Sentry removal: Sharp or blunt?


March 16, 2003, 09:06 PM
Back when I was still a infantry draftee, we were thought a few methods for sentry removal. Most involved knives or bayonets...(i.e. grab the sentry from behind with your hand over his mouth, stab his kidney and then horizontally stab your blade into his neck)

However, for the purposes of academic study I was wondering if there are other less bloody ways of getting rid of a sentinel. I've seen movies where guards are knocked out from being pistol whipped or a blow delivered to the back of the head.

How reliable is blunt trauma using batons or clubs in rendering a guard unconcious?
Which works more silently and effectively, a knife or a club?

Am due for reservist call up in a month or two and would like to suggest an alternative way of doing things to the CQC instructor.

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March 16, 2003, 09:44 PM
Suggesting alternatives to a CQC instructor sounds like asking for trouble.

Blunt objects are not as handy, quiet, light, fast or efficient as a blade. Blades serve other purposes while a club isn't standard issue. If you were to rush up and club a sentry with your rifle, you'd probably alert him, alert others, make a loud clunk noise, probably evoke a scream from the target, AND break your rifle. People don't always go down with a head shot -besides, sentries usually are wearing helmets "Clunk!"

Few actual cases of sentry removal is necessary, probably should be left to SpecOps types using suppressed weapons.

Bladecraft is always good.

Don Gwinn
March 16, 2003, 10:12 PM
Um, yeah. Whatever you come up with, I wouldn't suggest it to the CQC instructor unless you do it privately and you're friends.

March 16, 2003, 10:54 PM
Bearing in mind that my unit is afterall a reservist unit, the CQC instructor used to be my high school chemistry teacher. The guy is pretty open minded and hence that's why I'm thinking of making a suggestion...... :)

March 16, 2003, 10:59 PM
How effective is stabbing a kidney at killing someone quickly? I've seen those so-called "OSS daggers" that are meant to be carried up a sleeve and pushed into a mark's back as you walk past him the in the opposite direction. Are the effects immediate, or just Hollywood hype?

March 16, 2003, 11:24 PM
You're in the Army and you think anyone is going to be open to suggestions about how you're supposed to do anything?

March 17, 2003, 01:52 AM
Good Day to you Hso,

A few things give me some latitude with my commanders and instructors:

1) I am a reservist doing complusory service for which I DO NOT get paid. My instructors and officers are all in the same boat so they generally cut us more slack when it comes to SOPs. The regular units are as dictatorial as can be and the draftee regiments can qualify as penal units.
2) High command actually issued a directive allowing all personnel to make suggestions for the improvement of operational matters as long as it was done in writing. (Rejections are frequent but like I said, my instructor is an open minded guy. ) :)
3) For reserve units like mine, training is autonomous. So as long as we meet current standards, my CO is happy. He himself said that we were free to come up with new ways of doing things so as long as improvements to the status quo were made.

I'm not saying that my unit is a democracy but within reason suggestions are accepted and it's b'cos of them that we out-shoot and out-fight quite a few "career" units.

I'm still not thrilled that I'll be losing two weeks pay for my next reservist draft though......:cuss:

March 17, 2003, 07:11 AM
As you know, you're in a unique position.

According to my reading and the discussions I've had with the professionals that have had to put training to practice it takes several seconds for a person to die from a cut throat. Those have always been described as very long seconds in which the victem struggles horribly. The modern technique tries to take this into account and involves thrusting the blade into the neck and prying it out through the windpipe. This is intended to cut the major blood vessels resulting in massive loss of blood pressure in the brain and prevent the victem calling out at the same time. Thrusts into the underside of the chin up into the brain or into the mouth into the brain are intended produce enough sudden damage to the brain to disable the victem immediately. Bud Nealy has developed a knife for this purpose that has been used on sentrys in Afganastan and the 2 reports as of the SHOT show were positive.

Thrusts to the kidney are intended to cause shock to disable the victem. While death may be rapid due to the combined effects of blood loss and shock it is far from assured. The blade must be thrust into the space below the ribs and above the hip bone and pryed out in hopes of hitting a vital target as small as the kidney. This and the old thrust into the rectum to cause shock require a follow up to the throat. Considering the smaller target of the kidney and rectum the throat makes a better choice.

An alternative is using the edge of an entrenching tool to strike the base of the neck much as you would with an axe or heavy sword. Striking the shoulder, deflecting off of the skull/helmet are problems that occur using this method. Add to the fact that the US e-tool doesn't lend itself to being swung comfortably and you reduce the chance of striking your target.

Regardless, you need to focus on the kit that you will carry since adding another ounce on your back should be avoided.

March 17, 2003, 08:25 AM

Rupturing a kidney usually takes anywhere from 5 to 10 seconds to incapacitate if you know what you are doing and you actually hit the kidney.

