Knife to a gunfight

Pmags – $10 ea. – Have about 80 left.

I see that another episode of ‘Sudden Jihad Syndrome’ spontaneously occurred in the decidedly diverse city of London over the weekend. Weapons of choice? Vehicles and edged pointy things. The police, when they finally got a handle on it, did the logical thing and killed the “knifemen”. (That’s the Brit term for a knife-wielding maniac….”knifeman”. I suppose if he’d beaten them to death with his bare hands he’d be a “Fistman”…which very much sounds like something you really don’t want to do a Google search for when “Safe Search” is turned off.)

Knives are interesting business…it is, generally, thought of as a close contact weapon (as opposed to a ranged weapon like, say, a crossbow or a Glock 40) but even a gun-toter can be bested by a guy with a knife at a distance IF the gunman is even slightly off guard. Mythbusters did a fascinating experiment where they gave one guy an airsoft, one guy a knife, stood them apart at various distances, and on the buzzer the knife guy charges the gun guy while gun guy tries to draw and shoot before he gets stabbed. Result? If someone has a knife and is within several yards of you, you’re in big trouble unless you already have gun in hand and are aware of the situation. See for yourself.

Now, a huge caveat here is that, for whatever reason, Adam is doing the so-called “Israeli carry” * of carrying his pistol in Condition Three… and empty chamber, hammer down. These guys aren’t gun guys, and they’re in California, so they probably aren’t used to the notion of carrying a gun for self-protection. But..the data is still extremely useful.

Here’s one very determined guy with a knife putting the hurt on several armed police officers who, I’m guessing, didn’t immediately shoot him because “he only had a knife”.

And, that “he only had a knife” statement comes up from time to time in this country when a cop shoots some guy with knife. Disparity of force? Absolutely. But, as we’ve seen, a man six yards away with a knife is virtually as dangerous as a man with a gun. Shooting him when he starts advancing on you from that distance may look bad or excessive to the uneducated, but in reality it’s the only thing keeping the gun user from becoming something that looks like an elephant’s tampon.

Living here in the somewhat quiet environment of Montana, I don’t worry too much about Sudden Jihad  Syndrome. But if it does happen, the odds are much higher that the aggressor will encounter much stiffer (and possibly louder) resistance than a bunch of unarmed Britons who have been culturally beaten into believing that physical resistance trying to kill you who look different from you is ‘intolerant’.

:::Shrug::: It’s a dangerous world out there. That’s why we have hollowpoints.

* = I take issue with the article about Condition Three carry. In particular:

Let us assume that racking the slide adds a half second to your total presentation time (which is pretty slow, by the way). And let us assume that you can draw and fire at the 2 second mark. If the attack comes before you can draw and fire (2 seconds) having the chamber loaded or not doesn’t matter, as you don’t have time to draw and fire at all. If the attack comes after a 2.5 second time frame having the chamber loaded or not doesn’t matter, as you have time to chamber a round. Only if the attack happens in that critical time frame after 2 seconds but before 2.5 seconds does the chamber condition matter.

But at that point you are now in a bear hug with a guy trying to kill you with a knife. You’ve, presumably got one hand trying to keep him from shanking you, and your other hand is holding an unchambered pistol. You’ll rack the pistol with your..what?..third hand? If the round was already chambered you’d connect the muzzle to the medulla and let terminal ballistics handle the rest. So, yes, chamber condition matters.

13 thoughts on “Knife to a gunfight

  1. Besides the 7 yd rule (taught at every LEO academy I know of) there’s the “Dead Man’s Five Seconds Rule” which states it takes a human body’s CNS and circulatory systems about five seconds for it to get the message “Hey Abdul, you’re DEAD” and shut down even after it receives grievous, mortal wounds. So you’re still in a bear hug with a bad guy, and he can still get you.

  2. Lethality within 21ft has been well documented for years. I also scoffed when the Mythbusters came to that conclusion, Tueller told us that decades ago.

    I sat with the news going on a small monitor near me at work last night, time after time they kept going back to “a man emerged welding what looked to be a ten or 12 inch knife,” ‘the horror’ I thought, carving knives (in the UK) are now no-doubt being seriously thought of having a “purchase list”, i.e. putting your name on a list when you purchase one.

    *chuckle* Fistman… that was bad.

  3. Took a handgun course where the instructor place a steel target at 21 ft, and
    placed a hand on the shooter’s shoulder. When your hand came of their shoulder, you took off running, they drew they’re pistol and shoot the target.

    When the runner was the youngest (25) in shape, he got about 60 ft before the shooter got off a shot. When the runner was me (62) and fat, I got 30 ft.

    So we tried, shooter at the ready position, young runner at about 25 ft.

    Moral of the story, person with a knife can be a serious threat, remember keep moving, to change his target.


    and THATS where that Kabar mounted pistol bayonet comes in handy. See – toldja there had to be a reason for it ! :^)

  5. 21 ft. distance is under the best circumstances of recognition of a threat, decision to act and commencement of the reaction to the threat. (O.O.D.A. loop) Most times people are shocked something is happening “to them”, “it all happened so fast”, and since very few people in today’s world have any experience fighting, other than name calling, screaming meltdowns and texting, the reaction time is so great that in actuality there is no response other than to become a statistic. Furthermore, keep in mind; A knife doesn’t mechanically jam like a firearm can, it never needs to be reloaded and psychologically, due to movie conditioning, can be more frightening than a gun which causes more of a “deer in the headlights” freeze reaction by victims. A knife is nothing to snicker at. Furthermore, in most cultures of the world that comprise these types of murderers, a knife is known, accepted and a familiar weapon used with great speed and efficiency.

  6. People don’t expect a knife attack on a commuter train. With the close quarters, I don’t think either of the victims would have survived even had they been armed. But I’ll bet there are more people in Portland carrying guns now. Or at least not riding MAX.

  7. I just carry one in the chamber, IWB. I still doubt if I could get someone at 21feet. I’m 73 and fat, btw.

  8. At a private range a guy has a sled that holds a target on a rope. Measure off 21 feet. Guy with rope is behind guy with gun. Sled guy takes off at a full run pulling the sled towards gun guy. Guy with gun can’t draw till the sled moves.

    The guys pulling were healthy and athletic.

    I drew from concealment and got 6 shots off. All A zone though the last two were at spitting distance. Most guys got 2-3 but they were drawing from owb holsters without cover garmets.

    To me it isn’t gun vs knife it is action vs reaction. It could be the brick drill or the hammer drill just as easy.

    That said to complicate it bad guys with contact weapons aren’t going to take them out and run at you. They will close range on a pretext do you have the time, can I get a dollar/ smoke, can I borrow your phone, etc then they will be 3 feet away.

  9. CZ, readers, here is good video of knife vs gun. note: LEO’s handgun all ready draw and pointed on perp. kill shot was still within striking distance, now add in draw time. you may win the battle but lose the war with blade sticking out of your chest.

  10. Check out Doug Marcaida at Funker Tactical on youtube. the video’s name is Elite Knife Fighter VS. Elite Gun Fighter

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