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Defensive Knives?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Cosmoline, Oct 18, 2013.

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  1. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Witness bad, bad Leroy Brown, and the Straight-Razor in his Shoe!!

    A single-edge 3" blade, with no point at all.

    But a lot of folks didn't survive being cut with one long enough to make it to the hospital!!
    While trying to pick up their intestines off the ground and stuff them back in, while quickly bleeding to death.

    It was the preferred weapon in certain circles for over a century at least.

    rc
     
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Cop buddy described a similar wound he saw delivered with a "linoleum knife".
    linoleum-knife-1106.jpg
     
  3. Bix

    Bix Member

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    Janich does a pretty good job of articulating the concepts behind using small blades (i.e. folders) defensively in his MBC program:

    http://www.martialbladeconcepts.com/Home.aspx
     
  4. Dirty Bob

    Dirty Bob Member

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    In many of the accounts I've read of violence involving knives, only one party had a knife, and the other party didn't know about it until they saw the blood. Imagine an attacker who wants to control you to do something to you right there, or to control you to take you to the secondary crime scene (the one where most victims don't survive).

    I like mercop's take on this. According to his ideas, the human body presents three upside-down Vs that guide you into useful targets for a knife. A knife held edge-up in the fist can be used for slashing or for stab-then-rip-out strikes.

    Applied to the upper thigh/groin of an attacker, even a 2-3 inch blade would likely have a serious effect on the attacker. A small knife, used quickly and with commitment, may give you the element of surprise and may deliver a very serious wound in a moment's time.

    I hope I've done justice to mercop's approach. Edge-up for grappling distance makes sense to me. If it's true that many fights end up at this distance, a small knife can be an ugly surprise for somebody. I have a little Boker US-made, all-stainless fixed blade with a short, broad, flat-ground blade. I like it very much, and it's logged a lot of miles in my pants pocket.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Dirty Bob
     
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    He certainly convinced me
     
  6. Mp7

    Mp7 Member

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    a sharp mind, and some martial arts practice are the best knife.

    That said. I´d hate to go up against i.e. a brand new Mora knife.
     
  7. Tejicano Loco

    Tejicano Loco Member

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    "in a close quarters attack, if you have a blade available you should do your best not to reveal it until it's in use and the offender finds out the hard way"

    If it has come down to me having to rely on a short blade to get out alive I will play that to it's furthest advantage. Surprise has to be part of that method. Depending on how my opponent is armed, relative sizes, etc. my responses will vary but the constant is to keep it as hidden as possble until it is biting flesh. At that point it needs to make the biggest wound possible because there is no guarantee that I get another chance. I would not do this unless I was offered no other possible path - my ruthlessness would have to be justified.

    I have had this discussion with a few veterans who actually have used blades in combat situations. The methods I gleaned from them would turn most people's stomachs to hear.
     
  8. kBob

    kBob Member

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    hso,

    I once had a hard day at work because of a linoleum knife. One of the two other guys that worked there was in jail for a bit and the other was in the hospital with 40 plus stitches...... so yes.

    I think surprise is a major factor. I was once at an event where a regionally well know stick guy and cop was demonstrating how his tagalogish two stick system was the be all and end all. He handed me a rubber knife and promised not to hurt me badly when I did as he asked and attacked him with the knife. He knew the rubber knife was coming. But I dropped the knife behind my thigh and reversed the blade from what he was apearently expecting. He used the fact that his own defense caused the first "cut" and set him up for the stab that followed as a teaching tool very smoothly. Just the surprise of how the knife was used was enough.

    A friend had an interesting evening when one young man accosted him with a knife up close while another brandished at a bit further off. His own blade came out and went into the close guy and came out about a foot away before the attacker knew he even had a knife. Attack over and attackers brother and back up ran away at the sight of things spilling out of skewered little brother. Friend almost did not get Commissioned because of the event even though it was self defense and very clearly so. That was a Buck Ranger BTW in one of those 1980 or so auto opening carriers and that was one of the issues as to whether that and the rig was a "common folding knife."

