Don't Bring A Gun To A Knife Fight

Discussion in 'Training & Safety' started by canebrake, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    From Gabe Suarez's Warriortalk News WARRIOR TALK NEWS


    Don't Bring A Gun To A Knife Fight
    Chris Upchurch - S.I. Staff Instructor
    ________________________________________
    Mark Twain once said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." In training students to defend themselves with a firearm, one of the instructor's jobs is to disabuse students of certain, widely held but mistaken notions. The idea that shooting someone with a handgun will send them flying across the room, for instance, or that warning shots or shooting to wound are a good idea. One of the most common is encapsulated in the old saying, "don't bring a knife to a gunfight," often delivered with an air of smug superiority on the part of the gunman. Implied by this is the idea that the gun is in all ways a superior weapon to the knife, and that a skilled gunman has little to fear from a knife wielding assailant. The problem is it just ain't so.

    The best known effort to get gunmen to take knife armed assailants more seriously is the Tueller Drill. Dennis Tueller was a Salt Lake City police officer. In 1983 he wrote the classic article, "How close is too close?" published in S.W.A.T. Magazine (back when it was a more serious publication than it is today). In the article he pointed out that it took a reasonably skilled gunman about 1.5 seconds to draw his pistol and fire the first shot. In that time a healthy adult male could cover about 21 feet from a standing start. Since then, the "21 foot rule" and drills demonstrating this have become a standard part of training for law enforcement and armed citizens alike. Even in his original article, Tueller pointed out that firing one shot just as the knife wielding maniac reaches you is no guarantee that you won't get cut. Tueller advocated drawing the gun as soon as the danger clearly exists, rather than based on a particular distance, but some agencies have pushed the magic distance out to 30 feet to provide time for multiple shots and some margin for error.

    The 21 foot rule is predicated on stand and deliver type shooting (though Tueller himself encouraged taking a step backwards during your draw to add another three feet of distance). Against an attacker armed with a contact weapon, moving away from the attacker is an obvious solution. Many schools teach backpedaling while you draw and shoot. This works much better on flat smooth ranges than it does in the real world littered with curbs, discarded bottles, cars, etc. Tripping and bouncing the back of your head off the pavement may well leave you unconscious and at the tender mercies of the criminal with the knife. Even if you don't trip, few of us can outrun someone when we are going backwards and he is going forwards. It is far better to turn, point your toes away from the attacker, and run, shooting twisting your upper body and shooting one handed to bring the gun into action. Using these techniques, students in Suarez International classes can get their gun out and put multiple rounds into the attacker at half the distance Tueller laid down, or even less (depending on the relative athleticism of the student with the knife and the student with the gun).

    Defeating the Tueller drill at half the usual distance is quite impressive, but how relevant is any of this to the armed citizen? Remember, Tueller was a police officer. Police are often dispatched to respond to "man with a knife" calls, requiring them to approach and interact with a knife wielding individual. They may spot this individual well beyond 21 feet. Tueller's article was an attempt to persuade fellow officers that they needed to get their guns out even when the person they were approaching "only" had a knife.

    I don't carry a badge, and I'm not paid to approach disturbed individuals armed with knives. A much more realistic threat from my perspective is someone with a knife who is willing to threaten to kill me over the contents of my wallet. This kind of situation is unlikely to unfold from 21 feet, or ten feet for that matter. Imagine a mugger seven yards distant yelling, "You! Over there! Give me your wallet or I'll come over there and stab you!" The very idea is laughable. A criminal intent on using a knife to extract money from someone isn't going to tip his hand at 21 feet. He's going to get within arm's reach before revealing the knife. Ideally, we would be sufficiently aware to realize his intent before he gets that close and take measures to evade, but sometimes our awareness fails, or criminals are clever, leaving us to face an adversary with a knife at close range. The reality of a knife attack is probably going to be 21 inches, not 21 feet.

    Many gun schools don't address knife attacks in this realm at all. Those that do often teach the speed rock, or some other variant of retention shooting. The details vary from school to school, but most involve fending off the knife with the support hand while you draw and shoot from retention with the primary hand. This works well when the attacker is a paper target, but it just doesn't hold up in force on force. One arm just isn't sufficient to hold off a determined attacker with a knife. He can get in several good stabs with the knife before you get your gun into action, and even after you do, you're just trading pistol wounds for knife wounds. If he realizes you're going for a gun, he can even use his support hand to foul your draw, in which case you may never get that gun into action.

    The problem with speed rock-type techniques is they try to do two things at once and end up doing both of them badly. Fending off a knife wielding attacker is a job that demands your full attention and both hands. As long as the attacker is within arm's reach, this is a hand to hand problem; the gun in your holster is irrelevant at this point. The immediate priority is to keep his knife out of your innards. Once you've blocked or parried the initial attack, the next objective is to create enough time and distance to get your gun out and get hits on the attacker (about 2 seconds and 2 yards). Depending on your level of awareness and the strength of the initial attack, it may be possible to do this simultaneously with the initial parry by launching a simultaneous palm strike to the opponent's face and moving explosively off the line of attack. If the attacker's energy level is higher, it may take both hands and a solid platform to stop the initial stab. If you're surprised by his attack, all you may be able to do is throw a block out towards the incoming blur of the attack. In these cases, you may need to block one or more additional attacks before you're ahead of the curve enough to get off line and gain distance. Once you've created that distance, then it's time to turn this from a knife fight into a gunfight.

    At the arm's length distances where real knife attacks happen, having a gun does not put you in a position of superiority. In fact, going directly for your gun can be an invitation for him to stab the hell out of you. Initially, at least, close range knife attacks are a hand to hand problem. Really, the saying should be, "don't bring a gun to a knife fight."

