Looking for some recommendations on folding knives for defensive carry.


Bruce8585

New member
Looking for something around $140. Let me know what you guys recommend. Thanks!
 

BluesStringer

Les Brers
Without knowing what features you're looking for, it's difficult to recommend any specific knives regardless of price-point, but I'll tell you the features I look for and try to give an example or two that fit within those parameters.

The strongest locking mechanism in a folding knife is a lock-back. The manufacturer that offers the most choices in lock-backs with blade steel, shape, size, and grind combinations etc. that I'm aware of is Spyderco. Here's a search on Blade HQ for all of Spyderco's lock-back models. I am not shilling for Blade HQ per se, but I have made several purchases from them and their pricing and customer service has always been great as far as I've been concerned. Any decent web-based knife shop has various search filters though, and you can research the different models on most of them.

Now, a lock-back knife does have the most potential for strength, but it's not necessarily the "best" tactical/defensive knife, because the locking mechanism makes opening the blade a little stiffer, though it can still be easily accomplished with one hand as long as there's a thumb-stud or thumb-hole (like the Sypercos). But one-handed closing is a bit trickier. I gave up long ago trying to close my lock-backs one-handed. Not necessary to give a detailed explanation of the whys and wherefores here, but suffice it to say that cuts and blood were involved in the decision-making process. That's why I recommend a frame-lock for the best compromise between strength and ease of opening/closing one-handed. That opens up your choices to nearly every major brand, as well as to most blade steels, handle and scale materials, ambidextrous and tip-up/tip-down carry options etc. The most popular material for frames/handles in frame-lock designs is titanium, and that fact alone may limit your choices significantly because of your desire to stay around $140 bucks. Decently-made titanium frame-lock knives typically go for $180 bucks or so on up to whatever you're willing to spend. Put another $100 bucks on the table and you can buy a very high-quality production knife with titanium frame lock from Zero Tolerance, Benchmade, Spyderco, Reate, DPx, Kizer, Quartermaster, Lion Steel and several others, that also have premium blade steels such as S30V, VG10 (both of my personal favorites), ZDP189, M390 and, again, several other high-end steels. Here's another search on frame-lock models filtered in price between $100 and $250. There are a few in there at or under your price-point, but research the steels used in the blades, the company's reputation, country of origin etc. before going with one of them. Most of the brands I listed above are going to be at least $50 to $100 bucks more than you'd like to spend, but really, if you buy one of those and it suits your purposes, the knife will very likely outlive you.

If $140 is the absolute max you can spend, filter your searches on "liner-lock" and look for some of the steels I mentioned above. Liner-locks are a good design, relatively strong lock-up, just not quite as good as frame-locks. To my way of thinking, blade steel is more important than any lock design anyway.

Some other considerations:

Do you care how much the knife weighs? (Materials matter if you do.)

How long do you want the blade to be?

What shape do you want the knife to be (spear-point, dagger, clip, drop-point etc.)?

Do you want an auto or assisted opening mechanism?

Do you have any scale materials that you particularly like or dislike?

Answering these (and other) questions before you actually go shopping can help you narrow down your searching.

Good luck. Hope that helps some.

Blues
 

Firefighterchen

OC for Tactical Advantage
If you don't go with blues advice, which i highly recommend you do go with his advice, this is the knife I carry for daily use and as a last resort.

Kershaw 6034T Emerson Designed CQC-7K Knife Link Removed

It uses the same idea as pocket holsters, a flange that catches your pants, to open the knife when drawing. Cheap, don't care if I lose it, but not quite the steel that I would choose if i knew i had to go to my knife to defend myself.

Sent from my D6616 using USA Carry mobile app
 
Last edited by a moderator:

lukem

Administrator
Staff member
I am another big fan of Link Removed. That's all I've carried for over 10 years.

I'm currently carrying a Link Removed.

Link Removed
 

Bruce8585

New member
Yeah, its definitely not my primary defense weapon.

Thanks blues for your insight.

Looking for something with elmax steel or similar, tanto or hawkbill/kamambit style, point up clip.

Sent from my SM-G900V using USA Carry mobile app
 

BluesStringer

Les Brers
Looking for something with elmax steel or similar, tanto or hawkbill/kamambit style, point up clip.