Most people find the larger arteries in the upper torso easier to hit and cause the target to bleed out faster. A sharp blade is essential as well. Wounds bleed out faster if they are cut open clean as opposed to "torn" where they might close themselves and take longer to bleed out.

March 17, 2003, 08:26 AM
Just how many sentries do you feel you will be in contact with?

Making suggestions to the CQB instructor? Friends or not, I would think if your unit has been around for any length of time you will be issued gear deemed necessary to perform your daily function while activated.

Sentry removal--It's not for the feint of heart. The object is to get the sentry nuetralized quickly with as little or NO noise as possible.

If you only cover the mouth of the sentry he will make enough noise when stabbed that another close enough might hear. You really need to pinch the nose between your thumb and forefinger and use the remaining three digits to cover the sentrys mouth.

Upon completion of the above, turn the sentries head toward the hand holding the nose and mouth exposing the side of his neck to your knife hand.

Looking at a neck from behind with the 12:00 postion being the adams apple and the 6 oclock position being the spine, place the tip of the knife at 4-4:30 position. Plunge the tip into the neck at least 3" and push the tip forward toward the 12:00 oclock position. The knife should rip out the front of the neck at about the 1:00 oclock position.

What this does is cut the juglar and caratoid arteries along with most of the windpipe with one quick push. The subject is held in that position and allowed to slump to the ground.

It's messy, killing someone up close and personal usually is, and there really isn't much one can do to negate the mess if you have to be effective and still remain unheard/unseen by others while performing this task.

If you attempt to slash the neck in lieu of stabbing as described above you stand a good chance of not getting deep enough to take out the two arteries on either side of the neck. Then you have created more potential commotion than you want in this endeavor.

Don't ask how I know this, visualize the description, practice this with a partner and wooden trainers. You should be able to determine how effective it would be yourself.

There is no room for error or you can get caught. When there is no room for error one must do what one must do.

Having said all that, sentry removal doesn't happen all that often and you have better odds at winning the lottery than being thrown into a situation you have asked about as a line grunt in anyones army.


March 17, 2003, 10:58 AM
Greetings Brownie,

I know sentry removal is rare and I probably stand a higher chance of being removed as sentry than I would to kill someone else pulling sentry duty. :o

Sentry removal was taught as am "extra supplementary" topic when we had time. It was not examinable and the instructor was more keen on making sure that our barehanded, stick, knife and improvised weapon skills were up to scratch.

Like I said, my original post was only for academic interest.

BTW, in a situation justifying lethal force, would an impact from an expandable baton, swung with intention to kill, be able to crack a skull? If the enemy was wearing a kevlar helmet, how much stun effect would the strike have?

March 17, 2003, 11:40 AM
The lightweight asp I carried for years would most assuredly give someone serious headaches and/or a concussion. You could kill someone most assuredly but it may require a few more than one blow to accomplish the task if that was he goal.

A heavy asp would probably fair better tat this scenario do to the extra weight and correcponding impact to the skull.

A straight police stick of polycarbonate would crack a skull quite easily with little effort on ones part if that was the desired affect.

If you are encountering a lethal threat you may want to neutralize the threat before delivering blows to the head of the opponent.

Myself, I'd rather disarm the person from his weapon by blows impacting the hands, forearms. The threat comes from the hands folks. Take care to remember this as while you are wacking him in the head, he also has the opportunity to lay you open with whatever weapon has caused you to be concerned with justified defense to begin with.


March 17, 2003, 12:34 PM
Kevlarman , the OSS dagger is the Sykes-Fairbourn knife which is called a "light duty "combat knife !! The tips break off easily. As to kidneys, Iknow a fellow who was stabbed in the kidney and lost it but he's still here. The gurhkas have the best way instead of trying to find and stab into a vital area they use their kukris and cut off the sentrys head, works great.

March 17, 2003, 08:17 PM
Love my kukuris! :D

I've finished a wounded deer with a knife. I slammed her head down, pinning it against the ground, as I stabbed downward, entering from the side, almost to the spine, and cutting out. Instant death. I've been training for years, but I'd hate to take on an armed assailant who has buddies with a knife.

March 18, 2003, 05:57 PM
Tomahawk. Best of both worlds... sharp, but with a lot of weight like a blunt object. A proper fighting hawk also has a sharpened spike on the back, so you can hit with either the main edge or the spike. Back of the neck, base of the skull is good. The spike might be able to get through a helmet, I dunno.
Still, whacking the head or the neck, I wouldnt expect it to be totally silent. A skull being chopped into, or crushed makes a rather distinct and loud noise, even if the person does not utter a cry. And they could still make a sound vocally. I'd think about the only way to prevent this would be a complete beheading, but the likely hood of taking someones head clean off is doubtful.

