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Old April 20, 2001, 10:47 AM   #1
Glamdring
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Timed results that someone did with sword and handgun.
http://www.donath.org/Rants/SwordVsGun/

Think there is one problem with his test. He attacked stationary targets. Would be curious to see how it would play out in force on force with Shini [sp?] vs Simunitions gun.

I don't think it is a simple problem. IIRC Iaido includes techniques for checking opponents strong hand while drawing one handed.

All kinds of ninjitsu type evasions the handgun person could use to gain distance.
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Old April 20, 2001, 10:53 AM   #2
Hard Ball
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Miamoto Musashi, the famous Japanese Samurai, wrote around 1600 AD "firearms are now the most important weapons at least until swprds are crossed."
That said, I have done some work with saurai swords and anyone who is in draw,step, and strike distance of a good saurai sword user is in real trouble!
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Old April 20, 2001, 12:22 PM   #3
Art Eatman
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Isn't it pretty well fact that a man with a knife in his hand, within 20 feet, will beat a man with his gun in his holster?

Two guys, scabbarded sword and holstered pistol, starting from clasped hands or IPSC "surrender" pose. What the heck, let the swordsman set the distance.

Hit the buzzer and see who wins.

I note the pistol's muzzle travels much the shorter distance, so I'll bet on the laws of time, speed and distance--don't bring a knife to a gunfight.

, Art
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Old April 20, 2001, 12:53 PM   #4
Joe Demko
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One-to-one tests where both participants are aware of what is going on aside, history shows that a group of gun wielders will defeat a group of sword wielders the vast majority of the time. This happened even when sword use was common and guns were relatively new and primitive. By carefully chosing your participants, you can get whatever outcome you wish from one-to-one confrontations.
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Old April 20, 2001, 01:48 PM   #5
traitorjack
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different tools for different jobs; there's a paralyzingly infinite number of different scenarios you could draw out here. but for my needs, I'll stick with my Sig; if we lived in some post-apocalyptic world, I'd love anything from the Bugei catalog, etc as a back-up.
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Old April 20, 2001, 04:27 PM   #6
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"if we lived in some post-apocalyptic world, I'd love anything from the Bugei catalog, etc as a back-up."

Man, you forgot the link! < g >

http://www.bugei.com/

Even has a very interesting forum.
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Old April 20, 2001, 09:05 PM   #7
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A lot of this is assuming the swordsman is not a MASTER of the art. Early accounts of Samuri told of them drawing cutting off a man's head or arms and reinserting the sword in its sheath before the head hit the ground. I think it would take a Bill Jordon to beat a guy like that
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Old April 20, 2001, 10:40 PM   #8
Doc Hudson
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If within striking distance, I think riddle of steel is right. It would take a master gunfighter to have a chance against a master swordsman.

However, last time I checked, wearing a sword down city streets was illegal in all or nearly all states. Carrying a concealed knife of effective fighting size is also illegal, and you can not get a CCW to cover a knife, at least to my knowledge.

While I'd never want to be without a good knife, and fencing is fun, if your wrists and knees are up for it, as defensive weapons, the blade has been superceded by the firearm ever since Colonel Colt took his first patent.

So, the discussion of who is more deadly is really simply an exercise in polite academic discussion.

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Old April 21, 2001, 02:20 AM   #9
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I remember a few years back in Seattle, a disturbed fellow was brandishing a katana in some well-trafficked area. He was sort of waving it around, defining a space that he didn't want people inside of. Police ended up using a high-pressure water hose to disarm him, which was clever. I suppose the moral there is if you're facing a guy with a drawn sword (which, as we can see, happens), try to be down the street, or as close to it as possible.

This also seems to be a good time to plug footwork. Practice getting off line from an attack, either laterally or 45 degrees to the front or rear. Facing such a deadly head-on attack, this is a critical time-and-space buying strategy.
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Old April 21, 2001, 08:59 AM   #10
Spectre
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This site apparently belongs to Carl Donath, the TFL poster known as cdonath.


