Friday, January 4, 2013

Rootless Weaponry, Part 2

Mino woman warrior

Back here, I noted I wanted a knife.

Yesterday, I set about making that happen. 

Step 1: Identify the qualities I want in a knife
Step 2: Look at knife reviews
Step 3: Choose my knife and order it


The qualities I want in a knife

  1. I have learned in life that no product will do everything beautifully. There are always compromises, especially if you have a limited budget.
  2. In light of the above, it's important to watch out for mission creep. In other words, I must focus on why I want the knife and not get distracted (too much) by other uses. 

My mission: To own and carry an accessible, effective self-defense tool with me on hikes.

So with these tenets in mind, I found a really good analysis of what to look for in a knife at  ... yes ... The Art of Manliness, in this article: How to Choose the Perfect Survival Knife.  It's a well-written, straightforward, common-sense article. The author addressed these qualities cleanly:
  • Blade size - Not too long; not too short
  • Fixed blade, not folding blade
  • Full tang, not partial tang
  • Sharp-pointed tip rather than angled, hooked, rounded, or squared off tip
  • Single-edged blade rather than double-edged blade
  • Solid pommel (the handle bottom) rather than a hooked or rounded pommel

He doesn't address metal materials, serrated v. smooth blade, sheaths, handle grips, etc.

Knife reviews

With these qualities in mind, I searched out specific knife reviews and found this article by Ben Brooks. Mr. Brooks'  review introduced me to the Esee brand which, I subsequently discovered, is way over my budget. So I had to back up and look at knives under $50.

Somehow I ended up over at Amazon and ...

Decided on this

SOG M37-N. Credit: Amazon

The SOG M37-N.  I bought it at $41.xx, which included shipping. 

Good reviews on Amazon.

It has most, but not all of the features I sought:
  • Blade size between 4.5 and 5.5 inches (in close quarters, don't need as much range of motion to pull out of sheath, stab, and pull out again, repeat)
  • Full tang
  • Fixed blade (no fumbling to open knife while being mauled by a bear)
  • Sharp-pointed tip (to get to business ASAP in a self-defense situation)
  • Single-edged blade rather than double-edged blade, though I'd prefer most of the spine (the non-edge side) to be straighter (can use non-sharp edge to "baton," a bit of mission creep here)
  • Solid pommel, aka butt (to use as mallet if necessary - another bit of mission creep)
  • Has a decent-sized quillon, aka finger guard (so I don't cut myself)
  • Handle seems to have a good grip surface (so I don't slip and cut myself)

What I'm not crazy about  is
  • Serrated part of blade, but that's toward the bottom, so it's tolerable
  • I'd prefer the quillon (finger guard) to be on both sides and to be longer 

 A New Mexico knife maker, Jay Fisher, presents a thorough study on knife anatomy here.  


The knife comes with a nylon sheath that I'm happy with. Until I watched the Continental Divide movie, I didn't know I could have a knife in a sheath in a draw-down position versus a draw-up-and-out position, and I think this nylon sheath is constructed in a way that I can do that. (One of the hikers, toward the end of the movie, pulls out his short but lethal knife. [That sounds a little titillating, doesn't it?].)

My plan is to have it on my right-side, front backpack strap, set up so I can pull it down and out.

Will I feel more secure when I've got the knife with me? Don't know yet, but even if not, it's still something I should have with me.  


milesfromkansas said...

Have you considered a backup knife? If God help you you are attacked and disarmed, the last thing the attacker will expect is a second knife, preferably concealed near the bottom of you pack so that if you arms are forced back you will still have access to it. It could be as simple as a box knife - just enough to recover your primary knife while he reaches at the wound across the side of his face. I like a gut hook, heavy steel pommel and/or incorporated brass knuckles in a defense knife, but they do get pricey.

Mzuri said...

Well, I'd really prefer a freeze gun from a sci-fi flick.

Or for someone to invent a rapid-deployment, self-inflating, monster-in-a-pack that rears up loud and ferocious when you pull a string on your backpack. That'd scare the bejesus out of a mountain lion or bear.

I also don't think horrible smells have been thoroughly explored as weapons. Pull the pin out of a grenade-like item and a terrible stench bellows out.

Why don't we have these inventions yet?