Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Daggers, Boot Knives & SD Folders

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by AStone, Feb 3, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    Well, I've been bitten by a bug called ... yeah, see subject line.

    I'm a fan of blades. Have been since I was very young. I remember my first pocket knife that my dad gave me - a Case - and my first fixed blade: a military knife from a surplus store.

    But even though I've owned hunting/survival knives, folders, machetes (though no kukri ... yet), I've never owned a dagger or a boot knife.

    I've decided that's going to change. For reasons I'll explain later, in a follow up post, I'm in the market for one ... or more - of each.

    I've been doing my homework for a while, reading web pages, including some here at THR. I've shared some PM's with a couple of "experts". <ahem>

    I've read a lot of reviews of knives by SOG, Boker, Gerber, Applegate Fairbairn, Kershaw, Falkniven, Smith Wesson, Cold Steel ... others.

    As soon as I get some time (oh, I hope I get some of that), I'll post some of the essays, history, reviews and sale pages for daggers and boot knives (let's call them "boots").

    Yet, I want more.

    I want to learn lots about these specialized weapons - and let's be clear, I'm talking here about double-edged, pointy knives that are weapons, either SD or offensive, not pointy utility blades.

    {Added by edit the following day: When reading John S's post #13, I realized that it's probably unfair to restrict discussions to "double-edged" blades exclusively, even if I tend to think of daggers and boots in such terms. Suffice to say, regardless of how we define them, I'm trying to keep the discussion here focused on daggers & boot knives, and away from survival knives, hunting knives, culinary, etc. }

    The concept alone intrigues me, let alone their potential uses.

    I'm also the kind of guy that likes to collect a whole bunch of information about one particular weapon (or type of weapon) in a single place. (Just click on "levers" and "wheels" in my sig line for a couple of examples.)

    Now, I know this isn't BladeForum, and that there are fewer officianadoes of daggers/boots here than there. But that's ok. This is weapons home for me, so I'd rather learn here, at least enough so that when I go over there, I don't get laughed at for asking stupid questions. :rolleyes:

    Here are some of the questions I have, that I suggest we discuss in here.

    * Who are the worst/best makers?
    * What are the pros/cons of short/long blades?
    * Is there an optimal dagger blade/total length?
    * Is there an optimal boot blade/total length?
    * Is there an optimal blade shape?
    * Which steel is best for daggers/boots?
    * Do serrated edges matter? Pro/con?
    * What's the best shape and material for a grip?
    * What should the guards look like?
    * Who makes the best sheaths, out of what material?
    * What carry tips should we know about?
    * What can you share about dagger/boot knife history?
    * What should we know about legalities?
    * What about training?
    * What other stuff needs discussing?

    And then, of course, there are the personal stories, those of you behind the scenes in {insert foreign country here} sneaking up on the palace with only your trusted _________ dagger, and preventing the coup de tat at the 11th hour.

    Yes, pics are wonderful.

    So, does all this make sense?

    Hey, we've got a few knife experts in the house. Let's see what we know about these genres of knives.

    Let's make this thread into a dagger/boot knife grand central.

    Note that I even chose a pointy thing as the thread icon. ;)

    OK, have fun with it. I'm here to learn.
    Maybe I'll even contribute something. :)

    Nem

    PS 1: This thread is dedicated to the memory of Byron Quick (see post 13 for motivation).

    PS 2: I just realized that my user name refers to a dagger like projection - a nematocyst - fired from a specialized jellyfish cell called a cnidocyte. Maybe that explains my interest in these knives.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  2. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    OK, just to kick things off, I'll tell a bit about my story, my motivation for starting this thread.

    Currently, I own two knives (outside the kitchen): my EDC - a Benchmade Osborne - and my camp/survival knife - a SOG Seal Pup Elite. (Yes, love both. Just got a new sheath for the latter today.)

    But recently - in the last few months - I've decided for mostly irrational reasons - :uhoh: - that I want a dagger.

    Well, let me clarify that. I really want a boot knife to start with. Something smallish - on the order of 3.5" to 4", maybe, that I can carry concealed, perhaps in a boot, or on a chain around my neck, or maybe even just in a belt sheath.

    Why? I dunno, something just comforting about the thought. Like I said, it's irrational; can't justify it. I'm not - underscore not - looking to become a knife fighter, commando, mall ninja. Not.

