Bring a Machete to a Gun Fight

By Jason Hanson, former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author.

On a quiet summer night in Clearwater, Florida, Mr. and Mrs. Steve and Heather Aiosa awoke at 2:10 a.m. to find an intruder standing in the doorway of their bedroom. The intruder, later identified as Robert James Alcalde, began ransacking the bedroom while the frightened couple called 911.

Then Steve Aiosa retrieved his .22 rifle from underneath the bed and went outside to load it. But the rifle malfunctioned and wouldn’t fire. At this point, Heather Aiosa ran from the home to join her husband, the intruder following closely behind.

The criminal tackled Mrs. Aiosa, and a struggle ensued. Mr. Aiosa ran into the house to grab his machete, also from underneath the bed, and rushed back outside. The intruder was still on the ground fighting with Mrs. Aiosa. Mr. Aiosa hacked his legs repeatedly with the machete, causing large, gaping wounds.

Per Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, “It was a very, very bloody scene.” When the police arrived, homeowner and intruder were fighting over the rifle, so the responding officers stunned the suspect with a Taser. Mr. Alcalde was transported to the hospital, but due to the severity of the wounds on his legs, he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

The Kershaw Camp machete allows you to put more space between you and your attacker.

The Kershaw Camp machete allows you to put more space between you and your attacker.

As extreme as it sounds, Mr. Aiosa did the right thing. He used the necessary means to protect himself, his wife and his property. Who knows what the intruder would have done had Mr. Aiosa not struck him with the machete?

Obviously, this is a great lesson in preparation. Mr. Aiosa retrieved his gun, which malfunctioned, but thankfully, he had another weapon readily available. I’m a firm believer that a gun is the best tool for self-defense, but for this very reason it’s always wise to have a backup weapon. I strongly urge you to consider what other tools you could keep on hand that might save your life. Perhaps a baseball bat, a golf club, a knife or, yes, even a machete.

Now, I’m sure that when most people think about a machete, they picture someone clearing a path through the jungle, slicing away at the undergrowth. It’s true that in many tropical countries, the machete is used as an agricultural tool to clear brush, chop sugar cane, split wood and butcher animals for food. But the machete also makes a deadly improvised fighting tool. In fact, today the machete is still widely used in many parts of the world, both for agricultural purposes as well as for fighting.

Clearly, the machete has many uses, but is it realistic or necessary for you to own one? Obviously, it’s not practical to carry one on you for daily self-defense, but should you keep one in your car or your home as a backup weapon? If you were in a situation such as the Aiosa couple, what would you use as a second weapon?

Would a knife, for example, be a better option? Maybe not. The biggest advantage of a machete is that it allows you to attack from farther away. For a knife to be effective, you have to be very close to the threat, but a machete can cause damage from a greater distance.

The Ka-Bar Kukri is ergonomic for both combat and non-combat uses.

The Ka-Bar Kukri is ergonomic for both combat and non-combat uses.

Not only that, a machete’s size, makes it very intimidating. An attacker would probably think twice if they saw you wielding such a large blade. A machete would also be a better weapon to defend against wild animals.

And finally, it can still be used for agricultural and other nonviolent uses. If you’re interested in adding a machete to your gear, make sure you purchase a quality tool that will last. Check out the Kershaw Camp 18 Machete, which sells for around $46 on Defender Outdoors or the Ka-Bar Combat Kukri, which is about $75.

There are many different sizes and shapes when it comes to machetes. Shop around to find the best option for your needs. And just like I recommend always keeping your home defense gun loaded, always keep your machete sharp. You never know when you may need this versatile blade to defend your home.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA officer and New York Times bestselling author. After graduating from Radford University, Hanson joined the Arlington County Police Force. Not long thereafter, Jason set his sights on the Central Intelligence Agency. Once he was accepted into the CIA, he made a name for himself and received the CIA’s Exceptional Performance Award twice; once in 2005 and again in 2008. After over six years with the CIA, Hanson left to start a family and founded Spy Escape & Evasion with the goal of teaching men and women how to be safe using secrets and methods honed from years with the intelligence community. Then in 2014, Jason won a deal on the ABC hit show Shark Tank. Jason then authored his first New York Time Bestseller, Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life, and began expanding his spy instructing company by opening the 320-acre Spy Ranch. To get a free copy of his book or learn more about his training programs, visit

Would you bring a machete to a gun fight? Tell us your opinions below in the comments!

