View Full Version : Quick, silent kill with a knife

11-29-2008, 03:09 PM
So, how can I have my assassin character take out a guard without anyone noticing? I've heard that when approaching someone from behind, you can stab over the shoulder and downwards into the heart, which supposedly means pretty much instant death.
I know throat-stabbing or slitting is the movie staple for such things, but doesn't that mean quite a few moments of thrashing about, bleeding and gasping?

11-29-2008, 05:57 PM
I would think anything that leaves the throat in good working order that is not an instantaneous death would be likely to bring out a shout or a scream from the victim.

You might try jabbing him hard in the ear with one of the long/pointy type knives...I can't remember what they are called, though.

You could also stuff something into their mouth where the only sound the make is a muffled "mmph" sound to prevent screams or shouts.

Man, without the context of this topic, this post would sound really, really bad.

Appalachian Writer
11-29-2008, 06:23 PM
I've heard that if you shoot someone in the shoulder, the gun pointed downward at a 45 degree angle, that's instant death. You'd have to have an pretty long knife to do that job. If I were an assasin and I wanted to kill a guard with little or no thrashing, I might employ an old Green Beret tactic: a piano string stretch between two handles. Theoretically, you wrap it around the victim's neck and pull. Off pops the head. There's no thrashing or gasping after that. This info comes from some research I did a while back. The piano thing is messy but effective.

11-29-2008, 07:24 PM
Depends on the guard. What's he wearing, what are his most vulnerable spots? Is he carrying anything that he might drop? Must the assassin attack from behind or is a quick frontal attack possible?


11-29-2008, 07:24 PM
How 'bout an ice-pick through the nostril - into the brain?

11-29-2008, 07:32 PM
Isn't there a spot on the back of the neck--just at the base of the skull--where it's really easy to sever the spinal cord?

11-29-2008, 07:54 PM
I'm voting for a garrote or Fennel's suggestion: a sharp, flat blade at the base of the skull. Squeeze off the airflow or paralyze the lungs and nobody's gonna do any shouting.

11-29-2008, 08:20 PM
(Retired Military)
Hand over mouth to stop noise, cut the throat and hang on until stops thrashing.
Dagger throught the ear into the brain - again, cover mouth and control thrashing.

Contrary to popular belief, human beings are VERY hard to instantly kill!!!!!

11-29-2008, 08:24 PM
"Come on then, you wuss. Give it yer best shot."


11-29-2008, 08:29 PM
My FIL was a 'cutter' during the Vietnam War--part of a special multi-branch unit that freed POWs from camps deep in the jungle.

'Cutter' means exactly what you'd think it would. As lvcabbie said above, hand over mouth, cut the throat, hold until the victim stops thrashing.

11-29-2008, 08:37 PM
Yeah, I would go with the piano wire also.

If you grab someone around the mouth from behind, you're obviously pulling his head back/lifting his chin and stretching his neck. That pushes the windpipe forward. If you now reach over the shoulder and slit the throat, odds are you'll just cut the windpipe. (It is not uncommon for people trying to commit suicide to do this.)

The carotid arteries are sort of protected by the big tendons in the neck. To cut them at the same time, the cut would have to have a lot of force behind it and the knife better be very sharp. (It is not easy to cut through tendons.)

If you managed to cut the carotids, they would bleed out very quickly but there would be some thrashing. Also, I'm not sure how much noise they would make. I'm guessing that if the cut is above the vocal cords, they could still scream and the air could escape through the cut windpipe thereby producing noise (but I don't know this for a fact).

A quick thrust at the base of the skull might work - it should cut the spinal cord and instantly paralyze them so there would be no thrashing.

11-29-2008, 09:07 PM
Why not cold-cock the guy and then kill him while unconscious?

Or poison dart. Again, to put the guard down to be killed or just fast acting toxin that kills. Additionally a small dart might initially feel like a bug sting or bite and not attract immediate attention from the corpse-to-be and only when it's too late do they realize.

11-29-2008, 09:35 PM
There's always the poison route that can take a few seconds to kill depending upon type and delivery like ricin and those of similar ilk, snake venom: the taipan or tiger or death adder snakes from Australia, black mamba, cape cobra, or boomslang from Africa--delivered by dart or needle.

