the gun vs knife thing

English: A rubber knife
English: A rubber knife (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

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24 thoughts on “the gun vs knife thing”

  1. There are youtube videos of police forces around the globe with an attacker with knife drawn vs an officer with gun holstered at 15 and 20 feet. Generally before the officer can draw and present the weapon the person with the knife is able to close the distance and in the simulations “win”. I cannot find one now, but I seem to recall seeing them from different law enforcement agencies.

    The point was not to say one is better than the other but instruction for officers to say that you want range between you and the opponent. That range is dependent upon whether your weapon is already unholstered or not. It is a simple concept in many martial arts as well “time and distance”, which is why some blocks are done by stepping back – you increase the distance giving you more time.

    I heard a rumor, and not being a police officer I cannot confirm this (but you can) that standard training in the US is to try to keep 15-20 feet between you and a subject when you are unsure if they have a weapon until you can contain the situation. This is keeping with the videos I have watched as well.

    The other issue, which I did not read in this post, is that people who have CCWs or otherwise carry almost never practice drawing and presenting. In fact it is discouraged at most indoor ranges (although you can practice this at home in your spare time with an *unloaded* weapon). Drawing and presentation of a weapon is a skill that must be learned, practiced and refined. This is of course if the situation allows for drawing, as you pointed out sometimes unarmed CQB is the better alternative given the exact situation.

    1. The Tueller Drill, while a useful tool, is a set piece exercise that has a tendency to be overblown IMO. The major revelation of the Tueller Drill is the power of initiative and INTENT. In the classic “Knife vs Gun” set-up the knifer knows he is going to attack and when. The other person stands there…holstered…and waits. It never takes into consideration obstacles between opponents, it never considers taking the initiative and drawing, giving commands and or preempting your opponent. I have always wanted to be asked to participate in a “Tueller Drill” and be told “You stand here..he has a knife and when he moves you react”…I’d ask “he has a knife?” and when told yes draw down…place an obstacle between us and give commands.

      I know that I am ignoring the intent of the drill here..the intent being to simply make you aware of the “reaction gap” and the realities of edged weapons, but the Tueller Drill is ultimately an example of “physics” more than it is an example of “combative truth”.

      All of the gun v knife arguments always seen to take the “you with a holstered weapon, him with a knife in hand” – “him attacking you defending” approach. The Tueller and all the rest, while good illustrations of a valid point take a dynamic combination of factors and reduce it to a “set piece” demonstration … IMO what it comes down to is initiative. Who decides to attack, who is aware of the threat and who has a weapon in hand first is more important than which weapon is “superior”. If you have an enemy who is within 21′ with ANY WEAPON and decides to make the first move, while you wait to respond…you are in big trouble.

      Its basic OODA in my opinion. If the guy in the Tueller drill knows that the knifer is coming for him (which he does) he should “cheat” and an obstacle between themselves and start issuing commands and/or start shooting. I know..I know the drill is meant to illustrate the importance of a “reactionary gap” and lateral movement, but I hope Ive made my opinion clear.

      As to being able to keep 10-15′ between me and someone I’m dealing with until I know if they are armed…thats impossible on this job. If I have some information that a person is armed, or if it’s a call for an armed robbery/stolen car/etc. then yes, I will maintain cover and distance, but in this job I have to get close to unknown threats all of the time. I can’t work tis job from 15′ at gunpoint in every situation. Car stops would be quite laborious.

  2. I would submit that both the knife and gun are defensive weapons that are used offensively. I would agree that both are designed and manufactured to be weapons. A firearm does have the advantage of distance which makes it superior to the knife outside of close proximity. However, the firearm is not multi-directional and is prone to malfunctions due to numerous moving parts. The knife on the other hand is multi-directional, silent, does not jam, is easier to conceal and deploy than the firearm, and takes minimal strength and zero skill to inflict damage. Just as an officer (or anyone) typically reverts to “point shooting” in a cqc situation, the knife is point and touch. The difference is that the knife attack is based off of gross motor skills while the firearm attack incorporates fine motor-skills. All one has to do is reach out and touch the other to inflict damage. If you doubt this, take a $20.00 knife with a three inch blade and a piece of pork the size of your forearm. Slash the pork and then stab the pork. You will notice that it takes no more effort than the flick of the wrist, for the blade to stab or slash all the way through the pork. And remember that prior to the development of ballistics gels; pork was used for ballistic testing because it is consistent with human flash.