"firearms are now the most important weapons at least until swords are crossed." This is taken out of context, but appears to mean that firearms are the most important weapons until swords come into play. This may also mean that firearms are best employed as distance weapons, which we all know.

Glamdring, as a ninpo stylist (Bujinkan, now Jinenkan bujutsu), I can say that I would hate to be at arm's length from a skilled sword wielder. Being up against a fast swordsman is a frightening thing.

Weapons are best learned as types, I feel. Most of what one can do with a sword, one can do with a 3' stick or cane. One can also get away with carrying a cane almost anywhere.

I don't want to give any secrets away, but at 3', the sword wielder can just whip the butt of the sword up into his opponent. Since the sword is already slanted forward, this would be a straight motion. The sword would then be out directly in front of the adversary, and could be stabbed directly downward into the torso.
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Old April 21, 2001, 09:03 AM   #11
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Oh- I'll see if I can do some shinai tests soon, maybe next time Spartacus is down.
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Old April 21, 2001, 10:33 AM   #12
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I am a student of Iaido so I may be able to add some insight. If the swordsman is within striking distance, say less than 6 feet, the gunman will die or be maimed no matter what. Even if the swordsman is shot there is a great chance that he will still complete his stroke into his adversary. Also Mort said "Practice getting off line from an attack, either laterally or 45 degrees to the front or rear." I do not believe that there is any footwork that a gunman can do that will save his life if he is close to the swordsman. In Iaido we learn to strike opponents 360 degrees around our body. It does not matter where the gunman would move. Also as a student of aikido, the defense we learn against a sword is to actually STEP INTO an attack. This is surprisingly effective against a sword. My sensei will just step into any oncoming sword attack and throw you to the ground...its incredible. If you try to keep your distance you will get maimed, just have somebody grab something like a stick and try to stay away and you will get hit, but try stepping in the moment that the attack starts, you'll be surprised.
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Old April 21, 2001, 10:40 AM   #13
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Yup, that's my page. After following a prolonged sword v. gun discussion I figured I'd try some timings. Since there's still interest in the page, and a friend is coming to videotape some sword work today, I'll see about capturing some relevant video and updating the page.

Think there is one problem with his test. He attacked stationary targets.

No question the test is severly limited. The starting point for such tests is a close-range face-off with the attacks commencing on the same signal - hardly a realistic scenario, but someplace to begin.

I'm open to suggestions for further tests!

Most of what one can do with a sword, one can do with a 3' stick or cane.

They share the same basic moves, which is why my Iaido and Kali (Philipine stick fighting) classes are back-to-back. The results, however, are distinctly different.

footwork

...is critical. Regardless of what technique you're using against an attacker, and regardless of what you're being attacked with, get the heck out of the way!

I note the pistol's muzzle travels much the shorter distance

But the core of the motion is in the hand. In both cases, the hand moves about two feet (roughly) and the wrist rotates about 90 degrees. As both tools weigh about the same (about 2 pounds) they can be moved equally fast. The length of the sword just means the tip moves faster; the controlling hand does equivalent motion for each tool. Both take about the same time to "deliver".
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Old April 21, 2001, 11:41 AM   #14
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If anyone can do some force on force type test/practice with this I would be extremly interested in the results.

BTW I don't think it is fair or reasonable to limit the person armed with a gun to simply shooting. Doesn't Iaido & Aikido have several different non weapon responses/counters to Iaido type attacks?

What would be a Iaido response to opponent checking strong arm?

For movement I was thinking of a forward roll or diving breakfall to swordman's strong side by the gunman.

Against most extreme CQB I would think hand to hand to buy time or solve problem would be the answer, but against someone openly wearing a sword I don't think I would really want to at contact range.

ctdonath: Did you see my idea of shinai vs simunitions gun for force on force?
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Old April 21, 2001, 11:45 AM   #15
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Speaking of footwork. Which arts teach that from early on? I am thinking Akido & Kali/Escrima are good for that in relationship to weapons.
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Old April 21, 2001, 01:38 PM   #16
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My earlier example supposed equal skills between swordsman and pistolero. In such a case, moving two to three feet of steel out from its scabbard takes longer than moving six inches of pistol from its holster. I agree that a master swordsman might well beat Joe Sixpack the occasional toter, but that's a whole different deal, and not really germane to the discussion.