    -kBob
     
  9. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    If someone has a club and you have only a tiny bladed knife, you run and use C&C to avoid getting killed. Distance negates the club. With a hand gun it's less certain, but every yard makes you a harder target. To charge into the arms of someone with a superior weapon just makes it easier for them to kill you, and if you're spry enough to do it why not leap around behind cover and just get out of there?

    And you will never get cut doing that? Or shot? Again, if you have time to wait for him to attack a la a knife on knife duel, why not split?

    The objective should be to run away. Let's assume he has only an equally small knife, and that he isn't wearing heavy padded or loose clothing that will make your knife gum up. Even assuming these things, he is surely going to be trying to gut you just as you're trying to isolate and negate each arm and leg. It just seems absurd outside of a sparring ring. And why would you choose that when you have so many other options available?

    Well maybe not a full spear, but you can carry a walking stick and keep a spear head handy to jam on the top in a pinch. Or just the stick, which at least keeps you some distance from an attack and gives you a chance for a jab-and-run.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed as heck with the knife fighting techniques and I think it's a really neat martial art. But to actually carry a blade as your defensive tool when other choices are available seems like courting disaster.

    Hmmmm. Pocket spear head. I love these debates, because they give me insane new ideas to hurt myself with LOL
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  10. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Cosmoline,

    You might want to look at some videos on FMA. The techniques aren't done in a vacuum and like any hand to hand would depend upon what your attacker was doing. What Janich, and other FMA practitioners, teach is based on a real culture of blade use out of the Philippines and SE Asia where fights with knives are part of the day to day life there.
     
  11. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    See also Utøya island massacre.

    Appropriate tactics are situational.
     
  12. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    I don't think anyone here is advocating carrying a knife as a primary defensive weapon in lieu of a firearm.
     
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    And a knife would have helped? There were hundreds of people on the island who didn't get killed or shot. Those who died were primarily killed with head shots. So again the best defense is to not be there, and if you are there to get away.
     
  14. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Most of those who died were killed as they fled or executed as they cowered.

    In any case, Proper Tactics Are Situational.

    Sometimes fighting back is the superior tactical choice. Fighting back with a knife is preferable to fighting with an empty hand.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  15. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    cosmoline said:

    I think that is an important distinction.
    Knives are highly effective if the target does not see it coming, or if the target is not well armed and the attacker knows what they are doing with the knife. A knife against an unnarmed person or person with thier armament holstered or slung can be highly effective. This is most of the use OSS and CIA type covert agents would have for such things. Killing the guy not expecting to suddenly be attacked with a knife.
    Certainly they would train to actually fight with it too, but actually fighting would be avoided in favor of killing the unsuspecting.
    However such circumstances have very little to do with lawful self defense.

    In most circumstances that will actually justify legal lethal force the assailant is armed with a lethal weapon. It is this lethal weapon that typically makes them a lethal threat and makes use of lethal force against them lawful.
    That is a game changer, because you are no longer talking about how to disable or injure someone with a knife that is just attacking you, but someone that will be using thier own weapon at the same time.
    They also are likely initiating the violence, and so are already aware of the impending fight, removing some of the element of surprise and making overwhelming and devastating use of the knife more difficult for the defender.
    I am aware of many of the knife fighting techniques, and they can look quite impressive demonstrated by someone in a controlled setting.
    However it is very likely both will get cut in a real fight if the attacker has already committed to attack, even if one does more effective damage.
    Furthermore the fact that you are on more equal footing, and if the opponent regains control can turn the tides and kill you means keeping the momentum of success is far more important in a knife fight. If you give a good attack and then stop and they get back into the fight you may still lose even though the option to control the outcome had been held by you. If you continue the attack after they are temporarily stopped it may be seen as excessive force to continue, as the threat is momentarily stopped.
    Judged by jury members, investigators, etc after the fact used to applying firearm defense logic many of the acts that may be required in using a knife and prevailing may seem more excessive.
    With a gun you stop the threat, and then have the luxury of standing at the ready with a ranged weapon with a clear advantage over the downed individual and can refrain from using additional force unless needed without much additional risk to yourself. Then if they choose to get back into the fight you can shoot again if necessary before they have much chance of turning the tides on you.
    That is not true if you are holding a knife and you give them the luxury of deciding they want to try again. How disabled they are is much more important when fighting with a knife.
    The level of force required may be well in excess of the simple shot required from a firearm, and the extensiveness of the knife wounds even less survivable and seen as more excessive. Imagine being in court and hearing a dozen stab wounds slowly counted by a prosecutor pausing a second between each one. It would sound excessive even if they were all delivered rapidly during a grapple.
    You as a result are far more likely to end up in prison if you defend yourself with a knife than with a gun.
    Additionally use of a knife seems more gruesome. The housewife on the jury may relate to pulling a trigger against something she is scared of posing a lethal threat, but probably won't relate to systematically taking apart a person with a knife. This may mean guilty instead of not guilty.

