cheap or expensive when the $Hi+ hitts the fan

think of a situation where you would need to use your blade in self defense.

would you rather have a state of the art weapon that you absolutly trust and is a part of yourself buts costs over $250
or a good low cost folder that is prety strong, fits your hand ok and is easily replaceable.

i was thinking of comparing something like a handmade CQC6 or a CQC8(banana), RJ martin Q36 or a Crawford folder
a cold steel 4" voyager
spyderco endura
cold steel el hombre

in terms of strength, feel and reliability and ditch-ability which would you rather have?

i think my hide is worth a MT or a commander.
if i need to ditch it then i do. although it would hurt to doit their other knives out their.
Oct 3, 1998
If you have to defend yourself with deadly force, God forbid, your day has just been ruined even if you win, and the replacement cost of the knife will be your least concern.

I you use a knife in some murky encounter, and you ditch the knife, and you end up discussing the matter with the cops and/or your attorney anyway, the fact that you ditched the knife and were not the first to report the incident just might be considered a sign that you had doubts about your self-defense claim and felt just a wee bit guilty.

memnoch - i agree totally. i would rather have a knife that i can truly trust. if it has to be a folder, then i would trust a bm axis or rekat over my spydercos and other liner locks. i have no problem spending more money (if i have it) on a better knife. funny thing is though, one can spend a TON of money on a knife, and sometimes it is still not as safe as a $30 knife.
as for fixed blades, i trust the custom stuff more. i like the fact that someone's hard work went into making my blade. it gives me more confidence in my knife.

over the last several months, i have slimmed down my collection considerably, so that i have just a few highly trusted, high-quality, (usually expensive) knives. i have taken the opinion of many here on the forums, that i would rather have a few high-quality knives than a lot of cheap stuff. so, i wait a while longer between purchases and make each purchase count.

i figure that if i'm ever in a situation where i have to ditch my knife, the last thing on my mind will be the loss of my knife.

I think that if I pull my knife, I WILL be justified in using it! As for what i'd carry to depend on, well that's easy: A good fixed blade. JSP & or MAD Dog. Ditching the blade would not even cross my mind.

My first and only concern is surviving.To me the best chance of that is a custom fixed blade.If it is lost or taken by the police after the encounter and I got home safe it did it's job and is worth it's replacment cost.To me the only concern is coming home in one piece. The knife is a replaceable tool, you are not.That being said I suggest getting the best you can afford.
Most of the good points have been hit so, I won't recover them.

Ditching a knife implies you throw it away and implies guilt. Why would you? To evade questioning by police? If you use a tool in self defense, running, hiding, evading, etc. will only make you look quilty and is most likely the best way to ensure you spend some time behind locked doors (whether for a few hours, days, months or, years). My advice would be to act justly and, when the police show up, give them the knife or gun and either answer their questions or insist on your lawyer.

Confiscation is another case entirely, this implies the police picked it up. You should get your knife back after the legalities are settled.

Now to practical matters. If my life is on the line, I will use whatever tool I have to save myself. Cost is not an issue here, effectiveness is. I didn't choose my pistol because it was the most expensive one I have, it is the one I can use best. The same goes for my cutlery, I use the one I can use best. If any of this lost while saving my life, replacement cost is a minor concern at that point.

Think quality. Think of your ability to use it effectively (not someone else's skill with it, not what you saw in the movies, what can you use?). Make your selection based on the performance. If it is cheap great, if it is expensive well, my life is worth it. Is yours?

Some good points have been mentioned above. However, I would be willing to bet that most of us don't carry a knife for self-defense only. It is probably a consideration for most of us, but we use our knife for utility work. In fact, I have only had to pull my knife for self-defense once, and even then it wasn't used (the sight of it scared them off).
Since most of us use our knives daily, we have to consider cost vs the life span of the knife. The act of using and sharpening knives wears them out. I consider my folders to have a lifespan of 5-10 years. I don't think I would be willing to use a Sebenza that hard and carrying a knife for self-defense only is not an option I would consider for many reasons.
There is no question that many higher priced knives are of greater quality than my Endura, Delica and Covert (my daily carry blades). But I feel free to carry and use these knives daily and if another self-defense situation comes up - I will grab and thumb one of these open with perfect muscle memory, just like I do many times daily; unlike what might happen with a higher priced knife that is almost never used.

I think it is important that people pick the highest quality knives that they are comfortable using on a daily basis. If that happens to be a Sebenza (or similiar quality) so much the better. If it happens to be an 'entry-level' Spyderco, at least they are still using a quality knife.

"Walk softly and carry a big folder... and a small folder... and a SAK... and a multi-tool..."
Despite owning (and loving) the Emerson Commander and CQC7 folders (along with some others in the same class/price range) I still carry a concealed fixed blade if I have concerns about safety on the streets.

Current favorite is the Moran FB1 with the EdgeWorks sheath carried in the small of my back on belt.

Fixed blades are stronger and faster to deploy than any folder, period.

Life is a journey, not a guided tour -- GO ARMED!

phone_archer touched on something very important. He said he is going to reach for the knife he uses all of the time. The one that is used as more in utility than in defense. That shows a level of familiarity. If you carry a knife for defense, you had better practice using it in that way. Practice obviously instills familiarity. I live in a State where a concealed firearm is a no no. So I usually carry at least two knives. One reserved for defense and one for utility. The blade for defense never cuts anything, it stays as sharp as possible. The utility blade gets used for most everything.

My utility blade right now is a CS Voyager. I have carried many other factory knives and had no problem. Defense blade is a handmade, whether fixed or folder. Handmades generally have a better feel and move better than the factory knives I have handled.
Far be it from me to stir up controversy, but..... There is not much more that a $1000 folder will do that a good quality but economical folder wont do. I am not talking about these cheap knock offs. I trust a CS Voyager or a Spyderco Endura. A Spyderco Military is a great folder, and a good value vs. an Emerson custom.
Shootist has brought up an interesting point. There is not necessarily a 1:1 correlation between price and quality. No one would disagree that a Sebenza is a higher quality knife than say a Zytel Endura, but is it 6-10 times the knife? Probably not. In order to improve a knife's quality from say 75% highest possible quality to 100% highest possible quality would increase the cost by much more than 25%. Everyone has their own opinion on how much increased quality they are willing to pay for. For many people the cost of the Sebenza is easily justified and for others it isn't. It would be pretty dull if we all agreed on every aspect of knives (or anything else for that matter).

"Walk softly and carry a big folder... and a small folder... and a SAK... and a multi-tool..."
Hypothetical hogwash.....
A high priced folder is not going to give you any more performance than a reasonable production knife.

As motor skills degrade and the tempo picks up... The first consideration is simplicity of operation. Even with all the neat one hand opening knobs, holes, etc. most knives used under such stress are still opened with two hands. Knives with nice trim lines (closed profile) should be avoided. Large handles are just the ticket as well as lots of exposed blade. It's amazing how fumble fingered a person can be!

Next the knife should be tough. I would much rather have a dull bent chepo blade than a nice super sharp ATS-34 blade that is broken.
Also that the stresses that the knife may be subjected to do not destroy the knife at the hinge. With all the adrenalin pumping along with the degraded motor skills the stresses YOU place on the knife are MUCH greater than would seem imaginable.

Training and practice are good. But, of all those factors that are most important is: mind-set!!! I've seen skilled people loose when it really counted, because of this point.

"Nuff rant. I've just been there and done that, unfortunately more than once.
The question is, will the blood have damaged the blade by the time you get it back from the policia? Just pocket the knife, and tell the copper that you did the dirty deed with your finger nails