18 Comments On This Article

  1. I would rather have a second gun. My wife and I each have loaded bedside handguns, and also an AR-15 clone with a loaded mag but empty chamber under the bed (no children or other residents)

    • Not trying to be a jerk with this question, just an honest question, but what do you mean by “AR15 clone?” Are you talking about an AR style pistol caliber carbine?

  2. If I left my wife to fight an intruder I’d better come back with a handgun, or the intruder would be the lesser of my problems.

  3. have various edged weapons on each bedpost. have shotgun under bed. have warning signs in all windows {in english and spanish}. have fence around property. train every day in the use of all weapons. did i leave anything out?

    • Force Recon Marine

      Yeah your brain No one cares about warning signs cameras or locks Get a dog as an early warning system that way you have time to arm up. In my three combat tours in Vietnam carried the venerable K-BAR and IMHO it’s the best close combat weapon one can have my K-Bar saved my butt on several occasions

      • Semper Fi, buddy. I have my weapons including my trusty K-BAR, and my early warning system is my pootch. A nice BARK gets an evil doer’s attention such that they just might look for an easier target.

  4. I am a firm believer in edged weapons as a back-up when there is a SHTF event. However, I have more than one firearm available and ready placed throughout my home, which is a better back-up. This couple was lucky they were confronted with only one thug intruder. Had there been multiple intruders, this story may have a different ending. Keep a back-up firearm, and keep it loaded and ready to go in an emergency where seconds count.

  5. I’m glad the homeowner both had the machete and the will to use it. Good job. But I also hope he learned something out of the experience. The bedroom door was apparently easy to come though, he had an unloaded rifle as his defensive weapon . . . one that didn’t work, and he clearly wasn’t prepared to deal with a hostile intruder.

    My wife and I each have two handguns next to each of our sides of the bed, and I have a 12 gauge on my side (only the two of us in the house). We have bright flashlights and sleep with the door locked and blocked with a solid door stop. But we also have a couple of very efficient edged weapons within easy reach.

    Great article and great example. Always have a backup plan. Always.

  6. Multiple LOADED firearms, chamber included; multiple edged weapons; multiple tactical flash lights, including one with the blinding strobe mode. Trying to load a rifle under stress, no wonder it malfunctioned. An empty gun is just a bad club.

  7. Try a can of wasp spray by the bed. It shoots a solid spray of wasp killer 10 to 15 feet. It is very accurate and will immediately blind the intruder. We have a can by my wife’s side of the bed. I prefer my 40ca Glock.

  8. You need to be careful when carrying a machete as there some really crazy knife laws out there and it varies wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I am a land surveyor and carry either a ditchbank (Keyser) blade or a machete every day with a legitimate reason but there is a Glock 30 in my belt. I have had to defend myself against feral dogs and will tell you that a blade is not a better option just better than nothing. Those of use in Alabama are having a real problem with feral hogs right now and I seriously doubt that a blade will be of much help with 200 or so lbs. of mad sow let alone a boar twice that size. A couple well-placed rounds takes care of the situation. I keep the Glock in the bedside table and my wife has her Beretta in hers. There is a 12 ga. auto within reach.

  9. Ok guys The moral of the story Is Make sure you at least have one good functioning firearm And a fixed blade as a secondary weapon for any physical close quarter struggle ! Because it really suck if you have multiple firearms near or under your bed And somehow in intruder gets one of them Believe me I seen and heard some crazy stuff in Home invasion .



  11. First problem – the unloaded rifle, or a locked up gun. When you go to bed at night do a weapons check and make certain a round is chambered and the weapon is on safe – only if you KNOW you will be able to get it off safe and be able to fire before you are set upon by some bad guy. Second problem – Have a backup weapon near you ALWAYS. Never leave a loved one alone and fighting with the bad guy – by the time you get back you might be a widow or widower and still have to deal with an intruder who by now may be armed as well.

    If you are so paranoid or so unsure of your abilities you should not have a firearm of any sort in your possession. Yelling “I have a gun!” isn’t going to win the fight – you need to train and know what to do if the unthinkable happens. This is a grown up responsibility and every adult should take this very seriously; you may be called upon at any moment to defend your home and loved ones, so for God’s sake be prepared, have the tools you need and be confident in their use.

    I am glad the man had a machete but this barely missed being a horrible tragedy. Don’t become a tragic statistic.