Enemies of Liberty are ruthless. To own your Liberty, you'd better come harder than your enemies..

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Guns & Knife Fights

Most of you know some of my CQB credentials. Quick thumbnail: I have always been lippy, I have always been physically smaller than most people I get lippy with, and I have trained with some of the most capable Warriors in the world to help keep my heart beating despite the intense efforts of my mouth to get me killed.

I know you train with your rifle and pistol. I suspect you do a lot of drills at the standard 21 feet in low-light circumstances against multiple targets that are moving in different directions and closing in on you...don't you?

I offer you this simple statement of fact, not to impugn your skills or brag about mine, but to articulate a point: In a very high percentage of circumstances were I to be engaged in mortal combat, beginning at 21 feet, with a man who is armed with a pistol and I had only a knife, I'd kill him. Yes, I'd probably get shot, and maybe even die from the wound(s). But that hardly helps the gunner as he bleeds out.

Most grown men who are motivated to kill you can cover 30 feet in 3 seconds or fewer.

How good are you with that rifle, carbine or pistol, really? How fast can you clear leather and accurately doubletap a moving target? Add the adrenaline dump. Add the fact that the guy rushing you is armed with a serious battle knife. Add the fact that he is not coming straight at you without cover. And for the sake of this exercise, consider he is alone. (If you really want a shiver, consider three of his hombres moving at you at the same time, in the same manner, with the same weapons, from three different compass points).

Once I close the gap I can almost always render your firearm useless, simply by deflecting the muzzle off my centerline and controlling yourarms or torso. Since I am a well-trained fighter, and I am well trained with the combat knife in my hand, you will get cut. If I do my job, I'll cut you with three mortal wounds in about 1.5 seconds and you will lose the physical ability to fend me off.

Even if you manage to put a bullet in me as I advance, here is a very simple bit of truth: If you do not blow a hole in my braincase, my spine, or my femur, I will probably still be on you with enough fight left in me to cut you to death.

Here is another simple truth that I have told you many times in the past, and I will say it again many times in the future: In the real world, in every single real fight, both fighters are going to take hits, take damage, and in a lot of cases, if it is a fight to the death, both will die. I do not care how many Hollywood stars you've seen handle 6 Bad People without even messing up their hair...that is just not reality, folks. And that pistol of yours will be used as a brick relatively often if our world really goes to sh*t.

Don't misunderstand me: I am not telling you to drop your gun and become a knife fighter. Hell, I've told you that my favorite weapon is a Chevy driving at high speed into the Bad Guy. But you'd better understand that your rifle and/or pistol is not a magic Win Stick.

If you are standing in Condition Red and armed with a Glock that has all 16 rounds ready to go against 4 men with knives who start at 30 feet and come at you from each compass point, you are going to have to kill at least two of them buckle to buckle.

Do you know to kill 2 men armed with knives who manage to get into your personal space, when you can't get the muzzle of your weapon on them?

You'd better think about it, you'd better train, and most importantly, you'd better do everything you can think of to avoid such a situation, because I am telling you from serious, real-world experience, no matter how good your knife skills or hand-to-hand skills may be, you will probably die in that situation.

And, what if you are in Condition Orange or Yellow instead of Red?


Most of you, if you are honest with yourself, are not interested in testing your mettle against a man who is armed with a battle knife at buckle-to-buckle range. Nor should you look for such situations to test your skills. I have spent tens-of-thousands of hours in serious dojos across the country, training often in full-contact, many hours with live blades, and I am comfortable at such close ranges (in fact I prefer it), but I have ZERO desire to meet a man with a knife who wants to kill me at that range. As good as I am (and I am good) I will probably die with him.

If you consider your firearms to be the answer to most of your future violent confrontations, you will lose. Bad Guys can get close and render your pistol or rifle useless very quickly. You can run empty and not have time to reload.

You'd better be working on knife skills and hand-to-hand skills.

You'd better become comfortable getting close to one or more men who are trying to take your life, because in the real world it will happen. You will probably end up on the ground in a hand-to-hand fight, even when the festivities begin at 30 feet with a handgun in your paw.

Personally, there are a great many circumtances in which I would be better armed and suited to accomplishing an ugly task by carrying my Cold Steel than a firearm. I am comfortable up close with dangerous people because of my training and life experiences. A knife is silent. A knife atack can be lightning fast. A single well-placed slash or plunge can be as effective as a .50BMG to the head.

