Bastinelli Knives: Deadly Works of Art

Form and Function meet in the knives of Bastien Coves’ Bastinelli Creations.

Story and Photos by Paul Pawela

The knife has been utilized in mortal combat for a maiming as well as killing tool. Since its inception, the knife has had a dual-purpose role, first as an instrument of survival and the other as a tool for combat. There is no question or doubt that when wielded into action, the knife is both a maiming as well as killing tool.

For author and self-defense expert Paul Pawela, the knives of Bastinelli Creations check all the boxes – they’re made by an expert; used and endorsed by professionals; are quality, lightweight devices that hold an edge; come with a good sheath or holster; and lastly, have caught the eye of Hollywood and its audiences.
Ironically, most people who carry a firearm for personal protection never give a second thought about carrying a backup weapon, but the next logical self-defense tool is indeed a knife. Let’s look at some reasons to have a backup knife on your person:
  • You have been ambushed by an attacker and you are in some position where you can’t grab your gun.
  • Because of snow or wet grass, you slip and fall and now it’s a fight on the ground and you can’t get to your primary weapon.
  • You may be in a position in which your strong arm is occupied or injured.
  • You may experience loss of dexterity because of the cold or blood loss.
  • You may have had your gun disarmed from you and you are too physically exhausted to fight back.
Consider the reasons that you carry a gun in the first place. It is because the odds are very good you could get into a deadly-force encounter, and the odds are very good it is going to be up close and personal. Should you not then consider the possibilities of all the aforementioned circumstances?

Knives by Bastien Coves line a display wall. The knifemaker originally from France is now headquartered in Kissimmee, Florida, near Orlando.
THERE ARE AS many different knife makers out there as firearms manufacturers, so what separates one from the other?
First, let me state I am not talking about the Rambo survival knife. I am talking specifically about the last-ditch weapon system that a counter-terrorism team member would have on their person during a hostage rescue, or that of the infantry soldier who goes into battle day in and day out.

Bulk Ammo In-Stock

I’m talking about the weapon wielded by the personal protection specialist whose duty it is to protect others at all cost, or that of the law enforcement officer who needs a backup weapon at a moment’s notice. Most importantly, I’m talking about the self-defense knife for you, the concealed weapon permit holder whose responsibilities are just as important – the protection of yourself and your family!
The criteria I look for in a good custom self-defense knife maker are the following:
-Does the knife maker have good knowledge, training and experience in the field to understand the needs of the people who are going to be using their product?
-Are the knives used by professionals in the field and endorsed by said professionals?
-How effective is the knife? Is it easy and lightweight to carry? Is the knife sharp, and does it stay that way?
-If we are talking concealed carry, does the knife have a good holster system?
-Many may think this is cheesy, but it has a lot of rationale behind it: Did Hollywood ask them to make something special for their movie as a prop?
If you think that is not a factor, then I would suggest you Google Jimmy Lile. He was the original knife maker for the movie Rambo and his survival knives set the standard for what all other survival knives are to this day.

ENTER BASTIEN COVES, the man behind the tactical art knives of Bastinelli Creations, and whose custom products meet all of the above criteria and then some.
Coves’ fascination with knives began at the age of 7. As with many young men, fascinations become obsessions, obsessions become passions, passions become dreams, dreams become realities and realities become livelihoods.
And capitalist livelihoods are what the American dream is all about, is it not? Coves took his craft seriously, as he knew his metal would be scrutinized by the very best in the world: Professional men who would be brutally honest and critical of his work if it did not pass muster. He also had to impress his toughest critics, his own family, starting with his grandfather who spent his entire life as a police detective, his father who served in France’s Secret Service protecting some of the world’s greatest leaders, and his brother who serves as a clandestine special response team member as a counter-terrorism operator. I would submit that this all meets criteria No. 1.

Every country in the world must be prepared for the threat of terrorism, and France is no different. France has an outstanding counterterrorism unit called RAID, which was put to the test when they killed the terrorists responsible for the Hypercacher supermarket and the Bataclan eater massacres in 2015. When RAID needed a special knife made for their team, they sought out Coves and he made them the RED V2. They are now also using the Bastinelli Chopper. Criteria No. 2, check!

In terms of personal testimony, have been teaching knife combatives for over 38 years for military, law enforcement and martial artists all over the world. What impressed me about Bastinelli Knives was how lightweight all of the knives are, which is great for concealed carry. How sharp are they? I have a documented rescue of a first responder who had to cut a seat belt to get a victim out of a serious car accident. The knife that was used in the rescue was the Bastinelli RED Folder. Not only did it cut the seat belt like butter with one easy stroke, but the airbag was also no problem to cut through. Criteria No. 3 completed!

As a tactical trainer for concealed carry with firearms, I see people spend $500 to $1,000 on guns and then do something totally irrational by putting said gun in a $20 nylon holster. Sadly, I have seen the same thing with knife makers. However, Bastinelli Knives all come with outstanding Kydex holsters that are specifically tactically made for securing the knife. The holster allows for ease of accessibility and can be mounted horizontally or vertically. Criteria No. 4 in the books!

Finally, when the filmmakers of the 2014 French movie Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, were looking for a great prop, they went after a very visual weapon everyone in the audience would remember. And so the Bastinelli Raptor L was born, as was one of the most memorable knife scenes in recent motion picture cinema.
To top things off, you know you hit the big leagues when Doug Marcaida from Forged in Fire on the History Channel endorses your knives! Criteria No. 5 done, over and out!
Bastien Coves is now living the American dream, as he and his family relocated to Kissimmee, Florida, four years ago. He continues to create new knives to sell for personal protection. I highly recommend you take a look at some of his creations. Do I trust his knives? With my life, and no higher endorsement can be made!

You’ll get no argument from Coves – seen here during a training class – that his knives are solid for self-defense, and his history with the implements dates back to an early age. “

Here are some good reasons to pack a backup knife for self-defense:
  1. Knives are deadlier in life-or-death struggles. According to the FBI, only 10 percent of those officers injured in a gun fight died from their wounds. However, when officers were involved in a knife assault, the percentage of deaths jumped to 30 percent. So, logic dictates that if a life-or-death struggle is going south for the good guy or girl, then the knife is the quickest tool to end it.
  2. Knives can do lethal damage at any angle and they don’t miss their target; guns, on the other hand, generally only kill if the path of the bullet is in a direct line to vital target areas. Even at close ranges of 3 to 6 feet, only one out of four bullets hits the target. Sadly, these statistics come from the arena of supposedly trained police officers.
  3. A knife never runs out of ammo, nor does it ever jam.
  4. Knives take zero skill to use, and under stress that is a huge advantage. There are plenty of documented cases to back that up; a thrust to the eye sockets, heart, lateral side of the head, subclavian arteries, back of the neck, groin, ear canal or throat quickly ends lethal encounters.
  5. Knives are very easy to conceal, and many times the person being stabbed did not know they were injured until it was too late. Under duress, a knife is hands-down the easiest tool to use!
Editor’s note: For more information, visit