Travel Weapons

The Ubiquitous RPG-7

The Ubiquitous RPG-7 768 1024 Greg Ellifritz

If you spend any time in third world conflict zones, you will likely see people carrying (and maybe using) the RPG-7.


I actually got the chance to shoot one of these in Cambodia.  Read my article titled Adventures with RPGs and Hand Grenades for more details of that unique experience.


If you are traveling in areas where these things are prevalent, you should probably know how they work.  Ian from Forgotten Weapons provides you with the basic information in the video below.


RPG-7: How it Works and a Demo Shot


Ka-Bar TDI Shark Bite

Ka-Bar TDI Shark Bite 398 500 Greg Ellifritz

The Shark Bite is an inexpensive option for you travelers who have to deal with magnetometers. It has no metallic content, so it can be carried into places where metal knives can’t go.


It’s relatively easy to make a plastic, carbon fiber, or polymer blade.  It’s tougher to make a sheath that contains no metal.  Look at every other polymer knife sheaths you own.  See those metal rivets?  It’s more difficult to make a sheath that doesn’t have them.


The engineers at Ka-Bar figured out an innovative method to carry the knife in a safe manner without using any metal.  The retention on the sheath is created by studs in the sheath that fit through the hole in the center of the knife.  To draw the blade, you simply push on the studs in the center of the sheath with your index finger and the blade pops free of the sheath.


Note the twin studs protruding through the center of the blade. Push those and the knife pops away from the sheath.


So, how do you carry it?  You can run it a ton of different ways.  The slots in the sheath can be slipped over a belt so that the blade can be carried like an outside the waistband holster.  The blade comes with a metallic dog tag chain so you can wear it around your neck.  If you are planning on going through metal detectors, replace the metal chain with something like paracord that is non metallic.


The holes in the sheath allow it to be suspended by a cord around the belt and carried inside the waistband (a slip sheath).  You can also use the holes to lace the blade to your boots or to zip tie the sheath to any piece of Molle gear.


Where I see the best use of this sheath is carried in the front pants pocket.  It’s easy for a person in “business” attire to throw this knife in a front pocket and have a weapon available when they otherwise can’t carry.  The light weight won’t drag down your dress pants like many other blades do.  When I carry mine, that’s how I do it.  Inside the front, strong side pants pocket.  It’s very concealable and pretty quick to access.  If you want a little more stability and a more consistent draw stroke, attach the sheath to a Raven Concealment Pocket Shield.


I think this is the ideal weapon for those of you who travel on cruise ships.  If you are going through metal detectors on reentry, but not getting physically searched, this one will get through every time and give you a weapon option for when you go ashore.



If you haven’t seen the Shark Bite, you ought to check it out.  For less than $15 it provides a protection option that you can take almost anywhere.












The links above from are affiliate links.  If you purchase these items, I get a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.


The AK-47

The AK-47 682 383 Greg Ellifritz

The most common rifle you will see in service among both military groups and criminals is the ubiquitous AK-47.

A well-informed traveler should know a little bit about this rifle and how it works.

Many of the AK questions you’ve had for a long time are answered in the article below.  It’s worth reading if you have any interest at all in AK-style rifles.


21 Important Questions & Answers About the AK-47

US Knife Laws

US Knife Laws 1024 576 Greg Ellifritz

Most of this blog focuses on foreign travel.  With that said, I realize a lot of you prefer to travel in the USA instead.  If your destination state does not have a reciprocity agreement with your home state in regards to concealed carry, many of you will choose to carry a knife for self protection in lieu of your firearm.


It may be useful to know each state’s knife laws before you carry there.


Staying out of jail is a good thing.


Knife Laws and Regulations of All 50 States



Gun Laws in Europe

Gun Laws in Europe 1024 994 Greg Ellifritz

Lots of my American friends are surprised that citizens in other countries can own guns as well.  The process for becoming a gun owner in most other countries is much more onerous than in the United States.


In European Gun Culture: What I’ve Learned & Unlearned, An American gun owner moves to a small Spanish island and is going through the process of becoming a gun owner in the EU.  This incredibly detailed narrative explains all the steps he is taking.  It’s quite a process.

“Needless to say, when it comes to guns, there are big differences between the US and Europe.

Navigating these differences has been a winding mountain road, but through this journey, I’ve learned that Americans have several misconceptions about European gun laws and culture, and vice versa.

But we’re all gun lovers here, so let’s learn from my mistakes and break down some barriers!

Today, we’re going to build a small intercultural bridge by examining Europe’s gun laws and the European Firearms Directive, the twisty process for getting a Spanish firearms license (help), and the common stereotypes that perpetuate cultural misunderstandings.”


This is a worthwhile read if you are interested in other countries’ gun laws.


FIELD STRIP: Makarov Pistol And Licensed Copies

FIELD STRIP: Makarov Pistol And Licensed Copies 660 495 Greg Ellifritz

Do you ever research which  guns are most prevalent in the foreign destination to which you are traveling?

I do and I think it’s very important.  If you need a gun in a foreign country, it may not be the same gun you are used to carrying and shooting at home.  It’s best to have a broad knowledge of how different guns work.


My friends at The Firearms Blog are committed to providing some of the information you may need.  Check out the link below:

TFB FIELD STRIP: Makarov Pistol And Licensed Copies

This is just one installment into TFB’s excellent video series covering the field stripping of uncommon guns.


Why would anyone need to know how to shoot a Makarov?


