If you spend more time shopping for your kit than you do training, guess what? There’s some dude out there who’s doing the opposite – and when the time comes, he’s gonna x you out, and take all your fancy junk…
A $200 knife will not protect you. Extra pushups, an extra couple miles’ jog each week, jumping rope, these things may just save your butt. Getting into any sort of knife fight is a) crazy and b) a good way to get killed. A really smart man once said “the odds are 1/3 I die, 1/3 you die, 1/3 we both die.” Running like a maniac is a much better choice, when presented with the opportunity.
However, in the grand idea of TEOTWAWKI, there are sure to be times when you’re effed in the a-hole and in need of a sharp instrument… It’s a good idea that if you’re going to get a knife, get something that’s sturdy, not easily broken or dulled, and has multiple uses. Standard combat knives will probably do the trick, and there are a wide variety- just don’t buy cheap stamped ones, they’ll fail on you. Get something that’s drop-forged. Depending on where you live or are planning to escape to/maraud, you may also want to invest in a machete as well. Cheap machetes are available through most outfitters (LL Bean or Cabela’s or Bass Pro) relatively cheaply.
Make sure to train on (play with) each of the tools so that you’re totally comfortable delivering- trees are good training partners for this- the worst thing would be to cut yourself in a post SHTF situation when band-aids and medical attention are precious or nonexistent. Get comfortable with these tools just like you have with a hammer and screwdriver (c’mon, you ARE comfortable with those?!) and make sure you don’t freak out neighbors and friends, while you’re at it… So do your knife practice in relative seclusion, someplace safe where you’re not going to give the kids in the area any smart ideas. And don’t get too cocky – anyone who ever references himself as a “knife expert” is a fruitcake, and we should all either walk away or invite this person to the next D&D game that we know of.
As much as everyone likes to carry knives around, I just don’t think it’s a great idea unless you’re camping, hiking, or hunting – or live in a rural enough area where just being out and about qualifies as “deerstalking”… If you live in town, or in the city, you’re really looking for trouble- with either the bad guys OR the cops. You might as well get used to the idea that if you get mugged, you should absolutely give up your wallet and valuables- or get the fuck outta there… Or, take the weapon away from him a la Jason Bourne. (Just don’t take it away and THEN stab him- that makes YOU the “bad guy” and you can be prosecuted. It’s just a lotta friggin’ paperwork…)
If you do feel the need to carry a blade on your person in the Now, you may want to either a) seek professional help b) find a hobby, or c) get something small and multi-purpose. The K-bar company makes a slew of high quality tools that are in many cases small enough to carry concealed without any legal issues; also those wicked little “clinch picks” are mighty useful if TSHTF personally. Make sure to review your state’s concealed weapons laws- in many states blades over 3.5″, butterfly and switches are all illegal, so don’t carry any of these around, or leave them in your car “by accident.”
Be careful, but be safe too!