Spectre's example of a strike with the butt is well taken, but it assumes a lack of reflex and mobility on the part of the opponent.

As to speed: 20 years ago (when my shoulders functioned much better) upon a buzzer-signal, I regularly could draw, assume the Weaver stance and hit a target at ten yards in 0.9 to 1.0 seconds. Drop 0.2 seconds if I initated the action instead of a buzzer response. At five yards, I could hit while shooting from the hip, saving some tenths of a second.

I was never better than a Class C shooter.

After 1981/1982, I did more practice in drawing and firing while walking or running at different angles to various targets. I also tried drawing and firing while "falling"--going quickly to the ground without bruising my precious body. I don't think it's bragging to say that I got pretty good at hits from awkward postitions. Anybody can do it; it just takes practice. I conclude that if Spectre's butt-strike fails, shame on him.

One thing for sure, whether swords or pistols: Whoever makes the first move, wins.

, Art

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Old April 21, 2001, 02:03 PM   #17
Spectre
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Art-

Firearms definitely take much less skill to master than manual weapons. (I mentioned this phenomenon on a recent TFL thread. I'm a "decent" martial artist, but if I had invested the same amount of time into firearms training (hojutsu, incidentally! ), I would be a master.) To me, the amount of training needed to be truly deadly, not the relative deadliness, is why firearms revolutionized self-defense. With a firearm, anyone could be deadly enough to be dangerous prey; a sobering thought, if one believes the government wants your firearms.

One thing to remember, though- incapacitation takes much less time with a 30" blade than a .35-.45" projectile. Also, one has merely to apply a large, sharp blade, while there are cases of men taking over 30 handgun rounds before being taken down more powerful firearms. It is difficult to imagine anyone taking more than 3 seconds or so of punishment from a decent swordsman before ceasing to be a threat.
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Old April 21, 2001, 02:19 PM   #18
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I realize in many ways this is a hypothetical exercise, but can anyone do the apologetics that would actually put a shooter and swordsman in a situation similar to this one? If I were approaching a swordsman or he was approaching me, I imagine I would have drawn long ago... unless he had the drop on me in which case it would seem to be a moot point, gun or no gun (hell, even sword or no sword with the right martial artistist).

As Doc Hudson pointed out, carrying large edged weapons is basically illegal in nearly all contexts... so if we run into an aggressive man carrying a sword, more likely a deranged one than skilled swordsman.

Is there any practical possibility of the two running into each other, is what I'm asking?
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Old April 21, 2001, 07:15 PM   #19
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Long knife vs handgun, any practical usage? YES

Consider the dreaded knock on the door. Depending on time of day, neighborhood, chain on door, etc this exact act will play out. People have ended up on the wrong end of a weapon. The American Rifleman relates these incidents in many issues. The distance involved between the 2 people at the doorway is very short. If you answer the door when there is a knock do you sometimes pick up a protection device before you answer the door?? Might a common large butcher knife serve as weapon of choice?

Will the homeowner always lose the doorway battle because the badguy acts first? Apparently not because we see the American Rifleman stories of victories. The resolve to carry out the act, or lack of resolve when a firearm is displayed seems to carry the issue.
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Old April 21, 2001, 07:53 PM   #20
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Thanks for the reply but that's an abstraction... no longer are we talking about quick drawing gunmen versus lightning quick swordsmen. I don't doubt knifes and guns come into contact. By no means to I mean to suggest that swords (or guns, for that matter) being illegal mean that criminals won't. What I'm saying, is that contriving a "quick draw" scenario between sheathed sword (even a 13 inch butcher knife is a LONG way from a "fighting" knife and even further from even a short sword- and in your example it's already in hand) and holstered gun seems pretty difficult.
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Old April 21, 2001, 11:26 PM   #21
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Well in the US it probably isn't a real concern. But if your willing to consider a machete as a sword then
it does happen in parts of Central & South America. In many places only the rich or privileged can afford
or display guns. But the common man can carry a blade, at least some of the time.

