How much of an advantage is a knife?

sgtmac_46

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Excellent training suggestion having an unknown holding the knife... but even more so... having several attacks but some with a knife and some without, at random... helps up the ante and reinforces the adage of expecting the unexpected.
I suspect the result for most folks will be the adoption of some techniques that apply a little more universally, and the dropping of some techniques that only work for one or the other.
 

GBlues

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Go check this video out. It's by Paul Vunak I got it off of youtube.

I think it really kind of puts knife fighting into a good context right off the bat. Now I have to say this. I don't care if a man can clear 20ft. in 1.5 secs, against a good quick draw he's dead. I mean hell, I can draw my .45 and fire in .5 a second. So that still, leaves roughly .89 depending on the length of the mans arms and the knife, to still aim and fire. And there are guys out there that can do it in .2 of a second. That's really fast! So knife vs. gun, again depends on training levels of the two individuals.

So if I had to choose one. I would choose a knife, the two times I've been involved with a knife, I was very lucky and walked away in one piece. Plus I can run if it's necassary. A gun, I might still be able to run, but he might be a very good shot, so.....I might not get very far. Hehe!
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MJS

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W.E. "Dangerous Dan" Fairbairn, who was the police chief of Shanghai during the 1930's and came out on top of over 600 documented fights while arresting various thugs and trainer of the British Commandoes during World War II and the author of the classic "Get Tough!" wrote the knife is the most dangerous weapon in close quarter combat. John Perkins, a former New York City Police officer with lots of experience with close quarter combat, and founder of the "Attack Proof" self defense system stated, "anyone with a knife immediately becomes a 12th degree blackbelt".

With all due respect to Fairbairn who knows more about this subject than I ever will, it seems to me a gun is more dangerous, as all you have to do is pull a trigger. And with respect to Perkins, while I agree a knife gives you a tremendous advantage over an unarmed opponent, this is a bit of hyerbole, I can't imagine some punk with a knife who doesn't really know what he's doing is more capable to defeat an expert in hand to hand combat who is unarmed. Still, the punk would only have to get lucky once.

What do you think? All opinions appreciated.

I take it you never saw the video, "Surviving Edged Weapons" before, because if you had, you would certainly see the knife in a new light. :) Keep in mind, while both are dangerous weapons, and range will play a part depending on what is being used, the gun is only going to hurt the person when its pointed at them. The knife can be held in a number of positions and still be very effective.

As for the hand to hand expert coming out on top...while we hope that the arts give us an advantage, they do not turn us into invincible supermen. If the 'expert' does not train in a realistic fashion, all that training is going to go right out the window.
 

MJS

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Tried doing a search but wasn't able to find it... far too many topics on the subject... a little while back there were a group of videos that showed the gun draw against a knife attacker... at varying distances. Seems the knife won out every time. Even at a distance of 25+ feet away.
Agree with Shesulsa do not ever-ever underestimate the knife wielder. And as Arnisador said you're fighting at less than full capacity when you do get cut. And I'll go to add that the percentage gets less with each cut you sustain... it doesn't take much. Shock, blood loss, severed nerves, ligaments, tendons all of that reduces your ability. AVOID getting cut and I'll re-state again as I have on another thread, grabbing the blade is not-a-bright-idea. The hand, the wrist, arm that is holding the blade yes but not the metal itself. Unless you want "your wife to be opening up your ketchup bottles for the rest of your life".

I believe this is what you are talking about.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tueller_Drill
 

GBlues

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And here is a video from youtube about it.

Pretty interesting. Never seen that before. I'll have to try that sometime. With a squirt gun.
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seasoned

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Sgt. Dennis Tueller, a Salt Lake City Police officer and defensive tactics trainer, developed what is called the "21 ft. rule," throguh a pretty extensive study which basically shows that a person can travel about that far in 1.5 seconds, and that if an officer has his sidearm holstered and is attacked by a person with a knife within that range, he can't deploy his weapon fast enough to respond reliably.

That basically means that within that range, the guy with the gun in his holster gets stabbed (the moist likely attack by an untrained knife wielder), maybe repeatedly.

