Coup de main is a military term (literally, helping hand or blow by hand) referring to a maneuver that relies on speed and surprise in order to accomplish an objective in a single blow.Close combat instructor and native of France, Fred Perrin, is responsible for designing a line of fixed, short-bladed knives that are capable of delivering a speedy and surprising “helping hand” in defensive situations.
Perrin’s ergonomically designed La Griffe (The Claw) lends itself brilliantly to defensive use especially for the smaller or more slightly built individual. The integral finger hole provides security for those who may have a less than iron grip. My wife has worn her Emerson Knives La Griffe on a neck sheath for many years. Recently, she has come to appreciate the light-as-a-feather “La Griffe Carbone” carbon fiber fixed blade also worn in neck carry in a Kydex sheath.It can be really challenging for women to enjoy the advantages of “on-body” knife carry. The design and materials of women’s clothes are not supportive of the weight of a knife nor do they hold a clip in place. Generally, fabrics are light weight, pockets are shallow or non-existent and waistbands can be flimsy. In many cases, neck carry emerges as the only viable option for a defensive knife. The La Griffe Carbone, weighing a mere 0.23 ounces, is a very comfortable option!In order to deliver a successful defensive “coup de main”, it is absolutely vital to practice a proper concealment draw. As illustrated above, the thumb slides under both ends of the chain or cord, and the sheathed knife is pulled swiftly straight up and out of the shirt opening. The hand slides down from the sheath; pointer finger indexes the hole and a fist-like grip is maintained as the fixed blade is drawn cleanly from the sheath. In defensive situations, I always teach my students to take a step back and loudly verbalize: “Leave me alone!” “Call the police!” Clearly, with this particular blade, defensive cuts aimed at sensitive face and neck targets will have the greatest effect.
There are a lot of great knives to own, but for defensive use, you must:
- Be willing and able to practice with it
- Carry it regularly and carry it concealed
- Be able to deploy it immediately in an emergency
Fred Perrrin’s La Griffe is an excellent and beautiful choice.
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