In this video, we see in close proximity a person with a holstered gun and a person with a knife. It should be obvious to those reading but the advantage of a gun is range and whenever it is not drawn in close quarters may not be enough to save you. While the advantage of a knife is close quarters which gives it a big advantage. This is already known in the standard 21-foot rule, whereas a person with a holstered weapon is at a distinct disadvantage if the attacker is charging and you are under 21 feet. Mythbusters TV show famously did a sequence on this that you can see HERE.
While both Guns and Knives are extremely dangerous to deal with personally I would rather have a gun in my face than someone pulling a knife on me. Guns usually get worse reps due to the optics as portrayed by the media but the reality is knives do far more damage and kill far more people on a daily basis than guns do.
OK to the video:
At 0:25-1:00 approximately the defender is standing with no movement with a close knife attack. In all attempts, he gets slashed most likely fatally in the neck prior to even having the barrel of the gun pointed at the attacker. Additionally, his arms are in a crossed position initially which is a terrible place to be when this close to a person you perceive as a threat (Orange). Really he should have already created distance with hands up in Semi-Passive, or Interview stance (as he has a gun). Of course for the demo I know they did this purposefully, but it highlights action vs reaction smoothly in that if you are totally unprepared the attacker will get you most of the time. Unless you have hyper fast reflexes which let’s be honest most of us do not.
I cannot stress enough that having the second free hand available for defending yourself will often mean the difference between life and death
At 1:00-1:43 the defender is allowed to step back. In all cases, the attacker either cuts/slashes or stabs them even if the defender gets the line of fire on target. Which means one or both may both be severely injured or die each time. Although I will say on sequence 4, or the first of these the count a slash on the arm as a fail and the defender clearly avoids the potentially fatal stab which to us would have been a success. The reality is in any knife scenarios the goal really needs to be don’t die. Or more precisely do not take any fatal wounds. Because there is no guarantee no matter what your skill is that you won’t get cut or stabbed. So really it about minimizing damage. So to me, the first of the sequence would have been a success. The next two, however, were not so fortunate. The other thing is, this sequence highlights the importance of the non-shooting hand in defending yourself. Too many armed individuals believe their sidearm makes them invincible. I have personally talked to police who believe they are skilled enough to draw and shoot anyone no matter what though I highly doubt that these individuals had such skills.
I cannot stress enough that having the second free hand available for defending yourself will often mean the difference between life and death as is clearly shown from sequence 4 vs 5 and 6 where he does not use the hand to defend and is clearly given a fatal slash. This is why when I teach I build fundamental hand to hand combat skills first, prior to teaching firearms skills as when it comes to self-defense these can be more important the later in close quarters scenarios. Especially if you are caught off guard.
At 1:53-2:38 the starting point is now 10ft or 3m giving distance for the defender which increases reaction time. Though if you did watch the Mythbusters video..well you will know this is not always enough.
This time the defender gets the shot off every time but again because the second arm is not defending he still gets slashed most likely fatally. Because of the less than accurate shot placement each time there’s no guarntee, the same will be for the attacker.
At 2:39-3:10 the defender is allowed to move back and is successful every time even getting a few shots on target. No matter the scenario if someone is attacker you with intent to kill especially with a blade you should be unloading as many rounds as you can until they no longer are a threat. Of course, ignore this if you need to conserve ammunition for a mission or tactical reasons in which guess you better start getting good at shot placement under extreme duress.
At 3:19-4:16 they now start at the 21-foot range. Unlike mythbusters, it is clear that the individuals in this video are far more skilled with both pistol and knife creating more clear-cut results (Pun intended). During this sequence, the defender is not allowed to move and while he gets shots off every time, I see a little bit of an issue. As the rounds progress the attacker gets closer and closer and if you were trained to just stand there even though you shot the attacker it is possible they could still stab or slash you fatally even if accidental. This would because they already have forward momentum and the direction they were traveling. Though this time around it is likely the attacker would be far worse off each time than the defender. See the difference distance and time make with regards to reaction time.
At 4:18-5:15 we see 4 more sequences. This time in sequence 5 and 7 the defender is clearly overwhelmed by the sprinting attacker. This could simply be due to “battle” fatigue or do to an increased speed of the attacker. As you can see moving backward still at 21 feet will not always make you infallible. So again, you better train properly and be ready.
So, clearly if you want to maintain your advantage with a holstered firearm, keep your distance well in advance. If you suspect an issue, draw your weapon prior to engagement but remember if you are not willing to use it lethally then drawing it is pointless. Additionally, even if you have the distance make sure you start to move as quickly as possible and still be prepared to use your free hand to defend, but only if it is not feasible to get a two-handed grip which is the ideal scenario. Lastly, if you are going to move against a charging opponent and you are prepared to use lethal for do not just go back. If you have the ability to do so get off the center line.
Generally, in the Krav Maga world, firearms training is considered a natural part of the basic training. For me, however, it is not for beginners. As you can see from most of these tests, basic hand to hand skills in addition to firearms training would have dramatically increased the succes rate. Although I suspect in this video the shooter was holding back for the purpose of the demonstration.
While I fully believe that competent and trained individuals should be allowed to carry firearms for the purpose of self-defense I just want you to remember having a gun may increase your chances of success but it does not make you unbeatable.