Edged Weapons Defense Revisited

These days edged weapons defense only gets a passing mention in most of officer safety training. While we’re focusing on firearms ambushes, vehicle crashes, and traffic stops, the number of police officers and correctional officers stabbed to death in...

Mental and Physical Response.  So what do you do when you find yourself on the wrong end of a knife attack? First of all, realize that this is a potentially life-threatening situation.  Cops (and administrators) sometimes get too focused on where edged weapons are located on the “force continuum” that they fail to recognize that an edged weapons assault is a deadly force situation.  Neuromuscular incapacitation devices, such as TASER, are life-savers for both cops and criminals when it comes to edged weapons defense, but we must always be ready (and willing) to deliver deadly force.  “Never bring a TASER to a gun fight” is one motto to remember.  Can you automatically shoot anyone who presents an edged weapon?  You can find force experts who will argue both ways, but if you’re alert to an imminent attack, you may be able to react successfully in other ways.  First of all, try to create distance between you and the offender; they can’t stab you if they can’t get near you.  Train to move laterally (almost no one runs backwards quickly) and then try to get some sort of barrier between you and the offender.  Your patrol car, a piece of furniture, use anything you can to delay the attack so that you can select the proper force option and prevent yourself or others from getting hurt. 

Tactical Medicine and Survivability What if you do get cut, stabbed or slashed?  “Combat care” is key when it comes to significant injury.  Learning and practicing self-aid may be a life saver in an edged weapons attack.  Read the Force Science Institute’s studies on preventable police deaths and immediate aid.  Purchase or assemble a tactical medical kit (and make sure you carry it) and take advantage of the many self-aid and buddy-aid courses available to law enforcement.  Read Ben Sherwood’s book “The Survivor’s Club” and learn about the three levels of survivability (edged weapons injures are statistically the easiest for emergency room physicians to treat).  

Go to the Officer Down Memorial Page and read the stories of our brothers and sisters who have paid the ultimate price due to an edged weapons assault.  Remember, almost 60,000 police officers in the United States are assaulted each year, but if you stay alert, focused, aware, you train for the proper response, and you maintain that “Not Today” mindset, chances are your career won’t be sidelined by an edged weapons attack.  


“No Lie Blades” http://www.nolieblades.com/

Officer Down Memorial Page www.odmp.org

The Survivor’s Club   http://bensherwood.com/


  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to Officer.com. To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.