Defensive Knife - Carry, Access and Opening

Defensive Knife - Carry, Access and Opening

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Thread: Defensive Knife - Carry, Access and Opening

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    Defensive Knife - Carry, Access and Opening

    Knife Carry, Access and Opening

    By Uli Gebhard, Suarez International Staff Instructor CA

    Knives are excellent and effective weapons, especially since their use and carry are not as restricted as firearms are. In other words, one can carry one or more knives in areas where firearms are prohibited, which provides a low-profile lethal-force option if things go south.
    Among the few regulations regarding edged weapons is that several states or even cities do not allow carrying a concealed fixed-blade knife. Others do not allow blade-lengths above 4 inches. With this in mind a 3” to 4” folding knife is legal to carry in the vast majority of locations inside the US. Three to four inches is enough blade length to inflict debilitating wounds to an attacker.

    Key aspects to using the knife efficiently are three major factors:

    * Carry in a position that is easy and fast to access
    * Swift and stress-proof deployment of the knife.
    * Anatomically efficient targeting

    The last point means that we aim to disconnect critical muscles, tendons and nerves to take an attackers ability to stand, move and wield a weapon. This in itself is worthy of a full article.

    Tip-up Carry
    Many of the knifes on the market today offer multiple attachment points for the pocket clip, allowing tip-up, tip-down, left handed or right handed carry.
    Tip-up means that when folded, the point of the blade is pointing upwards. I found this to be the carry position that works best for me, since I do not have to re-orient the knife in my hand after pulling it out of my pocket. The grip is already facing in the correct orientation the moment I put my hand on it. More about that later.

    Carry Positions

    Just as with the pistol, there is a multitude of positions where one can carry a knife. Each of them have their pro’s and con’s – let’s take a look at the three most commonly used ones:

    Front pocket
    The front pocket is probably the most common spot to carry a folding knife. Clipping the knife towards the back of the pocket helps keeping the blade in the closed position. Depending on the locking mechanism this may not be an issue. It comes in handy if the knife is setup with either a liner lock or an axis lock that offers only little retention for the blade in closed position. Clipping the knife into this spot also allows access to the rest of the pocket. So if you keep loose change or other stuff in there, you can still get to it.
    Right hand access for right pocket is easy, vice versa for the left hand. However, things will get complicated if you need the opposite hand to get the knife due to struggle, injury or similar.
    With a tucked shirt, the clip is pretty well visible from front and side, giving away that you carry one or more knives on you.

    Back Pocket
    Many people carry their wallet in their rear pocket and can “park” a folding knife right next to it. For ease of access the knife will probably sit towards the outside of the pocket, which leaves the blade-side of the knife open. I learned the hard way that this may not be the best spot to keep a knife since it can open partially, especially with liner or axis lock.
    Same side access is again easy, cross access is challenging.
    The clip is out of sight from the front, hiding the fact that you have a knife from a person in front of you. From the back, the clip can be visible with a tucked shirt and you will not necessarily see if someone behind you becomes interested in that knife.

    Waistband/Centerline Carry

    One of the best concealing methods for knife carry is to clip it to the waistband and keeping the pocket clip behind the belt. This works particularly well if the knife is large, since the length will disappear inside the pant – or skirt for that matter.



    Now you see it, now you don't - while this is a 4" Endura, this also works with a 6" Cold Steel Voyager

    Shirt tucked in, but just a bit loose, and the extra fabric will hide the top of the knife’s grip – completely concealed yet very readily available.
    Another big advantage of this carry method is that the knife can be positioned close to the centerline of the body. This means that it is accessible with either hand, that it is easy to protect the knife from unauthorized access and most importantly, that it is very easy to get to if you are in a struggle. The hand will already be in front of the body to block or punch, which makes for a very short access path.



    Centerline carry facilitates easy access from either side.

    To some people these arguments may sound familiar – that’s exactly the same reasoning as for Appendix-Inside the Waistband carry of a pistol.


    Bringing the Knife into the Fight

    The deployment of the knife is just as important as the presentation of your CCW pistol. Imagine being able to place fast and accurate shots anywhere from contact distance all the way out to 25 meters, but not being able to bring the pistol out from the holster without snagging or being unable to acquire a solid firing grip. I believe that most of us who carry a pistol for self-defense spend a good amount of time practicing our draw and making sure that if we have to clear Kydex, we can get the pistol from our holster onto the target fast, efficient and stress-proof each and every time.
    Developing solid access techniques for the knife is just as important as developing a clean drawstroke.

    With a 3” to 4” blade and the carry methods mentioned before the knife can be “staged” to speed up the draw process. What this means is while the thumb dives into the pocket or waistband to get a grip on the handle, the middle finger finds the end of the grip behind the fabric and pushes up. This brings a larger portion of the handle into the palm of the hand and allows for a more positive grip.