Never mind what someone trained with a knife can do....


Stabbed someone with a pen once, and wound up with a face and mouth full of their blood and getting to watch them die. Wayyyy better than getting killed, but not a pleasant experinece, either.

That said, people often can go on fighting for a while with a knife wound, depending on where it is, and survivors of knife attacks often report thinking they were simply punched, not stabbed....


I believe it is clear the holster, fire 2 rounds center mass and side step. During any given test only about 2 out of a 100 officers could complete the drill fully. I could be wrong on the drill but it goes something like this. Knives are very dangerous, close or at a distance. People have been known to take rounds and continue to move forward. I believe this is why 2 rounds then side step.
 

jks9199

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If you want realistic knife training, get a group of buddies and have one of them with a knife (you don't know which one) attack you when you aren't paying attention. Most knife attacks i've seen in the street involved the victim not even knowing there was a knife involved until they got stabbed a few times.

The reality of the knife isn't a squared off duel as most folks in the dojo train it....it is undetected movement for total surprise on the enemy. Awareness and controlling proxemics is your best defense, then followed by dealing with the attack.

In fact, in several stabbings/knife assaults that I've investigated, the victims didn't know they'd been cut at first. Most thought they'd been punched until they discovered they were bleeding.
 

arnisador

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I don't care if a man can clear 20ft. in 1.5 secs, against a good quick draw he's dead.

Very often in those scenarios what happens is that both parties take serious damage...one from bullets, one from a knife. Just because you can put a bullet in him before he is all the way there doesn't mean he won't take you with him, and the 21' rule has that factored into it.
 

geezer

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In fact, in several stabbings/knife assaults that I've investigated, the victims didn't know they'd been cut at first. Most thought they'd been punched until they discovered they were bleeding.

Kinds of reminds me of a little impromptu demo my FMA instructor, Martin gave us last week. He saw his friend, the school's BJJ instructor, walk out of the office and called out, "Hey Tai, show these guys how quick you can get me onto the mat and make me submit". The BJJ guy obliged, taking down my instructor and applying a submission hold in a flash. My instructor immediately tapped out and then asked the BJJ guy, "Hey did you feel something working against your chest? Take a look!" Tai, the BJJ pro, leaned back and saw that Martin, the FMA guy, had pulled out his folding metal training knife and had totally worked over his chest and gut. "Damn! I NEVER even saw that!!!" Lesson learned. Tai is an awesome fighter, but he would have been cut to ribbons before he was aware that the other guy even had a knife. Scarey!
 

MJS

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Now I have to say this. I don't care if a man can clear 20ft. in 1.5 secs, against a good quick draw he's dead. I mean hell, I can draw my .45 and fire in .5 a second. So that still, leaves roughly .89 depending on the length of the mans arms and the knife, to still aim and fire. And there are guys out there that can do it in .2 of a second. That's really fast! So knife vs. gun, again depends on training levels of the two individuals.


Very often in those scenarios what happens is that both parties take serious damage...one from bullets, one from a knife. Just because you can put a bullet in him before he is all the way there doesn't mean he won't take you with him, and the 21' rule has that factored into it.

Arni made a great point. Assuming that the person will go down after one shot is no different than assuming that someone will go down after one punch. Additionally, we are also assuming that the person with the gun will be a quickdraw. I doubt that the average person who gets a pistol permit, will actually do anymore training than whats required. In other words, I doubt that many will actually go out and train, a) in low light conditions, b) against a moving target, c) under streesful conditions.

Now, this isn't to say that people won't do that. I'm sure there're folks out there who take a combat handgun course or something of that nature, perhaps even LEOs, who will train in the above conditions. But I doubt that the guy who talks his wife into getting a gun for protection, will actually go that extra step.

A knife is, IMO, also quicker to deploy. Most blades today, have a clip, so pulling from the pocket should be fairly simple. Now, I'm sure there're states that allow open carry, but where I live, the only people I see with an open carry are LEOs. So, the woman who has it in her purse, the guy who has it under a winter coat....sorry, if I was going to bet money, I'd bet money that the guy with the blade would pull it faster than the one with the gun.
 

