Knife and Gun

Monday, March 9th, 2009

It gets downright creepy when Rory Miller (Meditations on Violence) looks at the difference between serious gun guys and serious knife guys:

My captain used to say, “For most people, carrying a gun is like a fifteen year old with a condom in his pocket. He’s not going to get a chance to use it and if he did he wouldn’t know what to do, but it’s cool to show his friends.”

In a similar way, a person with a knife out scares me more than a person with a gun out. Some of that is personal — in most of my knife experience, the threat was trying to kill. In the very small number of gun encounters, I got the impression that the threat was sort of hiding behind the gun.
The serious gun guys I know practice with a cold, surgical precision. “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” Dry fire every day. Four count draw. Weapons transition, long gun or SMG to sidearm. Immediate action. They practice turning corners at retention in the house. Walking with a rocking motion of their feet. The best (and civilians rarely have an opportunity for this) practice with ConSims in uncontrolled environment with all of Force policy and statute in effect, working their judgment in tandem with their skills.

The serious knife guys are a different level. Stay close, here, because my definition of serious knife guy may not match anyone else’s. Knife is not a precision skill, not at the serious level. It is a matter of intent and will. Knives are close range and messy and the serious knife guys I know focus less on motion than on the context. They prepare themselves for the smells; the transition when things go from technical to slippery; the feeling of parting tissues transmitted up the blade. The screaming and struggling. It’s easy to play with a knife or a gun or any toy… but actually using a knife hits almost every social button, every uggh and disgust and “Oh, Hell No!” a human being has. Just for the record, slaughtering and butchering animals is valuable (struggled with that word — it’s not important in all ways, not critical — you won’t learn a lot about knife work; and cutting through a skinned animal with a good set of boning and butcher knives isn’t the same; gutting a bled-out deer is very different from the warm, slippery gush of a live disembowelment. What you do learn is about yourself and a tiny, itty bit of how much a death can affect you. You also learn how some things die very hard.)

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