11-30-2008, 03:48 AM
FWIW Ive been told that knifing someone in the kidney causes the throat to constrict so no scream and pretty quick death.

yer pal Brian

11-30-2008, 06:38 AM
Something easier to get. Botulism injected in the vocal chords. Just how to get that thrashing guard on the ground?

The problem is that people will thrash and scream if attacked and even a knife to the brain can sometimes be lived through. Obviously some people have done well with half a brain for years.

Ricin is a problem because exposure will kill the assassin as well as the guard and anyone around for quite a large geographical area.

Physical attack will assume the guard does not attack back. Quite a lot of guards who carry guns and are employed at important places are at least "wanna be" military and usually know about self defense. My brother was a guard and had a black belt-- just because he dug that kind of stuff.

I personally think slitting the throat from ear to ear-- cutting both juglars would be messy but would do the trick. The pain would make the victim freeze, the vocal cords would not really work well because all the blood in the throat and the blood would take only a few seconds to totally leave the body (step away from this scene, it is messy). He would pass out never to wake.

11-30-2008, 06:40 AM
The Vulcan Death Pinch. Quick and quiet.

11-30-2008, 07:16 AM
I'd be wary of using anything involving the heart, even the instant destruction of it still leaves about 5 or six seconds of useful consciousness in which said person may react, there will still be oxygenated blood in their system for a few moments. Whatever attack you use it is it must attack the central nervious system first in order for it to be a quiet death.

Smashing someone on the back of the head can be quite fatal if done hard enough, although there may be a reflexive grunt and of course the body hitting the ground.

Yanking the head forward and shoving a knife into the brain stem brings immediate death and an instant severing of voluntary muscle control.

Poisons pose the same problems as attacking the heart, however potent it may be it still will have to circulate before having any effect, and that will give the victim a chance to fight and maybe scream before that happens.

A surprise strangling of the victim will cut off any chance of making a noise, and if the attacker is strong enough to lift the person off the ground while doing so (looping the weapon around the neck and hoisting them over the shoulder) will minimize their chance of making noise while struggling. Ever see the movie "Hitman?" That's what I'm talking about.

The Vulcan Death Pinch. Quick and quiet.

Ha ha! I wish it were that simple, I would have a lot fewer problems at work!

11-30-2008, 08:25 AM
Yeah, I like the severing of the spinal cord up there at the top of the neck. How to do it so there is no struggle? Is there anything you can put in the airduct system that will knock people out? How much time do you need? Will you need kill them or just get them out of the way. Truely if you just sleep-ify them for a while it could be pretty silent.

11-30-2008, 08:33 AM
Is it a fantasy? You could have the knife enchanted so that anyone it stabs would instantly and completely spontaneously combust then implode with only the tiniest !poof! of disintegrating ash particles.

Handy for that quick kill, and instantly cleans up after itself. No bodies!

... ... and useful for cooking rabbits you snare on the road during the low-need-for-assassins-season.


11-30-2008, 08:40 AM
Yes, I've also read the 'dagger through the shoulder' at the base of the neck trick. Where did I read it? In a British World War Two field manual, complete with illustrations of the technique being used on Nazis. If memory serves, the illustrations also showed a hand over the mouth. So, hey, if they recommended it...

11-30-2008, 09:33 AM
Carbon monoxide makes people unconscious without realizing anything is wrong first (and then kills them noiselessly soon afterwards). The problems for your character would be:

1) Avoiding self-exposure

2) I assume the people being guarded need rescuing? They'd be exposed. However, if your character is after something inanimate such as files, no problem.

11-30-2008, 09:46 AM
A groovy sleep potion? Wasn't that used in the Mod Squad? Just get some fine chicks to walk in with a bota filled with the love juice and, Man, watch them drift off to la-la land. I guess without thinking of it, I think they would struggle too if they felt that they were "going under" especially if they suspected noxious fumes. Not being able to breath can be painful too. How about something toxic in the coffee thermous. I was also wondering are these guys ninjas or something? Assasans would never take a risk where the assasination would be in an enclosed space or something. I was just watching something about Black dog man or badge man the guy on the grassy knoll, (Kennedy assasination conspiracy theory) and several people saw him, it is possible he is even in a film (The funny-walking "cop"). The first thing that comes up in assasinations is disguise. I think that the killer is one of the securty guards. He just gives the other guys his grandma's magic brownies. They fall asleap. Why do you need blood on the floor? I think in realistic terms the assasin is a security guard. Probably one of the more "patriotic" ones.

