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.

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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

Troika Fighting Knife

A Knife made purely for Self-Defense

Article and Photos by Keith Sipmann

Are you a knife lover? Maybe you’re a blade collector? If you are, then you undoubtedly know that there are a lot of knives on the market claiming to be the very best design for self-defense, military use, etc. However, very few have been used and tested by individuals with the actual experience needed to truly test the weapons’ effectiveness in a real combat scenario.

How many knifemakers’ ads have you seen that claim their knife is a box cutter, a food-prep tool and a defensive weapon all wrapped up into one design? Probably quite a few, I am guessing. But is that what you really want?
Personally, I don’t carry a knife to open boxes or cut food labels, I carry it as a backup to my gun during close-quarters self-defense situations. Therefore, I want a quality blade that’s made just for that purpose.
Meet the Troika, a handmade CPM3V knife with tapered tangs and G10 scales. It’s made right here in America, and assembled by veterans.
The Troika was developed by Meynard Ancheta of Kali Dynamics and Torin Hill of Toris. The knife is actually handmade by expert knifemaker Jeff Crowner, who we have featured before for his epic Golok blades. Crowner was chosen by the team to make the blade due to his knowledge, reputation for impressive heat-treating work, and his commitment to quality, all of which has been put into this special knife.

Hill told me during our interview, “The Troika design was the result of a conversation about knives, their use, impact, and ideal carry/use positions.
Meynard and I went back and forth, discussing the value or lack of merit in the designs of ‘fighting’ knives in the market and history. After a long online discussion, he said he’d draw up some ideas, and then we began making changes to the drawings – throwing out features and informing the design with historical or functional concerns.
Ancheta knew what blade geometry he wanted, and suggested that the steel (and exponentially more important the heat treat) would make the difference in the design.” The blade is made from CPM-3V steel, which is said to provide some of the best blade properties when compared to other common tool and knife steels.
It’s a quality steel providing better toughness than most other steel grades, and it has very good wear resistance, about 50 percent better than the much-loved D-2 steel. It holds an edge very well, and is fairly easy to fabricate and sharpen due to its relatively low alloy content.
The one caveat to CPM-3V is that it is not very good at corrosion resistance. When heat treated using Crowner’s methods, CPM-3V outperformed everything else for the characteristics that the designers wanted for the knife. One concern about the knife was related to the performance of the blade tip.
Some knife enthusiasts have often stated that a blade tip that is too thin will snap off as soon as it hits a hard surface, such as bone. That concern didn’t stop the team from pushing forward with their design, which included some unique puncture testing of their 3⁄16-inch-thick knife design.
In fact, that shared concern is what led the team to use the heat treated CPM-3V as their steel choice. “I expressed my initial concerns about tip performance under load and against organic material – knowing full well the historical concerns about the Fairbairn-Sykes breakage,” Hill said.
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“I’d never seen a knife with that fine of a tip perform on a puncture test like that. It absolutely put to bed the concerns of ‘knife guys’ who said that it would be flimsy, or would snap off as soon as it hit a bone.”
The handcrafted grip, which consists of hand-filed graphite, olive drab, coyote, or black G10 scales, is designed with a neutral shape so that its user can handle the knife however they feel most comfortable with.
Like most knives meant for combat use, some specific training with this knife is highly recommended in order to be able to put it to good use in your time of need. The makers realize that need by including a $110 voucher for a Toris workshop with every knife purchase.

The Troika comes with a Toris draw-driven Kydex sheath and a steel trainer knife. The overall package is priced at $479. You can purchase the knife through All in all, if you want a high-quality, purpose-built blade that was ultimately designed for rapid-penetration and rapid-release, then you’ll want to look at getting your hands on a Troika.

  • Overall Length: 10″
  • Cutting Edge: 5”
  • Blade Material: CPM3V
  • Handle Scales: G10
  • Blade Length: 5.25″
  • Blade Thickness: 5.56mm
  • Blade Finish: Satin
  • Weight: 500 grams

Cut Through The Confusion

How To Choose The Proper Style Of Knife For Each Specific Hunting Task


When I was a kid, there were probably five good knife companies. These days, there are too many to count. And while there are several great designs to choose from, it can be confusing as to which works best for what, and how much to spend and why.

A knife is a tool, and you must choose the correct one for each specific job. While you can dig a hole with a spoon, a shovel works a lot better, and the same goes with knives.

Also, I don’t jump out of helicopters with a tactical knife clenched in my teeth to cut off the heads of the bad guys. I just like to hunt and fish, and gut, skin and cut up what I kill, so my advice comes from that perspective.

