I’ll ask @James to stop by here, I know he’s been busy lately. I don’t know if he has a site.
One day I’ll have to try and talk you into teaching this old dog some new tricks (I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head but damn it looks like fun).
BTW really nice looking work on your website.
To my recollection a fixed blade carried on a belt in some places can get you in trouble. Probably something I heard while in California… If you get a really tough folding knife which is built like a tank - something like a Strider or Medford folding knife I see no reason for a fixed blade knife unless you are going to use it for chopping trees (like a Tom Brown Tracker knife). While Strider and Medford’s are going to be out of your price range there have been (sorry to mention) a number of high quality clones of these two brands which are every bit as tough as the originals. In the words of famous knifemaker Mick Strider " I could hardly tell the difference myself". I would advise getting a good quality blade steel that’s going to last such as S30V, S35V or D2 tool steel (D2 needs to be kept dry or wiped dry to avoid rust but is tool steel and about as tough as you’ll be able to afford). Forget Damascus unless you just want it for looks. It’s not as good as the one’s just mentioned for hardness or other factors.
Benchmades are good quality but not as heavy duty as Strider or Medford. BTW I do support buying a real Strider (I have a real Strider SMF) and supporting US made knives if you can. They will last a lifetime but I understand not everyone can come up with the prices they demand.
It all boils down to simplicity. If you are fighting for your life it’s going to always be more difficult to bring a folding knife into play than a fixed blade.
Folding knives are however easier to conceal and generally more comfortable so like everything else it’s a trade off and you are right, you need to know your local knife laws if you’re going to carry one at all.
Having carried knives for many decades, with the knives I carry and use everyday I think the extra time it takes to get a fixed blade fully out of a sheath would be roughly equivalent to how fast I can get a folder pulled and open. Folders I carry either have thumb studs or opener holes that make for fast one hand deployment. There are also the Emerson style knives with a hook shape on the back of the blade that will automatically open them as they are pulled from a clipped pocket making them as fast as anything can be. Also some spring assist (but not automatics) like some Kershaw styles open fast as soon as you start a little push of the thumb stud. Of course there are fully automatic knives too which are legal in some states. I personally don’t care much for auto’s though.
I’ll add I don’t think knives are especially good for self defense though. Maybe as a last ditch scenario but when you are up close enough to use a knife it can be taken from you by someone with skill or strength and used against you. Also if you pull a knife to scare someone off from attacking you and they have a gun (concealed) then you know how that will probably end - not well. It also seems the only time I see news of someone using a knife they end up being the bad guy or woman… Take the woman in Florida today who tried to stab another woman with a knife because the other woman wouldn’t share a pizza slice with her! Psychotic! There are a number of other reasons too that I think a gun is a much better self defense tool. I think most are obvious.
The main value I seen in carrying a knife for SD is for when your attacker has already closed within two arm’s reach or worse already has you in a clutch.
A knife can be easily used to maintain or create distance to give you a safe opportunity to draw.
I’m pretty old school and stick to the KISS theory as much as possible in self defense.
The fewer steps you have to go through to get your tools in action I think the average person is far better off.
I’m kind of a knife nut myself, I will almost always carry at least two, one for daily work and one for self defense. I also carry both folders and fixed blades depending on how I’m dressing and what I have planned for the day.
Can I just say I LOVE how much y’all are teaching me about knives? I now have a bunch of things to go look for and make some decisions about… not sure my hubby is going to be as thrilled as I am about my getting a new obsession for expensive tools…
I don’t know your hand size Zee but take a look at the picture I posted above. Very nice knife dirt cheap, it just won’t fit my bear paws for my intended purpose.
You don’t really have to spend a pile of money on knives. Look at the materials, that’s what matters most.
While there are different grades of stainless, essentially they are all the same for our purposes.
Let’s face it, Kershaw for example has a mirror product for just about everything Zero Tolerance puts out and at half or a third the price but still excellent quality.
Unless you’re a real collector like I am there’s no reason to spend 350.00 for a top of the line ZT when you can get essentially the same knife from Kershaw for 75.00-125.00.
@wildrose hand size… not sure how to measure that. Going with ManHands… also known as “pretty big hands for a girl”
For an idea, my Glock G21 .45 doublestack fits me just fine.
