a knife for the wife


August 17, 2010, 12:34 AM
my wife is bound and determined not to carry a firearm (which i can understand given the fact that she wont use it if needed.) but she has agreed to let me teach her to use a knife. she will carry this with her and it will be her main line of defense, so to speak.

my question is thus:

i am well versed in knife "techniques" (BIG air quotes here as i think they are mostly useless) and train military and law enforcement in hand to hand and knife defense. these guys use their M16s or benchmades, etc... and are all full sized and heavier than she would like. i am just not up to date on the more recent products.

she has taken a shine to my gen 1 spyderco clipit endura which i may give her if she really wants. however, i would like to find her something else since i love that knife dearly. :) i only have a few qualifications: light weight, at least a 3.5 inch blade, folding with lock. i PREFER a finger groove or some other secure hold for her. and i dont want to spend tons of money (around 50-60 bucks would be ideal).

any suggestions?

If you enjoyed reading about "a knife for the wife" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
August 17, 2010, 02:19 AM
I'm not particularly well versed in using a knife for self defense, but there isn't anything even vaguely attractive about the prospect of using a knife for self defense at contact distances.

John Shirley and hso will be able to discuss at greater depth, but I cannot recommend a knife as a primary defensive weapon.

Now, with adequate training and practice, that might change, but it strikes me that there's a lot of invested time and effort required to achieve that.

Perhaps a knife beats having nothing for protection, but I think there may be a better option.

I will invite those with the training and experience to comment further.

Perhaps you could expand on the context?

August 17, 2010, 07:01 AM
I especially don't think a knife sized for convenient daily carry is adequate as a "main line of defense". Depending on your locale, pepper spray and a Taser may be more useful.

August 17, 2010, 07:05 AM
while i carry a knife most of the time and
it is together with a can of pepper-pray my
SD tools ... i would strongly advise against it
unless intensive training is included.

What about this?



It´s cute in the purse and effective in case.
Combined with some SD-class ...

my 02$

August 17, 2010, 07:11 AM
Or a mini MagLite-sized flashlight and some Kubotan techniques. Less chance of blood if actually used, and legal almost everywhere, even most "sterile" environments.

August 17, 2010, 08:16 AM
OK. I'll take the contrarian position. Get the wife a good, solid defensive knife if that's what she wants. The most important thing is the achievement of confidence. We know this. The best way to avoid problems is to survive the victim selection process.

Back when I worked in a blue-collar job, a gal on the line carried a small fixed-blade in a holster on her hip. She called it "my pig-sticker." It gave her a lot of confidence.

Some of us martial artists who train with knives fall into a kind of trap where we start to think that knife defense is some arcane and difficult art. It is very possible to forget that most women have been cooking their entire lives. They use knives every day. They trim roasts, they cut apart chickens, they are comfortable and highly skilled with using blades to separate meat from bone and cartilage and they know exactly what knives can do. They may be much more comfortable with a knife than with a firearm.

The smaller 4" Cold Steel Ti Lite is a possible recommendation here. I carry the larger one, but I'm looking to add the 4" to my EDC options as it's an easier carry and every bit as effective. It has outstanding intimidation value and, I will strongly argue, the defensive uses of a knife fall into the same statistics as firearms: The majority of successful uses do not require bloodletting. The mere possession of the weapon and presentation when needed defuse the majority of cases encountered.

Nobody wants to walk into a knife blade. Some people I know are more afraid of knives than they are of guns. And if the wife carries a knife and is happy with that, then later she may consider stronger measures when she's ready. A big "no" to kubotans - they offer little to nothing to the untrained user.

August 17, 2010, 08:29 AM
I'm going to take a different tack.

While I agree completely that a small knife is a poor choice for self defense and I'd recommend chemical spray and the vicious kitty key rings/kubatons/flashlights first, I've known relatively small knives to be used to get attackers off of women with a simple panic driven stab and twist. I've always taken that to mean that the attacker in those cases was an opportunistic predator instead of a determined psychopath so take it with that caveat (but nothing's going to help with a determined psychopath).

