Issue 27 Unusual Suspects – Push Daggers Patrick Vuong 0 COMMENT Just like shooting, combative skills take years to develop and decades to master. So how can someone with little or no edged-weapon training use a blade successfully in a life-and-death scenario? Consider getting your Wolverine on with a push dagger. Possibly the bastard child of the Indian katar dagger or the pata sword, this type of knife has had varying degrees of global popularity since the 1800s. It consists of a short blade attached to a T-shaped handle that’s held in a fist — it’s also called a punch knife. Sometimes carried as a neck or boot knife, push daggers are drawn from a belt, waistband, or thigh rig much like a handgun. This intuitive movement lets knife newbies deliver deadly blows under duress without the need for finesse. Plus, a push dagger is ambidextrous, so you can draw it with either hand when mounted more centrally. But there are disadvantages. In a confrontation, slashing techniques will be limited. Also, it’s not great for utility because the T-shaped handle makes detail work awkward as hell. And there’s that whole legality issue; punch knives are restricted in some U.S. states and cities and straight-up prohibited in many nations. Do your research. Still, if your profession requires you to go into harm’s way, a push dagger could give you that little extra punch needed to win. Make Gerber Model Ghostrike Punch Knife OAL 4.8 inches Blade Length 2.5 inches Blade Material 420HC stainless steel Weight 3.2 ounces MSRP $53 URL www.gerbergear.com Make Cold Steel Model Safe Keeper III OAL 5.13 inches Blade Length 2.5 inches Blade Material AUS-8 stainless steel Weight 3.5 ounces MSRP $60 URL www.coldsteel.com Make Schrade Model SCHF54 OAL 5.5 inches Blade Length 3.24 inches Blade Material 8Cr13MoV stainless steel Weight 3.04 ounces MSRP $29 URL www.taylorbrandsllc.com Make Benchmade Knife Co. Model 175BK OAL 5.5 inches Blade Length 2.5 inches Blade Material 440C stainless steel Weight 2.32 ounces MSRP $105 URL www.benchmade.com Make Browning Black Label Model Lady Luck OAL 5.75 inches Blade Length 2.5 inches Blade Material 5Cr15Mov stainless steel Weight 2.6 ounces MSRP $30 URL www.browning.com Make TOPS Knives Model Grim Ripper OAL 6.5 inches Blade Length 3.75 inches Blade Material 1095 tool steel Weight 8.8 ounces MSRP $165 URL www.topsknives.com Interrogating the Suspects Gerber Ghostrike Punch Knife 411 Designed as a neck knife, this little guy is a part of Gerber’s Ghostrike lineup of discreet-carry fixed blades. It comes with 550 paracord lashed to a glass-filled nylon sheath, which can also be worn on a 1.75-inch belt or tied to MOLLE-compatible gear. Made in the USA. Pros Despite the drop-point blade being made of 420HC — far from a premium stainless steel — it performed surprisingly well in our test cutting. Comfortable handle with rubberized over-mold allows for an assured grip. Slim and compact Cons Perhaps too compact? During quick-draw tests, our medium-sized hands had problems finding clearance between the handle and the sheath — and we don’t even have sausage fingers. As a neck knife, its sheath has no belt clip. Cold Steel Safe Keeper III 411 Cold Steel often gets a bad rap for its over-the-top marketing and unusual offerings (Germanic-style mace, anyone?). But fans know its blades are razor sharp, smartly designed, and ridiculously strong — the Safe Keeper III is no exception. It can be worn on a belt, attached to a pack, or tucked into a boot. Pros AUS-8 blade had no problems piercing our various test mediums. Though made in Taiwan, it features quality craftsmanship and is extremely durable. Beefy Kraton (polymer) handle offers excellent grip and ergonomics. Cons Like the rest of the Secure-Ex sheath, the belt clip is made of plastic. It bends too easily; we can foresee it breaking under hard use or slipping off our belt, boot, or pack. Schrade SCHF54 411 This dual-edge spear-point blade comes with a nylon-fiber sheath with a sturdy metal clip, which can be attached to a belt or pocket and adjusted for vertical or horizontal carry. There are also grommet holes to tie paracord or a chain through for neck carry. Pros Penetration is the name of the game, thanks to a true spear-point profile. The thermoplastic rubber handle feels secure and comfortable. Solid sheath with multiple mounting options A good budget option for those pinching their pennies Cons Only long-term testing will determine if the 8Cr13Mov blade and Chinese workmanship will hold up. Benchmade 175BK 411 The 175BK is marketed strictly for combat, whether on the streets or a battlefield. It’s a no-frills, straight-to-the-point (pun intended!) performer that comes with a plastic sheath, which has a reversible clip and holes to strap it to a pack or carry around the neck. Made in the USA. Pros Wickedly sharp tip and has no problems slicing either, thanks in part to its chisel grind (only one side has bevels, the other side is flat). Excellent construction and durability Sturdy sheath with a tough metal clip Cons Nitpicking here: Though coated with rubber/vinyl, the handle is quite narrow and can create hot spots on your palm and between your fingers — it’s like the difference between squeezing a ruler and holding a baseball bat. Browning Black Label Lady Luck411 Give her the finger. Designed by Russ Kommer, the Lady Luck is one of the few, if only, production punch knives with a hole in its tang. Why? So you can slide your middle finger (or index finger) through to achieve far more accurate stabs, incredible weapon retention, and stronger lateral support when slashing. Pros Finger loop: a little tweak in design that makes a big difference in performance. Sheath comes with clip and grommet holes for multiple carry options. Though small, G-10 scales increase comfort, grippyness, and durability. Cons To keep costs down, she’s made from lower-end 5Cr15Mov steel in China. The knife rattles inside the sheath, which lacks tight retention. TOPS Knives Grim Ripper 411 There’s a reason why the biggest model in our buyer’s guide is made with cops and troops in mind: It’s a heavy-duty stabber that can also cut or pry. Comes with a survival whistle and a Kydex sheath, which has holes (allowing it to be tied to gear) and a steel clip (that can be rotated into various positions). Made in the USA. Pros Thick-ass 1095-tool-steel blade could make short work of a T-800 or two. Outstanding sheath can be adjusted for your preferred carry method. Superior engineering and construction Cons At half a pound, it’s two to three times the weight of the others in this group. Asymmetrical handle with thumb jimping might be a turn-off for some, as it forces you to alter your grip.