Self-Defense Tip: Knife Beats Gun

This video is from 2011 in Nicaragua. It’s a domestic issue; the knifeman’s wife left him for another man. The knife comes out at about 4:04. The police dodge and run, and avoid injury, but they do nothing effective to stop him or contain him. In about 10 seconds, an officer draws a weapon, likely a revolver, but does not shoot. Reinforcements arrive. I count at least five officers. One officer has an AK variant. The knifeman removes his backpack and crosses a wire fence.  He gets into a better defensive situation. At one point he rubs his hands with dirt, probably to improve his grip . . .

Four officers cross the wire fence, flank the knife man and encircle him. They appear to attempt to improvise non-lethal weapons. One throws the AK rifleman a stick, across the fence. He picks it up with his right hand, and holding the rifle in his left, crosses the wire fence and takes a couple of steps toward the knifeman. This was a deadly mistake.

That may have been a predetermined “line in the sand” for the knifeman. He attacks decisively and explosively. The AK rifleman is the first to die, stabbed at about 7:29.

In the next 29 seconds, at least three other officers are chased down and stabbed. The first shot is fired at 7:43, 14 seconds after the first officer is attacked. Three officers are down before the first shot is fired. Another site reported that at least one more dies. I counted 9 shots fired. I cannot determine how many hit the knifeman.

All because they did not take a man and his knife seriously, and had not received the proper training.

The video is a real life example of the Tueller drill; how fast a man with a contact weapon can close distance and deliver a mortal blow. In the case of the AK rifleman, it appears to be less than a second and a half. In four seconds two policemen are down; the third is down 13 seconds into the attack, the fourth by 28 seconds. A retired law officer told me that he thought the knifeman wanted to commit suicide by cop, but the police would not accommodate him.

Your self-defense takeaway: he who hesitates is lost.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch


  1. avatar BDub says:

    Tueller drill aside, the police here seem hesitant to shoot, and they encircled him, escalating the chance of a violent response, while removing the possibility of shooting him without endangering each other. They in effect have been victimized not just by the knife-man, but also by an erroneously assumed tactical superiority – relying on their authority rather then sound tactics, they set themselves up to fail.

  2. avatar lionsfan54 says:

    Show this video to anyone who complains when cops shoot someone with “just a knife”

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      Absolutely agree.

      Our (American) doctrine is correct: Ability; Opportunity; Jeopardy with a per-se weapon make for a deadly threat. Something is very wrong in any such situation. Expecting the person exhibiting the Jeopardy to behave according to a projected rationality is clearly imprudent.

      Sometimes, in some such situation, there may be an opportunity to hold-off and see if the perpetrator cools-down. ONLY if holding-off can be done prudently with safety is this a reasonable course.

  3. avatar AlleyF says:

    I’ve seen this before.

    Classic example video.

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    What’s up with that?
    In the US twitchy cops shoot shadows in stairwells.
    In Nicaragua the cops line up and get butchered before anyone thinks to shoot.

    There has to be a reason.

  5. avatar Gabe says:

    Didn’t you post this video about a year ago? Pretty sure you did.

  6. avatar gsnyder says:

    Hesitate was okay, but closing the guy’s space and giving up distance without containment or several officers closing at the same time, bad idea. At least shoot the guy’s arm or leg or fire on him. But to advance without being ready? The opportunity was provided and guy took it, simple.

    1. avatar Jason says:

      You’ve been watching too much TV. You never aim for the “arm or leg” to incapacitate an attacker. Center of mass is what you aim at and you shoot to stop the threat!

  7. avatar Gunr says:

    Interesting video, I don’t sprechen ze Espanol, so didn’t get the full effect of the flick. I cracked up watching the dude chase the cops around the field.
    Yes, the knife can be a deadly weapon, and I may start carrying one, especially when I go to town. However, it certainly wont replace my primary Sig, or secondary mouse gun.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      a knife has infinitely more uses than a gun and can go basically anywhere. My college is supposedly weapon free but I get no flak carrying my benchmade auto folder. Try that with a gun.