Give your skillset an honest assessment, and get to work on the weak spots.



  1. Agree.

    No weapon is a cure-all. In my days of training in SCARS, we did multiple assailants and "1/2" to "3/4" contact training.

    Damage will be given and taken, likely no matter how good you are, or what you're armed with.

    In fact, a weapon is often a hindrance, as the person holding it will focus on it, and try to retain it at all costs, passing up bashing the opponent in the face or throat because "that's not how you use a gun".

    There's no reason you can't bash and shoot...

    The point is, I've seen quite a few folks fail because they were focused too much on their weapon, or the opponents'.

    Good piece.


  2. In all of your hours training in "serious dojos" have you ever taken (or seen a man take) a .45 hollow point to the chest cavity? i can assure you it removes the fight from the fighter

  3. Gospel. If you can't fight your way to your gun, you'll never be able to fight with your gun. The root word of gunfight is not "gun." It's "fight."


  4. You raise an excellent point.

    A local Akido instructor has repeatedly demonstrated to local police agencies that an agressor starting from 21 feet away can disarm an individual with a handgun before the latter can squeeze of a round.

    I suppose one could argue that this is a trained individual disarming the person with a gun. I propose that if one [trained] person can do this successfully, that there is a high probability of their being more people who are capable of doing this; even if it just turns out to be "luck".

    I have only talked about a lone agressor coming at you. If you have multiple agressors, you're right - it's going to get up close and personal real fast.

  5. "How fast can you clear leather and accurately doubletap a moving target?" About as fast as I can pull my knife.... I like the gun better. Scenarios are nice an all, but there is a reason men are warned not to bring a knife to a gun fight.

  6. Anon 04:59 - I would simply suggest that you do a bit of research and you'll find hundreds of cases where a Bad Guy continued fighting with a chest filled with mushroomed lead.

    The will and disposition of the fighter is far more important in ending a fight than a JHP. Some men will lay down and die with a .22 in their shoulder - because that is their nature. Other men will continue to close the gap and take your empty .45 from you and beat you to death with it, even if they are now carrying all the ammo in their belly. Some men simply do not lay down and die as easily as you may think.

    There is also simple physiology in play: If you break the brain, the spine or the femur, you destroy the mechanical ability of the organism to continue advancing.

    But you can find many, many, many reports of men with shredded hearts who still closed the gap and continued fighting before they succumbed to their wounds.

    You are exactly the type person for whom I wrote this piece. You are relying too much on rumor, innuendo and Massad Ayoob articles for your CQB philosophy.


  7. David3: I agree, just don't put too much faith in that pistol. If you are wrong, even once, you'd better have a very well-practiced Plan B or the Bad Guy will be the new owner of your pistol...and your wife, or anything else you are trying to protect.


  8. Anon,



  9. Hi all from a decidedly NON badass: I'm just wondering WHEN I will ever be in a situation where I'm being attacked by four guys with knives. I'm also wondering why they would bother: I'm just a schoolteacher after all, and I don't own anything of any great value. Am I to believe that four dudes with daggers are going to break in and kill me to take away my ten year old TV and my 14 year old dog? I guess its possible, and you are all probably correct: this situation would only end with my death. I will say this much though: the two "badasses" who survive are gonna bitch about who cleans their buddies blood and brains off the aforesaid TV set after my friend Mr. Mossberg "clears his throat". Twice.

  10. When do we get to stick together and march on the White house armed, time is upon us?

  11. Back in the day, an old video called Surviving Edged Weapons was shown to us during a training day at the San Diego PD. I've seen it several times since then. It supports everything you have said, Sam, and I have also seen it demonstrated several times during refresher training on the mats.

    Hollywood and the cult of "gun macho" will get you killed. Situational awareness to keep you from getting that close to a knife _might_ be the only thing to keep you alive against a skilled fighter, but that's not always going to work.

    For those folks who think a .45 (my preferred caliber) to the chest - even directly into the heart - will stop a man who is already running full-tilt at you, you have my condolences. Maybe it will, but maybe it won't, and frankly that's a bad bet.

    What if a guy starts running at you with empty hands, waiting until he is five or six feet from you before he draws that knife? How many will take the shot on what looks like an unarmed man? You'd better be prepared to deal with it hand-to-hand (I confess I am not, unless he is an amateur) or you'll probably die.