    As for the counter tactics of “gaining distance and getting cover”, I agree with you completely that first, the officer must first go offensive and negate the close quarter attack. Once some level of control is achieved (even a brief stun) then the officer can gain distance and deploy the firearm. However, the issue I see is that many training courses teach that the officers should immediately start trying to gain distance before getting some level of control. Any person can move forward faster than the officer can move backwards. Sometime try moving backwards or at a 45 degree angel while someone else advances on you with a marker. No matter what, they can move forward faster and will eventually get the marker on you before you can adequately draw and fire. Its just the way we are made. Eye in the front and designed to go forward.

    Like you mentioned, it is not really a debate of which weapon system is superior, but more about action vs. re-action. Who ever acts first has the advantage, regardless of if it is with the knife or firearm. So, from an old firearms and knife tactics instructor’s perspective; both are deadly weapon and both constitute deadly force/threats. Both are effective within their realms. However, in a cqc situation (inside of ten feet), I feel that the knife is more deadly.

    1. I would suggest that a “Gun” is not always ‘defensive’ but that a pistol/side arm is a ‘personal safety’ weapon aka “defensive” based on its limitations compared to a “long gun” which has more stopping power and reach.

      Whether ANY weapon (or technique that can do damage to another person) is “offensive” or “defensive” comes down to tactics/intent/mission… IMO.

  3. Typical police stupidity, always assuming you will live long enough to have your survival concern become a legal concern. The better weapon varies by situation, but it is critical to understand both as an attacker and a defender, that you may well die, and in it’s far better to be in prison, out of a job, and alive, then dead. Do whatever it takes to live, always realizing that if you hold back, you just may give your opponent his perfect chance to get in that good shot or that deep stab, and you’ll lose and probably die. The gun comes with several disadvantages the knife does not, though the advantages it does have are very formidable. In a peacetime situation, I generally feel that someone using a knife is likelier to find themselves in an encounter where their weapon will serve them better, and in theater, it is my experience that the gun fighter is usually able to take the upper hand, though it is never an absolute certainty who will win in any given situation. There’s a reason the military issues and values knives along with firearms.

    1. “Typical police stupidity”?? Sounds like you are coming to this discussion with some preconcieved notions. Regarding legalities, I said…

      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.

      Carry whatever you legally can and can effecively deploy. If you are legally justified to use deadly force it isn’t going to matter if you used a gun or a knife. But any decision to carry a weapon should consider the post event at the DECISION to carry point, not at the ACTION point. Theres a difference between being concerned about legalities in the middle of a fght and taking legalities into consideration in your selection of training/weapons and tactics. If you walk the streets strapped with 8 different blades (two of which are illegal in your state)and have anting anting tattoos around your neck you can still be justified in your use of force, but your decision is likely going to cost you in a civil trial. The same goes for firearms owners too. Yeah you are alive and thats all that matters, but that doesn’t mean that you cant be alive AND avoid a costly lawsuit as well. Don’t confuse doing what you have to to survive with making poor pre-encounter decisions.

      My ultimate point is that the “the knife is the ultimate weapon” hype is overblown. It’s simply a tool like any other weapon. And I stand by my original point that the knife comes with physical and mental demands that a gun does not. You need to close with and aggressively stab/cut someone with a knife. While …yes many gunfights are close range physical confrontations, ALL knife fights will have to be. There are plenty of scenarios where a gun carrier can retreat and engage from cover and/or distance, not so with a knife. And agree with me or not, that distinction will raise some legal issues. I have not argued that you shouldn’t use a knif if you HAVE TO, but be careful of what sort of mentality/training/tactics you are ingraining and do so in a logical and well thought out manner. I always carry a knife in the event that I need it, but I don’t subscribe to the “knife cult” fantasy that if some guy on the street tries to draw a weapon on me that the blade is going to be the first choice of weapon from my belt when I have the opportunity to draw one. It may be the ONLY option but thats a different argument.

      I suggest you re-read the post.

