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Old 11-16-2013, 10:27 PM
HIKayaker HIKayaker is offline
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Default Walking Sticks, Canes, and Airports (TSA)

Any thoughts from LEOs and/or personal experiences about the modern polypropylene "walking sticks" in restricted areas such as airports.

From time to time I travel out of the country and necessarily visit areas that are not always the best. I've always felt a bit better with a walking stick or cane in my hand.

Modern manufactured walking sticks such as the (COLD STEEL) blackthorn copies, African walking sticks, etc. can be certainly be used for assistance in getting around, but these are obviously more substantial than most walking canes, designed as they are for defense. Do TSA or other officials look upon these any differently than they do a more standard lightweight wood or aluminum cane?

I am 60, so I look the part when carrying a cane. And I carry a somewhat heavier wood bent cane when I travel. My experiences have so far been positive going through airport security. My stick/cane has never been questioned. Usually the screeners have even offered a "loaner" cane while my own cane went through the scanner.

Lately I've had my eye on one of the blackthorn models, and wonder if my experience might be different if I were carrying one of those...

Thoughts? Anecdotes?

Thanks.
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:50 AM
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I work at an airport and spend most of my time watching screening. My experience is that canes and walking sticks of any type are OK, as long as there's no hidden weapon (like a knife or sword) in it and there is no sharpened point on the bottom.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:14 AM
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I've been packin' an oak cane for a while without any problems.
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:25 PM
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I traveled in and out of Seattle with no problems with my wood cane. They automatically gave me a loaner to go through the scanner, while mine went through the Xray with all my other stuff. My wife was somewhat concerned when they pulled out the little cloth wipes to check the "boot" on my broken ankle. They wiped it and my hands down, while explaining that that is normal for any cast or substantial covering of a body part. I offered to take it off but they assured me it wasn't necessary. When my wife asked what they were checking for and they said "explosives" my wife asked me (quietly) were you reloading anything before we left home this morning?
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:41 PM
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It is normal for them to check for explosives in this manner. I have a prosthetic leg and the first time they did it I was not happy. But I understood why and they were polite. I also reload and shoot a lot and was concerned that they might pick up some kind of gunpowder residue but it has never happened.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:25 PM
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If any residue is encountered by TSA that causes an alarm, they will resolve the issue and send you on your way. It's actually more common in my experience for prescription meds like nitroglycerine tablets and certain hand lotions (that also contain glycerine compounds) to alarm vs. folks that reload ammo.
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:46 AM
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The Cold Steel Blackthorn may get you in a little trouble in some countries as it is essentially a reproduction shillelagh.
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:54 AM
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I have found that by dragging my leg and putting a pillow under my coat in the rear helps plenty. Most time I over hear them say "hear comes the hunch back of Notre Dame" I grunt and the let me thru, blackened out teeth and old tattered clothes help too. just a thought,>wink<
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlay View Post
It is normal for them to check for explosives in this manner. I have a prosthetic leg and the first time they did it I was not happy. But I understood why and they were polite. I also reload and shoot a lot and was concerned that they might pick up some kind of gunpowder residue but it has never happened.
Although this may or may not be true wrt TSA in the US, back in 2000 we had a 4 hour (middle of night) stop-over in Zürich and I watched them wheel in this monstrous machine. While they were setting up I asked one of the (I assume) Zürich police officers if it picked up gun powder residue from shooting and the answer was no. When we went thru that checkpoint they were swabbing bags and the machine read the results. No issues.
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H Richard View Post
I traveled in and out of Seattle with no problems with my wood cane. They automatically gave me a loaner to go through the scanner, while mine went through the Xray with all my other stuff.
If they gave you a loaner they've either changed policy or I had the ignorant screener. When I messed up my knee 7 years ago I used a wood cane for a while. They took it away to run it through the x-ray, and I just had to hobble through on my own. Of course I'd had to take off my shoes so it's slippery with just socks on. I put my hand on the detector for balance and oh my goodness you'd think I had insulted his mother from the tongue-lashing I got. Does placing ones hand on the upright portion somehow render the device useless? If so he can certainly tell me that; I don't know how the dang thing works. He doesn't have to scold me like I'm a five-year-old.

Afterwards I'm trying to collect my pocket items, belt, shoes, cane, hat, carry-on bag and was apparently not moving quickly enough; got another earful about holding up people behind me. ME holding up the line? Really? After the wait I just went through? For once in my life I smartly bit my tongue and shut up. They'd have arrested me if I'd said what I was thinking.
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Old 11-24-2013, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyblueyes View Post
I have found that by dragging my leg and putting a pillow under my coat in the rear helps plenty. Most time I over hear them say "hear comes the hunch back of Notre Dame" I grunt and the let me thru, blackened out teeth and old tattered clothes help too. just a thought,>wink<
Fine, but then did they let you ride inside the plane?
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:45 AM
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You may want to consider a Cane made from Hickory. They are very strong and can be very substantial. Some are marketed for defensive purposes, but others are made in similar diameters and can be decorative as well. Like anything, prices vary, but can be as inexpensive as $11.00 for a plain one.
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:16 AM
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Question.....if your at a stag in your life where you need a cane. How effective are you defending yourself with one ????
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:36 AM
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Question.....if your at a stag in your life where you need a cane. How effective are you defending yourself with one ????
Some people don't need them to walk. They play like they need them so they have a legal weapon. Larry
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:50 AM
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A bit off topic, but my son worked in EOD and did a lot of explosives training. His tainted luggage always set off TSA alarms. ID and a set of orders cleared it up though.
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:56 PM
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Question.....if your at a stag in your life where you need a cane. How effective are you defending yourself with one ????
You might be surprised. Recently a large, attacking dog found that I could be pretty effective with mine and stop short of shooting him.

