Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight

Self Defense expert and trainer Michael Janich offers some excellent advice on how to employ a knife during a “gun grab” situation.  For me, the best part of the advice is this:

Carry a fixed blade

His basis for that recommendation is that if you’re using your knife with your weak hand while attempting to stop a gun grab with your strong hand, your body is going to be hard-locked into “gross motor skills” mode, which means that drawing and deploying a tactical folder could be somewhat difficult.  Another excellent option in this scenario would be to use an auto-knife, however those may or may not be legal in your jurisdiction, so check your local laws.

It’s definitely worth reading the whole piece – it’s making me seriously re-evaluate my everyday carry knife, which is a tactical folder and think about moving to a good three inch fixed blade.


  1. I took a couple of courses from Janich. The man knows blade (and empty-hand).

    Any doubt about the bald guy with glasses was erased with his “human Pez dispenser” demonstration.

    His “Forever Armed” DVD is worth its weight in gold.

  2. I’ve been wanting one of href=”″>these TDI knives for a while.

  3. Janich is a smart guy, but I never really got this concept. If I need my gun in the same situation, I’m expected to manipulate safeties and press (not yank!) a trigger–and that’s if nothing goes wrong. I’ve flipped open the knife in my pocket a thousand times more than I’ve dry-fired that pistol, and no matter how much I practice, the pistol will never catch up.

    Fixed blades are great and they have their advantages, but folders work.

  4. The blade here technique is very similar to several Silat close quarters techniques. In addition to the importance of full body weight behind the bicep cut, is using the whole length of your blade, as Mike has pointed out in several books, videos and seminars. The design of the knife – reverse hand vrses point first – here is important, you don’t want anything – like some cross hilts – that takes away from your full blade cut, or that could entangle in clothing.

    Clothing. Too many practitioners of arts like Silat and Arnis get surprised by how effective clothing can be defending against a cut, or at least lessening the effects of your cut. It needs to be accounted for. So I concur with open hand techniques being preferred, depending on your circumstances. But with the proper training and mind set, blades give you yet another option when you’re in trouble.

    Silat folks believe that the fight doesn’t really start until you’re on the ground. Make no mistake, if someone’s attempting a gun grab on you, you’ve messed up to begin with, they are already inside your decision loop. The techniques Michael Janich describe will correct that situation.

    Your trained mind and body are your real weapons. Guns and knives are tools; the more tools you know how to use, the more options you have for survival.

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