I think I need to spend some time in knife shops see what my hands love. I find the ones I have that I like best are almost all Benchmade, but I have one new Kershaw folder I like the grip on a lot.
If that’s the case be sure and look at TOP’s and Zero Tolerance.
One of the nicest features of most Benchmade knives is their Axis lock. It won’t fold on your fingers even if your beating on the back spine of the blade. Avoid ‘liner lock’ knives. Quality frame locks are also good to avoid an unexpected closure on your fingers. The Zero Tolerance WildRose mentioned - the Ken Onion Speed Safe (spring assist) version is a very fast open high quality knife although the one I have is rather heavy. Other than the weight I like everything about it. Strider knives though they are even more rugged than the Zero Tolerance with their thicker blade tend to be lighter as they typically have a handle that is Titanium on one side and G10 on the other side. I haven’t kept up with the Zero Tolerance models as I’ve got one of their early 0300ST models which I believe has Titanium handles on both sides. Newer versions may be lighter.
Everything @WildRose said about Kershaw is spot on here. Seconded.
I own 11 ZT knives and trust me, they are anything but light. They are about as “robust” as a folding knife can be and most of them are liner locks. Nothing wrong with a liner lock knife as long as they are made right.
The Zero Tolerance I have is a frame lock and I believe was a Strider / Onion / Kershaw collaboration. In terms of weight the ZT I’ve got is about half a pound. But the blade thickness is almost half as thick as the Strider knife I have while the Strider is lighter overall in weight. I haven’t found anything more rugged than a Strider except maybe the Medford Praetorian. In a pry bar contest the Strider is going the beat the Zero Tolerance
Strider on the Left: (picture for me doesn’t fully show up unless you click on it)
Since there are lots of places you can’t legally carry a gun, guns that malfunction, and criminals who can get to you before you get to a gun it’s a awfully good ideal to also plan and train for good empty handed skills and alternative tools as well.
I do really like the ZT I’ve got - great knife. And wicked sharp. But between the thicker blade on the Strider and the overall lighter weight I found myself favoring the Strider over the ZT. Since I was shown what happens with a liner lock (which was a Kershaw but not a ZT) when you whack the spine hard enough I have never bought anything except frame locks and Axis lock knives. I realize for most purposes you won’t be whacking the back (spine) of an open knife but it’s a choice I’ve made since seeing what can happen - just in case I’ve ever got a knife in that situation. The metal in a frame lock is much thicker than any liner I’ve seen in a liner lock so to me it just makes sense to choose the frame lock over a liner lock.
The Strider SMF is a framelock folding knife that was specifically developed for Detachment 1, the first SOCOM unit of the United States Marine Corps. The Strider SMF was the first knife issued to an individual Marine Corps unit in over 60 years and the first tactical folder issued within the USMC. That’s why I believe in Strider and framelock knives.
Let’s not forget the context here which is civilian self defense where a pry bar test does not apply.
Strider and Onion design many if not most of the ZT’s and they are more knife than 95% of people are ever going to want or need.
In reality, the Kershaws which are built even lighter as well as the Spyderco’s and several others are more than adequate for civilian SD purposes.
I agree for self defense almost any knife will do. I actually would likely use a tactical pen over a knife if I had the chance and didn’t have access to my gun. Less problems legally with a pen than a knife. But I think if you are going to spend in the neighborhood of a hundred dollars or more you might as well get something that is useful in every way possible. I don’t really consider a knife a good self defense tool as I believe I mentioned earlier. For me it’s a multi use tool.
I remember reading the Forbes list of the 20 most important tools of all time. The number one tool was the knife! So to me it’s important that it can handle anything I throw at it. I will add for your side of the discussion regarding self defense that I knew a guy in the military who had spent time in the jungles of South America where he said the natives were more afraid of a knife than a gun. I’m guessing they don’t know what a good gun with a trained shooter can do though …
I can take you to many neighborhoods in the US where the threat of a knife instills more fear than threatening someone with a gun as well.
Shooting someone carries such high penalties even if you miss most criminals will only use a gun to threaten with no intent to actually shoot you, or each other for that matter.
It’s always much more likely someone is going to stab or slash because of the lower penalties and just the perception.