Defense Folder??

I know that everyone probably has their own preferences, but I have been asking questions about locks failing and comparing various knives in other forums...

What single knife is the best folder that one can carry for self-defense?

I own a Civilian, a Covert, and I was looking (although the price is insane) at a Mission MPK, or maybe a Military Spydie (although it is not a fighting knife...)...Vaquero?

What do you all think?

Try to take into consideration a nice size, some method of protecting finger slippage, and a really, REALLY strong lock. (I heard the MPK's lock is quite good.)

Thank you.

Mighty Jessit.
The things we do for the knives we love.

The Mission MPF with the Integral Lock is strongest and safest folder. But, if you don't like the price, the Benchmade Pinnacle would be just about as good. There is always the Chris Reeve Sebenza, too, but a price of $325.00. High also, but a nice knife!

#1 Mission MPF Retail $ 386.00
#2 Reeve Sebenza Retail $ 325.00
#3 Benchmade Pinnacle Retail $ 150.00

Integral / Mono Locks are the strongest and safest locks for a folder IMO.

Hope this helps


" Knife Collectors Are Sharp People -- Most of the time, that is! "

[This message has been edited by Mark W Douglas (edited 05 May 1999).]
Mighty Jessit,

Although this subject has been brought up before, I will say that there are a few knives that I would count on for self defense.

1)Microtech Socom (Mini or Full size,depending on needs).

2)Anything from Rekat (Pioneer,Carnivour,Pocket Hobbit)

There are probably many others that other members might like,but these are the ones that I personally would trust.

C.O.'s-"It takes balls to work behind the walls "
I'm not sure about the others, but for me I prefer the Benchmade AFCK-M2 for this purpose. It's within the legal size limit (3.9 inches) and the grip is superb. The lockup is pretty solid.

I don't go for knives that have too many design and what have you's. The AFCK has a very simple design... simple, and effective.


Based on what I own and in no particular order...

AF Combat Folder
Spyderco Police
CS Gunsite
Gerber Parabellum

Nov 16, 1998
If you prefer a liner lock which isn't quite as strong as an Integral / Mono Lock, I like:

MicroTech SOCOM M/A
Spyderco Military
Emerson Commander
Spyderco Full Size Wegner
Benchmade Stryker

In a mid lock:
Cold Steel Gunsite Folder

Or for an all new lock:
Benchmade Vortex Axis Lock

Just a little more help for you ... or more confusion

For me, no liner lock will ever make it into my top list for defensive folders.

My top choice, if you're willing to carry this much knife, is the Vaquero Grande. It gives you the advantage of reach, and though it's a lockback, it is one hell of a strong lockback. I did full-power chopping with my V.G., and the lock held up fine.

In more modest-size folders...

My top choice is the Benchmade Axis, since I know the ergonomics are excellent, the lock has so far been all that was promised, and the edge geometry is superb.

The REKAT Carnivour will also probably end up on top of my list, tied with the Axis. But I'd like to actually receive one and test the lock and ergonomics before I say that for sure.

The Benchmade Pinnacle is also tied up there. The only thing going against it is a slightly shorter blade. But I too feel *very* comfortable with these Sebenza-style integral locks, and the Pinnacle's execution is excellent. Besides having a lock I trust, blade geometry is excellent and so are the ergonomics.

In higher-price knives:

The Sebenza of course must be mentioned. The blade is a little shorter than I'd like, and I don't feel the ergonomics quite live up to the 3 above. On the other hand, fit & finish and overall quality are simply exceptional. Edge geometry is beyond superb.

Darrel Ralph's Apogee also has potential to be up here. I have a prototype, and if Darrel has fixed all the small issues with the prototype, then the Apogee is a winner. Ergonomics are excellent, edge geometry is excellent (provided he thins the edge a bit), very well-done integral-style lock. And it can be had with a 4" blade.

For inexpensive lockbacks, I trust the 4" Voyager line (I strongly prefer the clip point) and my fave the Endura.

If you already own a Civilian I think you have the best defensive folder in production. That lock isn't going to give under any reasonable circumstances, and furthermore because of the blade shape and its use a failure would likely carry the blade away from your hand, not towards it.

All of the knives I've seen here are pretty good to great for utility, decent for defense, and some of them have amazingly strong locks. But very few of them are going to have as fast a draw as the Civilian with its bladehole, and none are going to give you the hit-and-run power of a Civilian that will let you catch an assailant just about anywhere with that tip and get gone fast while they're still comprehending the terrible effects.

I think that a lock can be "too strong" if it makes you buy the wrong knife when a better one with a perfectly sufficient lock was available. I think that for defense, the Civilian is that "better one." I own an AFCK, Police, and soon a Military, and they're all great knives, but they are simply not designed as effectively for defense as the Civilian.

Just my thoughts, and there are many better qualified to answer than I.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)

In a pinch, I would first go for the Military as it is my strong side carry.
Followed up by the BM975.

I also have a Sebenza and while I agree that it is not ideal for this type of use, it is one you could count on in a pinch as well.

You might also try one of the Cold Steel Tanto Voyagers.

Of course, if I really thought there was a need I would have a FB with me at all times.
Preferrably a Tanto style of some type.

God bless!

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!
Cord --

Quick note on locks. I don't think a lock can be "too strong", but I *do* think a lock can be "strong enough". Once it's strong enough, you need to look at other factors, like the blade hole and shape. This is what I think you were getting at.

