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.
This also goes to show that all the proponents of “Gun-Control” the world over are wrong: CRAZY PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE AND JUDGING BY THIS INCIDENT, THEY DON’T NEED GUNS TO COMMIT A MASSACRE. STOP BLAMING THE “TOOLS”!!
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!