The technique of using a bayonet is a somewhat lost art out of military circles, probably for the obvious reason that it’s a bit impractical for civilians. That being said, I’m going to teach you anyway because it’s cool and who knows? There could be some cross relevance to it in relation to close quarters fighting with a rifle.

A bayonet is employed when the end-user must enter close quarters fighting or runs out of ammunition; preferably the latter. Bayonets are attached at the muzzle end of the weapon and some rifles even have permanent folding bayonets. For instructional purposes I will be discussing the subject matter in terms of the M16 series of rifle and standard issue OKC-3S bayonet. Basically there are two aspects of bayonet fighting, offense and defense (duh), but these can be further broken down into different categories

In terms of defense, the technical options are somewhat limited and a good offense is always the best defense because violence of action works. Blocking and deflecting are the two primary option when defending against attacks but if you can evade a strike entirely then you should do so. Blocks will primarily be used against slashing techniques. Deflection can be used against slashes as well but also works well against stabs. The true benefit of deflection is that it allows you to counter with a strike of your own in a way blocking doesn’t.

To execute a proper deflection/counter you need to time it right. Wait for the enemy to thrust his blade at you, when he does knock it away with your muzzle end (it doesn’t have to be the blade, feel free to use the body of the rifle). From there, close the distance by stepping into his space and execute your desired strike.

Marines in Fallujah, Iraq (2004) prepare for possible close encounters with die-hard insurgents.

The thrust/stab is the most commonly used and practical solution for striking your opponent. A slash can also be practical and the less lethal “butt-stroke,” which is not as fun as it sounds, makes for a good technique as well. To properly executed a thrust, grip the rifle firmly around the hand guards with your non-dominant hand. Then, using your dominant/firing hand, grab the rifle by either the pistol grip or small of the stock closest the receiver. I would recommend gripping the stock if all ammunition has been expended, if you still rounds to spend then grab the pistol grip so you can fire as needed while maintaining a defensive posture using the bayonet. From there, you drive the pointy end into the other man using excessive follow through; as if you are attempting to stab a man standing behind him. In the absence of clarity or technique, violent aggression will serve you well regardless.

Bayonets are still issued (and used on occasion) to this day by modern militaries around the world. They teach young combatants that you are never out of the fight and to achieve a level of aggression that can’t be found elsewhere. Maybe I’ll make a video on this all someday for fun but in the mean time you can study YouTube videos if you require further clarification or demonstration.

Featured image: Marine recruits go through the bayonet assault training course at Parris Island, S.C., on May 13, 2011. | DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen, U.S. Army

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