Two of the best designed and constructed skinning knives on the market are made by Diamond Blades.
Two of the best designed and constructed skinning knives on the market are made by Diamond Blades. The Traditional Hunter (top) is, hands down, the best design. Notice how the spine is slightly ground down, giving it not only a drop point for skinning, but also a semipoint so you can cut the pattern.

LET’S DISPEL A MYTH. Just because you skinned your first bear with a certain knife doesn’t automatically mean that it is the best skinning knife. In fact, it may not even be a good skinning knife. It just means that it has some sentimental value.

Years ago, the Idaho Press Tribune ran a photo of a 12-year-old boy who had just shot his first deer with an old Winchester .30-30. Beside him in the photo were his dad and granddad, who’d shot their first deer with the same rifle. Do you think you could ever convince that kid that a .30-30 isn’t the best deer rifle? I wouldn’t even try.

So if your favorite uncle – the one who taught you how to hunt – entrusted you with his knife on his deathbed, then carry it and be happy. Who cares what I say? Just don’t try to tell me that it is the best design for every task.

Hunters can justify carrying four different knives. These are: a clip point to cut the pattern (the initial cut when skinning), a drop-point knife to skin, a caping knife to skin around the eyes, ears and lips, as well as the feet of bears, and a boning knife to bone out your game.

Do I always carry all four? No. When I’m hunting hard in the mountains, I usually only carry two: a knife to skin my animal and a boning knife. I’ve skinned more than a hundred deer with a clip-point knife, because it’s a versatile choice. However, if you want to keep the hide or mount the head, it’s best if you use a drop point.

Let’s briefly review each style of blade, and why they are best for a specific task.

There are four or five decent boning knives on the market.
There are four or five decent boning knives on the market. Whichever one you buy, make sure that it has this exact shape. You don’t see wood handles as often anymore, but they are more comfortable.

The tip of this design sweeps upward and comes to a definite point, which allows you to stab into the hide and cut a pattern. The pattern is the initial cut you make down each leg, around the hocks and up the belly before you start removing the skin. You can skin your animal with a clip-point knife, but due to the shape of the blade, they have more of a tendency to cut holes in the hide while skinning. If you’re just skinning your deer so you can cut it up, then it doesn’t matter if you skin it with your clip point knife.
If I could only carry one knife, this would be it.

A drop-point knife is less likely to cut through the hide, and you can skin faster without being as careful. You’ll notice on a drop-point knife that the tip doesn’t sweep upwards like a clippoint knife. Although I can’t explain the mechanics of why, you’ll simply cut through the hide less often while skinning with a drop-point knife than with a clip-point knife.

For caping out big game heads and skinning the feet and toes on bears, you’ll want a caping knife.
For caping out big game heads and skinning the feet and toes on bears, you’ll want a caping knife. I prefer one like the Cub Bear from Knives of Alaska because of its distinct point and narrow, short blade.

If you plan to mount the animal head, you’ll want to carry a caping knife. A caping knife has a shorter, thinner blade with a definite point. This allows you to make intricate cuts around the eyes and lips of your trophy, as well as when skinning the feet on bears.


When I was a kid, we’d use a hunting knife for this job, but while working in beef production plants, I discovered what a real boning knife could do. I took what I learned there and applied it in my outdoor world.

To get a clean bone (which means to remove all the meat) you’ll want a semi-flexible knife. You don’t want it too flimsy or you won’t be able to control the blade while working. I favor a 6-inch boning knife, but have buddies who favor a 5-inch blade. I favor a semiflex, but some people prefer a superflex blade. It’s a matter of preference.

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I favor a thin fold-up knife.
I favor a thin fold-up knife. I don’t like thick, bulky ones, and most of Puma’s fold-up knives are thin and sleek.

A SOFTER METAL BLADE is easier to sharpen, but it doesn’t stay sharp as long. A harder knife is more difficult to sharpen but will keep an edge longer. Again, it’s not a matter of right or wrong, just personal preference.

If you’ve hiked in 7 miles and shoot an elk, it’s nice to have a knife that will hold an edge long enough to skin him so you don’t have to carry a sharpening stone. For that reason, I favor a knife that is hard and will keep an edge but that is not insanely hard. Something of the hardness of a Knives of Alaska knife is perfect.

What about straight blade versus fold-ups? Again, it’s a matter of preference. I like both, and sometimes interchange at the drop of a hat. However, if you choose a folder, make sure it has a locking blade so it doesn’t close on your hand while working, although nearly all folders are lock blades now.

