How to Choose a Telescopic Baton?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re in the market for a self-defense telescopic baton, also known as a collapsible baton or expandable baton. This self-defense tool is praised for its capability to deliver non-lethal force. Telescopic batons have evolved significantly from their origins as simple wooden staffs and billy clubs

Following the George Floyd and Rodney King incidents, which profoundly impacted the public’s perception of the use of police batons and law enforcement tactics, batons have seen considerable technological advancements from their locking mechanisms to deployment mechanisms to their construction. This incident not only brought about a shift in tactical thinking but also spurred innovation in baton design to enhance safety and effectiveness

Choosing the right telescopic baton for yourself can save you a lot of trouble because one wrong strike can change your and the victim’s life. Stick till the end because we will be spilling all the secrets on choosing the perfect telescopic self defense baton for yourself.

Our Recommendations

  • Smith & Wesson 12-Inch Compact Pocket Baton

A small and discreet baton, easily fitting into a pocket. It extends to 12 inches and features a knurled aluminum handle for a secure grip​.

Buy Here: https://stltacticals.com/products/heat-treated-collapsible-baton

  • ASP 26-Inch Electroless Expandable Baton

Known for its corrosion-resistant plating, this baton is durable and extends to 26 inches, making it effective for personal defense​.

Buy here: https://stltacticals.com/products/friction-loc-baton-stl-246

  • Monadnock Autolock Expandable Baton

Popular among law enforcement, this baton features a patented Autolock mechanism for secure extension and easy retraction. It’s available in various lengths and made from durable materials like aircraft-grade aluminum​.

  • Safety Tech Expandable Baton

This baton extends to 21 inches and collapses to 8 inches. It has a steel exterior with a black finish and a grooved rubber handle for a sturdy grip​.

  • Rothco Expandable Baton

Compact and effective, these batons extend with a flick of the wrist and are designed for easy carry. They feature a solid steel construction and a foam handle for a secure grip​.

Buy here: https://stltacticals.com/products/rothco-expandable-baton-with-sheath

What are some disadvantages of carrying Telescopic Batons?

Potential for Lethal Force

Despite being categorized as non-lethal, the use of batons can lead to serious injury or even death, especially if used to strike sensitive areas like the head. This can result in legal and psychological ramifications for the user.

Physical Requirements

Effective use of a baton requires physical strength and some skill, which might only be suitable for some. Without proper training, there’s also a risk of injuring oneself or failing to use the baton effectively in a critical situation.

Mechanical Failure

Telescopic self defence batons can sometimes fail to expand, especially if they have been exposed to adverse conditions like water or dirt, which could render them useless in crucial moments. This issue was highlighted by a security professional who experienced a failure of the baton to expand after being submerged in water​.

Limited Range 

While batons offer more reach than some other close-combat weapons, they are ineffective against threats from a distance, such as thrown objects or firearms​.

Potential to Bend

Since the batons telescopic batons are made with multiple sections that stick into one another and when open the sections become progressively thinner therefore these are more prone to bending. 

What are the advantages of carrying a telescopic baton?

Ability to be a Conceal Carry

When it comes to self-defense tools, concealment is key. That’s where a telescopic baton truly shines. In many of the US states, handguns and knives are not an option due to legal restrictions. But a baton could be a preferable legal choice for those who need a discreet way to protect themselves and a non-lethal force.

Non-Lethal Force & Safe Distance

A baton allows you to defend yourself without having to resort to lethal measures while maintaining a safe distance. With its extended reach, you can keep potential threats at bay while still being able to defend yourself effectively and you can inflict enough force to incapacitate the attacker, giving you the chance to escape or get help, without causing permanent harm. 

Extended Reach

Imagine you’re in a tight spot, and you need to create some distance between you and a threat. That’s where the extendable nature of a telescopic baton comes in handy. You can use it to push away an attacker’s weapon from a safe distance, or even retrieve items that could aid in your defense.

Easy Deployment

Time is of the essence in self-defense situations, and that’s why the quick deployment of a telescopic baton is so valuable. With just a flick of the wrist, you can have a formidable defensive tool at the ready.

