Fighting Knives 101


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Gerber knives are very sturdy and well-made. That having been said, they have also always been too gimmicky for my taste and most, if not all, have typically been considered wannabe knives by real professionals who use knives. There are only two killing knives I'd consider:

1. The old Army fighting knife with a blade that's just like the issue Colt M-16 bayonet without the rifle hook-up. This knife has a sturdy, curved, dagger point, and it's very smooth with a sure-grip handle in both the old leather rings and the newer rubber rings from Ontario Knife. It doesn't jam between the ribs and is a perfect ear-canal knife. If you are a pro, you'll know what I mean.

2. Is the Tanto; although the Tanto is more geared for outright fighting, it's also a great rib-stabbing and cutting knife, and also an excellent ear-canal knife. I probably shouldn't say this, but these knives also cut through bullet-proof vests like they were butter, as long as they don't hit the ceramic plate. Even then, if they slide off of it while you are still pushing on it, they can still do some terrible damage.

The Ka-Bar of Marine fame requires too much brute force to make it work in too many circumstances, but it might be something I'd consider if I was forced to do so. That's it for killing knives.

For working knives, there is nothing like the bulky and heavy Victorinox Swiss Army Champ. Not Wenger, but specifically Victorinox. It's worth many times its weight in gold, if you have ever needed a really great working knife while out in the bush. One of my sons once cut a piece of tool steel with the hacksaw in one of my old Swiss Champs and didn't damage the knife!

Gerber knives, with all those candy-ass serrations and gimmicks are more geared for the fire-rescue unit than the fighting man. I'd like to see anyone stick one into someone else's ribs without getting the serrations stuck in between them. Yes, you can do it, if you turn it horizontally going in and coming out, but in a fight for life and limb, who the hell knows how they are sticking a knife into someone else? Sideways, upside down, it's all the same when the chips are down. A real professional, chock-full of adrenalin, with a knife stuck three inches deep between ribs will still easily kill you without a second thought while you determine how you'll get your knife back. (To free it, you have to violently pull it up or down to break a rib. By the time you decide to do this, you might be dead. Having tremendously injured the other guy is immaterial to your being dead.)

The guy who said that the aluminum handle would be bad for both cold weather and not to be left in the sun was absolutely correct. In very cold weather it will freeze to your hand and having been in the tropical sun for any length of time, you wouldn't be able to hold it in your bare hand. The guy who talked about wrapping a handle with 550 cord (parachute cord) was absolutely correct too, except that before you wrap the handle, you take out the guts, so the cord lays flatter and ties better over the handle. If you want to make it better, twist the empty cord as you tie it and create a greater gripping surface. It's not about making it stick to your hand, but about creating friction so that under any and all circumstances, including blood, gore and slime, you will be able to maintain a secure grip on your weapon. I gave my wife a Cold Steel Tanto with a 550 cord-wrapped handle some years ago and she loves it. She says it's a 'pretty' knife, as opposed to my old U.S. Army fighting knife, which she says is a 'nothing killer and a pirate knife.' I love it. My children all say they'd rather meet me at night in a dark alley than to do the same with their mother. I'm very proud of the way I trained her, especially having taught her how to overcome female deficiencies in fighting men, something a majority of women have not been taught, consequently, when the chips are down they lose. It's a shame. Me

ED The only reference to an old, bayonet-style fighting knife offered by the Ontario Knife Company was the SP3-M7 knife (Ive included the picture above) which features a 6 blade (11 1/8 overall.)  I hope this is what you were referring to.  If not, let me know and Ill update this posting.

Regarding your comments about the utility of the skull crusher point you see on many knives (the Gerber Yari II or the SP3, for example) I agree with you that a pointed crusher will be much more effective in a fighting situation, than would a flat basher like the Ka-bar.  For me though, as the poster child for the non-knife fighter community, if push ever came to shove, Id probably reach for a cinder block as a means of self-defense rather than a professional fighting knife (Ill never hit the ear canal, but Ill probably get the guys head with my brick.)

Regarding the use of the 550 cord, I agree, you need to strip the handle down to create a smooth wrapping surface.  With my kukri I sanded down the handle, with the Yari II I wrapped the forged aluminum handle with athletic tape to fill in the holes, and then wrapped it.  For me, I like to leave the core threads in the OD sheath, to give the material better absorbency.  One thing I found that worked real well was leather bootlaces.  They wrap well and they grip well.  Unfortunately, they are also porous and I was concerned about how to clean the knife up after getting it contaminated.  So I went with the 550 cord.

-- Kit Up!

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