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Evelyn_Alexie
09-30-2018, 10:12 PM
The heroine fills her sock with rocks to use as a weapon. The hero (American deputy sheriff) says, "Hmmn. An impromptu ____."

Pop quiz: what is this called?
a.Cosh
b.Blackjack
c. Sap
d.____?

Originally, I'd called it a cosh, from some vague recollection of Alastair MacClean novels. But a Google search brought up at least two websites that called it a blackjack. (To me, that's a term used in a casino so I thought it might confuse readers.)

A Reddit search brought up a variety of answers, but the top one was a sap. (I thought "a sap" was someone easily fooled, e.g. Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon saying "I won't play the sap for you.")

The Urban Dictionary called it a rock sock, but it also had additional definitions of that term which are NSFW. (Is there ANY word in the Urban Dictionary that does not have at least one definition that is NSFW?)

I'd rather not have the hero refer to it just as a "weapon" since I'm trying to show him as an expert who knows what various weapons are called.

Introversion
09-30-2018, 10:32 PM
I’d go with cosh or sap.

OTOH, I’m in my fifties, so my opinion’s probably suspect unless you’re aiming at an older audience. :tongue I’d be curious what younger responders would call it.

ironmikezero
09-30-2018, 10:43 PM
Unless your hero has law enforcement experience, don't use terms like blackjack or slapjack. There was a time, not that long ago, when LE agencies in the US typically issued blackjacks as less-lethal standard equipment and trained personnel in effective usage. Over time, such equipment was eventually replaced for the most part by chemical agents (mace, OC-spray,etc.), stunguns, expandable batons, etc.

Cosh is more of a British slang term; whereas, sap is somewhat more generic in its suspected origin, but is thought to be slang more commonly associated with American gangsters of the 1920s and 1930s.

I'd recommend using the term sap.

Evelyn_Alexie
09-30-2018, 10:46 PM
Thank you both!

I hadn't thought about the British/American distinction. Good point!

The hero is an American deputy sheriff, so cosh won't work at all.

This was very helpful!

Michael Myers
10-01-2018, 12:01 AM
My first thought, if I were writing this, would go like:
*********
"Hmm," Andy says, seeing her sock of rocks. "Back home, Gram called that a beaner." He put the coffee pot back.
"Yeah?"
"She filled the toe with beans. Not enough to do any harm. Just got your attention."
*********

That is, lacking a well-recognized identifier, go vernacular on it.
Also, cosh is the indentifier for the mathematical function known as a hyperbolic cosine.
But you'd have to be a math geek to know it.

waylander
10-01-2018, 12:07 AM
Cosh is very much British usage.

Chris P
10-01-2018, 12:08 AM
They way you describe it, I picture a cross between a bludgeon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_(weapon))(or cudgel, or other synonym) and a bola (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolas). In context of prison weapons, a bar of soap in a sock is sometimes described, but I don't know any specific name for it.

ETA: It could also be a type of flail (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail_(weapon)), too.

Another ETA: How does your character intend to use the weapon? I can't imagine a sock of rocks is going to stand up to much more than a few successful hits to the target.

Jason
10-01-2018, 12:45 AM
Reminds me of boot camp - though instead of rocks they used soup cans

jclarkdawe
10-01-2018, 12:49 AM
Location and time matter.

Sap is an older term.

Cosh, as stated, is a British term.

Rock sock is newer and urban in usage.

Beaner is a more rural and older term.

Inmates use soap because it's easily available and not contraband. If the inmate is more serious, batteries or locks are used. In the rest of the world, coins can be used. Basically any sock gives you some momentum and what you want to do is add weight. Locks in a sock is called a "slock."

Usually you double up the socks to give them extra strength and longevity. Even with a soap sock you can inflict a lot of damage. Metal or rocks and you can start breaking bones and potentially end up with a fatality.

Jim Clark-Dawe

blacbird
10-01-2018, 08:13 AM
Raymond Chandler, probably the most famous hardass detective novelist of all time, called a device like this a "sap". Except I think it was slightly more sophisticated that a sock full of rocks, more like a leather pouch filled with lead shot or something similarly heavy. The point of it is, you want to incapacitate the victim without causing a lot of bleeding.

caw

WeaselFire
10-01-2018, 03:53 PM
It's a sap. That's how police will describe it. It's been called a beaner as well, never heard sock-rock.

"He hit his quarry behind the head with a sap, a sock filled with rocks, just hard enough to stun him and not fracture the skull."

Jeff

PeteMC
10-01-2018, 04:13 PM
It's definitely a cosh to me (British), but if you said sap I'd know what you meant.

Tazlima
10-01-2018, 06:20 PM
American here, and the only version I've ever heard is "sap."

As an aside, I'm now seriously tempted to write a picture book for adults based on this thread.

What Just Hit Me?

What word do you use for a sock full of rocks,
and is it the same as a sock full of locks?

When rocking a rock sock, you call it a sap,
and knock it on noggins in need of a slap.

A sock full of locks can be used the same way,
but that means that "slock" is the word of the day.

Dry beans make a "beaner" to bean with panache,
and British rocks rock if you fancy a "cosh."

... lol, I wonder if there's a market for a handheld weapon primer?

