03 June 2013

What is more effective for self-defense, plain or serrated edge knife?

Who cares?

You will be hard pressed to find anyone giving you an opinion on this from the personal experience of using both, or even one.  You can cut all the beef and pork wrapped in things that you want.  It is like asking the question "if someone is stabbed, how long will it take for them to bleed to death".  Just like with pistols, it gives people prone to minutia something to talk about instead of training.

I can only speak of incidents of people using a knife to cut another person in the US, and I will speak from my personal experience in LE since my research with others in law enforcement and corrections has shown the same things all over.  We will have to talk about assaults since stories about the use of a knife as a self-defense tool are hard to come by.

In the vast majority of cases where a knife is a murder weapon, the suspect probably did not think in their mind "I am going to use this (insert tool here) to kill this person."  Even less, you will find that they targeted a specific part of the body such as an organ or artery.  Most of the time they use the same angle (usually angle #1 traveling high right to low left from the attacker's standpoint) over and over, just as they would punch over and over (roundhouse) if they were not armed.

The vast majority of cuttings I handled were the result of box cutters, carried for utility but effective as a weapon.  Most of the time the attacker is not going to press the attack and instead count on one powerful cut across the face or neck and then take off.  Some gangs practice this as well.

The second most carried and used edged weapon that I saw was the steak knife with a rounded tip so you could carry it in your pocket, purse, or weave without a sheath.  Steak knives, designed to cut meat, are also effective for the same type of attack as the box cutter.  Never saw a fatal attack, but usually the intent was to do damage and mark someone.

The last most common instrument was a butcher knife.  These were tools of opportunity when altercations occurred inside the home or around the home.  These of course are used to stab.  A number of times I would find a victim alert and conscious with what looked like a huge wad of bubble gum hanging out of their skin through a tiny hole.  Attacks like this from the back lead to lots of punctured lungs.

Combative Anatomy is based on the need to stop aggressive behavior in the minimal amount of time, not to kill them eventually.  Because there are so many factors involved in bleed out times, you would not want to bet your life on a one shot stop with a gun or knife.  You could have a knife with a plain edge, or a serrated edge, or even a combo, but the truth is that striking someone between the eyes (attacking the Central Nervous System) will have a more immediate effect on their actions than a stab or a cut to any target on their body.  You are talking about electricity vs plumbing.  Science vs knife fighting.  Worry less about which blade size, type, steel, or manufacturer is better in regards to the perfect defensive knife that you will probably never have the time and opportunity to use and learn open hand combatives and use impact weapons that are all around you.- George

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