Posted on May 12, 2014
“The ultimate close quarters weapon.” That is how author David Grant, an avid collector of handheld weapons, calls knuckle dusters a.k.a. brass knuckles.
The description is quite apt given the history of how these hand weapons have proven to be effective when used for their intended purpose. By design, a brass knuckle can amplify the power of a punch and can lead to tissue tear and bone fracture on the intended target.
The earliest versions of knuckle dusters is documented in Greek history. The Greek battle 'caestus' evolved from simple leather thongs wrapped over a warrior's hand to one that included metal studs, plates and spikes.
In modern times, many sources point to the trench “knuckle knives” used during World War 1 as direct ancestors of the today's brass knuckles. Other sources point to a much earlier time - the American Civil War where soldiers were said to have made their own knuckle dusters by using lead melted out of bullets.
Nowadays, knuckle dusters are made of a host of materials – steel, brass, aluminum, metal alloys, plastic and even bulletproof glass. Brass knuckles also come in a multitude of design styles – from the more common four-fingers design to the less common but more compact three or two-finger configurations.
Some modern knuckle dusters incorporate spikes, blades and even a stun gun in their design. A more complex brass knuckle design, one that has become currently popular among weapons collector, is said to be the Apache revolver. A combination of a knuckle duster, gun and knife, the Apache revolver was a notorious weapon among the French underworld during the 1900s.
Hip hop culture has also elevated public consciousness on the knuckle duster as a design theme – its distinctive shape has found itself replicated in jewelries, car accessories and even coffee mugs. It is not uncommon to see rap and hip hop stars incorporate the brass knuckle theme in their get-ups.
Knuckle dusters can be found at weapons shops, flea markets, and swap meets. You can also buy brass knuckles from online weapons sites – many of these sites describe them as belt buckles or paper weights.
An interested buyer should be aware that laws governing the ownership, use, purchase or sale of these hand weapons vary from state to state. Some states even classify knuckle dusters as deadly weapons. Anyone who wishes to buy brass knuckles are advised to first know the state law.