Fighting knife

A fighting knife is a knife with a blade designed to inflict a lethal injury in a physical confrontation between two or more individuals at very short range (grappling distance).[1][2][3][4] In contrast, the combat knife, or a trench knife, is a military fighting knife.[1][5] Fighting knives were traditionally designed as special-purpose weapons, intended primarily if not solely for use in personal or hand-to-hand combat. This singularity of purpose originally distinguished the fighting knife from the field knife, fighting utility knife, or in modern usage, the tactical knife. The tactical knife is a knife with one or more military features designed for use in extreme situations, which may or may not include a design capability as a fighting or combat weapon.[6] Since World War I, the fighting knife in military service has gradually evolved into a dual-purpose or "fighting-utility" knife, suited for both knife fighting and utility roles. As a consequence, the terms "fighting knife" and "tactical knife" are frequently employed interchangeably. Antiquity Further information: Sica, Falx, and Pugio Utility knives with stone or flint blades were undoubtedly used in personal combat since Paleolithic times. One of the earliest metal-blade fighting knives was the dagger. The first early Bronze Age daggers featured Beaker copper blades, probably done with hand held stone tools. In 1984, a Beaker period (ca. 2500 - 2000 BC) copper dagger blade was recovered from the Sillees River near Ross Lough, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland that had a remarkably modern appearance.[7] The flat, triangular-shaped copper blade was 171 mm (6.75 inches) long, 42.5 mm (1.65 inches) wide, and 2mm (0.078 inches) in maximum thickness, with bevelled edges and a pointed tip, and featured an integral tang that accepted a riveted handle.[7] Analysis of the copper used in the dagger's construction revealed it to be of a type characteristic of the copper that was widely used in Ireland before the introduction of bronze tools and weapons.[7] By around 2000 BC daggers were being cast of bronze, with blades formed by drawing and hammering the metal on bronze anvils set in guides.[8] [edit]Medieval era Further information: Seax and Rondel dagger The seax, a short knife with a metal blade used for close combat by the Germanic tribes throughout the 1st millennium AD. An early iron-bladed knife that served a dual purpose as fighting knife and utility blade was the seax, a pattern-welded weapon which dates from the 5th century AD, and worn as standard armament by Anglo Saxon warriors from northern Italy as far north as Scandinavia and as far west as Ireland.[9] The seax of the 5th and 6th century was shorter and narrower than those introduced later on, and could be described as either a large dagger or a short sword.[9] As swords created from pattern-welded iron were enormously expensive weapons at the time, the early seax filled a need for an affordable blade that could be used as both a fighting knife and a utility knife.[9] With the development of steel and simplified forging techniques, the sword became the preferred bladed weapon for most professional fighting men. During the latter part of the 12th century, the steel-blade dagger became popular as a secondary weapon for knights as a standard part of their equipment. This new form of dagger was really a miniaturized sword, featuring a flat double-edged blade and central spine or fuller. The first fighting daggers to become widely popular in Europe were the rondel dagger and the bollock dagger. The rondel dagger was a fighting knife with a double-edged, tapered blade and a hilt featuring circular guards. The bollock dagger dates from around 1300-1350, and had a distinctive hilt cap formed from two lobes that acted as a hand-stop.[10] It was especially popular with English and Norwegian combatants.[10][11] French and Italian daggers of the 14th century were the first to introduce acutely tapered blades and reinforced points in response to improvements made in armor design and the need for penetration.