If she's only willing to carry a knife (foolish one point of failure decision) and she's willing to train with it I would first recommend a small fixed blade if she'll carry it as a neck knife. If a folder is all that will be carried I'd recommend clipping a Delica or Endura to the bra (my wife carries that way).

Is your wife a slacks/shorts or a skirt/dress sort of person? Pull-over tops or button blouses? Does she work at home or out of the home? What sort of work? What sort of hours? Is her schedule gym/work/shop/home or is she required to go places that are less suburban and safe? All this changes how and what she can conveniently carry.

I advise that you have a colleague (or professional trainer) provide her training instead of you since training spouses if fraught with problems. It isn't a matter of competence of the trainer, but it's difficult to create the level of stress needed to work through drawing and presenting the weapon (kubaton, vicious kitty, knife) simulating attack when you're working with someone you love.

August 17, 2010, 08:52 AM
while i disagree that a small knife in insufficient for self defense, if she's not willing to use a gun in her own defense, i don't believe that she'd be wiling to use a knife, either, even with training. using lethal force is more than just practiced techniques, it's a mindset, one your wife doesn't seem to have, or want. i'm afraid that when faced with a threat, she'd have her knife taken from her and used against her.

using a knife is using deadly force; if she won't shoot someone, she won't cut them, either. she'll be better off with non-lethal tools, like a taser or pepper spray.

August 17, 2010, 09:04 AM
give her a gen 4 zytel endura

I don't know enough to argue whether a knife or whatever is better at promoting self defense, but as a cutting tool, I enjoy using the gen 4 spyderco endura. Handled one today, going to pick up one at the end of the week. I'm sure you can find them around 60 bucks if you shop around.

August 21, 2010, 02:39 PM
jahwarrior couldn't have said it better. I've always said there are three basic things that comprise a human being the physical, the mental and the emotional. If the three of them aren't prepared or in sync with each other then she could be in a lot of trouble. Hurting someone isn't a difficult thing to acheive but killing a person, even if your life or the life of a loved one is in danger, can be a very hard leap to make.

But keeping on the subject, I've had a lot of success as a bouncer using the E2D Defender made by Surefire http://www.surefire.com/E2D-Executive-Defender. It's bright enough to blind someone even with their eyes closed/be used to signal for help at long distances, holding it in your hand is like holding a roll of dimes and essentially turns your hand into a solid brick and it has gouging bezels on either side of it to manipulate or maim anyone you choose to use it on. It's a bit pricey but their built like tanks and will last for a looooong time, so you can get a used one for a fraction of the cost and still feel good about it.

August 21, 2010, 03:19 PM
Kind of subject I can offer no advice on as my mother, MIL, wife, daughters, granddaughters, and all female members of my extended, blended, family have, or had (deceased) the mind set not to be a victim. All carry except one who is disqualified, and all would rather use spray or a kick to the gonads rather than a knife.

That said you are on the right track getting her to think about her personal safety.

August 21, 2010, 03:44 PM
I'll give you my recommendation, but please clarify something for me - is her reluctance towards the firearm because of the gun ITSELF, as in afraid of handling it, possible injury to herself? or is she hesitant to shoot a human? because if she's not ok with shooting humans, i doubt she'll possess the sheer ferocity it takes to start shanking one, repeatedly :( it's something to consider, all the tools in the world can't make you do something you're just programmed not to.

I think people are way too quick to discredit a knife as a viable SD tool. they have been used, once or twice, by totally untrained people to inflict serious injury on humans. don't misunderstand, I feel there are better options (especially for the ladies) and I do think training is VERY important. I'm just saying, it's not as hard as some would suggest to cut somebody up. I've known a few people on both ends of the hilt.