Rob40
10-01-2018, 07:38 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blanket_party

In Full metal jacket, they filled the socks with bars of soap.

Impromptu as a word here. You don't necessarily need it. Don't let it guide you to a specific definitive word.

"Hmm, a sap surprise?"
"Well, that's a good start."
"I like how you think."
"Ohh, the painful sock job. I like it."

Just providing context.

Evelyn_Alexie
10-02-2018, 09:10 AM
Thank you all for your responses!

I'm not sure why so many examples dealt with soap. I probably wasn't clear that the heroine was far from soap. Or any other sign of civilization, for that matter. She's up on the side of a mountain. In the desert. No trees, no place to hide, nothing but rocks and dirt around her. No car, no purse, no keys, basically no nothing. (I'm mean to my characters.)
She's wearing a blouse, jeans, socks and shoes. And the Bad Guys(tm) are a-coming to get her. Hence, the rocks-with-shoes.

So given that the hero is an American sheriff's deputy, it sounds like he would either call her self-made weapon a blackjack or a sap.

That's really helpful. Google searches can give you a lot of terms, but they are not so good at sorting the results in terms of time/place/context. Thank you all!

Evelyn_Alexie
10-02-2018, 09:12 AM
American here, and the only version I've ever heard is "sap."

As an aside, I'm now seriously tempted to write a picture book for adults based on this thread.

What Just Hit Me?

What word do you use for a sock full of rocks,
and is it the same as a sock full of locks?

When rocking a rock sock, you call it a sap,
and knock it on noggins in need of a slap.

A sock full of locks can be used the same way,
but that means that "slock" is the word of the day.

Dry beans make a "beaner" to bean with panache,
and British rocks rock if you fancy a "cosh."

... lol, I wonder if there's a market for a handheld weapon primer?

Oh please write this. I think there's a serious market for it :)

blacbird
10-03-2018, 11:06 AM
In Full metal jacket, they filled the socks with bars of soap.

That was for punishment, not for incapacitation.

caw

Tazlima
10-03-2018, 08:10 PM
Oh please write this. I think there's a serious market for it :)

On it! I started a separate thread to research more terms.

braveboy
10-07-2018, 01:08 AM
A sap. Also I think a potato has been used more often than rocks as a filler, though. A better chance of not getting a murder rap, and if you're caught with it afterward, not much chance
of prosecuting you for having a potato in your possession.

Roxxsmom
10-07-2018, 01:18 AM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blanket_party

In Full metal jacket, they filled the socks with bars of soap.


I think that's because they didn't want to kill their fellow private--just hurt and shame him. Rocks would work better if you want to incapacitate or kill.

Thomas Vail
10-08-2018, 08:08 PM
I believe that's also why the blanket had a roll - one, it makes a very handy full body restraint, but two, it also diffuses the impacts so that they still hurt, but he's not black and blue from the beating, which would be a problem for his assailants. That probably also ties into comments about beating someone with a sack of oranges. Oranges have a decent amount of density to them, but also being soft means there's a higher threshold between hitting someone hard enough to hurt, and hard enough to cause lasting physical damage.

Unpolished
11-21-2018, 10:14 AM
Alledgedly a bag of orages won't leave marks while still making your target unhappy.

American, rock sock and slock are new to me. Cosh I wouldn't use but I'd understand, Sap I think of as a slightly more sophisticated weapon.

I would personally use something more informal, beater, thumper, ... But that's me personally not your character who might call it a mace or even Excaliber if she had too much fantacy exposure. If she was naval maybe a slung shot. Sap probably fits the law enforcement background.

abdall
12-04-2018, 02:59 AM
a....cosh?

aheuett
12-07-2018, 10:58 AM
In law enforcement a sap was specifically lead incased in leather, but they're now illegal to be carried by anyone. The pocket that still exists on the side of police uniform pants is called a "sap pocket" but is now used for folding knives, flashlights, plastic bags for suspect possessions, etc. In Washington State law it is referred to as a "slung shot" and is one of only five non-firearm weapons that are specifically illegal, but I've never seen the term elsewhere.

To answer directly, I would probably refer to it as a makeshift or improvised sap. As a side note I think of "impromptu" as describing an action, not an object, but that might just be regional (Pacific Northwest).

Norman Mjadwesch
12-20-2018, 09:14 AM
Since it has been stated that the action occurs in the middle of nowhere, and the only available stuffing for the sock is material found in desert regions, perhaps sand / soil could be used instead of rocks? They are made from the same material, and sand is therefore as effective as rock when it comes to inflicting damage in this context (minus any sharp edges and / or corners). The upside is in possible legal ramifications, whereby a rock will be typically perceived by a judge or jury as more aggressive / brutal as a weapon choice than would sand. Perception is a key consideration here, and a victim can garner greater sympathy in a case of self-defence if it can be demonstrated that they were not trying to inflict maximum damage upon another human being (even if they were) by choosing a less violent instrument (of all available options), and furthermore a good defence attorney would make sure to point this out during legal proceedings. The more passive the tool appears, the greater the likelihood of successfully defending one’s choices during desperate times.

It goes unsaid that the MC must first survive their ordeal before answering to the law before their action becomes something to worry about. But you know, forward planning and all that?