When it comes to fighting knives, the dagger enjoys an elite status that few other blade styles can match. Historically, daggers have always been revered as incredibly potent weapons, whether they really deserved that reputation or not. For modern self-defense, however, historical reputation isn’t good enough.
For self-defense, we need real performance. To that end, let’s take a look at what really constitutes a good dagger and how to take advantage of those attributes with proper skills and tactics.
For the purposes of this article, I’m defining a dagger as a true doubleedged knife capable of serious cutting performance with either edge. Based on that definition, single-edged knives with false edges—sharpened partial edges on the spine of the blade—also technically qualify. Single-edged knives with swedges (unsharpened back bevels), spikes, or any other designs that fall short of truly functional edges “don’t make the cut”—both literally and figuratively.
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