For me, while I agree that there's a "strong enough" point, that's not my main concern at all. My main concern is "*reliable* enough", and for me, no liner lock is reliable enough. Consider it my own personal quirk, I don't want to turn this into another liner lock discussion thread. But I just wanted to clarify my concerns, and why I stayed away from liner locks -- it's a concern about reliability, not strength.

The civilian seems like a reasonable-enough choice provided you're willing to put up with lack of real thrusting ability in return for that wicked slashing ability. I don't know of any fighting systems where this kind of trade-off is preferred in a bigger fighting knife, but if you're willing to deal with it, cool!

I personally rely daily on my Spydie Endura (if anyone follows my posts they are probably sick of my "Enduring" babble by now) and should I feel I want more I will go with a number of options...among them in no particular order...Cold Steel Voyager Clip Point, Spydie Delica (small size does help), BM Leopard, Mini-afck and mini leopard. This sort of question has caused me to train a bit harder and really re-think what I am comfortable with. I would carry a vaquero if my working clothes permitted, as it can nicely bridge between bowie, K-Bar and Ghurka technique, but dockers and a polo do not let happen easily. Today, my endura backed by my 4" serrated voyager. Either one leaves a NASTY WOUND CHANNEL and either will hold up to whatever may be necessary to survive the worst sort of unpleasantness. I will probably try a Pinnacle later this year, but only b/c I am a knife-nut who feels that if they make it, it is worth buying...
I am pleased with the responses, and am looking at the SOCOM... (full size). My only question concerns the difference between a liner lock a back lock and an integral/mono locks...

I understand (I think) that a liner lock is stronger than a back lock---why is a liner lock stronger?

With the Pinnacle, I have some problems--I had the knife for a week, and I found that due to the design of the integral lock, the clip could not be used when the knife was in the closed. There was nothing I could really do because the clip seemed to be on the wrong side.

So... back the locks, why stronger?

Thank you!

Mighty Jessit.
The things we do for the knives we love.

[This message has been edited by Mighty Jessit (edited 05 May 1999).]
An integral lock is simply a linerlock where the liners are so thick that the handle is not given any scales. The classic integral lock is the Sebenza; true production examples are the Pinnacle and the CRK&T S-2 (if they exist). If the lock does not engage high enough on the rear locking face of the blade, or if that face is angled poorly so that the liner disenages by slipping downward, an integral lock is no stronger (or different) than a liner lock. Its main advantage is the thicker area it offers the locking face, but some will also cite its strength. This second argument is, in my opinion, bogus, because I have never heard of a linerlock worth mentioning having failed because the liner warped or folded. The angle that a good linerlock meets the blade ensures that the liner is meeting force almost straight on, making folding unlikely if it is steel or titanium of passable thickness (I'd personally say .032" for steel and .040"-.050" for titanium).


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
It seems we're talking serious self-defense here and not "knife fighting". This means as few cuts as possible, hopefully before the BGs know you have a weapon and then get the heck out of dodge while they're still trying to figure out what those serious hurts are all about. This is Civilian stuff. That's what it's made for. You don't show it ahead of time and only show it long enough to get the job done.

If you've got some minimal slashing training, then you can use it for defense. Of course the more good training you have, the better you will be prepared to use your knife to defend yourself. If you really need and want the training, find yourself a good FMA instructor or similar training (meaning good practical knife training) and prepare yourself properly.

With good training, almost any one of the knives mentioned here would serve you well. If you're really serious about defensive carry, you may want to explore fixed blade carry in a sheath made for fast deployment if you haven't done that already.

That's the view from my perspective of self-defense carry. Hope this view helps a little. I'm sure you'll get some different perspectives from others on this subject.
I think one of the best Spyderco design's for a self-defense knife is the Renegade C23.It sports a four inch clip-point bowie blade Gin-1 stainless,G-10 handles,adjustable pivot pin,and a finger choil.The first time I picked it up and handled it, I fell in love with it.It's lightweight,very controllable,overall it feels real good in ones hands.I used to own and carry the police model,but I prefer the Renegade.There are so many knives out there that would suit your needs,my advice is go to your nearest knife retailer and get a hands on feel for something before you buy it.I'am not knocking internet sales or mail order companies,but if someone is gonna carry a knife with the idea its going to be a weapon for self defense he/she should really go to a knife shop so they may physically handle the knives so they make the proper choice for themselves.When I purchase a pistol,I go to the gun shop with the largest inventory. I handle all the pistols I'm considering before making a large investment and my life depending on that tool.I prefer going that route then taking a shot in the dark and being dissappointed.What may suit someone else's needs or satisfaction may not necessarily be right for you.This is not to say that all these opinions don't offer valuable info and guidance,but remember they are opinions and everybody has a different one.Well good luck with whatever choice you make.Thanks,RS
I highly recommend the REKAT Carnivor. After owning this knife for a few weeks now it has quickly become one of my all time favorites. If you purchase anything for defense before handling one, I think you would be making a mistake. Makes a great utility folder too.

Long live Bladeforums!


My first defensive folder is my Kimber Custom Carry Elite .45. When that is empty, I reach for my AFCK. If I drop that, I yank out the Livesay Woo or REKAT Hobbit Fang. Whichever I happen to be carrying. Once I figure out how to neck-carry my Cetan without it falling from the sheath, it will be in rotation with the Woo and HF.
Have you ever tried incorporating a magnet into your sheath for the cetan? I have made a few neck sheaths for some of my knives and find that this works well.
Look for Neodymium Iron Boron magnets- very strong and small.

Long live Bladeforums!


[This message has been edited by Biginboca (edited 05 May 1999).]