We wrote earlier today about a Hutchinson, Kansas police officer who was forced to shoot a man with a knife in self defense at close range.

No sooner than we posted that article we stumbled across stories from Jacksonville, Alabama where an armed man advancing on officers with a knife was shot and killed, under similar circumstances, and a story from Ann Arbor Michigan, where a woman with a history of mental illness was shot and killed when she confronted officers in the hallway of a home and refused to drop a filet knife.

If you read the comments of the article, people with little to no knowledge of armed self-defense kept making similar absurd comments, suggesting that there are some urban legends regarding the use of deadly force in the presence of knife that need to be addressed.

“He only had a knife.”

People who are under the impression that knives aren’t incredibly dangerous and lethal simply know nothing about them. Unlike a firearm, a knife requires no training, no reloading, no complicated manual of arms, and can be used again and again and again without jamming or ever running out of ammunition.  There are many military and law enforcement professionals—and I daresay a consensus view—that at contact distances, a knife is more of a threat than a firearm. Having watched a lot of film of actual knife attacks, simulated attacked between trainers/instructors, and perhaps most instructive, simulated attacks between knife-armed “regular joes” and serious students of self-defense armed with (airsoft) handguns, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m more worried about an attacker with a knife than an attacker with a firearm.

I’m sure there are plenty of skeptics out there, thinking, “yeah, right.” But real-life application is definitive over hypothetical theory.

Here’s a horrific real-life example of a group of five police officers armed with a mix of handguns and an AKM who confront a man armed “only” with a knife.

I’ll warn you in advance that this video is not safe for work, that at least one of the officers died, and others were seriously injured once the man with the knife decided that he wanted to attack. Watch the entire video encounter to get a feel for how quickly a peaceful situation that should have resulted in a “simple” disarming of a lone suspect can turn into utter bedlam. If you lack the time to watch the entire video, fast forward to about 4:30, where officers begin trying to reason with the man they want to detain.

You’ll note that once the man with the knife committed to the attack, he closed the distance to the nearest officer and delivered a fatal blow in a split second. Once he commits to attacking other others, he closes distances of 10 yards or more in seconds, and begins stabbing them viciously, at which point their training goes out the window in abject primal terror.

Here’s a much more sterile, clinical look at how a real knife attack takes place in a training environment. You’ll note that it mirrors the attack you just watched, but without real blood.

It becomes clear that the only way to expect to stop someone with a knife without opening yourself up to a potentially fatal strike is to do so at a distance.

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