Things are unsettled. Hopefully none of us are ever forced to use a knife as a self defense weapon. It's a horrifying thought, but sometimes bad things happen and you need to be prepared. With that in mind, Cold Steel offers some exceptional defensive weapons, and in my opinion -- wherever you live -- you aught to carry one with you every single day (law permitting). Along with a firearm I ALWAYS carry a defensive blade. My top two recommendations: * Plain or serrated edge Vaquero: This 5.5" weapon is perfect for both slashing and thrusting attacks, it has a wide range of grip options, it's light and easy to carry and it wont take up too much space in your pocket. If it's legal in your state buy and carry one now. I prefer the Lynn Thompson model -- his signature on the blade gives it a +3 against undead and crackheads -- but the regular model is perfect as well. * Plain or serrated edge Black Talon II: This 4" weapon is self defense perfection. Until you hold one you simply cannot appreciate how brutal this weapon actually is. As the name suggests, it is a Talon, a steel claw, and it's employment is instinctive. It digs in and cuts with horrifying efficiency. More, it is designed to allow anyone to use it effectively and without training. It's a claw, you claw with it. If you want to buy your wife or your mother any defensive knife, buy her this one. When compared to the Spyderco Civilian, the Cold Steel is superior in every way. It's less expensive, it has better steel, a much better blade design, a wave feature, and a stronger tip. The Cold Steel Black Talon II is surprisingly thin and light, the blade is designed to compliment the wave feature, making waving easy to accomplish. The only negative: the blade is exactly the length of the grip. This is awesome, but be careful when you close this knife or it will cut you. I own and carry the plain edge, but either is fine. Check your local laws, then buy one or both, and CARRY THEM EVERYWHERE.