straight blade or serrated?

Dec 28, 1998
I'm in the market for a new defensive folder and the market seems to be flooded with 50/50 straight/serrated blades. Cool enough but some blades only come in one flavour or the other. I can see how a serrated blade will cut through jackets/leather and assorted concetive tissue rather nicely, but I have heard about it catching up on bone. What are the opinons of youze guys????
I don't know about going through flesh and all that, but unless you will be cutting a lot of rope, I find the serrations get in the way for general utility. And even on the most tactical of knives, it will mostly be used to open packages and the like.

I've been wondering about this myself. You might try asking Bob Taylor over in the Tactical forum. I'm no expert, nor even a novice for that matter, but my own preference would be a very sharp plain edge.

David Rock
I like to carry one of each that way I feel that I have the best of both worlds.
Chris, Top of Texas Knives
luria -- all the Spyderco's I own (Endura II and 440V Military) are fully serrated. These are for serious social situations only. I guess Sal's viewpoint on this issue is best told by him. Here's a quote from the SpyderMan himself:

Thanx guys - you are all correct! I carry both plain and serrated edges (often times both). They both suck if they aren't sharp.

Serrations do stay sharper longer than plain edges in most instances because the tip of the tooth is protecting the recessed sharp edge. (such as on a cutting board where it is the board and not the food that is dulling the edge). Serrations work better on tomatoes, kevlar, etc. Plain edges are superior for precision cutting chores.

My custom collection is mostly serrated partially because I have campaigned them so hard and because most custom makers had never made one and it provides a very unusual collection.

In a Martial situation, a belt buckle, metal button or bone has been known to "rake" off the entire edge of a sharp plain edge piece. Not likely to happen with teeth.

I think that a more specific testing procedure on different materials would have to be created to "really know" what is best for what.

When we do edge testing, there are two different standards in the test. Plain and serrations, becuase serrations will generally stay sharpner longer cutting the same medium by 3 to 4 times sal

For the source of this quote:

"It is better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot." -- Anonymous

This topic always seem to pop up once a month. Before moving on, perhaps you need to ask yourself the following questions (not in any order):

What is your knife fighting style?
What is the strategic role of the folder?
Why a folder?
What are the legal implications?

These are just some questions to ask off the top of my head. One of these days, maybe somebody will make a FAQ on this or something.

For combat use, these are just some of my personal observations. And please bear in mind that this is a gross generalization, not including specialized preference and fighting styles. That being said, plain is better. Why? My personal, unscientific tests have shown a well-kept plain edge will cut just as well as serrated. Again, it just has to be kept razor sharp (hence, the belief in having two knives, one specifically for combat use, and one specifically for utility use, but that's another story). But the bonus to the plain edge is that it will not catch on loose clothing like plain edge, nor does it require as much energy. Passes are smoother and slicker, making them quicker in recovery. And in knife fighting, speed is everything. And yes, serrated blades will slow down tremendously, maybe even come to a halt, when it hits bone.

Besides, if you're talking about folders, which for the most part, are blades that are 4 inches or less, cutting isn't going to be as effective as stabbing. But that opens up yet another huge can of worms or two. But the point is, if you're stabbing is the meat and potato of your fighting entree, serrations won't do you any good here.

As you can see, this is a highly complex and controversial topic. And in many aspects, even experts seem to disagree with each other. You know, this reminds me of the debate about shotguns vs. handguns for home defense. Both are equally adequate in getting the job done if you know what you're doing. But it's when you try to split hairs, that's where all the controvery comes in. In this case, the question of serrations for defense is no different.

I'm not expert just a frequent user.
I prefer a straight edge for all of my blades.
I agree with tknife, unless cutting rope, seatbelts or PVC pipe, serrations can get in the way.
I am not putting them down, it is after all amatter of preference.

God bless!

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!
Serrated vs Plain is neither complex or controversial, it is just vague. It is the same as asking which is better a 1/8" or 1/4" thick blade. It is simply one aspect of blade geometry and like all other aspects determining what you want is highly dependent on what you are planning to cut. There is a FAQ on the subject where it is discussed in some detail :

buy several..Plain,combo,fullserrated..they all work
I have and use all 3. ( plain, part and full serrated)But if I could only have one, it would be plain edged.
Luria I also was trying to decide which blade would be best for a backup knife when I had the opportunity to do a little experiment. We had some moose meat hanging in an outbuilding cooling down when the light bulb went off. Since the wife wasn't around I decided to slip an old jacket on a front shoulder for the test. The jacket had a light nylon liner,3/4"fiberfill,and a medium weight shell. The area I was testing on was the lower leg that was going to be burger anyway. . The knives were an old Endura,fully serrated with black Ti coating. The plain edge was an unused Endura.Both were shaving sharp. I made one forehand and one backhand slash with each knife with the same power(as close as possible).The plain edge zipped through without much resistance. The cuts were very similar.3" in length with 1 1/2"depth but didn't reach the bone. The serrated blade had more resistance and the hanging leg moved alittle more.The cuts were also similar except they were about 4" long and 2" deep and hit the bone on both. The blade instantly telegraphed the bone hit. I could feel the chattering of the blade on the bone.( ouch!! that would hurt).The full serrated blade outperformed the plainedge in this test, but the plainedge was no slouch. I would recomend a very sharp serrated for selfdefense in one pocket or waistband and and a plainedge on the other side for everthing else.It seems I use the plainedge 90% of the time for daily chores.

Luria, as you can see there are a variety of opinions on this subject. You'll have to make up your own mind. You may want to consider a 50/50 combination. It will allow you to judge for yourself without limiting yourself to one style or the other. Good luck, and let us know which way you go and how you like your choice.