Randall Model 2 "Fighting Stilleto" with 8" blade. I don't have a real Randall, but I have a couple copies. One is a very nice version by the Japan Sword company. For my taste the Randall handle needs to be slightly reduced in size. See www.randallknives.com.
I have a couple generations of Gerber daggers at my disposal. I'm more likely to carry my Gerber boot dagger than most fixed blade knives, partially due to the nice clip-on sheath.
In terms of why the 8" Randall--I guess cause I figure it would do the best job. If I thought it would help me avoid a conflict the massive wicked looking blade might make someone just go away. The 8" blade would make a very deep and very large stab wound that might end an armed conflict sooner (bleed-out an opponent faster). For sentry removal, which is considered a task for a dagger, it could do the kidney stab and throat slash well. For a knife-to-knife duel it has reach, weight, and belly to do an effective hand/wrist cut. The blade is broad enough and has enough belly for effective slashing. In O1 alloy steel it takes a great edge to insure effective cutting.
In summary, an 8" Model 2 is an effective weapon, which is all you can ask of a dagger.
[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 27 September 1999).]
Just picked up a Super Valerie dagger from Black Cloud Knives. 6" Damascas blade, small integral guards, tapered tang, coke bottle handle shape, desert ironwood scales. Beautiful. This is a great small fighter. The handle is somewhat short, about 4" to nest the butt into the cup of the palm during thrusting. Beautiful and nasty.
I'll throw in my usual armchair opinion that most daggers aren't intended for knife-to-knife combat. For that task, something with greater reach and a guard that is designed for protecting against (and possibly trapping) an opponent's blade is better - think "fighting bowie."
Daggers have one purpose only - killin' folks, plain and simple. Folks who probably aren't similarly armed and hopefully aren't aware of the attacker. That's very different than "fighting."
To that end, daggers should have blades 6-7" to reach anything vital, slender blades with two very sharp edges, steel that favors taking a razor-edge easily and is tough rather than one that holds an edge well, and a minimal guard simply to protect the hand from sliding forward.
I think that the Gerber Mk II pretty well embodies those attributes. Applegate-Fairbairns (Boker, Blackjack, etc.) are pretty nice, too. There are others, but most companies high-end companies steer clear of this market, as the dagger has literally no appropriate civilian purpose, unless you enjoy the more "personal" forms of hunting wild game
I've said (controversially, I expect) why daggers aren't for fighting. They certainly aren't for utility. A few folks hold that the second edge may be used once the first gets dull, but I think most of us would agree that one good edge is better thanb two poor ones. I say "poor" because by necessity a dagger will have shallow grinds and a weak cross-section compared to a single-edged knife of the same profile. It will also have a fairly weak tip, and I've said why the steel should not stress edge retention. finally, that second edge seriously limits grips, doesn't allow pressure to be applied with the off-hand, and can be a danger to the user when chopping and performing other heavy tasks.
Yes, they're knives. No, (I say this for the benefit of our seemingly confused law-writers), they're not "dirks."
I have to agree with the #2 Randall!! To me, it just has a special shape and feel! There's been smaller versions made, I saw one with a maroon Micarta handle. Oh no.....
I just got the urge to go to Orlando tomorow!! Thanks alot guys......
I prefer a single-edged knife for defense because it works better with some of the techniques I use, but many people favor daggers or modified daggers for defense and with good reason. They have posted their reasons on the tactical forums....
You may prefer other designs for defense, as I do, but to say daggers are designed only for murder is completely wrong, in fact nonsensical -- a dagger is a defense weapon you can have with you when you need it (all the time). Murderers are not limited to weapons they can have with them at all times, and there are many better murder weapons.
Daggers don't have to have weak points or poor edges, either. A dagger can easily be wide enough for two flat or convex or even hollow grinds with good cutting characteristics with a sufficient thickness at the spine for adequate strength. Some daggers do have weak points but a quick web search will turn up plenty that don't.
Trapping guards were not useless when it was necessary to block a sword, but they are these days. Try some sparring with reasonable size training knives sometime and see if you ever need to block blade against blade.
The usual technique with short daggers is to block with the point against the attacker's hand or arm, but the edge can be used too, depending on the situation.
Maybe we should start a dagger vs. bowie thread -- in the tactical forum where it belongs -- to avoid this thread being pulled off topic.
I'm not big on daggers, but then again I usually look at knives as tools not weapons.
Best dagger ...that's easy, the Smatchet. It may not be the cleanest kill but at least it would be fast, and it would still retain enough mass to be a useful field tool.
True, my dagger probably isn't the fighter that my Black Cloud Short Sword is with its 17" blade, blade catcher guards, and side quillions, but I usually carry something smaller. There is nothing weak about the tip of the Super Valerie or the Valerie. They are quite broad with plenty of steel behind them.
One advantage of a double edged small fighter is that it is natural to cut both going in and coming out. Also, Ernie Mayer and Snickersnee have convinced me that thrusts to hands and joints are an effective knife combat technique without committing yourself to a killing technique. The dagger is light and versatile. It does about anything any other small fighter will do with the exception of lay back along your wrist in reverse grip.