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Defensive Knives?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Cosmoline, Oct 18, 2013.

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  1. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    What's the thinking behind using a short blade for self defense? I was under the impression they were pretty poor at actually stopping an attack until you get to the short sword level.

    How will that help? If they push the door in, you're stuck behind it. If they shoot you, you're shot. It seems to me the knife is giving you a false sense of security. Shouldn't answer the door anyway.
  2. Lone Star

    Lone Star Well-Known Member

    Re the post about short knives, Rex Applegate told me that a six-inch blade will reach most vital zones on most people. I think he had the background to know that. Rex trained most OSS and many CIA agents, and studied their combat reports. R.W. Loveless said that his "serious" customers ordered knives with six or seven inch blades.

    I gather that I know how to use a knife against people better than you do. And I don't stand where the door will get me behind it. And I get a gun instead of a knife if the circumstances are especially suspicious, in which case I usually DON'T answer the door. If it gets bashed in, someone is going to get shot. (The door chain is mainly there to show evidence that a safeguard was forced.)

    A really long knife is actually more difficult to use well, and is not needed, if you know what you're doing.
  3. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

    That is a complex issue.

    Even a short blade capable of inflicting gruesome fight ending injuries.

    Knife wound to face. Gore. Not for the squeamish.:uhoh:

    Cuts to the hands or forearms can sever tendons.

    A snap cut to the neck can be fatal.

    By way of anecdote, a few years ago the town drunk in my hometown shuffled out of his mortal coil after being poked with with a 3-blade stockman. DRT.

  4. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Completely wrong.

    Any knife greater than 4" will reach vital organs when used in a fight. While you have greater reach with a sword you aren't fighting swordsmen with that same reach.
  5. herrwalther

    herrwalther Well-Known Member

    When going over knife choice you will have the same give and take compromising relationship you have with firearms. You can conceal a smaller knife easier but will have less damage potential: shorter blade and probably shorter handle. Can a trained person do some damage with a sword? Yes. Can he carry it as well as a 4" folder? Probably not.
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I agree with the above.

    A serrated 3" Spyderco Delica or 4" Rescue folder could / would cut someone's arm tendons half off in one swipe.
    Or juggler vein or femoral or biracial artery.

    Either one to the temple or eye socket would result in almost instant DRT.

    Most assailants would go find an emergency room if they could, after they found their strong right arm no longer functioned, and/or they were instantly bleeding to death from their crotch on your front porch.

    As the wise man once said.
    It's not the size of the tool, it's how you slice & dice with it.

    Or something like that?? :confused:

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  7. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I've seen some really nasty cuts in cases over the years. But they don't reliably seem to *end* fights quickly enough. Even if they're later fatal. And doesn't even the best knife attack require you to expose your own body to counter-attack? Whether from a knife, gun or just grappling. The OSS guys trained to use them as a backup because they weren't always going to be able to have rifles or handguns. And of course they also essentially trained to kill people with them in circumstances that had nothing to do with self defense.

    What is it you think you'd be able to do with that knife to prevent someone from attacking or shooting you when you open the door?

    He has arms, so he has your same reach. Heck if we're reduced to non-firearms then I want a spear at least. Surely the goal is to be where he can't grab you or tackle you but you can stop him.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    While I agree with that.

    There are several vital organs just below the skin, under the arm pits, crotch, and head.

    You just have to know where they are to be deadly lethal with a small folder.

    While not always easy to reach in a struggle?
    You can't usually draw and swing a sword in a lot of hand to hand struggles either!

    Even a bayonet is too long in many cases when it gets to a bad breath range fight for your life.

  9. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Well true, but I thought that's why we train to put distance between us and the threat. Grappling is just bad all around.
  10. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

    Have you ever boxed?

    If so, imagine that every fast jab has 2" of blade in it and could gouge out an eye, slice off a nose, or at bare minimum, open your assailant up to the bone.

    Knife fights are ugly, messy business.
  11. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    While a long blade may be required to reach major organs, I dont see the absolute need for that ability in a defensive situation. I carry 3 different knives, (not at the same time!) all automatic. A very flat cheapie is the Boker Kalashnikov Auto, which not what I prefer wouldnt be so painful to loose at 35 bucks or so delivered. Its blade is Razor sharp, I carry it when wearing a suit.

    The other, which is in my pocket now, is a Rex Applegate/Fairourn Gerber Covert Auto. Blade is 3 7/8 length. Positive fast action, slender and more of a "poking knife" than a slasher, but it is honed razor sharp, and has a serrated section on the blade.

    All time favorite is the Benchmade Adamus automatic. It has a blade a full 1/8 inch+ thick, extreme positve lock and a blade 1/2 serated/ 1/2 sharp edge and a strong large easy to grip handle. It is very strong and extremely sharp. A great defensive knife for fending off attempted strikes. If you swing hard at me and punch this blade, it will split the hand in half to the wrist. Shorter than the aformentioned 6-7 inches, it can inflict horrific injury through coat, shirt, etc.
    A forearm could be filleted to the bone. A quick slash across the forehead is quite blinding.....as are a few hacked off fingers from a grab attempt.

    I am not in the military on patrol having to dispatch sentry, etc. I would only seek to defend from attack, and if that can be accomplished without death,
    Good. I think these blades are plenty good in length for these purposes. Otherwise, while not very concealable, I have always like the Kabar Marine Corps Fighting Knife. I think it is 7 inches on the blade. I dont need one that long, I could defend myself with a box cutter if necessary!