      1. avatar Al says:

        The knife, while certainly deadly and shouldn’t be underestimated, requires contact distance to use. Also, knives typically don’t have the ability to immediately incapacitate an attacker, unless one gets lucky or catches the attacker off guard. The self defender with a knife could very well stop his attacker only to bleed out later from gun shot wounds. Presumably, the wacko in the vid was suicidal – so he wouldn’t care about incapacitation. Because of the above factors, I’d consider the knife a last ditch self defense weapon; better than nothing and certainly intimidating, but could allow the self defender to suffer lots of bodily harm while holding off an attack.

      2. avatar JasonM says:

        I carried to every class I took at Seattle U, during grad school. No metal detectors, no pat downs. It wasn’t illegal, and since I walked home through Seattle after night classes, I was willing to risk a minute chance of expulsion.

    2. avatar In4apennyIn4apound says:

      ” I don’t sprechen ze Espanol”

      Helpful hint: If you are around a bunch of Latinos and they start yelling MATALO or kill him. At hearing that word you should have your gun in your hand preparing to be a soup kitchen server giving everyone firsts.

    3. avatar Aaron says:

      You “cracked up” watching people get stabbed to death??

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        No! Read the post again, I cracked up watching the cops run from him.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    “You always run away from a man with a knife and toward a man with a gun.”

    Attributed to Jimmy Hoffa.

    But whatever you do, you don’t stand around looking like a schmuck.

  9. avatar Taylor TX says:

    Had a feeling this was gonna be the yellow shirt video, there is another great knife distance vid done in a staged scenario with policemen in the 80s walking inside a store .

  10. avatar Robb says:

    I’ve seen this before. I think the pixel count goes down each time.

  11. avatar seans says:

    The Tueller drill shows how fast someone with a knife can kill someone with little or no training. This is what happens when you depend on the authority of your badge to get results.

  12. avatar MotoJB says:

    Wow, unbelievably stupid cops…who sure paid the price. Very poorly trained and armed. That perp would have been dead via 20 bullets at 4:05 had he been in the US.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      And half the country would be complaining that they shot an “unarmed man.”

  13. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

    I think I saw this long ago and rolled my eyes back then. I would have emptied my magazine in the guys head and chest cavity if he came at me with that knife, as I can well imagine all the readers here would!

    1. avatar In4apennyIn4apound says:

      Know what is beyond your target especially while you are adrenaline dumping.
      The only safe shot the guy with the AK had was to shoot the attacker in the leg and then go up top on his way down, because his coworkers were creating a crossfire.

      Those men should not have been police as evidenced by their running away and their lack of tactics.
      That was an easy situation to get of but they did not possess the will or skill.

  14. avatar Tom W. says:

    Circular firing squad due to they didn’t want to initially take him out.

    Very similar to the Chinese knife attacks a few years ago. A jacked up knife wielding guy can inflict
    serious bodily harm against multiple LEO’s. /and civilians. Michael Bloomberg was unavailable for comment.

  15. avatar EGB says:

    Sad for the police families, the Army never advises a polish ambush for tactical reasons. One long knife with an aggressive foe spelled disaster…

  16. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    A weapon is a weapon, and all should be taken seriously save the Nerf variety.

    Hell, someone’s now gonna make explosive Nerf projectiles and close the paradigm.

    Hell, I’ll bet even Cleveland cops would hold their fire when facing Nerf, if not (gasp!) NYC.

    Maybe Tamir Rice’s playmates cab use the trick on order to exact proper justice…

  17. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    I hate spell check.

  18. avatar Accur81 says:

    Yep, I definitely would have shot this guy during the first feint with that big ‘ol knife from around 7-10 yards. Slow, overweight, poorly trained cops against a fast, aggressive knife fighter. The results are sadly predictable.

    With that being said, I would’ve attempted bean bag shotgun rounds at 45-50 feet with lethal cover, or possibly a Taser at 25 feet with lethal cover.

