If you frequent any internet forums that cover defensive tactics, you will encounter the Gun vs Knife debate. “Gun People” argue that “you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight”. They say the gun is an equalizer because a person of any age, size or disability can defeat someone of superior size, strength and number. “Knife people” argue the blade never needs reloading and is often times more lethal on a stab vs single shot basis.
The way I see it, if the knife was a “superior” weapon, Id have one on my duty belt instead of a Glock… The “problem” with the gun is improper training and a belief that having a gun means you only need to train marksmanship skills and no unarmed ones. If incorporated into a good CQB system the gun is as effective close up as a knife.
The knife is an offensive weapon by nature, you have to make contact, slash and stab to make it work. As such there is always going to be an athletic component to its use. The elderly or disabled are just not going to be able to employ a knife in the same manner as a fit and athletic youth. The gun, even with all my proselytizing about CQB and unarmed tactics, is at its root a “point and shoot” affair. The gun can be used defensively by gaining distance, getting cover and using the range advantage to deliver force when necessary but still be a creditable threat at range. The important thing for the operator to learn is to survive the contact range fight, gain distance and get cover. This is an important distinction when it comes to the court battle that will inevitably come after a deadly force situation.
The problem with ANY weapon is who has the intent and initiative! If you have a knife (sheathed) and I have a gun (holstered) and I decide to shoot you and you aren’t expecting it, I’m going to have the advantage because you are going to have to catch up with me (basic OODA stuff). If you already have a knife in your hand and are within 21′ of me and I decide to attack, you have the advantage of already being armed. Id be willing to bet that if you had a knife in your pocket and I had my G27 in a good holster, with my jacket on and unzipped and I was AWARE of you as a threat, I could beat you to it. If you had the knife ready in your hand, it would be a different story. This all cycles back to; tactics, awareness, conditioning, mindset and preparedness being more important than weapons, techniques or styles of martial arts.
The bottom line is that if you are LEGALLY JUSTIFIED in using deadly force it really doesn’t matter if you use a rock, knife, gun, rocket launcher or tac-nuke to the penal law side of the house. The civil law side can be a different story.