Preface 1: I am looking at knives that could be used for a multitude of purposes, from "general" survival to defense. It doesn't necessarily have to be small enough for super intricate work (wittling a fishing spear or whatever), as I would have a multitool for things like that. I'd kinda like something that I could attach to my belt or pack strap that I could carry around hiking and such.
Preface 2: I don't really know the first thing about "combat." I have pretty much no experience with any sort of hand weapons, and I won't pretend to. My "fighting" training is limited to basic boxing and kickboxing.
My EDC is a Gerber 3.5" fixed-blade knife ("Profile," Drop Point). That is pretty much the only knife I have right now really worth anything, the rest are just cheap folders and multitools acquired along the way.
Ive been doing quite a bit of research on both survival knifes and combat knives, and it looks like, for both general survival as well as defensive uses, a blade of around 6-7" is ideal. As most of you surely know, going to big seems to be often more of a burden than a help.
Here are some of the knives I've been looking at:
Bowie Machetes : Cold Steel (Fixed Blade)
While it obviously does not fall into what I just said above (for 12" length), it also has the obvious advantage of reach and greater chopping and slashing ability than the other knives I've been looking at. I just wanted to see what you guys thought of it.
Shanghai Shadow : Fighting Knives (Fixed Blade)
This one seems to be well-suited for combat and specifically piercing, though I've read that for novices, the second edge can be more of a danger to the wielder than to the other party. And as a survival knife, the second edge might be pretty much useless for simple cutting tasks, it would lessen the efficiency of tapping the back of the blade to make deep cuts, and it would still likely endanger the user's hands.
Throwing Knives : Cold Steel True Flight Thrower
I don't think Id ever try to throw a knife in self defense, but it seems like a nice blade in general, especially for the money. It is pretty thick at 5mm (a bit over 3/16), and has a pretty nice grip. The only thing I'd worry about is its lack of a hilt, which could result in the accidental sliding of my fingers down the blade (eep!).
Bushman Series : Fixed Blade (Cold Steel Knives)
The Bushman knives seem like a nice general-purpose blade, and there probably really isn't anything wrong with them functionally. I don't know if Id ever try to make a spear out of it unless I had little better to do, but I guess its nice to know the option is there? Their test video is very impressive, though.
G.I. Tanto : Fighting Knives (Fixed Blade)
This just seems like a generally good blade for my purposes. I kinda wish it had a Clip point, but the Tanto would work just fine Im sure.
From other research I found that overall the best hand weapon for a novice would be a simple bludgeon (pipe, bat, etc). After that, I cut a section of 1"-diameter, 1/8" wall steel tubing about 20" long. I wrapped about 5" of it with nylon rope to serve as a handle, and welded a plug into the other end to add a little weight and prevent it from being crushed in on hard impacts. It is about 2lbs total, maybe a couple ounces less. I don't have a sheath for it yet, but I'll likely make one that attaches to my belt and thight. If, for whatver reason, my firearms were not available for use, would I be better off pulling out my pipe (teehee), or would you guys recommend a good ~7" blade with which I've had some practice? Or should I use the pipe, but still get a blade suitable for SD should I ever need it?
Sorry of my post is confusing, but I hope my points were clear enough!