And yes, I need my cane. No pretense.
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:10 PM
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About 5 years ago, my Blackthorn cane and I went through TSA scrutiny and had no problems. They gave me a loaner, sent Blackie thru the scanner, and met me on the other side. (of course, I had just checked my pistol in). All in all, not an unpleasant experience. Of course, the wife had done a lot of the prep work and knew all the correct steps.
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:18 PM
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On another site I read that the Americans with Disability Act forbids them from even asking why you need the cane. I've also heard that anything that resembles a shillelagh is verboten in the UK (and probably elsewhere). Seems the Irish guys split quite a few heads with them in the last couple of centuries of British occupation.
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:36 PM
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I actually need a cane to properly navigate and TSA has always been very helpful and understanding but it must go through the x-ray.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:46 AM
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Using a walking stick to hike is a great way to be able to enjoy the beauty of nature and to get some exercise in the outdoors. Walking sticks are great accessories for anyone who enjoys hiking.

wooden hiking staff
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:08 AM
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I have a blackthorn walking stick (not a Cold Steel plastic one), and it has traveled with me with no problem. I can usually walk through a metal detector without it. However, before my doctor found something that controlled my arthritis, I sometimes needed two canes to get around. Of course, back in those days, no one was going through metal detectors or having their baggage x-rayed, and I was always allowed on the airliner first.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlay View Post
It is normal for them to check for explosives in this manner. I have a prosthetic leg and the first time they did it I was not happy. But I understood why and they were polite. I also reload and shoot a lot and was concerned that they might pick up some kind of gunpowder residue but it has never happened.
Smokeless powder is a propellant, not an explosive. The airport sensors aren't calibrated to pick it up. They have no reason to. As others have said, they are mainly looking for nitrates.
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:33 PM
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Default Folding Cane

As I have intermittent knee problems, I always travel with a folding cane in my carry-on luggage unless I happen to need the cane at the airport. Never been an issue.

While standing in a long ticket buyers' line at a Paris museum, leaning on my cane, a security guard came over and ushered my wife and I to the front of the line. It's a courtesy I didn't know about but apparently common in Paris.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:19 PM
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I go back and forth to the middle east a few times a year and always have my "Cane Master" made of hickory. About as formidable as a Louisville slugger, and no one dares ask about it. It's the only deadly weapon that they have to let you take on an airplane.

Even in the states it's an EDC.

Cane Masters!, Walking Canes for mobility, self-defense, exercise and rehabilitation
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:57 PM
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Default M&M Mini's cause panic...

My 13 yr old daughter & I were flying AK to GA for my son's army graduation. We thought we were smart by taking a "roll" of quarters for easy grabbing in a left over mini m&m case. (They fit perfect, it's bright, easy to see in your carry on...)
I was in a wheelchair, my tiny daughter was pushing me, we went through the scanners and all the sudden they grabbed us, thru on a vest, carried the bag like it would explode and took us aside. Asked us whose bag, could they reach in...and pulled out the m&m container with two fingers holding it very carefully and far away!
"What is in the CONTAINER?" "Quarters" "Do I have your permission to open it right now?" "Of course, it's just quarters for soda machines as we travel." I have never seen anyone seem so frightened opening anything before! He told me it showed up on the screen looking like an explosive they are trained to watch for that always comes in a tube! Learned my lesson!
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyblueyes View Post
I have found that by dragging my leg and putting a pillow under my coat in the rear helps plenty. Most time I over hear them say "hear comes the hunch back of Notre Dame" I grunt and the let me thru, blackened out teeth and old tattered clothes help too. just a thought,>wink<
And I'll bet on the plane there are empty seats next to yours too, soon after they get a good look at you.
Smart idea!
Steve W
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Old 02-10-2017, 11:22 PM
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I'm 63 with a hip that's giving me trouble as I get older and have taken to carrying a a home made hickory cane ( i enjoy making them for friends) and TSA has never questioned it. I too read somewhere that due to the ADA they cannot question why need a cane.
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Old 02-11-2017, 01:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowenguy View Post
Question.....if your at a stage in your life where you need a cane. How effective are you defending yourself with one ????
More effective than you are going to be defending yourself WITHOUT one I'll bet...
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squarebutt View Post
On another site I read that the Americans with Disability Act forbids them from even asking why you need the cane. I've also heard that anything that resembles a shillelagh is verboten in the UK (and probably elsewhere). Seems the Irish guys split quite a few heads with them in the last couple of centuries of British occupation.
At the lab for a blood draw I ran into a guy carrying a shillelagh who told me that the Irish invented golf. He said they used their shillelaghs to hit sheep droppings into gopher holes.
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