Good stuff. Just wanted to expand on a few things, for the sake of discussion. As always, I defer to the voice of experience. Most of the first hand observations below are from force on force reality based scenario training for LE fleshed out by discussions with trainers who have tons of road time.
Regarding punching, closed fist strikes of any kind delivered to hard surfaces are less desirable due to potential hand injuries. Other than the shovel hook to the ribs (which I am a fan of) virtually all hand strikes are better delivered with the palm. Punching a guy in the teeth bare handed may or may not result in a busted hand but it will almost certainly result in cut up knuckles which will very possibly result in fluid exchange, which is less desirable given the nature of some of the clientele LE works with on the road.
Knees and elbows are both much more resistant to superficial injuries (cuts etc) and more severe injuries (fractures) and therefore, IMO make better striking surfaces for LE than the hands in most cases. They also allow a smaller, weaker, less skilled officer to transfer more mass into the strike and thus deliver a heavier, more effective strike than most boxing based techniques will. Thus a larger, stronger more trained officer will get the subject under control that much more quickly/safely. Knees/elbows are also gross motor skill based and therefore won’t deteriorate too much under combat stress. Furthermore, they are effective inside bad breath range (i.e I’m trying to take this guy into custody and he’s resisting range) where most punches will be a bit smothered and most cops get into tussles. Controlling distance is difficult at best in real world violence, all the more so when the goal is to get close enough to establish control.
Regarding striking v. grappling, I absolutely agree that every cop should be a competent stand up grappler. I think that this may be more important than being a skilled striker, but I haven’t made up my mind just yet. However, my understanding and observation has been that, unless you grossly outclass someone in terms of size, strength and/or skill, trying to directly lock/throw/wrestle/control them without first delivering a strike or two to disrupt his attention is likely to result in a push,/pull merry-go-round situation. A well placed knee strike makes it much easier to lock in that standing arm bar. Most people feel less inclined to resist after a hard shot to the pelvic triangle. Twirling around trying to wrassle with and overpower determined, fully resisting opponent on uneven ground puts the officer at prolonged risk. Increasing fatigue as the engagement continues increases that risk.
Regarding other tools on your belt, as useful as they are and as good an idea as it is to be the first person to up the ante in a violent encounter, there is a risk of LEO becoming too tool dependent and not confident enough in their own personal weapons. During a spontaneous assault at close quarters, backpedalling scrambling for OC/baton/CEW or even a firearm is, in many cases not the most advantageous response, again IMO. At least one of your hands will be down at your waste, you are moving backwards, your fine motor skills are shot (fumble fingers), you are not attacking for critical seconds and above all you’ve lost the initiative.
This is especially true in close quarter edged weapon attacks. Sure, you’re 100% justified to shoot and it would be ideal, but if you don’t know you’re in a knife fight until you’re getting stabbed it might be a little late to start trying to pull your pistol and get off that shot. “Shove and shoot” is problematic at best IMO.
In many cases an immediate, aggressive counter-attack with whatever you have available (i.e. empty hand techniques) will yield better results than the old standard, create distance, deploy a better tool/weapon and re-engage. Modern military doctrine recognizes this. The “old” response to an ambush was to retreat to cover, regroup and counter attack. As I understand it, this has been updated in certain cases to immediately attack the attack and fight you way through the ambush with speed, surprise and violence of action. This allows you to reclaim the initiative and shifts the predator/prey dynamic in your favour.
Lastly, as always, having the awareness to see the potential threat and put yourself a such a position advantage that you shut it down of before it starts trumps any technique. Force presence, tactical positioning, superior numbers, tools/weapons etc are your best assets.
Sorry for text wall. Hopefully there’s something useful in there.
Edited, a lot. Apparently I can’t type today.[/quote]
All great points. Going to continue the discussion as well.
I’m a big fan of knees and elbows, and I agree with your point of having to strike first to stun or take the fight out of someone. Giving someone a good shot can make them think twice about trying to overpower you.
Tools on the belt are just that, tools. Use the right tool for the job. Fumbling around for OC or a baton when you have less than a second to react is a bad idea. I think these tools are better used when you know you are going to be dealing with a violent person before it begins.
I’m not sure if I’m on board with the CQ edge weapon attack strategy. Maybe I’m not understanding what you’re getting at, but from what I read, you would still be in a knife fight without a weapon. I know a guy who was arresting a small woman, she resisted, a struggle ensued, and all of a sudden he was bleeding profusely from the leg. During the struggled she produced a small blade and missed his femoral by inches. They dealt with her without shooting her, but had it been a male I think it would have turned into a bang-bang. If you’re starting to lose the fight, you might as well disengage for a second to get your weapon out. Disengaging would require striking or some dirty fighting. I also carry an inconspicuous blade on my support side to ensure I have something even if I can’t get my pistol out. Err, I mean it’s for cutting seatbelts and tape.[/quote]
Regarding CQ edged weapon stuff. First off, shit situation regardless. Any response that gets you home was the right one. Let me see if I can clarify a little. One of the members at our local PD was attacked out of nowhere by a guy with a blade. They were in a doorway and this dude decided, for whatever reason, that he should start stabbing her in the neck. Accessing her weapon, at that range while engaged with a guy who was trying to end her was just not practical. Both hands were tied up surviving. Disengaging was maybe practical but very difficult. She ended up getting him to ground and gaining control, hands cut to ratshit.
No way to tell, but IMO had she focused on getting to her gun instead of fighting the guy and removing his ability to stab her anymore, it might have turned out differently. Again, impossible to say. Like your example, she had a significant advantage over him in terms of physical ability and it was still a pretty bad scene. I believe Idaho (a mil/LEO poster) has a story about some scrawny little female who posed a fairly minimal threat unarmed but suddenly grabbed a knife from between the couch cushions and sliced is arm open pretty good. Fighting a knife wielding attacker, especially one of similar size/ability as yourself unarmed seems like an extremely bad strategy, to say the least.
It’s always a situational judgment call. If you can disengage and trade up your weapon system, absolutely do so, of course. However, I think it’s important to have a plan for when that’s not practical because sometimes it won’t be. In that case, aggressively attacking the attack, wrapping up and controlling the delivery system (arm/elbow, not hand/wrist) and continuing to attack (primarily with knees and or fixed inanimate objects) until you can ground the guy (or possibly create an opportunity to disengage and shoot) seems like not a bad play. Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally on board with shooting knife guy as a potential plan A and a better one where practical,
One of my old instructors set up a simulation based experiment with a number trained officers being attacked at extreme close quarters with training knives. Officers were not told ahead of time what was going to happen, simply to deal with the situation. The officers who got “cut/stabbed” the least were those who directly engaged with knees and elbows and brought the subject under control. Those who tried to disengage and shoot had a lot of difficulty and generally got contacted more times with the knife. It’s a small sample, but it’s food for thought…
Regarding “duty knives” they are obviously for cutting seatbelts, tape, rope if someone hangs themselves etc. They are definitely not at all for peeling someone the fuck off you when all else fails, but could be improvised for that purpose in emergency. Tacti-cool knives are better suited to all the above legitimate intended applications than non-tacti-cool variants for a variety of reasons.
A very small, inconspicuous fixed blade (i.e. Ka-Bar TDI law enforcement) that can be accessed with either hand has value as a backup when one hand or the other may be tied up (i.e. holding up the above mentioned hanging victim) and accessing/opening a clip-it folder might be problematic.