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#1
Old 03-14-2005, 05:11 PM
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On the efficacy of brass knuckles

Calling all ass-kickers, barroom-brawlers, martial artistes and general aggro-merchants: What's the SD on brass knuckles?

Here are some talking points (I have never encountered a set of brass knuckles, so WAGs aplenty)

Added value. Clearly, punching someone hard in the face with a pair of knuckledusters is going to be ruinous, but punching someone hard in the face with a closed fist is brutal by itself. How much are you really gaining by donning the dusters? And are you not putting your hands at serious risk of breakage? I can see brass knuckles exponentionally increasing the damage a feeble person can achieve with a punch, but this is surely not a weapon for the physically weak to be throwing around.
Related point is that you restrict your hand strikes to punches, although I suppose it is conceivable to palm strike etc wearing a set of knuckles.

Escalation of the situation. Breaking out the knuckledusters strikes me as an event that should ideally require careful consideration. Once they're on its defcon 1, there's not going to be any shaking hands and concillatory beers after you've been using a lump of metal to beat on someone's head.

Keeping it simple. In the real-world scenario of a street assault or mugging, this has to be what its all about. Putting on the brass knuckles at a time of crisis just seems to be complicating the issue at hand. There is a certain amount of intimidation value inherent in the brass knuckles, but you better make sure you know how to use them before getting them out (see above). Is there any valid self-defense use of brass knuckles for a law-abiding citizen?

The concealed weapon There's no denying the discrete nature of a set of knuckles in the coat pocket. Easy on, easy off etc. In the UK, were no one carries a firearm, its probably one of the most serious weapons that you could confront. As a result, they are exclusively perceived to be a criminal accoutrement. Expect no favours from the magistrate if you're drunk and disorderly, swinging the dusters left and right.
#2
Old 03-14-2005, 05:56 PM
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If professional wrestling has taught me nothing else, it's that after a short reign of terror, one of the good guys will take them from you and knock you out with them.

Granted, he'll then be disqualified, but it's a small price to pay.
#3
Old 03-14-2005, 06:04 PM
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I've tried them before, and they hurt my hand more than the other person's head would have.
I say skip the brass knuckles and get a board with a nail in it.
#4
Old 03-14-2005, 06:10 PM
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Back when I worked at a pawn shop, it was illegal to sell brass knuckles.

However, it WAS okay to sell "paperweights" in the shape of brass knuckles.
#5
Old 03-14-2005, 06:57 PM
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On logistics/ "value":

A good set of brass knuckles will have a bracer of sorts that will fill the palm of your hand and create resistance in the same way a closed fist will. That way, the resistance won't cause the knucks to slip out of place or cause your hand to crumple and your wrist to bend or even break, which will reduce the power of the punch and hurt you.

The best part about the knucks is that they change the striking surface from the bones of your knuckles to the "brass."

Make a fist and look at your knuckes. The index and middle knuckles are hurt-you knuckles and the ring and pinky knuckles are hurt-me knuckles. Why? Because when I hit you with the first two, I hurt you. When I hit you with the other two, I hurt me. This is because of the shoulder-arm-knuckles line- the first two are on that line and can handle the impact, the other two have nothing to back up the resistance and will break on impact with anything offering more resistance than a cheekbone. If you punch me wrong, I can shake it off and you will howl in pain. The brass knucks change all your knuckles into hurt-you knuckles because they are harder and are reinforced by the bracer. In short, an inexperienced striker is given added power and, more importantly, protection when he uses them.

As far as restricting yourself to closed-fist strikes, better to have knucks and fewer striking options than no knucks and more ability. If you really knew what you were doing enough to have an arsenal of strikes, you wouldn't need the crutch.


On escalation:

If it's to the point where you're fighting, there are no conciliatory beers. If you are in a situation that you think you can beer your way out of, don't fight. But once you start fighting, your mind should be on ending the threat, not what to do after. Don't skip steps. First kick ass. Then chew bubblegum.

If you're in a fight and you need the knucks, use them. How do you know if you need them? If you bought them, if you have them on you, you need them. But again, if you have to wonder whether you need them, don't buy them. You're not committed to using them and so are likely to get whipped or get them taken from you.

Once a fight has begun, you end that fight as quickly as you can- by eliminating the threat. If that means hitting your enemy with knucks, do it. You can wonder if it was the right thing to do from the safety of your own home, and it's a whole lot easier than wondering whether you should have pulled them when you're in the ER.


On keeping it simple:

If it's a mugging and you can give your mugger what he wants, do it. A fight avoided is a fight won.

If you're assaulted, get away. The time it takes to put on the knucks is better spent escaping- again, a fight avoided is a fight won.

A dude who talks long enough for you to put them on- put them on, but remember, if he's spent that much time talking, he's not committed to fighting and he can be talked down or you can walk away- again, a fight avoided... you know the rest by now.

