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Dirk knives are not new at all. If you are a knife enthusiast, you might have heard of them. They are quite common these days, yet they come with a few characteristics that make them unique. They need to follow specific standards to be labeled as safe and even legal. So, what is a dirk knife after all?
What is a dirk knife?
Originally, the Scottish highlanders used the dirk knife, so it is also known as the Scottish dirk. It has been quite common in the navy. But then, things have changed with time. They are usually easy to recognize when compared to other knives. They tend to be quite thin, but also pointed. They were mostly used in close combats, so they are excellent for stabbing.
The thin design makes the dirk easy to go through skin and flesh. It sounds a bit unusual for today’s world, but this was the primary purpose of the knife in the 17th century. Other than that, a Scottish dirk knife has one sharp edge. Most of them do not come with handguards, hence the thin profile. As for the length, they tend to be a bit longer than everyday random knives.
What are dirk knives used for?
Dirk knives were created for close combat. Hence they are not so popular anymore. Their primary role is for self-defense. Sure, they can cut, and they are sharp. They are not extremely practical, though.
At this point, you probably ask yourself – why are they still around? While they can be handy in many situations (such as camping or hunting trips), they also make excellent collectibles. Many dirk knives are unique, as they are handmade. Therefore, if you are into collecting knives, you should not miss out on acquiring them.
Apart from their collectible profile, dirks are also beautiful. They look good, and they will always stand out in the crowd. They have good looking handles, and the thin build makes them attractive. Furthermore, they have a long history. They did not just show up out of nowhere, as they had a purpose. Today, most knife collectors see them as ceremonial weapons.
Dirk knives versus daggers –What’s the difference?
When it comes to dirk knives, lots of people refer them as daggers. The two terms are used interchangeably. They are quite similar. But then, if you are into collecting knives, you want to know the difference and find out what makes the dirk knife a unique collectible.
A dirk knife has a single edge – just one sharp edge. The other one is quite thick and dull. Other than that, many dirks do not have a handle. Sometimes, the handle is a continuous profile of the edge – just slightly thicker for better maneuverability. Sometimes, the handle can be handmade and good looking, but you will also find dirk knives that are difficult to hold because they have no handle at all.
As an exception, the dirk knives used in the navy used to have two edges, but they also came with handles. They were quite similar to daggers. A dagger usually has two edges. Other than that, there is no difference between a dirk knife and a dagger.
Apart from daggers, dirk knives are often confused with stilettos. Stiletto knives are also used for stabbing. However, they are not that good at cutting because their blades are dull. They do not have any sharp edges. They do have a sharp tip, though, which will easily go through. Then, most of the cutting depends on the pressure applied.
You can, for example, hold and use a stiletto knife by the blade, and it will not cut you. Things are different with dirk knives.
What to look for when buying a dirk knife?
Now that you know what makes it unique, it is time to consider what to look for when buying one.
If you want a dirk knife for your hunting trips, you need good and long-lasting materials. There are better and safer knives for it. However, using a dirk knife gives you an old fashioned feeling. You may feel like going back to the old times. Make sure you get a bit of training regarding the handling part, as there are some risks involved.
If you are after a collectible item, a handmade item will do the trick. Older is better, as it probably has a bit of history behind too. You should not care too much about how sharp it is or how well it cuts, as chances are it will be there for display only. You are less likely to use it hunting or for self-defense.
Other considerations apply to the more practical purpose of a dirk knife – hunting or perhaps camping. Opt for solid materials that will last for ages. Consider the blade length as well. Even if you get the biggest dirk knife you can get, it should be smaller than a sword, yet longer than an everyday knife.
The handle is not to be overlooked either, not to mention sticking to a reputable brand with lots of choices.
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This classic dirk knife represents a slight upgrade from the classic tools from hundreds of years ago. It is a bit more practical. The sharp edge is serrated closer to the handle, so it makes a good tool for camping trips and everyday uses.
Durable blade and handle
The blade measures 4.5 inches in length. It is made of stainless steel and sharp on one edge only. The handle is designed in an old fashioned way and features a gem at the end. The gem could be blue, green, or purple – you can choose when you buy it.
Comes with a sheath
The dirk comes with a hard sheath as well, which makes storage and transportation safety.
- Old school design
- Practical with serrations by the handle
- Comes with a hard sheath
- Durable materials
- The plastic gem on the handle makes it look a bit cheap.
Poshland REG-212 Handmade custom Dirk Knife
This dirk knife from Poshland makes a beautiful collectible – fully functional as well. Not only does it look amazing, but you can also use it on your everyday tasks – more appropriate for hunting, rather than cutting twigs and branches.
The dirk knife is handmade, which adds to its value. You are less likely to find another identical unit. It is made of Damascus steel, which looks good and lasts for ages. The blade is 12 inches in length and comes with a stunning firestorm pattern.
The handle is made of dark rosewood and ensures a perfect grip.
- Great as a collectible, but also functional
- Beautiful pattern on the blade
- Durable materials
- Comes with a sheath
- The steel is not hardened.
Wild Turkey Handmade Dirk Knife
The knife brings back the feeling of the 17th century. It has a textured blade, as well as a wooden handle with visible stripes. A few metallic accents on the handle add to its profile, not to mention the stitched leather sheath.
You can purchase this knife in a few different varieties. You can opt for a different handle design, as well as different blades. The blade measures 7.25 inches, while the handle is five inches in length.
The blade is made of Damascus steel. It is handmade. It has one sharp edge, as well as an extremely sharp tip, so be careful as you take it out of the box. The handle is just as durable, not to mention the leather sheath.
- Comes with durable materials
- Beautiful texture on the blade and handle
- Premium leather sheath
- Practical for a dirk knife
- Damascus style pattern is gone on the sharp edge.
Dirk knife is a classic stabbing weapon that killed so many people hundreds of years ago. It has lost its popularity and practicality overtime, but it is still a good collectible item. Many collectibles are fully usable and a bit practical as well, so you can also use your dirk knife for various purposes – mostly hunting or all kinds of emergencies while camping.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.