My wife carries a Kershaw Blur. I chose this because it is spring assisted (less chance of only a partial opening), light weight, girly color (red one), no safety, and a very easy to engage thumb stud. I will also be getting her a pink Izula to wear around her neck, for cutting tasks around the house (FB's are easier to clean), but it'll also be her option to choose which one she wants to carry out and about.

i'll suddenly say "PULL YOUR KNIFE" out of the clear blue, sometimes, right in mid sentence just to see how fast she's getting :D you might wanna tell yerz this is a condition of being gifted a tactical knife.

i know chix never seem to dress with concealment options in mind, but see if she has room to carry OC spray set up to be used with her left hand because it's easier to use a knife against people when they can't see you :) NOTE - i do NOT consider OC a sufficient means of SD by itself, nor a taser.

i really have to disagree with the idea of a kubotan instead of a knife, they are both tools that require contact to be made with the attacker and the contact is exponantially more effective with a blade. the only real advantage i see with a short stick is it doesn't need to be unfolded.

August 21, 2010, 07:31 PM
i really have to disagree with the idea of a kubotan instead of a knife, they are both tools that require contact to be made with the attacker and the contact is exponantially more effective with a blade. the only real advantage i see with a short stick is it doesn't need to be unfolded.

Yes, both require contact. However, and this is just my opinion, people are a heck of a lot less likely to hesitate whacking someone with a kubotan than they are with opening someone up with a knife. Have you ever seen knife wounds? I am guessing you have, and you should know that at best they are horrific, at worst they are ghastly. Almost without fail there will be blood. Now, have you ever seen a kubotan wound? Thought not.

Of course, the idea is to get your attacker to leave you alone or to give yourself enough time to escape the situation. No doubt a knife can do that, but it requires a good deal of training, a willingness to open someone up or to poke holes in them, and the mindset to do both.

I think most people have some very, very unrealistic ideas in their heads when they start carrying a knife for self defense, and I think a good number of those people are going to get that same knife rammed repeatedly into their sternum as a result. I personally am no advocate of knife fighting and have never once given a thought to what I carry in my pocket as it regards self defense. Of course I know I always have a knife on me, and If I need to stab someone, I will. I have seen lots of horrible stuff in my life, and have a deep understanding of the "Them or me" point of view. That being said, it will be the absolute last line of defense. I really don't want to get covered in some crooks blood, nor do I want to spill any of mine but the cold reality of knife fighting is that both are very probably going to happen.

Carl Levitian
August 22, 2010, 11:11 AM
I have to admit that this thread gives me some very mixed feelings.

Why does the wife object to a gun? This can have a very disaterous end if she has a really big problem with hurting a person, like was mentioned by another poster. On the other hand, could it be a culteral thing?

In some places outside of the wasp U.S.of A., it's very customary for women to use knives for other than kitchen work. Some places in Latin America and Southeast Asia are such. My own better half, who is half Mexican on her mothers side, is very comfortable with a knife, and all her maternal family, who live in Matamoros Mexico and are employed in the citrus industry in Harlingen Texas, also known as 'the valley' all carry large hawkbills including the women folk.

A longtime co-worker of mine was from Vietnam. Dep was an attractive lady who actually loved a good sharp knife. She came from a culture where it was not customary to own a firearm, but the women were very familiar with very sharp knives and what to do with them.

Is the original posters wife from such a culture?

If not, and is just not wanting to really kill to protect herself, then theres some self delusions taking place. If push comes to shove, using a knife is going to get messy in a horrible way very fast.

On the other hand...

Lots of bad people know this too. Most criminals people run into are not the 250 pound crack addict that is an unstoppable foe. They are for the most part, cowards, lowlifes, just looking for an easy score be it a purse snatching, or a quick rape for the power trip. They are not looking for a knife fight or being stabbed. If the would be victim has even a bit of situational awareness and sees it coming, a knife can be a deterrent. Just like according to the N.R.A., that the mere presence of a firearm deters crime, sometimes the sight of a knife armed would be victim ready to fight, will deter a crime as well. I know this because twice in the last few years I have pulled a knife and stood ready to fight, and both times my would be attackers wanted no part of me. It was a sudden change in attitude.

