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Small knife effectiveness

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by JShirley, Jul 26, 2008.

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  1. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I have often suggested that a small knife is not ideal for defensive use.

    For this test, I used an Asheville Steel Cobra automatic knife. This is a very large knife for a folder, and is quite sharp. I first used it for a stab against a two liter water bottle filled with green water.

    [​IMG]

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    You can probably tell from the water squirting everywhere that I'm stabbing quite hard. The bottle was thrown several feet.

    [​IMG]

    I next tried several hard slashes against a target made of bamboo, wrapped with nonskid matting, and then covered with cloth.

    [​IMG]

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    The results of these on the target were less than impressive. I would like to believe slashing tissue would have more effect, but this certainly wouldn't be life threatening unless the jugular were slashed.

    [​IMG]

    Knives are tools. They can certainly be used to hurt other people, but if a knife is part of your defensive plan, have realistic ideas what it can do, and how to use it.

    John
     
  2. conw

    conw Member

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    I have always thought stabbing was "where it's at" in terms of killing. I know a nasty slash is no good, and if you're really good you can cause "mechanical failure," but isn't one sharp pointy thing about equal to any other (if it's 2" long or so) when it comes to stabbing?

    I'm just rambling out loud, feel free to engage if you like though. You know more than I do about this.
     
  3. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I would tend to agree.

    I have long been of the opinion that knives tend to be more effective for offense than defense.
     
  4. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Member

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    John,
    You should wrap that bamboo with a cheap or out of date steak and see what happens. I bet you would be surprised.

    I personally feel small knives can be VERY effective in close and personal.

    Tom
     
  5. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I think they can be messy. I just doubt that slashing will probably end a violent attack.
     
  6. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    There are many factors involved in how much damage is done with a sharp tool. Small knife not effective? Keep in mind on the 9-11 hijackings, the flight attendant who tried to resist was killed by a box cutter.

    What happens when a person is cut or stabbed depends a heck of alot where the cut or stab is.

    Kind of like bullet placement.

    A slash in a non-vital spot with a Kay-bar may not be as effective as a small cut of the carrotid with a sharp pen knife.

    It all comes down to how knowlegable the cutter is. I'd be more afraid of a general surgeon with a Christy knife, than a mall ninja with the tactical of the month.
     
  7. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    Wrap that old steak around the bamboo. Tape it. Then cover it with a shirt sleeve made of standard weight cloth. It's going to take a knife with some weight to get a good slash through the cloth.

    I work in a small ER with a maxiumum security prison just down the road. We get to take care of all the injuries with shanks. Most are stabbings to the face or neck. I don't think I've ever seen an attack from that prison that targeted an area covered
    in cloth.
     
  8. sm

    sm member

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    Key points folks would be wise to read again and again.


    Don't look like prey - think like a criminal
     
  9. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Dunno why it's so common to assume that the only way to end an attack is by killing or seriously injuring the attacker...
     
  10. theken206

    theken206 Member

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    for those that have boxed or trained a bit in stand up.

    think of the diffrence between 16 oz sparring gloves and 8 and 10 ounce gloves. for those that have trained MMA style stand up with open fingered gloves think of the diffrence there.

    Quote:
    Byron wrote:
    Most are stabbings to the face or neck. I don't think I've ever seen an attack from that prison that targeted an area covered
    in cloth

    "Quote:
    John wrote:
    I have long been of the opinion that knives tend to be more effective for offense than defense.

    Key points folks would be wise to read again and again.


    Don't look like prey - think like a criminal"

    as per, SM on point
     
  11. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Ya' know, the cutting edge on my Razel is less than three inches. No one in his right mind would go up against that

    Could the overall design have a more important factor than just blade length?

    I mean, does size really matter?:D
     
  12. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    TT,

    Get a cheap flank steak and put an old T-shirt over it and then tape the whole mess to a piece of hanging PVC. Give it a few good slashes and let us know what the results look like. The difference may be the clothing vs the bare "skin".
     
  13. yenchisks

    yenchisks member

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    that poor soda bottle, what did he do to deserve this.
     
  14. Mongrel

    Mongrel Member

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    This old dog certainly ain't no knife fighter, but I'm pretty sure I read some where that the purpose of a slash is "for effect".

