Guns: Knife vs. Gun?
I talked with a good friend of mine yesterday about why I carry a concealed handgun. He opined that he would probably get a CCW permit, but would only carry a knife instead of a gun. He said that he was a lousy shot (only fired a gun a few times in his life) whereas he had practiced Eskrima for years. That's sound, rational thinking - you should carry what you have experience with. I do, however, have some thoughts to add...
Anyone who's ever attended a half-decent concealed weapons course knows that drawing and shooting a gun when someone is within close range is very difficult at best, impossible at worst. While you often hear Teuller Drill distances bandied about, it's very difficult to keep everyone in the world 7 yards away from you at all times, as this video shows (read LawDog's excellent analysis). So unless you have ESP, you're going to be exposed to attack every time you wait in a line in a public place, or walk a crowded street, etc.
Of course, the above case isn't typical - most criminals will only attack people who are isolated. And to be fair, there are steps you can take to buy yourself time while you draw - sidesteps and back steps, to be precise, not to mention effective use of your off hand to protect your head and body. But the fact remains, a holstered gun is a poor choice in close combat.
The upshot of all this is as follows - the same limitations apply to a concealed knife. Unless you have some way of palming the knife in hand all the time, you will have to draw it from somewhere, same as a gun (though knives can fit almost anywhere). And unless I'm missing something, there should be negligible difference between the drawing speed of a knife and a gun.
Knives have a lot of advantages for an attacker - they are silent, they require no ammunition and never jam, and they can cause just as much damage as a bullet (sometimes more, if the knife attacker knows what he is doing). Unfortunately, in order for the defender to realize these advantages, the defender is going to have to close to contact distance anyway. And given that the first rule of personal protection is to not get into the situation in the first place, it does come off as a bit paradoxical that you have to be at a range where your attacker can harm you in order for you to stop your attacker.
I definitely think knives have a place in the concealed carry universe - for my friend, for example. But just as people should not think a gun is some kind of magic talisman, people should be aware of the shortcomings of a knife and plan accordingly.