Gun vs. Knives – fighting an active shooter

The truth of the matter is that you should be more afraid of a close quarter encounter with a knife wielding person than someone touting a handgun or rifle.  No doubt that both situations raise serious fear in each of us.  No one wants to be involved or get involved in disarming a maniac on a mission to kill who also has a death wish.

The idea in this post is to put things in perspective and remove some of the fear if you ever have to face a gun pointed at you.

Knives are always live and dangerous

Knives are meant to do one thing – cut.  That means that they are usually sharp and ready to go.  There is no loading of the weapon, it never runs out of ammo and it never has to be readied by cocking the hammer.  Therein lies the biggest problem with knives – no matter where they are positioned, they are ready to cut.

This makes disarming a knife very dangerous.  Unlike the barrel of a gun, you can’t just reach out and grab the edge of the knife without being cut.  Double edge knives (daggers) are even more dangerous because both edges are sharpened for cutting, so you really can only grab the knife by the scales.

Even when the miss they hit

Even when a knife misses the intended target it is likely that you will be cut somewhere else on your body.  Block a slash to your neck and your arm is likely to be sliced wide open.  What you need to know, is that you will be cut in a knife fight.  There is no maybe in a knife fight.

Guns aren’t always live

To ease the fear, guns must be loaded, chambered and cocked in order to fire.  While most active shooters will have their firearm ready, it is important to understand that what works for a knife does not work for a gun.  You can grab the barrel of the gun without serious injury.  You are not going to be cut when you grab the barrel, mostly because these are made of smooth metal so they don’t get caught on clothing (or for long barrelled weapons – branches and brush).  Guns also run out of ammo and that gives you a moment to fight for the firearm.  And even if the firearm is close to you as long as it is pointed off line of your body, the likelihood that you will be shot or injured is very small.  People in close quarter shotgun fights miss all the time because you are trying to put a one-inch projectile on target.  It isn’t until may yards out that the pattern of the shotgun ammunition spreads wide.

You are not likely to die in a gun encounter

For all the reasons above, you have a very small chance of dying in a gun encounter.  In 2015, only 25% of the gun related incidents (shootings) resulted in death.  Medical technology is increasing everyday and so are response rates. That’s a 75% chance of surviving a gun combat situation.   Those are very good odds.  For more on gun violence see the

If you really want to prepare yourself and build confidence, consider taking a Krav Maga class.




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