Should women carry knives?

Jan 13, 1999
I participate on a discussion group made up of mostly women. A self-defense topic came up and I suggested women look into knives and be prepared to use them.

For my good will I was savagely attacked for underestimating the dangers women face.

One of the more coherent objections was that statistically, women are more likely to get hurt by their own weapons during an attack. A knife can get wrestled away and turned on the victim for example. So the arguement is for women not to be armed so as to lessen the chance of a fatal attack.

I personally think this attitude is B.S. But could there be a valid point? If most women cannot overcome their aversion to use a weapon, it's best not to carry one at all?

[This message has been edited by tallwingedgoat (edited 28 July 1999).]
Wait. OK, first off, if you are afraid of a weapon, or are afraid to ues it, DON'T CARRY IT!!! Your fear will defeat you. Second, it does not matter if you are male of female, you can always have a weapon taken from you, If you don't know how to use it, and know weapon retention techniques. I personally advocate everyone not afraid to carry/use a knife, should. It may save your life.
I can think of hundreds of cases of rape where it could have been stopped if the woman had had a knife.
If you are afraid of someone taking your weapon, don't brandish it, wait until you are sure that you would be justified in using deadly force, and then do it, draw it and slice his throat, or stab into the left armpit.
Once the attacker is dealt a fatal blow, don't give up, the can still fight you. Make damn sure that the threat is over before you relax.

A woman should carry a knife for the nsame reasons a man does, not necessarily as a defensive weapon, but just in case, it should provide a sense of security to them.
It is unnatural for humans, since we left our good strong fingernails behind in East Africa or Eden or someplace like that a long time ago, to walk around without a knife.

Of course women should carry knives! In a world with no criminals, knives would still be universally useful tools. And in an imperfect world a knife can give somebody an incentive to let go of you.

And trying to wrestle a knife away from somebody who is in condition red is a good way to get badly cut. Opportunistic predators are more likely to break contact and look for a more passive victim somewhere else.

And it's a painful sight to see someone, woman or man, trying to open a package with the car keys.

AKTI Member # SA00001
Those responses sound typical of women who have been fed a lot of rehtoric and have come to believe they are less capable than men. The idea that a woman shouldn't carry a weapon on the chance that it could be taken away is idiotic. What did they suggest instead? To lay back and enjoy it?

The simple fact of the matter is that self defense is like any other skill, you have to learn what to do before you can do it. You can't balance your checkbook unless you understand math, just like you can't cook until you know the recipe.

You don't just carry a weapon for self defense, you learn how to use it. If you're fat and weak, maybe it's a good idea to get into shape.

The fact is that if you want to survive, you need survival skills. Among these survival skills is the skill of defending yourself against agressors. If you neglect this area, you are stupid. No. I mean it. If you don't bother to learn to handle yourself, you are plain old stupid. Wether you are a man or a woman.

Knives are good weapons. Women can use them as well as men can. They can learn ways to make sure that anybody who tries to disarm them gets a real nasty cut. It's a real good idea to know how to fight, just like it's a good idea to know how to cook.
This argument about having the weapon taken away is raised against guns also. It plays on the fears of the individual who feels a need to be armed. I would say that whatever weapon is chosen, training in how to use it effectively is essential.

The argument that resistance will cause an attacker to do you more harm is a lie that is spread by the anti self defense crowd! Studies have shown that no resistance leads to injuty twice as often as resistqance with a gun. So much for the argument about it being taken away. It can happen, but that does not prove to be the norm.

As for knives, they are a great tool, a deadly weapon if used right, and legal for carry in far more places than a gun. If a woman were to consder carrying a knife as defensive tool, she needs to cary a substantial knife that will work well for defense. Chris in MO
Let's make it tricky. Ever see what happens to people wielding knives on the big screen?

Men wrestle and the baddie gets his knife forced back into the gut and dies.

Women try to defend themselves, holding the knife, then stand still while the BG comes in grabs it and disarms and the mayhem begins.

If women shouldn't carry knives, maybe they shouldn't use one in the kitchen. I carry my kitchen knife with me all the time, it is shiny and says Moran on it and loves accompanying me in it's snug Kydex sheath.

Here is a example you can use: Take the most fragile, docile female member of your family and put a 9 inch kitchen knife in her hand, imagine her screaming and wildly slashing. Does that look effective? Can you think of any idiot that would attack her?

Every honourable member of humankind should carry a knife to accomplish all of the tasks necessary to alter the environment to support life.

Human Beings have a responsibility to be prepared for all eventualities.

They need to have awareness and an understanding of the habits of the criminal class, to that they should add weaponry, handgun, knife, bludgeon, whatever it takes, unless of course they would like to be preyed upon.