In one case I was in condition white, and was caught off guard, and all I had on me was a ridiculous little Buck Hartsook and harsh language. The two young punks decieded not to relieve me of my wallet and cell phone as they had demanded, and ran off. The other time a huge body builder bully type told me I was going to get a good a$$ kicking, but changed his mind instantly when he saw a humble Opinel in my hand. He was about three of me, at least, but he didn't want any part of that knife. A young would be Conan The Barbarian backed off from a white haired old crock with a Opinel number 8. The lesson was not lost on me.

If the original posters wife has a culture based objection to a gun, but can use a knife, it just may work for her. But she has to mean it, not bluff. The tool is only as good as the users intent to use it. Not to mention training in tactics best suited to the lady in question. Women are in general smaller and weaker, so the training is not the same tactics as a man would use. A young lady of my wife's aqaintance thru her work with abused women, is a small little lady named Kate. Kate spent most of her life working as a "éxotic dancer" in some of Washington D.C.'s topless dives. Early in her so called career, the head bouncer, a biker guy, taught her to use a box cutter for defense. It was small and flat to conceal in even very skimpy clothing, but greatly effective when the women went for the attackers hands, always the hands. Kate was taught that going for the body with a knife extended a female too far, and a box cutter could slash hands when ever they went to strike or grab at her. Hands have lots of tendons and nerves close to the surface and easy to sever. The dancers were taught to cut the hands and create an escape opening. The object was not to win the fight, but just get away.

Sometimes a woman can use a knife very well. In the end, it's up to them.


August 22, 2010, 11:50 AM
ok while i appreciate all of the anecdotes and advice on how to change my wifes mind about what makes her feel more confident let me just say that "THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN."

she has made up her mind and thats good enough for me. ive tried to change it over the last 10 years....not happening. so again...................................


thanks to all of those who gave their suggestions.

August 22, 2010, 12:37 PM
Then try a CRKT M16. Decent quality knife, inexpensive if something happens to it or it gets lost and is very quick to deploy with a flick of your finger.

August 22, 2010, 12:53 PM
I don't know very much about knifes... that's my son-in-laws thing. But you listed a knife in your post a spyderco clipit endura. I've never seen one but I did a online search for a knife auction house. The search returned the following site with a Knife that best matched the one you listed. If you are not in a rush to buy you might be able to find a matching knife to the one you love.


August 22, 2010, 01:43 PM
Why not just buy her another Endura from Spyderco? If nothing else, it will give her a knife for more mundane chores, if nothing else.

My wife, who has a CCW, also carries a Spyderco Delica for use at work. She's the Back-up Drug/GM Manager in a Kroger, and cuts plastic wrapping, cableing, and cardboard every day.

I have no doubt that she would use the knife if need be. She also understands that, against another knife-wielder, she's going to get cut. Her primary weapon is a gun. The knife would be used to clear the way to allow the use of her primary.

Knife-fighting is a highly peculiar art. There are multiple styles, recommending specific types of knife, and just about all of them guarantee that the users will be cut in anything even close to a same-level contest. It hurts, and you bleed, but must be focused enough to continue the battle.

The ideal use of a knife is to scare the opponent away before anyone gets hurt.

Black Toe Knives
August 22, 2010, 02:52 PM
Knife for the wife? That sound like a fair trade.

August 22, 2010, 03:18 PM
A couple more thoughts now that there's more comment available.

It's clear enough to me that most women, by the time they're approaching adulthood, will be intimately familiar with the use of knives and be extremely comfortable with them. They will have cut themselves countless times and have learned to use them safely.

From paring knifes to meat cleavers, most women will be knowledgeable about handles, blade design, and the art of selecting the right tool for the job.