In other words, something sudden renders the knucks useless- because the time to prepare them is better spent escaping or fighting.


On the concealed weapon issue:

This is what cements my take on brass knuckles: Their upside is so little and their downside is so great that they're not really worth carrying, relative to the trouble you could get into if you get caught with them.

If you know how to fight, you don't need them.

If you don't know how to fight, they're nothing but a liability.

If you're caught with them, you're in trouble.

If you never use them, there's no use in having them.

If you need them to give you tough-guy confidence, you can't fight. See second "if."
#6
Old 03-14-2005, 07:31 PM
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I think I've seen a movie where someone used a roll of coins in their fist as an improvised set of brass knuckles, but that seems to me like it would be even more likely to break your fingers than to help in a fight.
#7
Old 03-14-2005, 08:32 PM
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I've always thought that a big Master combination lock would make a good one finger brass knuckle on a pinch. Those suckers are heavy.
#8
Old 03-14-2005, 10:22 PM
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I once saw a fight in which a guy got hit with brass knuckles. There was a lot of blood, split skin, and the fight was over after one punch.
This was a smaller guy hitting a large one. The knucks weren't smooth, either. There were some sharp edges involved. I don't want to ever get hit by someone wearing brass knuckles.

They don't slightly increase the damage a punch does. Brass knucks increase the damage many X's. They are a serious weapon, and should be thought of as such. If someone threatens you with brass knucks, give him his space, just like you would do if he had a knife or gun.
#9
Old 03-14-2005, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Scrappy Hero Pup

In other words, something sudden renders the knucks useless- because the time to prepare them is better spent escaping or fighting.
Should that read, "escaping not fighting?"

Other than that, great post.
#10
Old 03-14-2005, 10:57 PM
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No, I did mean escaping OR fighting.

If you can escape, then escape. Always the best solution.

BUT, if you want to fight, stay and fight; however, the time spent digging in your pocket and securing the knucks is much better spent actually striking your enemy.

If I were fighting someone and he stuck his hand in his pocket, it'd probably be his dominant hand, so, while his dominant hand is effectively tied, I'd kick him in the face.

That time spent getting your weapon is poorly spent.
#11
Old 03-14-2005, 11:11 PM
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Hero Pup covered this quite thoroughly, but I'd like to share:

The use of brass knuckles can easily turn a fistfight that might land the participants in the can for the night into a homicide investigation.

Even if your story is self-defence, the authorities are going to want to know why you were carrying this device around.

I'm not sure if you're in possesion of this, but if you are and you're still considering making contact with someone's head with it, take a second to slam your brass knuckled fist into a wall.

Once you see the damage you can inflict, you might decide to reconsider this as a tie breaker.

A lot more trouble than they're worth...IMO

Ook
#12
Old 03-15-2005, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Carter of Mars
I once saw a fight in which a guy got hit with brass knuckles. There was a lot of blood, split skin, and the fight was over after one punch.
This was a smaller guy hitting a large one. The knucks weren't smooth, either. There were some sharp edges involved. I don't want to ever get hit by someone wearing brass knuckles.

They don't slightly increase the damage a punch does. Brass knucks increase the damage many X's. They are a serious weapon, and should be thought of as such. If someone threatens you with brass knucks, give him his space, just like you would do if he had a knife or gun.
Whew, thanks for posting that man! For a second there I thought I was in the "Twilight Zone."

I don't know what kind of brass knucks some of you guys have seen but the ones I used to have and all the ones I've ever seen are some SERIOUS f'n weapons. I can't imagine someone taking more than one or two hits off of these things.
#13
Old 03-15-2005, 01:31 AM
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One other thing to consider:

What if you break out the knuckes in a fight and fail to win?

Where I grew up if you simply lost a fair fight you would probably end up with some cuts and bruises, maybe a broken nose and a cracked rib or 2 but you would be able to walk away (probably assisted). However if you tried to use brass knuckles unsuccessfully, I assure you that you're opponent would make sure that you would spend some serious hospital time for that. You might even get permanently damaged.

Even if someone stopped the fight before it ends you would still have a problem. The guy you pulled that weapon on would surely wait for some opportune time to "take up the issue" of you pulling a weapon on him.

My point is that you don't escalate a "conflict" to "armed conflict" unless you seriously believe that your life is in danger. Once you bring in a weapon, you immediately escalate the encounter to a 'to the death' scenario which you probably don't want to do.

Just food for thought.
#14
Old 03-15-2005, 10:13 AM
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Happy Scrappy Hero Pup put it very well. My shorter version boiled down to two rules.

1) Do not carry a weapon you do not know how to use.

2) Do not carry a weapon that would mess you up if taken away.

I only know one self defense item that satifies the condition of number two and you can't take it into bars anyway.

