Many concealed carry permit holders spend untold hours at the range, honing their handgun skills at drawing, aiming, movement, and of course, shooting. But no matter how adept they become with a firearm, those skills may not necessarily be useful if an attacker decides to opt for a different type of assault; a close encounter of the knife kind.
Knife attacks are on the rise in the U.S. for a number of reasons. The most obvious one is ease of access. Anyone, regardless of criminal background, can walk into their neighborhood Walmart, Bass Pro Shop, or swap meet and pick out their blade of choice, from pen knife to machete.
Unfortunately, there is a far more sinister reason behind the upswing in edged weapon attacks. The terrorist organization ISIS has a predilection for knife attacks, believing it is the preferred murder weapon of Allah, as documented in the Fox News article “Blade of Jihad: Extremists Embrace the Knife as Tool of Terror.”
Radicalized Muslims worldwide are using easily obtained knives to administer “Allah’s will” as witnessed by the September 2014 incident in Oklahoma where a recently fired employee entered the company building, stabbed two females, and then proceeded to behead one in the same style as the sensationalized ISIS internet videos. And in September 2016, an attacker stabbed 8 victims in a bloody Minnesota mall rampage and apparently asked at least one victim if they were Muslim.
So how does one avoid becoming a knife attack victim? Well, according to author Scott W. Wagner in his article “Knife Attack: How Do You Respond?” at USConcealedCarry.com, the key is distance:
“In order for a potential victim to avoid becoming an actual victim, he or she must maintain distance and use it to his or her advantage.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
In order for a knife attack to be successful, the attacker must be in close proximity to the victim. The attack-free zone is generally considered to be 21 feet. This distance was determined by law enforcement professionals to be the minimum distance required in order to have time to draw a weapon, aim, and fire. The distance would likely be 75 feet or more for someone carrying a firearm under a shirt, tucked in a belt, or stashed in a purse.
There are a few tips that will help increase the odds of surviving a random knife attack for those carrying concealed weapons.
First, maintain a high level of situational awareness when out in public and ask for ID from anyone purporting to be law enforcement or security. At the same time, try to keep your firearm as accessible as possible without making it obvious.
Use some range time to practice weak hand shooting; a random attack may slash your strong hand. Practice drawing from concealed carry positions. Since time is paramount, mount a laser sight to your gun. It will save precious seconds while trying to aim. Finally, watch the YouTube video Surviving Edged Weapons, a law enforcement training classic that describes how to survive a knife attack.
Following these guidelines, along with common sense and a little preparation will go a long way toward helping you survive a random attack, or better yet, avoid it altogether.
One of the basic tenets of Concealed Carry Weapons training is that the first objective should be to avoid a confrontation whenever possible. Firearms training centers on the idea that drawing and firing your handgun should always be done as a last resort and when you’re in fear for your life or that of a loved one.
Although the odds are very small that you’ll ever become involved in a gunfight, being prepared for the unexpected is the best way to increase the odds of survival.
There are many classes taught throughout the country that train students in a variety of close combat techniques involving handguns, knives, batons, and martial arts.
But in reality, the first thing you should do if you find yourself staring down the barrel of a handgun is to start moving. A moving target has several advantages as author and U.S. Concealed Carry editor Kevin Michalowski points out in his article “Are You Learning to Move?” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Movement takes you out of the line of attack. Movement forces the attacker to react to your movement. The more you move, the more you put yourself in control of the situation by forcing the attacker to react.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Not only will moving make you a harder target to hit, but it may surprise your attacker enough to give you a tactical advantage. The perpetrator most likely didn’t expect you to be armed or expect to have to bring down a moving target that’s shooting back. If you’re lucky, the attacker will panic and leave. But if not, at least your actions have forced your adversary to go on the defensive and take the time to reformulate his plan of action.
Try to find a range that incorporates movement drills into their instructional programs. If none are available, then it’s a simple matter to practice movement as a part of dry fire training at home. Even a few minutes a day can build muscle memory that will significantly increase your reaction time in a confrontation.
A keen sense of situational awareness will help you identify and avoid potentially dangerous situations. But if you do find yourself in a gunfight, remember to keep moving and keep fighting.
The U.S. government system has worked well for more than 200 years and one of the reasons for this success is that the Founding Fathers, and those who followed them didn’t hesitate to borrow bits and pieces of what was working best for governments in other countries around the world.
However, there is one government institution that’s almost solely American. In fact, the United States shares this legal entity with only one other country — Liberia, which likely adopted it from the United States, and that entity is the grand jury.
The legal procedure known as the “grand jury” is a term that just about everyone has heard, but very few people actually understand. Many assume it’s just a regular jury for more important cases. Yet the term actually comes from the number of jurors involved, usually ranging from 16-23 citizens. A standard jury is technically called a petit (French for small) jury.
Although the grand jury system is part of the judicial process, its purpose is completely different from the standard jury’s. The members of a grand jury are empowered to investigate whether a crime has occurred and if there’s enough evidence to bring a case to trial.
Yet as author John Caile explains in his article “What is a Grand Jury?” at USConcealedCarry.com, many states do not use the grand jury prerogative:
“Interestingly, while every state has provisions to empanel grand juries, approximately half don’t use them. Instead, they have a ‘preliminary hearing’ to determine if a trial is warranted. However, there are significant differences.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
One of the reasons many states forego grand juries is cost. A preliminary hearing is presided over only by a judge, who hears both sides and determines the viability of going to trial. A grand jury on the other hand, involves the outlay of taxpayers’ money for weeks or potentially even months to compensate a large number of jury members for their time.
Another difference is that the grand jury isn’t required to have all members in agreement in order to make a recommendation. Depending on the jurisdiction, a 2/3 or ¾ of the majority is all that is needed.
If the grand jury does return an indictment, the prosecutor can proceed immediately to the trial stage. Even if an indictment isn’t returned, the prosecution can still move forward, but the burden of proof is higher since the DA’s office must now provide convincing evidence to a judge before a trial date can be set.
In some jurisdictions, there may be cases where both options are on the table and the prosecution will have to weigh the odds. One factor is that the defendant must choose to have a preliminary hearing. This happens when the defense attorney believes the judge will be sympathetic to their case. In other instances, high profile cases such as those involving police officers are often sent to a grand jury to relieve the onus of creating a possible adversarial relationship between the District Attorney and local law enforcement.
For those members of the concealed carry community, a little legal knowledge can be dangerous. It is important to learn as much as possible about the areas of law that may directly affect your life should you ever have to use your weapon. The grand jury is a somewhat obscure process that could significantly alter your future. Learn what to expect now and you will be prepared for the unexpected.