Should I Carry a Firearm or Knife?

This is a debate that has raged for many years across many countries. Firstly, I would always advise remaining within the law. If firearms are illegal for personal carry in your country, don’t be tempted to carry one just in case. There are plenty of effective alternatives, and if you get caught with one when you aren’t supposed to have it, you can expect a stint in prison. 

Ultimately, the choice of weapon carrying is a personal one. I prefer to focus on the usage of improvised everyday items or pure “defense-only” items as weapons rather than the use of actual purpose made tools like firearms, or god forbid knives. (Fun fact: carry a knife for self-defense and chances are you will get stabbed with it.) 

To my mind, guns and blades require a level of pre-meditation that changes the scenario from one of self-protection to one of combat. If you have time to draw and fire a weapon, you have time to run away.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that in many parts of Europe and the UK, use and even ownership of such weapons is illegal in itself, though the laws in the USA are more relaxed in many states. 

I realize this isn’t always the case of course; it’s impossible to plan for every scenario, and these are just my personal views. I prefer to focus on the unexpected close-range type assaults that are more common. If you look- ing for guides on using concealed carry weapons or edged weapons there is many excellent books and training schools for these subjects. 

Principles of Gun Defense 

The biggest danger around firearms is also the greatest advantage. It is incredibly easy to shoot someone if you wish to. An attacker sneaking up on you could probably fire before you even knew about it. Luckily, for this same reason, if you find yourself facing a gun, it is unlikely the aggressor actually wants to shoot you or he/she would have done so already. 

Remember, in this scenario that they are using the firearm as a tool for intimidation, a tool for getting your money, or just a tool to help them feel tough.  In most situations like this, it is perfectly fine to just hand over your money and try to keep the situation calm. Placating phrases like “OK” or “That’s fine” in an even voice help keep things under control. 

In a firearm encounter, you do not want to aggravate the aggressor unnecessarily. This is the same for any weapon attack of course, but a street thug bearing a gun is unlikely to have the trigger discipline worthy of the weapon. This could lead to unwanted discharges and a complete loss of control over the situation, leading not only to potential personal injury but also injury to passers-by.

Only engage a person wielding a gun as a last resort if, after all, other efforts, you still fear for your life. 

Priorities in firearm defense

  1. Remove yourself from the line of fire 
  2. Remove the attacker’s ability to fire and/or pursue
  3. Escape the scene quickly 


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