Monday, April 18, 2011


Hi everyone,

I have been getting a few emails asking me what type of knife I like to carry for self defense purposes. So I have decided to share my thoughts on the topic in this post. Now there are a few things to think about when choosing a knife for self defense purposes and I won’t go into all the topics in this post. Instead I will address just a few very basic considerations that I think about when it comes to my knife selection.

Fixed blade or folding knife? My choice is a fixed blade the reasons why is it’s physically impossible for any folding knife to ever match the strength and rigidity of a fixed blade. Also I don’t like the idea of spending the extra time flicking my wrist to get the blade open (regardless of how fast the folding knife can spring open). I like the idea of being able to grab my knife and be able to use it without any extra movements involved.

Straight / serrated blade or combo? My choice is serrated. Why? Because serrated blades can rip and cut through clothing and flesh much easier then a straight blade. Remember your enemy will be wearing clothing and you must factor in this variable when choosing a knife. I have known a few people who have tried slashing someone with a straight blade and had no success because their enemy was wearing a leather jacket during the altercation; this actually acts like a second skin.

Although serrated blades are harder to sharpen the only time I am going to use my blade is when I have to protect myself or loved ones so there is no need to be sharpening it because it will only be used once, more on this in a second.

I don’t like the idea of a combo half serrated and a half straight blade to get the best out of both worlds (only when choosing a survival knife). The truth is that it is to difficult to maneuver the blade from straight to serrated when urine is running down your leg when you’re fighting for your life.

After using my blade it will also be thrown away. Why? Because the blade is evidence that can be used against me. This also factors in not spending a ton of money for my blade if it is only going to be used once then thrown away. I usually only spend the max of $60 for a self defense blade more for a survival blade but that’s a different topic.

Another factor to consider is if I need a guard or finger ring on my handle. Personally this is a must for me to have. Why? The last thing I want is my hand to slide on the blade when stabbing someone causing injury myself. As an alternative some people will either place rubber or stair tape to prevent slippage on the handle as well. I like the idea of having two finger rings on the blade handle to prevent me from losing my knife during an altercation especially when your grip strength, coordination go out the window during an adrenaline rush.

There are many more factors to consider when choosing a knife (type of steel used etc) feel of the knife in your hand, local laws, your knife fighting style (some style focus on slashing more then stabbing techniques), how you want to be perceived by the courts
(some individuals will carry a little folding knife because it looks less aggressive then carrying a large fixed blade in the eyes of the law).

I wanted to keep this post simple so I just mentioned a few of the things that I consider before buying a blade. Hopefully this will help you make a more informed decision when purchasing your knife. Also remember if the day ever comes that you need to use your knife your knife does the talking not you or it will be turned and used against you.

There’s no such thing as a dirty fighter only an educated one.

Norm Bettencourt


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Norm Bettencourt is the Creator/President of Tactical Self Defense which specializes in personal protection tactics against modern day threats of violence. For more information visit