If the handle is too short, the push dagger can impact your knuckles and cause serious injury.

Push daggers occupy a very interesting place in the realm of edged weapons. Although often closely identified with the riverboat gamblers of the American South and the Gold Rush ruffians of 19th century California, most of my research on them focuses more on the “threat” of them being used rather than their actual use.

In their modern form, they are popular among law enforcement officers and others looking for a “short cut” to knife-fighting skills. Many who carry them do so with the belief that “if you can punch, you can knife fight.” While there is definitely some logic to that argument, the real, effective application of push daggers takes a little more planning and effort.

A proper push dagger design provides plenty of clearance for the knuckles and transfers the force of the thrust into the palm.

Before you make an investment in a push dagger for defensive carry, do your homework concerning the laws in your area and the areas where you plan to carry it. Although knife laws are notoriously imprecise, because push daggers are so distinctively shaped, they are often specifically identified as prohibited weapons. If the T-handled design is allowed in your area, check the law regarding the number of sharpened edges permitted. Double-edged knives are also widely frowned upon.

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If the handle is too short, the push dagger can impact your knuckles and cause…