Theres a quote I like to use a lot, its from custom knife maker Mick Strider (Who is also Co Founder of the production company Strider Knives), he said it at BladeForums in a discussion there on this very topic... at the end of a long post on technique with a knife: "P.S. A framing hammer works better than a knife :D" and I'd think Mick would know.
Still, theres that icky pop/crunch sound, and the possibility of an outcry.

As for knives,
The problem these days with targeting the kidneys, is that soldiers wear so much gear, and a great deal of it is across their backs, you're more likely to stab his kit, than to stab him. WHich will slow you down for a second as you go "***?" and give him a window.
When you attack from behind, weak hand comes around his side, over the shoulder, slamming up under his chin, jamming his mouth shut (like a reverse chin-jab), and your thumb and index finger pinc his nose closed. Force his head back, and to towards your arm, and jam your knife into the exposed side of his neck, and pivot it forwards, through the front of his neck... more tearing than cutting. Should take out all the lovely blood veins, sever his wind pipe, and destroy his vocal cords. He's still going to gurgle and sputter, perhaps loudly... but maybe keeping your hand over his nose and mouth until he's gone, will minimize that. Lots of blood, on you, in your eyes, in your mouth and nose. Icky.

And this is only after you've managed to sneak 20 yards without making a sound, breaking a twig, or breathing much, so that you can sneak up on his sorry ***, just to do that.

A nice silenced weapon, with a sound-insulated shroud over the action, and shooting them in the head is probably the best way... and still, theres the noise of the bullet impacting the skull to deal with.

Interesting hypothetical to think about... but, not something I'd like to do.

For some ideas of how much noise people make when sustaining these types of injuries, check out or, some-place like that, which will have videos of third world executions and similar brutality. Theres one on Ogrish of a Russian soldier standing on a guy, and cutting his throat out... the guy makes a damn lot of noise, even with a similar cutting action to what I described being done on him. :shivers: Icky. Icky.

March 19, 2003, 03:35 PM
I wouldnt trust a blunt weapon to kill quickly or silently, especially if your target has a helmet. I have no experience with striking or being struck with intent to kill but I have been hit in the head more than a few times. I have taken knocks that didnt disable me in any way and seen people do the same things and knock themselves out cold. I just wouldnt want to risk my life hoping that a sentry doesnt have a thick skull.

December 29, 2003, 07:55 PM
Ok, I have never cut anyone's throath, but I have killed a sheep that way (sorry if I offend someone or some people who protect animals.)

My nephew was reading a book he downloaded from the internet (something about a hitman manual) so I took it away from him and gave him a gun magazine, I think he was safer that way (learning REAL guns instead of things that may give him a wrong picture of the world...)

So my curiosity beated me, and I started reading...then we came to the part of killing with knifes, where it described that you should stab the victim (neck is a clock) at 3 o clock horixontally and then pull the knife out through his did not sound incorrect (that book has some ok, and some syupid things) so I decided to try it out with one of the animals that were to be killed for sale. As the sheep already had no wool, I held her and stabbed her as was harder than I thought it would be, but the animal fell to the ground kicking with its back legs...

I regret doing so and I swear I will never do such a thing again...the animal's suffering was so incredibly great that it had already been 5-6 seconds and it was still bleeding in pain... she finally died after what seemed as forever... (Note: when we kill sheep, we start cutting in front of the windpipe and up to when they are decapitated, so the usual time between first contact and full death is about 3 seconds...)

So how is this on topic?? If you are not the "bloody mess" type (I sure ain't one), don´t do that!! There are special forces that are trained to do so!!

December 29, 2003, 09:01 PM
The absolute best weapon/tool/method for sentry removal is field artillery.

Trust me on this one.


December 30, 2003, 12:17 AM
So, what is the prescribed response to having someone grab your mouth and nose from behind, while you are on sentry duty?

December 30, 2003, 12:43 AM

Pray you survive from the negligence that let you allow him to get up to you in the first place.

Keep your ears open, watch your back, move around objects with a wide birth, pay attention, especially between 3-5 am.


4v50 Gary
December 30, 2003, 12:57 AM
John Shirley, I would have loved to have watch you with your kukri. :eek:

December 30, 2003, 01:28 AM
In no particular order -
Direct fire (take your pick)

Take your E-tool and whack it on a tree. See how loud that is? Not a great tool for stealth.

To say that sentry removal is an advanced technique is a bit of an understatement. You don't want to use your knife? Install Tomahawk, problem solved. Past that or the garrote, and given that you aren't getting issued suppressed weapons, I'd worry more about better MOUT training than sentry removal. Hollywood aside, you probably aren't going to run into that situation. It's fun to imagine, and a good confidence builder for the exercises, but so's the O course.

December 30, 2003, 05:42 AM
No one has mentioned the smell when there bowels loose control.

