Defense-Utility? Show of Hands

Sorry, double post.

[This message has been edited by Taz (edited 22 July 1999).]
I use all my tacticals (folders or fixed blades)for utility porpose only - for their easy access. Hopefully I will never have to use them othervise. Although I used once my katana to scare away some gipsy thieves from our property.
Mr. Bloch,
My aplogies for making assumptions about your motives. Perhaps you could clarify?

What we've seen so far is that most folks have never had to use a knife for defense. Even those who have use it primarily for utility. Many folks use (or intend) the same knife for both roles. Is this any different than one would expect?

I agree that this has been an interesting thread in its details, but in the overall response it's hardly surprising. I feel there may be some confusion over what a knife is "carried for" and what it is "used for." Again, the pistol example - if we confuse what it is "carried for" - defense - with what it is "used for" - target practice - then we could miss the entire point of why people own handguns.

If a knife is to serve both utility and defensive roles (which, IMO, it shouldn't), it would be wrong to design it with the most common use (utility) first. This is like designing a helmet with your primary concern being being deflecting wind, because it will rarely, if ever, be called upon to protect the head. Such a helmet would be light an aerodynamic, and might very well get the wearer's brains spattered all over the road if called upon to serve its 0.05%-of-the-time function. Similarly, even if a knife is only rarely going to serve in defense, it should be designed with this use first, because the consequences of failure are so severe. I'm not implying that a helmet can't be strong AND aerodynamic, or that a knife can't serve defense and utility equally well, I'm just calling into question whether the frequency of the two uses should have a direct bearing on the design.

-Drew Gleason
Little Bear Knives

[This message has been edited by Corduroy (edited 22 July 1999).]
I carry a Vaquero Grande strictly for utility. Ha! Ha! Ha! All kidding aside, it does make a great utility piece. It must be the long recurved blade with those nasty serrations! A veritable pocket saw! My next utility folders will be either a Spyderco Civilian or Rekat Sifu. Ha! Ha! Ha! - I'm laughing at myslf again...

I've been on active duty for 10 years now, and never had to use my knives in defense.

On vacation, I have pulled a knife once. That's it. And, after that incident, I will continue to carry a knife wherever I go.

For the record: 70% utility, 20% MRE opener, 9% fratricide, and 1% defense

Now, as for the fratricide, "Murphy's Law" and I have a long battle with each other.
200% utility. Oops, I meant, 100% utility.
I don't know how to use it in defense, other than cutting my way out of the hands of an attacker in a utilitarian manner.

Work hard, play hard, live long.

[This message has been edited by Outlaw_Dogboy (edited 12 August 1999).]
I have threatened and cut with a knife in a defensive situation, I have been threatend with and cut by a knife during attacks.

As per normal, my knife gets used a bijillion times for utility for every one time it gets used as a weapon.

Tactical knives and knife fighting are popular topics because they are cooler subjects than slicing carboard tubes.

It is worth noting that mankind developed weapons before tools, that the other tool using animals mostly use the "tools" to kill prey(making them weapons), and that as an armed predator humans have a certain natural affinity for weapons, even if only symbolicaly these days.

It's not that our love of weapons means we're all psychos, any more than that since tiger has a vested intrest in his claws he must be a deviant. The weapon is as natural a part of Man as the antler is to a deer, and nobody rags on deer because they have antlers. Even though you can put somebody's eye out with those things...

It's got a little to do with the "macho" factor, a little to do with biological evolution, and a little to do with trying to find an exciting topic of conversation.
David, I've been making assumptions about your motivation for this survey, too, and your second post seems to indicate I've been assuming along the right track.... After "discovering" that people seem to be using knives for defense less than 0.5% of the times they use knives, you conclude, "Therefore it matters very little what style of knife or design you carry."

Well, maybe you're right ... maybe it doesn't matter what kind of insurance I carry on my car or how strong my seat belt is ... let's start using seat belts made out of any convenient fabric we might happen to like the looks of or can get cheap; it doesn't matter what.... After all, my seat belts have saved my life less than 0.5% of the times I've buckled them, so what difference does it make how well they're designed for a purpose they're used for less than 0.5% of the times they're used?

All styles and designs of knives are not equally good for defensive purposes. Of course any knife is better than nothing, but strange as it may seem, that doesn't mean they're all equally good.

There is little if any correlation between looking scary to the uninitiated and effectiveness. In fact there can be a reverse correlation; many of the features that look scary to the uninitiated make a knife less effective for defense, such as brass-knuckle handles, serrations, American tanto blade design, thin narrow points, large conspicuous guards, excessively long blades, etc. Some people even seem to think slots and holes in the blade make a knife look scary.

It seems to me asking what percentage of knife use is defensive was rather transparent ... reminiscent of the carefully worded questions toothpaste companies survey dentists with. Another percentage question that might be more interesting would be, "What percentage of the things you have cut in your lifetime so far would you have been alive to cut if you had never been prepared to defend yourself with a knife?"

