Close Quarter Attacks: Gun vs Knife – Why you need to rethink your Defensive Strategies

I’m a big proponent of the second amendment, but I’m also a realist and understand the realities of self-defense. Unfortunately, many gun owners that I talk to have never even taken a single self-defense course, but still insist they’ll be able to stop an attack because they’re “armed”.

I hate to break it to you; carrying a firearm does not guarantee your safety, and carrying a firearm without training is a recipe for disaster.

Carrying a firearm definitely levels the playing field during certain circumstances, but the reality of self-defense and real-world attacks is that there are certain situations where you’re firearm is not going to be able to prevent an attack, especially if you haven’t trained in real-world self-defense tactics.

In close quarters combat, the chances of being able to unholster your firearm and return fire on an attacker are actually pretty slim. To be truly prepared you need to be able to take out an attacker, or at least slow them down so you’re able to access your firearm before they can carry out the attack.

And for those who think they’ve trained because they hit the range everyone in a while: THINK AGAIN.

Trust me there’s a reason law enforcement officers and members of the military train in hand-to-hand combat; they know from experience, and years of scientific studies, that their firearms are of little use when confronted with a close quarters attack. In fact, I want you to check out this video from the early 80’s of Martial Arts Instructor Dan Inosanto training with law enforcement officers.

In the video, he shows how quickly small distances can be covered, and how there’s no way anyone can realistically draw their firearm during these types of surprise attacks.

You need to Train in Real-World Self-Defense

After seeing this video, I hope you take the time to consider your overall level of preparedness when it comes to confronting an attacker. If you’ve taken the time to arm yourself but failed to train for real world attacks, you are doing yourself and your loved ones a huge disservice. To truly be prepared you need to find a qualified instructor, or self-defense school, where you can train yourself to react to these types of attacks.

  • Real-world attacks rarely follow a set course, and they are in no way anything close to what you see in Hollywood movies.
  • They are fluid, chaotic events that need to be trained for if you’re going to get out of the situation unharmed.
  • When selecting a self-defense school or instructor, stay away from “black belt mills” where the schools only concern is pumping out so-called black belts. Look for a qualified instructor who teaches real-world defense, not a bunch of fancy moves and forms.

For more tips on preventing these types of attacks, understanding the criminal mindset, developing your situational awareness, and learning how to protect yourself from these thugs check out my book: The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: Self-Reliance Strategies for a Dangerous World

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  1. excellent comment “close quarter combat, chances of being able to unholster and return fire are slim”.
    I am 82, reduced flexability, need a holster which puts my combat Commander close to my hand yet out of sight.

    • Ben, there is a thing called the twentyone foot rule,,,it says if a guy with a knife is within twentyone feet you will not have enough time to draw and fire your gun,,,,that being said i have tried this with about thirty people, me having the knife and i have reached them all but one time. good luck finding a holster.

  2. It is also a very good idea to get hand to hand combat training because in close quarters being surprised by the intruder and losing your weapon is a real possibility. You have to have a plan B because plan A rarely works out. As my 1SG used to tell us “no plan survives first contact”

  3. As many folks as I know who adore and express their 2A rights, I am appalled by the number of folks who bother with any self defense training, that number is few to zero.
    If you think that just cuz you’re ‘carrying’ that that will save your ass, think again! I have years worth of Kajukenbo training (no fluff or forms) and I’ve have definitely learned the value in having a backup plan, the more the merrier! Underrated and less considered is the value of mental training, and getting used to the idea of doing bodily harm is not as easy as it sounds.
    There are plenty of options out there for CQB, find some and explore!

  4. check out self defence coarses offered by your local police dept. and ymca.
    everyone in my family has taken at least one and a few taken three or four.

  5. I did have martial arts training when younger and later i had a guy grab my elbows from behind while three guys walked towards me. it was not a named throw but I used the principles of what I learned to improvise and the guy behind me lay on the ground. That stopped his friends. Learn to fight. I also spent many hours doing combat pistol as a hobby so the idea of fearing firearms has no meaning to me. I have shot five bullets into the same hole in targets with a bolt action rifle. My kids and grand kids can do the same. Remaining calm and controlled is vital. I walked into a store and three black guys had the clerks and customers against a wall. Smiling I walked up to a clerk and said I was ready to check out. The black folk were shocked and did not do a thing. That broke up the whole thing and people scattered. Police got the would be robbers. Never show fear Works with arctic wolves also they back away

    • So true. I had a similar situation where it was 3 on 1 in an apt complex. I had my benchmade bali-song for some reason, whipped it out luckily to look cool, and did a hilarious Johnny Cage knee/style kick to one’s stomach. He went down and I turned around, feeling like it was a movie, one guy ran off, and the other was backing off looking disturbed. Always smile, laugh, and keep fit and ready to go just in case. It works with stray dogs while walking with your dog. Act in an unpredictable manner, people scatter or freeze.


  7. There’s nothing wrong with classical martial arts styles that employ forms. Forms or kata instill muscle memory, organize the body of technique for practice and give great cardiovascular, and if you understand the breathing, resistance training. Most who espouse systems without forms didn’t understand the breadth of the classical style they first tried and found easy answers in MMA-style training. I think most of us figured out “ground and pound” by age 8. “Fancy moves” aside the goal of self-defense training should be about instilling some basic principles. Examples: In a fight stay behind your hands and over your feet and have a good ground game ready if it goes too long. One more thing, avoid self-defense courses. Learning a few useful tricks five years ago will not protect you. Fighting technique (like shooting) must become a recurring part of your life to ever be useful.

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