  12. Nice piece K.

    I shoot a lot of competition action pistol matches, it's tough enough scoring a "0" up against a timer in a competition setting, throw in an aggravated thug bull rushing you and all bets are off. Not to mention collateral non threat hits.

    I'd rather shoot him if I can, but if it gets up close and romantic I can see skill sets of other means being a necessity.

  13. Anon 01:28 - Suicide marches are not high on my To-Do list. We need to wait for our moment and let entropy work to soften them up a little. ;)


  14. Unfortunately , for us civies there are not many real world defense courses - most that I have seen and the marital arts that I have taken, have all been geared for tournaments or show. Anyone care to move to Katy, TX and open up a school? I know quite a few at work that would love to take you up on it.

    Reg, if we are in SHTF mode and someone blinks wrong, more or less starts running at me, my plan is to shoot first and then figure out if bees are after him.

    I had a kid, well he was a teenager, tell me that he always has a plan, he doesn't attack without one. the plan may change, he may back off, he may do something else depending on the other guy, but he aways has 3-4 moves planed. Mine is shoot, shoot, shoot, reload and shoot some more. And now try and get into some tactical training classes for pistol and rifle.

  15. My martial arts background is Aiki, GJJ, Vo Bihn Dihn, all synthesized over the years into my own mix. I would never advise anyone to jump into any one of those styles today if you need to learn to break people in a short amount of time.

    Find a Krav Maga school and train hard for 6 months - and when I say train hard I mean at least 4 nights a week, 6 is better and 90 minutes on the mat is a minimum.

    After 6 months at even a mediocre Krav school you will be prepared to take 95% of the Bad People who will ever square off with you. (Provided you have taken the mental decision to live, by any means necessary)

    If you want more after this foundation, and you have the time, then consider getting into GJJ/BJJ and give it a hard 6 months as well, so you can fight on the ground.

    Most arts simply take too long to become proficient. I could never advise anyone to go into Aiki if they do not have at least 10 years to devote - it takes too long to become a practical tool. (Once you hit a certain level, however, it is almost impossible to beat, especially when mixed with ground skills and close-quarters elbow & knee techniques)

    The ultimate crash course, if you can do it? 4 nights a week in a Krav class and 3 in a BJJ (Brazilian Ju-Jutsu) for 6 months. And when you are at home nursing your bruises and aches, begin to blend your pistol and rifle and knife work into what you are learning on the mat - you'll start to recognize the patterns and blend it all into a single, serious system that works for you.

    Six months. Hard.

    Believe me, there are Bad People out there doing it, right now, because they plan on meeting you one day and taking what you have.


  16. Thanks, there is a Krav place nearby that does lunch classes, which should be a good start. Wasn't sure if it would be a good fit, and then got taken out with 2 shoulder surgeries last year. I actually called and talked to the owner, he said most injuries were rotator cuff, so wait until it is full healed, probably the one bit of advice i have taken seriously for years... other than this :)

  17. Nearest Krav Maga place to me is 2 hours away. I don't have 4 hours a day to spare on that sort of commute. Otherwise that sounds interesting.

  18. Incidentally, my answer to the 4-guys question would be, empty the firearm into one while charging past him and running like hell, and keep running. The time not to run is when you have friends backing you up.

  19. Rollory, my philosophy is simple: Any strategy that keeps you alive is viable. Running like hell is never off the table. ;)

    RGRanger: Heal up first, for sure. In Krav (or any serious style) you'll be throwing a LOT of elbow strikes, because they work. And they will torque your shoulders pretty hard.


  20. My "martial arts" background is; bar fights, street fights, real life encounters involving almost any and every available "improvised" weapon as well as knives and guns. I've survived being shot, cut and blown up. You keyboard bad asses can speculate and postulate all you want. I've lived through it. There is no secret or best anything. It ALL boils down to the will to live. If you can't see it coming before it happens, you can't control it when it happens.
    There are 3 kinds of people. Predators, scavengers, and prey. You can sub divide and cross analyze those 3 categories all you want, BUT, at the end of the day, we all fall into 1 of the 3. The hardest thing any MAN every has to do in life is to determine which 1 of the 3 HE is and then live it.
    It's real simple folks. There is a culling coming. You can call it anything else you want to call it. It's still a culling. There is way yonder too much deadweight on this barge and Charlie Noble ain't billowing.


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