Which blade for a backup knife?

This is a discussion on Which blade for a backup knife? within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; OK, so I'm no expert on knives and there are a lot of different blade choices out there. What do you like and why? Which ...

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Thread: Which blade for a backup knife?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array raysheen's Avatar
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    Question Which blade for a backup knife?

    OK, so I'm no expert on knives and there are a lot of different blade choices out there. What do you like and why? Which blade profile? Partially serrated or a plain blade? This will be for a backup for my carry piece and/or for when I can't carry a firearm. There is a place nearby that does some knive training and I'm interested in doing that, but until I take a class I guess I'm looking to you guys for advice
    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    There's so many choices an opinions out there, so you're going to get quite a few answers.

    My blade is mostly utility, but since I may have to use it for defense, I always choose one that has a belt clip so it will stay in the same place and position every single time for fast draw. I prefer tip-down carry (when it's closed, the blade is pointing down) because that's the style that's easiest for me to grab and open. The knide also has to have a thumb stud/wheel/hole so I can quickly open it with one hand (I can't legally carry an auto knife ).

    I've been through a lot of blade shapes and sizes all the way up to the TN legal limit of 4", and at this point I've gone back to my MOD CQD Mark II. The blade is 3.3 inches.

    I can get an excellent grip on it, it's easy to open/close with one hand and has a solid locking mechanism, and the blade is tough. I stuck with the plain blade - I have many serrated blades and partially-serrated blades, but sometimes it's annoying when they snag on things (not to mention they're a pain to sharpen).

    I've also been through a lot of blade shapes, from hawkbills to tantos and just about everything in between. Overall, I prefer shapes like the spear-point blade, good for both poking and cutting.

    I like the glassbreaker on the end. (The Mark I, the bigger version of the Mark II, has an additional seatbelt cutter.) Many years ago a lady drove straight into my parents' pond out in the country and as I was running across the field to get to the submerged car, I wished I had that knife on me. I had no idea if she was underwater and I couldn't get the doors open and needed to break a window. (It turned out the cab wasn't completely submerged and she got out by herself.)

    What I don't like about the blade is what's printed on it: "Close Quarters Defense Special Operations Trainer." It makes me look like a wannabe Rambo.

    It's an expensive blade and there's plenty of others that are cheaper and will serve just as well - it's just that I'm allowed to spoil myself once in a while because I can.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Stick with a name-brand: Spyderco, Kershaw, Benchmade, Cold Steel, come immediately to mind.

    Buy the best you can afford- I usually plan on $50-60, for an everyday carry defensive folder. Some folks say S&W knives, Frost, etc., are "good too!"- I'll just say, you get what you pay for.

    From someone that would know: tanto/modified tanto is more likely to slide past bone, rather than lodging tip-in. (I still carry a cilp-point Spyderco, but this changed some of my thinking, both on future purchases, and using what I have).

    Grossly non-traditional blades and grips are usually just that- gross. If you're native Malaysian, and have trained in their MA since you were 6, a Kerambit might be the absolute best choice for you. Without a lot of consistant, on-going, training, it will be less than optimal for anyone else.

    Spyderco offers a new "waved" model. A prime defensive pocket-carry choice. It may look like a gimmik- it isn't.

    If fixed blades are legal for you to carry, a small 3" or so blade is fine. 3" will reach anything in the human body, front-to-back. If you're needing 6-8" for vertical neck stabs, you're a tad beyond basic defensive. Ka-Bar's TDI, Shivworks Disciple and Clinch Pic, or BMs Nimravus, among others are all excellent.

    Last, but not least. The Hideaway Knife. The only exception to my "Funky" rule. Its intuitive, concealable, light and it works.
    www.hideawayknife.com $60 for the Utility model. I carry mine attached to my cellphone case- on me 16/7.

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    I carry a non serated assisted opener . I like the clip attachment too. for me point up (when closed ) works better for me. Alot will depend on what you like and works for you.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    Senior Member Array raysheen's Avatar
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    wow thanks again for all of the info guys! Here are some of my thoughts...I like tip up carry...I like the assisted openers (though I'm sure you can get pretty "quick" with practice of a non assisted knive, just thinking I might try something different since I've never had an assisted opener before)...I like tantos but I've heard negative things about their use in a self defence situation....anything to that?
    I guess one question about serrated vs non-serrated is do you actually gain anything from the serrations?
    I THINK I'm going to lean towards a ~3.5", assisted opening, tip up carry, something-or-other-knife
    I liked the Kershaw Tactical Blur that I tried and was going to get one last month, but since then I've been looking at all of the other options and my mind is now spinning. I know that when it comes down to it, it probably doesn't matter the exact knive you carry but I'm just trying to learn a bit about them if you know what I mean.
    Thanks again for all of the info I really appreciate it a lot!

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    I find serrations are a pain to sharpen.......so I'm less likely to have it in tip-top shape all the time. I like plain edge. Lots of folks have feeling on the tanto, but I only know one person (personally) who used a knife on a regular basis for "social interaction"- he used a Ka-Bar. The other gent, who commended the tanto, was working in the 50s-80s, and I would believe his assessment, vs those who express strong opinions based on sticking kevlar vests and SparPros.

