I wasn't sure whether my questions belong in the grappling forum, or in the knife forum, or the gun forum since aspects of my questions belong to all three. Rather than posting three times, I figured it probably fits better with the General Self Defense forum. Basically, it makes me wonder at what point do we decide we must use lethal means of defense against an attacker that may be unarmed? I am thinking from the point of view of a female, that attackers generally are bigger and may intend to inflict harm, possibly even death. Unfortunately, we cannot read the minds of the attackers and may not always know their intent. We may not even know if they may have a weapon elsewhere concealed. Some attackers have a back-up plan in having a knife hidden in case their intended primary attack plan fails. Part of the article below comes from a gun mailing list that I subscribe. Usually it covers different gun issues, but this is one that brought up the idea of having a knife in addition to a gun for self defense. Any thoughts? - Ceicei **** "It has been pointed out that grapplers (wrestlers) make an art out of closing distance, clinching and wrestling. It's a smart game plan, because eliminating distance greatly diminishes an opponent's ability to effectively retrieve and employ guns. Punches and kicks are also diminished in potency when bodies are in contact. The nemeses for grapplers is a blade. Even when bodies are in contact, an opponent can efficiently retrieve and use a blade on a grappler, even a good one. Conversely, pistols are less likely to be retrieved and used effectively in the clinch. The point is this: most mugging suspects are basically wrestlers. They grab arms, heads, hair, and torsos and then wrestle their victims to the ground. Not surprisingly, they customarily select victims over whom they have a significant size and strength advantage and whom they are able to approach closely without being noticed. Against such an attack a potential victim may be able to use a blade more effectively than a pistol, at least initially. An attacker is less likely to notice a blade in the victim's hand than he would a gun. Even after the attacker has been made (painfully) aware of the fact that his victim has a blade, disarming him or her is nearly impossible. Levering a pistol out of someone's hand is much easier. A gun is only dangerous in one direction! When parties separate, a pistol comes into its own, and a blade diminishes in usefullness. We need to think of a blade as something we can use quickly to get the attacker off of us and out of physical contact. When we have thus separated from him and gained distance, we can then use our pistol to prevent him from closing the distance once more. The best use for a blade is when you have one (concealed), and your attacker doesn't know it until it is employed. When it is employed, he will probably be more than happy to separate, after which you can default to your pistol."