Is the Bayonet Obsolete?

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts - General' started by Darrin Cook, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Darrin Cook

    Darrin Cook Yellow Belt

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    I have a new post on my blog about a debate in the US army whether or not to continue bayonet training.

    I was surprised to discover that the bayonet is still used in combat, as recently as the Iraq war. The Brits also staged a successful bayonet charge in the Falkland Islands War.

    I'm curious to find out if anyone uses a bayonet in a home defense situation. I think that a shotgun or a low powered rifle outfitted with a bayonet would be a very effective weapon for the home. I'm uncertain as to its legality, though. I remember that part of the "assault weapons" ban had to do with outlawing bayonet lugs, which somehow made certain guns evil.

    Let me also recommend Cold Steel, a classic book on Marine Corps self-defense with the bayonet, knife, stick, and bare hands. It's an old book, but I don't know how you'd top it.

    I should also add that if you train with the long stick as I do, that it directly applies to the bayonet.
     
  2. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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  3. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    It seems like they've been saying that the bayonet is obsolete for generations now... yet it's still around...

    They've said the same thing about the infantry, too.

    It's hard to convincingly argue against a weapon that has very few points of failure...
     
  4. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    A bayonet attached to a rifle is a knife on the end of a long stick, or a spear intended to be used with both hands to stab (rather than throwing it). I can't imagine it would stop being useful, as long as people remain penetrable by pointy things in a stabby or slashy motion.

    I can imagine it could have utility in a home-defense scenario, but I would not put on one any weapon intended to use for home defense. Primarily because one of the major needs I see for a home defense weapon is small size. The bayonet would make such a weapon longer than I would want mine to be.

    I've had all the bayonet training I think I will need for the remainder of my life; if I came upon one, I'd be able to use it effectively, I think. But I'd be just as likely to swing an entrenching tool as a bayonet if I didn't have the ability to use a firearm in its intended manner in a self-defense scenario.
     
  5. FieldDiscipline

    FieldDiscipline 2nd Black Belt

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    Beat me to it Tez. They don't like it up 'em.

    The British Army has always had an affinity for the bayonet, going back to the first time the French were routed by them, IIRC.
     
  6. FieldDiscipline

    FieldDiscipline 2nd Black Belt

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  7. Darrin Cook

    Darrin Cook Yellow Belt

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    Bill,

    I think part of the problem is a ban on short weapons (there are minimum barrel lengths), that would make an additional bayonet just that much longer.
     
  8. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Absolutely Mr Mainwaring! ( that's Mannering to non Brits) And of course you can't forget the Gurkhas with their Kukris.
     
  9. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm familiar with the laws on weapon length, I was an FFL holder once, and am former law enforcement.

    Adding a bayonet to a short-barreled weapon does not increase its length as far as the law is concerned, so it's no help there. If I had an illegally short weapon, sticking a bayonet on it would not make it legal.

    I like a short-barreled (but legal) shotgun as a home defense weapon, or a handgun. I would not put a bayonet on it. Nothing wrong with a bayonet, I just would not find it of any particular use stuck on the end of a pistol or short shotgun.
     
  10. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    The bayonet attached to a rifle is still effective. As Bill said it is basically a spear. It gives one reach and distance and it is a knife. Wow it really is a no brainer. Now, are there other things that could be more effective? Certainly! Like keeping your distance and having enough ammo that you never have to engage in close quarter fighting!
     
  11. David43515

    David43515 Master Black Belt

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    During WWII my dad was in the infantry and trained to train bayonet instructors.The bayonet is and always will be an effective combat tool. There`s immediate cross over to other weapons as well. If you learned to use a bayonet in basic training you can use a riot baton, a cane, or a pool cue as well.

    But I can`t say I would want to attach one to a long gun for home defense. Hallways and small rooms might be tooo crowded as it is. For home defense, IMO,you`re better off with a couple large dogs to keep people busy while you retreat into the bedroom with a firearm and a cell phone. Gather your family, call the cops, and let them do thier job.
     
  12. DBZ

    DBZ Orange Belt

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    In the current US Army it is a matter of personal opinion if you like the bayonet or not. when I went thru BCT Over a year ago they did not cover the training. we did combatives instead(bjj type stuff) But my wife who went thru BCT at the same time at a diff company did do the training, So it kinda up in the air to me
     
  13. Darrin Cook

    Darrin Cook Yellow Belt

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    Bill,

    My point was that the typical legal shotgun is already too long for home defense. By the time you add a bayonet, it makes it even longer.

    If a citizen could legally own a shorter barrel weapons, a bayonet might not be so combersome due to added length.
     
  14. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Hmm, still not sure what you mean. A legal shotgun can be quite short indeed. The barrel has to be at least 18 inches, overall length 26 inches. A typical sporter rifle has a 24 inch barrel, so a 26 inch overall length is very short, but perfectly legal. And very good for home defense.

    The classic and inexpensive Mossberg 500 with a folding stock is my weapon of choice for home defense. I think we agree that a bayonet would not serve much purpose on the end of that.
     
  15. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Bill,

    Actually the Mossberg 590A1 has a bayonet lug on it and is an excellent home defense option with or without the bayonet. Is a bayonet functional in a home self defense situation? Maybe depending on the person using it and their knowledge and use of its length. I think it has relevance in that capacity but the person carrying it has to realize and understand how to move with the extra six inches.
     
  16. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    The bayonet is as obsolete as any other melee type weapon, or even bare hand fighting.

    In other words, it has a very limited role way, way behind bullets and infantry cooperative tactics.

    It's not gone and it probably never will but, but it ain't "first line" by any means.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  17. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sure everybody says it's six inches...

    OK, kidding aside - a bayonet six inches long at the minimum. I was not aware of the Mossberg 590A1, so thanks for that info. Based on photos of it I see on the web, it looks as though the handle of the bayonet is withing the length of the shotgun barrel, and the blade extends beyond it from the guard. The picture I see shows an M7 bayonet, which has a 6.75 inch blade. The Mossberg 590A1 also is apparently sold with the shortest barrel being 18.5 inches. So your weapon is going to end up being about 24 (minimum legal length of overall shotgun) inches plus nearly 7 inches, or 31 inches long. Compared to 24 (without the bayonet) inches.

    Perhaps I am just admitting that "I don't know how to move with the bayonet" but I don't think it belongs on a home-defense shotgun and I would not mount one on mine. I think there's a big difference between maneuvering a 24-inch weapon and a 31-inch weapon in close quarters.

    Fine for trench warfare, not so much for the home - IMHO. YMMV.
     
  18. searcher

    searcher Senior Master

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    It is obsolete until you are out of ammo, then it changes things a bit.
     
  19. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    If you could carry a bayonet or an extra 30 round magazine, which would you carry? ;)

    If there's room for a bayonet, there's room for more bullets. Not saying it might not serve a purpose, but the reality is that bayonet combat was relatively rare even in the day and age it was en vogue............most incidents of bayoneting even in the golden age of the bayonet was in stabbing fleeing infantry in the back as they fled after they broke ranks during the initial volleys.

    Point to point bayonet fighting did occur.......but it was the exception.

    If someone wants to bring along something in case the rifle jams, and one finds themselves in immediate need of secondary lethal force, I would recommend a good reliable handgun.
     
  20. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Soldiers don't keep bayonets fixed, they just keep them close. For them they are useful for a lot of other things too so perhaps its more of a military weapon after all.
     

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