From when I was a rookie until the late 1990’s, I carried a Monadnock PR-24 on duty. My first one was the aluminum shafted model. Our agency had gone to dark navy uniforms with a large shield-style badge in the early 1980’s.
With that dark blue uniform, oval shield, and PR-24, we fairly looked like the LAPD. That was by design. We had hired a progressive chief who wanted to get away from the Stetson hat and cowboy boot look that he had inherited.
When I arrived, it was mandatory to carry the PR-24 on all calls for service, including any self-initiated activity. You could leave it in the car only for breaks and meal.
Back then we also carried full sized rechargeable Maglites. With the large flashlight and straight aluminum baton, your gun belt was pretty weighed down. Both items rode on the left side of my driver’s seat and I grabbed them up when I got out.
I remember the sound of the PR-24’s sliding into the metal rings when we got out on calls. It was sort of reassuring, although not always that stealthy.
One thing was certain, when you drew it out fast in anger, it made a Shhhhink! sound out of the ring and a dull whoosh as it cut the air. That action alone stopped a few guys from pushing the issue.
The PR-24 was developed in a nod to the martial arts tonfa, an Asian weapon popularized by the Okinawans. Lore has it that the Okinawans were forced to use clandestine weapons disguised as agricultural implements during the Japanese occupation of their island in the 17th Century.
The tonfa resembles a wood handle used to grind grain by millstone. Though the actual origin of the use of a side-handled baton for self-defense is undoubtedly Asian, history and myth seem to merge into an incomplete explanation.
Whatever its roots, the PR-24 is a very effective tool for strikes, thrusts, blocks, and joint locks. Its design allows for punches with either end, forehand and backhand swings, strikes with the flat, rear jabs, and the favored “baseball swing.”
Another unique attribute of the PR-24 is its ability to be used to block incoming attacks in the same basic grip used from which to strike. Holding the side handle allows one to block in a natural motion with the PR-24 protecting the outer forearm.
We had some old heavy bags and martial arts equipment on the disused second floor of our old police building. Some of us would go up there and practice full power swings and strikes when it was slow on Mids.
During annual re-certs with the PR-24, you could see who knew how to use one when it came time to deliver blows with it. If you never hit anything but air with one, you may be surprised that it rotates back on a hard impact.
I have seen a few officers with bruised elbows from rebounding sticks. And once in a great while 24 inches of aluminum went sailing across the training room when the officer had a poor grasp.
I used my PR-24 in many combative situations, thus my affection for the tool. We later transitioned to Monadnock Autolock batons for ease of carry. I do not dislike the Autolock, but I feel the PR-24 is a better overall impact weapon.
I came along after the demise of the hardwood nightstick in my parts, but I’m sure the guys back then did not like the new aluminum “bats” either. Don’t tell anybody, but I still have a PR-24 riding in the CVPI’s trunk…in case of a crowd control situation.
Randall is a police sergeant with a sense of nostalgia. He also misses his 1986 Dodge Diplomat police cruiser.