Effective Defender Against Knives

Finally, let’s consider the baton’s effectiveness against armed threats. Its extended reach and striking power make it a formidable defender against knife attacks, providing an essential layer of protection in such high-risk scenarios.

What factors to consider when choosing a telescopic baton?

When it comes to telescopic batons, not all will be suitable for everyone. The perfect baton for you depends on your specific needs, intended use, and preferences. Below I list major factors you should keep in mind when choosing a telescopic baton:

  1. Length of the Baton

The length of a telescopic baton is arguably its most important feature and a factor to consider. These batons typically range from around 6 inches when collapsed to 16-26 inches when fully extended. A longer baton gives you more reach and striking power but can be tougher to conceal and carry. A shorter baton is more portable but sacrifices some force. Think about where and how you plan to use the baton, as well as your own height and arm length when considering size, you should always go for a baton that does not overpower your hand.

In another blog, we extensively cover what is the best length for a telescopic baton, helping you decide the ideal size based on your experience and intended use.

  1. Construction Material

Telescopic police batons are commonly made from materials like steel, aluminum, and high-grade plastics. Steel is often preferred for its durability and effectiveness in delivering force, while aluminum offers a lightweight alternative that is still strong. High-grade plastics are used for their lightweight and impact resistance. For the best balance of durability and ease of use, steel or aluminum batons are typically recommended for self-defense and law enforcement purposes​

  1. Weight

A heavier baton generally translates to more stopping power. However, if a baton is too heavy for you to hold, could fatigue your arm quickly during an altercation causing more damage than benefit. Most batons for civilians weigh between 5-16 oz, with steel models on the higher end of that range. 

Think about your strength level and how much weight you can reasonably swing for an extended period. Since some steel batons are made thin to avoid bulking, we recommend that you look for batons that do not lose as much weight with each telescopic extension, if the tip of the baton is too this it can easily bend. So you won’t be able to close it back.

  1. Handle Grip

You’ll want a baton with a textured, non-slip grip to ensure a secure hold, even if your hands get sweaty during a stressful situation. Some grips are rubberized or feature grooved patterns for extra grip. Others have tiny protruding beads or grooves. Make sure the grip texture isn’t so aggressive that it shreds your skin.

FeatureFoam GripRubber GripKnurled Metal GripTextured Polymer Grip
ComfortHigh – Soft and comfortable for prolonged useMedium – Comfortable but slightly firmerLow – Hard and can be uncomfortableMedium – Generally comfortable
Shock AbsorptionHigh – Excellent shock absorptionMedium – Good shock absorptionLow – Minimal shock absorptionMedium – Some shock absorption
DurabilityWears out faster than other gripsLong-lasting and durableExtremely durableDurable, but less than metal
Non-Slip PropertiesGood grip even when wetExcellent non-slip propertiesFirm grip, even with glovesGood non-slip properties
WeightLightMediumMedium to HeavyLight to Medium
Weather ResistanceTends to degrade in harsh conditionsPerforms well in all  weatherExcellent in all weather conditionsPerforms well in most conditions
  1. Deployment Mechanism

Most telescopic batons extend by either a flick of the wrist/centrifugal force or by depressing a release button or lever. Batons deployed by centrifugal force tend to open more quickly, while button/lever release gives you more control. There are pros and cons to each style, so think about whether speed or precision is more important for your use case.

FeatureFriction Lock (Centrifugal Force)Push Button ReleaseSpring AssistedElectromechanicalManual Lock (Twist/Push)Hybrid Deployment
Deploys onA flick to extendA button pressA button pressA button pressA manual twist or pushMore than one deployment
Deployment SpeedFastModerateFastFast ModerateFast 
ControlCan be less preciseControlled extensionControlled by a spring mechanismPrecise motor controlManual locking provides precisionCombines speed and precision
RetractionStrike against a hard surface to closePress the button to retractPress the button to retractPress the button to retractTwist/Push to collapseMay use a combination of two mechanisms

Types of Telescopic Batons

Plastic Models

Plastic telescopic batons are usually made from high-density plastics that provide a lightweight alternative to metal batons. These are typically less durable than their metal counterparts but can be beneficial in environments where non-conductive materials are safer (e.g., around electrical threats) because of their lighter weight and reduced durability, plastic batons are less effective for striking but can be useful for pain compliance techniques without causing significant injury. Plastic telescopic batons are mostly used during training purposes or situations where a less lethal approach is preferred.

