Improvised Weaponry for Self-Defense: The Molotov Cocktail
Probably one of the best known improvised weapons in existence, the molotov cocktail has a long and illustrious history. The Finns used them to combat Soviet tanks in the early parts of WWII, and since then they have been used to kill tanks and infantry, to burn through brush and expose hidden bunkers, and to burn out political opponents at dozens of riots and rallies. In a world of savagery without modern conveniences, weapons like the cocktail will serve you well in keeping your family safe.
Disclaimer: Use and Making of a Molotov Cocktail
In the U.S., the Molotov is considered a “destructive device” by the ATF and is illegal in many states. As always we never advocate breaking the law and landing yourself in jail, because it’s rather hard to be prepared while you’re occupying a cot and counting the bars in your cell.
Furthermore, you should remember that a Molotov Cocktail can be explosive and extremely deadly, which is what makes it such an attractive weapon. Being improvised from random glass bottles and other materials of questionable quality, you should always be very conscious of the fact that these are dangerous and volatile and can just as easily kill the user if they’re not careful. Fire is indiscriminate and can destroy more than the intended targets, so be sure of where you are aiming and consider whether that fire you’ll make will destroy valuable buildings, walls, materials, or innocent people.
The whole point of an improvised weapon is that you can make it from random junk lying around and use it to defend yourself. A Molotove Cocktail requires only a few ingredients to be made:
Homemade Molotovs can be made of almost any material, but this is the classic design.
- Some manner of breakable container, such as a wine bottle, canning jar, or other glass container. Be aware that some modern jars are made of very thick glass that may be difficult to break unless it hits with a fair amount of force.
- Inflammable fuel. Traditionally gasoline mixed with other ingredients such as tar, sugar, egg whites, or pieces of rubber in order to thicken it and make it stick like napalm.
- An ignition source. The classic example is a rag soaked in diesel fuel or alcohol with one end put in the fuel and one end sticking out of the container and set alight before throwing.
Mixing the fuel
In a pinch a container with just gasoline can be thrown, but for best results the gas should be mixed with other products in order to maximize the effect, depending on your target.
- For vehicles and small groups of people, a mixture of 50% gasoline and 50% “sticky stuff” such as dish soap, egg whites, rubber, tar, or motor oil can do the jobAn armored car’s occupants may be immune to the heat, but they will still have a hard time seeing anything.just fine. Most modern armored carriers and tanks are isolated enough to be immune to the flames and fumes, but the smoke and heat can still obscure sensors and keep the hatches closed, effectively blinding the vehicle. Walking looters and passengers in civilian cars and trucks that aren’t so well protected will suffer rapidly from the effects of the heat and smoke, so some stickiness is desirable there to keep their focus on the flames and off of you.
- For buildings, it varies widely depending on the strength of the structure in question, but if you want to block exits or have a more resilient, longer lasting fire a mixture of 50% gasoline, 25% “sticky stuff” and 25% grease is both extremely sticky and difficult to extinguish. You don’t want this for vehicles as much because generally a sticky but still dripping oily liquid allows the fire to spread into exhaust ports, under the hood etc, and this mixture is a bit too thick to drip and run effectively.
- For stopping mobs and large groups of people, a wall of fire made of multiple bottles of rubbing alcohol set alight all at once is quite effective. Unless the people are suicidal, this isn’t really meant to kill but rather to deter and frighten, as this isn’t a sticky mixture.
- For those moments when you need a homemade grenade, an extremely volatile mixture of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and gasoline in a plastic or other non-breakable bottle does a great job. Note that once lit this sort of bomb must be thrown as quickly as possible. These are recommended only as a very last resort because they have a high chance of killing their user rather than the intended target, but if you do need them they make a very powerful and morale-destroying boom when used against fortified looters.
When filling the bottles, make sure you only fill up to about 2/3 of the way, as leaving the last 1/3 as air makes the shattering more likely. The last thing you want is to give an unbroken, usable firebomb to your opponents!
How to light the Cocktail
There are many makeshift methods for lighting a firebomb, with the rag soaked in diesel or alcohol being a classic. The basic idea is that there needs to an ignition source for the droplets of fuel that fly out once the bottle breaks, so even taping particularly resilient matches to the side and lighting them has proven to be a viable tactic. The real key is lighting it and throwing it rapidly, so that the bottle doesn’t just flare up and consume the thrower.
Attaching slow burning matches to the side allows this cocktail to ignite only when the bottle is broken, making it safer to use.
Tips on using one.
As you might guess, these aren’t exactly elegant weapons meant for precise placement, but putting a little thought into your throw before you lob a firebomb might get you better results.
- Firebombs are scary, morale destroying weapons. There are many different ways to die, but very few people would look at some poor fool screaming in pain as flames burn his skin from his bones and be willingEven encased in riot gear and protected by his shield, this unfortunate officer was driven off by a single well-aimed Molotov Cocktail.to risk the same fate. They are also good for making people feel unsafe even when in a fortified structure, since fire can penetrate barricades and walls much more easily than bullets can. Aim for large clusters of people, prominent leaders, heavy weapons and vehicles, people running around in body armor, and especially areas where the looters would feel safe.
- Fire spreads. This is a good thing generally, but you do need to consider what will happen if a nearby building collapses from an out of control blaze or if that tanker truck turned over on the road nearby is full of explosive materials.
- Molotovs are wonderful force multipliers against larger groups. Foxholes and spider holes were great defensive force multipliers: molotovs are great offensive ones. If you find yourself outnumbered a firebomb or two can help even the odds if thrown to eliminate cover, concealment, or just a large group of bad guys.
- Wounds from fire are painful, and likely to result in death if severe. Even with world-renowned medical burn treatment centers and techniques available, we still have a difficult time rehabilitating those who suffer from large third-degree burns. In a world without a hospital, even second degree burns would be indescribably painful and prone to infection. Burns destroy the body’s best defenses against illness, prevent the body from properly regulating temperature, and generally turn the victim into a useless invalid even in the modern world. Even if you lack the means to actually kill looters with your Cocktails, don’t underestimate the value in wounding multiple assailants at once.
- You will be targeted for using one. In previous major wars, snipers were feared and targeted with extreme prejudice by infantry, artillery barrages, and even aircraft strikes owing to their detrimental effects on morale. A firebomber will be hated for much the same reason, so during a fight anyone who plans on using them should have a fortified place to hide in and be protected by others just in case.
- Be smart and only use these when appropriate. Obviously, police and military troops trying to keep the peace aren’t going to look favorably on a bunch of cooked bodies and torched houses, so know what level of societal degradation you’re at before you start setting the neighborhood ablaze.
A bomb thrower whose bottle was hit by a stray round. Make sure you can get under cover before throwing: you will be targeted!
Dangerous times call for formidable weapons to oppose those who would steal what you’ve spent so much to protect. Be sure that you’re ready to protect yourself by any means necessary.