I was kinda shocked with my Krav Maga instructor’s “hello” when I walked through the front door for our weekly private training session…
“You got your knife on you?”
He knew I did because I never go anywhere without my two EDC knives – a tiny fixed-blade near my belt buckle and my “combat folder” in my right front pocket.
“Um… yeah… why?”
“‘Cause today I’m going to show you why it’s a piece of sh*t and you’re most likely going to die if you ever have to use it.”
Now my Krav instructor is a former hardcore gang member who’s fought single and multiple attackers – with and without weapons – including knives.
As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not learning from someone who’s “walked the walk”, you’re just buying into most of the “tacti-cool bullsh*t” littering the self-defense world, you know?
Anyway, I was a bit nervous to be dealing with a real weapon on the mat (don’t try this at home), but his challenge to me was pretty simple… “Get to your knife.”
All I had to do was get my blade out and the drill instantly stops.
Easy peasy, right?
He absolutely mopped up the mat with me, over and over again, stopping me from deploying my knife no matter WHAT I did.
Sometimes I was able to TOUCH my knife… and eventually I was able to pull OUT my knife… but that’s when I FINALLY understood what he was saying:
I was never able to actually OPEN my knife!
Not even once!
After that session, he sat me down and we went over the features of my knife versus his.
His folding knife had something mine didn’t, something he insisted was critical — but he also had some thoughts about knives in general.
The best option, he explained, was a fixed blade, because it’s strong, fast to deploy, and won’t easily fail… but carrying a fixed blade often isn’t legal.
The next best is an OTF or side-opening switchblade, something that is compact and folds but can be opened instantly and quickly.
You see the problem, though, right?
Because “automatic” knives are even LESS legal to carry that switchblades in most places.
The best compromise, probably, is an “assisted” opening folder, one that has a spring to speed the blade open once you start it open — but there’s still a big problem I found.
Nearly every assisted opener needs a manual “flick” of the wrist to get the assist started, and you just might not be able to do that in a real fight (like I found when my Krav Maga instructor challenged me to try, even at “classroom” levels of force)!
But there’s one feature my instructor showed me on his own knife that made all the difference (enter the “flipper”)
These are little guards on each side of the blade that are operated with just one finger (any finger).
I like these “flipper folders” best because they’re usually still spring-assisted so they open lightning fast, but I don’t need to flick my wrist at all, so even if I was struggling with someone in a space the size of a phone booth, I can open it with no problem.
(To all my “under 45 y.o.” readers, a phone booth is a tiny public room we codgers used to go into to use our version of a cell phone that had a cord attached to a box that we slipped dimes into to ask our spouses what they needed from the grocery store.)
Even better… if you have some giant thug on top of you trying to beat you into the intensive care unit, grabbing your “flipper” combat-folder, you can actually even dig the flipper into his clothing or body and just pull.
Basically, you’re using his body as your finger, and that pulling action will open the knife FOR YOU so you can use it to “cut him off of you”.
I’ve owned a LOT of knives over the years, but when I started pressure-testing how to REALLY get a knife out for personal defense, this was the absolute best option I found and still carry today.
More and more of these types of knives are coming onto the market and they can be pretty pricey.
But if you’re budget conscious, TRS has one you can check out.
Yup, the page is kinda gimmicky and it’s a “free” knife you pay shipping for, so I’m not saying it’s “John Wick level” quality.
But knife-fighting is relatively easy (stick the pointy end into the meat) and at the very least, it’ll let you test-drive whether you like this type of combat-folder knife at a LOT less than the big name blades on the market.
Either way, when you’re ready to go knife-shopping again – and you want one for personal defense – I HIGHLY recommend you look for a (legal) spring-assisted, “flipper” blade like I use.
If you already own one, you know exactly what I’m talking about, eh?
Welcome to the club! 🙂