1. BladeForums has ZERO TOLERANCE for extremism or calls of violence. We request your assistance dealing with this as we do not want to see the site shut down due to violent threats. Please see this thread here in Tech Support: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/bladeforums-has-a-zero-tolerance-policy-towards-threats-of-violence-extremism-be-warned.1769537/

Hawkbill , Bird's Beck , Karambit type knives for utility /SD

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by DocJD, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    Some of my most used and favorite knives are some form of hawksbill .

    My favorite old small paring knife and a very old cheap carpet knife and many others .

    In more recent times I've gotten into karambits . I see these more in terms of a general purpose knife that can also be used for SD . Especially the folders are not really what I associate with a purpose built fighter .

    I love the way the hawkbills work . They really dig in and tend to gather and slice through material rather than slide past .

    Anybody else love these ?
    GIRLYmann and Chronovore like this.
  2. JeremiahWeaver09


    Nov 13, 2009
    i carry them for self defense, but im afraid to use them for edc because i dont want to damage/bend the tips

    currently the best ones for your buck are:
    cold steel talon 2
    cold steel tiger claw folder
    spyderco matriarch 2
    spyderco salt 2
    spyderco endura wharncliffe serrated(not a hawkbill but close enough)
    DocJD likes this.
  3. Chronovore

    Chronovore Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    I like a good hawkbill or a "wharncliffe" that's concave. I only got away from them because I got obsessed with flipper tabs around the turn of the century. I still have one in my tackle box. Back when I carried slip-joints and traditional folders, my EDC was often a hawkbill or a small pruning knife. I found them very useful for cutting twine, net, mesh and other sorts of material. That shape can also be handy when you want to carefully but quickly remove a top layer of flexible packaging.

    Fixed blades of this style certainly have defensive applications. Filipino martial arts make good use of them. However, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of using any folding knife for defense. I mean, we all have to make due with what we have, if we can, in a defensive situation. Folding knives just come with too many complications. If defense is an important EDC need for you, I'd recommend dedicating a full-time tool and keeping your general-purpose EDC knife separate.
    DocJD likes this.
  4. GIRLYmann


    Nov 7, 2005
    really more impressive results
    if they were longer....
    but i guess karambits are already wicked
    by looks alone. i wonder why??!.... ;-)
    DocJD likes this.
  5. cchu518

    cchu518 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    I do but in smaller non SD configs. The alox pioneer pruner has an amazing hooked blade so much so that I found a single bladed Victorinox version and am waiting to receive it now!
    Chronovore and DocJD like this.
  6. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    I've wanted to like these knives for a long time, but just can't make them work. I've never found a karambit that fits my hand, they are hard to sharpen and the blade shape's utility is just too limited to be useful for most tasks.
    DocJD likes this.
  7. BitingSarcasm

    BitingSarcasm Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Hawkbills have a bad rep for EDC because the blade shape "limits" it. The limitation is that the curve effectively shortens the slicing length of the blade, and the solution to that is more cowbell. Ummm....more hawkbill. A big hawkbill does EDC tasks just fine.

    DocJD likes this.
  8. Knives&Lint

    Knives&Lint DOES Go Chasing Waterfalls Platinum Member

    May 10, 2013
    I'm a fan of Karambits, and I used to carry an Emerson Super Karambit reverse grip in my left (weak hand) pocket daily as a secondary folder. It actually proved itself quite handy for utility at times, especially in situations like cutting paracord or rope; where I could pull the cord taut with my right hand, wave the Karambit out with my left, then make the cut. That being said, I stopped carrying one because of the threat of it opening in pocket while carrying this way. I've considered picking up the flipper version at some point, not to use as a flipper, but rather for the stronger detent making this possibility less likely. However I'd still be worried that it might open in an extreme situation like a car accident, and that's not a risk I'm willing to take, especially considering what rides on the left side near that pocket ;). Granted this is only an issue for carrying blade forward this way and not an issue with karambits in general, but that's just the way that it fit into my system best.

    Now as for SD...While I do think we should train for such, I'm typically not the biggest proponent of using knives in this manner other than as a last resort option. I will say however, that in my natural fighting stance (left/weak arm forward), holding an Emerson Karambit reverse grip in my left hand and having my right hand free feels more natural to me than any other knife for self-defense. I'm not claiming to be an expert or anything, this is just my personal observation.
    Chronovore and DocJD like this.
  9. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    Wow ! Nice mod . :cool::thumbsup::thumbsup:
  10. Chronovore

    Chronovore Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Karambits are interesting because the blade tends to be more slender towards the tip than a lot of hawkbills I've had. I understand the earlier comment about that making the tip less stable but the same criticism can be had of lots of knives, such as the ever-popular Kershaw Leek. That can actually aid in some of the tasks where a concave blade shines. The one folding karambit I've owned was great for getting up under things, cutting tight zip ties, or popping knots on very tight twine or light rope. Sadly, it was also made of cheap materials and didn't hold up.

    In use, this blade shape is very "natural". We see it in animals' talons or in a hooked finger. The way I hold such knives, the hook of the blade feels like a natural extension between my thumb and pointer knuckle. I love the overall ergonomics of the blade and handle shape in many of these designs.

    Unfortunately, the pinky ring can be a problem. It can face an extreme case of the finger-groove problem. That is, either it fits you and feels great or it forces an awkward grip. I'm not sure if this is a feature of Asian manufacture but I feel like some karambits I've handled are designed for medium to small hands. I have large hands and I've tried a few that squashed my grip a little.

    People complain about sharpening this blade shape but it isn't so bad. They seem less challenging than some of the recurve shapes. Just use rods or a jewel stick.
    Knives&Lint and DocJD like this.
  11. Cosmodragoon


    Jan 1, 2019
    I like this blade shape. Certain kinds of materials tend to move into the arc of the blade as opposed to sliding off as you cut. Someone already mentioned twine and net. The main reason I don't carry one is that most of the options I see are either traditional folders or karambits that venture into radical or tacticool designs. They can also get a bit large in the pocket.

    As far as defense, I totally agree on not using a folding knife. A fixed blade, including blades of this shape, can be very effective. Some, such the TDI knives, are marketed to law enforcement as a "get off me" knife for when an aggressor grabs their gun or otherwise prevents an effective draw.

    That said, firearms are still king when it comes to defense. Bad guys tend to be opportunistic and will often attack when they perceive themselves as having a considerable force advantage. That advantage could come from having a weapon, having cohorts, or just being larger than the intended target. Nothing gives you a bigger advantage or at least helps to level the playing field like a firearm. Not everyone can carry one depending on where you live. If you can and defense is important to you, consider getting the training to do so. Like an earlier poster said, having a dedicated defensive tool frees up the selection parameters for your EDC knife and that's a good thing.
    DocJD likes this.

Share This Page