Showing posts with label self-defense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label self-defense. Show all posts

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spyderco vs.?????

The expression “It’s a poor knife that cuts only one way” has found its way, with some minor modification, into detective fiction, adventure romances, and science fiction, just to name a few.  I’ve even pointed out to students that a tactical flashlight points in both directions. 

But the Spyderco Civilian is a knife that cuts only one way.  It comes with a special note.

Here’s the text.  As an ‘abridger’, my apologies for any misrepresenting the sentiment behind Spyderco’s statement.  

“Spyderco has traditionally maintained what we call the “White Hat” position.  …that the future of mankind in the world must lie in cooperation and greater socialization.  …We recognize that a knife ... can be used (solely) to defend oneself…(but) we have never produced such an item.  Spyderco … caters to the law enforcement personnel on a worldwide scale.  They would be the good guys, or ‘White Hats’.  It has been requested that we … provide an effective last-ditch defense in assisting the “White Hats.”

The Civilian model is the first of several folding knives designed and produced as a law enforcement back-up defense weapon.  The Civilian model was not designed to kill. … It is designed to ‘hit and run’ in a self defense situation.


Spydeco's Civilian Pouch
I unwrapped the package and found, to my surprise, this collector-grade pouch.

While it’s true the Civilian isn’t designed to stab, it is designed to make an ocean cut.  With the reverse-S shape and the tremendously powerful Spyderco serrations, anyone you cut will be cut deep and wide.  It’s also well established that many effective targets on the human body are just under the skin.

The Civilian and its ilk (the Matriarch – versions 2 and Lil’) aren’t the only Spyderco folders that focus on the grittier side of self-defense.  The P’kal has very strong roots in self-defense as does the Yojimbo 2.  But only the Civilian was designed solely for self-defense.  It also comes with a tag that amplifies its purpose:  “Notice – This knife was not designed to be used as a utility knife.  Its unique design will not support everyday use…”


the Civilian on the pouch



Why does Spyderco feel it’s necessary to include this statement?

I don’t know.  It could be legal preemptive boilerplate; maybe it’s an attempt to assuage personal feelings that such things are still necessary in this world.  Maybe it is guilt from knowing that no matter what you attempt or intend, someone will misuse it.

Let’s get to the Civilian’s specifications:

  • Size closed                          132 mm*
  • Blade Length                      104 mm
  • Clip                                        Right side only, tip up or down
  • Blade                                     Hollow ground VG-10
  • Handle                                  Steel reinforced G-10
  • Edge                                      Do you have to ask?  Spyder-Edge!
  • Thickness                            10.4 mm
  • Cost                                       I’m not sure how to answer that.  When push-comes-to-graveyard, what’s your life worth?  If you never need it, what’s it worth to have your grandkids inherit the knife and wonder what kind of freaky stuff were you into?  The more conventional answer is it retails for $280.

The only Spyderco folder made specifically to cut people
The only Spyderco folder made specifically to cut human flesh.  The Civilian.

Do you need one?

This isn't a typical, "If I don't have one, I must need one" answer.

I just sold one to someone who, because of his job, will be going into dangerous surroundings.  Because of his job, he can’t take a firearm, nor will there be guards surrounding him.  He feels this knife might stand between the grave and his returning home. 

I, on the other hand, took his Civilian out of the soft-sided pouch it comes in and opened it.  The Spyder-Edge glittered like jewels set in silver.  The reverse-S blade has grace and flows outward from your hand.  The insulating G-10 is warm to the touch and the handle naturally finds a sweet spot in your grip.  My thumb, trained from decades of using Spydercos, found the hole without any thought on my part.

I made a few air cuts.  The Civilian almost seems to anticipate your movements before you do. 

It’s a work of art, lovely and f@^king scary as hell.




*Yeah, it’s metric.  The only four places in the world still using the English system are England, Liberia, Myanmar and the US of A.  Let’s get with it!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A 3-way: TOPS vs Ka-Bar vs Shadow Tech



Just about any knife can cut string or trim a coupon out of the paper.  But let’s get down to specifics.  There are knives designed solely for self-defense.  Not knife dueling, like Tommy Lee Jones and Steven Seagal in “Under Siege,” but an honest to Gawd cut-them-off-of-me defense.


