Closed Folder as a Force Option

Closed Folder as a Force Option

This is a discussion on Closed Folder as a Force Option within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; For a long time, MCS has advocated drawing a closed folder into a hammer fist grip as part of deployment, especially for IET. This should ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    Closed Folder as a Force Option

    For a long time, MCS has advocated drawing a closed folder into a hammer fist grip as part of deployment, especially for IET. This should not be confused with pre-deployment. We teach this as part of the draw because there is a high probability that under combat conditions you may not have the space or time to open the blade. The situation may also have changed from the time you decided you needed to use deadly force until the time you were able to get your knife out. There was no longer a threat that required deadly force, but mechanical force is still needed.

    Drawing your folder closed as part of the draw should not be confused with pre-deploying (palming) a closed folder because you have alerted to a specific threat, or you are in a place that you feel the need to pre-deploy your closed folder.

    Several years ago while attending SHOT Show, a friend and I went to a tattoo party hosted by Strider Knives. Afterward, we were walking towards our rental car parked in an alley. Because we had planned to do some drinking, I had chosen not to carry a pistol. My primary deadly force option was a Spyderco Military. As we walked out, two guys walking together kind of split up to walk around us. Without conscious thought, I palmed the Spyderco into my hand. We gave them the Sheepdog vs Wolves nod and everyone went on their way. I had already decided in my mind that I would hammer fist the one closest to me before moving onto the next one. Not that the buddy with me, a combat veteran, was any slouch.

    We really need to consider the difference between "palming", which when done correctly should not let anyone see the knife in your hand, and brandishing a closed or open folder. As long as nobody sees the knife, you should be OK. I would have to assume, like me, that many of you reading this, would see even a closed folder as a deadly threat during a confrontation depending on the totality of the circumstances. If someone takes out a folder, closed or open, it is a deadly force threat. This is of course assuming that they are close to contact distance, and there is no physical barrier between us.

    It really all comes down to the fact that most bad guys don't think they are bad guys. They certainly don't think that someone they have an altercation with is a good guy. Deploying a closed folder and allowing it to be seen is a very risky proposition. Just because you are concentrating on the threat in front of you does not mean that someone behind you or to the side cannot see your palmed folder. Once someone becomes aware of your weapon, they may very likely escalate their us of force as well.

    Folders have going for them over fixed blades what pocket pistols have going for them over full size handguns. The ability to be discreetly held in the palm or in the pocket when the need arises. Transparency is your friend.

    The truth is that the Central Nervous Disruption that can be caused by the concentration of force on a small surface area with a closed folder is likely to have a more immediately noticeable result than a cut or stab with an open folder. It may very well keep you from having to use deadly force.

    It does need to be understood that any use of force situation is going to be like looking at a piece of modern art and asking "What do you see". It is all about background, and perception.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    Tantojitsu, the Japanese knife fighting art, teaches both "obvious" (blade forward of the hand) and "hidden" (blade trailing the hand) techniques with a strong emphasis on hidden. By simply cupping the knife handle in between slightly bent index and middle fingers and a straight thumb and you can quite easily hide a reasonable fixed-blade knife from view, up to and including one of those crazy 11-1/2" wooden training tantos. To safely swap it to a fighting grip is easily done by rotating the wrist up and collapsing the fingers into a traditional fist/hammer grip.

    If people might freak at catching a glimpse of a folder cupped in your hand, why not just go for the gusto and use a fixed blade where you don't have to worry about porkchopping a presentation? Either way, it's going to probably be the same people who pick up on it and you'll get the same net results (OMG! He has a knife!).

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    Really taking this one to heart, George. Good stuff here. The one issue that I have noticed, for myself at least, is the fact that when I palm my folder it makes it pretty much impossible to efficiently deploy the blade without shifting it around in my grip. Is there a way you've found to get around this or is this just the cost of admission for a lower visual footprint?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    I have found it better opening into the inverted grip.- George

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    I open mine up IE as well. To cup the folder so it's not as visible means that I need to hold it a bit high towards the pivot which means that my grip is also a bit high when I try to open it without shifting it around in my grip a bit and add the risk of fumble-fingering.

    If you meant trailing blade then I be hosed because it just doesn't work with this knife.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array 2edgesword's Avatar
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    "The ability to be discreetly held in the palm or in the pocket when the need arises."

    Not as easy as you think for the vertically challenged :). I can just about palm a Delica.

    I'm torn on this issue...

    One consideration with palming a knife is that it limits the use of my right hand to striking. I'm all for striking but given my Jiu-Jitsu background (which includes a lot of striking) there is additional "stuff" I can do with an empty hand (grabbing, pinning and control) that are difficult to do if I'm holding a knife. If the situation doesn't call for using the knife for cutting having it in my hand may be more of a hinderance then a help.

    How preemptive can you be and not end up being seen as the bad guy that escalated the situation to a deadly force level, even if your intention was only to use the knife as a blunt force weapon?

    The other issue is that if the situation doesn't warrant using an open knife you're now responsible in the middle of what could be a chaotic empty hand confrontation to make sure that weapon is secured.
    Martial Blade Concepts, Jiu-Jitsu & Eskrima NRA, GOA, NYSRPA, LIF, Old Bethpage Rifle & Pistol Club

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    Here is a follow up piece on the legalities of using a closed folder for SD-
    Legalities of using a closed folder for self-defense | Modern Combative Systems Blog

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