There are several good manufacturers on the market. Choose which brand you prefer, and then pick one with the task-specific designs that I’ve listed above. And after you’ve made your selection, happy hunting! AmSJ

Knives of Alaska makes several excellent products.
Knives of Alaska makes several excellent products. The Legacy (top) is a skinning knife with a shorter blade and a full handle to give you total knife control. The Pronghorn is a clip-point style that makes it ideal for difficult initial incision cuts. (RON SPOMER OUTDOORS PHOTO)

Editor’s note: For more on this and other knife-related topics, see the author’s e-article “Knife Sharpening” (available on Amazon Kindle), and check out the YouTube videos on RonSpomerOutdoors.

Knife Fighting 101: Fact vs Fiction

The author with a suitable folding knife.
The author with a suitable folding knife.

Article and photos by Keith Sipmann

Have you ever noticed how everyone seems to be an expert on something these days? Whether it be geopolitics, food, parenting, guns, knives, survival techniques, self-defense, basket weaving … you name it and someone can tell you all about it online in a two-minute YouTube video. Well, knife fighting is not immune to this. There are many untruths, myths and opinions about knife fighting, also known as edged-weapon defense. I can’t address them all in this short article, but let’s try to separate a few facts from fiction.
I am a knife enthusiast, and I openly admit that I am no expert in knife fighting. So, to help educate myself on the subject, I reached out to a professional instructor of edged weapons defense, Fred Matison of Force Options Tactical Training and Security, to research the topic further and learn from an industry expert.

Probably the most well-known thing about knife fighting is that you don’t want to bring a knife to a gun fight – you don’t want to be that guy. Also, another thing that Fred Matison discussed in his class is that it’s important to know there really is no such thing as a knife fight. He feels this is something Hollywood has invented to sell action movies, and I basically would agree with him. As a martial arts instructor myself, I understand that actual street fights can last several minutes, where many techniques may be used to subdue an opponent. When a knife is deployed for self-protection, there is only one technique needed to end the aggression, and it very well may end up in a death.
knife fighting2Many of the YouTube experts and internet-forum gurus would argue that you need a large tacti-cool knife to defend yourself in “battle.” First off, a large knife is not practical in most every day carry (EDC) situations. If you live out in the desert on a ranch, a large knife probably is okay, but it isn’t going to work out well for you at the office. You do not need a big tactical knife to defend yourself; but you do want a quality knife, so do your research and find the blade that fits your need.

A medium-sized folder will work just fine. For example, I carry a SOG Mini Aegis as my EDC/defensive blade. It’s small enough to fit deep in a pocket, it’s lightweight, uses high quality materials and the shape of the blade is great for cutting and stabbing. Realistically, the shape of the blade is much more important than the length of the blade – and there is a reason for that which I’ll discuss in the next paragraph. A large knife may grant you greater reach and a deeper penetration, but a medium-sized, EDC-style folding knife can be handled with greater speed and controllability. Considering all of this, the advantages and disadvantages of the size of the blade will depend on the skill of those who wield it, which is why you should train to use (and defend against) a knife if you intend on using one for self-defense.

knife fighting3Are you realistically ready to use a knife as a defensive weapon? Ask any police officer, emergency room nurse or doctor, military medic, or EMT – knife wounds are bloody and disgusting, probably the worst kind of street “battle” wounds. Not only do they leave a mark physically, they also have a psychological impact too. Fred Matison discussed this quite a bit during his edged-weapons class to get his students into the proper mindset. Cutting someone and ending an aggressor’s action in self-defense not only takes some skill, it also requires a mental commitment. During the discussion of ending that aggression quickly, the question of whether to slash or stab often comes up in his class. He actually teaches his students to stab and not slash (if possible) for a specific reason – slashing doesn’t guarantee that an attacker will stop. Stabbing them in a vital area does. He also stressed that someone using a knife for defensive purposes must treat it the same way an individual carrying concealed would treat their pistol – meaning that you should only draw it when it’s going to be used for defense, and that you must remember that your response must be proportional to the intensity of the attack you receive, reflecting whether your attacker has a knife or other weapon. You don’t deploy a firearm to wound an attacker, and a knife should be used in the same manner. Whatever the situation, your defensive response should fit into the self-defense parameters establish by the law; this is the same whether carrying a knife or a firearm.

Many people think that using a knife for self-protection requires no training, and they couldn’t be more wrong. It is true that anyone could technically use a knife for self-defense, but to be truly effective you really should acquire some realistic-edged weapons training that provides scenarios and tactics of escalating force to manage a variety of circumstances. Remember, following the survivalists’ mindset, you’ll always want to be fully prepared and fully trained, so find a reputable trainer and get some schooling and stay sharp! (cheesy pun intended)

Editor’s note: Keith Sipmann is a veteran of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, firearms enthusiast, gun rights activist, self-defense instructor, conservative political writer and owner of BCB (Boot Camp Bravo) Firearms and Self Defense Clinics.