    It can still be a valuable skill. I myself sometimes carry a knife for defense. However it is a far from ideal tool. Both in use and in the likely aftermath.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  16. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Can you back that up with statistics?
     
  17. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I doubt there are stats kept with that level of detail. But can you point out instances where knives were used for self defense? I know two people personally who shot and killed criminals in self defense and know of many other local incidents. I've never even heard of someone using a knife to do so other than Gene Moe vs. the brown bear sow. And it seems to me it would look a lot like a knife fight to any officer, and therefore mutual combat. Which is legal with the bear, but not with humans.

    Put it another way--cops shoot people. They don't stab them. Whereas criminals use knives all the time. Sometimes in preference to firearms. They're a very good offensive tool. So if you're standing there with a stabbed guy on the ground, well it's not going to look good.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  18. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Anecdotally, several.

    If you wanted to you could poke around the DOJ and find the (tiny) figures for justifiable homicides by weapon type, but that won't tell us anything about the prevalence of non-lethal, legal uses of knives as defensive weapons.

    So what exactly are you arguing here again? People should never use a knife as a layer in their defense of self? :scrutiny:
     
  19. zhyla

    zhyla Member

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    What are we really arguing about? Everybody here agrees if you can run from a fight you run. If you have to fight most people's non-firearm options are:

    1. Your hands.
    2. A mid-size folder.

    I base this list on every person I've ever met. I've seen a couple guys carrying fixed blades, but it's really rare.

    Even untrained hands can do a lot more surface damage with a small knife than their fists. Also, every part of the opponent's body becomes much more vulnerable. There's not a lot you can do to my bicep in a fist fight but stick a 3" piece of steel into it and I may need to leave you alone.

    The problem with folders is deployment. The few seconds to get a knife out of your pocket is an eternity. And when you need to draw a knife there may be a lot going on.

    Anyhow, I've forgotten the point I was going to make. If you need to stab somebody, stab him 100 times, that's my main advice.
     
  20. Dirty Bob

    Dirty Bob Member

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    Some of us live in strange places, like San Antonio, TX, where small fixed blades are legal, but locking folders are banned, and the law is enforced selectively.

    I don't agree with your "advice," although I hope it was sarcasm. ;)
    I think we both agree that you do whatever you need to, until that moment when you can escape, and then you get away and call the police, right?

    Regards,
    Dirty Bob
     
  21. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    If I were going into combat, I would want a knife in the 6-7 inch range, kabars and Gerber mark 2"s come to mind among the classics.
    But I am not going into combat, so I have a bunch of knifes, mostly with 5 inch blades, in places where I constantly use them for other things and they would be a whole lot better than nothing in an emergency, especially because I could conceal them. In a defensive situation, I really look at a knife as a stealth weapon: the bad guy doesn`t know I have a knife until he has been cut. In fact, I am currently looking for a 4 inch stainless for both normal and emergency use.