    But as a last ditch tool, there's just something comforting to me about them. I admit that this attraction may go back into my childhood, the sense of security that I - a skinny kid - gained from carrying my knives in the 'hood. I also admit that I've never been in a knife fight. And from all I can tell, from all that I read, I hope never to be in one. :scrutiny:

    Still, I'm going to get a couple, if for no other reason than, just because.

    As far as daggers, I think I'd eventually like to own a Boker, something like this with a 4.75" blade.

    But for starters, I'm leaning towards a shorter boot knife, which I think of as a short dagger. (Feel free to correct me; I'm the student here.)

    My current top consideration is a SOG Mini Pentagon. At MSRP $85, it's decent. Street prices range $40 - $50. Yeah, I understand SOG is no Chris Reeves, but heh ... ... ... The only things I'm not hot about on the SOG MP is the serrated edge (rather have smooth on both sides) and the sheath.

    I've looked at the Gerber Guardian. I like the blade, but the grip doesn't work for me: too small, too skinny. (And, the newer ones are getting some terrible reviews on Amazon. Apparently, someone bought the company, QC going downhill, etc?)

    Likewise the Kershaw boot knife: just don't like the slim design. I seem to desire a broader blade. It's also longer than most boot knives, but I'm open.

    I've also read about Tim Galyean's ZT. Nice looking. Slightly more spending, but ... you (may) get what you pay for.

    Then, there's the longer SOG Daggert 1; keyword for me: longer. At 5.5", I'm not interested in it now.

    I also spent a few minutes looking at Smith Wesson's SWHRT9B Black HRT Boot Knife. With the help of a knowledgeable person, I've pretty much ruled it out now. (One word: cheap.)

    I'm open to suggestions and ideas.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  3. zstephens13

    zstephens13 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    389
    Location:
    Alaska
    I have just started carry this CRKT Sting boot knife for the last few weeks or so and i really like it. It locks into the sheath really well which can be worn on the leg, arm or belt either horizontally or vertically. I got it at REI for about $50, so it wasn't that expensive but is a real quality item.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    I like the idea of wearing it on my arm.

    I visualize Maximus the Gladiator asleep when Quintus comes in to tell him that the emperor needs him.

    Startled, he pulls his dagger from under his sleeve.
     
  5. zstephens13

    zstephens13 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    389
    Location:
    Alaska
    yeah it is a really good idea. The blade really CLICKS into the sheath pretty well so i'm pretty confident in carrying the blade upside-down even. It's a pretty cool knife and its nice to know i have something when i can't have a gun on hand.
     
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,966
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    Do you care what your state law says about daggers and blade length, so we can get that criteria out of the way or cleave to it?
     
  7. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,608
    Location:
    Southern Virginia
    HSO is right. Our state law states "dirk, dagger, double edged weapon." Backed up by case law.
     
  8. Stainz

    Stainz Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Messages:
    3,117
    Location:
    Pinson, AL
    To really test your local laws, consider the Benchmade 3300 'Infidel' - a 3.91" double edged spear point that automatically projects 'out the front'. Very well made - but the price separates the 'real players' from the casually curious - MSRP $450 (My pusher has them - that's right, more than one in stock - for ~$300.)

    Of course, the least expensive double edge I have seen - which I inadvertently bought - is a USA/USMC KaBar - that secondary bevel came sharp! My late Dad's old USN KaBar, like the el-cheapo commemorative USN I recently purchased, came dull on that secondary bevel.

    Interesting about local laws. Daggers are forbidden - but no length constraints on fixed or folders. When I asked several deputies re my desire to carry a pocketed 3-3.7" fb in a KSF sheath, the most restrictive answer was a question, "When you sit down, do you injure yourself? No? Then it's okay!". Auto's are apparentally okay - my wife bought me a BM 6150 - auto version of the 615 Mini Rukus - which I already have - from my local BM & S&W pusher - for Christmas. Neat - but not me - it stays in the display case.

    Check the typical periodic sale flyers for commemorative KaBars. After the commemorative 'date', the prices get 'better' - sometimes half the price of a regular one. I'm betting that art work comes off easily. Everyone needs a real KaBar!

    Stainz
     
  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,966
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    Sorry to be a the bearer of bad news.

    OR law on knives -

    WA law on knives -

    Dunno what "furtively carries" may mean, but it usually speaks to intent, but the rest of the sentence prohibiting concealed carry seems pretty clear. I'll ask that the real lawyers (no "barracks lawyers please) chime in on that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  10. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,966
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    Sorry, but Camillus is no longer in business.:evil:
     
  11. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    Just getting logged in on a very busy day.
    (Yesterday was a day off, so I had time to write
    long essays about daggers and boots; today ... alas.)