In college I met a fellow gun nut from one such location that had been more than a little influenced by
Cooper. He used a 1911, in 38 Super due to the laws of the land, to deal with a person that was acting
crazy and wouldn't drop the machete.

I majored in Anthropology & my favourite prof had spent a lot of time in South & Central America & had
a few stories to tell about the locals, who where hired to help with the digs, pulling machete's on each
other. From what I gathered about their mindset I think they would not have backed down from someone
just because they only had a blade on their hip & the other guy had a gun.
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Old April 22, 2001, 08:59 AM   #22
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PaladinX13, I'm dubious about the reality of any "Showdown At High Noon". I brought it up mostly to speak to the time/speed/distance factors...

With the proverbial light jacket, a fairly long knife can radily be concealed. From a legal standpoint, "The Law" seems less excited by knives than by guns. Anytime psychology can be made to work in your favor...

Spectre, I agree with you in many ways on the relative incapacition times. Just to waste time on what-if, if a couple of lucky shots center both shoulder joints of the swordsman...and all that BS. Gotta go with what you know; I have 50 years with a pistol and zero time with an edged weapon.

Regards,

Art
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Old April 22, 2001, 11:05 AM   #23
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Art,

Look me up, if you're ever coming through GA. I'd love to spend a little time with this, see what we could learn.

Paladin,

As I mentioned, sticks of the same length as swords can be carried almost anywhere, as can umbrellas. True enough, neither of these are typically used to cut, but their lack of edge is evened out by their additional versatility as trapping tools- ie, one can readily grab one's own stick to affect a technique, whereas grabbing the blade of one's own sword takes considerably more care. Also, carrying a stick or umbrella means one has nothing to draw- the weapon is already out, ready to bring into play.
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Old April 22, 2001, 11:39 AM   #24
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Okay, lemme repeat that it is NOT my argument that knives, sticks, canes, swords, machete, etc. are not used in self-defense or by criminals against guns (being used in self-defense or an attacker). Art hit it on the head, when he describes it as a Showdown... that's where I doubt the usefulness of this experiment.

Most of the examples being cited would better be served by an experiment using simunitions and bokken in a kill house, open space, etc. Quite a bit different than two drawing for the camera, or even against each other with a third party shouting "DRAW!"

Art, I live in the Republic of New Jersey where CCW is a rare as hen's teeth, I'm also a bigger collector of knives than firearms- but I can honestly say that the police here get excited enough over a pocket knife that you might as well have a so-called "assault rifle" strapped to your back. I'm a big guy that doesn't need a 3 inch piece of steel to harm or hurt anyone, but somehow that makes me dramatically more dangerous in their eyes. Um, sorry... rant mode off.
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Old April 22, 2001, 03:33 PM   #25
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Spectre, I'll most likely head back to Thomasville around May 5th-ish, and will make it to the Jawgia TFL gathering, if it comes off and the date works...

PaladinX13, I've flown to Germany a couple of times, to visit my son. Airport security looks all wampus-eyed at my Swiss Army pocket knife, and with puzzlement at my little 1-1/2" Gerber--it's a "lockback", doncha see. (They even get nervous at the zoom lens on my camera.)

One of the things I like about my little chunk of SW Texas: Some ATV-ers pulled in to the Lajitas Trading Post. They had western-style pistol belts/guns. A deputy who just happened to be there pointed out they probably oughtn't to "tote" inside as alcoholic beverages were sold there. They unholstered, set the revolvers on the bench next to the deputy, went in and got beers and came out and sat down to visit...He grinned, they drank, finished, got their guns, "saddled up" and rode away.

Works for me!

, Art
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