Rubber Devices

Rubber telescopic batons are constructed with a core of another material, such as steel, coated with rubber. This design offers a softer impact surface, which can reduce the risk of causing severe injuries and therefore legal complications. Like plastic batons, rubber-coated batons are often used in situations where lethal force is to be minimized. 

They are particularly favored in crowd control scenarios to deter and control without extensive harm. The rubber coating also gives a better grip and can absorb some of the impacts, reducing the chance of injury to the user.

Telescopic Steel Products

Steel is one of the most popular and durable options when it comes to the material of construction. These batons can extend from a compact, easy-to-carry size to a full-length baton with the flick of a wrist, due to their telescopic stick design. Steel batons are highly effective for both offensive and defensive techniques and can deliver significant force. Their durability and strength make them a preferred choice for many law enforcement agencies. With this level of durability comes a serious potential for inflicting fatal injury if proper training is considered.

Spring Models

The spring-loaded batons differ slightly in their deployment mechanism as they contain a spring in the handle that helps propel the baton segments to expand rapidly with less effort & time from the user. The main advantage of spring models is the ease of deployment, which can be very important in a high-pressure situation. However, the mechanisms can sometimes be prone to failure if not maintained properly, and the additional moving parts can complicate repairs.

Is a Telescopic Baton Prohibited Or Not?

Now for the million-dollar question – can you legally own and carry a telescopic baton? The answer depends on where you live, as baton laws vary widely between states and municipalities. In general, most self-defense experts recommend avoiding heavy metal batons without a proper training. When wielded improperly, a baton can easily escalate a confrontation and cause severe injury. Law enforcement officers and military personnel undergo extensive baton training as part of their job. Most civilians do not.

That said, some states do permit private citizens to purchase and carry telescopic batons for self-defense purposes, provided they meet certain criteria like:

  1. Owning the baton for legitimate self-defense reasons rather than as an offensive weapon
  2. Having a legal permit or license (if required in that area)
  3. Carrying it concealed and avoiding “brandishing” in non-threatening situations
  4. Using appropriate force and restraint based on the situation

You can read about the state-wise legality of the expandable baton in more detail in our blog.

Some Practical Considerations when Getting a Telescopic Baton

Deployment Speed

Look for a rapidly deployable baton since quick deployment is key during critical high-stress situations deployment is also affected by holster design and the carrying position on the body. Wear your baton in easy-to-reach areas.

Training & Skills

Even though expandable batons look easy to deploy and use, one wrong strike can kill a person. It is therefore recommended that you learn striking techniques and legal use before actually putting your baton to use. Regular skill refinement is equally important.


Selecting the right telescopic baton is a decision that goes beyond mere preference—it’s about matching the right tool to your specific needs, legal constraints, and operational environment. A well-chosen baton serves as a versatile instrument for self-defense, offering a significant strategic advantage by enhancing personal safety with a balance of force and control. 

Given so many options it’s important to base your choice on factors such as material, weight, size, and deployment mechanism in the context of your capabilities and the realistic scenarios you might face. Making an informed and thoughtful choice will complement your skills and adhere to legal guidelines, giving you reliable protection in moments of crisis.


Is a telescopic baton good for self-defense?

Yes, a telescopic baton can be an effective tool for self-defense. It provides a non-lethal means of protecting oneself and can be used to deter or incapacitate an aggressor when used properly.

How heavy is a telescopic baton?

The weight of a telescopic baton varies depending on its material and size but generally ranges from about 200 grams to over 700 grams (approximately 0.5 to 1.5 pounds). Steel batons are usually heavier.

What is the best size for a telescopic baton?

The best size for a telescopic baton depends on the intended use and the user’s physical size and strength. Common lengths for extended telescopic batons range from 16 to 26 inches but 21” is mostly considered appropriate length for most uses.

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