Some of the comments here have gone wildly astray. They assume that a woman using a knife for SD will be in a battle to the death and lack the skills necessary for a brutal knife engagement that requires multiple close-quarter deep hits, with rolling around and bleeding and everybody cut and slashed and blood everywhere - the typical ugly result of a knife fight.

I don't think that's operative here at all. Let me ask you: Ever tried to give a cat a bath? Bet you didn't try it twice. A knife for defensive purposes can be used akin to the way a cat uses its claws - as a slashing-ripping-hacking weapon that dissuades further attempts at molestation. There's no reason why a woman (or a man, for that matter) needs to take a knife fight to the bitter end.

For the woman who wants to use a knife as a general SD tool, it's normally going to be enough to impress upon the attacker that he's walking into a buzzsaw. He'll probably discover, if he's been poked, slashed at and gouged a bit, that doing something else is a better idea. And that's how I think most women feel about carrying a knife. They envision some guy starting to give them a bad time and a few pokes and so forth are going to be enough to allow an escape. Usually, I think that's going to be a winning bet.

I'd trust a woman with any sense at all to be able to select her own knife. Give her a catalog and let her make her own picks. We've learned that this is best with handguns - let her handle and manipulate a bunch and let her pick the one that gives her the most confidence and matches her skills and abilities.

Maybe you like the K-Bar or some such. She might decide on more utilitarian blade like an Opinel. And as was pointed out in this excellent discussion (http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25384) on knives for women:

An aggressive looking knife with an aggressive sounding name may be perfectly legal by the books, but it may not go over very well with the jury deciding your case of self-defense. You are much more likely to get off on a self-defense ruling if you defended yourself with a "Remco Model 3 Fisherman" with a plain, non-coated blade and simple handle, than if you were to use a "Falcon Deathstalker X" with the skullbuster pommel.

August 22, 2010, 03:31 PM
Knife for the wife? That sound like a fair trade.

Black toe for the win! No thats funny right there ( with footnote to Larry the Cable Guy)

August 23, 2010, 04:29 PM
janobles 14 -

i'm sure some have said you should steer her towards guns, but i haven't. there are a few of us, here, that aren't recommending that but do need to know where the reluctance towards the firearm is coming from because "can't shoot someone" normally means "can't stab someone" also. this is what we're trying to figure out.

and to whoever it was (don't remember yer name sorry) that said that the kubotan would be better for someone reluctant to really disrupt human tissue, YES i see what you're saying - it's the weapon for people who isn't comfortable really gettin dirty. if the OP's wife does have a reluctance to hurting humans, the kubotan might be right for her.

but to answer you're question - KERSHAW BLUR :D

August 23, 2010, 05:38 PM
any suggestions?

Sure. If she likes the first gen Endura, she'll like the Endura4 even better. Be sure to get her an Endura4 trainer as well.
You can get both for about $110 shipped.

For the same price, you can get her a FFG Endura4 in a color other than black, if she'd prefer that.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
There are two more colors on page 7.

Joe Demko
August 23, 2010, 05:47 PM
The Kimber Guardian Angels strike me as a better option than a small knife.

August 23, 2010, 10:52 PM
Have her look at the following

Endura 4 flat ground (nice colors)
Cold steel 3" or 4" serrated vaquero
Spyderco harpy frn (sprint run I think), serrated or plain edge

For another knife to keep nearby the serrated hawkbill ladybugs by spyderco would be nice. A small knife on a breakaway lanyard could be nice if a larger one was lost, inaccessible, or taken by a bad person.

For nonlethal encounters the $15 spitfire oc keychain is a must. Inconspicuous and effective. She must have an alternative that is nonlethal. Remember lethal force scenarios start as nonlethal encounters most times. Best if she can stop it, preescalation.

August 23, 2010, 11:36 PM
For about $100.00... RAT DPx HEST

August 24, 2010, 12:13 AM
So if she already likes your Endura why not let her pick a new one out herself? Commonly available in your price range, familiar ergonomics, good quality, what's not to like? Throw a speed dialer in for her to carry it in neck carry and she's set.