Clinch Pick Knife

Most of the small fixed blades (SFBs) on the market today are multi-purpose tools that can be used for cutting wires to self protection. There aren’t too many that are design for self defense and if they are these knives are over 5 inches long with flashy designs – that says “Don’t Mess with Me”.

Surprise Comes in Small Package

If you’re familiar with reality-based self defense for the modern world. Then, you would know that not seeing the blade is more dangerous than someone flashing a bolo knife at you. ShivWorks has a product called “Clinch Pick” specifically design for using the knife for self protection. The device is extremely practical and lethal which comes in a small and concealable sheath. This blade with its easy access design may be the best backup to your pistol if its not accessible while in a scuffle. Below Craig Douglas of ShivWorks displays the finer points of his pick knife design and application. You can skip to 8:00 to get to the point.

Clinch Pick was custom built with a reverse edge that will rip and tear when it comes into contact with. This knife was made to be worn forward of the hip line with the grip pointing 45 degree downward angle. Here are some specs:

  • Overall Length: 5.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.20 ounces w/o sheath
  • Length: 2.5 inches
  • Material: Sandvik 12C27 heat treated to HRC 59
  • Edge: Plain/Dull with holes (Trainer)

  • Material: Black G-10/Red G-10 (Trainer)
  • Sheath: Kydex w/included Tek-Lok

Position Placement
You can wear this blade just about anywhere on the waist. But, the best placement is worn forward of the hips and drawn with the user’s dominant hand in a forward grip, locked wrist configuration. In this setup, the user can grab the Clinch Pick with limited hand mobility while engaged with an attacker and get the knife out quickly.

The blade on the Clinch Pick is distinct due to its self-defense nature. Holding it in the Forward Grip format, the predominately flat edge of the knife will be facing the user. The dull edge of the blade, opposite the cutting edge, widens near the hilt and narrows towards the point. There is also a comfortably designed “choil” that wraps nicely around the index finger. Smoothing it all out is the subdued ShivWorks logo on the left side of the blade.

The method of using this knife is on locking your wrist while holding it which is the opposite way of being taught in other knife systems that stress in wrist mobility. Having this reverse edge tool is an advantage for close quarter when used to rip and tear more efficiently. The idea is similar to having a pistol and putting many holes into your attacker, with the Clinch Pick you’re doing the same thing.

Down Side
There isn’t much of any down side to this wonderful self defense blade. Unless, you have large hands, you may need to go with a longer blade.

The video below shows some drills that ShivWorks teaches and you can get an idea of how this Clinch Pick is used. The majority of the video is highlighting the importances of controlling the attacker and deploying your own knife. Many people that are untrained will view this as just wrestling, however this is what it comes down to in a real altercation.

ShivWorks Clinch Pick designs and purpose is for personal protection when you cannot access your handgun or is not available. For more information please go to, information can also be found at
Photos from Warrior Poet Supply Co & Shivworks.

Yay or Nay? Automatic Knife for Everyday Carry

Tacti-cool May Not Be Practical

Every once and awhile, I get asked by friends of mine whether or not automatic knives are good for EDC use. Honestly, at first I wasn’t sure, as I had never owned one. I was never a big fan of the designs, and heard way too many stories about the blades deploying in someone’s pockets, stabbing their legs. Whether or not the stories were true, the possibility of getting poked in your manhood by your own blade is totally possible with many of the knife designs that are available.
There are many knife makers that have automatic knife designs; many of them are the more popular (and expensive) knife makers. Before you read on to see whether or not autos are good for EDC, I would recommend reading about the history of the design and their relationship to what’s commonly called a switchblade.
While functionally similar, the two designs share slight but important differences. A switchblade opens its blade from the handle automatically with the press of a button, lever, or switch that is remotely mounted in the knife handle or bolster. In contrast, a spring-assist design uses a lever or switch mounted on the blade or connected via a direct mechanical linkage.
Manual pressure on this lever overcomes spring pressure designed to keep the blade closed, which in turn causes the blade to partially emerge from the handle. At this point an internal torsion spring takes over, rapidly forcing the blade into an open and locked position. – Source Wikipedia

Before buying, and before carrying any weapon, you should always properly check with your state and local laws to see what’s allowed and what isn’t. The last thing you want to do is buy a knife, carry it, have to use it in a defensive situation… only to find out now you’re in hot
water for carrying and using an illegal blade, etc. Autos are heavily regulated and every state seems to have its own rules on them. One site that I’ve visited recently that seems to have a good grasp on knife laws is If you plan on carrying a blade, you might want to check it out beforehand.