    Briefly for now ...

    Yes, absolutely, I do care what state laws say, and not just mine,
    because I may be in possession of said tools when traveling.

    That's why I explicitly listed "legalities" as one of the topics for discussion.

    In fact, Hso, I'm glad that you brought it up so early in the thread, so that we can get this information in Dagger-Boot Central (DBC?) right up front, so that readers and participants know that we know and care.

    Now, as to how that information effects each of us in terms of whether we own such weapons, how and when we (intend to) carry them both during normal times and in non-normal times, say during large scale civil breakdown caused by any number of human or natural causes that shall not be discussed in this thread <ahem :scrutiny: :uhoh: >, etc, well, those issue are daggers of a different color that we may or may not discuss here.

    Having said all, I think we can still discuss all the other topics on my OP list -- and more that others will raise - as long as we conduct our discussions in a way that honors the laws, not making recommendations to people that are not legal.

    In other words, we should conduct our discussions here
    just like we conduct all discussions on The High Road {tm}. ;)

    How's zat?

    :cool:
     
  12. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    480
    Location:
    Matthews, NC
    Here are a couple of my small daggers. The one on the left is a sgian dubh made by a knifemaker friend back in the early 90's (it was one of his early efforts, he does much better work now) it features a blade of 1095 with handle of ebony and sterling silver furniture; the one on the right is a boot knife made by Western Cutlery (now defunct), purchased in the early 1980's; it features a 440A blade and scales of Dymondwood.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    20,882
    Location:
    Atlanta
    While there are noticeably horrible makers, as with so many other items, there is no best. Even when a user can narrow down his needs, there will invariably be a range of acceptable products.

    One of my personal favorite makers is John Greco. Some of his small pieces make good "boot" knives, while still being the single-edged format I prefer.

    My friend Shane Justice made a couple of the most beautiful little knives like this, one I gave to Byron Quick. Once I started reading this thread, I realized that the little knife, one of the best of its type that I've seen, may have been lost after Byron's death in December. :( Just a knife, but...

    A pic of the little Sgian Dubh Shane made for one friend. Byron's late Christmas present for '05:

    [​IMG]


    Byron really loved this knife. I believe he pronounced it the best boot knife he'd seen.
     
  14. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    After reading John's post above ^ - and lamenting the loss of Byron's knife - I've added the following to my OP.

     
  15. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2004
    Messages:
    21,221
    Location:
    AL, NC
    In NC-

    SUBCHAPTER IX. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PUBLIC PEACE.
    Article 35.
    Offenses Against the Public Peace.
    § 14‑269. Carrying concealed weapons.
    (a) It shall be unlawful for any person willfully and intentionally to carry concealed about his person any bowie knife, dirk, dagger, slung shot, loaded cane, metallic knuckles, razor, shurikin, stun gun, or other deadly weapon of like kind, except when the person is on the person's own premises.

    - http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_14/gs_14-269.html

    There have been Europeans wandering around in NC for a really long time, and in case you can't tell from this bit of legislative history, a large number of them have been Scots. My blue-faced ancestors would seem to have been a quarrelsome lot, given NC's legislative attention to the dirk, a particularly Scottish blade.

    But any sort of concealed carry of any fixed blade here is generally frowned upon. At least they finally started issuing concealed carry permits for handguns...

    Fred
     
  16. p35

    p35 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    998
    Location:
    Puget Sound
    In my experience under Washington law "dagger"= "double edge".
     
  17. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,156
    Location:
    NAS Pensacola
    Almost every use I have for a knife involves me opening, prying or cutting something, or offering my tool for another to do the same... a knfie is a general utility tool. As such, I'd want it to comply to all local regulations. If I wanted a concealed weapon for last ditch efforts or situations, I'd want more than a concealed knife, hence my carry permit. Conversely, if someone needed a box opened, I'd shy away from pulling a dagger out of my boot to help. If I need a weapon, it won't be a knife. Just my take on it.
     
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,966
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    Worst? Stay away from cheap offshore manufactures. Just because a knife is made in China doesn't mean that it's a cheap POS. If a knife is made in Pakistan I'd pass.