    Again, I still carry the waved Spyderco, but his observations have caused me to look more at what I thought was a good grip with a more critical eye.

    Most people don't view edged weapons as a "combative system", largely because 1) it has not been a widespread Mil/LE training concept, and 2) it is not socially popular. Given that, growth and knowledge has been greatly retarded, beyond a few very small circles.

    Lastly, whatever you decide to get, carefully consider how/when you might have to open it. How easy is it to get to/get open, if you're on the ground? Pressed against a wall? Fending someone off with the other had? The stuff you'll probably cover in a class, from the guys down the street.

  8. #7
    Member Array bones's Avatar
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    I carry a Smith & Wesson Swat folding knife.
    "There is no such thing as too much ammo. Unless you're swimming!"

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    I carry MORE than ONE. I would recommend a one-hand or assisted opening type.

    I carry at least one in each front pocket. That way if either hand is otherwise occupied you can still retrieve a knife.

    On my strong-side (side with firearm) I carry a Kershaw Ken Onion Leek, it is an assisted opening style. It also is small enough to use for everyday tasks like opening the mail or boxes.....plus it won't scare the sheeple when you take it out & use for something other than defense.

    On my weak-side, I carry either a Strider or Emerson Commmander. These I carry if needed for defense, not for mundane everyday stuff, that's what the smaller knife is for.

    One side note: I don't carry blades that are serrated, mainly since they are a pain in the butt to sharpen & I'm fanatical about keeping knives SHARP.
    Last edited by goawayfarm; September 27th, 2006 at 02:19 PM.
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

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  10. #9
    Member Array Mass-Diver's Avatar
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    I feel very comfortable with spyderco civillian as a backup.

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    Senior Member Array purple88yj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raysheen View Post
    I guess one question about serrated vs non-serrated is do you actually gain anything from the serrations?
    The concept of a serrated edge is that you get more cutting surfaces. In other words, a 3.5" serrated would be the equivilent of a 4-5" blade (depending upon the amount and type of serration).

    As mentioned by others, I prefer a fine edge knife as well. They are easier to sharpen, and unless you are cutting through rope all the time, serrated is not necessary.

    I like a lot of the upper end knives, but for now my Schrade will do.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    I don't carry a knife to back up my Gun, I carry a BUG for back up. I casrry at least 3 knives all the time, each has a different type of blade and are used for different things. The knives I carry change from time to time depending on what I may be doing that day. The one knife I always have is the Mel Pardue pre production model(1998) by Benchmade. I use it for a clip to hold my Keys. In order for the blade to cut I had to regrind it, still not right. Works good as a clip though.

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    LaP
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    I carry a Buck Strider. Solid, sharp, easy opening, for $50 online.

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    Member Array exit42's Avatar
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    Kershaw Blur w/ assist, tanto, semi-serrated @ Wally World $56.
    For a heavier folder, a CRKT desert folder with index finger flip, semi-serrated, with a blade lock (so it's more like a fixed blade) ...gun show $30-45.
    ...one jagged hole!

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Like Rob said, spend the money to get a quality knife from a respected manufacturer. Yeah, S&W or some of the others may be a litte cheaper, but why would you want to buy crap when you may have to use it to fight for your life?

    I currently carry Spyderco Enduras (and I heartily endorse the "Wave") but I've also carried a few Cold Steel and CRKT knives and have been satisfied with them as well.

    One area where I know others may not agree with me is the issue of locking mechanisms. I absolutely refuse to ever buy another liner-lock again. I have had several diffenent knives (everything from a $30 Kershaw to a $250 CUDA) with liner locks and every one of them has weakened or failed. There are several different models from a variety of manufacturers that I feel are superior. Many companies have knives with a frame-lock, Benchmade has the AXIS lock, CRKT has the auto-LAWKS system, etc.
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

    Matt K.

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    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    I have two automatic knives (legal here in FL with a CCW permit) that I like. Very handy and quite impressive when they open. They only cost me about $30 each at a gunshow. I more often carry one of my two Spyderco Delica's, though. One is the partial serrated and one is a plain blade. I like the partial better. I only carry one knife at a time.

    Would y'all care to comment on the method you use to sharpen your blades?

    I'd ALSO like to know somthing from the assembled peanut gallery:

    How to y'all CARRY ALL THIS STUFF? I have my wallet in the front left of my 5*11's (because the back pockets are so deep the wallet carried there slaps against the back of my thigh). My cell goes into the 5*11 mag pocket as though it was made for it, then in my right front I've got Keys and a flashlight (SureFire). Sometimes in my left front with the wallet goes a spare mag, too.

    That's a lot of weight and it pulls my pants down which is often done by the weight of the gun alone! I hate to hafta always be "hitchin' up" my pants. Yeah, sometimes I carry the sp mag in a carrier over the opposite hip. And sometimes when I wear my Banana Republic vest I carry a lot of the stuff in those huge pockets, but in south Florida I like to opt for ultra light weight cover garments like the 3XL "Hawaiian Shirt" worn over a tucked in t-shirt or a 2XL 5*11 tac shirt worn open over a tucked in t-shirt.

    Well, I've got to go to work, now and since this site has recently been blocked by the "nazi" server, I'll check back late this afternoon. Y'all have a goodun'
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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