    I’ve had confrontations with knife-wielding individuals, so I can speak from first hand experience.

    My late condolences to the police officer families.

  19. avatar Galtha58 says:

    Also need to remember the 6 second rule. That is, a critically injured person will often stay alive and active for 6 seconds or more after a fatal shot. As I recall, the only exception is a well placed shot to the head. But even then some head shots will not stop an attacker immediately. An attacker can do a lot of damage during that 6 seconds. They don’t always drop dead like they do in the movies.

  20. avatar Galtha58 says:

    But someone has to have the bean bag gun and/or the taser ready to go, right ? And, in the meantime, someone else better be ready to go for the kill if the Perp goes crazy and attacks someone.

  21. avatar John Gancho says:

    Amazing that Nicaraguan cops are less prone to fire than American cops. Our guys would have little him up immediately

  22. avatar Gs650g says:

    The AK cop needed to have that barrel pointed at him while trying to reason with him. Authority speaks from a barrel. Seeing the gun was not ready and the other cops too far away gave him the idea he could prevail

  23. avatar Paelorian says:

    I would not have stood over this stab victim, ignoring him, and recorded. I probably would have picked up his weapon and fired at the knife assailant continuing to kill people. Even at the risk of being confused for a bad guy. When the guy being chased tripped he needed rifle shots placed on the knifeman immediately. His life was dependent on it. In such a case I’ll assume some risk to put those shots where they need to be. If the other cops had rifles I would let them handle it, but they didn’t have the weapons to stop the assailant quickly. At the very least someone should have thrown the rifle to a cop and provided first aid to the downed victim.

    This video, the Tueller drill, and related concepts demonstrate why edged weapons are not obsolete, and “never bring a knife to a gunfight” is not true in every situation. I’ll put my money on a trained swordsman over a random cop with a handgun if the situation is very close range with no obstacles. Handguns don’t work like they do in Indiana Jones. A knife is a valuable backup weapon and if you’re within arm’s reach can be more effective than a handgun. If you know how to use it.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      Handgun always beats sword if the swordsman take the time to do a Japanese-Steakhouse-chef routine before attacking!

      If only bad guys were so accomodating.

  24. avatar Kevin says:

    I wonder why the cops didn’t pepper spray the knife man from the very beginning. It would have ended the confrontation without any casualties.

  25. avatar Hannibal says:

    Knife didn’t beat gun, it beat a stick. Then I suppose it sorta beat guns, but if you’re not willing to pull the trigger it’s not much use as a firearm anyway…

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      True and well said.

      Mindset. The most important weapon is between the ears. Without that one engaged, and contrary to the gasping protestations from hufpo bloombergian sycophants, a gun is pretty much useless.

      With the weapon between the ears engaged, which tool is in the hand is far less relevant.

      But, we don’t have a “criminal problem,” we have a “gun problem,” right Bloomie?

  26. avatar Aaron says:

    The first vic went down really fast, but the video isn’t clear enough to show how the perp was able to incapacitate and kill him so quickly with the knife.

    None of the cops looked as if they had ever had any training in ANYTHING. Just some out-of-shape joes (or jose’s) getting run down by a faster bad guy with no idea what to do about it.

    The AK-holder should have been ready to shoot before letting things get that close. If he couldn’t get his weapon up to shoot, at least he should have butt-stroked with it or “teeped” the perp with his boot to keep him back for a second.

  27. avatar JQPub says:

    What the hell was that Cop thinking he was doing with that stick? Bitchslap a suicidal dude with a knife? He got himself and the other Cop killed with that stupid move. And man, no one had him covered? No one even had a gun drawn and pointed at the perp with a clear/safe shot? That was the definition of a circle jerk.

  28. avatar Elliott says:

    “Knife beats gun”

    No, immediate decisive violence beats hesitation. Very occasionally, smooth talk beats violent action, but if it were me I’d have had that AK on his hips the whole time.

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