    Staging sequence broken down.
    hieu nguyen likes this.
    Uli Gebhard
    Suarez International Staff Instructor California
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    www.gebhardsolutions.com


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    Member Array Gsolutions's Avatar
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    ....continued

    Once the knife is out of the pocket or waistband, we need to deploy the blade. Here are the most common and efficient methods to accomplish this:

    Thumb-Drive

    Tactical folders have either a hole or an attachment (stud or similar) for the thumb to manipulate the blade. Remember the brief description of tip-up carry before. With this carry method the draw positions the knife in the hand so that the thumb has immediate access to the opening feature. Find it, anchor the tip of your thumb against it and drive forward.
    Many people will try following the arc that the blade describes. This will actually slow you down and make things more complicated. There’s a reason that the majority of the opening features, may they be holes or studs, are round. If you drive forward, the tip of the thumb will automatically follow the curve that the blade describes and it will build up speed and momentum as it moves. This momentum will make sure that the locking mechanism engages fully when the blade is open. The consequences of a blade that can pivot back towards the handle are as obvious as nasty and counterproductive for the person holding it. Drive the blade forward hard and make sure it locks into the open position!

    Rip it Open
    We know that under stress the fine-motor skills go out of the window in a hurry. The thumb drive is somewhat of a fine motor skill and we need a backup in case this opening method does not work. The solution is using both hands to deploy the blade. The grip hand holds on to the handle, the blade hand grips the top of the blade and the hands separate – grip hand to chamber position, blade hand to block position in front of the body. I made this method my immediate fallback in case another method fails.
    The strength of this approach is that it is caveman simple – grab and rip – and that the separating movement of the hands builds up enough momentum to ensure positive engagement of the lock.
    The disadvantage is that both hands are occupied for a brief moment, limiting the ability to block or fight with the “blade hand”.


    As the hands separate the knife hand establishes the grip while the live hand ends automatically up in a blocking position.

    Inertia-Opening

    Depending on locking mechanism and blade weight, inertia-opening can be another viable method to deploy the blade. The hand describes a fast rotation around the hingepoint of the blade and then stops suddenly. The blade has built up inertia and wants to continue this movement, and rotates into open position.
    The larger and the heavier the blade and the more of its mass is located towards the tip, the better this system works. On the other side, strong lockback mechanisms will make it more difficult, if not impossible to use it. I have an older Spyderco Endura that I can inertia-open without any problem. The newer Series-4 model with G-10 scales has such a strong lock that I cannot use this method.
    Practice A LOT if you plan on using this deployment method – and practice at least one alternate method as a fallback in case this one does not work.

    Emerson, Wave and similar

    There’s a good number of folding knives on the market that have a hook on the back of the blade that is designed to catch the edge of the pocket and pull the blade open as you draw the knife from your pocket. It is a great approach, marketed as “Wave”-feature or “Emerson-opener”. It can make the deployment of the blade faster and easier. Two things to keep in mind for this option: You need room behind you for it to work and not all knives come with this feature.
    If you’re backed up against a hard surface, a partner or any obstacle that limits the backward movement of your arm, this feature is likely to fail.
    You may be traveling and pick up a cheap $10 knife at the first sporting goods store next to the airport – and those rarely ever have this opening feature.
    As with inertia-opening it’s prudent to practice fallback opening methods frequently. This way, you do not monkey-trap yourself when you can’t use the Emerson/Wave opener.

    Regardless which opening method you choose, it needs to be executed aggressively and bring the knife immediately into a chamber position from which it can used fast and efficiently. This also means to chose a chamber position that is close to your attacker. Remember that once your blade enters the fight, it will change the direction of it. Do not count on scaring the bad guy with the knife - chances are that it will not work. Instead bring the knife into a position that allows a fast access to your target for a decisive and debilitating cut. Speed is facilitated through elimination of wasted motion; open the knife into a chamber position that is as close as possible to your intended target.

    To sum things up

    There are several basic carrying and opening methods for your defensive folding knife. I encourage you to try them, figure out which ones works best and practice your choice of combinations a lot. Bringing the knife into the fight is a crucial skill, especially of you have to react to an attack. The more you practice access and deployment, he more these skills become second nature, the better your chances to succeed.
    Uli Gebhard
    Suarez International Staff Instructor California
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    www.gebhardsolutions.com

  3. #3
    RKM
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    I love the "Wave" technique. I have modified my Benchmade Griptilian and my Cold Steel Recon 1 to open this way. I also have a Cold Steel Mini Ak-47 with the thumbplate that works as a wave feature, and finally, I have an Emerson CQC-15 with the "true" Wave feature. I'm able to deploy them with my back against a wall. While it's not ideal, it's not impossible. The "Wave" technique takes practice. It can be messed up under stress which is why it's important to practice. Though, the cost of having my jeans pocks fixed due to repetative snagging is a deterent to constant prcatice :P

    Good read.

