If you don’t want to get shot don’t try to stab people

Trying to stab people who carry guns is generally a bad idea:


All the odd red dots are the result of getting shot while trying to stab a bunch of people with a knife.

For the past three days I have been taking a class, Street & Vehicle Tactics with a bunch of other guys. One of the things we did was work at the Tueller Drill from both sides while being watched and coached. Today we finished up the training using Airsoft guns and (extremely soft) plastic knifes to make it as realistic as possible.

Everyone were pretty good shooters and with some training and coaching we could survive a bad guy with a knife suddenly charging at us from far less than 21 feet. At 21 feet it was trivial to draw from concealment and put a half dozen rounds into someone’s chest before they reached you. We also learned that at less than arms length away your neck could easily be sliced open before you had time to flinch.

Also interesting thing was that no one I talked to remembered seeing or using their sights. At those ranges you just pointed and shot. And you would get good hits too. The only misses I saw were when the shooter stepped off to one side and shot as the bad guy was moving past.

Just how difficult is it to draw and shoot when someone is charging at you? How much time do you really have? What can you do beside just stand there and shoot? It was really good information to know.

But what I found most interesting was that by doing so many repetitions that it almost got routine. I started to get relaxed rather than getting stressed. Then, “Now I remember! I can move faster when I am relaxed.” Deliberately relaxing my muscles and having an almost detached state of mind I could put more rounds into my target or let him start from a much closer position and still get shots on target before he could get to me.


14 thoughts on “If you don’t want to get shot don’t try to stab people

  1. “Deliberately relaxing my muscles and having an almost detached state of mind I could put more rounds into my target or let him start from a much closer position and still get shots on target before he could get to me.”

    What you observed about yourself is a form of No Mind – “Mushin” – that comes from the martial arts (which here in the West would include combat based shooting) that evolved from Zen philosophy.


    “The word “mushin” is comprised of two kanji characters: 無 (mu), meaning “nothingness”, and 心 (shin), meaning “heart,” “spirit,” or, in this case, “mind.” In this way, mushin can be roughly translated to “nothing mind” or “no mind.” It comes from a longer phrase used in Zen Buddhism, “無心の心” (mushin no shin), or “mind of no mind.”

    So what does this mean, exactly? Why might it be important? Mushin is a mental state where your mind is empty of all thoughts, all desires, and all assumptions. When your mind is clear, you are free from your ego and are able to act spontaneously and fluidly without emotion and hesitation getting in the way. This is a concept that is important to martial arts….”

    • In other words, Mushin is how soldiers are able to act according to their training quickly and efficiently.

  2. That’s some good practice! It’s a couple of significant steps beyond the ubiquitous practice of standing flat-footed in a fixed position at one end of a range and yanking your trigger off at politically approved, static targets at pre-measured distances, being told when to shoot and when not to shoot by a bell or by intercom.

    And; so you’re playing “Quick-Draw” now. And that sort of thing has been lampooned as a Hollywood creation…

    Attacker/defender role playing with fake weapons is about as close as it gets without drawing a lot of blood.

    I like it. Just don’t anyone expect to get away without injury just because the weapons are fake. I seem to remember a guy getting his shirt torn off (just about had his arm torn wide open by a revolver hammer spur at the same time), and I got a cracked rib, on separate occasions.

    • We did these scenarios on the grass. But I did fall onto a sidewalk once with no injuries. The chief instructor told us the first time a group of cops went through the class they went back and taught their fellow officers what they learned. Except they did the training on a concrete floor. In one day they had one broken wrist and two concussions.

      • Grass vs concrete. There’s a Boy Scout campfire skit involving a shovel and “Hit my hand” that comes to mind.

      • Lost in translation.
        Or, the gun training version of “telephone”. The more people the knowledge gets passed thru, the more garbled it gets. Doesn’t take long before you won’t recognize the original by looking at the copy. How well the training survives this process is a reflection of the teaching ability of the last trainer. Few people have a good grasp of how to impart info in a training environment. Some are just ok, and lots are near worthless. I’m not just talking shooting.

      • It’s not all that hard to learn how to fall in a way that significantly reduces the risk of injuries. Parachutists know one way (“Parachute Landing Fall”). Practitioners of Judo know quite a number. The Judo skills in particular are helpful because they are trained as automatic reactions, you don’t have to know it’s coming (since you can’t, in a match).
        It won’t stop all injury, of course, but all things been equal you’ll come out ahead. And they are both fun, too.

        • I took a semester of Judo in college. I think it helped last weekend. Even though I fell several times I didn’t have any fall related injuries. Not even a bruise.

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  4. There’s an interesting article in this months USPSA mag that discusses “being in the zone”.

    Jeff B.

    • I’ve known it for a long time. Many decades ago I used to play a lot of tennis and learned it there as well as read about it in tennis books. I relearned it in shooting a couple decades ago. But when the buzzer goes off, or the guy is unexpectedly charging you with a knife getting “in the zone” can be problematic compared to being alone on a quiet range with static targets. It wasn’t until I had done enough repetitions of the scenario that I was able to even realize I should let my muscles and mind relax and just let things happen.

  5. The Tueller drill is a good way to demonstrate how dangerous someone with a knife can be. The down side of practicing it is it can give one a false sense of security because when your doing such a drill you KNOW that a knife wielding attacker is going to be attacking you. In the real world it’s almost impossible to pick out the guy who is going to unzip your guts from the other 15-20 people in the immediate vicinity until it’s too late, especially if you are watching lots of different things besides the people in your vicinity.

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