Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sister Is Asking About Self-Defense Tools

Unfortunately not for her though. My sister's boyfriend, currently a MD resident, has just started grad school at Temple and is moving to the area. I think he's technically in Manayunk, but my impression is that Temple isn't exactly a "low-crime" area. Anyway, she's asked my advice on a pocket knife she can buy him for self-defense. Naturally I think there's a much more effective self-defense tool he could be carrying.

I'm thinking I may need to bring him to the range and see how it goes. I know if I were living near Philly I'd want to carry, but then again I'm a gun nut...

I looked up PA knife laws and didn't see any blade length limitations like we have here in Delaware. Are there any weird, obscure knife laws to be aware of? Is Philly OK? (It's funny I ask that, because I've carried my benchmade in Philly before and thought nothing of it till I got home.)

I'm also thinking I need to stress that my sister have something when she go to visit, even if it's just some Fox Labs pepper spray. She's about Breda's size, and quite frankly I worry. I am her older brother, so I guess it's my job to worry.

UPDATE - Looks like Sebastian has already covered PA knife laws, and I commented on his post. It also seems a pocketknife is illegal to carry in Philly. I'm sorry but that's goddamn ridiculous.


Unknown said...

I'm not sure of Philly law, but carrying a knife can be sketchy no matter wht the law says. Personally, I would say to carry the largest knife that can be comfortably carried, and a gun. Knife carry is frowned upon by our protectors, but if I carry a gun, I carry a knife of my chosing.

Mike W. said...

I have a knife on me 99% of the time and I've almost never had anyone ask about it.

Not only can it be used as a weapon if needed, but it's a great tool for all kinds of stuff.

Pretty Pistolera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pretty Pistolera said...

With regards to your sister... I would suggest a good self defense class. The biggest lesson I learned in my self defense class was how to be VERY aware of your surroundings.

I also learned some of the typical techniques sexual predators do to find or grab the victim. For example, I have not parked next to a van with a sliding door since taking the class. And, I haven't left the gym at night with a pony tail (it's too easy to grab you by the hair). The lessons on criminal behavior were rather insightful.

There was a lot of learning how to kick, poke, and jab and that's great (and confidence building), but the awareness piece for me is something I now use everyday.

Also, if you are thinking about pepper spray. Look at the Kimber Life Act Guardian Angel. It has two pepper spray blasts that sprays up to 13 feet (I think) and the spray will not effect the victim like typical cans of pepper spray. This will make it easier for her to get away.

These are good ideas regardless where you live or where you visit.

In regards to her boyfriend... get him to the range!

David said...

Philly has a fairly draconian set of knife ordinances, although I don't know how vigorously they are enforced.

Here's a summary from Knife Laws of the Fifty States, by David Wong, Esq. (available at

Philadelphia – Carry of switchblades prohibited. See, PHILADELPHIA, PA., CODE § 10-810 (2006). Use or possession on public streets or on public property of any “cutting weapon”,
defined as “[a]ny knife or other cutting instrument which can be used as a weapon that has a cutting edge similar to that of a knife” prohibited, with exception for “tool or instrument commonly or ordinarily used in a trade, profession or calling” while “actually being used in the active exercise of that trade, profession or calling.” See, id. at § 10-820. Violation penalty is minimum fine of $300 and minimum ninety day imprisonment. Id. Possession of weapons, the definition of which includes knives and cutting instruments, prohibited on or within 100 feet of any school, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or form school. See, id. at § 10-833.

Silly, of course, but that's what's on the books. Good luck with whatever your sister and/or her boyfriend chooses.

Mike W. said...

Thanks David. Figures even pocketknives are verboten in Philly.

mike's spot said...

I give Sabre Red mace to those in my life who are concerned with self defense, but don't have an option or desire to carry.

One had to use it- it worked quickly and worked well. I've sprayed them, (not at people) and they make a pretty good stream that travels all of 10 feet or so. Might be a good alternative if Fox isn't available by you.

Mike W. said...

Thanks guys, and girl. I'll look up the various pepper spray's mentioned. I've actually heard good things about the Kimber Guardian before.

Mike - would you choose Fox Labs over the Sabre Red?

Anonymous said...

on the subject of pocket knives... i carry a Benchmade Griptilian every day. it's a good knife, but a bit on the large side for an everyday tool; i kindof wish i'd got a mini-griptilian.

i've also seen a little keychain thingy with a bottle opener and small (~1 inch) blade, made by Buck knives. that looks handy, would probably suffice for most of the things one normally uses a pocket knife for, and i doubt most cops would even notice it being there.

BUT... all that's coming from somebody who carries blades as simple tools. the way i figure it, you can't defend yourself with a knife without getting into a knife fight, and knife fights are where people get cut. i really, really don't want to risk getting cut, so my knives are not weapons.

so i'd like to second the opinions on pepper spray and firearms other people have stated here; those implements seem like much better things for getting oneself back out of a fight with.

Mike W. said...

Nomen - I carry mine primarily as a tool also, but as a weapon it's better than nothing.

I carry a Benchmade Mini Pika most days.