    2. Did you read the article?

      BTW the military issues “bayonets” not “knives” and honestly what the military ‘values’ between the two is made VERY clear based on the volume of man hours spent on technical and tactical training with each…

      I spent a LOT more time on ranges of all kinds with a FIREARM that I ever did with my BAYONET.

  4. Interesting reading. I’m a chiropractor with good working knowledge of anatomy (veins, arteries, nerves, bones & joints obviously). I’m strong & quick, fighting karate trained, have lots of “real time” fight mechanics training, but guns scare me. The level of tissue damage that happens when even a low-powered 9mm or .38 enters a human abdemon is spectacular. It’s a lead slug moving faster than sound, folks. With rifles (much higher velocity) the damage is beyond the comprehension of someone who isn’t familiar with bullet balistics. Take a look at some rifle (especially) & handgun (because that’s what’s normally used by cops/for defense) vids on youtube. Look for someone shooting a block of clay or balistic jelly. Check it out. Hopefully they discuss the concept of cavitation and hydrostatic shock with rifle bullet injuries. Truly fantastic ammounts of force here. Same with high caliber handguns. Big lead slug moving faster than sound = big cone of absolutely destroyed tissue, surrounding areas of partially destroyed tissue, severed arteries (big deal) and veins (less of a big deal, apply pressure if you’re not dead).

    And using a marker as a knife proxy to demonstrate “damage” is just silly. The deal with knives, even if they are razor sharp, is that it’s very easy to inflict superficial wounds that bleed moderately by slashing/stabbing superficial veins (why anyone would slash I have no idea). Also, people tend to “curl up” when hit, falling, grappling, or even just going into the fetal position when being beaten. It’s natural, and quick. This takes your great chest or abdemon shot away. Note that the untrained and truly surprised do this very frequently. What this does is protect most major arteries, the heart, lungs, liver & most other organs with a fleshy muscle & skin barrier, one with bony edges like knees, elbows, and shoulders (skulls too, in their own way). While a gun isn’t a death-ray (although rifles, shotguns, and high caliber handguns with expanding bullets border on this), a knife isn’t some kind of zip-knife lightsaber.

    And be prepared for blood. Lots of it, much more than a gunshot. I’ve slaughtered pigs before by cutting their throats (blood everywhere), but I couldn’t bring myself to just start stabbing a pig as it tries to get away (my friends already think I’m weird). I’m not 100% sure how I’d deal with, say, someone I’ve stabbed shrieking like a scared baby, clutching a gut-wound, with a nicked brachial artery (inside of upper arm) which got cut as the person “pulled in” while getting stabbed, which is now literally spraying blood 10 feet across the room in big heart-beat driven spurts. How would you react? Would you freeze? Freak out? It’s a tough question, and one not addressed much in civilian martial arts. I’d like to know what the US Military does with aspects of close combat such as this.

    Another thing that most people don’t talk about, but is a big part of successful knife training is simply gripping the knife correctly, always using the thumb. The traditional hammer grip is the best for stabbing, which is how you kill an opponent with a knife who is awere of you and is trying to flee/fight back. That weird “fencer’s grip” found in some popular knife fighting manuals and endorsed by “fancy” combat systems just doesn’t work that well. It doesn’t allow the full force of the arm/forearm to be put into the stab. It also doesn’t present the knife AT A NASTY, APPROXIMATELY 35-55 DEGREE ANGLE when you withdrawl & “chamber” the knife after a stab, which is exactly what you want to do. Yes I know I said that stabbing is how to kill a human with a knife, but think about this for a second. If you are firmly holding your knife in a hammer grip (strong full hand w/ thumb grip, blade upwards) and you quickly and strongly withdrawl your knife back to a “chamber” position, you can end up cutting someone extremely bad, hopefully on the inside of thier arms/forearms (if your knife isn’t a screwdriver or icepick, that is). Think about it. People are usually going to try & grab you, your hands, the knife, or at least bring their arms up. We figured this out during real time full contact training. Take every advantage you can! Be ready to get hit & taken to the ground.

    Relating to the above, think about which direction you want your knife pointing if someone does a “shoot” style takedown or any sort of momentum/leverage lower-body takedown. Think about where you want your knife pointing if they’re stupid enough (and it happens frequently with your bigger stronger guys) to try to “upper body” grapple or overbear you. I won’t go into it, I hope you get the idea.