It is debatable, but generally speaking, automatics (being spring loaded) have a slightly faster deployment than an assisted opening knife. Other than that, I cannot think of anything else that would be considered a real benefit.
To me there is not much of a difference between pressing a button and
thumbing a stud on the blade.

My first, and probably biggest, complaint about these types of blades is
their lack of safety features. Normally a physical safety mechanism wouldn’t be a big concern to me, as I feel guns with a safety create bad habits. But with a spring-loaded blade dangling just inches from important parts of a man’s anatomy, I’d prefer it to be totally safe
to carry without accidentally activating it in my pants pocket.
Many button-opening automatic designs have no safety and should not be carried in a pocket. Button knives without a mechanical safety will undoubtedly get you hurt. Lever lock types are inherently safer for pocket carry simply by design, as they are highly unlikely to deploy unintentionally. Another drawback with autos is the limited blade sizes that are available due to heavy regulations, which means that the number of cutting chores and uses for the blade has been significantly
reduced as well.
Most autos have skinny or thin blades anyhow, which also means they can’t be used for a lot of things that I would normally use an EDC blade for. Safety and legal drawbacks aside, most autos that are worth using are fairly pricey.

Automatic knives may be tacti-cool and all, and they may have legitimate, legal uses, but those uses are few and far between and hard to justify for the amount of money spent on one. I just don’t see any major reason to carry an auto over a folder unless you’re an EMT, fighter pilot, combat medic, fireman, police officer or something along those lines, and the main reason for that is only speed of deployment and they take up very little room. In my opinion, because
of the varying regulations of blade length and available blade designs, usability is actually down when compared to other assisted opening knives on the market. Therefore, I do not recommend carrying them for EDC versus another type of knife.

Even though automatic knives are not recommended by this author, there are EDC folks that do carry them. If you choose to carry, be sure to check with your local state laws. Here are some top automatic/switchblade knives picked by ZedIOptima Youtuber.

Stay alert, stay alive. AmSJ

Best Knife for Self-Defense

We have all heard of never bring a knife to a gunfight. True, but depending on the situation knives do have the advantage over guns in short range fights. Knives do have their disadvantages as well, nothing is perfect.
Having a knife as a backup to your pistol should be a part of your every day carry. Sometimes, getting to your pistol isn’t always that easy when you’re caught in close quarter and have to do some hand-to-hand and getting the knife out was easier.

If you decide to carry a knife with the intent of using it to defend yourself or your family then be prepared for the harsh reality of a knife fight.
Here are some things to consider when getting a self defense EDC knife. You want to weigh these factors: concealable, ease of use, and legality.

Concealable/Easy Access
The school of thought is if you want the knife concealed then position it out of sight out of mind. What we get is people clipping their folded knife to their pockets for the world to see.
The other thing is common sense, hiding a three inch folding knife is easier than a full size 6 inch blade Kabar. There are some sentiments that people say you should hide the knife until the exact moment you strike them with it. Thats up to you.

Ease of Use & Carry Position
This covers a cross between having a knife in your pocket or clipped inside at the appendix or anywhere on the pants or garment. So which position is the best for you to access?
Think of economy of motion, how many layers of clothing will you need to peel in order to get your knife out. We’re not going to go deep into this, because its all about choosing a position to store that knife. Then, run it through some hand-to-hand drills and see if you can get to your knife quickly. Thats going to be your answer. We can go on and on why the appendix is the best to go with. But, what if you attire is a 3 piece suit and its what you wear at your corporate job.

The other part to this section is the ease of use of the knife once drawn. You don’t want to have a butterfly knife and do the flashy opens. The grip on the knife has to be sturdy and not slippery. Some people are keen on the weight of the knife as well.
There are two types of knife that you can carry for your EDC. You can choose a folding knife or a fixed blade.
Folding knives are easier to conceal, but fixed blade knives are easier to use. Fixed blade knives tend to be stronger, but that has nothing to do in a knife fight.

You might want to familiarize yourself with the laws of your state. Some places frown upon folding pocket knives, but will allow a small size (3 inch) fixed blade.
There are many good knives out on the market. Are you looking to slice and dice or just power stabs? Whatever your filet is have a look at these knives, we’ve broken it down to folding knives and fixed blade, this is not the complete list.

Best Folding Knives
Folding knives win out in the concealability department, though it may take an extra moment to unfold them.
This is because the blade hides within the handle.
Because they have to pivot (most of the time), folding blades are technically weaker than fixed blade knives.
But you won’t be batoning wood with these blades, you’ll be defending yourself, so that’s not important.