Tez3

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Fairburn was Royal Marine before he was a police officer, his knife training and ideas for it would have been very much used for the archtypal commando raid etc. His training ideas would also have been of the time when knives were far easier to get hold of. The police were the better armed.
The OP did say in CQ combat where they are far easier to conceal and then use than a gun. It's not talking about covering 20ft, it's talking up close and personal. Then it seems logical that a knife is more dangerous than a gun.
 
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Good comments from everyone. I suppose it depends upon what it means by close quarters, in other words how close, and if the gun is drawn and if the gun man has every intention to pull the trigger the moment you resist. I do believe it is obvious that a drawn gun outside the reach of someone is obviously more dangerous than a knife, than again that might not be considered close quarter. If the gunman has a gun to your back with every intention to pull the trigger the moment you make your move, obviously the gun would be more dangerous. But if he is in the process of drawing a gun within arms length, than I can agree that the knife might indeed be more dangerous, and I see your point. I would prefer to go against a guy with a knife rather than a gun in most situations, and it should be kept in mind that it is likely guns were not the primary weapon Fairbairn dealt with as a police officer, knives were far more common in Shanghai back than. But good comments all, and without a doubt a knife does give someone a tremendous advantage, I just believe that some guy who doesn't know what he's doing with a knife automatically becomes a 12th degree black belt is hyperbole, with all due respect to John Perkins.
 

geezer

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....sorry, if I was going to bet money, I'd bet money that the guy with the blade would pull it faster than the one with the gun.

I don't know. You might get the knife out faster, but would the average, untrained and non-violent person really be able to deploy it effectively? Knife work can be pretty messy stuff. I 'd bet that, with a minimum of training, most (non-martial artist) folks would probably be better off defending themselves with a gun... if by using the deterrent factor alone. Now if someone is skilled with a knife and willing to use it if necessary (like my FMA instructor)--heaven help the thug that confronts him!!!
 
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especially in the USA. In the USA the knife is seen as the weapon of the bad guy, and the typical juror will likely see you as someone looking for trouble by merely being in possession of a knife. In other areas of the world, especially Asia, this is not the case. The point of my thread is not in any way advocating using a knife for self defense, rather is it the most dangerous weapon in close quarters combat? I still think a gun is more dangerous in most situations, many on this thread disagree with me and believe a knife is more dangerous. W.E. Fairbairn believed the knife is the most dangerous weapon in close quarters combat and I have nothing but respect for his views and he was certainly more experienced and advanced than me by a thousand fold at least! Still, I think the gun is more dangerous, any idiot can pull a trigger and kill you, a knife is more difficult to use. A gun can be fired beyond the reach of an arm and a leg a knife can't be. At that range it might not be considered close quarters combat. But I would rather go against a knife wielder than a gunman any day.
 

MJS

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I don't know. You might get the knife out faster, but would the average, untrained and non-violent person really be able to deploy it effectively? Knife work can be pretty messy stuff. I 'd bet that, with a minimum of training, most (non-martial artist) folks would probably be better off defending themselves with a gun... if by using the deterrent factor alone. Now if someone is skilled with a knife and willing to use it if necessary (like my FMA instructor)--heaven help the thug that confronts him!!!

Good point. I was going along the lines of while the knife is concealed, to a point, it'd still be easier, and of course, thinking with the FMA mindset. :) On the flip side, I suppose your analogy would apply to any weapon...gun, knife, pepper spray, etc. The was a thread on here, somewhere, talking about that very thing. The focus was, ok, you carry a weapon, but can you deploy and use it effectively especially when you're under pressure.
 

MJS

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especially in the USA. In the USA the knife is seen as the weapon of the bad guy, and the typical juror will likely see you as someone looking for trouble by merely being in possession of a knife.

I suppose this brings up the question of...why carry anything at all then? Force of habit...someone who has a job that requires the use of a sharp instrument to cut something...they may carry a blade with them even when they're not working. A swiss army knife that has 1001 uses, ie: small scissors, screwdriver, etc.