    It is extremely easy to injure yourself with a knife, especially while stabbing, which is exactly what you want to do. Also extremely easy to lose your knife with or without self injury while stabbing. Do a quick drill, but watch yourself! Fill up a garbage bag w/ a bunch of old newspapers with various proportions of “stacked” & “loose & crumpled” papers. Stab it repeatedly and aggressively & see how it feels to actually make contact with something. Be very careful not to slice your palm down to the bone (or partially through the bone), or stab/slash your forearms or wrists. This is not a “scientific” excercise, but is meant to demonstrate a point. It’s absolutely unvelievable that “fighting” martial arts schools like Krav Maga & MMA don’t have their fighters actually pick up a knife and stab something that gives resistance.

    My one big tip for knifing someone, especially if they’re aware of you and trying to fight/flee; you have two hands, use them both. If opponent is actively fighting you, jab to face/throat & stab. Simple as jab/cross. Use objedts like shirts, caps, dishes, anything to perform this largely distractatory jab. If opponent is fleeing you, grab & stab. Stepping on a person’s ankles/feet from behind as they run away is a great way to send someone who doesn’t know how to tumble flat on their face at running speed, too. Won’t find that in martial arts, but even kids on the playground know that it really works.

    The one big problem is that guns and (especially) knives don’t kill people instantly with any reliability. This is very bad if the opponent is motivated, adrenalized, and angry. In the real world there are very few things worse that anyone, especially a large anyone, who has the absolute intent and wholehearted motivation to take you down. Give them any weapon at all (a piece of firewood, a heavy ashtray, even a tennis raquet!) and it gets worse. Hate, anger, and especially absolute determination to harm YOU, RIGHT HERE AND NOW are deadly.

    I know some very talented fighters, and they’ll tell you that a full frontal “blitz” type explosive assault by a large man with a blunt weapon is a recipie for getting hurt. We’ve done this drill & what we’ve found is that regardless of skill, the defender is usually going to get a broken forearm/wrist/fingers/upper arm/ribs/face/nose/etc. There aren’t any wrist lock type commando Hollywood stuff that works here; one thing that did work (some of the time) was to just keep your chin tucked & your face & head down & go for the double leg takedown or whatever momentum type takedown you’re good at. If you get in solid enough, try to max it out & “throw them into the ground” as hard as you can! Shihan Chris, our teacher, did this to me. I saw stars and probably would have blacked out without my helmet. Also got lucky & didn’t get “whiplashed” against the floor!

    Speaking about the above drill, I’ve noticed that blunt weapons seldomn get mentioned in discussions such as this. Especially heavy ones, and improvised blunt weapons are everywhere. I know that a single blow to the head from a reasonably heavy axe handle will kill a deer because I’ve done it (finishing off deer I’ve hit w/ my car). Take a second and think about this. Take a few more seconds and think about a 240lb man with a big gut and a low center of gravity. He’s got a crowbar, or a bat, or a pool stick. Even a 10lb barbell. He’s sprinting towards you from accross the room, screaming. He fully intends to hit you in the head untill you’re dead.

    It’s been my experience that most large, dangerous men fight like described above, wether armed or unarmed. Some of my training partners have done lots of time in prison, & they are very good at the “full frontal-hit-you-in-the-face rush” attack. It’s scary stuff.

    Quick note: I read a thin little booklet from Paladin Press (don’t know if they’re still around) called “Put ‘Em Down Take ‘Em Out” on practical knife fighting. Forgot who the author was. This one little 40 page book, written by a guy who served time in America’s heavyweight prisons, had a large influence on my later martial arts/fighting experiences. I think the guy’s name was Jeff Pentagrass or something like that. Awesome book full of great ideas on real fighting and filled with excellent training ideas. This was the only source I’ve ever read that tells you the types of drills that dudes in America’s maximum security prisons (one of the most violent environments on earth) do to prepare themselves to stab people with sharp things and to be stabbed with sharp things while maximizing their chances of survival. A truly awesome text I reccomend to anyone; law enforcement, military, martial arts FIGHTERS, anyone who wants to learn how to kill someone with a sharp object. In retrospect, everything the author says makes complete functional sense in a lethal combat situation. I’ve never encountered any book since whose main focus was descrbing how, with minimal training, a man (or woman, were in the 21st century!) can kill someone with a knife. With no stupid Hollywood face-off. Preferrably from behind. A brilliant work, purely practical.