  • Benchmade Bedlam

    The big black blade really sings with just a flick of a thumb stud and it locks in place with authority. The ambidextrous thumb studs are big and easy to get at. There are phosphor bronze washers in this knife, so you can expect a nice smooth deployment every single time.
  • Spyderco P’Kal

    Spyderco claims that the name P’Kal comes from the word “pikal,” spoken in the Philippines. It means “to rip,” and that’s exactly what this knife is meant for. The P’Kal’s edge is along the inside of the curve. This gives it great power for pulling cuts.
  • Spyderco Matriarch Spyder Edge

    It’s a dagger with a blade that curves back and forth, most often used in southern Asia. smaller, and less expensive, version of the Spyderco Civilian. A curved edge slices better than a straight one, and a kris doesn’t just have curves, it has waves.
  • Fox 479 Black G10 Folding Karambit – Emerson Wave

    This tool has been field tested in the most extreme climates by some truly hardcore people, and has proven itself time and time again to be of the highest quality. Whether you need a utility knife to open boxes and clamshell packaging or a reliable self-defense tool to open a can of whoop ass.

Best Fixed Blade Knives
Fixed blade knives are harder to conceal than folding blades, but are easier to use and are stronger. There’s no fiddling about to unfold the blade, just unsheathe and go. They may also be longer than their folding cousins, though this is not always the case.

  • ShivWorks Clinch Pick Knife

    ShivWorks has a product called “Clinch Pick” specifically design for using the knife for self protection. The device is extremely practical and lethal which comes in a small and concealable sheath. This blade with its easy access design may be the best backup to your pistol if its not accessible while in a scuffle.
  • Ka-Bar TDI LE

    It doesn’t have the same length as other fighting knives, but that’s not the point. The point of this knife is that when your enemy thinks he has you at his mercy, disarmed and on the ground, the TDI is safely hidden on your person. A sharp surprise that can win the fight.
  • First Edge/Raptor 4050 HR-1

    Was design for law enforcement and military which the self-defense communities embraced as well. The HR-1 is equipped with either a Traditional (Non-reversible) or a Fully-Reversible Kydex Sheath. Both are ideal for IWB, Pocket or MOLLE carry. The sheath also has 2 lanyard holes for neck carry. The Elmax steel is no joke, you can chop thru rebar. The straight edge tanto design with a finger a loop at the other end can make it a hard impact weapon as well. MSRP $129.99
  • ESEE Izula-II

    the Izula-II (or Izula 2) by ESEE is a lightweight carbon steel knife.
    It’s intended for survival or combat situations.
    There’s a large lanyard hole and the knife comes with a sheath, which itself has a reversible belt clip.
  • Gerber Ghoststrike

    You can hide this knife anywhere then strike when you need to.
    The sheath can clip onto your belt, or it can attach to the included neoprene wrap to hide on your ankle.
    Also, unlike some knives on this list, you can rotate the sheath for horizontal carry.
  • Cold Steel Defender Push Dagger

    Cold Steel, Incorporated was founded in 1980. This dagger is by far the easiest to use if you’re not a trained knife fighter. The motion used is similar to punching, which utilizes gross motor skills not the fancy Filipino slice combo angle 1 and 2.

Check out these Cool Gun Safes Click HERE
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Last Cut
Any of these knives will serve you well as a self-defense knife.
Choosing one doesn’t have to be an obstacle to negotiate.
If money is not a problem and the laws in your state does not prohibit then carry a medium to higher end knife. Get a knife that can pack lots of punch and deploys as quick as a gunshot.
So if you’re on a budget or just plain cheap. There are some well reasonably priced along with good quality like the Ghost Strike. The choice is yours to play with.

EDC Kit that you wear Everyday

This may be something that most EDC crowds don’t think about is your clothing.
How well can an outdoor jacket and a thin long sleeve shirt protect the skin, compared to a cut resistant sleeve advertised by DAS Leben on Amazon?
This is something that was discussed on a gun and self defense forum.

Supposedly, this slash resistant arm guard can hold up to the claim.
Youtuber Skallagrim went out and tested this and the results were not good. Take a look.

The cut went right through.
Just out of curiosity Skallagrim decides what if you only wear a thin long sleeve top with a rain jacket over it.
The results were surprising against these bladed instruments.
Spyderco Manix 2
Extrema Ratio Resolza
Cheburkov Scout
Grohmann Canadian Belt Knife
Benchmade Azeria
Opinel No 6
The results was an eye opener for anyone thinking that you need to buy a self-defense gadget.
Though most of the cuts did penetrate both garments, the dummy skin remain untouched or lightly scathed.