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Yeah, which is why it seems like a better idea to never get into one. While you're doing all that to him, he can do it to you or worse. And he won't just be standing there taking it. It seems to me that a knife fight is one of the most difficult of all fights to survive, let alone win. In entering one you've given up all advantages of distance and exposed yourself to whatever he can dish out.
  13. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    Sometimes you may have no choice. I have no intention of squaring off in a knife fight.
    It is a quick surprise weapon. You shouldnt be ripping into anyone unless seriously threatened to the point a reasonable person would be in imminent fear of death or serious bodily injury. I f they are intent on seriously hurting you, some good knife technique can be a life saver. I never, ever leave my personal safety to the "good nature" of someone intent on doing me harm, robbing me, etc. I would hate to have a situation like that come up with no knife or anything. There are many places I cant go with weapons, most of my work is in Court Houses, so that is impossible....but I really hate not being armed, preferably with firearm....but in a pinch a knife isnt bad.

  14. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    Yes, knives are graphically messy and bloody for sure....ever see the result of a headshot from a large caliber firearm?

  15. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    So do I, but the difference between fantasy and reality in the here and now is that you won't have a spear or a sword and all that matters is what you have on you all the time. At least one or both of you will have gun, club, or knife, but neither of you will have fantasy medieval weapons. Dealing with the real world means not getting caught up with what might have been optimal 500 years ago. A knife with a typical blade length of 4 inches is what you will have or deal with. We don't have to face a guy with a spear or sword regardless of how much our medieval counterparts would want one.

    But the misconception that a knife with a 4" blade won't reach vital organs when in a real fight is simply based off the misunderstanding of anatomy. When you punch someone their flesh collapses a surprising amount. Even the ribcage itself flexes. That means a forcefully delivered slash or thrust compresses as well as rends flesh and that improves the reach of weapons. I've trained off and of for years and a lot of people don't understand that it doesn't take more than a 4" knife to penetrate a lung or the heart. Sure you won't be lopping off heads or arms, but you can end most fights without needing a boat anchor's worth of steel .
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Have you?

    Knife fights are nothing at all like a shooting.

    The aftermath of a shooting is a mess, for sure.

    The aftermath of a knife fight is total carnage.

    With only one survivor, if one of the participants is very very lucky.

    A deep knife wound, or several, from a very sharp knife is less survivable then a gunshot wound.

    Both combatants will be bleeding like a fountain, and there is very little a first response team can do to stop it.

  17. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    First of all, I think that when considering a knife as a self-defense weapon, people tend to focus too heavily on the knife-vs-knife scenario--and in particular the skilled knifefighter-vs-skilled knifefighter scenario.

    My guess is that the latter is so vanishingly rare that it's really not worth considering at all and even the former is going to be pretty uncommon. I suspect that knives are most often deployed in self-defense against unarmed attackers or attackers armed with contact weapons other than knives.

    Second, I think that most self-defense weapon use is against attackers who were hoping for unarmed victims, not against attackers who went in expecting encounter armed resistance and with a plan to deal with said obstacle.

    I'm not saying we should PLAN for our attackers to give up at the least sign of resistance. I'm just saying that we shouldn't allow the worst-case scenario to dissuade us from potentially useful tactics.
    I generally have a decent sized folder on my person and I wouldn't hesitate to use it in self-defense if that were all that I had available. Not because it's as effective as a spear or sword but because I can carry it where ever I go and it beats teeth and fingernails by a long shot.

    If carrying a spear or sword were remotely feasible, I'd do that instead. But since it's not the comparison is pointless. I might as well compare the effectiveness of my knife to the ability to use telekinesis to disable my attacker. The telekinesis would definitely be superior, but in the world I live in, it's just as impossible as carrying a spear or a sword around.
  18. CA Raider

    CA Raider Well-Known Member

    like some peopel have said - the value of the short blade is in the damage it can do to his fists, forearms and biceps. if he's throwing punches at you, he will be impaled on the blade.

    CA R
  19. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    How did you arrive at that impression?

    Was it through training, witnessing an attack, movies, or reading?

    My experience and training has left me with a healthy respect for a knife wielder.

    There are two kinds of stops, psychological and physical, a short bladed knife (<4") is capable of both

    The physical stop is accoplished by disabling the arms and legs...whatever they offer you as a target...by severing connective tissue and major muscle groups. A 3" blade can cut any muscle in the arms or legs to the bone and put your attacker on the ground. As in using a gun, the objective isn't to kill, but to stop.

    You shouldn't be attacking, you should be defending and allowing the attack to enter your area of control. Attacks by any but professionals usually means they are off-balance, that is the point where you take whatever target you are being offered.

    It depends on which weapons are involved. If you are at CQB distances (bad breath range) and they have a longer range weapon than you do (club, gun, longer arms) creating distance isn't to your advantage
  20. DT Guy

    DT Guy Well-Known Member

    Someone better than me at math once calculated the tissue disruption caused by a through-and-through 9MM shot versus a Filipino 'there and back' torso cut with a 4" blade, and the cut was FAR more disruptive, to more tissue, than the gunshot.

    Watch a good knife guy 'defang the snake' (usually a cut at the inner wrist to 'open' the hand, a cut at the inner elbow (just below it, actually) to 'open' the elbow, up through the shoulder to 'open' the arm and a return cut across the carotid, and you'll probably change your opinion about knife size and the danger they represent, IMHO.

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