Defense of others from a knife attack

Would you intervene in a knife attack? I know a lot of us here have done some training with a knife, but the idea of getting into a knife fight ranks the same or even higher than firearms on the fights we want to avoid.

Blogger Scott Wagner gives some us all some things to keep in mind when it comes to intervening in a knife attack.

How do you train to intervene, if needed, in a knife fight?

If the circumstances dictated I would. For the most part you train for this type of attack the same as you would for any other close contact situation keeping in mind the knife is only deadly within arms reach.

There’s no way I’m going in to a knife fight with a knife. Reasonable force is not equal force. A knife is a deadly weapon and my weapon of choice would be my firearm. This is where the old adage rings true, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight!


If at all possible, yes, I would intervene. No, I would not do it with my knife.

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There is only one rule that you take into a knife fight.

You are going to get cut.

How bad how deeply or if at all depends on how you react.

When I taught military security (or words to that effect) we had a drill that we did at the end of the week when everyone was razor sharp and on point. This drill was used to prove a point, closure.

Two students would stand back to back. One student (Student A) faced a steel silhouette target at 20’. The other (Student B) behind him/her facing down range. For fun we would have them put their hands behind their back. On the BEEP Student A was to draw their firearm and hit the target THREE times (Think Mozambique drill) Student B was to take off to the far end of the range as fast as they could.

Instructors were set up on the back side of the range to annotate the spot where the 3rd shot hit steel in comparison to the person running. With VERY few exceptions (usually instructors) did the shooter get 3 on steel before the runner made the 21 YARD line, 21’ is five steps and the common “threshold” of defensibly against a personal attack.

Take from this what you will, I know where I stand but I challenge all of you to see how well you do against a runner with a knife. Oh, do 50 pushups before the BEEP just to get a feel for some stress.



It seems to me that unless amped on drugs this leaves out of the equation that each shot on target will slow the advance. No?

Parity is for fools and those who don’t know how to fight.

“If you find yourself in a fair fight your tactics suck”.

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Not necessarily, it may take several seconds for even a perfectly placed shot to the core to have any effect at all unless it strikes the spine or pelvic girdle.

Personally if I’m being charged I’m going to start shooting at the crotch/zipper and work my way up.

That’s a modified Tueller Drill. We teach it the similarly in the NRA PP courses.

The scenario is not open to debate. The third round is the final arbiter. That said two rounds center mass that fail to stop the charge followed by one well aimed head shot is a well defined standard training acumen. You can look to see if each shot was effective if you wish…



He’s speaking in terms of the real word effects on a charging attacker so yes it’s very much up for discussion.

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I am particularly fond of the pelvis shot more for a anatomy take than for the Elvis take. If you want to anchor someone to the ground then a pelvis shot will do it. Painfully. For a while.

To quote an old Gunny “Corpsmen are the most dangerous people on the battle field; They know just where to shoot you.”



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Ok, this should incite it. I spent three and a half years on a gator freighter. I got two different lessons about this. One from a Marine and one from a SEAL. Marine- practice staying exactly centerline, start lower abdomen and let recoil move the shots upward to lower ribcage then lower neck. Seal- practice until you are confident enough to take one headshot.

Same training for all special ops. That is where the double tap originated. One to the chest and a quick follow up without compensating for the recoil.

Worked out just about perfect out to 21’ with a 1911 and 230gr standard military ammo.

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Yep, break the pelvic girdle and all forward motion ceases instantly.

Ok, I’ll buy that.

So, what is it? Prior Military or prior LE?

Yep, JSOC International Element.

Thank You for your service.

I heard recently somebody say that the general public is more afraid of a knife than a handgun, handguns are what the police and some military personnel use, while knives are what serial killers use. Or at least that was the author’s idea. I happen to agree with it. I am more afraid of somebody with a knife than a gun.

We learned reflexive fire with a red dot in basic, and kind of graduated to the drill where you let the recoil work for you. Mainly we used it for room clearing applications, but I could see how it would work well for a knife attack.

I also train now to take an extra sight picture everytime I shoot. So if the drill calls for 3 shots I take 4 sight pictures. I believe that it makes me more prepared for a situation like this, both in preparedness (years of hunting have showed me that sometimes dead things get up and run) and discipline so I do not employ more force than is nessecary.

How does everyone else train for a situation where you could have an attacker with a knife? Has anyone done any martial arts where you train with dummy knives?