The weapons of the ninja carry a mystique unparalleled by almost any in history.
They've got the same aura usually reserved only for magical weapons of legend, like King Arthur’s sword, Thor’s hammer, or Bruce Lee’s nun-chucks.
With Marxist gun-grabbers weaseling their way into power like never before, I’ve sometimes wondered: What weapons did the ninja use, and how practical are they today?
I did a little research. Here’s what I learned...
If you grew up in the 1980’s, as I did, you love ninjas!
From Ninja Gaiden to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s easy to fall in love with the romanticized, fictionalized portrayals of these stone cold killers.
Movie ninjas scale walls in seconds, disappear at will, and most importantly, kill without making a sound!
But who were the ninja in real life, and what did they use?
First of all, the Japanese never called themselves “ninja.” That’s the Chinese pronunciation of the Japanese script meaning “to steal away,” and it never came into popular use until the 1960’s.
The real ninja called themselves “shinobi,” and they wreaked havoc in feudal Japan throughout the 1500’s and 1600’s.
Japan was a wild place back then, with Shoguns (feudal rulers) going to war with each other constantly.
Samurai were retained by wealthy Shoguns to fight in the open, in the “honorable” way which consisted primarily of swordsmanship. That’s why a samurai wore his katana at all times.
Shinobi, on the other hand, were hired to wage unconventional warfare, a.k.a. guerrilla warfare, which included everything from political assassination, to industrial sabotage, to espionage.
Put it this way: If this were Fast and the Furious, a samurai would accept your challenge to a one-on-one drag race.
A ninja would politely decline your offer, then stick a potato in your exhaust pipe at midnight, and pour sugar in your gas tank. Then they'd steal your girlfriend and somersault into the forest.
Such is the way of the ninja.
Because their tactics were so varied, the weapons of the ninja consisted of whatever was needed for a particular job: knives, crossbows, explosives, poison gas.
A ninja would bludgeon you to death with a tuna sandwich if that’s how his client wanted it done.
They worked for money, not glory, and were hired on a job to job basis.
Did You Know?
The samurai considered the ninja scumbags for operating in secret, and for fighting with "dirty" methods, like shooting poison blow darts into your nads then cartwheeling away.
The ninja considered the samurai chumps for fighting up close, sword-to-sword, when a poison blow dart to the nads could accomplish the same task with half the effort.
These are the weapons of the ninja!
I’ve included a brief description of how each item might have been used 400 years ago, as well as how it ranks today in terms of practicality.
The 5 Zombie Head rating system was used in accordance with international mall-ninja standards.
No one knows for sure what type of sword the ninja actually used.
The straight sword with a square hand-guard (swung by little kids on Halloween every year) is a modern day creation.
(A good ninjato made from high carbon steel is still freaken awesome, though...)
Although long, curved swords ruled the day in feudal Japan, shinobi would have preferred something smaller, lighter, and more economical than the traditional katana.
Small and light is important when you’re operating in stealth mode, and there’s no sense in spending a fortune on a beautiful sword you won’t be displaying in public.
Practicality was the name of the game for the weapons of the ninja. A sword was a tool, not a status symbol.
Then again, some ninja were actually recruited from the samurai class, in which case they might have used the same katana they wore and practiced with everyday.
Nothing is as good as a firearm, but we’re not talking about firearms. We’re talking about the weapons of the ninja, and as far as those go, a light, fast, razor sharp sword is a bad mamma-jamma!
You can end a confrontation with one or two blows if you catch a home invader by surprise.
An unarmed burglar would be paralyzed with fear if you jumped down from the china cabinet, in the dark, carrying a ninja sword. The effect is doubled if you do it while wearing a ninja mask.
Plenty of liquor store owners in the hood keep a katana or a ninjato hidden beneath the counter. Why?
Because even the crackiest crack-heads are intimidated by the weapons of the ninja!
If you want a beautiful sword with a full tang and made of high carbon steel (so it won't shatter on impact and can actually be used in battle), then take a look at this badboy.
Ninjato Rating: 4 out of 5 Zombie Heads!
This is the knife (okay, “short sword”) all samurai carried along with the much larger katana.
A ninja probably wouldn’t have paid full price for a master-crafted wakizashi.
They’d have used the generic, off-brand, Walmart version, but they’d have definitely carried some sort of shortened pig-sticker; that much is certain.
A wakizashi would be more useful to a ninja than a full sized blade because it’s lighter and easier to conceal.
Ninjas would disguise themselves as ordinary schmoes to gain admittance to castles. When caught, they’d have to defend themselves with something other than their mystique.
In such a situation, a 12 to 24 inch shank suddenly pulled from their pant leg would to do nicely.
Also, when carrying out an assassination, they could hide it under their butler’s outfit until close enough for the slicing and dicing to commence.
