First a disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. I built this garrote wire to conduct research and have no intention of actually using it and neither should you. Like any weapon, this is not a toy. You should not “play” with or “test” it on any human being under any circumstances. Accidents happen, like when you play with an “unloaded” gun. Don’t be stupid.
The garrote wire is a somewhat antiquated and exotic weapon in this day and age. In the era of submachine guns with integral built-in suppressors, often firing subsonic bullets, crude methods such as strangulation seem obsolete even when a completely silent kill is required. Usually, this takes the form of sentry removal. Soldiers needing to infiltrate a target area need to silently eliminate guards in order to maintain the element of surprise.
In chapter one of my book, Reflexive Fire, my protagonist uses a unique type of garrote wire to silently eliminate the members of a drug cartel. Of course, I wanted to actually build the thing first to see if it would work.
The wire itself is medium gauge piano wire which has been secured to a few inches of wooden dowel by drilling a hole through it, slipping the wire through, and then winding it back around itself. Afterwards, the dowel is wrapped with the type of grip tape used by athletes to maintain their grip on a baseball bat or a kettle bell. Normally, the other end of the wire would be secured in a similar fashion to another hand hold, made from a second length of dowel. In this case, the free running end of the wire is secured back on itself via a slip knot. I bought the leather bracelet at the mall where the young fashionista’s get their club wear…but don’t worry, I don’t wear this sort of thing out on the town! The bracelet is used to protect your wrist from the wire itself.
When the slip knot is secured around the leather bracelet (worn on the weak side, non-dominate hand), the garrote wire is employed in this manner. When eliminating a sentry in a war-time scenario, the soldier stalks toward his target from behind while keeping a low profile in order not to cast large shadows. On final approach, the soldier places his weak side hand behind the target’s head. Finally, using the hand hold, the soldier flips the garrote wire over the sentry’s head, hooking it under his chin before wrenching back on the hand hold. According to what I’ve read, this produces a nearly instantaneous and silent kill. Again, this is merely research for my book and any weapon, no matter how silly it looks, should be treated with respect.
When not in use, I found that the garrote wire can be wrapped around the weak side wrist and secured in place with a rubber band.
After Action Review:
-The garrote is probably of very limited utility due to the number of preconditions that need to be met in order to be employed properly. You need cover and concealment for your entire approach up to the target, not to mention someone providing over watch with a (ideally) suppressed weapon. The types of situations where a soldier could use a weapon like this seems far more likely to occur on a movie set than in real life where things go FUBAR real quick.
-I would add 6-8 inches more to the length of the wire in order to make sure I had enough slack to get it under our theoretical Nazi sentry’s chin.
-The wire needs to be secured around the leather bracelet in some manner, rather than just relying on the friction created by the slip knot to hold it in place. If that slip knot moved off the bracelet during use and tightened around your bare skin, you would be in a world of hurt.
The verdict: The garrote wire may have some limited combat applications, but with modern advances in firearms, this would be my last choice of “silent” weapon. I’ve used suppressed weapons while I was in the Army and would much rather have an MP5-SD3 that allowed me some more standoff than something like a garrote or combat knife.
Finally, once again, please do not construct or misuse one of these things. This was written for research and informational purposes only.