Self Defense/help knife


I was wondering what type of knife you would recommend for walking around at night under $40. Something 6" or less I would assume. What would you recommend for carrying for self defense? One of my friends walks around with the knife at this link: . Do you think this would be a good option where legal? Are butterfly knives useful for defense or just for show? Is a dagger better, or a folder? What are some good knive brands and models? Please give me any insight you can and any info is helpful. (I don't plan to use this knife unless I absolutely msut to save my life) Thanks a lot, Eric.

Also, if you feel a knife is a very bad idea, what would you recommned? Kubotan or something like that?

Hi Eric,

Sorry for the tardiness in my response...been living at the office to get properly prepared for accreditation (a technical term for 'a scheduled invasion of the harmonious way in which we run the agency').  Painful!

Right then, choosing a folder for SD.  This is one of my favorite questions to answer...mostly because I have spent a lot of time (and a lot of money), researching this subject.  

A few considerations that I feel are important are - what kind of steel is used for the blade, what kind of material is used for the handle, how is all put together, is the blade tip up or down when in the pocket, what kind of lock is used, ease of opening, and of course, price.    

With that said, the best bang for your buck is the Byrd Cara Cara.  First off, it is a Sypderco knife, so you know that it's a quality made knife.  The blade is made from high-carbon 8Cr13MoV (comparable to Aus 8), stainless steel, which is an excellent 'mid-grade' steel that can hold an edge, get an edge, and can take a beating!  The one I carry is has a G-10 handle, which is a super strong laminate that stays grippy in the hand (very important).  I also like that it is a 'tip up' folder, so that I can draw and open the blade faster that if it was a 'tip down' style.  I have practiced drawing the blade under duress, and loved the fact that the thumb hole is big and easy to stick my thumb in so that when I pull the knife out of my pocket, I can draw it out with a degree of inertia quite easily.  

The great thing about this knife is that it is cheap for the quality that your getting...roughly $40.  When you hold it in your hands, you can just tell that you are holding a quality knife.  I am also partial to the combo-edge version just in case I need to get through some tough material (it also serves as a great utility knife).  I would also never carry anything less than a 4 inch blade, which is where the Cara Cara stands.  Mind you, I have a Lone Wolf Harsey T3 that sports a 5 inch blade, and if a cop asked to see it, he would question why I would need to a carry a folding claymore...and fair enough.  

So hopefully I gave you a few reasons why I am partial to the Cara Cara.  

I checked out the link that you attached, regarding the folding trench knife.  Now, it's a little hard for me to critique something that I've never held in my hands before, but the first thing that I noticed was that it comes in a case, rather than sporting a pocket clip.  Like I mentioned above (and this should be applied to the dagger question), if a cop sees it on your person, you need to able to tell him (and he needs to believe), that the knife serves a utilitarian function...and be able to explain how and why.  If you say it's for self-protection, prepare to have it taken away or worse, go for a ride to the cop shop.  If you pulled the trench knife out and hurt someone with it, you will have a tough time telling the jury that you had it on you for utilitarian purposes.  I also noticed the price and I'm not too sure about it's construction.  Here's the want to carry something that is reliable and that you are confident in it's workmanship, because ultimately, this is the thing that you will call on to SAVE YOUR LIFE!  

As for knife brands and models, there are several to choose from.  I have about 50 in my collection and my favorite is the Lone Wolf T3 (a $400 knife).  If I was going into battle, that would be the one I'd have on my side.  But the knife I always carry with me is the Cara Cara.  There are several good companies that make good knives...just go out and handle a few of them and don't be afraid to ask the attendant questions...they love showing off how much they know about steel, construction, and which companies to stay away from.  Another idea is to join a forum online.  I learned a lot from asking questions and then applying that knowledge in handling a variety of knives.  

The last thing I'll add, is that I remember hearing Paul Vunak (a combatives wizard), tell everyone in class that if you are out and about, you should carry a knife.  When I went for my instructorship under Jim Wagner (another combatives guru), he asked how many of us were carrying knives.  Not one of us put our hand up.  He then asked why not.  I would agree - if you need an equalizer when the odds aren't in your favor, I would reach for a knife over a kubotan any day.  

I hope that answers your questions, but if it doesn't, just let me know and I try to clarify.  

Good luck,

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Conor MacPhee


I am a fully licensed private investigator, security consultant, and bodyguard in the province of British Columbia. I am also a personal security management instructor with over 20 years experience in non-aversive and aversive physical intervention. I have a strong background in impact, edged, and aerosol weapons training; conflict resolution; crisis management; threat assessment and response training; stress/fear management; and personal safety awareness.

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