11-30-2008, 05:39 PM
Quite a lot of guards who carry guns and are employed at important places are at least "wanna be" military and usually know about self defense. My brother was a guard and had a black belt-- just because he dug that kind of stuff.

Actually, you would be surprised at how little guards have more than basic self-defense training. Even in high-end security, the emphasis is more on observing and reporting the situation than on defending or crowd control.

Personally, I'd be advising something like chloroform. It's easy to administer and get ahold of, and it gets the guard out of the way for a decent amount of time. Better yet, no blood to spill out and so create a mess, which could create notice in and of itself (there's going to be some confusion, but at least the assumption will be that he moved rather than something else if blood is found).


01-10-2009, 08:17 AM
I guess if you are looking at ninja type moves, the nose break is the best. It has to be done very quickly with power to snap the bone and shove it into the brain but it causes instant death. There is another one that is done by striking the left chest just above the heart (snaps the aorta off the heart by the ligament that attaches them cutting through it) and over the Liver (the liver being bisected by a large ligament there) simultaneously. Both cause very rapid internal bleeding and I believe are fairly painless. There might be a grunt in surprise but no screaming, and no blood to clean up afterwards. Chemically you might try Pancuronium Bromide (Pavulon) It is one of the drugs used in lethal injection executions, and has been used by several infamous characters in real life murder. The dose would be 60 mcg/kg and given IV. It works in 90-120 seconds and full paralysis is achieved in 2-4 minutes. It will last for about 100 minutes. Brain death occurs in 4-5 minutes from hypoxia (lack of oxygen). If as someone suggested, you could use a blowgun dart or a tranq dart to administer it then wait for it to take affect. If you could use a tranq dart and inject it directly into the heart, I would wager that paralysis would occur in just a few beats of the heart, then the heart would be first to be paralyzed, causing death when the brain died from hypoxia in about 4 minutes with very little noise or mess. Hmm, logistics would be interesting. Either there would have to be someone set up to be the sniper, or the protagonist would have to have a syringe with a very long needle, but could do the deed from behind or from the front.
And finally there is the ever favorite Poison Dart Frog Poison. The toxin is a steroidal Alkaloid called Batrachotoxin and reacts rapidly but I could not find the exact amount of time. If the documentaries I have seen of rainforest natives is any indication, it is just seconds. The site I looked over states the amount to kill a 68 kg human (150 lbs) is 136 micrograms and the same as just 2-3 grains of table salt. It is not lethal unless it makes it into the blood stream, hence the dart is used by the natives to inject it. This Alkaloid is now being studied by numerous drug companies and might be the way for someone to steal some in concentrated form. (see the website at http://waynesword.palomar.edu/dartfrog.htm for more info). Hope these give you some ideas.

Mythical Tiger
01-10-2009, 08:34 AM
I know the question was asked a few monthes ago, but I'm still gonna give my 2 cents;).

How about he takes the knife, steps quietly behind his enemy, and like a snake he stabs the guy in the crotch[I heard it keeps them from screaming] and then stabs the guy either in the throat or head.

01-10-2009, 02:10 PM
In this subforum, we've had the following topics this week: how to kill people with knives, how doctors would kill people, how one would launder money and defraud the IRS, and what kind of gun a 12-year old would use to assassinate people. I wonder how many times this site has been flagged on FBI watch lists. :P

01-10-2009, 06:39 PM
I read a short story a while back about someone who killed by pulling a burlap sack over the victims head then slashing the throat. The idea was that the sack minimised sound and kept the blood from spraying all over the place. It worked in the story, no idea about real life though :)

01-11-2009, 03:13 AM
There's a scene in the movie Wolf Creek where one of the characters is killed by the bad guy. He stabs the girl somewhere in the lower back (I believe it's the kidneys) and twists the knife. While he's doing it, he comments how that "sponges" the organ to the point where survival is impossible. She sort of gasps but it's unable to scream. I'm not sure how accurate this is. Anybody's seen the movie and can say yes or no to this?