Corii, the coins in hand trick give a little more mass to the punch but the main point, as I understand it, is to give some support behind the fingers. This helps avoid the painful injuries HSHP so accurately described.
#15
Old 03-15-2005, 10:42 AM
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There is a problem with all these statements--brass knuckles exist.
And have existed for quite some time.
Ergo, they serve a purpose, as tools/weapons do no exist without a purpose.
No, not paperweights.
Their existence proves that they have some degree of usefulness/effectiveness.
Possibly, there is a technique to using them that we don't know.
BTW--Roman cestus or cesti. They should be mentioned.
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#16
Old 03-15-2005, 10:48 AM
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If you use brass knuckles you take the risk of injuring somebody permanently or even killing them.
So the question becomes : is it worth jail-time to win a fight?
I would rather take a beating than disfigure, injure or kill someone.
#17
Old 03-15-2005, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
BTW--Roman cestus or cesti. They should be mentioned.
I once read a novel set in a Roman legion, where one guy had his cestus specially made with the letters SPQR in reverse. This way, he would stamp his opponent's face as the property of the Senate and the People of Rome!

I have no idea if this was actually done, but it is a cool idea.
#18
Old 03-15-2005, 11:16 AM
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I just lost a huge post on this addressing Bosda's concern.


The gist of it was this:


I don't need knucks to hurt you, so I won't carry them. No sense getting arrested because I wanted to take fewer strikes to do what I was going to do anyway, if I really want to hurt someone.

A guy who carries them telegraphs a couple of things- that he can't fight, that his dominant hand is the one with the knucks, and that he's looking to piss me off. I'm going to close quickly to the outside of the knucks, and I'm going to hurt him for attempting to injure me.

A guy who doesn't need to carry them isn't likely to fight me or anyone, and if he does, he won't need them to do what he wants.

If a guy CAN use them, and DOES carry them, and DOES break them out, I'm gonna do a little move I call the "track star." It's where I turn and RUN.


Yes, weapons give you an edge in a conflict. But the decision to use a weapon is not made hastily- if it is, you shouldn't be using one (not morally, but because you cannot). And if you do decide, in a calculated manner, to carry/use a weapon, you're probably bad-ass enough that you won't need it or will be left alone. I know that I, for one, will run from you.
#19
Old 03-15-2005, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
Ergo, they serve a purpose, as tools/weapons do no exist without a purpose.
No, not paperweights.
Their existence proves that they have some degree of usefulness/effectiveness.

There's no question they can be useful, even deadly. In a fight between two otherwise equal opponents, bet on the one with the brass knuckles.

The problems start when their main use is to give a feeling of bravado to people who have no business carrying a weapon.
#20
Old 03-15-2005, 12:16 PM
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Never bring brass knuckles to a knife fight.

Never bring a knife to a gun fight.

Never bring a gun to a weapon of mass destruction fight.
#21
Old 03-15-2005, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
There is a problem with all these statements--brass knuckles exist.
And have existed for quite some time.
Ergo, they serve a purpose, as tools/weapons do no exist without a purpose.
No, not paperweights.
Their existence proves that they have some degree of usefulness/effectiveness.
Possibly, there is a technique to using them that we don't know.
BTW--Roman cestus or cesti. They should be mentioned.
Perhaps you foks are not considering what probably is the largest market for brass knucks and such--bad guys. Guys who don't care about a fair fight, who gang up on people, who sucker punch, hit from behind, and try to inflict the most injury in the least amount of time. Guys who get paid to hurt other people. Brass knuckles are a serious weapon. My personal checklist for leaving the house is 1) Wallet 2)Phone 3)Keys 4)Pocketknife. If I had to add 5)Brass Knuckles I would have to consider whether my dinner plans needed changing.
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#22
Old 08-24-2010, 04:41 AM
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Brass Knuckles, knucks, knuckle dusters, no matter the term, the thing about these weapons is always the same... These are weapons, but they ARE ALSO TORTURE DEVICES. That's why they are so illegal. Here's what I mean when I say that they torture. Even their ancient ancestors, The Roman Cestus, are torture tools. A bit of trivia(You probably already know this,) is that cesti were used by the Gladiators, who were slaves, to destroy each other. Since the beginning, these tools were meant to maim, torture, and destroy. Onto World War 1. Enter the trench knife, the granddaddy of the brass knuckles. It was a seven inch steel spike with brass knuckles for a handle. These things were the most BRUTAL weapons of ww1 as far as hand to hand weapons go. Now think about this. These were military weapons of WAR. Designed to kill. Take the knife off, you have brass knuckles. Still a murderous torture weapon IMO. These things were so effective at death that they stayed through WW2 also.

