So, after watching this knife attack, do you still think that standing flat-footed at the range will prepare you to face a real deadly threat? Practicing Active Self Protection means being ready for realistic deadly force encounters, and this suicide by cop certainly shows us some significant lessons for our training!
Original video of the knife attack with more information: https://get-asp.com/ftro
News story with more, including a picture of the knife used in the knife attack: https://get-asp.com/9njo
How do I protect myself against a knife attack?
- The Tueller Drill is a widely known standard for gun carriers against a knife attack, which states that an attacker can cover 21 feet in 1.5 seconds to get to their target. If the gun carrier doesn’t have their gun out and ready, they will get stabbed trying to get their gun in a fight. This has led to the “21 foot rule”, though it has been revisited by Sgt. Tueller and found to be more of a guide and principle than a rule. At any rate, in a knife attack, recognize that a knife-wielding attacker can be a deadly threat from a significant range, and recognize that they can close that distance very quickly. Get your firearm out and on target as soon as you recognize a threat!
- The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of punishment and still function. You can shoot someone multiple times and they can still pose a deadly threat! Even mortally wounded people can continue to pose a threat for several seconds to even minutes after being shot, so don’t think for a moment that shooting someone will necessarily immediately incapacitate them. That is Hollywood myth. This attacker was mortally wounded, shot multiple times, and continued to be a deadly threat of knife attack for several seconds.
- In a gunfight, movement is your friend. You must be ready not only to draw and fire, but to draw and fire while moving laterally, back, and diagonally. You simply will not stand still in a gunfight because it is against every instinct you have when in mortal danger! People who focus too much on stance or isosceles vs. Weaver forget this fact, but as self-defenders we must know that we will be moving. So practice and train movement on the draw and fire. This is a great reason to have airsoft trainers and practice draw and move in your dry-fire regimen as well.
- It takes great training to do successfully, but it’s worth noting that moving backwards should be our least preferred method of gaining distance in a gunfight. When you’re moving backward with a threat in front of you it is very easy to hit an obstacle and lose your footing, which allows the threat to close the distance while you’re off balance. This officer did his best, but his tumble reminds us that a knife attack is hard to avoid from our back! If possible, move diagonally or laterally to get “off the line” of attack and still engage the threat with your firearm. In this case that would have meant the officer going into the street which could have led to all kinds of different problems for the officer as well. It’s contextual and situational, but our bodies are not designed to move backward quickly, and fast movement is what we will do under a deadly threat.
- Our goal as self-defenders is to stop the threat; this officer stopped the knife attack and then stopped shooting. We are not vigilantes and we are not out to kill, we seek to stop the threat against us. Shooting to wound will not stop the threat reliably, and neither will shooting an attacker in an extremity. The only reliably means to stop an aggressor who means us death or grievous bodily harm is to put shots in the center of their available mass to cause nervous system collapse or bleeding out. (exsanguination is the technical term)
Attitude. Skills. Plan.