Knife vs. Gun: Guess Which One Lost


Knife vs. Gun: Guess Which One Lost

Philadelphia, PA – Hey, it’s just common sense, right? Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

Army veteran, vice principal, and firearms instructor William Lawler knew that, and it turned out to be good that he did.

As he walked with his girlfriend through a supermarket parking lot, Lawler noticed a man standing next to the open door of an SUV. Lawler noted that the man “looked odd from the beginning.”

When the man began muttering and cursing, then drew a knife that might have even made Crocodile Dundee proud (it reportedly had a 13-inch blade), Lawler moved his girlfriend away and drew his concealed pistol.

Most of the time, the sight of a gun will cause a criminal to go the other way, especially if the crook doesn’t have a firearm. But the knife-wielding man, who had reportedly been arrested 21 times before, continued to approach while threatening to cut Lawler. Lawler kept his gun down and backed away, but made it clear that he would use the gun if he had to. When the man got within five or six feet of him, Lawler raised his pistol and fired once.

At least a half-dozen times, I ordered him to stop. The last time, I said, ‘I don’t want to shoot you, but I will.’

Although hit in the groin, the crook had balls enough to continue the fight: “Then, after I shot him, he fell to his knees and tried to throw the knife at me.”

Regarding his unconventional shot placement, Lawler said, “My intent was to stop him, not kill him.”

I don’t think I would have done that. Anyone intent on attacking me, anyone against whom I feel the need to use deadly force, will likely be met with more aggressive bullet placement. Although it can be argued that if the knife-wielder had been wearing a Kevlar vest, his privates made a legitimate target.


Lawler was quoted as saying, “I firmly believe that in order to maintain a free society, people need to take personal safety into their own hands. You should walk around ready and able to protect yourself and others in your community.”

Well said, Lieutenant.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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