    That’s what I’ve learned from 5 years contact karate with some amazing people, training knife attacks with big dudes who’ve spent serious prison time, with just a bit of firearms training thrown in. I’m confident that I’m in the top .05% of Americans when it comes to the very specific thing that is using a knife as an offensive weapon to kill. Hope this helps, and hope I never have to actually do anything described above to anyone.

    1. You are right neither guns or knives are man stoppers in most cases. Both can kill you, but in reality unlike the movies it is not instant unless it is a head shot. However the proper use of a knife in self defense is not to kill. That is very hard to do quickly with any kind of blade you can legally carry with you. The point is to neutralize the threat. That means slashing, not stabbing, muscles, tendons, and nerves. That can be done very very very quickly and efficiently with a little training. With a little training and the right knife, most people would not even have a chance to clear their holster before they lost use of their arm inside 15 feet. After that you are defenseless. Much quicker and much more devastating than a gun in the right hands in close quarters (where most confrontations happen) if you are willing to put some training into it.

      1. If the point is to stop the threat and the threat is a person who is using lethal force (bat, knife, gun, car), you are absolutely justified to use ANY weapon (or your hands, feet, car) to create lethal force in defense…

        I’ve never understood the logic of limiting your technical options in training your defensive skills. I am a proponent of the OODA Loop approach where you practice to use the appropriate technique/tactic based on the necessity of the situation instead of being a slave to a system.

  5. It really doesn’t matter which theory you personally subscribe to: gun vs. knife. Ultimately, neither are weapons. The best (and only) defensive weapon is the one between your ears. So, a bad guy carrying a $25 knife and is trained to use it will always have a significant advantage, even at 30′, against a defender armed with a $3000 .45 caliber SA that has only shot paper, metal targets and non-charging animals.

    Forget spending $1500 on the best CCW you can buy and another $50/week at the gun range. I bought a used .40 caliber compact SA for $400, a $25 knife at a flea market, about $75 on a few different holsters for each and another $500 on a good self defense class that met a few times each week for a month. I practice certain skills just as often as I need to keep up certain benchmarks, which will vary from person to person.

    Instead of watching YouTube and blogging about which is the best way to defend yourself and why, invest an amount that you can afford in a good self-defense and weapons training courses. If you’re strapped for cash, do some research: there are some free or inexpensive group classes somewhere in your area if you do some digging. It’s important that the class you take is hands-on and that you learn how to practice the skills you obtain correctly and effectively. An investment in any amount of training and practice will improve your chances of a positive outcome in any defensive situation exponentially.

    The most important things I learned is to: a) stay alert (not paranoid); b) trust your gut to avoid potentially dangerous situations whenever possible; and c) if you have the option: drop anything valuable and run!

    1. Um… I would say that guns and knives (and bats and cars and bombs and spoons and rocks..) ARE weapons… some are intentionally designed weapons and other are improvised weapons but they are all weapons none the less… that’s just practical thinking.

      I agree with your overall premise that consistent and practical training is better than being “TactiCOOL” by chasing the latest toy or training trend but to say a gun or knife isn’t a weapon is more than a bit abstract.

      I WOULD agree that NO weapon is going to do what YOU want it to do if you are not facile with it both technically and tactically…

  6. Depends on the knife, and the training the person has. At a close range of 5 feet, if neither person has a weapon out, a wave opening knife in reverse grip like a karambit can be drawn and neutralize your strong arm (and any chance of getting your gun) and go for the neck in 3/4 of a second with pretty minimal training. That’s faster than most people can even get a grip on their gun from concealed carry.

    At 10 feet I can deploy a knife and do this in maybe just over a second. Considering most people aren’t walking around with loaded guns in their hands all the time, that is much quicker then you can react, draw, aim, and fire, even more so for concealed carry.