The three I have in mind are Ka-Bar’s TDI knife, Shadow Tech’s QRT and TOPS California Cobra.


The first thing you notice is they’re all fixed blades.  Despite what you think or practice, rolling around and fighting for your life makes it difficult, almost impossible, to produce a folder, get it open and use it.  It takes practice.  A lot of practice.  A fixed blade makes that aspect so much easier.



The TDI knife is well known.  John Benner designed a knife that police could carry behind their magazine pouch.  The curved shape lets you stab and slice with the wrist in the neutral position.  This is a powerful position as the cutting edge is parallel to the long bones of the arm.   
 
TDI knife with sheith
Ka Bar's TDI Knife
It’s made in Taiwan but it’s a Ka-Bar so you know the quality is built in.  The curve and oval handle keeps the blade centered in your hand and prevents you from sliding forward on the knife. 
 
The reverse grip has become popular. Weak-side carry, draw the knife with weak-side hand, slice your way free.
It’s never a good idea to cut yourself when the chips are on the line.  It also works very nicely in a reverse grip.  Just drag your fist over anything that’s not you and it is cut. 

I picked up Shadow Tech’s QRT at this year’s Blade Show.  


'shadow Tech QRT knife with sheith
Shadow Tech QRT.  That's Quick Response Tactics to you.

They were still smoothing out a few of the wrinkles but I recognized it’s coolness from a distance.  I only had to hold it to realize its potential.   

The Bowie style blade is almost perpendicular to the handle.  Again the wrist can stay in the neutral position and not be hyper-extended in the saber grip.  Hyper-extension of the wrist robs strength from the fingers. 
 

The oversize hole really gives you an almost unbreakable grip and the coarse jimping on the top provides plenty of grip surface for the thumb.  It’s another knife you won’t slide onto the blade if you stab into something hard. 

Trust me, this knife isn't going anywhere I don't want it to go.

Unfortunately the hole is too small for my hands in winter gloves.  There’s a little choil under the ring that can be utilized by the gloved index finger.  It’s right next to the blade so be careful and hope that between the glove and the handle jammed against the palm of your hand you will not get cut.  It’s a poor knife that only cuts one way, so a reverse grip can be utilized.  Again, just practice and learn to cut anything that’s not you.


TOPS California Cobra is a nasty little piece of work.  Oh, it’s quality and I’m sure it works just like they claim, but one look at it would be enough to discourage me.   
TOPS Cobra with sheith
TOPS Cobra.  It almost hurts you to look at it.
The knife has three useful edges.  Useful to you that is, not the target.  One is a sharpened pyramid at the bottom of the guard.  TOPS calls it the sting, the less lethal option. 
 
TOPS Cobra sting
Sharpened Steel Sting  Get the point?
I can imagine jabbing someone with it and convincing them they should let go and find someone else to hurt.  Both blades are referred to as the fang, or more lethal part of the knife.


Both blades?


Yes.  It’s a bent dagger.


The knife comes with an over-xeroxed booklet called the “Dirty Dozen and Then Some.”  The booklet shows you several self-defense techniques with the knife.  The normal grip for the Cobra is a saber grip and to bring the blades to play, you need some degree of hyper-extension. 

the normal grip put the thumb near the top blade.
Be careful where you move your thumb to!

The Cobra, like almost all knives including the TDI and the QRT, can be held in a reverse grip.  In the reverse grip your wrist is in the neutral position.


Does the hyper-extension wash the Cobra out?  Nope, but it’s a consideration.  Another consideration is the fact that your thumb can slide onto the top blade if you extend it too far.  On the plus side the handle has sufficient distance from the blade to accommodate heavy winter gloves.  

The cobra doesn’t look like a knife in its sheath, a feature it shares with the TDI knife.  I find this to be valuable asset when I wear one in public.