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    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    Great post...thanks!!!!
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

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    Senior Member Array thebigdl86's Avatar
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    nothing on auto openers or spring assist?

    Sent from my LS670 using Tapatalk
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    Member Array Gsolutions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigdl86 View Post
    nothing on auto openers or spring assist?
    Nope - I focused on folders that are legal in the vast majority of environments.

    We also discussed automatic and assist-open knives with Mike Janich during a seminar last weekend here in Los Angeles. It is actually faster to deploy a folding knife using inertia-opening than using any of the assist/automatic models. Inertia-opening is more of a gross-motor skill that does not require locating, indexing, and pressing a small opening button.
    Uli Gebhard
    Suarez International Staff Instructor California
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    www.gebhardsolutions.com

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    RKM
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    It's weird, I agree. My slowest to draw knife is a switchblade. As mentioned I have to find the button and not to mention, the button is recessed as to not open accidentally and it makes it even more difficult. Most of my manual folding knives I can open without even touching the blade with a good hard snap of the wrist.

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    Senior Member Array Spade115's Avatar
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    Very cool. I carried a 5.2 inch benchmade sidesaddle on the 5 o clock position because its easyer to draw for me. and my 110 when I use it stays at a 3 with a thumb stud added. Very cool post and very informative Thank You :D
    When life gives you lemons, Open a lemonaid buisness.

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    Senior Member Array thebigdl86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gsolutions View Post
    Nope - I focused on folders that are legal in the vast majority of environments.

    We also discussed automatic and assist-open knives with Mike Janich during a seminar last weekend here in Los Angeles. It is actually faster to deploy a folding knife using inertia-opening than using any of the assist/automatic models. Inertia-opening is more of a gross-motor skill that does not require locating, indexing, and pressing a small opening button.
    hmm, some high end spring assisted knifes are very fast and much easier to deploy under stress then using "inertia opening" techniques. spring assisted knifes are legal most anywher a regular knife is. also alot of ppl on this board are military or le and are issued or are allowed to carry them. main reason i dont like inertia openibg is that it requires a somewhat free arm and some space to "flick" it open. with a button or spring the knife can be deployed wuth no extra motion besides you moving your finger

    Sent from my LS670 using Tapatalk
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    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    I don't have much knife training (yet - and this will start to be remedied in just a few more weeks! yay!).

    But as a knife enthusiast who has a number of high-end production as well as custom assisted-openers (spring as well as bearing-flippers: i.e. RJ Martin, B. Duncan, etc.), and automatics (mostly Microtechs), I am also of the opinion that inertial-opening techniques can be both faster as well as more positive/certain in opening/locking than the mechanical devices'.

    I think there's advantages to both. Under certain circumstances, a good automatic that has a "99% success rate" is something that can well be life-saving.

    Legally speaking, though, the non-assisted openers - let alone the automatics - certainly have an easier time. Good dual-actions may garner a pass by all but the more knowing glances, but it's a calculated risk to carry, particularly for those who live in areas where knife-laws are already complicated.

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    Member Array Gsolutions's Avatar
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    TSiWRX:

    Please let us know how your training pans out.

    thebigdl86: Yes - for inertia-opening, you need space and unobstructed movement of the arm, that's why we practiced all three methods during the recent seminar with Mike Janich here in Los Angeles.

    An automatic knife can be an asset, given that the button/lock is easy to access and operate under stress.
    Uli Gebhard
    Suarez International Staff Instructor California
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    www.gebhardsolutions.com

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    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    ^ I certainly will - and what's more, I also plan to seek instruction from your NE-Ohio associates, too. I have a friend who has attended Suarez knife seminars in our area, and he speaks very highly of them.

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    Member Array Gsolutions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSiWRX View Post
    ^ I certainly will - and what's more, I also plan to seek instruction from your NE-Ohio associates, too. I have a friend who has attended Suarez knife seminars in our area, and he speaks very highly of them.
    Thank you for your kind words.
    He probably took the course with John McCreery. I worked a lot of drills with him when Mike Janich trained us in Prescott...
    2009-11-22_partner_drill.jpg

    John is fun to work with and he knows how to convey his material.
    Uli Gebhard
    Suarez International Staff Instructor California
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    www.gebhardsolutions.com

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    Member Array hieu nguyen's Avatar
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    I like this article very or plus I love knives BenchmadeGriptilian,Spyderco
    Quote Originally Posted by Gsolutions View Post
    Knife Carry, Access and Opening

    By Uli Gebhard, Suarez International Staff Instructor CA

    Knives are excellent and effective weapons, especially since their use and carry are not as restricted as firearms are. In other words, one can carry one or more knives in areas where firearms are prohibited, which provides a low-profile lethal-force option if things go south.
    Among the few regulations regarding edged weapons is that several states or even cities do not allow carrying a concealed fixed-blade knife. Others do not allow blade-lengths above 4 inches. With this in mind a 3” to 4” folding knife is legal to carry in the vast majority of locations inside the US. Three to four inches is enough blade length to inflict debilitating wounds to an attacker.

