choosing one or the other


July 22, 2008, 11:37 PM
I have always wanted to get an auto knife and i am finally going to do so. Its going to strictly be used for SD so hopefully its never gonna be used. Im planning on carrying it off duty on my weak side backing up my firearm.

If money wasnt an issue id get the Benchmade Infidel no questions asked out of the pure novelty of it and im sure its a great knife but i cant spend $400 on a pocket knife so...

I have narrowed it down to two choses- 1. SOG-Tac Auto or 2. Piranha Bodyguard.

any input?

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July 23, 2008, 12:37 AM
Hi, and welcome to The High Road.

I don't have enough familiarity with those two patterns to give you any advice there.

If you've been watching The High Road a while, and this sub-forum in particular, you will have seen quite a lot of discussion on "why knives suck for self defense."

We've got a handsome selection of professionally trained and experienced martial artists and knife gurus here, and their first response to "what knife for SD" is usually "none of the above."

If you do some searching of the threads here, you'll find ample material advising against carrying a knife for SD.

I'm sure you're also aware that the laws vary wildly from state to state, so have you to make sure you're up on the ordinances and state laws where you live.

JShirley and hso are two of our best advisers on knives and their defensive applications. I would listen attentively to what they have to say.

Tom Krein
July 23, 2008, 10:50 AM
I would advise against an automatic knife for self defense!


For a couple of reasons...

1. a good one handed knife (Spyderco, Emerson, Benchmade, etc.) is actually quicker to open.

2. A good one handed knife is markedly less expensive for the same level of quality.

3. The main reason is that a good one handed knife is also MUCH more reliable! Yep, an automatic knife is a high maintenance blade! Carry it for a few weeks without cleaning it and pocket lint/dirt may keep it from opening all the way and locking. I feel a lower maintenance blade is better for self defense.

4. There is also the issue of legality, but it sounds like you are a police officer.

Any one of those might be a deal breaker for me, all together and there is no way that I would choose an automatic knife for self defense! If you want one because they are cool, that is different. Just don't trust your well being to one if you can help it.


Tom Krein
July 23, 2008, 10:55 AM
Forgot to post this in the above post... sorry for posting twice in a row. I don't like to edit my posts if it can be helped.

ArfinGreebly, I would humbly disagree that a knife is not a good defensive tool.

Up close (touching distance) they can be VERY effective. More so than a firearm in my opinion.

With a very little training/knowledge a blade can be used to VERY good effect.

Remember its the mind set and not the weapon that determines if a weapon will be effective!


July 23, 2008, 11:02 AM
Welcome to THR!

Tom has covered it pretty well. Automatics are usually more of a collector item, since there are so many really good one-handed knives out there.

One thing you really need to consider is style. Do you have any training in using a knife? There are some schools that teach using a weak-hand knife to hold an attacker off so the handgun can be drawn. Different schools teach using a knife in different ways, so some knives will be more useful for those with training than others.

Spyderco actually designed one knife, the Civilian (, expressively for those LEO without edged weapons training to use in SD situations. Since it is such a dedicated tool, in general, I would be more likely to suggest something with a little more versatility, like the D'Allara ( You can get one of these strong and dependable knives for about $75, delivered.

As far as effectiveness goes, at extremely close range, I believe a large knife is at least as effective as anything else, if used well. I also believe that a knife is a better offensive tool than a defensive/reactive one, which opens up a whole 'nuther debate about SD.


July 23, 2008, 11:16 AM
There are better tools for SD than a knife, but that doesn't mean that a knife can't be effective.

Legally, you may only be permitted to carry an auto while on duty. Check the local laws to verify if this is the case so that you're informed.

SOG-Tac Auto or Piranha Bodyguard? Both good autos from good companies. They're both coil spring plunge button autos using a well established mechanism.

Why an auto instead of a one hand opener? I don't agree that a one hand opener is faster than an auto, but I don't think that autos are any faster to deploy than most one hand openers either. Add to that the fact that fine motor skills needed to trigger an auto may not be up to the job (of course many one hand openers are difficult to manipulate when the adrenaline dumps into the system). Even though I collect autos I would not choose to carry one for SD. There's just too much to go wrong with an auto compared to a manual.

If you can carry a small fixed blade, do so over a folder and carry a one hand opener over an auto.

OTOH, if you're certified for an ASP I'd carry that any day for SD with an inexpensive Spydie Native. ;)

July 23, 2008, 11:27 AM
if you're certified for an ASP I'd carry that any day for SD

I thought that, too.

Being alert is the most important attribute. If you let someone get too close, most people won't have the ability to use an ASP (since doctrine is to swing it), or use it to push, which doesn't tend to damage the attacker nearly as much.

If you have time to expand your training with it, though, you can even use it collapsed, as an extremely effective kubaton. If you can detect a threat before it gets too close, you can use all the additional standoff to keep something like an aggressive dog back.


July 25, 2008, 05:48 PM
thanks guys for all the sound advice... let me start by saying yes i am LE so i could carry an auto both on and off duty and the point i was getting at by saying it was for self defense was that it wasnt going to be used as a day to day tool so i didnt have to worry about wearing it out.

ive had some limited training with a knife (ka-bar TDI). basically using a knife with your weakside hand to cut an attacker off of your firearm until you can get back and draw. in that life or death situation it seems it would be very simple but effective.

Tom, you really kinda more or less nailed it when you said something about wanting one because they are cool. it really does come down to always having been infatuated by auto knifes and switchblades because they are much more unique and now i can actually legally have one. also like i said earlier if i had the money id buy a double action otf because they seem to be the most unique but either of these others for the price seemed very nice.

chances are ill convince myself to save my money and not make an unnecessary purchase and stick to carrying my gerber that ive had for 2 or 3 years that i paid twenty some bucks for at gander mountain and can open one handed, left or right, and its a great little knife with a nice and sharp blade thats easy to maintain.

thanks again

July 25, 2008, 08:33 PM
Just another take on a Benchmade Auto. Eleven years ago I received a 9050 AFO as a retirement gift. I own a small farm which I have worked since retirement and the auto has been in my pocket every day. I used it as a tool and can attest to its strength and ruggedness. It has had hard, hard use and has responded every time. I carry it in my jeans and it gets dirty and has never, never failed to work when I pressed the button. It has worked 100% of the time. Eleven years later it looks like hell but it works as well as ever. I live in Oregon and they are legal here.

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