Concealed Handguns vs. Hand Weapons

Concealed Handguns vs. Hand Weapons

Concealed Handguns vs. Hand Weapons

It’s easy to get overly focused on handguns when you CCW. I think a great deal of this comes from the process of getting a firearm, learning to shoot, getting the permit, and learning the applicable laws for interstate travel. It’s fairly involved and detailed oriented and thus becomes central to our thinking. In reality the threat landscape is a bit more complex than that. I think we tend to overlook that the bad guys are just as likely to be armed with knives, clubs, sticks, and the like as with firearms. These are distinct threats to which we may have to respond very differently.

If you’re not familiar with the Tueller Drill, you need to learn about it and fast. In essence, it shows that an attack originating within 21 feet can cover that distance faster than most people can identify the threat and draw their handgun. As such, close threats often require a hand to hand response in order to create enough space and time to bring a handgun to bear.

It all comes down to space, and how you create it and control it. Situational awareness helps, of course, as does an understanding of your surroundings and the ways in which criminals and assailants approach people. It’s cliché, but sitting or standing with your back to the door is not recommended. And remember that the world is full of potential weapons—if an attacker is charging you, throwing your coffee mug at their face or flipping some furniture into their path can buy you the space and time you need. There’s a video floating around of a British cop dealing with a mentally disturbed man wielding a machete. At one point when the attacker was approach the constable moved a large garbage can between them, thus creating an obstacle for the assailant. Smart thinking and a good example for the rest of us.

Different weapons require different approaches, but the basic goal is the same: neutralize an incoming attack, get control of the weapon if possible, deploy your response. You’ll need to train hard to be effective, but that’s the way of things in the world of CCW. Of course, having a good and reliable handgun and holster are a must. Once again: don’t get so focused on deploying your handgun that you neglect the threat in front of you. Remove the immediate danger and then find a space to draw your concealed weapon.

On a final note, there are legal implications to be considered, as is common in the world of self-defense. Anytime a gun is fired at a human being it’s an act of violence and the use of lethal force. While this is generally legal if the threat is serious enough, what constitutes a serious threat varies from state to state. Knives are often considered lethal—but what about a stick or a bottle? Only God and the legal professionals know, and I suggest consulting with both of them if you’re serious about CCW and self defense.

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Michael Jenkins is a writer and editor based in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a lifelong reader, gardener, shooter, and musician. You can reach him at
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Good post! Jackie Chan also did a great job in his films of moving or throwing any available objects at his tormentors.


Good article. It comes down to being aware of what and who are around you. A person with a knife who is just walking past you, can suddenly draw the knife from hiding and have it right up against you body with virtually no warning and no space to react. Pay attention and give yourself room.

Jim Lagnese

I wonder why there seems to be more arrests against the person defending themselves when they use a knife, hands or some other object as opposed to shooting someone? I don’t know if anyone else has noticed that…

Some Rabbit

I did know one guy who was in a knife on knife fight, killed the attacker and got exonerated on self defense grounds, but it’s very rare. Mostly because in the past there was a duty to retreat. To fight with a knife you must close with the bad guy and engage in mutual combat. Short of being trapped in a room with the bad guy, it’s hard to claim self justifiable self defense.

Jim Lagnese

What if I get attacked with (whatever weapon) and I defend myself and kill the guy in the process?

Some Rabbit

Probably ok if it happens in a state with a ‘stand your ground’ law. Otherwise, you do what you gotta do and hope the police, prosecutor and jury see it your way. If a guy hits you with a stick and you hit him back and run away or knock him unconscious, even if he dies later in the hospital, no problem. But if you stand over his body and keep pounding on him long after he ceases to be a threat and he dies… you’re gonna need a good lawyer.

Tom Tom

All I can say about nice versus guns you better try to create some distance if you’re going to go for a gun even in a duty holster against a guy with a knife nearby. Because he’s going to close that distance and stick you far faster than you can possibly imagine.
We used to train with that goddamn electric knife and they always kept it turned right up full so when we got hit it hurt like hell. It’s truly amazing just how fast somebody can get in there and get a hold of you with a knife. Literally 20 feet and this is against police officers who are fully trained for years and actually know what to do. Moreover they were expecting the charge. Oh you’ll get a shot off and likely hit him but he will stick you.
To counter this we practiced stitching on paper targets at arms length. That’s a big step back while yanking the gun and starting at the kneecaps pulling the trigger as fast as you could while bringingthe gun up. Essentially you shoot the guy any place you can hit him from the knees right straight to the face Which will hopefully knock himbackwards or at least fill him full of lead as you step back, in theory anyways. Note☠️ This activity is dangerous so don’t do it with anybody else around around or steel face target stands or any stands made of steel. We did it one at a time with the range instructor right behind us to catch us if we fell over backwards which does happen during that big step sometimes. Additionally you have to be very careful about not putting that hand up for the usual two-handed shooting so that you don’t shoot yourself in the hand. Just step rock gun out close to your holster. Hold it close right there and let fly 3 or 4 times while elevating the muzzle. It totally destroys the target due to the blast. ☠️ Once again☠️ this is really dangerous . It’s completely unlike anything you’re typically training to do so be especially careful about sticking the gun out to the target, handing it to him or sticking your hand out in front of yourself and shooting yourself in the hand .
I did this four times a year for many years and still had to check myself that I didn’t stick my hand out in front or stick the gun out touching the target ( where they can deflect it)’it’s just that hard to break those habits. Practice with an empty gun and if you do use this or try it live be exceptionally careful especially with light triggered guns.
I once subscribed to the knife to the gunfight theory but that training turned me around fast in my thinking about how dangerous knives really are. So if you encounter somebody waving a knife ,even if you got a gun out back off or turn around and run. You can always shoot them over your shoulder if you have to or a safe distance but at least you won’t both end up bleeding out on the ground together.