    Key aspects to using the knife efficiently are three major factors:

    * Carry in a position that is easy and fast to access
    * Swift and stress-proof deployment of the knife.
    * Anatomically efficient targeting

    The last point means that we aim to disconnect critical muscles, tendons and nerves to take an attackers ability to stand, move and wield a weapon. This in itself is worthy of a full article.

    Tip-up Carry
    Many of the knifes on the market today offer multiple attachment points for the pocket clip, allowing tip-up, tip-down, left handed or right handed carry.
    Tip-up means that when folded, the point of the blade is pointing upwards. I found this to be the carry position that works best for me, since I do not have to re-orient the knife in my hand after pulling it out of my pocket. The grip is already facing in the correct orientation the moment I put my hand on it. More about that later.

    Carry Positions

    Just as with the pistol, there is a multitude of positions where one can carry a knife. Each of them have their pro’s and con’s – let’s take a look at the three most commonly used ones:

    Front pocket
    The front pocket is probably the most common spot to carry a folding knife. Clipping the knife towards the back of the pocket helps keeping the blade in the closed position. Depending on the locking mechanism this may not be an issue. It comes in handy if the knife is setup with either a liner lock or an axis lock that offers only little retention for the blade in closed position. Clipping the knife into this spot also allows access to the rest of the pocket. So if you keep loose change or other stuff in there, you can still get to it.
    Right hand access for right pocket is easy, vice versa for the left hand. However, things will get complicated if you need the opposite hand to get the knife due to struggle, injury or similar.
    With a tucked shirt, the clip is pretty well visible from front and side, giving away that you carry one or more knives on you.

    Back Pocket
    Many people carry their wallet in their rear pocket and can “park” a folding knife right next to it. For ease of access the knife will probably sit towards the outside of the pocket, which leaves the blade-side of the knife open. I learned the hard way that this may not be the best spot to keep a knife since it can open partially, especially with liner or axis lock.
    Same side access is again easy, cross access is challenging.
    The clip is out of sight from the front, hiding the fact that you have a knife from a person in front of you. From the back, the clip can be visible with a tucked shirt and you will not necessarily see if someone behind you becomes interested in that knife.

    Waistband/Centerline Carry

    One of the best concealing methods for knife carry is to clip it to the waistband and keeping the pocket clip behind the belt. This works particularly well if the knife is large, since the length will disappear inside the pant – or skirt for that matter.



    Now you see it, now you don't - while this is a 4" Endura, this also works with a 6" Cold Steel Voyager

    Shirt tucked in, but just a bit loose, and the extra fabric will hide the top of the knife’s grip – completely concealed yet very readily available.
    Another big advantage of this carry method is that the knife can be positioned close to the centerline of the body. This means that it is accessible with either hand, that it is easy to protect the knife from unauthorized access and most importantly, that it is very easy to get to if you are in a struggle. The hand will already be in front of the body to block or punch, which makes for a very short access path.



    Centerline carry facilitates easy access from either side.

    To some people these arguments may sound familiar – that’s exactly the same reasoning as for Appendix-Inside the Waistband carry of a pistol.


    Bringing the Knife into the Fight

    The deployment of the knife is just as important as the presentation of your CCW pistol. Imagine being able to place fast and accurate shots anywhere from contact distance all the way out to 25 meters, but not being able to bring the pistol out from the holster without snagging or being unable to acquire a solid firing grip. I believe that most of us who carry a pistol for self-defense spend a good amount of time practicing our draw and making sure that if we have to clear Kydex, we can get the pistol from our holster onto the target fast, efficient and stress-proof each and every time.
    Developing solid access techniques for the knife is just as important as developing a clean drawstroke.

    With a 3” to 4” blade and the carry methods mentioned before the knife can be “staged” to speed up the draw process. What this means is while the thumb dives into the pocket or waistband to get a grip on the handle, the middle finger finds the end of the grip behind the fabric and pushes up. This brings a larger portion of the handle into the palm of the hand and allows for a more positive grip.


    Staging sequence broken down.
    Thanks You and God Bless You DefensiveCarry.com

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