You'd have to put up another $60 bucks above your desired ceiling, but there's a Zero Tolerance/Emerson ZT0620 tanto/elmax/titanium frame-lock on sale right now at Blade HQ for $200 bucks. I don't have one of those, but I have a bunch of ZT's in my collection, and assuming you're not working bomb-squad duty, they'll last forever (almost) no matter what you put 'em through. Here's a pic:

zero-tolerance-emerson-cf-black-tanto-plain-0620.jpg


And here's BHQ's YouTube marketing video of it, though it appears from the comments that what's shown here were two prototypes. The production models have all the same specs except there's a DLC (black) coating on the G10 model, which is what's for sale at BHQ:


Just in case anyone's not aware of this fact, Zero Tolerance is manufactured by Kershaw in Oregon, USA.

I searched and didn't find any hawkbills or karambits made out of Elmax. Even the ones that were of a higher-quality blade steel, most were fixed blade, and the folders were either sky-high priced (like $400 and above), or too cheap to hold up to any kind of hard use, which, if you ever had to use it defensively, bone counts as "hard use."
omg.gif


Oh well, good luck again. There's a wide variety of tantos out there, but if you really want a hawkbill or karambit, you're going to limit your available options of blade steel, locks etc. significantly.

Blues
 

mwhals

New member
Emerson Mini CQC-15, Spyderco Paramilitary II and Kershaw Ken Onion Leek are my three knives. The first two are the best of the three for self defense. You really need a knife self defense class to be effective.
 

BluesStringer

Les Brers
Anybody know the big difference in elmax and s30v?

Sent from my SM-G900V using USA Carry mobile app

Of course heat treating has an influence on the performance of any finished blade, but Elmax's potential for superiority over S30V is fairly significant. Consider that nearly all manufacturers that use superior raw materials such as either of those choices probably knows what they're doing in the heat-treat department, and Elmax will nearly always have better specs than S30V. Are they so much better that a casual user would ever be able to physically perceive the differences? I seriously doubt it, as the "lower end" of S30V is already such a great knife steel that only in very hard use of both materials would any advantages in the Elmax ever be perceived. To a large degree, the same can be said for most steels, except for the Chinese or Taiwanese junk steels, or the vast majority of 400 series stainless no matter where it comes from. Here's a chart comparing the chemical/elemental properties of Elmax, S30V, S35VN, CTS-HXP and M390 that came from this page. Notice the mostly microscopic differences between each steel. Those differences do effect the physical properties of the blade, but to the point of human perception in most cases? I don't think so.

Tbl--Elements.gif
Tbl-Elmax.gif
Tbl-CPMS30V.gif
Tbl-CPMS35VN.gif
Tbl-CTSXHP.gif
Tbl-M390.gif
 

bofh

Banned
I recommend kubey pocket folding knife. I am using it and very sharp. You can have a try. Link Removed

The OP was looking for a $140 knife and you offer him a $13 knife. There is a significant difference in quality here. Also, the knife you recommend has the clip on the wrong end, which results in the knife being carried tip down. For defensive purposes, a folding knife should be carried tip up, such that when you pull out of your pocket the tip points towards you and when you unfold it the tip points toward the attacker.
 

SR9

New member
Never bring a knife to a gun fight, they say. As long as I have a gun on me there will be no need to get into a knife fight. If someone was coming at you with a knife, would you draw a knife too, or draw you gun?
 

bofh

Banned
I'd never consider a knife for self-defense. A knife is deadly force. A gun whips a knife every time.

A knife doesn't run out of ammo. If you run out of ammo in a gun fight, your last attempt at self defense will be a throw, I guess. No one argues to use a knife instead of a gun!
 

bofh

Banned
Never bring a knife to a gun fight, they say. As long as I have a gun on me there will be no need to get into a knife fight. If someone was coming at you with a knife, would you draw a knife too, or draw you gun?

Bring a knife and a gun to a gun fight. No one argues to use a knife instead of a gun! Think before you post.
 
A knife doesn't run out of ammo. If you run out of ammo in a gun fight, your last attempt at self defense will be a throw, I guess. No one argues to use a knife instead of a gun!

If you run out of ammo in a gunfight, what the hell do you think you're gonna do with a knife, clean your fingernails? Do you think that a bad guy shooting at you is going to allow you to shank him? You had better hit lower THC dope. The stuff you're hitting now has you whacky.

Dude, you're a trained nightmare.
 

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