Any "Dagger" owners/users?

Dec 10, 2005
Just curious if anyone uses a Dagger for hunting/fishing, or keeps one in their SHTF bag. I like a large Bowie style myself, but I know a guy who swears by the large double edge Daggers. He keeps an older Gerber Dagger with a 6" or 7" blade in his SHTF bag. He has put a razor sharp edge on his Gerber. His reasoning is that he can use the knife 2X as long before he needs to sharpen it again, as he just flips it over. I like the chopping/wood splitting ability of my Bowie's, although I often have a small hatchet close by. I have noticed in the older gun mags (late 60's/70's/early 80's) that quite a few writers had also written about the versitility of large good quality double edged Daggers for survivial/outdoors use. I have also seen pics of big double edged Daggers (as well as the more popular Butcher/Bowies styles) used by early explorers and Mountain men. I always thought that Daggers were just for fighting, but I am now wondering if I am missing the boat here by overlooking a putting a quality Dagger in my gear (provided I have another tool for chopping)? Any Thoughts????
Well, I guess that is one philosophy:rolleyes: . I know the old "smatchet" concept was simply that as side left razor sharp and the other was used for chopping tougher material. It would be hell on your baton if you were doing any larger amount of battoning wood:D

I would think that a double edged blade reduces the amount of steel needed for heavy duty chores...less weight for chopping, more prone to breaking and you wouldn't be able to use it effectively as a draw knife. If it works for the guy you know, than more power to's not my cup of tea. With all that said, I do keep a SOG Pentagon in my deployment's double edged with one side plain and the other serrated. I don't use it often, but the serrated edge comes in handy at times, it's not a knife I carry often and usually only on my IBA when traveling to other FOB's. I wouldn't consider it much of an "outdoors" blade, and even if I was in a situation that left we with just a blade for self defense, I would much rather have a larger bowie-type or conventional clip/drop-pointed blade.

Hey Guys...


He's also Twice as likely to cut himself..

Dagger serve only one purpose in life, and thats as a Thrusting/Slashing weapon..

They have little to no value in the field...

Tips are usually very fragile and as a poster already said they can't be used effectively as a draw knife,, and forget batoning it through anything...

Stick to a single edge with a plain solid spine..


I have a j.nowill & sons fairbairn sykes my grandfather passed to me.

And three stitches...
Hey Guys...

Dagger serve only one purpose in life, and thats as a Thrusting/Slashing weapon..

They have little to no value in the field...

Stick to a single edge with a plain solid spine..



Normark, while I agree with what you said, a poster in another forum mentioned that people who work on boats with nets could possibly benefit from a double edge knife - in case they went overboard and got caught up in a net, and of course, panicked a bit, they wouldn't have to worry about which edge was the cutting one. Food for thought. I thought it was a good example of someone thinking outside of the box.

And like Burncycle, I also own a couple - a Gerber Mark I in L6 (I think) and a small Ek boot knife.

Dagger serve only one purpose in life, and thats as a Thrusting/Slashing weapon..

They have little to no value in the field...
Hunters use those to finish boars or other animals, wounded or after they have been "wrestled" to the ground by dogs, when dogs around the beast makes it too hazardous to shoot.


Some have actual spears from that purpose.


For that purpose some also use "couteaux à la d'Estaing": or "d'Estaing" kinves which are sort of "semi-folding" long knives:

Apart from that very special role they are quite useless.
Use whatever you find useful, regardless of popular opinion. If someone sees a practical use for a dagger, then by all means he should use it.

I carry an A.G. Russell Sting (repro., not orignal), a double edged boot knife, everywhere I go. I find it useful in many situations one might not expect to use such a knife. I use one edge for slicing and the other for scraping and whittling. I reground the edges at different angles to serve those purposes. Given the thick, solid nature of the Sting, I have also on occasion used it as a tent spike. I have driven it into tree trunks to serve as an anchor or hanger, something the oversized lanyard hole lends itself well to. I always feel very secure with it strapped to my boot.

The one downfall I see with a razor sharp knife for fishing/hunting is the loss of the game.

If you strapped your "dagger" to your spear pole, and went to spear some fish, you might find that when you finally jab one, that you lose it, because the stabbing blade comes out, almost as easily as it goes into the fish.
That's why gigs and fishhooks have barbs on them.

For personal protection it would be great, or for an organized hunt, where two or three people are repeatedly stabbing larger game to inflict mortal wounds. (Caveman style hunting).
I used to spear hunt frogs as a kid, with a long sharpened wooden spear, and later with a nail attatched to the end. I found the trick was to keep them firmly pinned on the bottom until you can grab them with your free hand. I'm guessing this would work well fishing too, although I never speared a fish. Those frog gigg/spears with prongs and barbs look great, but as a kid I never had the cash. I experimented with bow/arrow and airguns for bullfrogs as well, but nothing secured the game as well as the spear, as I had several swim off after being shot with airshot and arrows (unless the arrow pinned them into the mud). Plus, when I hit unseen rocks, the arrows splintered. I could just resharpen my spear.
TheSurvivalist is right, use whatever works for you. Personally, I shy away from daggers for several reasons. They were designed originally to either pierce through armor, or stab someone in the back of the neck. I don't do a whole lot of either. If they're ground to have a nice acute bevel for cutting as opposed to stabbing, they're usually mighty thin... or three inches wide! Now I have a weak blade with mediocre small-task cutting properties and little or no slashing or chopping energy. That's by far the way I use a knife most often, think about it. There's also no spine to take my thumb or a baton, or to grip for use as a drawknife (great way to make tinder shavings). I just don't buy the idea of of having a sharp edge for twice as long; I really don't feel that's a factor unless you've got junk steel or you're just plain lazy. Does hicomp2's friend shoot one barrel of a side-by-side till it's filthy, then shoot with the other barrel? :D

Doc-Canada, for a fisherman caught in netting, I think Normark already said it, "He's also twice as likely to cut himself."

