I’m not popular (again).

It seems I’ve upset someone.
Apparently you can disarm a person with a knife quite easily with numerous open hand methods which are easy to teach. That and a gun will beat a knife every time.
Thus I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Thank you for that DBRay.
(Can’t work out if that’s Mr, Mrs, Miss, or Ms.)

Still I’ve got a  scenario / calculation for you all.
A person has a knife concealed about their person, in their hand, ready to deploy.
(The only sensible way to use a knife).
They are at the outer border of your personal space of 4 feet, 1.2 meters.
What would be the time it would take for them to step forward (which effectively halves that distance and puts that them WITHIN your intimate space), simultaneously deploying that knife and making a strike, with no warning whatsoever?

I’d happily say you’ve got about a ½ second if the other person is practised.
BUT being cautious, you are stood there with a gun on him.
How long would it take you to ‘let him have it’?

Dr. Bill Lewinski is one of the world’s leading behavioral scientists whose work has focused primarily on the intensive study of the human dynamics involved in high stress, life-threatening encounters. He has worked extensively with Law enforcement.

According to his research, the average officer response time from taking the decision to shoot and actually pulling the trigger is about .25 of a second.

This does not include drawing the gun.
For the average officer to draw his gun under stress, point the firearm at the target, obtain a sight picture and fire a round averages about 1.71 seconds.

(One of the KEY REASONS why I say “if you see a knife, draw, make ready, safety off.”)

Still fancy your chances against a no warning attack?
On paper you might make the shot but bullets don’t always make people drop on impact.
Thus they may have the momentum, anger, or whatever, to carry through the strike.
Ergo, you get cut!

Tell you what, get your partner to try that on you using only their finger drawn from behind them or from a pocket. (Please don’t hold a gun on them, that’s not nice and could be dangerous). You’ll react after they have struck EVERY TIME because the average time to take a single step is only ½ a second (if they aren’t wading through custard.)

Now some will practice this again, and again, learning the tell of the movement of their partner and eventually they may just be able to block the odd blow or say “BANG” before they get hit.

Which means exactly nothing because, on the street, only a fool concentrates on one thing at the expense of everything else if they have no overwatch to keep them safe. That’s called target fixation or loss of situational awareness.

There again, only a total idiot lets ‘an unknown’ encroach on their personal space.

Distance will always remain king in combat DBRay.
Knives are devastating and almost impossible to stop when deployed within your intimate zone without warning.

Where unarmed combat or whatever occasionally scores is if the attacker is brandishing a bladed weapon and obviously doesn’t know what they are doing.

Even then if you are close enough to disarm them, what if they are just a bit faster or luckier than you are? You get cut at best, dead at worse.

As for fighting systems? Good luck on that.
I don’t practice, I’m too old anyway, and I’m not that stupid.

Against a knife only two things really matter.
♦ Stop them cutting you (using distance and/or barriers) and
♦ Stopping them (anyway you can).


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11 Responses to I’m not popular (again).

  1. DM says:

    I appreciate how you break this stuff down simply and logically. You’ll never know how many people’s lives you’ve touched/ saved because of you taking the time to write about it here.

    • Thank you, but as I always say DM.
      Never believe anything without checking it out against another source. You owe it to yourself to be absolutely sure my scribbles are accurate.

  2. Sir, you were correct. A firearm trumps a knife if the knife is 30′ away, in which case the person with the firearm would not be in “imminent danger,” and could not legally fire. There are many examples of law enforcement officers who were killed by an assailant with a knife, and those serious about combatives should look up the “Tueller Drill .” Probably the best way to understand it is to see it, everyone should assess how well their divert-twirl-disarm techniques would work against a simple, violent knife attack:

    • Interesting you should quote the Tueller Drill. WAY back in the 80’s I was lucky enough to ‘have a go’ at that when on a range sharing with police. I failed 8/10 times. Only so did a lot of us so that saved my blushes.

      Yet pushing that distance back to 30 feet I had no problem. You could argue that the difference was marginal in time. It was, but my shots went off just before ‘contact’.

      Only it does reinforce my argument, distance is king in combat.

      Working as a doorman, I’ve seen ‘professionals’ disarming drunks with blades. Slick most of them were too EXCEPT that wasn’t in an ambush scenario. One staff member got stabbed by a customer as he edged his way through to a crowded bar counter. No reason for it, it just happened, the perp was never found.

      You could say that there was a breakdown in security letting the knife in. OK, I’ll give you that BUT it demonstrates that a moments distraction, and an ambush attack, can take down the most professional of staff.

      An attacker only has to be just a bit more cunning, faster, or luckier than you.

      • Plus, the attacker has a few seconds advantage as they KNOW their intent and the target does not. Even after intent is obvious (which may be after the attack starts) the target still has to cycle through their “OODA” loop…

      • I kinda don’t like OODA.

        In the past, once my weapon was drawn I was usually WAY PAST the Observe, Orient, and Decide bit and into a purely reactive mode.

        Even the “Stop or I’ll shoot” bit of an ROE gets a bit blurry when facing rapidly changing events or incoming fire.

        You time saying that phrase.
        About 1 second I reckon. Or about 2 rounds.

        At full tilt, a person running at you close aboard will be on you before you can say “shoot” and they could react to stop even if they want to.

        Everything running at you under 20 yards is too fast to be anything other than a double tap.

      • I don’t like the fact humans have to go through the process, but I do think it exists unless someone has the training and/or experience to skip over the orient/ decide portions. I guess I’ve given the theory some credence from observation and from the stories of the people who were “stabbed 20 times,” lived, and later stated that they “didn’t believe it was happening.” It seems they were stuck it the observe/ orient part, and never got to the decide/ act. Honestly, I think we should teach some self defense in school to help young people survive, and develop some healthy aggression when they sense a threat…

  3. equippedcat says:

    Sure, you might have a good chance of disarming a knife attacker with “easy to teach” techniques. Trouble is, each technique depends on several factors, so there are A LOT of those techniques. You need to learn “many” of them, and more importantly practice them until they are automatic. If you have to decide which technique to use, and review the steps, you are already 2 seconds dead.

  4. Rifleman III says:

    I was cut.
    Walking out of the bank, little bastard was walking as to enter and produced a knife at the ready, demanding money. I stepped into him, but while knocking the knife out of his hand with my left, I was cut between the palm swell and first knuckle, but mad as hell, reached for his windpipe with my right hand. He had the look of fear on his face as he backed up rapidly and I missed his windpipe. Damn it! He ran off, and I kicked the cheap knife down a dry well. Yes. Bloodied, and bleeding. I was so mad, I started after him but he ran off. Some people dialed the police, but I got into my Jeep and drove off, and a block or two away, the glamor boys were going towards the bank, Lights and siren, a day late, and a dollar short, they were.
    Whole engagement was about five seconds in length. I carry the scar on my left hand. Kind of fits with the teeth imprint scar on the knuckles of my right hand. Why do people step away from me when I show them the scars? In the barroom I usually visit, their eyes were wide when talking about “battle” scars and I produced mine.

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