It’s commonly accepted that if you carry a firearm for self-defense, then a knife should also be part of your system.
A knife is a simple form of force enhancement that is not susceptible to the mechanical malfunctions that can happen with guns.
However, knives come nowhere near a handgun in terms of stopping power and if you have to use a knife for self-defense, you’ll have to get much closer to your adversary than is normally advisable.
However, in last resort cases, you’ll be glad you had a knife instead of nothing but your fists.
Statistically speaking, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever have to use a blade against another person. The knife will usually be used as a tool to cut things like rope and to open packaging, which is useful in and of itself.
Make a point to actually use the knife you carry as part of your self-defense gear. Always return it to its holster or the pocket you clip it to. Using the knife and returning it to its place will help automate the process of accessing it.
If the time should come for you to need to draw it, you’ll know where it is and be able to get to it without fumbling around. Familiarity with your knife and its location is key to an emergency situation.
When it comes to selecting a knife, there are many different makes and styles. Knives aren’t very expensive in the grand scheme of things, so there’s no reason not to own several. You’ll probably end up with one or two that you prefer and that’s normal.
There are also historic designs that inspire some people and they enjoy carrying these for this reason. Author George Hill describes one such knife and its history of being used against the Germans in his article “OSS SOE Lapel Dagger” on USConcealedcarry.com:
“…a small, concealable dagger that they could use to quietly dispatch unsuspecting Nazis standing guard. The knife was a 2-inch, double-edged dagger with no handle. The whole knife was essentially a blade. The rear portion was unsharpened with some line or checkering filed into the metal to provide grip.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
When it comes to blade type, keep in mind that no knife holds its edge forever and will need to be sharpened many times throughout its lifespan.
So-called stainless steel blades are popular today because they require very little maintenance and aren’t prone to rusting.
However, stainless steel blades don’t hold their edge quite as well as high-carbon steel blades. The downside to most knives made of high carbon steel is that they rust more readily.
The final decision is largely a personal one. Both metals work well, but there is no reason not to own a few of each style, just to see how they hold up and perform on a day to day basis.