So I choose a single edge knife every time. Having said that, I've put together a couple of dagger boot knives for my woman, just because she thinks they're cool :) And some of the (especially "tactical") folders on the market today seem to have just as poor geometry as a dagger, so what the hell.

I think hicomp2 is right on the money about frog/fish spearing tactics. But many times I can see meal-worthy fish, could reach 'em with a spear, but it's not really practical to reach down to the bottom to get it. Carving barbs into the stick would work, people have done that for centuries. As far as lashing your knife to a stick... whattaya think, SkunWerx, you gonna volunteer to file a couple barbs in the spine of your Necker and try it out, or should I? I'm seriously considering it... in my mind's eye I don't think it would interfere with the blade in normal use. And I would be awful mad if I nabbed a fish and he slipped off the spear, like you said.
Spear-fishing is something I can't practice legally, though, I'm the wrong color for that.
A lot of good points here. The main reason I wouldn't want to carry a dagger is that they are classified here and in many states as a weapon. Trying to explain one off to a Judge or LEO as a tool might be difficult. A regular appearing hunting knife, on the otherhand, is recognized in many jurisdictions as a legitimate tool when used in conjunction with outdoor activities. Our wildlife police here have stated that hunting boars and other game with knives and spears is forbidden because it is not specifically allowed in their "codes". Caca in the 9th degree there. Also, they are not sheeple friendly, even among a group of hunters why cry foul, saying their use is not "sporting" or "humane".

Hey Guys...

Well when I read "SHTF" this usually means,, or can mean a survival situation, and I can assure you,, any survival experts or anyone in the "know" about survival or bushcraft aren't going to advise taking a double edged dagger out in the woods to do any serious bushcraft.

Daggers are not bushcraft tools. They are far to fragile to do anything with..
If you need a tent stake, carve yourself a tent stake..

Why would you hammer a perfectly good knife into the ground risking damage to the blade and obvoiusly taking the edge off of your knife...

It's like using the tip of your knife as a screw driver.. Sure if thats all you have then you may have to..

What I'm saying is use the right tool for the right job.

If I'm going to spear fish or frogs, I'm going to carve myself a spear from wood.If I need something better I'll add a metal or stone tip to it... I'm surely not going to use one of my primary tools as a spear to be damaged on rocks or quite possibly lost.

A double edged knife quite often bites back.. The last thing I want in the bush is to be cut by my knife..

A perfect example of a poorly thought out bush knife is the Smashete. Sure it has twice as much edge,, but the other edge is constantly there and has the ability to cause some serious damage. It is in my opinion one of the worst bush knives I have ever seen. You risk getting cut merely by removing it from the sheath.

I'm not saying dagger don't have a purpose,, they just don't have a purpose as a bushcraft tool.. They aren't spears!


I remember drooling over the Gerber MK2 dagger as a kid in high school in the early seventies. Gerber did indeed market it as a survival knife. The first time I saw a picture of one was in a brochure my dad got with a Gerber kitchen knife and sportsman's steel he purchased, probably about 1970. If I recall correctly, the handle on the MK2 depicted in that brochure was orange. I tried to convince my dad ( a very experienced outdoorsman) I needed one, that didn't get too far but at least he got a chuckle out of it (his preference was for Scandinavian style knives). Don't know what became of the Gerber kitchen knife, but I still have the sportsmans steel, it has accompanied me on many a misadventure.
Hey Guys...


Scandi Knives ?!


Your father was indeed an experienced woodsman...
Anyone that chooses a Scandi knife as a bushcraft tool isn't far off the mark.


My friend doesn't use side by sides (I love them, both BP and smokeless!), he is into assault weapons, a real survivalist, if you will. Good point though about shooting one barrel. In Maine where we live, we are allowed to carry Bowies, Dirks and Daggers for hunting/fishing, etc. Not many (yet!) foolish laws up here. In Maine, we can spearfish for Suckers, but not prized gamefish.
Hi Normark, my dad's preference for Scandinavian knives was no doubt influenced by being born and raised in Norway. ;) BTW, just did a search on ebay and found an orange handled MK2, the description says only 1000 were made, especially for Eddie Bauer. Bidding is currently at over $900.00 with three days left.
Gibsonfan;"Spear-fishing is something I can't practice legally, though, I'm the wrong color for that". What the hell does this mean? You may want to edit your post, as it is going to be read by people (of all colors) all over the world. This thread was and is about Daggers/knives, nothing else. Bladeforums is for knife lovers, of ALL colors.
I've adapted a taste for the "nessmuk" style knives. As I've been looking around, I went and got a grohmann #4, best knife I've had in a while. But, you have to a have a certain "eye" for the look, its gets some getting used to, but once you do its a beauty in its own.
Hey Guys..


Yaa that would be the cause of his Scandi fixation... LOL

An M2K for $900.. Yikes....


Although Gibsonfan may have some slight rasial overtones,, I didn't read it that way...

I think maybe he was talking about Natives who can legally spearfish...


If you file barbs in your becker you are crazy, buy yourself a 5 dollar gig and be done with it.

I have thought a lot about a dagger, but not the traditional shaped one. I have been thinking about a drop point blade with the top edge sharpened, like some of the doziers. Then you would have a knife with a lot of belly for general use, flip it over and you have a wharnecliff style blade, both good for specific tasks. I don't baton and I am not really worried about cutting myself so I have thought that it might work out to be pretty handy. Chris