The Shocknife SK-1 - Information for DT Instructors
The Shocknife SK-1 - Information for DT Instructors
Since the Shocknife SK-1 was exposed to the Defensive Tactics Training world Shocknife Inc. has been inundated with questions about its design and performance from DT Instructors. Most DT Instructors are well versed on the need to create acute stress in training. That's why it is not surprising that most of our questions from DT Instructors revolve around design and functionality not the rational for using it. This article is written specifically to answer these questions about design and functionality.
Real knives are silent, but the Shocknife sparks and growls. Can it be silenced?
Yes, it can be silenced and spark free. The Shock Activator Button controls when the Shocknife SK-1 sparks and growls. If the role player holding the Shocknife wishes it to be silent they just don't press the Shock Activator Button. When they attack with the Shocknife they need only press it while making contact with the trainee. Since the electricity is flowing into the trainees skin there will be no sparks.
Why design the knife capable of sparking and growling?
Simple. This was done to induce "Acute Stress". For example, we put a number of police recruits through a scenario that involved a suicidal male that wanted to cut his own throat. In the past using rubber training knives the recruits moved to close to the role player and at times even failed to draw their training firearm. We replicated the exact same scenario with the Shocknife SK-1. When the role player sparked the Shocknife we would see realistic stress and survival reactions from the recruits. They would immediately create distance and always get their training firearms at the ready position. The inherent fear of being shocked mimics the inherent fear of being cut.
Why was the Shock Adjustment Screw designed so that you have to use the Shock Adjustment Tool to adjust it?
This was done to give complete control of the Shocknife SK-1 to the DT Instructors. The DT Instructor can adjust the level of the Shocknife for the type of training that is being conducted. This also allows them to adjust each Shocknife individually to a setting that they believe will provide the most benefit to the specific students using it. Most importantly it discourages students from horse play by making it difficult to turn the voltage level up without permission from the DT Instructor.
Most officers involved in an edged weapon attack state that they did not feel the blade when it cut them. Is the Shocknife not creating more pain than a real knife attack?
No. To answer this question properly one must first understand that we must not look at the tool that is inflicting the pain, but the body that is receiving it. The reason that most officers do not feel the pain of the cut in a real knife attack is not that the knife does not cause pain, but that the officer is experiencing "acute stress". When they are in this state their body is flooded with pain killing endorphins and their brain is focused on the assailant. It is not that a cut from a knife is not painful; it is that the officer is in a state where they do not feel pain.
To appreciate this, think of a time when you have cut yourself while preparing a meal. We have all had the unfortunate experience of cutting ourselves accidentally while slicing vegetables, etc. When you got cut you most likely immediately felt the pain, reflexively pulled your hand away from the pain, then either sucked on the wound or ran it under water. The point is you definitely felt the pain. If it were true that knife cuts are not painful than a small cut like the one mentioned above would not be felt and as we know from experience this is not true. The reason you felt it so strong was that you were in a state of homeostasis. Your body was not flooded with hormones to raise its pain threshold and prepare you for survival.
When the Shocknife SK-1 was used in spontaneous attack situations on the recruits, most related afterwards that they didn't feel the shock or that they felt it but it didn't hurt like it did when they felt it in a static setting. This is because they were experiencing "acute stress" like they would in a real knife attack. This is the ultimate goal of dynamic training, not just to replicate the physical environment of a real attack, but to replicate the mental state of the officer during a real attack.
Finally, if a DT Instructor still feels they do not want a high level of shock, they can simply turn the Shocknife Adjustment Screw to a lower setting or instruct the role player not to deliver a shock.
Does the skin have to be exposed to be shocked by the Shocknife?
No. We encourage training in regular issue uniform. The Shocknife will penetrate clothing and because the clothing creates a larger gap space it will actually increase the effect of the shock. This also allows for the Shocknife to be used in conjunction with less lethal training ammunition as it is mandatory to wear long sleeve clothing when training with these products.
A real knife will not penetrate through certain layers of clothing, won't the spark jump through more layers than a real knife would cut?
No. The Shocknife is specifically designed to behave like a real knife. In fact the more you use Shocknife like a real knife the better it operates. The Shocknife SK-1 is designed to only penetrate cloth that is 1/16 inch in thickness. This means that it will penetrate regular issue police, corrections and military uniforms, including summer weight jackets. It will not penetrate thick layers of winter weight jackets, Kevlar vests or flack jackets.
How will sweat affect the Shocknife blade?
The Shocknife blade is designed to function even if covered in sweat. If the Shocknife becomes covered in sweat, simply push the Shock Activator Button and you will see the Shocknife attack the sweat and rapidly cause its evaporation.
How durable is the Shocknife?
Understanding the environment that the Shocknife would be used in, it was been designed specifically to be as durable as possible. This includes utilizing the following:
- Impact resistant polycarbonate blend outer shell
- Teflon® blade insulator
- Gold coated electrodes
- Gold mixed solder
- Break-away TPE Santoprene (soft rubber) hilt
- Double coated "grip coat" handle
- Electronics epoxy coated for strength and protection
Since the popularity of Conducted Energy Weapons has increased, DT Instructors have become very knowledgeable in understanding electrical safety issues. To easily understand how safe the Shocknife SK-1 is, it will be compared with the most popular Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) being used by police.
At its maximum setting the Shocknife SK-1 is capable of delivering 7,500 volts. This is only 15% of the most popular CEW.
As most DT Instructors know, it is the amperage that is most dangerous. The Shocknife SK-1 delivers only .00075 amps at its highest setting. This is less than ¼ of the amperage of the most popular CEW.
The gap space is the distance between the 2 electrodes that determines how much area on the body is affected by the electricity. The gap space of the Shocknife SK-1 is only 1/8 of an inch. The most popular CEW is 1 inch when used in a stun gun fashion and can be more than three feet when used with projected probes. Since the electricity will always travel the path of least resistance, the Shocknife SK-1 is incapable of penetrating into the heart and other organs.
As with any electricity, the Shocknife SK-1 has the ability to burn skin if exposed for a lengthy period of time in the same location on the skin. Proper use of the SK-1 should prevent this from ever happening. Most exposures in a dynamic setting are less than 1 second per slice and very rarely in the exact same spot on the body. Everyone reacts different to electric shock stimulation. It is possible that some individuals will experience mild burning to the skin. All individuals should be given a choice as to whether they wish to participate in training with the Shocknife.
The writer personally ran the Shocknife SK-1 at its highest setting over the exact same spot for a 1 second exposure 50 times on bare skin. The result was a red mark similar to a sun burn that completely vanished in 3 days.
The Shocknife has been used over 1000 times in various tests and trials and to date there have been absolutely no reports of permanent injury.
Does this mean that we no longer need other types of training knives?
Absolutely not. Training knives of all kinds have a place in training. It is no different than comparing plastic training guns and less lethal training ammunition training guns. Both have their place for specific types of training.
Written by Jeff Quail, Inventor of the Shocknife, Police Officer, SWAT team member, DT Instructor, court declared expert and creator of the Five Minute Fighter® survival program. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.shocknife.com