Encyclopedia > Baton

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A baton or truncheon is essentially a stick of less than arms-length, usually made of wood or metal, and carried by law enforcement, correctional, and security personnel for non-lethal self-defense or combat situations. It is used to strike, poke, and lock onto body parts of an assailant.

There are several variations; but all are either gripped at one end (nightstick), or on a handle protruding at a right-angle near one end (based on the martial arts' tonfa).

At the end of the 20th century, a popular straight baton was made of steel tubing which collapsed together for carrying, then slid apart to extend. A small metal knob on the end added weight when the baton was used as a bludgeon.

Many British police officers carry batons instead of guns.

Orchestral conductors use light-weight batons for direction rather than combat.

Relay racers carry (and pass on) symbolic batons.

Compare mace and staff of office for the marrying of defense and symbolism.

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