Nowadays, they are used by thugs who want to show unfair bravado to civilians like you and me.
I am not saying I hate the knucks. Far from it. I think they are epic in the right hands. THE RIGHT HANDS. Hell, now that's a far fetched statement.

And let me tell you guys and gals something. If you, want to use brass f****** knuckles as a self defense weapon, the deal is one of these two things. Maybe both. I know from experience.
1. You lack confidence and have a disorder I call Volcano Syndrome, you hold in way too much anger and then explode, turning into a maniac animal, or
2. You just want to bash someone's head in.
Don't use these. No B*******. If you want to defend yourself, get a stun gun. These are humane. Or get a firearms license and get a small gun. If you don't want to shoot anyone(it's understandable) look for non-lethal beanbag rounds. They exist. Don't risk getting arrested over knucks. These are not fighting weapons. They'll destroy you and if you're not lucky, they'll beat you to death. A boxing glove is a fighting weapon. MMA gloves are fighting weapons. Not these. These are murder weapons, torture devices.

How do i know? I've been knocked half dead by a stranger wearing these things. And I know folks who have been tortured with these things over money. Thankfully I'm fine now, but I know what it's like to be victimized by some punk who has one of them. They should've stayed in the military where they belong.
Sorry for the rant but this got to me emotionally. Bottom line is that brass knuckles are not self defense tools. They were NEVER made for that. Thousands of punks prove it everyday.
#23
Old 08-24-2010, 04:59 AM
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Great, another zombie thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MongRage View Post
Brass Knuckles, knucks, knuckle dusters, no matter the term, the thing about these weapons is always the same... These are weapons, but they ARE ALSO TORTURE DEVICES. That's why they are so illegal. Here's what I mean when I say that they torture. Even their ancient ancestors, The Roman Cestus, are torture tools. A bit of trivia(You probably already know this,) is that cesti were used by the Gladiators, who were slaves, to destroy each other. Since the beginning, these tools were meant to maim, torture, and destroy. Onto World War 1. Enter the trench knife, the granddaddy of the brass knuckles. It was a seven inch steel spike with brass knuckles for a handle. These things were the most BRUTAL weapons of ww1 as far as hand to hand weapons go. Now think about this. These were military weapons of WAR. Designed to kill. Take the knife off, you have brass knuckles. Still a murderous torture weapon IMO. These things were so effective at death that they stayed through WW2 also.
I find this doubtful. I'd be more inclined to say it's because brass knukles are far more easily concealed than most weapons, and the cops don't like people carrying concealed weapons.

And it's a bit unconvincing for you to make this argument, then say "Instead, get a stun gun". You know, the weapon that has actually been used as a torture device by certain disreputable cops?

Last edited by Grumman; 08-24-2010 at 05:01 AM.
#24
Old 08-24-2010, 06:35 AM
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Please don't flame me, I'm giving you my opinion. I'm just saying what I know from experience. And just because there are cops out there who use excessive force with a taser doesn't mean anyone who gets one for self defense will. And if they do, they're no better than the punks who use brass knuckles to extort money from good people right?
#25
Old 08-24-2010, 08:25 AM
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Brass knuckles are like any fist load, or protective gauntlet. They increase the damage to your opponent while protecting your hand from harm. Used correctly they are devastating.

Problems:

1. They are illegal. If you get caught with them, there isn't really any way out of it.

2. They require skill at fist fighting to use. If your opponent is any sort of trained fighter he or she is now going to assume you mean to kill them and act accordingly. Someone who came at me clumsily with a pair of those things would be getting their arm broken at a minimum. I might well use lethal force, and most likely be in the right legally for having done so.

Last edited by Acid Lamp; 08-24-2010 at 08:25 AM.
#26
Old 08-24-2010, 12:32 PM
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2 more excellent points.
#27
Old 08-24-2010, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corii View Post
I think I've seen a movie where someone used a roll of coins in their fist as an improvised set of brass knuckles, but that seems to me like it would be even more likely to break your fingers than to help in a fight.
Matthau: "I told you quarters!"

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#28
Old 08-24-2010, 05:38 PM
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There's a reason most fighters trained in fighting without gloves used closed fists on the body and open fists on the head/face: If you hit someone in the head full force with a closed fist you're going to hurt/break your hand. Many martial arts/fighting styles, such as Krav Maga, make a major point of this often overlooked fact. It may look neat on screen, but it's a horrible idea in a real fight.

Brass knuckles, if used correctly, reduce this risk and simultaneously significantly increase the force of impact. If used incorrectly (wrongly placed on the fingers/too large or small, lacking a - preferably lightly padded - palm insert, etc.) they'll mess up the striker's hand AND the opponent's head.

I've trained and practiced with just about every weapon commonly available in the U.S., and brass knuckles, while effective, are pretty much the last one I'd pick to carry or use. I'd rather have a beer bottle or a rock.
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