- JanqJohn Farnam via WarriorTalk forum said:>14 Apr 06
>Last weekend, as we cheerfully shot various handgun bullets into Mike Shovel's
>gelatin blocks, some of us decided to also experiment with knife-blade
>penetration and cutting ability, especially when heavy clothing and leather
>jackets are involved. I'm still far from persuaded that gelatin is
>particularly useful for any purpose, nor am I convinced that penetration
>results from shooting such a unrealistically homogenous medium mirror reality
>to any specific degree. Conversely, I'm not sure we currently have anything
>better that is readily available, is as easy to use, and is as transparent so
>as to generate effective, visual results. We can probably describe ballistic
>gelatin as: "the best of the worst."
>I "stabbed" the gelatin with two of my Cold Steel blades, aTi-Lite and a
>Vaquero Grande. In bare gelatin (the "Nudist-Colony Test") both, of course,
>penetrated easily, requiring only a few pounds of insertive pressure in order
>to slide in to the hilt. When the same test was done where the blade had to
>first penetrate the leather jacket and then four layers of denim before
>reaching the gelatin, results were largely the same! Both knives effortlessly
>penetrated to the hilt. Even leather and heavy clothing provided scant
>However, when we did the same test with differently-shaped blades, results
>changed radically. On student had a folder with a "bulb" point. The knife was
>reasonably sharp, but, when he stabbed the clothed gelatin, even with a great
>deal of strength, the blade refused to penetrate leather. He enthusiastically
>attempted several times, all with the same result. “Tanto" blades faired
>slightly better, but still not nearly as well as the stabbing point found on
>When we slashed the gelatin, we learned that "reasonably sharp” produces poor
>results! Leather effectively shielded the gelatin from even enthusiastic
>slashes from several utility blades, including the bulb-pointed one. Once
>again, however, both the Ti-Lite and the Vaquero sliced through leather and
>denim handily, delivering deep cuts to the gelatin beneath. The serrated
>Vaquero was particularly effective, slashing through both leather and fabric
>My conclusions: Heavy leather is an underrated form of armor, frustrating both
>pistol bullet performance and knife attacks alike! Not long ago, it actually
>was used as armor. Even today, some folks routinely wear leather gauntlets
>around their wrists. I often see my good friend, Mas Ayoob, in a substantial,
>leather jacket. I now know why!
>To be effective fighting tools, knives need to be (1) strong, (2) appropriately
>shaped, and (3) razor sharp!
>Weak, flimsy knives (of which there are too many) lack the strength and
>structural integrity to get one through a fight. In order to "cut strongly,"
>one needs a strong knife, not an anaemic toy that will break the first time it
>is put to heavy use!
>I have become persuaded that the shape of a knife blade is important. Blades
>designed for skinning and utility cutting are poor for fighting. In order to
>stab deeply, the knife tip must be able to penetrate, and the blade behind it
>must be appropriately shaped so that you'll be able to cut ruinously as the
>knife is withdrawn. Otherwise, as we discovered, the entire knife is little
>more than an impact weapon!
>Dull knives are basically impact weapons too! I've always marveled at the
>extreme degree of sharpness with which every Cold Steel knife comes from the
>factory. Now, I see why! In a fight, you're going to desperately need every
>bit of that sharpness in order to cut through clothing and penetrate deeply
>into flesh. Don't carry a dull knife and naively think you'll be able to use
>it as an effective weapon!
>Finally, I'm going to follow Mas' lead and get a leather jacket!