    In other words, a good slash will open up an attacker to some real good bleeding even if it's not in "the zone". The psych affect of this may be enough to either get him or her to pause and allow a better placed thrust or in some cases they might just high-tail it out of there. It could certainly be enough to render their strong side useless if tendons have been hit.

    I certainly wouldn't poo-poo a good slash to the arms or chest (or even the top of the thigh for that matter) as a defensive move. As noted above, if dealing with a crack or meth head I don't think you can count on anything past or present to work 100%.

    Now, I'm talking about a down and out "him or me" situation, so you have to be prepared to unload on them at least until you can get out of there.
     
  15. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Do you think a six inch knife made from 154-CM will cut better than a three inch knife from the same alloy?

    There has to be something else at work other than simple "nose weight."

    For example, people used to be severely injured all of the time with barbers' razors. The element at work there was the thin edge.

    And let's not forget, many 1950's street gangs used nothing more than a six-dollar switchblade--which isn't sharp, at all.

    If you could buy "courage," geeks would rule.
     
  16. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

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    From my (limited) military knife fighting training, what you say is what I've been taught.

    Our training told us to expect slash-type cuts that could be very large in size... but those cuts would be the ones most easily fixed by medics. Deep stabs are what hit major organs. If limited to a small blade, I would pick vulnerable spots that don't need deep penetration... such as the neck, face, armpits, elbowpits, wrists, back of the knees, etc.

    "Achilles Heel" is a dimunitive term, because people are that vulnerable in a lot more spots. Learn 'em, and remember 'em. God forbid, but someday, you might have to use them.
     
  17. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    And who says I only get one cut? If I have to hurt an aggressor, I'm latching onto him and cutting like a windmill.
     
  18. plateshooter

    plateshooter Member

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    From the training I've had, ( other than when in the military) knives were used to get you out of the fight by taking away your opponents weapons. Hands, behind the elbow, behind the knees, groin etc. Weather the other guy dies is not the main objective, but removing yourself from the danger is. Like The Tourist says, cut going in, cut going out. In an ideal circumstance, you opponent will never know you have a knife until the fight is over. Your circumstances and mileage may vary.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  19. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Plateshooter, the driving aspect of my views come from the fact that Wisconsin has no CCW provision.

    Like we used to say in drag racing bikes, "Ya' run what ya' brung."

    So I pick the best things I can find. Now granted, any knife I choose must have use as a tool, first and foremost. I'm not going to pick some laser-guided mercenary showboat from TK that's worth spit cutting food at Perkins.

    But a Razel is part razor and I am a professional tinker. Using the knife that Josh Graham envisioned for extremely hard use in wilderness hunting and construction, I can also hone the edge to slice through just about anything.

    But let's be honest here. The best weapon is the brain. Stay off the railroad tracks and you won't have to cut your way out of anything.

    Having said that, like anyone else, I go to malls and darkened movie theaters. I'm not going to allow my life to be crippled by fear and crime. Meet the Razel.
     
  20. hangtime

    hangtime Member

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    I believe the earlier mention of the psychological . . .

    effect of seeing large quantities of your own blood is the trump card here. A slashing cut can also sever tendons and connective tissue particularly in the wrist and ankle areas. The willingness to continue the fight is somewhat diminished when you are watching an arterial spurt or nursing a hand or foot that doesn't work anymore. I'm no expert in these matters but wouldn't a smaller knife also be easier to retain?
     
  21. JTW Jr.

    JTW Jr. Member

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    Spend some time with SouthNarc , and see what he can do with a clinch pick or a Disciple , both small blades.

    Up close and personal , at contact distance , a small blade can certainly be as effective , IF you know what you are doing with it.
     
  22. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    I've seen (and been victim to) small knife actions of two types.

    The kind that I've seen started as amazingly quick slashes at the brow, nose-bridge, and eyes of an attacker armed with an axe handle. The attacker quickly went on the defensive, got his forearms and hands thoroughly slashed, dropped his much more impressive weapon (possibly because he couldn't hold it anymore), and ran like a frightened child.

