Knife Attacks: Insights, Strategies, and Pro Tips

Knife Attacks: Insights, Strategies, and Pro Tips

Solid information from the Mad Duo over at BB&C.

Backpedaling is Bad!


Here we have yet another Police Body Cam out of Florida where a druggie/crazy guy charges a cop with a knife.

This is a BAD situation to be in tactically speaking.

The Cop is in a CONFINED Space with limited egress routes. When the guy charges, the Cop is forced to back Pedal down a narrow hallway. During this time, he deploys his taser which is ineffective.  He then has to go to his pistol and put the guy down.

If you remember the video out of Georgia two weeks ago, it was a very similar situation.

Remember: Cops are required to abide by the Force Continuum and use the least amount of force necessary to subdue a subject. This is why we often see cops pleading with these people (often while backing up) and using tasers or pepper spray before their firearms, even though in a majority of the cases the situation has gone far beyond non-lethal force.

As an armed citizen, we are not constrained by such rules. We are not required to use non-lethal force FIRST in a situation when our life is in danger.

The bad thing about Back Pedaling in a situation like this or ANY situation where you are fighting for your life is there is very real chance you might trip over something, including your own feet and go to the ground.

If you do, you automatically put yourself at a disadvantage and that drugged up idiot with a knife will be on top of you in a flash trying to put 5 inches of steel into your gut.

The rule of thumb about backing up is only do it to gain a better position, as in cover. If you are going to retreat, turn around and retreat, otherwise, turn around and fight. In a fight, backing up while not looking where you are going is dumb.

“Forward never Backward” was the motto when we used to train. Dominate the space around you!

Your Life Depends on it!

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!

7 Dead, 19 Wounded in Stabbing Spree in China

Seven Chinese Students Killed in Stabbing Attack

More proof you don’t need a gun to do a lot of damage. Knives can be just as deadly.

All you need is a dose of crazy and some willpower.

I highly recommend watching some of Kelly McCann’s or Shivworks Knife Defense Training DVD’s to understand the KEY in defending against a knife attack is understanding DISTANCE; they have to get close to you to hurt you. So you either A. shoot them to the ground or you B. run for your friggin’ life.

Stay Alert, Armed and Stay Dangerous!

Civilian Operator 101: The Reality of a Knife Attack on the Street

Here is a no bullshit example of what a knife attack is REALLY like on the street.

Basically from what I could gather from  the half-retarded google translation is this Russian Cop is writing this old man (called a pensioner) a ticket in his patrol car. At the end the old man decides he was not having any of this ticket shit and pulls out a hunting knife and stabs the cop in the chest. The cop was able to signal a fellow police officer for help thankfully, who promptly pulls the “pensioner” out of the car and gives him a good beating before arresting him.

The Cop was rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. At last report he was stable and expected to make a full recovery. The surgeon told the cop the knife had narrowly missed his heart.

Video’s like this teach the Civilian (and the Law Enforcement Officer) some very valuable lessons.

  1. ANYBODY can hurt/kill you with a knife if they are close enough to you and have enough intent to kill you. Never think because somebody is old, disabled, female, gay or whatever that they are not a threat with a knife. EVERYBODY is a threat with a knife.
  2. This shows what a Knife attack is REALLY LIKE ON THE STREET. As soon as the knife comes out it goes directly into the target’s flesh, specifically aiming for a major organ or arteries.Notice how FAST the attack happens. No farting around, no dancing, just stabbing. What really saved the cop is the guy only stabbed him once versus doing the “prison sewing machine” move where he would repeatedly stab at close range. I think the old man thought he had stabbed the cop in the heart so he just twisted the blade a little at the end there.
  3. If this video teaches us anything it is that in Close Contact situations things can go from friendly to deadly in a split second. So be careful who you let REALLY CLOSE TO YOU! Remember it is the hands that are going to kill you so forget all the nonsense  about always looking your opponent in the eye!

Bottom line, every Civilian Operator needs some type of knife defense course under their belt. There are several good ones out there, but the most “street realistic” for my money is Craig Douglas aka Southnarc and Kelly Mccann.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!


What do Goat Rodeo’s and Knife Attacks have in Common?

In a word:  CHAOS

There is nothing (at least to me) that is more primordial, barbaric and just plain ass puckering scary than an attacker coming at me, swinging a knife intent on my imminent demise like in the above vid. Luckily, for the shop-keeper it ended well, the knife attacker (probably under the influence of chemicals) tripped and fell in his attack, giving the defender the opportunity to put three rounds into the maniac. What is scary to me about this vid is it could have easily ended the other way, with the shop-keeper getting disarmed and stabbed repeatedly, the sound of his own blood gurgling in his throat being the last sound that he heard.

I know a lot of you out there are saying: “NO WAY! You must be crazy! The one guy had a gun, the other a knife..gun trumps knife, this attacker was outmatched as soon as he came in the door!”  Not so fast………

The fact of just having a gun on your person NEVER automatically gives you the upper hand in any situation. Especially when some nut job comes running at you swinging a knife out of the blue! For those of you familiar with the Tueller Drill, you can verify this point. A firearm is not a magic talisman: sticking it out in front of you and saying a special combination of  words does not change things instantly! In fact, sticking the gun out in front of you in this situation would almost guarantee ADDING to your problems and not solving them!!


Without dissecting the video frame for frame, let’s explore some things you definitely DO & DO NOT want to do in a this type of situation if you are ARMED. Starting with that classic “OH SHIT!!” moment, before you can process what is happening, the attacker closes distance fast, (because somebody with a knife has to be close to hurt you, right?) he has the knife out in front of him, wildly slashing. Your natural reaction here is to BACK-UP, and no one would blame you, but just remember you can NEVER move faster going backwards than your attacker can moving forwards, add to this the likelihood you might trip over your own feet or something else and wind up on your ass on the ground..not good. A more practical thing to do here, if possible, is to move laterally, (to the flanks) off the X, off the point of attack. As soon as you do that, in the same breath, you need to get your gun into the fight.