    Credit where it is due: Thanks to Gabe Suarez, Randy Harris, and Tom Sotis, all of whom helped me grasp the reality of a knife attack.
     
  2. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe New Member

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    This is bullcrap. When I posted this stuff people told me to stop playing video games, said I was a troll, and got me banned.
     

  3. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    You got Banned for posting about the Tueller Drill? Is there more to that story? Because I can't imagine you getting banned for that.

    But calling out Cane like you just did, that is a different story.:D

    I have roll played the Tueller Drill many times in the past and it is almost impossible to beat (especially when done cold, without knowing what is coming next), unless movement or obstacles are involved. Even then it is tough.
     
  4. FreedomFighter69

    FreedomFighter69 New Member

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    Knowing your suurondings is what it all comes down to ! If you think your gonna have trouble, unholster that thing before it comes right in your face and keep it at your side. This way there won't be no unwanted suprises !
     
  5. chopkick

    chopkick New Member

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    There are many who believe the 21' rule to be crap. That's their problem! I believe it, heed it, and practice for it.

    Thanks Cane
     
  6. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    All I can offer you are these words of wisdom from the OP:

    Have anything more significant to offer or are you just passing through?
     
  7. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    Last I checked a well expanded .45 did not leave a 12 inch long gash through an attacker's abdomen. At close range a blade is bad news.
     
  8. IGETEVEN

    IGETEVEN New Member

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    Obviously spoken by two people who have never been in a life threatening confrontation with a determined person armed with a bladed weapon. :rolleyes:

    Say goodnight Dick....
     
  9. gatopardo

    gatopardo New Member

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    Rationalargument

    The emotional overload seems a bit off, not a rational argument in any way, there is enough grey matter in this forum, as it were, to have a good discussion

    Gato
     
  10. mcramer

    mcramer New Member

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    take this knife to a gun fight...
     

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  11. FreedomFighter69

    FreedomFighter69 New Member

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    In any situation the person who gets the jump will most likely succeed. Sure if someone with a knife acts first and catches you off guard, they do a lot of damage or even kill you.
    Same thing with a gun, the one who draws first usually shoots first. It's all about timing and surprise. One has to be ready for anything. Like I said earlier, if you expect trouble ahead or if the situation just doesn't look right, get ready and be prepared. If this means unholstering your gun then by all means do so ! You basically have to have four eyes and watch your back constantly. With most city folks this comes naturally through the years. Those in the country may be a bit more relaxed. This is just myth though because I know a good bit of country folks who are as street smart as any Brooklynite !
    It comes down to always being aware of your surroundings.
     
  12. billdeserthills

    billdeserthills New Member

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    I remember the 21' rule from my last 2 concealed carry classes,
    I find it stupid to ignore evidence that trained gun fighters compile
     
  13. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    Succinct, and to the point.
     
  14. hnealg

    hnealg New Member

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    Minimum

    Just a reminder--the 21' distance is the minimum for someone who can draw and shoot quickly. Many of us might consider 25'-30' ;)
     
  15. freefall

    freefall New Member

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    I need 50 yards.:eek:
     
  16. gatopardo

    gatopardo New Member

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    Consider this

    When I was in college a good friend of mine was sliced open, we never knew who did it, guts out and all, surely by a box knife, lots of kids carried box knives for architecture class, or else. A group of kids just run by and it was done. A knife can be concealed in your hand, a gun cannot.

    There is always the X factor, it doesn't matte how much you quantify data, in this case we didn't see any" reasonably" threat, plus we didn't have any guns.

    A knife carrier will do things distinctly different, first of all a knife is a stealth weapon, the guy never knew what hit him, for the most part the threat is never there.

    So what is the solution IMO? Keep your eyes open, you may think you know anything, if you have a sinking feeling, that might be it, train, be quick, be smart. when facing a knife attack you'll still have the chance to fire back, as long as you know what is happening.

    Live long, gato
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
  17. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    thats why when i ccw i keep my gun in a holster small of the back. looks like im going for a wallet... conversation is often your best delay tactic to make that 21 inches into 21 virtual feet. muggers and robbers seldom are truly prepaired to kill or they would have just stuck you. what they want is easy money with little effort. if you present them with what they expect till the last instant it will give you a chance.

    had a guy try to mug me in the honolulu mall, when i was in the army, in the men's bathroom. i carried a 6 inch cold steel tanto at my back under my shirt. i pulled that instead of the wallet and informed the slime that they gonna have to call 2 ambulances if he chose to press. he left. anyway conversation by my fake compliance allowed me a chance to arm myself evening the odds. if he really wanted to hurt me he woulda just stabbed me and took what he wanted without talking. under that circumstance awareness is all you can do. even today decades later i dont use a mens room without an empty locking stall. just part of the routine now.
     
  18. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    I've taught the Tueller Drill in my classes for years. Just as important, I prefer to teach folks how to avoid having to excersize the Tueller Drill at all. In my simple mind, avoiding a confrontation in the first place, is much preferred over having to shoot your way out of said confrontation.
     
  19. Wambli

    Wambli Member

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    Outstanding advice! Even with your gun out on a BG if he's too close to you things can go south in a hurry for you. If he has a knife even if you shoot him it might just be the last thing you do. DISTANCE is your friend.
     
  20. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe New Member

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    you entirely misunderstood my post i was agreeing with the tueller drill. I was saying that it was bullcrap that only now people believe it and that before people said i needed to stop playing video games and that edged weapons have no more use.