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Leather Billy Clubs for Sale
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A club or sap, a leather-covered hand weapon, designed to hit or knock you out.  Also commonly known as billies, billy clubs, billie jacks, blackjacks, slappers, slapjacks, slap jacks, sap, sapper, beavertail sap.  These guys need no introduction.  This is a bludgeoning impact weapon historically used by bouncers, street gangs, thugs, the military, security, and police forces around the world.  This is mainly due to the weapon's low profile and small size, and their potential to knock a suspect unconscious.  Very intimidating and very effective with lots of stopping power.

On the list of approved weapons still used by some sheriff's deputies are hard-leather saps reminiscent of ones carried by the tough-talking detectives in 1940s films.  A sap is a flat, beavertail-shaped slapper that is weighted with lead on the widest end.  Small and inconspicuous, it can pack a punch with even the smallest amount of force behind it.

When it's close combat at ultra short range and lethal force is not appropriate, the sap gets downright gorgeous in its ability to resolve conflict.  It is a plain working tool that legions of old-time coppers came to respect in the same way a carpenter does a framing hammer.  Easy to carry.  Available in a convenient sizes to fit your needs.

       
#BLS-8-BK
Leather Slapper, Small, 8 inches
Retail Price: $19.95
Sale Price: $11.95
You Save $8.00 (40%)
#BLS-11-BK
Leather Slapper, Large, 11 inches
Retail Price: $24.95
Sale Price: $14.95
You Save $10.00 (40%)
#BLS-14
Leather Slapper, Extra Large, 14 inch
Retail Price: $32.95
Sale Price: $19.95
You Save $13.00 (39%)
 
       
#P-15984
Leather Billy Club, Hand Strap
Retail Price: $27.95
Sale Price: $16.95
You Save $11.00 (39%)
#P-15983
Leather Billy Club
Wrist Strap
Retail Price: $22.95
Sale Price: $13.95
You Save $9.00 (39%)
   
       

 

These impact weapons are a rarity in law enforcement these days, with many agencies nationwide getting rid of them over the years in response to allegations of police brutality and lawsuits.  Other large police departments concluded the weapons weren't effective and banned them in favor of batons.

But, you can talk to the cops who can still carry the sap or nunchaku, and they will swear by the power and effectiveness of the tools if used correctly.  Sheriff's Sgt. Dave Brown said he always had his trusty sap hidden away in his pants pocket when he was on patrol.

In a combat situation when someone on drugs is fighting you and has one hand around your flashlight, it's nice to be able to take your left hand and reach back to get your sap if you had to,” said Brown, who is now a detective sergeant at the Ramona substation.

He still slips a 6-to 8-inch-long sap into his pocket on those rare days when he puts a uniform on for a patrol shift.

Chris Cross, who trains recruits at San Diego's regional law enforcement academy, said saps are supposed to be used in response to assaultive behavior at close range.  Deputies are taught to aim at areas with large muscle, such as a thigh, and to avoid if at all possible the head, neck, spine, kidneys and groin.

“When you swing one of those things, there's a lot of force following behind it,” said Vista sheriff's Sgt. Mark Varnau.  “But I think they are used rather judiciously.”  The Sheriff's Department could not provide data showing how often saps or nunchakus are used against suspects, but spokesman Capt. Glenn Revell said they are used “infrequently.”  There have been no use-of-force complaints regarding either weapon for at least the past year, Revell said.

Saps, sometimes called slappers or slapjacks, are a throwback to the old-school police image portrayed in the pulp crime novels and gumshoe movies of the 1940s and '50s.  Also popular on-screen and in real life were blackjacks, which are similar to a sap but more clublike, with a rounded end.  But, by as early as the 1970s, the sap and blackjack began to lose its place in law enforcement as police agencies tried to soften their tough-guy image.

Departments investigated reports that their officers hit suspects in the face or head with saps or blackjacks and the suspects complained.  National City police did away with saps in the mid-1990s.

“They're just too easy to use and that's the reality of why most agencies have done away with them,” said National City police Capt. Manny Rodriguez.  He acknowledged, however, that sheriff's deputies who often patrol rural areas alone are in a different role than city cops.

“For officer safety, you probably want them to have more tools,” Rodriguez said. “If you're a deputy sheriff in Jamul and you need cover, you might wait 20 minutes until someone can drive over to help you.”

Brown agreed, saying veteran deputies who are comfortable with the sap have hung onto it, especially when patrolling the backcountry.  “At 2 a.m. on some lonely road, you're going to want a sap,” Brown said. “I'm very partial to the sap. They'd have to peel it from my fingers.”

Veteran law enforcement officers across the country still reminisce in online forums about the days when they were allowed to use saps and blackjacks, saying the weapons eventually fell prey to an era of political correctness.

“I still don't know why my 'thumper' isn't (politically correct) anymore,” one cop lamented in his online post. “I mean, if you can use a metal stick, then why can't you use a sap? You sure hit a lot fewer officers on the backswing with a sap!”

Even with saps gone from most police departments, uniform makers have continued to sew sap pockets into the side of officers' pants.  Officers find that it's the perfect place to stick their flashlights.

The other weapon that a few in law enforcement still carry is the police nunchaku, which was developed by a Colorado cop in the 1980s.  San Diego was the first big-city police department to try them out, and a handful of its officers still carry them two decades later, along with sheriff's deputies and Carlsbad officers.  The nunchakus are used for control holds, such as squeezing a suspect's arm or leg between the two sticks.  Or sometimes, taking out the unexpected weapon is enough of an attention-getter.

“When someone pulls those out and knows what they're doing with them, people take notice,” said Carlsbad police Lt. Bill Rowland.  Rowland used to carry the nunchaku while on patrol when it was more popular, but he said he didn't use it much.  Like most officers, Rowland ended up dumping it for a baton because of the constant training that it took to stay proficient in the martial arts tool.

The weapon came under fire in 1989 after San Diego police used them to arrest anti-abortion protesters outside of clinics.  The demonstrators unsuccessfully sued the city in federal court for $5 million.

The way Carlsbad police Chief Tom Zoll sees it, saps and nunchakus are just another option in the range of less-than-lethal weapons officers can carry, along with Tasers, pepper spray and batons.

“We used to have nothing or our firearm. We needed more tools in between,” said Zoll, who came from the Sheriff's Department.  “Now officers carry a variety of tools with them to keep from going lethal.”

 

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