    As far as effectiveness, it is a matter of target selection, just like with firearms, except the targets are smaller and you would have to push harder.

    Needless to say, other than being concealable, my knifes are not often my best option. When I work in the yard I have access to garden spades, machetes, and other tools that would be more effective.

    For street carry, legalities often force one to go for folders, although I would much prefer a 4 inch fixed to a folder. In the woods, sheath knives are often legal or tolerated in places where firearms are illegal.
     
  22. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Not legal here unless the spear head has only a single edge. Double-edged knives/weapons are illegal to carry.
     
  23. zhyla

    zhyla Member

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    No, I don't think we agree. Ending a threat with a knife is tricky business. It's hard to know for sure the threat is neutralized and as soon as you stop doing what you're doing and turn to run you're now a few inches from someone who seconds ago was a serious threat to your life and is now of merely questionable threat. You also don't know what all he's got in his pockets.

    Of course every situation is different, and if you can jab somebody and that opens up a good escape route, and you're sure you can outrun the threat, then yeah, I'd opt for the escape. But I think it often doesn't play out that way and the bad guy may be hurting you long after you've delivered some serious wounds.

    If you're worried about legal consequences, well, I don't know how it is in your jurisdiction but in California you've got no requirement to pause to evaluate whether the situation has transitioned from lethal-force-justified to lethal-force-not-justified. Doesn't really matter though: you're not stabbing someone because it's justified, you're stabbing him because you think you're about to die.
     
  24. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I have gone into combat, and I didn't have the space or even desire to carry a 6-7" bladed knife, when I had firearms. Even a nonfunctional carbine is still a more effective weapon than a blade shorter than a sword.

    Stabbing someone 100 times is psychotic. On the other hand, it would be easy to find expert witnesses who can testify that a "continuous cut" that inflicted 4-5 cuts and stabs with a small blade was perfectly reasonable to ensure a deadly threat was stopped in the least time possible.

    John
     
  25. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Pretty much, yeah. From what I can see:

    1. They require very extensive and constant training to use well.

    2. Even with the best of training, you must get close enough to your enemy to be within range of his attacks as well.

    3. They are useless unless you can close distance (which itself raises legal troubles)

    4. They are far better as offensive stealth weapons, and are customarily used that way.

    5. They have a terrible rep with law enforcement and juries for that very reason.

    6. There is no right to keep and bear knives in the eyes of the law, and as noted many jurisdictions that are pro-gun still have strange and arbitrary anti-knife rules in place that restrict blade length and prohibit the long-bladed double edged daggers that have a fair chance of stopping an attack as well as a bullet. So you're stuck with what amount to fancied up whittling knives.

    7. The tactics assume that the attacker won't be wearing layers of loose or bulky clothing, and that he'll behave as a sparring partner instead of a sneaky criminal.

    8. The tactics assume the criminal won't just run backwards while shooting at you.

    9. The tactics assume that a nasty cut will stop the attack quickly enough.

    10. Big guys. 4" of fat will negate a short blade's stopping power pretty well. He may die of infection later but he prob. wont' even notice if he's angry and fighting. I've had my back slashed open in a workplace accident and didn't know it till I rode the bus home and my mom screamed at my bloody shirt. Still have the scar, but never felt a thing. And most cops can tell you stories of men with blades jabbed right into their heads or chests who still kept fighting and seemed not even to notice the wound. We're evolved to take slashing and cutting attacks. We are not evolved to take bullets. Also the training drills I've seen do a lot of assuming about how easy it is to slash tendons and such. Training on a pig carcass would be better, but even then the thing isn't moving and fighting back.

    11. Small girls. Even very small people can withstand a lot of cutting damage. A tragic case locally was a high school girl who was attacked by her ex (a crazy dude) who stabbed her over and over again with a folding blade until the blade bent, basically making her into a pincushion. But she survived pretty handily and was still able to protect herself to some extent.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
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