Marion David Poff aka Eye, one can msg me at

Check out my Kasper AFCK variant review, interview of Bob Kasper, and some thoughts and brainstorms of the AFCK in general.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao Tsu

"This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead." Adolf Hitler


Sounds like you got clipped for your trouble.
It's certainly true women face more challenges than most men would regarding physical assault. The question is what can a woman do about it besides relying on someone else -- an undependable approach than fosters yet again a sense of powerlessness. Sounds like some of the women rather take a "woe is me" attitude than what preparation and action can I take to protect myself.

Preparation includes developing awareness, the right mindset, and learning to use whatever methods one feels comfortable in using to try to get out of a situation. One can take action and try to force an favorable outcome, or one can choose not to act and depend on the mercy and actions of the "attacker".

I have given two women friends/training partners knives. They carry it. It's no big deal because they have already chosen to expand their options by the very nature of choosing to train. The mindset is being developed and/or is already there. The knife is but an extension/tool of the mindset.

And, James has a point -- they find great utility and day to day use from their carries. It's a reflection of a self-sufficient, "can do" mode of thinking.

Obviously, just my opinion on the matter. Female forumites are welcome to offer theirs.

My take on knives as a truly defensive weapon is a bit different than most folks'... when I worked as a LEO, I saw more people (and especially females) injured with their own weapons... mainly due to lack of knowledge & experience on HOW to really use them, AND because MOST people truly do not have what it takes (WILLINGNESS) to really use a deadly weapon against another person. I do not mean to infer than all folks cannot or will not use a weapon, merely that in my expereince most people fall into that category.

Also, knives are the most personal weapon a person can use. To be effective, you MUST be so close to the other person so as to also increase your own chances for contact & deadly injury.

I suggest that everyone (male & female) carry a knife for its utility... opening packages, letters, cutting food, etc. It's more of a tool than a weapon in my opinion. Better (safer) choices of weapon are, in my opinion & experience, pepper sprays and handguns (again, the caveat being that one MUST know HOW to use the weapon AND be WILLING to do so... otherwise the weapon will be used against you).

The very best weapons for personal defense are awareness of one's surroundings/situation and attitude. If one behaves like a victim one becomes a victim. As for actual defensive products, nothing appears to beat a shotgun in the home... more perps have stated they are afraid of someone using a shotgun on them than ANYTHING else.

Just my thoughts. Sorry for the long winded soap box speech.

TWG, anyone who wants to grap a handful of pissed off woman is crazy to begin with, fr she is the most dangerous creature on the planet aftre a wounded rhino and the cape buffalo...oka, perhaps a slight exageratoin, but i am tired of the "womanist" rhetoric about equality in all areas and then the demand for protecion from al sorts of evil things and the total denial of personal responsibility for one's own safety.

My answer to your question is a resounding YES, for all the reasons listed above and one more. I carry a knife or three everywhere. So do you. So does I am guessing everyone above. Why shold not our feminine companions? My sweetie is about five feet and a size four (god knows what that means except really freaking small) but she carries her BM Pardue, the pretty one, everywhere and is actually basically aware of what is going on around her, though I will never admit this to her. If my wife to be, who is by all accounts "a girl and likes being a girl" can do so, why cannot these ignorant womenfolk who claim it will be taken away from them? The answer to my ear is laziness, the sheer unwillingness to learn self reliance and confidence with something so basic as to be classified as one of the seven simple machines (wedge). I too have heard the lie about "it will be taken from you" or can betaken or however it goes, but the simple underlying principal is that if you do not have it out of fear I may take it, I now do not have to take it from you.

AJ, you may now have the platform....
To the extent that a knife fight is closer to an unarmed fight, I think there is a certain amount of truth to the idea that a knife is not the ideal primary weapon for a woman. The primary difference, physically between men and women in terms of combat ability is that women have substantially less upper body strength. (Women are also by nature and/or by social training less physically aggressive. (unless she child is in danger!))

Should a woman carry a knife, of course! a knife is a tool with a wide range of utility without ever mentioning the possibility of self defense. Should a woman defend herself with a knife if nothing better is available? Again, absolutely! Is a woman more likely to be injured or killed is she attempts to defend herself with a knife than if she does not resist? No. Is a woman armed with a knife more apt to have the knife taken away from them than an equally well trained man? Yes. Is a knife the ideal defensive weapon for a woman (or a man)? "God didn't make all men equal, Col. Colt did."
I feel for you as i suggested the same thing to a group of girls at college and was looked at like an uncivilised uncouth barbarian. (i am one but that is not the point.)

When I tried to show what to do with it and how to use the looks got intrested but uncomfortable like "yes it is a good thing to learn but I would rather be attacked and hurt than to unzip an attackers belly with a harpy."

their loss not mine. i had better luck convincing a girl one on one after a sociology class about rape when i explained to her that the guy must be very close to you where you he cant see the knife coming so he cant stop it till he feels it. she agreed but i dont know if she followed my advice. personaly i stopped carring.