Guess the only downside to this is, if you’re in a warm climate. This wouldn’t be a good choice, but to run for your life. (while your 9mm friends giving you cover fire.)

Do you Carry a Folding Knife?

Most of us carry folding knives for every day carry (EDC), a question was asked. How good are they for defensive use?

Michael Janich of Martial Blade Concepts goes over the basics of personal defense with a blade. The idea is to give you an understanding of what a 3 inch blade capabilities. How deep will it cut or penetrate? Just viewing this objectively as a tool itself is an eye opener.

Pork Man
In order to visually understand the blade capability without having to cut your own training partner.
A piece of 5 pound pork tender loin is wrapped around a pvc pipe simulating the bone. Strings are twined around the meat to represent the connected tissues. Thirty layers of saran wrap surrounds the meat with a layer of a pair of pants to match real world application of clothing. This training device is called the “pork man“.

The “pork man” allows it to quantify how the blade cuts. This replicates a piece of an actual limb like the arm or leg.

With this in place Michael proceeds to administer a deep downward cut, nothing fancy. The result shows a deep cut to the pvc pipe (bone).

The ideal target would be the arm, if you can cut this then its harder for the assailant to attack you with a weapon, since you’re disabling their ability to hold onto an object.

Michael goes on to demonstrate the application and concepts from “pork man” to a training partner with actual defensive techniques with training blades. See the rest on video below.

Sources: Sig Sauer, Michael Janich, Martial Blade Concepts, OffGrid, Patrick Wong CalmBatives

Keep It Simple– And Sharp

[su_heading size=”30″]Before heading out on a trek, hunters need to ask themselves a simple question: How many knives do I really need?[/su_heading]


[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”5″]W[/su_dropcap]hen it comes to hunting knives, what do you really need? The question is straightforward, but the answer can become complicated by thoughts of what you want, rather than what you actually need. Personally, I own dozens of knives. They are great tools, and serve a range of purposes. But when I go afield, I keep it simple.

On all the hunts I’ve been fortunate to embark upon around the world, I almost always take only one knife afield. This knife has to be able to withstand punishment and perform to my liking, and it’s also got to be lightweight. When scaling granite peaks for mountain goats and sheep, ounces can feel like pounds after a few days.

When you get an animal down, the field dressing, skinning and quartering begins. Each of these tasks can be completed with one knife, and once you know the connective tissues and how to work a knife around them, you can even leave the saw behind.
When you get an animal down, the field dressing, skinning and quartering begins. Each of these tasks can be completed with one knife, and once you know the connective tissues and how to work a knife around them, you can even leave the saw behind.

MANY KNIVES ARE DESIGNED for specific purposes, but for hunting, I don’t feel as if I need multiple knives. On a recent hunt, I met up with a buddy in Alaska. It was his first trip to the Last Frontier, so he wasn’t sure what to fully expect. He cracked open his gun case and inside were six knives, including one with a heavy, 12-inch-long blade and a ball compass on top. I laughed. He didn’t. “What are you doing?” I quizzed. “I didn’t know what knife to bring, so I brought a bunch,” he smirked.

We were going on a grizzly and black bear hunt across open tundra. About the only thing we needed a knife for was carrying out routine tasks, and to skin and butcher any bear we killed. In my opinion, a person needs only one knife for those tasks.

As with all fly-in hunts to remote drop camps, weight is a concern with bush plane pilots. With strict weight limitations, and given the fact we were going to be gone for over a week, I wanted to take all the weight we could in food, clothes and essential gear, not knives we’d never use. When my buddy asked what knives I was taking, I held up one, a 3-inch-bladed Kershaw knife, specifically their Skyline model. “No, really, what knives are you bringing?” he asked again.

“Oh, I forgot this,” I smiled, holding up a compact sharpening steel. I explained how all skinning, field dressing, caping and deboning can be done with one knife, and that it doesn’t have to be big. I’ve broken down numerous deer, elk, bear and African game with a 2-inch blade, and many with a 3-inch blade. Using bigger blades than that is fine, if that’s what you’re comfortable with, but if you’re just embarking upon the world of hunting, big, bulky knives aren’t necessary.

This year marks my 40th year of big game hunting, and I’ve always kept things simple with my knife choices. You look for a knife that fits your hand, keeps an edge, and is constructed with a handle that won’t slip when covered in blood, fat or water.

You don’t need big, long blades when it comes to handling game in the field. Knives with 2-, 2.5- and 3-inch blades are enough to handle breaking down deer and elk-sized game. The author has used the orange-handled Kershaw Skyline knife to skin and quarter everything from brown bear to deer, elk to Cape buffalo in Africa.
You don’t need big, long blades when it comes to handling game in the field. Knives with 2-, 2.5- and 3-inch blades are enough to handle breaking down deer and elk-sized game. The author has used the orange-handled Kershaw Skyline knife to skin and quarter everything from brown bear to deer, elk to Cape buffalo in Africa.