You should understand it because the Makarov is still commonly carried by cops and soldiers in Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, and many of the former Soviet Bloc countries.  If you are visiting one of these areas, taking the time to watch a short video like this is a cheap insurance policy.

And for what it’s worth with regards to the Makarov, they will generally shoot (but not reliably feed).380 acp cartridges.  If you can’t find that oddball military 9 x 18 mm ammunition, keep that little bit of knowledge in the back of your mind.


Don’t Depend on the Police to Save You

Don’t Depend on the Police to Save You 634 389 Greg Ellifritz

The police in the developing world may not be as well trained or dedicated to the job as your local cops.


Read this article.   In an attack on Tunisian beach resort, the first cop who arrived refused to go after the killer because he (the cop) wasn’t wearing body armor (which likely wouldn’t have stopped an AK round anyway). A man who worked at the hotel beach activities stand took the cop’s gun and went after the killer. Unfortunately, the hotel worker couldn’t use the weapon. He had difficulty with the safety, got one shot off (that missed) and then the gun jammed.


We’ve seen the same thing in most of the large active killer incidents outside the USA…cops unwilling or unable to do their jobs. It was a huge problem in the Mumbai attacks and the attack on the mall in Kenya.


If you are traveling internationally in third world countries you really shouldn’t expect that the local police are competent. Know how to use any weapon you may encounter. If a tourist or hotel worker could have correctly operated the cop’s gun in the Tunisian event, the killing would have been stopped 20 minutes earlier.


A standard pre-travel ritual I engage in is to prepare myself to use any “battlefield pickup” weapons I may be able to acquire overseas in an emergency. I look at the weapons that local cops/soldiers/security guards carry and make sure I can use those particular guns proficiently. The chance of me needing some local cop’s gun is extremely low, but so is being caught in a hurricane or trapped in a volcanic eruption. I’ve experienced both of those disasters while traveling and want to be prepared on weapons side of things as well.


All across the world, the most common gun that you will see in public is a double action .38 special revolver. Armed security guards are more prevalent than the police and military in many developing countries. All those guards carry a .38 wheel gun in some kind of cheap nylon holster. In a crisis, if I had to arm myself, I would either offer to buy one of those guns for an exorbitant sum of money or I’d choke out an unsuspecting security guard (sorry dude) and “acquire” his weapon.


The problem doesn’t end with the mere acquisition of a revolver. Some other limiting factors necessitate that you not only have the gun in your possession, but you be exceptionally skilled in its use. Because the security guards who carry these revolvers rarely carry spare ammunition, and the ammunition they do carry tends to lack stopping power, you must focus on extreme accuracy and making fast head shots. One round of round nose .38 to the chest isn’t a fast fight stopper and you won’t have extra bullets to spare. Plan on using more head shots than you might normally consider. The combination of faster stops and fewer cartridges used is exactly the solution you will need.


You will find a variety of weapons carried throughout different countries. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the .38 revolver that I described above is exceedingly popular. You will also see a lot of pump action shotguns, many of which will be equipped with pistol grips. The ubiquitous nature of those two types of weapons dictates that the knowledge of their use is critical before traveling. In all my other travels in third world countries, I see the following other guns most commonly carried on a regular basis by the local cops/soldiers/security guards:

– Glock Pistol

– Beretta 92 (or Taurus Copy) 9mm Pistol

– M-16/AR-15 semi-automatic or automatic rifle variant

– Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle

– FN/FAL Battle Rifle

– AK-47 and AK-74 fully automatic rifle. (As a pro-tip for you American gun owners, recognize that the manual safety positions on a fully automatic AK rifle are different from the semi-automatic AK rifles you see in the USA.)


To be a well-rounded and better prepared traveler, you should understand basic operating functions of all of those weapons. They are the ones you will most likely see. If the topic interests you, talk to your gun owning friends and ask them to take you to a shooting range and show you how guns like these work. You may also be able to talk a friendly gun store clerk into giving you an impromptu lesson. If you have time, use Google Images and search “xxxx country police weapons.” Look at the guns you see the cops carrying and make sure you are at least proficient on those weapon systems.


Knowing what types of guns the police and military carry in your destination country may have additional benefits as well. If you are stopped by a group of criminals posing as police officers or soldiers, you may be able to recognize that their lack of authority when they aren’t carrying the kind of guns cops/soldiers carry in that area.


That bit of knowledge saved the life of a friend of mine when he was stopped at a roadblock by a gang of criminals posing as soldiers on the border of Guatemala. As he was driving up to the roadblock, he recognized that the weapons and uniforms the “soldiers” were using didn’t fit those carried by the other soldiers he had already seen in the country. He sped through the roadblock and escaped. When he reported the incident at a military base down the road, the real soldiers returned to the area of the roadblock and found six people stripped naked and bound in the jungle. The thieves had tied them up and were planning on executing all of them at the end of the day after victimizing as many travelers as they could. It pays to know your local weapons.



The Static Cord

The Static Cord 300 225 Greg Ellifritz

Do you know about the simple static cord?  Read the article below

Simple Knife Carry Hack – The Static Cord

Me using static cords to carry both a pistol and a blade.

The static cord is a very good way to carry a fixed blade knife for optimal concealment.  It provides easy access, but you can shove the entire knife down into your pants if necessary and nothing will be seen.  This is how I carry my ceramic knife (will go through metal detector) when I travel internationally.

I had Matt from Zulu Bravo Kydex custom make a non-metallic sheath for the blade.