Common Tactical Knife Myths that Can get You Killed

Travis Pike
By Travis Pike March 29, 2018 09:42

Common Tactical Knife Myths that Can get You Killed

The knife is one of those weapons that draws a lot of bull crap to it. There is a lot of hocus pocus and hoopla focused around a weapon that’s tens of thousands of years old. In reality, a tactical knife is a simple, but brutal weapon designed for surviving and fighting.

Today we are going to demystify the tactical knife and break down 6 of the most prevalent myths regarding the tactical knife:

Tactical Knives Should Be Dull

This common myth is often considered a safety concern. Since the tactical knife is one that is likely to find its way into a fight it shouldn’t be sharp. The idea is that if its sharp it can cut you. If you are in a knife fight you should only focus on stabbing anyways. This is far from true on so many different levels.

If you can’t handle a sharp knife safely, just don’t carry a knife. In a fight, you have no idea what you are capable of doing. You may need to slash and hack at the limbs and hands of your opponent. Carrying a dull knife is a risk you should never take. In fact, it’s downright dumb. Carry a dull knife is like carrying an unloaded gun. What exactly is the point?

Sharpen your knife, carry it with confidence, and be prepared to draw blood with it.

So and So Steel is the Ultimate Tactical Knife Steel

There is no ultimate knife steel. Some are surely better than others, but only by so much. Its gets to a point where the steels are such high-quality everything is just a compromise. At this point, ultimate is all about what works for you. Some steels are tougher, others allow a long-lasting, easy sharpening blade, and others resist corrosion better than some.

There are lots of considerations for tactical knives and you’ll have to really look at the dozens of different steels out there and decide what works for you and your situation. Until light-sabers become an actual thing there is no such thing as the ultimate blade.

Until then if someone is slinging some miracle metal I’d look into what exactly they are trying to sell you.

Fixed Blades Are the Only Tactical Knives

Fixed blades are traditionally the epitome of the tactical knife. This comes from the long traditions of military use. The times are changing the definition of tactical knife and tactical in general is changing. Guys like Ernest Emerson created lines of folding knives specifically built to be tactical in nature. So much so that several members of the Navy SEALs carry Emerson CQC blades of some kind or another.

Related: How To Correctly Choose Your Survival Knife

Let’s not forget that automatic opening knives fit the definition of tactical quite well for police and civilians who need a quick access EDC fighting knife. The idea that a tactical knife has to be a KA-BAR hasn’t been relevant since Desert Storm. Tactical knives are made well enough that they come in all shapes and sizes. As long as they are well-made quality weapons they can fulfill the role of a tactical knife quite well.

Gun Always Beats Knife

Jimmy Hoffa once famously said, “Rush a gun, and run from a knife.”  Regardless of where Mr. Hoffa ended up his words had a point. I wouldn’t advise bringing a knife to a gunfight if you can help it, but there are plenty of situations where knife beats gun. In extreme close quarters, a knife is an absolutely brutal weapon. It can stab, slash, and kill before a gunman can get a shot off.

If your opponent’s gun is holstered and your knife is sheathed you still have an advantage at close range. You can draw the knife and rush a target. In most close range fights a vicious man with a knife can beat a well-armed man with a gun. I love my guns and carry one daily, but I also carry a knife daily. Having options is the best way to be, and since most places that restrict guns don’t restrict knives I like having that secondary option.

Never underestimate a knife in the hands of both a skilled opponent or a violent amateur.

Related: When Is It Okay to Open Fire on Intruders?

Stabbing = Instant Death

Speaking of guns, one thing the gun world has embraced with open minds is shot placement. Shot placement is the ability to get rounds on target and into an effective zone. For some reason, knife guys and gals haven’t embraced the same ideas. If you are armed with a knife and in a fight, you have to target your opponent as much as possible. Your strikes should aim to inflict maximum damage, cause pain, blood loss, and even total shutdown.

The only way to cause this much damage is to train to target your opponent. Every slash and stab should be aimed at killing an opponent as fast as possible. You want to target major organs, arteries, veins and other vital areas. Don’t just depend on a lucky strike to end a fight.

The Entire Idea of Knife Fighting

The idea of a knife fight is easily the most absurd myth regarding tactical knives. A knife fight ends with the victor dying in the ambulance and the loser dying in the streets. That is all there is to it. A knife is designed to kill an opponent in a hurry, not for a delayed standoff where the hero and the bad guy circle each other and throw the occasional slash.

If you find yourself in a situation where it’s a knife to knife fight you’ve already failed. When you have a knife you need to strike hard and fast. A knife should be a force multiplier, a weapon you use to gain an advantage or to close a gap. It’s not made for honorable duels. When a knife is drawn it needs to be used immediately. If your opponent draws a knife start looking for a better weapon. You always want the advantage. Don’t fight fair, and be ready to get cut.

Getting Cut

Knives aren’t hard weapons to use. Once the adrenaline’s flowing martial arts katas and techniques go out the window. It becomes about survival. It’s about cutting, stabbing and slashing an opponent. Tactical knives aren’t hard, but stick to the facts, and just the facts.

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Travis Pike
By Travis Pike March 29, 2018 09:42
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  1. Graywolf12 March 30, 15:45

    A fair knife fight is the perp. with a knife and I have a 12 Ga. shotgun. If you plan on fighting fair plan on dying.

