Baton Vs Baseball Bat for Self Defense: Top 5 Fighting Differences

Ah yes, the eternal debate between survivalists and self defense experts, the great baton vs baseball bat debate. I’ve decided to chip in with my own thoughts on this issue as someone who’s trained with a baton but is not a stranger to the good old baseball bat.

There are some technical differences, which point to the fact that they’re not equally good in everyone’s hands. Some people would be better of with a baton, others with a baseball bat. There’s also a question of convenience, since you can’t really carry a baseball bat with you at all times, but you can carry an expendable baton. These are the 4 main factors to consider before deciding on one or the other:

1. A baseball bat is easier to fight with

A baton is essentially a stick. A very painful stick to the person that gets hit with it, but a stick nonetheless. It’s better than nothing, but you need to have some fighting experience and skill to turn it into a formidable weapon.

A baseball bat is typically larger and heavier than a baton. If you’re not skilled with using either one, you will likely be better off using the weapon that’s inherently more powerful, and that’s a baseball bat.

2. A baton is superior in the hands of a skilled fighter

A baton is a martial arts tool. You can do many strikes, blocks and counter-strikes with it. You can do joint locks and sweep the attackers legs underneath them. There are many options, but you have to develop those skills.

A baton is also a lot faster. But if you’re just going to swing it around like a baseball bat, you’re better off swinging an actual baseball bat and dealing massive damage with one blow.

In a situation where a skilled fighter with a baton had to face a person with a baseball bat, the baton wielder would be at an advantage due to its speed and the many options that it provides.

3. It’s easier to conceal carry an (expendable) baton

Obviously it wouldn’t be convenient to carry a baseball bat on you at all times. But you can do so as a regular person with an expendable baton. As long as it’s legal in your state/country. And even if it’s not legal, you can replace it with a cane or a metal “pipe” and use much of the same fighting tactics.

Some batons are small enough to fit into your pocket, a purse or at least a backpack. You’ll feel much safer walking the street with a telescopic/expendable baton on you. As one baton owner put succinctly:

An expandable batons consists of three pieces of tapered steel pipe nestled inside each other. When you flick your wrist they telescope out and lock in place, making a short steel baton three times longer than they where before. To get them to unlock you have to strike the tip against a hard surface. You can strike your target with any part of them, the little bit on the tip is just to make round, “safer” surface. In practice, they are like having a 26” steel pipe that you can keep in your pocket.

Now, batons come in various sizes and you can get either steel or wooden types. But that comment is generally correct. In comparison, a baseball bat is really only convenient for keeping in a vehicle or at home.

4. A baseball bat is slower

This is a disadvantage if you have to keep multiple attackers at a distance. In that case you’d be better off with a weapon that you can strike with faster. As long as the weapons are equal in length of course. In that scenario a baton would be the better choice. But if the baton is shorter than a baseball bat, then it’s not really clear which weapon you’d be better off having. I’d personally choose a baseball bat.

Another potential problem with the slowness of the baseball bat ties in directly with the speed and agility of the opponent and your own speed. If you’re slow and the opponent is fast and agile, if you miss just once they can close in on you and you’ll lose the advantage you had coming into the fight. So if you’re going to use a baseball bat you should be decently fast with your swings and jabs. Otherwise, you’re better off fighting with a baton.

5. A baseball bat can be lethal

It can be hard to assess the force behind a strike when you’re wielding a baseball bat. If you go too hard you can inflict serious injuries, in some cases more serious than the situation warrants, and this can get you into trouble with the law even if you were on the defending side.

This is less likely to happen with a baton. Although painful, a baton is lighter and as long as you’re not aiming for the head or neck you’re not likely to deal a lethal blow. It’s also one of the main reasons why I recommend a baton over a knife for self defense.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think a baton has the advantage of being easier to carry and providing more tactical advantages in a fight due to its shape and lightness. But a baseball bat is nothing to scoff at. It’s a great home defense weapon and a good one to have in a vehicle as well.

Overall, either one can provide a serious advantage in a fight, regardless of whether you’re attacked by another human, a wild animal or a dog that’s acting wild.

Peter Jerome

A seasoned MMA practitioner and an intermediate in BJJ and Krav Maga. When I'm not knocking heads with someone in a dojo, I like chilling out with my girlfriend and our adorable pug Betsy.

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