On the other end of the coin, why would someone feel the need to carry a gun with them everywhere they go? Do they frequent bad areas? Do they have a job that requires them to carry?

Of course, whatever is carried, I would say that the person carrying and using had better have a good reason for pulling the weapon to begin with. Someone being verbally abusive to you in a roadrage incident, where nothing more than words is exchanged, is no reason to pull any weapon.

In other areas of the world, especially Asia, this is not the case. The point of my thread is not in any way advocating using a knife for self defense, rather is it the most dangerous weapon in close quarters combat? I still think a gun is more dangerous in most situations, many on this thread disagree with me and believe a knife is more dangerous. W.E. Fairbairn believed the knife is the most dangerous weapon in close quarters combat and I have nothing but respect for his views and he was certainly more experienced and advanced than me by a thousand fold at least! Still, I think the gun is more dangerous, any idiot can pull a trigger and kill you, a knife is more difficult to use. A gun can be fired beyond the reach of an arm and a leg a knife can't be. At that range it might not be considered close quarters combat. But I would rather go against a knife wielder than a gunman any day.

Is the knife that difficult to use though? IMO, it doesn't take that much thought, even for an untrained person, to be somewhat effective. Like it was said, the blade can be held a number of ways and its going to cut you. The gun is only going to hurt you when its pointed. Then again, I'm sure the average gangbanger didn't go thru the local NRA handgun safety course. LOL!

Both are deadly weapons and both have their pros and cons. I'm not against anyone carrying either one. I do think though, that if you're going to go thru the trouble of carrying, why not put in some effort to make sure you're as effective as possible? :)
 

sgtmac_46

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I take it you never saw the video, "Surviving Edged Weapons" before, because if you had, you would certainly see the knife in a new light. :) Keep in mind, while both are dangerous weapons, and range will play a part depending on what is being used, the gun is only going to hurt the person when its pointed at them. The knife can be held in a number of positions and still be very effective.

As for the hand to hand expert coming out on top...while we hope that the arts give us an advantage, they do not turn us into invincible supermen. If the 'expert' does not train in a realistic fashion, all that training is going to go right out the window.
Surviving Edged Weapons has been an eye opener to a couple generations of cop and MA's.....everyone remembers clearly Dan Inosanto's and Leo Gaje's 'object lessons' interspersed with bloody pictures quite well!
 

sgtmac_46

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In fact, in several stabbings/knife assaults that I've investigated, the victims didn't know they'd been cut at first. Most thought they'd been punched until they discovered they were bleeding.
That's been my experience as well. Most knife attacks are ambush assaults where the weapon was not ever even seen by the victim. The last one I had the victim didn't even know the suspect had followed him out of the bar until he got stabbed in the liver from behind.
 

sgtmac_46

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Kinds of reminds me of a little impromptu demo my FMA instructor, Martin gave us last week. He saw his friend, the school's BJJ instructor, walk out of the office and called out, "Hey Tai, show these guys how quick you can get me onto the mat and make me submit". The BJJ guy obliged, taking down my instructor and applying a submission hold in a flash. My instructor immediately tapped out and then asked the BJJ guy, "Hey did you feel something working against your chest? Take a look!" Tai, the BJJ pro, leaned back and saw that Martin, the FMA guy, had pulled out his folding metal training knife and had totally worked over his chest and gut. "Damn! I NEVER even saw that!!!" Lesson learned. Tai is an awesome fighter, but he would have been cut to ribbons before he was aware that the other guy even had a knife. Scarey!
The advantage goes to knife, even when the skill is far superior to the unarmed guy. Knife is an AWESOME advantage and equalizer, and changes ALL fight equations.
 

sgtmac_46

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Very often in those scenarios what happens is that both parties take serious damage...one from bullets, one from a knife. Just because you can put a bullet in him before he is all the way there doesn't mean he won't take you with him, and the 21' rule has that factored into it.
And statistics show that single handgun gun shot wounds are often more survivable than serious single stab wounds.
 
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