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  2. ezmark March 30, 15:59

    At last, a brutally honest assesment of what knife fighting is really all about. If you’r not ready to go all out berserk then stick with you’r guns or practice your cross country running.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Wahila March 30, 16:45

    I agree with some but not all. I have trained in combat fighting for a very long tome. Flow drills are to engage the “supermind” to cause action and not reaction.
    The most famous drill combat arms versus knife is the Tuellner drill. An attacker with a knife closes the distance of more than 20 feet and stabs the Trained hand gun operator 3 times before the handgunner is able to draw his weapon.
    Combine that with the techniques of Kali Arnis Silat and 3 shots and you are a bloody dead or soon to be dead subject.
    Pentjak is an Indonesian Muslim fighting Art and Kali Arnis were are derivatives of this Hand techniques are found in American Combat Judo Americam MACMaP training as well as many other arts.

    You can say what you wish but reality is these arts are used daily in SE Asia and the Mid East. They are common to head hunting tribes feom the Moro and Golok Archipealigo and are extremely dangerous due to the fact that the blades are dipped in bacteria laden mixtures that infect the wounds and eventually kill the combatant even if he survives the initial attack.

    Flowery yes but dont be fooled the arts are deadly serious and the Artist focus on attacks to the carotid Arteries Femoral Arteries and ligaments that are use to move the body. In order to prevent escape.
    In the art they have a saying “The Silat ( lightening or knife) is not to be seen but only to be felt.

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    • Hoosier Homesteader March 31, 03:24

      Thank you, Professor Wahila.

      Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty April 1, 03:44

      I believe the bacteria laden mixture of choice is a simple pile of human poo. From what I’ve read I think the Cong used it on pongee sticks too. Any Viet Nam vets out there who can confirm?

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    • Hildegard April 1, 05:00

      A healthy man can cover about 21 feet in two seconds. That’s about the length of most garages in newer homes. If you don’t already have your pistol out and ready to immediately go bang, you’ll probably lose to a knife. Putting a gun right to somebody’s head is only a good idea in Hollywood. Same thing with having a conversation with your assailant. Not a good idea in the real world.

      Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis April 3, 11:24

      A bacteria-laden mixture isn’t that big a deal in a world with antibiotics. Anyhow, if you need to use a knife as a weapon, the objective is to protect yourself NOW. Who cares if he dies of infection in a week?

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  4. Wahila March 30, 20:53

    Funny the knife second from the right with the hook is known as the Karambit (Tigers tooth) it is the choice of Silat and Kali practitioners.
    If you have some pull a knife I might suggest the same as you would do with a Mountain Lion never turn your back create distance while maintaining visual contact in case of attack.
    And if you have a firearm deploy deploy deploy

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  5. Donovan March 30, 21:40

    Some things to consider:

    What environment do you believe you will be surviving in?

    What will you use the knife for?

    Can you take care of the knife properly?

    I keep my morakniv companion in my Jeep for when I need to work out doors, but in my get home bag I keep a coldsteel srk

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  6. Ivy Mike March 31, 01:35

    My big brother was doing a few months in the County Jail (he had some character flaws) when a guy in the tank he had offended walked up to him and stabbed a sharpened spoon up into his groin and went to digging around for the femoral artery. That’s a knife fight, treacherous surprise, deadly intent. If the guy had had a real knife he probably would have avoided having his face pounded to mush against the concrete floor of the jail house…

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader March 31, 15:32

      Sorry to hear about your brother. Is he alright now? I’ve known both a few inmates and some guards. That’s not an easy life on either side.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Miss Kitty April 1, 03:38

    I still can’t believe that there’s actually a school of thought that thinks it’s safer to carry a dull knife! I don’t know a whole lot about hand-to-hand, (except that I’ll likely get my rear handed to me), but even I know that you’re far more likely to injure yourself on a dull knife. It’s a wonder that our species is still alive!

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis April 1, 05:09

      Exactly. This is a dangerous piece of nonsense. A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one anyway, because if you’re using it as a tool – and all knives end up getting used as a tool – you need to apply more pressure, so there’s more risk of it slipping and ending up in your thigh.

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      • Labienus April 1, 14:42

        Only time a dull knife is better, is when it’s a needle point stiletto. No edges, just a sharp point. It goes through clothing rather easily.

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  8. Jim Hardy April 1, 12:44

    The very idea of a real knife fight has always spooked the hell out of me. Avoid areas where they can happen. Wear sneakers for a fast get outta there. Don’t turn your back on the person with the knife until you put some distance between him/her. Most important is to stay vigilant. Always carry and make sure of a quick access to it. A person attacking with a knife is quick and sudden and extremly deadly. Again, BE VIGILANT!!

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis April 3, 11:27

      Personally I’d turn my back on them and just run. Backing away slowly keeps you inside their range for longer. You’re right about the fast getaway, so I wouldn’t slow it down by worrying about watching them – I’d open that distance as quick as I could, and that means turn and go.

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  9. vocalpatriot April 1, 15:13

    “If you can’t handle a sharp knife safely, just don’t carry a knife.”
    My mommy told me that when I was 8.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Creestof April 1, 17:07

    1) in a knife fight, know that you are going to get cut…and prepare yourself mentally for it. You can’t be the average person who immediately drops the steak knife back into the dishwater and yells “Owww!” upon getting something slightly greater than a paper cut.

    2) I have no problem with folding knives…other than with karambit style knives. A karambit which is not sharpened (or at least serrated) on both sides of the blade, has just lost 25% of its designed capabilities.

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