The Killing Knife ~ Deisgn

Dave,

Because it's made to penetrate extremely well while making a wide hole. That's why. I think Shane's question really is related to a stabbing knife designed to kill in the shortest time.

If penetration and wound size are the goal, perhaps a smaller cinqueda or parazonium would be the way to go? Or a leaf blade?

Shane mentioned neither stabbing nor slashing...we did. He merely asked for our opinions on design. This is what prompted me to make the point (perhaps unsuccessfully) above -- that perfection is in the eye of the beholder. There is no free lunch. Pretty much every culture in this world had what could be referred to as a killing knife at some point in time and they differed greatly. Most of them would've worked, but they would've worked differently.

What we could (should?) do here is to list various features, cite their advantages and drawbacks, and possibly discuss the philosophies behind them. It would make for a very long thread but the knowledge base on this forum is up to the task, I think.
 
I really appreciate all the lines of thought...and pics...

Especially to John for posting a pic of the Harley knife...whichis the design I used to take two hawgs in December...

That particular knife was ground form 1/4 inch stock...and has a gorgeously tapered tang...It is strong enough.

It is a representation of what one man thought was/is the perfect killing knife.
Larry has been making these for a lot of years...and they have a knife on site that hase been used to kill literally thousands of hawgs...it has never failed.

He refined the design through experience.

Larry designed the handle around what I would call the "saber grip" as he has experience as a fencer. Even the handle material was chosen to improve grip.
Everything that is on this knife is there for a reason.

I would have never understood the devasting affect a wide blade would have on an animal until I experienced it.

So I started to ask a lot of questions...because as a maker...I wanted to "KNOW" the why's and what for's of a blade that is used to kill.

I did not want to copy other designs just becase they are popular without first understanding them.

I use the term "killing knife" because I just don't understand all of the PC terminolgy that is used to describe knives.

IN my mind...terms like "combat", "fighting" "tactical" just don't make any sense.

OK so I am not so smart...

However...the questions remain...

I understand a lot is based on mindset...martial style...what you carry...and so on...

However, their must be some common design characterisitcs that work more efficiently....

Ideas such as balance....

Point orientation...high...low...nuetral...

Weight...

All seem to play some role in perfomance...

But it may be that personal preference or even vanity are more the deciding factors than design.

Shane
 
I've been using blades on smaller critters for a long time now. I'll add a few selected quotes from your other thread for continuity...

So I started to ask a lot of questions...because as a maker...I wanted to "KNOW" the why's and what for's of a blade that is used to kill.
I did not want to copy other designs just becase they are popular without first understanding them.

Sounds logical and commendable. Not just for a "killing knife", but for any knife design.

I would have never understood the devasting affect a wide blade would have on an animal until I experienced it. The double edge cuts in both directions as the hunter pumps the handle.
Which lacerates all of the internal organs (heart,lung)

So, understand that your current idea of the design is a dedicated deep stabber that creates massive damage. But many folks throughout history did not have the luxury of dealing with an unarmored opponent that was being held in place. And they weren't trying to make the design fit into some preconcieved notion that represented "knife" to them, so many became so big we call them "swords". Just pointing it out.

As quickly as this type of thrusting blade does its job, it still can't compare to lopping things in half. But again, a blade big enough to reliably do that to a wild pig would be too large to call a "knife", and we can't have that now, can we?


WHile this is extremely graphic...
..I have been a hunter all my life...but I have never seen a cleaner way to harvest an animal.

Cutting blades with enough power to do what I mentioned above are even more effective, though I'm not sure I'd describe it as "cleaner". I wonder how many hunters have ever walked over and picked up the still-beating heart of their quarry...

Not trying to say that chopping blades are better, just adding a contrasting view to the how and why part of the discussion.


there is no need to stab or thrust with great force...it is more of a firm insertion

Well, yeah. That's because you used a blade that is actually suited to the task. That's all you should feel. Try it again with a blade with a broadly rounded point, and you will notice quite a difference. Try it when that same blade's tip area is dull or damaged, and you will notice a HUGE difference. (whereas the pointy tips can still penetrate even when a bit dull) I've tried pressing the blade into a thrashing critter while leaning my weight on the handle, and only succeeded in pushing the thing down in the mud, because of this.

FWIW, I also prefer double edges/sharpened clips on my blades like this. I dislike designs where the false edge on a clip point is ground so narrow and steep; it needs to have actual cutting geometry. At the same time, I don't have catch dogs and usually can't waste time pumping the handle. I have to withdraw before I get bit. So a single edged blade is not necessarily at a huge disadvantage in a situation like that.


