, perhaps made from an aluminum or soda can, broken glass, knapped rock or even the snapped and shaped circuit board from your phone or some other electronic device could produce a lethally sharp spearhead that is easily lashed to the shaft.
Your spirit can be made as quickly as necessary or refined according to how much time you have to invest in the task!
Hand Spade / Masonry Trowel Spear
If you’re like me you’re probably long wondered about the grim and sometimes darkly hilarious ingenuity that various wasteland survivors display in various forms of media when crafting their weapons to survive the apocalypse.
Garden implements are typically repurposed from planting and weed killing duty to lethal effect by crazed wastelanders. This is one case where there might be more than a little truth in the fiction!
When considering common and seemingly harmless tools around your home, garden and workshop it does not take much in the way of imagination to visualize how some of them might be put to deadly effect with a little bit of refinement.
Two items that are damn near purpose-made for improvised spear crafting are the common garden hand spade and the equally common masonry trowel.
Just look at them. Both of these tools are already triangular in shape, and need only be flattened, cut down and then sharpened before fixing them to our shaft and then we will have an impressively deadly spear at the ready.
Even better, since you are sourcing your spearhead from the garden shed or the workshop you won’t have to look far for a sturdy hardwood or synthetic shaft for your project!
“The Prepper Special” Knife-on-a-Stick
If a proper is only going to learn how to craft one spear, I would prefer it be this one because it is easy to make quickly and will utilize materials that they will almost certainly have on hand no matter the situation.
As the name suggests, this is a sphere that is made from little more than a sturdy and roughly shaped branch and a knife of some kind.
By lashing, taping or otherwise attaching a blade to a stick, you have made a spear!
It might not be pretty, and it certainly isn’t as refined as other designs on this list, but it will do the job of increasing the lethal reach of a sharpened edge.
Attaching the knife to your branch is a matter of using cordage, either cordage you have on hand or cord is you fashion from other natural materials, or possibly something like tape along with a little bit of creative shaping of the mounting point to better do the job.
Assuming you find a good branch in short order and know what you are doing when it comes to attaching a given knife to it, this is something that can come together very quickly even in austere conditions and is perfect for arming yourself in a hurry.
Also, it should be said that you must take a little bit of care if you are using a knife that isn’t a fixed blade design with this.
Even a folding knife can work well but any heavy-duty impacts, when used in this way, will put the lockwork of such knives to a severe test.
Re-forged Leaf Spring Spear
Next up is a spear design that is so nice and is so refined it can hardly said to be improvised at all.
Believe it or not, this beautiful, deadly broad hunting spearhead is fashioned from nothing more than a common leaf spring of the kind you might find on an older automobile.
Creating such a spear is several rungs above the typical cobbled together plans featured here and elsewhere, but if you want a proper weapon for self-defense or hunting you can scarcely do better.
This spear is especially good for self-defense or hunting both because of the blade shape and also because of the lug or crossbar immediately behind the blade.
As mentioned above, these wings or whatever you want to call them are designed to prevent the spear from over penetrating the target and serve as an additional point of control when fighting a human assailant or using the spear against a tough, dangerous game.
Assuming you have the skills to do the metal working in a little forging, this spear is not particularly hard to assemble and will easily outperform most of the others on this list when it comes to durability and lethality.
If you want to put in the time to make yourself a genuine weapon that you can be proud of and one that will go the distance you can hardly do better than this design right here!
Up-cycled Circular Saw Blade Spear
The second heavy-duty spear on our list is made from upcycled materials, this spear utilizes a circular saw blade that is cut out and sharpened before being affixed to a sturdy hardwood shaft.
This is a particularly good design for preppers because circular saw blades aren’t in short supply and can be found pretty much everywhere.
In fact, the high-quality steel used in circular saw blades makes them a great candidate for stockpiling after you wear them out in your woodshop.
Looking at the design, this spear is lighter and handier than most of the others on this list, making it perfect for cramped quarters or as a dedicated throwing weapon.
Note how the spearhead itself is a low drag design and is unlikely to deflect or get snagged upon impact.
Though it isn’t as impressive or as long as the broadhead on the previous sphere it is no less deadly and is ideally suited for quick strikes or throwing shenanigans.
This is another high-end DIY design that requires some skills, tools and know-how but all of it is still easily within reach of a well-prepared survivor even in the aftermath of a major event.
Alternately, this can be a good weekend project if you want to craft the spear ahead of time as a hobby endeavor before putting it in your stash with your other weapons.
Homemade Fishing Tridents
Sometimes you don’t need a huge, honking spear for hunting big game or defending yourself from aggressive humans.
Sometimes you need a smaller, more delicate spear that is ideal for catching small prey, things that scurry along the ground, slither or swim.
In such a case, a trident or gig is ideal, and that is what this homemade fishing trident will excel at.
The multiple prongs of the trident increase the margin for error when striking, and the barbed tips will hold delicate, slippery prey in place for easy retrieval.
It would not do to stab pray with a trident or gig only to have it slip off of a scratch hit from a single time and get away to die fruitlessly. For hunting fish, frogs, rodents and other tiny prey, this trident is tops.
Note that it is set up with a slingshot type of arrangement for maximum efficacy underwater, but it works just as well out of hand if you lengthen the shaft.
Note that when you click on the link above the article will show you two build plans, one using a combination of pre-purchased materials and improvised materials and the other focusing on DIY or scavenged materials only.
Both have merit, and it would be in your best interest to learn how to build both just in case.
Spears epitomize the expression “oldie, but a goodie” and these weapons have been used throughout human history on ancient hunting forays and battlefields alike.
There’s absolutely no reason why a properly built spear cannot continue to serve you today.
Easy to make, minimal needed materials, and excellent effectiveness across a wide domain of tasks and situations make the spear a survival and self-defense superstar when other, modern weapons are inappropriate or unavailable.
Make sure you take the time to thoroughly review all of the build plans linked above so you can craft a good spear when you need one!