Reviewing Ravenscraft‘s “Fallhammer” self-defense tool presented an interesting dilemma to The Martialist: Slungshots, or weighted monkey fists, are not legal in my home state. As a result, we had to take a road trip outside the state to a municipality where these tools can be possessed legally. My photo mat, my camera, my driver and I linked up with Ravenscraft’s Chris Champion in order to take a look at these hand-crafted items.
A monkey fist is a knot used by sailors to weight the ends of line in order to throw the line. As sailors were wont to do in centuries past (and perhaps even now), it didn’t take long for them to figure out that these weighted lines had potential for delivering force. A slungshot gets its power from the speed with which the weight can be whipped into the target, even at extremely short distances (such as, say, the distance from your hand to an attacker’s head).
Slungshots are easily improvised by adding weight to a bandanna and tying it off. Popular culture is aware of this concept, too; Sean Penn famously creates a gigantic one in the film Bad Boys when he puts several cans of soda in a pillowcase. The “padlock in a sock,” or “slock” (as frequently mentioned on Orange is the New Black) represents the same concept. There is something about a well made monkey fist, however, that is just pleasing to have on hand… if you live in a state where it is legal to do so. My own Fallhammers, sadly, had to be left with a mutual friend out of state for that reason, and have never crossed into New York. The absurdity that something so simple could be outlawed is a hallmark of how the Empire State’s legal system operates.
According to the product literature included with the monkey fists, the “Fallhammer” derives its name from the fall hitch commonly found in whips. It’s a strong but unobtrusive (and adjustable) wrist strap and thumb catch. Each Fallhammer is relatively small, suitable for carrying in a pocket, but long enough to develop some good speed (and therefore force) for striking.
The monkey fists are well made and exhibit good understanding of how to tie the knots and weave the braids tightly and consistently. They are available with and without metal weights. The neon-yellow/green model sent to us has no weight inside because it is intended as a trainer — something you an locate easily if you drop it in the yard. Even this hits surprisingly hard once you get it moving fast enough, but it would indeed be a lot safer for training and practice than a weighted model.
“The problem with most fists heavy enough to cause a lot of damage is they routinely use large objects to provide the necessary inertia,” Chris explains. “It is incredibly hard to carry a cue ball or large bearing capable of delivering potentially lethal force in one’s pocket. Our solution for this is a steel striking head, followed by cast lead, which would normally deform if it were the actual striking implement. The result is the best of both worlds, delivering crushing blows at incredible speed, while remaining as thin and “pocketable” as a small blackjack.”
Chris recommends a “thumb wrap” method for deploying the Fallhammer. It is light, maneuverable, and remarkably easy to wield, yet surprisingly hard-hitting. I smashed a number of small and expendable items by the roadside with one, delighting in how quickly it could be whipped into the targets.
Each Fallhammer is made of Dacron with internals secured with rubber. They are bathed in wax to help make them more resistant to moisture. This is, overall, a very nice little package for striking that is easy to carry and easy to conceal. It’s simply a pity that I’ll never actually get to enjoy owning one. You can reach Chris to purchase a Fallhammer through the Ravenscraft Facebook page.