However, their must be some common design characterisitcs that work more efficiently....

Ideas such as balance....

Point orientation...high...low...nuetral...

Weight...

All seem to play some role in perfomance...

While I believe there are common themes, take a look at the huge variety of different designs used across the globe over the centuries. Each was considered the best for its intended application, so there should be some room for interpretation and yes, even aesthetic styling.
 
For killing in humans, a long blade is not that necessary. For the quickest kills, ie chest, neck or base of the skull you only nedd to penetrate 3 to 4 inches at the most. Wide is nice, but the wider bldes can give you trouble when having to go around bone, ie ribs, skull. A strong sharp point is a must. Double edged is probably preferable. Guard is probably preferrable. Of course handle material that is easy to hold when wet. I know most people are not fans of Kraton, but it does have it's place. Now if you want to talk about a knife for fighting, whole other discussion. Although they have things in common, they have even more differences. Killing is more about knowledge of anatomy and physiology (the how and where), but mostly about the willingness. I'm not an expert, just my 2 pesos.
Terry
 
Having skimmed through this thread again, I realize that I'd passed over two of Spectre's posts without noticing them prior to making my last one; had I read them, I would have phrased things a little differently. My post comes off as a bit abrasive and that was not what was intended. My apologies for being inattentive.

(I will not be editing it. I may edit for grammar or to add something, but I do not edit existing content.)

Now returning you to your regularly scheduled discussion...

However, their must be some common design characterisitcs that work more efficiently....

Indeed -- for certain people, hence my diatribe above. Allow me to present an example if you will. Consider these two designs:

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Here we're looking at the SE Asian kerambit and the European rondel. Both were successful killing knives. ("Successful" in this case meaning that they were at least somewhat efficient as weapons and remained in use as such for at least a century.)

The kerambit was probably an agricultural tool that was eventually pressed into service as a weapon. It can be held in a variety of ways and is primarily a slashing or cutting weapon. It can be concealable and does not feature a guard. It has uses outside of fighting. The rondel was more than likely meant from the start to be a weapon and was very limited in its cutting abilities, being optimized for thrusting attacks. It too can be held in a variety of ways, although many of them are different. (Indeed, it was often used two-handed in a halfswording manner.) It's not generally concealable, has a guard, and has little utility as a tool.

Both are killing knives, yet they are about as different as such things can be. The kerambit was appropriate for SE Asia. The rondel was appropriate for the battlefields of Europe. Both can kill someone efficiently; which one is preferable depends on who's using it and who they'll be using it against. This is why I say that it's hard to pin down any one feature as being superior to all others -- it really depends on what you want it for.

Again, it may be more useful for us to discuss particular features and how appropriate they are. Guard or no guard? (And what kind?) Tip-heavy or neutrally balanced? One edge or two? What kind of point? Everything has an advantage and a drawback, and just about any conceivable feature has been tried by someone, sometime, throughout the history of mankind. Everything works for something, but not everything works for any particular job.

I'm not trying to be difficult or evasive with this, but asking about the optimal features of any particular tool is akin to asking about the optimal features of a vehicle -- without more information, we're simply offering personal preferences with little context. My sports car recommendation may please someone who wants to drive fast but if you're looking to haul a cord of wood, I just set you in the wrong direction with it.

Dear lord, I'm starting to sound like a gunzine writer now.

This isn't helping, is it?

Edited to add: if there is any common thread, it's that they're all knives and that they can all either cut, or thrust, or both. There is no other single unifying feature.
 
Dave,

Mean looking kerambit, but I am not familiar with the Rondell.

In the olden days (even today still), in Malaysian & Indonesian cultures, they would dip the kerambit into poison before going to any fight or killing mission, and in Malaysian context, it is extremely illegal. If found on you during Police check, no question will be asked, and you"ll end up in jail for 14 days before trial, and later will have to spend at least 2 more years in prison.
 
I know this is an oldie, but it has already been mentioned here, and I thought I would put in my dos centavos:

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Top knife is the "venerable" KBAR, originally designed to be a killing knife, but which does double duty for a lot of things.

It's my favorite in this category, and can still be had from Camillus for a reasonable price!

It has all the things that have been discussed in this thread that a "killing" implement would require -- non-slip handle, non-reflective surface (all four of mine have been scotch-brighted and blued), cutting surfaces on both sides of the blade, but only partially, solid hand-guard, blood groove, near perfect balance. I can't and don't throw knives, but I know some folks who can and do, and they all seem to like the way this one tosses...
 
