Firearms Instructor Uses AR-15 to Stop Knife Attack

Hero with an AR-15 Ends Church Shooter's Rampage
Firearms Instructor Uses AR-15 to Stop Knife Attack

Arizona -( On 26 February, 2018, Dave Thompson, a firearms instructor, used an AR-15 type rifle to stop a knife attack he witnessed in the apartment complex where he lives.  From

Police said a witness to the stabbing incident retrieved an AR-15 rifle from their home and stopped the attacker “with only a threat of force.” The witness had both a valid firearm owner’s ID card and a concealed carry permit, according to the sheriff’s office.

The witness, who spoke with WGN-TV, said he ran to grab his AR-15 after hearing the commotion and spotting a “pool of blood” in his apartment building hallway. “Blood was everywhere,” said neighbor Dave Thomas, adding that he chose the AR-15 over a handgun, saying, “Bigger gun, I think a little more of an intimidation factor. Definitely played a part in him actually stopping.”

Dave Thompson, Firearms Instructor

The AR-15 is one of, if not the most popular type rifle in the United States. Its many advantages have made it the rifle of choice for millions of Americans. Dave Thompson already mentioned the rifle, because of its easily recognized profile, has a high intimidation factor. Most defensive uses of guns do not require a shot to be fired. That is exactly what happened in Dave Thompson’s incident. (edit) The event took place in Illinois.

AR-15 rifles are easy to control, have low recoil, sufficient stopping power, and magazine capacity to handle multiple assailants, with a reserve for misses, “warning shots”, and the potential of drugged or drunk assailants. Thompson recognized these advantages. From

Thomas says he is also a firearms instructor.

“The AR-15 is my weapon of choice for home protection,” Thomas said. “It’s light, it’s maneuverable. If you train and know how to use it properly, it’s not dangerous. And this is just a perfect example of good guy with an AR-15 stopped a bad guy with a knife. And there were no lives taken, so all in all it was a good day.”

The same advantages that make the AR-15 a good choice for home defense make it a good choice for police officers. The AR-15 platform is one of the most commonly used by numerous police departments and sheriff offices around the country.  Conversely, citizens have always looked to police for examples of what are reliable and effective firearms for defense of self and others.

There are numerous choices of caliber and projectiles for AR-15 type rifles. The most common caliber used by citizens and police alike is the .223 or 5.56 X 45 cartridge.  While there are small differences between the two designations, most rifles will handle both cartridges interchangeably.

The easy customization of the rifle, the availability of numerous accessories such as telescopic sights, lasers, bi-pods, stock configurations, muzzle brakes and suppressors all add to the appeal of the rifle.  The ability to change the rifle to different calibers, with a change of upper receiver, is another reason for the popularity of the AR-15.

Semi-automatic rifles have been common and legal in the United States for over a hundred years, but the AR-15 has come to be the American rifle for all.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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I think either the Ar15 or a shotgun would be effective in this situation. Remember the idiot brought a knife to a gun fight.



Heed the Call-up

Yes, I see I had it backwards. I don’t have either of those rifles, I just recalled reading a while back that there were differences and that one was not safe to fire in the other. Thanks for the corrections.


The article leaves me understanding that that a shotgun would have had the same effect. I.e., there wasn’t anything special about the AR-15 in the context.

Dave in Fairfax

You missed the multiple assailants and misses part. Even if you have one of the stupidly expensive, 12 round, shotguns, you have a lower ability to confront those issues than you would with an AR and a standard capacity, 30 round magazine. Shotguns tend to be both longer and heavier as well, making them less maneuverable. They also have less range and accuracy, even when you are using a slug. The only thing they have in common is intimidation. They make a fair in-house defense weapon, but are inadequate elsewhere or against a group, home invasion.


I specified that in the context of this story — one knife wielding idiot — any long gun would have sufficed. I understand that many feel and AR-15 is a better self-defense weapon choice for the extremely extreme Black Swan situation.


Except a shotgun doesn’t hold as many rounds which allows for misses or drugged assailants. It says this in the article.

Heed the Call-up

My understanding is that a rifle chambered in .223 can safely fire the 5.56, but that firing a .223 in a 5.56 chambered is not safe due to the higher pressure of the .223 cartridge.


It’s the other way around. 5.56 can handle .223 but .223 cannot handle 5.56.
There is also a .223 Wylde barrel that accepts 5.56 and .223.


Sorry, you got it backwards. The 5.56 is the higher pressure, and 5.56-chambered rifles also accept .223. But not all .223-chambered rifles can handle the 5.56.


Counterintuitively (relative to the difference between .223 & 5.56) the 7.62x51mm NATO is considered the lower pressure round compared to .308 Winchester. As I understand it, the outer dimensions are identical, but the thinner case walls of the .308 can allow for more volume of powder. Please correct me if this is wrong.


I’m not holding my breath witting for the tovarischii of the LameStream EneMedia to give this much coverage.