Andrew Wyatt
December 30, 2003, 12:14 PM
An alternative is using the edge of an entrenching tool to strike the base of the neck much as you would with an axe or heavy sword.

Would a kukri or smatchet work as well or better for that?

December 30, 2003, 12:58 PM
See above. The new generation folding Etools are not as handy as the older ones for whacking things IMO. And, they are quite loud - it sounds like a bell when it hits a hard surface. A Khuk, machete, or any heavy bladed knife will work much better.

December 30, 2003, 08:27 PM
I've always thought hunting hogs solo with a knife would be great practice for this sort of thing. ;)

Almost as dangerous too! :what: :D

December 30, 2003, 08:41 PM
At one time, many years ago, I had an Army training manual from WW2, entitled Scouting and Patrolling, IIRC. It demonstrated the recommended ways of taking out a sentry with a hand axe (as well as with a knife and probably a few other tools I don't remember). Blade to the spine between the shoulder blades to kill, blunt end to the same area to stun.

December 31, 2003, 11:25 AM
On TV a while back, they had the old men who were trained to be guerrillas in case the Germans invaded England.

What they were taught for sentries was to come from behind, yank the head back and let the edge of the helmet break the neck.

Seemed it worked with German helmets, not sure if it would work with today’s helmets though.

The only thing i could think of Horsesense, was to strike your arm backwards and hope you get his balls.

December 31, 2003, 12:31 PM
On TV a while back, they had the old men who were trained to be guerrillas in case the Germans invaded England.

What they were taught for sentries was to come from behind, yank the head back and let the edge of the helmet break the neck.

Seemed it worked with German helmets, not sure if it would work with today’s helmets though.

Only works if the chin-strap is fastened - otherwise the helmet just pops off the head and leaves you with a surprised but very alert sentry, and a rather dense piece of metal or plastic in your hand - not a bad improvised weapon but will ring like a bell or make a loud whack when you brain him with it. ;)

If the chin-strap is fastened then you have both a really good hold on him and serious cranking power on his neck.

Helmets need stampeed strings - not chin straps ;)

January 1, 2004, 06:15 PM
As I'm sitting here reading this, I'm holding a simple woodsman-type, single-bladed hatchet that can be bought at any hardware store. And I'm thinking, "Something like this could be a great addition to a soldier's kit for things like this." The sharp blade in the front--plus the heavy hammer-like rear--could do nasty things to an unwary sentry.

However, the hard part would be getting a clear shot to the skull. Correction: the hard part AFTER getting close enough to use it w/o alerting the sentry would be getting a clear shot....:uhoh:

Most important rule to remember when dispatching sentries: Make sure there isn't another one close enough to see you dealing with the first...:what:

January 7, 2004, 02:03 AM
A suppressed 50 cal (50 whisper) would be my first choice.

Second choice would be a nun chuck used like a garrote.

Third choice would be empty hand, starting with a blow to the throat (I know what effect that has, it is like getting nailed in solar plexus but worse you just stand trying to get air, not sure what knife to throat/neck would do for stunning) followed by head crank or strangle.

January 7, 2004, 12:18 PM
I'm willing to bet that 95% of our posters couldn't move silently enough to sneak up on a sentry anyway. :)

January 7, 2004, 02:38 PM
LOL, Correia!

Seems to me the military could use higher-powered electric shock devices than Tasers (since they're not worried about a little permanent damage to the target). Seem like it would be more quiet than any impact device.

January 7, 2004, 03:17 PM
I'll gladly say I am one of that 95% - I couldnt sneak up on a rock without it hearing me.

January 7, 2004, 03:28 PM
"...would like to suggest an alternative way of doing things to the CQC instructor..." HAHAHAHA!!!!! Like peeling spuds do ya? Where are you that a reservist may be sneaking up on sentries? In any case, when you're on active duty, your chemistry teacher isn't your buddy. You keep your mouth shut and listen or the powers that be will have you on midnight guard duty in the rain and cold for the whole time.
The Ghurkas have a theory about sentry removal. Removal of the head means no voicing of disagreement from the sentry. They used their Kukris for said purpose regularly during WW II and likely since. One troopie would remove the sentry's head (either horizontally or vertically, same thing), while the other guy grabbed the rifle as it fell. Sticking a guy in the back, throat, sometimes even the heart doesn't mean there will be no noise. Even a sharp knife under the rib cage and cutting the heart if half is no means of keeping the sentry quiet while he expires. No head though. Works every time.

January 7, 2004, 03:52 PM
So, what is the prescribed response to having someone grab your mouth and nose from behind, while you are on sentry duty?

Kiss your ??? goodby/pray? One thing that comes to mind is to instantly become 200lbs of dead weight. Might throw the attacker off or make him miss his aim.

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