View Full Version : Blade Design Pros and Cons

June 3, 1999, 07:21 PM
I'm a newby, so please be gentle...

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the blade designs I see in folders and fixed knives? There's the Tanto-type and the good old Arkansas Toothpick dagger, and spear points and clip points.

I've also heard references to defensive use knives and offensive use knives. Is there really a difference? Seems if I can disable and otherwise stop the aggression the BG starts by using one type of knife, that same knife would be useful for silently taking out the BG's sentries when approaching to free my kidnapped kid (start Arnold S. "Commando" delusions now...)

And yes, I do plan to supplement my empty-hand defensive training with more weapons training.


June 4, 1999, 05:13 AM
Cheapo -

I am no expert on knives, however I just returned from a knifed combatives class, where I found out just how much I did not understand about the differences in knife blade design. The class discussed very quickly the different blade designs, and how they play in the various techniques.

I came away with two major things, besides the training. One I now prefer a fixed blade over a folder for defensive carry on a regular basis. Two I prefer a dual grind over the chisel grind.

If you don't already read Tactical Knives, it is also a good source of information in this area.

You should checkout TFL's sister site, www.bladeforums.com (http://www.bladeforums.com) in addition to this post, they probably have a thread on fixed vs folder that answers most of your questions.

Sorry I could not help more, but I am by no means an expert.

Freedom is not Free

June 4, 1999, 11:01 AM
By all means go to Bladeforums. This is where you will get overloaded with opinion and information. Join and put a post up you should get plenty of replies. But, remember opinions are like a**holes everyone has one.
I do not mean this to be negative. You will get a lot of info. SIft through it well.

Now I will give you my .02. The reason most people carry a folding knife is due to weapons laws. You will need to check yours carefully. Most will agree that a strait knife is better for self defense than a folder from the standpoint of use. The reasons they do not carry one are generally due to laws and style of dress, not necessarrily in that order. I ramble on more but I leave that to the other experts in the blade forum. Good luck they for the most part are a very helpful crowd and will treat you fare.



June 5, 1999, 03:39 PM
There are several questions that need answering before determining which knife style is best for you.
What is the intended use of the blade?
What style of fighting are you trained in?
How long a blade can you legally carry in your area of operation?
Can you carry double edged blades?
Will you use the knife as a utility piece as well, or confine it to defense/offense use?

Just about any blade can be used for a defensive piece, but when it comes to active offense as a primary tactic, the designs become more and more refined, and are usually considered "Deadly Weapons" by the law.

The clip points and tantos generally have the strongest points, but do not penetrate quite as well as the double edged versions.
There is a lot more, but I will get into it when I ahve a better idea of what you intend to accomplish with the knife.

June 7, 1999, 01:10 PM
Okay, to focus my/our thinking and refine the discussion:

What is the intended use of the blade?
Self-defense. NO plans to take out sentries in this lifetime.

What style of fighting are you trained in?
Kenpo Karate, not includind edged weapons yet. Limited Ju-Jitsu with many hours of grappling with a guy weighing about 20 percent more than me, with longer reach. Limited boxing sparring with a guy 30 percent heavier and 2-inches longer reach.

How long a blade can you legally carry in your area of operation?
Don't know and don't care. Concealed Weapons laws are susceptible to mere "rational basis" challenge in court. I live a low-profile/low risk lifestyle and have successfully avoided trouble for more than 20 years.

Can you carry double edged blades?
I am aware of no limitation. Are you speaking practical, or of the blessings of the ruling class?

Will you use the knife as a utility piece as well, or confine it to defense/offense use?
Primary use is defensive, knowing that the distinction from offensive can get blurry. Will seriously consider having a double-duty utility knife if the pros/cons show it's feasible for my choices of important factors.

Thanks for the tip to Bladeforum, too. I've started to lurk there.

June 7, 1999, 03:31 PM
I would recommend a fixed blade between 4.5-6 inches, with no false edge or other "hostility related" features.
It will conceal easily, and be long enough to use effectively in most encounters.

My personal preferences in this size range are the Mad Dog Knives Arizona Hunter,
Pygmy ATAK, and Lab Rat.
They are all utility knives, but will perform admirably as defense pieces.
All of these are available with concealment sheaths as an option.

If you want to go full tilt towards a fighter, try the Voodoo Child (6" blade), Wild Thing (6" Blade) or a Panther
(10" blade). All of these have long sharp false edges, and are specifically designed for social encounters.

Naturally, I am a bit biased towards these as I make them, but they are good knives.
They can be viewed at
they are regularly discussed in great detail at
on the Mad Dog Knives forum.

June 7, 1999, 08:11 PM
Cheapo -

Another knife to consider is the Benchmade AFCK, the larger version. It is a folder, which is very quick into action. It also presents the image, I believe, of being a utility knife vice a defensive knife. This can pay big benefits after an event. Also as a dual grind blade ( not chisel ground) it functions better as a utility knife if it is asked to.

Freedom is not Free

June 10, 1999, 02:58 PM
Cheapo: what state are you in?

You may poo-pooh the laws, having "successfully avoided trouble for 20 years", but as they say "past history is no guarantee of future performance." Knowing and staying within the law may save you from trading a felony prison term for a quarter inch of steel.

Rich Lucibella
June 10, 1999, 10:57 PM
Given Cheapo's feeling that legal issues are not a concern, I don't think a folder is the way to go.

Based on his criteria, I'll vote the Mad Dog Lab Rat. It's as unimposing a fixed blade as can be imagined, but is an extremely robust knife with excellent edge holding qualities. Outsite the Peoples Republics of CA and NJ, I'd be hard pressed to imagine any prosecutor chasing the charge.

The AFCK is a great folder in it's price range. But we're talking Chevy Nova vs Peterbuilt differences here. Also, I agree that a chisel grind is not the way to go. But none of the knives thus far mentioned are chisel grinds.

June 11, 1999, 02:48 PM
My state has broad laws defining "weapons" so it includes just about everything.

Concealed firearms permits are only for the firearm.

Car carry is most frequent, with occasional on-the-person carry during the rare social/commercial event among strangers.

I also don't go where people drink booze, so that drops my risk factor by about half (except for the already-drunk one who wanders into my zone of influence).

Personal carry may be open, especially with a folder if it has one of those pocket clips. A fixed knife *may* be carried in a pocket-type sheath (need to learn more about such) with a non-confrontational-type portion exposed enough to defeat the "concealed" bugaboo.

Personal concealed carry, BTW, is not so much of an issue here because the burden of proof is on the prosecutor to show criminal intent--as in to further a crime other than the mere possession. With no history of fights since high school and a squeaky-clean record, self-defense deployment of a deadly weapon, even from nominally illegal concealment, has never been prosecuted.

Yeah, I could be the first.

But you'd hear the goons involved get crucified on a national level if they ever tried.

Someone must take a stand. I don't *plan* to be the one to press the issue, but if the BGS and the Gov't make my life miserable just because I was prepared to meet *unjustified* and *illegal* force by the BGs,

well then

they will have bought their *own* package of woes.

June 12, 1999, 08:20 AM
As a kid, growing up in a rough environment, I carried knives for years. There is nothing more terrifying and sickening than having to cut or stab another human. Only a brute can feel anything but disgust for it. And in this era when blood from an enemy can kill you years after exposure to it, the notion of 'knife defense' should be obsolescent. If you feel the need to be armed, then get a gun. Try to get some training. At least read all you can about armed defense. And reserve your knives for cutting string and opening envelopes. Bladed self-defense is a medieval concept.

An armed man is a citizen; an unarmed man is a subject; a disarmed man is a slave.