28 September 2012

Fixed vs Folder

 If the choice between fixed and folder were based on having both in front of you, fixed blade out of the sheath, and folder laying closed, then the obvious tool choice would be fixed. See, the problem is the same with pistol work. People worry about the selection, and use more than the stumbling points of carry and deployment. To use any tool in a fight it goes like this-

Select it
Carry it
Deploy it
Us it

The hurdle with most fixed blades is in the carry and deployment.  Most knife makers are not "knife fighters" if there is such a thing. Sheaths, both of leather and kydex are made to hold and protect the knife first, and sometimes thought is given to how they will be carried and deployed, but in my experience this is seldom the case. You need to figure out that part on your own. Since most knife makers are only sheath makers because of necessity, they focus less on the carry and deployment.

And just as with the folder, if you do not have a trainer for your fixed blade that allows you to train with it in the same exact carry and deployment option, you are kidding yourself if you think that you can deploy it at speed, with or without someone within cutting distance of you. Nobody with more than a room temperature IQ would attempt full speed draws with a live fixed blade, and you would have to find someone dumber than that to be your bad guy.

So lets just say you have selected a proven battle blade such as the Gryphon M-10, and got someone to make a trainer/drone for it that fits into the same sheath as the live one. Where are you going to carry it? It has to be accessible when sitting, standing, crouching, on your back, on your stomach, and with both hands from these positions.  The only two solutions I have found is the Tactical Tether and the Mercharness.  They were conceived out of necessity.

With a training partner, try accessing the blade while in contact with them. You will soon find that fixed in a fight is nothing more than the knife version of 9MM vs 45.  Both guns in the holster are equal, as are misses in each caliber.

Another issued with a fixed blade is that once it is out, the blade is in the game. A folder gives you the ability to palm it in a closed position at the slightest hint of danger. Anatomically speaking, a closed folder in the the head will stop a fight faster than a blade into the heart. The difference being that the latter is way more likely to result in serious physical injury or death. It will also result in more of your attackers blood all over you. Another upside is that most people would hesitate less to hit someone with a closed folder than stab them in the chest. They would also likely do it earlier in the confrontation, and that could result in needing to use less subsequent force.

Truth be told, these days when someone asks me about carrying a knife for self-defense, before advising them on what I look for in a quality SD knife, first I tell them to make a habit of having a proper pen and flashlight with them all the time. Even better is to get into the habit of having that pen or flashlight in their hand whenever possible. You can do the same thing with the flashlight and pen as you can with the closed folder, in addition to being able to carry them in the most secure environments such as government buildings and airports.

It all comes down to a layered defense for both tactics and tools.- George

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