    Best? My "best" and your "best" and his "best" may all be different. Serviceable, while still subjective, is a better term. The Western boot knife shown above is certainly serviceable as a boot dagger. The Gerber Guardian, the SOG Pentagon, Kershaw Military Boot and any number of other mass market manufacturers make a perfectly serviceable small dagger of good quality. Some of what I handle go far beyond what is sufficient and necessary into functional art work. Many of them are still serviceable weapons and some have taken style out of the realm of function.

    The best characteristics for a small dagger are 4-5" razor sharp blade, pointy tip that is still strong enough to not bend or break on a belt buckle or rib, small but positive guard that keeps you from slipping onto the edge, but is no smaller than needed for that purpose, solid non slippery grip, overall balance on the index or second finger.
     
  19. shockwave

    shockwave Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,182
    Location:
    Florida
    If you really need a knife for combat (OP says that's not the objective, understood) then the Cold Steel Tanto is the best you can buy. Those are killing blades.

    Daggers are not good knives for carry. Double-edged knives tend to be poor for slashing so this is basically a stabbing weapon. A Bowie or tanto is a much better blade for fighting and for basic survival activities and whittling and whatnot.
     
  20. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Messages:
    11,381
    Location:
    TN
    I have a couple (Gerber and Kershaw off the top of my head). The one I actually carried was a Gerber dagger which was a pretty good basic dagger. Then I learned about the legalities and that particular knife now resides in my garage and I have no interest in it. I doubt I could even find it. I would rather carry a small single edged fixed blade in a horizontal sheath on my belt (the Bob Dozier sheath).

    Have you thought about how you are going to wear this blade? Ankle? Boot? Will your boots be comfortable after having a sharp thing hanging inside?
     
  21. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    20,882
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I'm very interested to know your criteria and qualifications to make such a pronouncement. When I was 19 and much more gullible, I believed exactly the same thing.

    (Incidentally, having BEEN in combat, and specializing in military history, I can tell you that a "combat" blade is a tool that can be used in an emergency on an enemy, not a fighting knife.)

    John
     
  22. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,966
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    No, it's not. It's just another serviceable mass market production knife like scores of others. Being no better than many others it can't be "the best" any more than so many others are.

    If you're a follower of Col. Applegate, the absence of a sharpened back edge makes it fail on that point alone.

    Let's not get into the "best" contest since it really doesn't exist.
     
  23. shockwave

    shockwave Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,182
    Location:
    Florida
    That is a very fair question. Very fair.

    Posit a graph. One axis is value and one is price. The cold steel tanto (linked above) is about the best fighting knife you're going to find. You can spend much more. It's effortless to spend $10,000 or more on a Damascus blade of some obscure Iranian tribal offering, but this isn't the thread for that.

    The tanto blade has been proven, along with the Bowie, to be a very effective design. Cold Steel mass produces and won't give you the quality of a $5,000 knife, but will get you close to that level of performance. So as you gather your funds, get the cold steel 12 inch and have that as a start, and add others beyond that.

    I like Cold Steel blades because they are very inexpensive yet offer old world folding quality and will take and hold a good edge. For stabbing, the tanto shape is proven. For slashing, you have both sharpness and weight. Some nazi knife will have a good stab, but nothing like the power of this blade.

    Just to be clear, all blades are situational. I think this one is versatile - your mileage may vary. This one needs little maintenance, rarely needs sharpening, and has no weaknesses. Build your collection around this kind of blade and you'll do well. And get Bowie, butterfly, one-handed openers and so on. Have them all over your house. Be armed and well armed and you won't regret it.
     
  24. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    Good discussion going on here since I last checked in. Thanks for all the input.

    Candidate for most useful paragraph so far:

    Then, there's this little bit of info:
    John, remind me why you prefer single edged over double, please.
     
  25. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    I'll address a couple of other points/questions here.

    Yes, I prefer my .38 spl snub over any knife.

    I just want a knife, like a boot or dagger, as that extra little bit of insurance in addition to,
    not instead of, including those times when ammo might not be available. ;)
    Not entirely. It would depend on what I actually buy. I'll let the blade determine the carry system, not the other way around.

    If I go with a boot knife = small, I'd probably go with either a horizontal sheath (those Doziers are nice), or a neck sheath, or something up my sleeve. I really like the sleeve idea, even though I'd probably have to have something custom made for my forearm.

    Funny thing for me, I never wear short sleeves. Even in summer. I may roll up my sleeves during super hot days, but I'm always wearing long sleeves. (Yes, there are reasons, but not totally relevant to my point.)

    So concealing up my shirt/jacket arm would not be hard.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page