Non-killing Targets

The subject of biomechanical cutting has come up on the tactical forums - more LE oriented.

Love to hear the opinions over here:

I think there are some valid points, however, I believe a couple things need to be kept in mind.

1. When 2 people are moving quickly, it is difficult to be exact with your strikes.

2. Most often, you have to take what your opponent gives you. Considering that most people don't duel at long range in reality, close range fighting generally dictates that you have to strike the torso, neck, and head.

3. I'm not sure how this applies to law enforcement due to the fact that most cops I know have pepper spray, baton, and gun. I believe a cop is allowed to draw their gun on someone if that person pulls a knife and if that person with the knife attacks the cop, he is justified to shoot the suspect.


I have some concerns as well with the idea that people necessarily will react to trauma etc. in ways that can be relied on.

Also, we know that by and large if you are going to be assaulted, the person is generally under the influence of something. Certain of those somethings have wide ranging effects on what would be called normal human behavior and reactions. Basing a method on a certain result from whatever response could be dangerous.


Training officers in the use of tactical folders as a backup weapon is popular these days in law enforcement circles. Generally it is viewed as a last ditch defense in a weapon retention situation, for example. Of course, that will typically be at grappling distance either standing or on the ground. Teaching "dueling" methods is therefore somewhat suspect, except perhaps simply as a tool for developing attributes (a la grappling randori).

Officers can draw their weapons in any situation in which a potential lethal threat is perceived. In practice, this often means as a pre-emptive measure before any weapon is displayed, if, for example, a weapon is alleged to be involved in a particular situation or from training and experience the officer can articulate that weapons tend to be present in such encounters (i.e. with gang members.)

Roughly speaking, I was amazed at how many people walk around carrying weapons, usually edged, as part of daily life. Probably more so with the more sketchy individuals in society.

It has been demonstrated that a man, at 21 feet with knife drawn, can attack and cut a typical officer at least once before a holstered weapon can be drawn and fired. Closer in, this often means that someone can charge you and cut you repeatedly before you ever get your gun out...IF you ever get your gun out. This is variously referred to as the "21 Foot Rule" or the "Tueller Drill." It was graphically demonstrated in the LE video Surviving Edged Weapons.

I didn't know that knives were used as back up by cops. Interesting.

I have the Surviving Edged Weapons video. Isn't the 21 foot rule also a result of the fact that the officers had no lateral footwork and only tried to move straight backwards? I haven't watched the video in years, so I don't remember exactly what happened.

Lateral footwork, and moving away at an angle helps, but a truly committed stabber will "track" with you and so it is not that much of an advantage.

Someone comes at you with a knife and gets inside 21 feet he poses a lethal threat and is okay to shoot.

If the action starts within that distance, more and more trainers are realizing that you probably have to go empty hands first to control the bad guy's weapon so you can get to yours. Just going for your weapon will probably get you stabbed.

Since even most shootings occur within 7 feet, and stabbings and hand to hand fights within similar or closer range, skills like these are absolutely essential to a well rounded self protection program.

"If the action starts within that distance, more and more trainers are realizing that you probably have to go empty hands first to control the bad guy's weapon so you can get to yours. Just going for your weapon will probably get you stabbed."

Demi Barbito was teaching this on one of his tapes a couple of years ago. It was the first time I had ever heard of addressing the problem in this manner. He showed some good examples of attacking people with knives while they tried to get out a gun, mace, etc... Demi always used a verbal distraction and then pounced on them.

Well the way I would read it is that if you are skilled at dueling with a knife you would be more likely to survive a knife attack even if you are using you gun.

Honestly if someone approached me with a knife and I had no room to move before I drew my gun then I would drop on my back and put my feet up to defend the attack. I have actually heard of this tactic working when you don't have any weapon against a knife attack or at least prolonging your chances of escaping or help arriving.

What a lot of people don't realize is that the LE holster is designed for maximum retention so it is not just a matter of yanking the gun straight out. Under a high stress situation when someone is going for your jugular I could see the difficulty of getting the gun out and even snapping the safety off in time before you got cut at least once unless you were highly trained. The average LE officer does not practice drawing and firing under stress very often.

On the other hand, if you were highly trained in the nuances of blade and stick fighting then your reflexes should be honed enough to sidestep or parry the attack in some way and secure enough time to bring the gun up for shots.

The cops I knew or know don't use knifes a back ups. I know many of them carry knifes for utility purposes such as cutting a seatbelt loose, but frankly I don't see how a cop could use a knife except as a last ditch life saver and not get in trouble. What people aren't mentioning here is that the blade is generally seen as a criminal's weapon while a gun can be used by law abiding citizens. In the mind of a typical juror I really do think they would be more lenient on a home owner who shot a perp in the throat than one who slit his throat open with a kitchen knife.

Good thread on the same topic (w/pics):;f=44;t=000027


NICE the photos.....eeeyyywwww!!!

But in all seriousness - It's photos like the ones shown in the article that I always keep in mind when training.

It really portrays how viscous knife assaults are.

So how in the middle of the frenzy can you concentrate on trying to hit a small, obscure, fast moving target like the limb??? AND, whilst your doing this, your opponent will play pin cushion with your face and neck

Again, I subscribe to the theory - hit the "mass target" go for the finisher. The longer the melee lasts, the less your chance of survival


Not only that - it shows that even vicious knife assaults can be survived - and that even though you might be seeing a lot of blood and feeling the bite, you can continue to fight effectively and survive.

Agree entirely - that's why I advocate RUNNING or TALKING your way out of it. But should neither work, then go in with extreme prejudice.