If someone wants to learn how to protect themselves their are better teachers than I could ever be in the martial arts club. I am just more ruthless than those guys.

it has been my experience that in college the rich yupppie scum females are unlikely to take any precausions because "It Can't happen to ME!!! I'M RICH!!!!!!" whereas those of us in the middle class are more likely to realise excriment occurs(Shi+ happens).

If they wont learn now then visit them in the ER and ask if they want to learn now.
Just because they are women is no excuse anymore.
A knife, virtually any knife, is a lousy weapon -- comes in second to about anything else that is one whit longer or can reach farther.

My daughter and wife both have a small folder under their immediate control for the same purposes that I have one in my pocket -- to use for all those myriad tasks for which one uses a pocket knife.

There is no gender gap here. Many make knives for smaller hands and some make knives specifically for women. (The following is an opinion, it is only an opinion, it is not posited as a personal nor general aspersion applying to any person, class, species, or philosophy. Since it is merely an opinion none of you need feel set upon by its author or its content nor urged by your apparent innate defensiveness to respond as though it is an ad hominum attack.) But anyone carrying a knife primarily as a weapon is likely to have been reading too many Tactical Knives issues.

Desert Rat

[This message has been edited by Desert Rat (edited 28 July 1999).]
A knife is a terrible weapon in the hands of any untrained persons. If you dont know how to use a knife for real defense, and just slash wildly, you will get that knife taken away from you. Most real criminals are use to their victims thrashing wildly and can prevent you from doing so quite well, a lot of them have also been in knife fights before i.e.prison, gangs etc. The truth is most thugs have more "real time" experience than most of the good guys. I think the bottom line is, anyone that carries a knife should be trained in it's fighting use, If you dont know how to prevent someone from taking your utility knife and using it against you, you could find yourself having a very bad day. Women can be just as effective as men, with any weapon they choose as long as they have the proper mind set, know how to use their weapon and are understanding of the fact that one day they might have to stick that blade into the body of a human. I also agree with a previous poster, the absolute best form of self defense is threat assesment. A little street smarts goes a long way.


Louis Buccellato

[This message has been edited by TheMartialWay (edited 28 July 1999).]
One of the more coherent objections was that statistically, women are more likely to get hurt by their own weapons during an attack.

That is, of course, patently, blatantly, lethally false. But it amuses me that they reacted viciously to your suggestion that they carry weapons, as this somehow constituted you "understimating the dangers women face."

What were you supposed to say -- that the dangers women face are so insurmountable that all one can do is wail and cry about it? Good grief. Thus shall the sheeple inherit the earth.


AKTI #A000845
And tomorrow when you wake up it will be worse.
Top Ten Things Women Should Not Do:

1. Women should not carry a purse, since it could be taken away from them and used to strangle them.

2. Women should not drive a car, or own property of any kind, since a bad guy might kill them in order to steal it.

3. Women should not have jobs, since statistics show that many accidents happen at or on the way to or from the workplace.

4. Women should not go near swimming pools, big cities or hospitals, since lots of people die in those places.

5. Women should not dress nicely or look good, since a jerk might approach them and offer to buy them a drink.

6. Women should not have children, since children can get sick or die in an accident.

7. Women should not eat Kentucky Fried Chicken, since it's finger lickin' good and one thing inevitably leads to another.

8. Women should not breathe, since air contains things that can make them sick.

9. Women should not be happy, since whatever makes them happy can probably be taken from them and then they would be sad.

10. Women should not be alive, since death is inevitable.

David Rock

Stop when you get to bone.
Thanks guys, you summed up how I felt pretty well. Everytime I suggest a course of action, I get slamed for "blaming the victim", or carrying an "authoritative subtext". I'm sorry but offering nothing but sympathy would be irresponsible.

It's funny because when ever I give a knife to a woman friend, she appreciates the usefulness immediately. But if I suggest someone to go get one --
Senior David you slay me.

Marion David Poff aka Eye, one can msg me at

Check out my Kasper AFCK variant review, interview of Bob Kasper, and some thoughts and brainstorms of the AFCK in general.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao Tsu

"This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead." Adolf Hitler

It likely all depends on a woman's determination not to be harmed and confidence level with what they are carrying. I'd like to see a determined woman be disarmed who's holding a double edged Cold Steel Safekeeper I push dagger who knows how to use it. How do you disarm that thing without slitting your own wrist? If disarming is the only issue, there's plenty of alternative measures out there. It does sort of miff me the general disinterest in knives as defensive tools (excluding our regular female posters of course) when being attacked and outmuscled is often their greatest fear. I'm deriving this straight out of counseling experience and not as a knife advocate, but there's bound to be logical arguments either way,


Ever notice no other candy tastes quite like Pez? Oh yeah, and the BM Axis rules.