August 24, 2010, 06:22 PM
I will invite those with the training and experience to comment further.


Not all people should carry a gun. This especially includes people who aren't comfortable with guns, and those who won't train to an exceptional level to where they would actually use the gun in a fight. To use a gun in a fight, most people need to see the fight coming from a ways off, they wouldn't know what to do if they had to draw the gun and fire at a moving target, or while they themselves were moving. Most firearm training is done NRA Bullseye style, with the shooter standing still, or in some IPSC stance, shooting at a stationary target, which does nothing to prepare the shooter to actually fight with a gun in the real world where attackers and defenders move or die. This includes most shooters, many here, of course :uhoh:

I spent a year getting my @$$ kicked in an exceptionally brutal family system of Kali. It turns out that a knife can be fine for self defense, as can a ball point pen, a shoe, a brick, a pipe, or any number of other items that we use and walk past day to day. Everyone, men and women (including those who carry guns) should know how to fight with or against sticks, knives, and bare hands. Anyone who doesn't know how to fight without a gun stands a good chance of being out done in a real fight, even if they have their gun.

I tell women (and men) that I care about to go train in Kali, Escrima, JKD, Win Chung, or any other realistic martial arts school in the area that understands that people in the real world have knives, and you'd better learn to fight with and against them. Sadly, most won't put forth the effort :(

If someone doesn't want to learn to fight with, and carry, a gun don't force it. Winning a debate won't instill the situational awareness, attitude, and skill needed to fight with a gun, or anything else.

OP, if your wife will learn to fight with the knife, awesome! Train her up! My wife carries the Boker Subclaw daily. It is small and flat and probably the best knife, for the task, that can be carried everywhere:


My favorite small knife, by far, is the Spyderco Lava. I've started working in an office where a big knife would be a poblem. My Lava, with its 2" blade, isn't theatening to anyone, in apperance, but the handle allows for a very secure grip and the blade cuts like a bigger knife:


Both knives were designed by martial artist Chad Los Banos, who knows quite a bit about playing with knives.

Good luck training the wife :)

August 24, 2010, 06:33 PM
Sadly, most won't put forth the effort Agreed
If someone doesn't want to learn to fight with, and carry, a gun don't force it. Winning a debate won't instill the situational awareness, attitude, and skill needed to fight with a gun, or anything else.. Agreed
if your wife will learn to fight with the knife, awesome!:D

August 27, 2010, 08:11 PM
I've heard wasp spray is even better than pepper spray. Never tested the notion, however, and never asked an expert. If it IS better than pepper spray...hey, go for it. Now I gotta research that. I'm a big fan of multiple backup options.

August 27, 2010, 08:23 PM
I'm the only female member of my family who will even publicly express the opinion that the attacker is better off hurt/deceased than herself. I'm also the only one who owns/carries a simple pocketknife. And jahwarrior is absolutely right. It's all about mindset. Something else to consider if it hasn't been done already is to teach situational awareness until it's not even something that has to be consciously thought about. Just being aware of one's surroundings and knowing how to interpret them and act accordingly, even if one is dead-set against carrying defensive weapons, can be a lifesaver. Again, thinking defensively is all about mindset too, however, and even today, a LOT of women expect other people (men in particular) to defend them/rescue them. I know some of them. They're my female cousins and my aunts...anyway.

August 27, 2010, 09:53 PM

Welcome to NFW/THR. You don't even have to be a raging paranoid to learn situational awareness. Folks who like to "people watch" and guess what each person in a crowd is doing there and going where have situational awareness that isn't based on concern for safety. Just learning to people watch while remembering that the rare person is about something unsavory is a good skill to teach.

August 28, 2010, 10:28 AM
Remembering an old joke.

A knife for the Wife.

Now thats a good trade!!

Sorry could not resist the inner child. :)

If you enjoyed reading about "a knife for the wife" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!