Training against fear: The Shocknife SK-2
Electrically-charged blade can simulate the pain of getting cut
By Scott M. Bruner
While many products in the police training market can simulate many situations an officer may face on the streets, it's difficult to find a product that can emulate the actual fear of confronting a deadly confrontation. There is one notable exception: the Shocknife SK-2.
The Shocknife SK-2 is a training knife, that unlike a dummy rubber or marking blade, can create the simulated pain of actually being cut. The trick is that the composite blade can deliver a shock – of up to 7,500 volts from a 9-volt battery – meant to make knife training not an entirely pain-free experience. It's intended to create the feeling of a real blade cutting through skin, without permanent damage.
"I have survived two knife attacks and can tell you that the Shocknife felt exactly like the real cuts I experienced but without the injuries," CAF Navy diver Brad Gillespie said.
The blade itself is harmless, but a button on the handle will make the blade spark and growl with electricity. The intention during training is to create an actual fear in the person being attacked, and unlike other training knives, the Shocknife hurts.
Training with the Shocknife is not conducted in a stress-free, painless environment but in a situation where trainees must deal with the real, if temporary, consequences of being struck. The idea is to provide trainees a chance to experience, and overcome, the very real fears they might experience in an actual knife attack.
"The Shocknife brings realism to scenario based training, which is essential in making the training effective. During the time I was able to test and evaluate the Shocknife, I was able to prove how important the reactionary gap is when dealing with a subject armed with an edged weapon…when I place the Shocknife in my hand and they hear that intimidating hum, the fear of getting 'zapped' causes them to handle the training situation much more tactically," Miami Beach police officer Charles Weiss said.
The amount of shock is adjustable with an ordinary screw, and the settings range from low to extreme. At the low level the Shocknife will simply give a painless shock as a form of feedback. At extreme, the knife begins to spark and can produce both the physical and psychological impact of a real attack. Although it won't penetrate Kevlar or a thick winter jacket (like a real knife), the electrical arc will penetrate through standard issue uniforms (like a real knife).
According to Shocknife, additional advantages include that trainees are able to identify where they’ve been "cut," it can provide trainees mental fortitude against real attacks, and that it is designed to resemble a real knife.
The Shocknife was created by Jeff Quail, a Canadian SWAT team member and a defensive tactics trainer. It is available in a number of packages. A single Shocknife SK-2 costs $499, while a set of 10 is $4,499.
Shocknife Inc. is a privately owned North American company dedicated to providing training knives that induces the necessary stress required for realistic edged weapon training. You can find them on the web at www.shocknife.com.
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