I've always liked the smaller air force parachutist's knife under the Kabar there.

Similar to the kerambit, I wouldn't mind picking up a damascus kuku macan sometime. Unlike my choppers, I'd prefer NOT to have to use that one. ;-)

Arya, someone may have gone over this already, but the Rondel dagger was typically used to penetrate weak spots in European armour, usually by a squire who would sieze the opportunity if an enemy knight had fallen off his horse or was otherwise vulnerable. At least that's how I remember it. Heh.
 
Arya, someone may have gone over this already, but the Rondel dagger was typically used to penetrate weak spots in European armour, usually by a squire who would sieze the opportunity if an enemy knight had fallen off his horse or was otherwise vulnerable. At least that's how I remember it. Heh.

Period artword depicts the knights themselves carrying them quite often, too. Whether it was a weapon of last resort, a preferred weapon for continuing the fight from a clinch or on the ground, or a useful item for forcing an opponent to surrender, is open to debate. The answer is quite likely all three.

The point that I was trying to make with that example is that despite it being a successful weapon, it's hardly the best choice for most people today, or even other people from the same time period in other areas -- thus the importance of context in discussing what is ideal. Few things would've served a knight better, and most things would serve me better.
 
A knife designed to kill in the shortest time via stabbing. I think that's a pretty simple design philosophy. :confused:
 
I would take my tygershark or trailmaster over these knives.
1 they have a long reach and deep penetration
2 they both have a decent amount of weight for slashing or splitting skulls.
3 they both have grippy handles.
4 both get very sharp.
5 they are both thick enough to take a hell of a beating and if you do cross someone with a lesser blade you can probably break it with one impact from your knife.
6. They both make good survival knives.
 
Classicaly, Thin double edged blades designed for penetration.

Something liek the SOG Pentagon, or Boker AF series. Those are classical fighting designes, not like the comical WIZZ-BANG stuff you see from Strider / ER / MOD / ect.
 
I have a few of the boker AF series and I think I would take a cs peacekeeper over them because of added length. The AF's are good though just a little flimsy and short.
 
i'm surprised this thread lasted so long. i stand by my first post: wooden stake. backups, maybe a throwing knife and good old fashioned practice. do broadheads count as knives? how bout a cold steel bushman on the end of a broomstick? that's a decent spear under $20.
 
When I was at Scarborough Faire, I used a rondel dagger instead of a main gauche when I fought. The rondel dagger provides a lot of protection for the hand, but there was no edge on mine, only a sharpened point. It was only useful for stabbing.
 
Wow...great threads and great information...and I really appreciate you guys' input...and viewpoints...

Possum,

Thanks for going back and pulling out some of the things I was tlaking about...your thoughts help a great deal...

The Harley knife I used....will indeed chop...while not as efficient as a khuk...it will do the work...I beleive Larry won one of the ABS cutting competions with one of his single edged battle bowies....the double will chop...no doubt in my mind....

Dave,

You took the time...and gave me a lot to think on...the two blades...the kerambit...and the rondel...are far apart in design...and I expect equally as deadly in the right hands...

I wish we were all sitting on my porch...or in the shop having this conversation...so we could just go ahead and build something...

Danny...you were at Scarborough? IN Texas...I used to do the show their when I was with Angel Sword...small world huh?

I think the rondel...looks alot like a bowie...which to me look a lot like the scramasax...

After a bit I begin to see all the common lines in blades across the ages...

Again...guys thanks for keeping this thread alive and healthy...

Shane
 
Possum,
The Harley knife I used....will indeed chop...while not as efficient as a khuk...it will do the work...I beleive Larry won one of the ABS cutting competions with one of his single edged battle bowies....the double will chop...no doubt in my mind....

I am not contending that it would "chop", especially compared to knives of similar size & general design. However I highly doubt it chops with enough power to *instantly neutralize* a hog with a decent blow anywhere on the head, neck, or torso. That's the kind of chopping power I was talking about. (it's much easier with smaller critters) If it can't do that reliably, then ya may as well stick with thrusting.

FWIW, my big bowie could outchop my old 21" HI Dui Chirra, and still manuevers faster than a machete.
 
if its sharp and pointy it can kill you, or hurt you very badly, that being said a blade between 5 and 8 inches double edged with a spear point and cross guard would be my hypothetical preference for a killing knife. but sharp pointy = deadly its not the knife that does the killing but the person holding the knife.
 
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As much as thread necromancy annoys me, the corpse is still at least fresh in this case and this was a pretty good thread.

Any new revelations?
 

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