    The one that happened to me started as wide slashes at my stomach which I blocked with my left hand and wrist while grabbing with my right hand. Just when I got hold of the knife hand I realized he had a friend. I'd gotten close enough to my truck to reach into the bed and grab without looking. I lucked out and came up with a putter. I got cut twice more while getting turned around, but after that- well, stick beats knife, on the average, unless the knife wielder is very good or very lucky.

    This time I was lucky.
     
  23. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    There is one thing abouit a small knife that I have not seen mentioned yet. Like a small gun, it's way more likly to be with you.

    Right now it's summer time. T-shirts, shorts in 90 degree weather are more the order of the day. People have broken out the bicycles, canoe/kayaks, coolers. How big a knife/gun can you carry under those conditions and still be inconspicous? No printing at all. The value of a self defence weapon is to not let anyone know you have it. If the bad guy can look you over, see the pocket clip, or the bulge under the shirt, he's now informed just where you're goodies are, and what to watch for. Indeed, he may find your not too concealed weapon more of a draw than your wallet and credit card. That nice little Kahr or tactical knife you have could be a prize to him.

    The small knife can be shoved down out of sight in a pocket. Out of sight, out of mind. But I like a small enough knife that I can slip a hand in a pocket and have the knife completely in my hand without a bad guy seeing anything exept an old guy with his hand in his pocket. Surprise is a very valuble thing. Take a leason from the german Q-ship.

    A very long time ago, there was this young lady. Her father was this government guy in a grey suit. Sort of a intellegence type out of one of the Washington D.C. spook shops. Very inconspicous guy. He was a fan of the little Christy knife. Anyone familiar with this knife knows its a very small, thin bladed knife, like a light duty pen knife. The blade slides up out of the handle with one hand operation. In fact, it is most likely the first one hand opening knife of the 20th century, being made since the 1930's.

    Anyways, this man gives one to his daughter, a very attractive young lady. Teaches her how to use it in a very effective way. How the man knew is open to question, as he bought 50 of these knives and issued them out to the people in his section.

    A few years pass, and the young lady, now in her early 20's, is leaving her office building just a bit after dusk at the end of a long workday. Emplyees have to park at the back of the building, leaving the front lot for the clients. As she walks back to her car and goes by an alcove that is fenced in concealing the dumpster, she gets grabbed and yanked into the dumpster enclosure by a man who had stalked her with some rape in mind. He never thought anything about her hand being in her purse groping for her car keys.

    He pins her up against the brick wall with, and tells her he'll break her little neck if she screams, so she plays it cool, tells him she'll do anything, just don't hurt her. Makes all the right sounds, makes him feel in control. Exept by now she has something in her hand, and she ends up with a handfull of his hair yanking his head back, and a very sharp thin blade right to his carotid. Hard enough, the guy feels a little blood tricklling down his neck. Scares the tar out of him. Knows he's dead if she flicks her hand.

    She tells him to put his hands in his pants pockets, and he's too scared not to do what she tells him. Then she knees him in the family jewels with everything she has. Crumples him right up. He's still doubled over when the police get there and take him off to the house of many doors.

    A thin little inch and a half of blade saved a pretty young lady from rape and maybe worse.

    Don't have to be big, just sharp enough.
     
  24. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    JTW, look at what I'm saying.

    I'm not saying that a small knife can't be an effective weapon.
     
  25. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    JShirley, I don't think anyone is denigrating your opinion. However many of us cannot or will not adapt to larger blades.

    Nor do we need to.

    As I have written before, I am not James Keating or Jerry Vancook. Oh, I read and digest their writing. But the factor is that if there was a great expectation of increased knife fighting in my life, there would be a "for sale" sign on my house.

    My knife is a daily tool. (As I type this I am waiting for the UPS and custom sheath from Josh Graham. It is a softer, rounder custom sheath, helping me to bend my legs in more comfort on a motorcycle.) However, it can be pressed into service as a weapon.

    I also hate camping. If necessary, I would take the best equipment. If I needed a good chopping tool, I would not buy a Bagwell Bowie. I would go to Sears and buy a decent hand axe.

    (BTW, I'd love to own a Bagwell Bowie.)

    I think what you're seeing is a differing preference as we discuss the issue of the post.
     
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