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Well, first, the fasted folder I’ve ever been able to deploy and put into action (training), has been Emerson folders with the “wave” feature (Cold Steel, Spyderco, and CRKT have versions as well). There’s no comparison, even with automatic pocket knives.

Size does matter, but I think many over-estimate how much blade they really need. I have read that 2.5” to 3” can be enough to reach vital organs if thrust with force. I would think 3.5-4” would be a more reliable size difference, but much depends on employment and actual use.

My reasoning is now a little more different. I have reduced my pocket folder carrying days to carrying a Leatherman FREE P4 more often. I simply want a pocket tool that offers more versatility than a single blade pocket folder and not have to carry a multitool on my belt. However, it’s not a defensive tool; hence the need to carrying a smaller fixed blade.

My current pocket carry choice resurrected carrying a smaller fixed blade (sometimes for utility, sometimes more for a dedicated defensive blade. If I can carry a knife, I can carry a gun, so my choices are for weak-hand carry and draw. I’ve added a couple other options, but I’ve found the ring-handled (or fingered?) knives best suited to a fast employment for my weak-hand. Coming up in an icepick grip to either slash or stab, gives me options. Again, these are meant for employment when my strong-arm/gun-arm may be pinned, occupied/grabbed, or injured and my defensive knife is mostly meant to just employ to create space for drawing my pistol.

Size matters as well. I know some who have comfortable carried a 7+inch fixed blade, but that’s not for me. How you carry matters and the sheath/carry system is as important as the knife. Secure retention, ease and speed of access, and safety if you take a tumble are important factors.



Thinking about it sometimes. What's a little knife going to do? Slash slashes?
Yes, slashing may not be incapacitating, but for me, the blade is a weak-hand back-up weapon and something that can help me create distance to draw my handgun. Most of my training was done in a combat environment where close quarters (advising) was a common occurrence (vehicles, narrow hallways and stairwells, bathrooms, and offices). I found the Colonel “punching” knife was the best suited to my needs. I needed something I could draw when seated with as little as 6-8” of space to employ; punching was better suited than slashing for that situation.

I have some smaller “utility/defensive” blades I carry as well, like the Spyderco Street-Beat, TOPS Scalpel 2, or the Bradford Guardian. I can go a little bigger during the winter, but these are good utility/defensive blades when paired with a multitool and handgun for primary self-defense.

ROCK6
 

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Well, fortunately my “Weapons Carry License” covers blades of all types, so I’m good. Georgia updated their knife laws in 2021: basically I can carry any type of knife openly or concealed as long as the blade is under 12 inches; my Weapons Permit allows me to carry a claymore down my pants leg is desired.

What can you tell me about the Benchmade knife, 4th from the left, AND the Cut 4.0?

Is the Benchmade knife comfortable to hold in your hand? Are those ridges on the handle bad news for a tight grip?

I really like the Cut 4.0. Anything you can say about that knife?
@ForumSurvivalist
The Benchmade SOCP is a great design for what it is, but it’s an extremely narrow niche. What I like most is the design that easily integrates into MOLLE webbing such as on my plate carrier. It’s purely a stabbing weapon and the training involved applies to similar finger-ring designs; you use the blade to distract or create space to access your firearm. The ring acts as a retention device to the point I can draw my handgun for immediate action and then transition to a more accurate two-hand hold without dropping the blade. Like I said, the design works and the worries of having your finger in a finger-breaking ring hole are over-blown. The price on the Benchmade sucks; the Spartan version even more so; however, the work as designed and do it quite well.

I was a little skeptical about the TOPS C.U.T. 4.0. CUT stands for “Combat Utility Tool” and that’s exactly where it excelled. It’s a more traditional blade design and works perfectly fine as a utility knife. The ring can be a little annoying for a traditional saber grip without putting your pinky in the ring, but it will still work. The ring really helps to index on the blade and draw quickly. I carried this blade SOB and weak-side carry (drawn in an icepick fashion). I think it’s one of the best values on the market for that type of design. A very good defensive design and a very functional/utilitarian blade design.

ROCK6
 

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I am going to hijack this thread a little and say a dagger is probably the last tool I would carry for self defense for multiple reasons
To me, daggers are more offensive in nature than defensive, but they can still be integrated in one's self-defense system. I personally find them a little less versatile and pretty much non-utilitarian. I've been toying with some smaller fixed blades in my EDC rotation with a mostly utilitarian purpose, but defensive capable. You could say that about any knife, but it's more about the overall design and carry system than actual blade shape.

A decent walking stick or cane is a far better self defense weapon than a dagger

First a stout oak or hickory (or other) cane or walking stick has far more reach than a knife and in the hands of someone with rudimentary training actually more lethal.
This is spot on for many reason. Reach is one, but there are some "impact" weapons that are much easier to keep with you in very restrictive or non-permissive environments. I don't use a walking stick or cane, but I do have an "unbreakable" umbrella that I've flown with and carried where I couldn't carry firearm. It has an extremely effective ferrule for jabs and slashes and a polypropylene handle that is a very effective impact option. Believe it or not, I would rather have that umbrella than a pocket folder or even a fixed blade for self-defense.

Third, as any professional knfe fighter will tell you, just about anytime you have two halfway reasonably matched knife fighters together both will get cut, even the winner. I don't like being cut
The vast majority of knife fights or even those that use them are anything but professional or have zero training. But, they can still cause damage. Knives are meant for fighting anymore and mine aren't fighting knives. If I have to pull a blade, it's close to a last resort and I'm carrying it to simply deploy and create distance from a threat. I don't want to them to see it until it's used. All my training is very simplistic and designed for close-quarters employment for a reason. If I have distance, I either break contact, keep them at distance, or use my firearm.

If I have room for 90% of the knife fighting techniques, I have room to draw my gun or use my umbrella or trekking pole (insert cane, walking stick) to maintain distance between me and a threat. Outside of a combat environment (and even then, it's extremely niche), I have no fighting knives; I have utility knives that can be used to create distance from a threat. That said, the only real dedicated defensive blades will carry are smaller "punch knives", like the smaller KaBar TDI, Benchmade Azeria, and the Colonel:




While it's designed as a defensive/utility tool by the designer, I've been working with the AMTAC Minuteman as a pocket knife. There are few others I like as utility-defensive tools as well:





The AMTAC design "...from inception, is an easily accessible outdoorsman’s fixed blade EDC, designed to be equally useful in a life-and-death fight. It’s not meant to be a big survival or bushcraft specialty blade, but rather a go-to blade for basic tasks"

ROCK6
 
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