-Cougar Allen :{)
I know exactly what you guys mean. I have been carring knives since I was in my early teens. I carried it to school and now to work. One incident in high school that comes to mind is when a trio of Jamaican teens thought I was one of their enemy by mistake. I was just walking home and a car drove by me and stop. I could hear running behind me and it coming towards me. I immediately held on to my knife in the pocket. One of them ran up against me and try to punch me on the side of my face and I just luckily moved away. I turned around and they stopped in their tracks. They turned to one another and said it's not him and walked away. On another incident. I was just taking the subway home after just finishing 16 hours of work in the kitchen when a really big guy sat next to me. There were not a lot of space so he keep complaining and started screming all sorts of courses at me. It was only two seats and there were two people. Except for the fact that he was really fat so he was not comfortable. I had my hand on my knife the whole time. This guy keep saying all sorts of crap thoughtout the whole ride and I just ignored him. The other passergers thought he was crazy, just my luck I guess. Thank God not broke out into a fight. Now,like most of you I carry a knife for utility. Working in a kitchen a handy knife is always needed. I always have a knife clipped to my pocket. And most of the time if not all the time it is for utility purposes
Always used my knives for utility, myself.
Never had to defend, but realize it is a possibility to be concerned with.
You never know.
(Once I was attacked by an errant carton of paper.... pulled out my Tcatical folder and whammo, it was mine.)


Always used my knives for utility, myself.
Never had to defend, but realize it is a possibility to be concerned with.
You never know.
(Once I was attacked by an errant carton of paper.... pulled out my Tatical folder and whammo, it was mine.)


100% utility use in my case…I always carry at least one knife but I've never had the occasion to use (or contemplate using) one for defense purposes. This is probably a good thing since I've had no martial arts/combatives training and I have serious reservations about whether I'd be able to use a blade effectively in any defensive capacity. Although it is somewhat reassuring to know that I'll probably have some potentially defensive hardware on my person if the "unthinkable" happens and there's no other way to resolve the situation.

I also have a score of utility-98% defense-2%. Do you think that if we would gather all the information about knife use in the real world, have it notorized, published in the Wall Street Journal, etc, then the politicians would be able to sleep at night without being paranoid about a knife being a weapon of mass destruction. I have carried a knife since memory. A short stout stick has more reach and actually "hurts" more than a cut from a sharp knife. It's just real hard to carry a stick in your pocket and it doesn't cut anything.
I apologize for carring on but it is real hard for me to understand anti's on anything. Only in the movies have I ever seen a knife that was laying on the table, rise up into the air and sail across the room to stick in the wall or some screaming victom. Ray Kirk
The mugee needs the automatic.
I didn't read the thread, just the Q, so please forgive me if I am restating what someone else said.

In regards to tactical vs utility use the only time I have ever had to defend myself with a knife was against a particularly spicy pickle and it sliced up will into the famous tuna sandwiches.

So Defense 0 Utility All

But if I may say so the features that make a good defense make it a good knife for utility use.

Marion David Poff aka Eye, one can msg me at

I wrote a review of the Kasper AFCK variant, an interview of Bob Kasper, and some thoughts and brainstorms of the AFCK in general. It can be found at . Check it out and tell me what you think.

"I'm just an advertisement for a version of myself." David Byrne

"It's the action, not the fruit of the action that's important. You have to do the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing there will be no result." Gandhi

I only use my knives for utility purposes, i never needed to draw blood or anything
To Corduroy and Cougar Allen:

Again I ask you to ignore my motives in writing this post and take it for what it is. I've asked myself what my motives were and still don't have an answer other then to start an interesting topic.

As far as my statement, "It matters very little what style of knife you carry", let me clarify. As long as a knife is well made, strong and most important "Very Sharp", the style of knife does not matter very much. Neither an OE Wedge or Spyderco Cricket would be my first choice as a defense knife however both models can be used very effectively in defense situation. IMO what is much more important than the style of knife you carry is your fighting skills with and without a knife. Taking out an adversary empty handed requires a focused, powerful and directed attack. Now add a razor sharp blade to this equation and vitually any strike will cause the attacker to bleed profusely. If the blade strikes a vital area the attacker will probably die, bottom line.

Regarding defense, I will not argue that a 4" blade is more effective than a 3", a dagger is better for thrusting than a skinner or that a full serrated edge cuts more aggressively than a plain edge. If you live in or are traveling to an urban center with a lot of crime and carrying a big aggressive tactical knife gives you more assurance, I have no problem with this, in fact it's not a bad idea.

For me, I have confidense in my ability if some one threatens me or a loved one to the point where a serious attack is unavoidable, I could then use almost any of the sharp knives I own to strike that person hard, quickly and severely. The fact that one knife may cut an attacker deeper than another does not concern me very much although it may an important issue to others. I also firmly believe that most potentially dangerous situations can be diffused by staying confident and either talking, walking, or running away. Striking with a knife is always the last resort and you need to be prepared for the consequences of your actions.

It was not my intent to ramble on these issues however it seems some of you believe I have alterior motives in posting this topic. I can assure you this is not the case. As well if you wish to disagree with my position you are more than welcome.


David Bloch

[This message has been edited by David Bloch (edited 03 August 1999).]
Marion has a good point there -- the features I mentioned above that make a knife less useful for defense also make it less useful for other purposes, especially the kind of versatility that the knife you carry should have -- you never know what you're going to be using that for next. A good handle you can hold onto, a blade with some belly and some point, both....

Aside from the characteristics of any general-purpose utility knife, the most important quality of a defense knife is being in your hand when you need it -- not at home in a drawer, not at the bottom of a pocket filled with other junk you have to fish through to find it, not even in your hand but not unfolded yet.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Well said Mr. Bloch, I agree.

For the record my experience is 98% utility, 2% self inflicted wounds and 0% defense.