Just like 500 years ago, walking around with a huge sword was either frowned upon, or illegal unless you had the right permit (as the samurai did).
But a small wakizashi can be hidden nicely in your backpack or under your coat. That's important when you’re bugging out in the woods, or just running errands in the post-apocalyptic anarchy.
The intimidation factor isn’t as great as a full length katana, but lets be real. No unarmed attacker is gonna want to fight you while you're carrying a blade this big.
Unless they’re on angel dust, which they might be, in which case you’ll have no choice but to let the shanking commence.
I recommend having an inexpensive wakizashi in your bugout bag. If the authorities give you grief, tell them it's a family heirloom with sentimental and historical value, and that you’re carrying it during the emergency just in case your home gets robbed.
Here's a beautiful one hand-forged out of high carbon steel!
(Note: Real blades are made of high carbon steel, and are designed to bend under stress instead of breaking.
Cheap ornamental swords are made from stainless steel which is very shiny, but shatters on impact and sucks for anything other than decoration.)
Wakizashi Rating: 5 out of 5 Zombie Heads
These little b*stards are sharp, easily concealable, and come in a variety of pretty shapes and sizes. That makes them a favorite for mall-ninjas everywhere.
But they don’t go very far, even if thrown well, and they aren’t particularly devastating.
Shurikens would have been carried by the ninja as a last ditch weapon to use when cornered.
Although they don’t kill on impact, they DO hurt like a bi-atch, and would give a ninja just enough time to cartwheel up the wall, then somersault into some trees.
In Ninja Gaiden, the shuriken was one of the best items to have (besides the fire).
In real life, though, they don’t cause your opponent to explode on impact. That’s unfortunate.
The truth is that unless you hit your enemy with a ninja star directly in the eye, blinding him, or in the Johnson, crippling his manhood forever, you’ll only make him stronger by enraging him into full-blown berserker mode.
Forcing your enemy into berserker mode is generally not how to survive a zombie apocalypse, or any other apocalyptic situation; not unless you have the skill to immediately cartwheel up the wall, then somersault into some trees.
Shuriken Rating: 1 out of 5 Zombie Heads
Blowguns would have been extremely useful to a ninja hired for assassination.
They’re lightweight, easy to conceal (if you've got a small one), easy to operate, and they make almost no noise at all.
A ninja would have poisoned their darts with venom extracted from the puffer fish. (Otherwise, it takes a hell of a lot of darts to kill someone.)
While the samurai would scorn these shenanigans as unmanly, preferring to duel with swords, ninjas would do whatever it takes to get the job done as easily (and quietly) as possible. For that, a blowgun fits the bill nicely.
Are blowguns useful in a bugout situation? Fuk-i-YAAAH, they are!
I’m not advocating you become an assassin when society collapses. But when it does, you’re going to need tools for hunting. Blowguns have been used for hunting birds and squirrels since time immemorial.
I recommend keeping a small 2 piece in your bugout bag.
A 2 piece blowgun might lose a tiny bit of accuracy compared to a 1 piece, but it's easier to carry, easier to conceal, and should have more than enough accuracy for hunting.
This one comes is 3 different sizes: 24, 36, and 48 inches. Get the 24 inch or 36 inch, and it should fit in your backpack. It also comes with 8 darts, a carrying strap, and a lifetime guarantee.
Blowguns are super fun to use, and if you’re ever hiding out in the woods, at least you know you’ll be able to get meat!
Fukiya Rating: 5 out of 5 Zombie Heads
Traditional bows are big and unwieldy. They also take a long time to master.
A crossbow, on the other hand, enables anyone to shoot with deadly power and accuracy with the simple pull of a finger, and that’s why ninjas would have used them.
The crossbow provided better range than almost any other weapon available to ninjas and would have been their primary choice for assassinations.
The further away you are from your target, the easier it is to dash into the woods after delivering the death blow.
When it come to weapons of the ninja, it doesn't get much deadlier than this.
There was a time when I believed a crossbow had no place in my bugout bag. They just didn’t fit. But guess what? These days, crossbows can fold!
The ninja of 500 years ago would be losing their minds trying to buy one of these badass folding crossbows!
Keep a folding crossbow in your bugout bag for self defense and for hunting, and you’ll be everyone’s hero when the grocery stores run out of food.
(If folding is not your thing, and you just want the meanest, gnarliest looking crossbow you can find, then take a look at this beast. It's got 1600 reviews on Amazon and 4.5 stars!
Crossbow Rating: 5 out of 5 Zombie Heads
That's it for now. Keep studying your ninjutsu.
When civilization collapses, and guns and ammunition are in short supply, the weapons of the ninja might just save your "ketsu." (That's Japanese for "butt.")
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