Let’s look at the box scores:




Name
TDI Knife
California Cobra
QRT Quick Response Technique
Manufacturer
Ka-Bar
TOPS
Shadow Tech
Blade
Single edge
Dagger
Single edge
Handle
Zytel
G-10
Micarta
Blade length
2.3 inches
Upper Blade 1.75 inches
2 inches with 1.75 cutting edge


Lower Blade 3.0 inches

Blade Thickness with Coating
0.12 inch
0.19 inch
0.2 inch
Blade type
Spear point
Double edged skinner (???)
Bowie shaped
Overall length
5.6 inches
6 inches
5 inches.
Steel and hardness
AUS 8   RC 57-59
1095   RC-58
1095 RC   57-58
Sheath
Hard plastic
Kydex
Kydex
Cost








I left the price blank.  If you shop around, you should be able to find a deal on any of these three.
 
My last impressions.



These knives target (if you pardon my expression) the police market.  The uniform and gun make police a target of opportunity.  Criminals know there is a gun present and exactly where it is.  Holding a bad person at gunpoint, an officer could be jumped by anyone from the guy's mother to his baby sister.  These same problems may apply to the armed civilian.  Having a fixed blade could make all the difference between regaining control and being found dead on the side of the road.


We throw a blanket statement of “It’s a tool, just a tool,” over any knife we carry.  I think you might find it difficult to explain to a jury what kind of tool the Cobra is.  It looks so wicked and excessively punishing you better have good reasons you can verbally and convincingly express.


I like the raw look to the QRT.  I think the blade needs a little polishing.  There’s a balance between so sharp it has a brittle edge and being robustly dull.  I think my QRT was a little too robustly dull. I polished the edge a little and I’m quite happy with its cutting ability.

The TDI knife is the standard by which all weapon retention tools are measured against.  It’s well made and has a refined elegance.  It doesn’t look menacing, doesn’t look dangerous and it’s likely it will not be noticed until it’s performing its designed function.  It’s my first choice, but I have sentimental reasons to like it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fine and Fancy Knives at Christmas

Another Christmas has arrived and departed and on the whole it was pretty good.  Not to say it couldn’t be better, but Lord knows it could have been worse.  I was with family of which most are friends; the food and drink was good, and the weather was good for traveling.  We were all warm and had homes to return to and jobs waiting for us today.  Having spent two Christmases in the last eight years unemployed I cannot tell you how nice that is.

I had a chance to handle a spicy little knife from Santa Fe Stoneworks.  The handle isn’t stone (surprise!) but dyed wood.  It’s from their Kaleidoscope collection.  Santa Fe still has a few pre-bankrupt Camillus brand 3-inch lockbacks which they are using up.  It’s a nice knife, especially since you can get it for less than 50 bucks.

Santa Fe Stoneworks Kaleidoscope
 
I was waiting for my mystery knife.   The clues consisted of a generic policeman and a woolly mammoth.  My Spyderco Police model with blue and green dyed woolly mammoth molar grip arrived!

Hurray!

It arrived as a fully serrated edge and not the plain edge I ordered.

Booo!

Molar from a woolly Mammoth - amazing, just amazing!


Still, it is a spectacular knife.

 Banging on the Door
Had a minor incident the other night.  Banging on the front door at twilight brought me around to the side door.  A fellow with a hard sell about shoveling and a calcium chloride treatment tried to convince me I wanted his services.  I wasn’t interested, but he didn’t want to take no for an answer.

One of my concerns is the “criminal interview.”  It’s like a shark bumping into you to determine if you’re lunch or another shark.  His hard sell felt like a shark bump.  Of course, standing there with a sharp CRKT Crawford/Kasper folder in his blind spot (with my thumb on the stud) made it a lot easier to bump back.

As my friend Tom says, “No blood, no foul.”

Lanyard Making
My wife has gone back to her oval-hole Benchmade Ascent.  It was made with an opening stud as well as a round thumb hole.  She has both the round and oval hole versions.  She has also discovered how nice a lanyard can be for retrieving the knife.  Since I like to do knotting and such she asked me to make her a lanyard and I was happy to do so.

First we picked out the colors and the pattern (square or spiral) and I went to work.  A lanyard should be fitted to the person and knife, so I started, first with a fitting to make sure the lanyard would lie flat when the knife was in her pocket.

Size does matter!

After a few trial and error starts I got the size of the loop on the knife right and then we were off to the races.



I’m reasonably happy with the way it turned out.  So is she!