Is it Worth it to Carry a Knife?

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I made a change to my EDC (everyday carry) a few months ago, adding a knife. I’m not talking about a folding knife here; I’ve carried one of those since my dad gave me my first Old Timer as a kid. Rather, I’m talking about a fixed blade fighting knife. To be more specific, it’s a spearpoint blade with a full tang and no scales on the handle, making it very flat, which makes it more concealable.

You might ask why I would bother to add such a thing to my EDC, when I’m already carrying a concealed pistol with a couple of extra mags. Considering that having a secondary weapon to defend myself is something that a prosecutor could try to use against me, in a case where I had to shoot someone, this seems like a lot of risk, for very little potential gain.

But there is potential gain, which is why I decided to do it.

To start with, I’ve come to realize that there are situations where pulling a pistol isn’t the thing to do. More than anything, I’m talking about crowded venues. Shooting in such a place, with adrenalin coursing through your veins, is an almost guaranteed way of hitting the wrong person.

Worse than that, drawing your firearm might cause the bad guy to start shooting. You can be sure that they won’t be as concerned about hitting innocent bystanders as you are, so they’ll probably hit several people, probably while trying to hit you. That will naturally cause you to shoot, perhaps without taking the time needed for an accurate shot under those circumstances. The predictable result is at least one injured bystander, if not more.

This is the kind of thinking that probably went through the mind of the man with a CCL who was in the theatre during the mass shooting at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, back in 2012. With people panicking and running in every direction, he wasn’t sure of a good clean shot, so rather than take chances, he got his date down on the floor and covered her with his body.

We’ve got to realize that things don’t always go our way and it’s not like Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, who always beat the bad guys to the draw and never missed. The real world isn’t nice and neat like that. Therefore, we need to have a number of alternatives available to us, including running away as fast as we can.

Carrying a knife gives me an alternative. While a knife is a short-range weapon, nothing like a pistol, it is something that can be used with little to no risk of hitting an innocent bystander. While I would have to wait for the bad guys to close with my position, before I could use that knife, once they did close to within arm’s reach, that knife would actually be more effective than a gun.

Knives can be an extremely effective weapon at close range, creating even bigger wounds than a bullet. While they do require some skill to use effectively, we’re really only talking about a few distinct types of blows that would be useful in that situation:

  • A thrust to the body, sticking the knife in up to the hilt. This requires either going under the ribcage or holding the knife horizontally and stabbing between the ribs. If successful, either one would probably stop a shooter.
  • A slash to the body, specifically the stomach. While not anywhere near as deadly, the pain should be enough to stop a shooter.
  • A slash to the shooting arm, cutting the muscle deep enough to cause loss of muscular control, hopefully followed by a loss of their weapon.
  • A slash or stab to the thigh. In cases where you might be on the floor, trying to get under their line of sight, the best you might be able to do is to slash or stab their thigh, which would probably be painful enough to stop them; but should probably be followed up by a slash or stab to a more critical part of the body.

There are other options available; but those are the most likely to be both possible to accomplish and effective. You’re not going into a knife fight, so learning and practicing a lot of different moves isn’t going to provide any advantage. That makes learning how to sue a knife as an alternative weapon possible, without investing a lot of time and effort.

Having a backup available, with as little time, money and effort invested, simply makes sense. Hopefully, it will never be needed; but just in case, it’s a good idea to have. You know, kind of like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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