At this point, let’s examine when the shop-keeper see the attacker’s knife; his “off-hand” goes out in front, fending off this maniac, and with his right hand he draws his pistol from behind his back (or from his pocket); as he brings the gun around to bear on the attacker (in a wide looping arc), the attacker’s spots it and immediately his “self-preservation mode” kicks in and he reaches out and jams the barrel down and away.

Let’s stop right there and talk about a fundamental concept in CQ “situations”: Weapon Retention. Anytime your proximity to your attacker is close (ie “bad-breath distance”), you need to make it a point to gain distance in any way you can. Having a simple inventory of combative strikes, kicks, head-butts, bites, eye gouges, nut kicks, etc in your tool-box will serve you well in this area. Despite your best efforts however, you still need to be aware to keep your weapon back, DO NOT give the attacker anything to grab on too. Also, as we will discuss later, your presentation of the gun needs to be a straight-forward affair, where you clear the holster and immediately bring the barrel to bear on the attacker. Avoid any “arcing” or wide swinging motions out of the holster; besides being grossly inefficient, it also brings attention to the weapon and gives the attacker more time to plunge that shank of sharp steel into your gut.


OK, so you have side-stepped laterally, your off-hand (the one without a weapon) is out in front of you, whether or not you are drawing from your pocket, AIWB, your strong side, whatever, you have to decide that as soon as you get the weapon out of the holster and the barrel is pointing in the direction of the attacker, you need to start working the trigger quickly. In some training circles this maneuver might be called a “speed-rock”, the term I would use however comes from Shooting Instructor Roger Phillips. The point at which you are getting a purchase/grasp on the weapon would be “Elbow Up”, the point at which the gun either comes horizontal with the deck or the barrel is aimed towards the attacker and your elbow is then driven into your gut/hips/ribs  and the shot taken would be “Elbow Down”. (I highly recommend Roger’s book Point Shooting Progressions for further explanation).


There is an exception/caveat to this definition if you carry AIWB; in Force-on-Force (FOF) training I have noticed (because of the position of the arm when drawing out of a AIWB holster), the elbow tends to stay “up” during the entire sequence and the gun, when fired, is at an angle (almost “gangster style”) rather than horizontal to the deck. If the CO were to take that extra step and “tuck” the elbow into the ribs, (thereby bringing the gun horizontal) he would be losing valuable time when otherwise he could be working the trigger putting rounds in the attacker. Let’s be honest, the only perk to “tucking” the elbow into the ribs would be stability, and if the attacker is within striking distance (under 2- 3 ft) stability, while firing a handgun, is a moot point. 


This entire process, when experimented with in Force-on-Force (FOF), happens in 3-4 seconds and the outcomes vary considerably, depending heavily on how fluid the presentation of the gun is (Notice I said FLUID not FAST). The one consistent hiccup throughout that tripped people up the most however, was the clearing of the “cover garment”. If the CO is carrying his gun either IWB (Inside-the-Waistband) or OWB (Outside-Waist-Band) Concealed and not in a pocket, the fending hand (the one keeping the attacker at bay) has to be used to clear the garment out-of-the-way. A majority of the time, once the fending hand is removed, the attacker closes the distance fast and jams the CO’s hands at his waist, resulting in a tangled up clinch, where 95% of the time, the CO sustains lethal damage from the knife. In contrast, the rate of those who carried a pocket gun and could keep the fending hand up was in the realm of 75- 80% successful. In some instances, some students tried to use the same hand (gun hand) to both clear the cover garment and draw the gun; this was successful only about 25% of the time, with the majority problem being the shirt fouled the draw. As you can imagine, a fouled draw in this situation compounds your problems ten fold, being now besides fighting the maniac in front you, you are also fighting yourself. It is also noteworthy to realize that either way, the fending hand  is going to take damage from the knife;  the CO needs to expect that, no knife attack is pretty!


So where does this leave us? are pocket guns the only solution? Absolutely not. The two primary things that will make the difference in this type of attack are (1) Creating distance between you and the attacker (2) Fluid presentation of the weapon from concealment. As I said before, it would be pure stupidity to believe that you will NOT take any damage in a situation like this; YOU WILL, but the key here lies in not taking any lethal damage before you can neutralize the attacker. Going into any fight expecting not to take damage only sets the stage for failure, of course the more lethal the fight gets, the less room there is for error.

One has to understand the NATURE of these types of violent attacks can only work if the attacker QUICKLY closes the distance between him and you; that is the only way a knife attack works. If he can surprise you and not give you the option to draw your weapon BEFORE he begins his attack, he gains the edge, literally. If the attacker gives away his intentions and then HESITATES in his attack, this is the only chance the CO has to draw his weapon and put him down before the CO starts taking any type of knife damage.  Of course, picking up the pre-cursors to a knife attack are not that easy; the video clearly shows that. The maniac walks in the shop, draws his knife and closes the distance to the shop-keeper in an instant.


Knife attacks are becoming more and more common and are something the CO HAS NO CHOICE but to prepare for. With the recent MASSACRE in China of 33 people killed and 143 wounded, all with knives, by a gang of militant muslim separatist, the threat is ever present and real.


It goes without saying that Concealed Caryy 24/7 is becoming more of a necessity than it is a precaution, when your environment is potentially that hostile.

Stay Armed, Stay Ready and as always, Stay Dangerous!