This Blade’s a Better Backup Arm

If your Handgun Fails in a Fight, Skallywag Tactical’s MDV Plus One knife is specifically designed to Complement a Firearm’s Deadly Capabilities, ‘a stroke of genius,’ says self-defense expert.

Story and Photos by Paul Pawela
Featured Image from Youtuber Hard2Hurt

As Americans, we have always been part of a gun culture first, but we have also understood that if the gun failed for whatever reason, the blade could be an immediate backup. The blade is a brutal weapon, and while American
citizens tend to be hesitant about using and/or facing an edged weapon in a fight, there have been many
documented instances of a knife or edged weapon coming into the affray rather quickly when it became a matter of life and death.
Certain objectives must be set when establishing a knife tactical training program. First, you must help people overcome the overwhelming fear of edged weapons being used on them, and second, their squeamishness about using a blade on a bad guy if necessary.

In my training program, Assault Counter Tactics, the handgun and knife are taught as conjoined life safety rescue tools. Two classic examples are used to make solid points throughout training. The first A americanshootingjournal.com 59 Self-Defense TRAINING If your handgun fails in a fight, Skallywag Tactical’s MDV Plus One knife is specifically designed to complement a firearm’s deadly capabilities, ‘a stroke of genius,’ says self-defense expert.


THIS BLADE’S A BETTER BACKUP ARM STORY AND PHOTOS BY PAUL PAWELA is John Henry “Doc” Holliday, the
famous Western dentist-turned gambler who suffered badly with tuberculosis. Due to his fatal disease, he weighed between 125 and 150 pounds and was described by frontier lawman Bat Masterson as “a weakling who could not have whipped a healthy 15-year-old boy in a go-as-you-please fistfight, and no one knew this better than himself, and the knowledge of this fact was perhaps why he was so ready to resort to a weapon of some kind whenever he got himself into difficulty.” Guns and knives saved Doc Holliday in over a dozen gunfights and several knife encounters.
And nothing hits closer to home than discussing one of my wife’s friends whose full-grown daughter was viciously attacked in an attempted kidnapping/rape/possible murder.
She was greatly overpowered by the man, whose size, height and weight dominated her own. But the woman fought with every ounce of strength she had, and in a last-ditch effort to save her own life, she utilized her car keys to jam into the neck of her attacker, killing him. In the aftermath of this horrible situation, she realized she would have fared far better if she carried a gun or knife, or both!

The author uses the story of an actual attack on a family acquaintance by a far larger person to impress upon his students the importance of
stabbing tools. When used on eyes, neck, armpits (middle), liver (right) or other body parts, they can help end a potentially fatal encounter fast.

SHE ALSO WOULD have benefitted from a proper self-defense training program. Unfortunately, the self-defense world is full of imbeciles who train people in hand-to-hand techniques that are truly worthless or rely on “less lethal” items like mace spray, pepper spray, stun guns or tasers. When one’s life is at stake, we are talking about justified deadly force and that warrants using guns and knives, period.
Of all the professions in the world, the ones where skullduggery or chicanery should never be tolerated are the medical and martial endeavors, including military, law enforcement and self-defense/self-preservation.
The rationale is that lives are at stake in all these professions. There can be no room for error. Yet the martial arts
community is full of charlatans who prey on members who need spot-on information. These civilians need the
info to be reliable, accurate and fast.
If it sounds like I am picking on the martial arts community, maybe I am and maybe I am not, but the facts I state may hurt the field’s feelings. The entire martial arts community has a strong resentment against guns. Why?
Because it was superior weapons (usually guns) that conquered those communities that espouse their
rendition of “martial arts.”

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Here are some hard truths to support this fact. Many would argue that jiu-jitsu is one of the most dominant arts in the country, and what the Gracie family from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has done to catapult its popularity is truly an impressive feat.
However, in the book Breathe: A Life in Flow by Rickson Gracie, the family’s greatest undefeated fighter admits
that his own father, the creator of Gracie jiu-jitsu, was no match for men with guns when henchmen shot at and
pistol-whipped him. A few more truths: The US Army created the .45 ACP 1911 handgun to deal with Filipino warriors, guns ended the Boxer Rebellion in China, guns defeated warriors in Japan, and it was guns that defeated the great Indian warrior tribes.
As a current Florida Department of Law Enforcement certified trainer, I have seen disappointing results with tasers and pepper spray when police have tried to arrest subjects. And if those products fail law enforcement, who receive hours of training with those tools, then I have little to no confidence in the marketed versions of the same items that are sold to civilians who get zero training. Once again, even in basic classes at Assault Counter Tactics, students are taught gun and knife tactics. The average civilian can learn enough in one day to last them a lifetime if they have their heart set on it!

One second – that’s how long it took in this sequence from drawing the MDV Plus One from its sheath to stabbing.

ALWAYS LOOKING FOR better tools that will complement my training program, while attending this year’s Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the booths I ran into was that of the fine men of Skallywag Tactical
(skallywagtactical.com). Time does not permit me to go into all their great knives or their great training programs. However, I will state that I immediately fell in love with their Skallywag Tactical MDV Plus One knife designed by Michael Donvito.
Donvito is a special operations trainer and part of the professional dedicated team of Skallywag, which has been
training our elite military and law enforcement for some time now.
To get straight to the point (no pun intended), at first glance the MDV Plus One looks like a rather simple design. But look closer. The knife was designed to specifically work in tandem with the everyday carry handgun, a stroke of genius. Why?
Because the MDV can comfortably be carried in either the nondominant hand or the dominant hand while holding the primary firearm at the same time. The logic is that if the gun fails to go bang for whatever reason, the MDV is right there.
Secondly, the MDV was designed to be a stabbing weapon and in a deadly force scenario, stabbing the eyes, neck,
throat, chest (heart or lungs), stomach, kidney or liver will bring an end to a fatal fight in mere seconds.
Third, under duress the human body automatically does certain things. For instance, our hands automatically close with a crush grip. The MDV was designed with that in mind because the user will be able to deploy the knife from its sheath and use it under stress in a second or less.

The blade
can also be
easily utilized
by a disabled
person.

The MDV was designed to have the perfect grip, proven with the 3-inch space in the knife. With this type ofgrip, no opponent is going to take the MDV away, period.
Lastly, I have always stated that no matter how great the knife design is, if it has a crappy sheath then the knifeis worthless. The MDV comes with not one but two different knife sheaths and both are pretty special and ingeniously designed in their own way.
One of the sheaths was designed in conjunction with the curvature of the hooked blade. When placed in a pants pocket, the knife can be pulled to come out of the sheath, or the sheath can stay with the knife and be used just as an impact weapon.

Then, when necessary, it can separate from the sheath. With or without the sheath, what a brilliant feature. The second sheath comes with a sturdy clip that can be mounted just about anywhere. My favorite way of carrying the MDV is on a reinforced chain and using it for a neck knife.

The total knife length of the MDV is 6¾ inches, and it is light, weighing around .20 pound. The MDV also comes with a pretty cool training knife, to boot. In my opinion, the Skallywag Tactical MDV Plus One is one of the greatest new everyday carry personal knives. And I look forward to training with Skallywag Tactical soon. And that’s my two cents!