Police Leather Sap Lead Filled Impact Weapon
A sap is a flat, beavertail-shaped leather impact weapon that is weighted with lead on at least one end. Higher quality saps have semi-flexible spring steel running the full internal length of the weapon. Saps are very portable and inconspicuous. But, they can deliver a tremendously devastating punch with even a relatively small amount of applied force.
Saps are in fact very dangerous weapons. They are capable of shattering bone. And, if a leather sap's edge is used in a striking blow, as opposed to the flat face, a serious laceration will almost certainly occur.
As a safety precaution, police departments that allow officers to carry saps typically advise their personnel to only aim for large muscle areas such as the bicep or thigh. Such guidelines are meant to prevent the breaking of limbs or even the cracking of a skull.
These days, the sap is actually somewhat of a rarity in law enforcement. Many agencies throughout the country have banned them from officer usage due to fears over police brutality allegations and lawsuits. So, it's primarily been for political correctness, as opposed to weapon ineffectiveness, that saps have been phased out by many police departments.
Some agencies have concluded that saps aren't as versatile as the very popular expandable baton. However, many veteran officers completely disagree. For decades, thousands of officers and deputies have relied on saps as easy to conceal, close-quarters back-up weapons. Police uniform pants often feature pockets specifically sized and shaped to hold a sap. Because a leather sap such a flat, short device, it is very easy for a law enforcement officer to carry one.
Law enforcement officers with a lot of patrol experience will swear by the extra layer of personal security they are afforded by a sap tucked away into a "weak side" pants pocket. Specifically, if an altercation were to occur in which a perpetrator tried to grab an officer's firearm or baton off of their duty belt, the officer's opposite side hand could reach for a sap to help fend off and stifle the assault.
The most popular size sap is 8 inches long. However, there are a lot of officers at each end of the spectrum who prefer to carry a 6 inch or 11 inch sap. To help illustrate the differences, we've created a Flat Sap Comparison page with a few large images.