What to look for in a knife?

What are the main characteristics to look for when buying a knife for self defense? Blade length, type of knife etc.

The list of criteria I go through when buying a knife is:

Is it legal to carry?

Can I draw and open it quickly?

Is the opening mechanism simple and nearly foolproof?

Is the lock strong and reliable?

Is the construction sturdy?

Is it sharp?

Is it a decent steel, soft enough to sharpen but hard enough to stay sharp?

Is it at least 3" long?

Can I grip it solidly?

Can I wear/carry it comfortably?

Can I both poke and slash with the blade?


Does it look good, without being too scary to open a box in front of my mom?

I think non-serrated edges are easier to sharpen, and I'm not too particular about blade shape as long as it meets all those criteria. The length is usually determined by what's comfy and what's legal.

thanks for that:) Any brands and models in particular?

For the money, I think CRKT makes excellent knives. I'm especially fond of the M-16. Very light, compact, strong, and I like the flipper/guards on them. I also like my M1, but it's a little large in the pocket.

thanks, will check them out:)

For quality and price, you can't go wrong with Cold Steel blades either.

Spyderco, HK, Sig, Boker, and Benchmade are all SUPER quality knives, but you're going to pay for them.

 I carried Cold Steel for years. All I carry now, though, is the Ken Onion designed "Blur" from Kershaw.

I absolutely love this knife. It blows away everything I have carried before from Cold Steel, SOG, and Benchmade. I wasn't too sure about the assisted opening, but I absolutely love it. Do some Internet searching and you can find this knife in the $50 - $55 dollar range, which is a steal.