I know many hunters who take their personal-carry knives afield, and that’s great if that’s what they like. Some folks prefer fixed blades over folding knives, and vice versa. Personally, I like a fixed-blade knife with a handle that’s easy to clean of dried blood and gut content.

A VERY IMPORTANT FACTOR when choosing a hunting knife is getting one with quality steel that’s easy to attain an edge on. While softer blades may dull more easily than hard steel, they are easier to regain an edge on when in the field. Knowing the anatomy of the animal you’re breaking down, and using the knife to cut, not saw or force through bones, will help in maintaining an edge on your knife. All cuts are easy to make and should not be forced, especially through joints and cartilage.

Animal fat can quickly dull a knife, which is why it’s critical to have a quality steel to easily hone that knife. At the same time, cutting through cartilage, tendons and ligaments can be tough on knives, making quality steel even more important. Having a blade you can hone in the field – one that reacts to a good steel – is important in regaining that edge in order to continue safely and efficiently breaking down an animal.

While it’s occasionally unavoidable, try to refrain from cutting through hair and into dirt. Sometimes big animals like elk, moose and bear are impossible to move around by yourself, meaning a cut may slice through skin and hit dirt, which dulls a knife. When cutting the hide, do so from the skin side, not down through the hair. To do this, make a small hole where the cut will begin, then get the blade inside the skin, cutting upwards through the hide. This will help keep an edge and should allow you to get through multiple animals before having to sharpen your knife again.

When your knife does become dull in the field, sharpen it right away, for a dull knife leads to bad cutting techniques, and that’s how accidents happen. When hunting, I rely on two simple yet very effective sharpeners. In my daypack, I’ll take one sharpening steel afield to touch up the knife while breaking down animals. My favorite is Kershaw’s Ultra-Tek blade sharpener, a 600-grit oval steel that’s very lightweight and works wonderfully in quickly regaining an edge. When back in camp, if I need to further sharpen the knife, I’ll use a whetstone or a Work Sharp guided field sharpener.

Rarely do I take a compact folding saw afield when deer hunting, for a deer’s skull – the only part of an animal I use a saw on – isn’t so heavy that it needs to be split, like moose, caribou and elk do. When quartering big game in the field, I don’t use a saw to split the pelvis or remove the legs, neck or ribs – that’s all done with a knife.

Having the right knife to get the job done is important. Here, the author removes the cape from a mule deer in spike camp using the same 3-inch bladed Kershaw knife he relied on to gut, skin, quarter and debone the buck.
Having the right knife to get the job done is important. Here, the author removes the cape from a mule deer in spike camp using the same 3-inch bladed Kershaw knife he relied on to gut, skin, quarter and debone the buck.

ONE WORD OF CAUTION when embarking on a big game hunt where you’ll be breaking down an animal in the field, and that’s to be aware of the state’s recovery laws. Most states require a proof of sex to accompany the meat from the field to camp or home. This is usually best retained by keeping the genitals attached to one hindquarter, and/or bringing the head of the animal out. When bringing the head out, if sawing off the antlers to cut down on weight you’re packing out, cuts are often required to be made below the eyes, so the eyes are intact. Some states require the meat to stay attached to leg bones, too, meaning complete boning out of meat while in the field may not be legal.

If you will be transporting game heads across state lines, know that multiple states require the brain to be removed from the skull. This means you’ll need a saw to cut through the brain cavity, so be prepared. Prior to heading afield, make sure you know the meat recovery and transport laws of the state you’ll be hunting in.

Find a knife that works for you and familiarize yourself with how it handles. Practice at home, rubbing fat and blood on the handle and getting it wet to see how it performs. Once you know what a knife is capable of, as well as the anatomy of an animal and how to disarticulate its joints and muscles, you’ll see why a simple blade is all that’s really necessary. ASJ

Elk hunting in the backcountry can be demanding, yet to break down an animal, all you need is one quality knife and a sharpener, maintains the author, here reaching the end of the trail with a pack string carrying his bull out of the woods.
Elk hunting in the backcountry can be demanding, yet to break down an animal, all you need is one quality knife and a sharpener, maintains the author, here reaching the end of the trail with a pack string carrying his bull out of the woods.

Editor’s note: For copies of Scott Haugen’s comprehensive DVD, Field Dressing, Skinning & Caping Big Game, send a check for $20.00 (free S&H) to Haugen Enterprises, P.O. Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489. This, along with his many books, can be ordered online at