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Baton / Impact Weapons – Chapter 12


The baton is an intermediate weapon. When used against an assailant or persons resisting arrest it is capable of inflicting injury or, in rare instances, death. The probability is significantly reduced when the baton is properly used. As an agent/officer, when faced with resistance or the potential of physical assault remember one thing – CONTROL. You will encounter various levels of physical resistance as an officer/agent and in a number of cases weaponless defense (hand to hand) techniques will be the most appropriate way of obtaining control.

As viewed in this course the baton is an intermediate defensive weapon. It provides the most needed degree of necessary force between weaponless defense techniques and your firearm. Each set of separate circumstances will require you to exercise your own judgment supported by your knowledge of California law, use of necessary force (PC 835).


The decision to use the baton can be divided into the following areas; however, you need to keep in mind at all times that each situation is different and there is no one specific formula for using your baton when confronted with a potentially physical threat of violence.

  1. When an officer/agent is a member of a tactical squad in a crowd control or riot formation, the baton may be used to move separate, or disperse people or deny a person access through an area or structure.
  2. If an unarmed suspect assaults an officer or agent, the baton or impact weapon can be used to disable the suspect or to dissuade the assault. Remember in any situation it is required that the officer(s) give specific facts that support the use of a baton.
  3. Example: Justifiable use






  1. Example: Unjustifiable use





  1. If an officer has reasonable cause to believe that a suspect committed a felony and the officer attempts to arrest the suspect but the suspect refuses to comply with the officer’s directions – can the officer use the baton to gain compliance?

Yes / No





  1. If more than one suspect confronts an officer during a lawful contact and the suspect’s level of resistance escalates beyond the officer’s control could the officer use the baton?  Yes / No





A general rule to remember when considering the use of your baton is the legal striking points, in other words the areas that you are allowed to strike to gain compliance.

The baton should never be used to strike a suspect or person in the following areas:

  1. Head
  2. Heart
  3. Spinal column
  4. Groin

If in the event deadly force is an OPTION or in any case justifiable you may strike the suspect in the head but be very CAUTIOUS in this tactic. You MUST be able to ARTICULATE the USE of deadly force in this situation.


Mid section area

  • Solar plexus
  • Stomach
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Elbows
  • Hands

Lower extremities

  • Thighs
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Feet

Note: Caution and control must be exercised to avoid unnecessary injury. There will always be an exception to the rule especially when your life is in jeopardy. You must explain your actions and explain why your actions where necessary.

Keep in mind an officer must refrain from becoming emotionally involved with an assailant or suspect. A calm mind permits a relaxed body. Have a plan; know what you are going to do before you do it. Conserve your strength save your maximum strength for the actual moment of contact. Keep your baton in position ands always away from your suspect while approaching or interviewing suspect.



  • The baton is an intermediate weapon. When used the assailant is likely to suffer some injury.
  • Your goal as an officer is control.
  • A baton is used in situations where the circumstances require more force than can be reasonably be applied without a weapon, but fall short of a firearm.
  • A baton is of no use unless you carry it with you.
  • A wooden baton is recommended over a plastic or aluminum.
  • Use only that degree of force necessary to control the suspect.


Zone strikes

The baton travels in five distinctive striking zones during forehand and backhand strikes. They are as follows:

Zone #1:       On a parallel plane with the ground from the waistline to the upper chest form center mass to arm strikes.

Zone #2:       On a low horizontal place from the waistline and below for the lower leg strikes.

Zone #3:       In a downward figure 8 motion against fists and/or hands that are raised aggressively.

Zone #4:       In an upward figure 8 motion against elbows and/or forearms that are raised aggressively.

Zone #5:       In a forward jabbing motion with either the butt or tip of the baton. Effective when the suspect is charging the officer or at close range.

Physical application and testing required for passing.



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