Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What is Your 2nd Reload - Knives after the Gunfight Has Begun

What is Your 2nd Reload - Knives after the Gunfight Has Begun

At a hot range training, an instructor told me to act on the attacker until he called the target dead. The drill was noted simply as a think on your feet stress based experience to understand that targets often do not stay down even after being shot well over a dozen times. It was a blind drill meaning the next shooters in line did not know what to expect. We were allowed to slip our normal EDC carry kit into our pockets which included our gun, a knife (or two), light, plus only one magazine.

Each shooter lined up individually on the 25-yard line and the instructor yelled “threat” and fire commenced at the threat. Each time the instructor yelled “target down”, the shooter would advance at a safe run on the target Israeli style (muzzle forward, gun at 90 degrees, elbows out) until the instructor yelled threat and the shooter would again punch out and engage the target. This would continue through reloads and until we had muzzles pressed against cardboard.  What we did not know was that the instructor wanted to see what we did after the last lock back and the ammo ran out.

It was a great drill, but expectantly as the shooter, we were all waiting… sometimes casting a glance to the instructor to halt. After all, how many center of mass and headshots could someone take. A sense of bewilderment hits you as you know the last mag is about to empty and your instructor is still screaming “threat, threat, threat”. For me, I passed my Glock into my left hand, drew my tactical folder, a CRKT Shizuka Noh Ken and sliced then entire cardboard target in half with one hard stroke. The instructor laughed, yelled “threat dead” and noted that I must practice that. My comment was I do, “That is my 2nd Reload”.

It was an experience to watch others after completing this drill. The improvisation was impressive. I saw people beating down targets with empty guns, magazines jammed through cardboard necks, people tackling targets, tactical lights used as impact weapons, knives slashing and stabbing, lots of screaming and bad words, and even one very creative guy who just freaking ran like his butt was on fire off the range. Unfortunately, I also saw more than one person just freeze while the instructor is screaming “threat, threat, threat”. The question becomes what is your “Second Reload”.

Extrema Ratio Scout (top)
and CRKT STRAFE are great backup
knife if you local laws allow carry.
The concept of the second reload is statistically significant. If you poll the vast majority of CCW holders who carry, you will quickly find that most do not carry a reload and those that carry reload(s) rarely carry more than one extra magazine. The odds are in their favor. Statically most shootings still average between 3-4 rounds. Many argue the miniscule probably that they will both need a gun and then need a reload are not worth the hassle of carrying an extra magazine. Personally I almost always carry one reload which are typically extra capacity extended magazines. For example - my EDC Glock G19 reload is a G17 magazine with a +6 Taran Tactical extender delivering a 23-round reload and my Glock G43 reload is a Mako +4 extended delivering a 10-round G43 reload. My thought is that instead of carrying two extra mags, one big ass one makes more sense, but there is still a gap when threat(s) are not going down with all your ammo.

For most people the 2nd Reload becomes a knife, however I am shocked at the number of CCW holders who still do not carry a fast deploying tactical folding knife. Really people, you can buy them for under $50 at any sporting goods store. If you do not carry a tactical folding knife you are robbing yourself of one of the basic defensive and most useful tools on earth. If you have had any grappling or armed ground training, you already know that drawing and shooting someone when they are on top of you is a crap sandwich everyone gets to take a bite of. Knives are very hard to disarm in these intimate fights and they give you big advantage in inflicting damage, getting loose, and creating distance.

There are a host of great very high quality folding knives from Spyderco, CRKT, Chris Reeve Knives and many others which can deliver what you need most when guns are not handy or empty. Arguably an even better defensive knife option are fixed blade knives which require no unfolding and are ready for a fight immediately. Most cities and states regulate knife length but not whether they are folding or not, so depending on your local laws a small fixed blade defensive knife may be a great option.

Folding knives are typically clipped inside a pocket or waistband, but require some manipulation to bring into the fight. Fixed blades are ready at the draw, but can be more challenging to find the right carry method. Most people carry fixed blades IWB (inside the waistband), OWB (outside the waistband), or in some type of neck knife carry position.

Shadow Tech Knives (middle), &
Cold Steel Safe Keeper (bottom) are
all excellent top quality push daggers
that are easy to use for defense.
My personal favorite knives for a 2nd Reload are push daggers. This knives are based on instinctive gross motor skill punches and fit into the palm with the blade protruding between the middle fingers. As a knife design, these knives are extremely hard to disarm and do not rely on special cutting strikes, only punches where even soft blows land incredible stopping power. 

The CRKT TecPatl and Shadow Tech 3.5-inch Push Daggers are both incredibly good quality defensive push dagger knives priced well under $100. Another advantage of these knives is they are very short compared to typical handle styles which does make everyday carry a bit easier. The downside to this knife push dagger design is that they are more limited in their ability to deliver general purpose cutting chores, but they perform amazing for defensive duties.

Traditional style knives are typically more useful secondarily as basic cutting tools. CRKTs SRAFE and AUX and Extrema Ratio’s Scout are amazing fixed blade knives that can deliver tons of basic cutting functionality, but are more design focused on defense. Many of these fixed blade knives feature longer blades, so you should check your local laws before concealing them on your person.

Chris Reeve Knives Large Sebenza (top)
is regarded as one of the best production
folders made. The CRKT Burnley AKARI is
very small beautiful knife that is easily
concealed for defense.
Small fixed blades and folding knives are typically the most common defensive knives carried. An industry benchmark example is the Chris Reeve Large Sebenza Insingo blade folder which is often cited as the finest production folding knife made. 

Often these folding knives are some type of single hand thumb opening lock blade knife with a blade of 3.5-inches or less to comply with most local knife laws. Another option which has recently become popular as a backup defensive knife are small hideout fixed blade knives and karambits which deliver a lot of defensive and utility capabilities in very small and easily concealable sizes.

A big thanks to CRKT, Chris Reeve Knives, and Extrema Ratio for providing a selection of knives suitable for backup defensive use.  Many people believe that if they have a gun that is all they need, but training of fighting techniques or at least some forethought into what to do   next when all the bullets are gone is a life preserving move. What is your 2nd Reload?


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