    This is with the knife still in pocket. Fixed blades or waved knives can deploy in one smooth motion from pocket to target in under a second. You need to have at least 15 feet to draw a gun, and that is still assuming you are somewhat aware of the situation at the time. Since most confrontations happen at close range, and not from 20 feet away, having a close quarters combat fixed blade or waved knife will get you into the fight much faster than a gun.

    From a self defense perspective if someone is going for a gun, a waved folding karambit can be drawn and in hand ripping through someone in 3/4 of a second if the need arises. That is much faster then they can draw a gun from concealed carry. With minimal training you can be taught how to take out their arm so they can not finish their draw.

    I carry both, and both have their place. If anyone thinks a gun will protect them better than a knife inside 10 feet, then they really need to take some training classes. I promise you, you won’t clear your holster before you are on the ground, with a severely disabled arm that is useless for drawing a gun, and a knife to your neck. Most people will just lodge 4 or 5 inches if steel repeatedly in your chest before you can draw. Either way you need to be able to react to a threat quicker than drawing a concealed gun in those cases. Both guns and knives take proper training and both have their place.

    1. To be clear I have never claimed that the gun is superior to any other weapon. Only that weapons are secondary to initiative and intent. If I am resolved to kill you with a pistol (vs “defending myself with a gun”..there is a difference). I am likely going to be able to draw and fire on you regardless of your ability with a blade. If you are aware of the threat and are close enough…and I wasn’t smart enough to have the hood of a car or a table between us..then things could be very different.

      However I do still stand by the opinion that the gun provides the most options for the widest age and physical ability range of operators. I would suggest a gun to my 21 yo daughter over a knife any day.

      1. “I am likely going to be able to draw and fire on you regardless of your ability with a blade. ”

        Inside 10 and most likely 15 feet you will not stand a chance. Find any friend who knows even a little about knives and try it. Most people are not half as fast as they think they are with a gun, especially under stress. Theory vs reality is not something you want to be debating in a close quarters combat. Try it first and see.

      2. If you are going to quote, lets try one from the thread:

        “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.”

        Try it first and see? What makes you believe I have not?

        I’ve been around the FMA world long enough to know that many knife hobbyists have as many misconceptions about their abilities as gun nuts do.

        Yes.I stand by what I said. If a person has the intent to gun you down and the ability to choose where and when he is going to do it, your Karambit isn’t gonna save you.

        BUT, like I said: “If you are aware of the threat and are close enough…and I wasn’t smart enough to have the hood of a car or a table between us..then things could be very different.”


      3. Agreed… people didn’t bring spears and pitchforks to the battle of Stalingrad to repel the Germans.. they brought rifles… and when a Russian fell, another would pick up the rifle he dropped (or she because it was all hands to the crank at that point) to continue the fight.

        There is no denying that side by side comparisons at a purely engineering/technical level make firearms superior overall…

        Sadly look at the child soldiers in Africa… a 9 year old with a machete isn’t nearly as deadly as a 9 year old with an AK…

  7. Central to the article is the idea that INITIATIVE and INTENT are at the core of either a good defense (personal safety) or a good offense (affecting an arrest, completing a military mission, saving a baby from a burning building.. whatever) and the tools and tactics of choice are only instruments to improve the chances of success with as much efficiency and expediency as possible.

    When it comes to ANY “knife v gun” or “Superman V Spiderman” type of debate there will ALWAYS be people who have confused their passionate and dedicated work on one (gun/knife) for ‘superiority’ over the other since we have the convenience and blessing of not having to test that everyday..

    But as far as I’m concerned, at a personal level, training and awareness and fitness trump any “Excalibur Syndrome” problems…

    FMA’s are a multi-weapon system and does a good job of teaching CONCEPT over technique IMO. Extend that to embrace firearms as well and you can apply the same CONCEPTS that make translating skills from empty-hand to stick to blade possible with firearms as well…

    I will say this though…

    There are a few reasons that the Native Americans kicked the crap out of Custer…

    1. Superior knowledge of the terrain
    2. Superior firepower (they had lever action rifles against the issue rifles that had hand loads)
    3. Superior INTENT (they were far more focused on a specific mission that CUSTER)
    4. Superior INITIATIVE (they actually respected their enemy and prepared to face him…)

    If they had brought bows and arrows to that fight though.. I can’t say they would have succeeded as well.

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