If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn’t essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn’t essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as opposed to any other knife?

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  2. If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn’t essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as opposed to any other knife?
    It’s encouraging to see a properly-phrased question on Quora.
    You said ‘if’. “ If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn’t essential and if the point is rounded off”.
    They aren’t.
    This is a Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, second pattern.

    If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

    It is a double-edged dagger with a blade that is about seven inches long and has a famously acute taper to the point, clearly optimised for thrusting. It also has a diamond cross-section, as visible in the top-left of this schematic, providing a stiff blade also optimised for thrusting.

    If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

    The blade was specifically designed to easily penetrate a ribcage in order to facilitate surprise attacks, and was also possessed of two sharp edges to facilitate slashing attacks in a defensive fight. Fairbairn described the rationale behind this design in his book Get Tough! (1942):
    In close-quarters fighting there is no more deadly weapon than the knife. In choosing a knife there are two important factors to bear in mind: balance and keenness. The hilt should fit easily in your hand, and the blade should not be so heavy that it tends to drag the hilt from your fingers in a loose grip. It is essential that the blade have a sharp stabbing point and good cutting edges, because an artery torn through (as against a clean cut) tends to contract and stop the bleeding. If a main artery is cleanly severed, the wounded man will quickly lose consciousness and die.
    So the answer to your question is: it doesn’t. And since the premise is incorrect, we can dispense with the second half of the question.

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  3. If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

    The Fairbairn Sykes has a razor sharp cutting blade down each side and a sharp stiletto point. Perfectly balanced, it can be thrown with extreme accuracy and the one piece solid steel blade, tang and handle make it superbly strong, we used them to create climbing steps by inserting them into the mortar of brick/stone walls!
    It is still probably the best combat knife/dagger ever made.

    If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

    It was adopted by the US Rangers, OSS, Special Operations Brigade and some Marine Units and is still issued to many of the worlds elite fighting units and forms part of their cap badges and flashes.
    New metal technology and manufacturing processes have made it even stronger and sharper.

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  4. You most likely have a broken one.
    The FS knife is a slim dagger with a slim handle. Its obvious use is for surprise attack to the neck area, with a stab or stab/slash motion. It can be used to stab the heart from the front, but would ideally need to be a little longer to do so from the back. It is a little small for body stab attacks, and the shape is not perfect for efficient slashing: the blade is not designed for it and above all the handle is too thin for a strong grip.
    It isn’t what I’d choose for a fighting knife as it is specifically designed as a murder knife: slim and low profile, easily concealed, designed for efficient stab attacks to the neck and under the base of the skull. Above all the handle is too thin to grip well with a wet hand in fighting mode, where your hand is cut and the blood makes the grip a bit slippy. For defensive purposes you have to figure the opposition will get a cut or two on your hand or wrist if they know what they’re doing, so a slippery, thin, round metal grip like this cannot be ideal for that job.
    The only advantage of this grip style is that it does spin in the hand to pass through the ribs when you get the angle wrong, which is a point in its favour. It does what the spinning handle of a kris does, without weakening the handle.
    The knife is good for what it is designed for: taking out sentries or similar. Let’s be reasonable here, you can’t train troops to be any good at knife fighting in 3 weeks. They need a tool to quietly finish off sentries, sleeping opponents, or someone on top of them choking them out – the slim dagger is good for this. Like a stiletto but smaller.
    For fighting with – that means an equally-armed opponent or some other similar situation – I’d prefer a slightly longer, thicker, heavier blade with a meatier grip. Dried blood is nice and sticky but wet blood is slippery and you have to reckon on bleeding a bit. Or heavy rain/mud. The thin, round, metal grip of the FS knife is not designed in any way for this duty. It is mostly good for sneaking up on someone, and for that purpose, for the untrained soldier, it’s fine. Indeed there are few knives better for sticking up under the base of the skull at the top of the spine. I wouldn’t choose it for a melee fight though – too easy to drop this knife or have it wrestled away.
    For me this turns out to be a big factor, I don’t want to be losing it when I need it. Try holding the FS knife with a wet hand and you’ll see what I mean. It spins in the hand and might be taken off you or dropped.
    The knife is good for what it is designed for: an easy-carry knife for stealth attacks by the less-experienced.
    Trialling
    To find a knife that works for you when things get tough, try this:
    Wipe oil or vaseline all over the grip and make it slippy.
    Have someone with gloves on grab the knife / your wrist / etc. and try to disarm you with simple twists, as could happen in a scuffle.
    Have them hit the knife with a bat or similar: is the knife stable in your hand?
    Not dropping it when you need it is something you might overlook at your cost. The FS knife does not score well here.
    Applegate-Fairbairn
    The AF fighting knife, a broad-blade dagger with a 10.5″ blade and rectangular ribbed rubber grip, is a far better fighting knife. It’s more easily worn than bigger machete or machete/knife variants, and ticks all the right boxes: nice length, strong blade, double edge, good grip, aligns the edge correctly in the hand in the dark. A pair of these will be just fine.
    If you need more than this you need a short sword and a buckler.
    …………….
    Thanks for asking, Vic.

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  5. My Fairburn and Sykes has a needle point and is razor sharp on both sides and was carried by my grandfather in WWII. I have traded a few over the years and they’ve always had a spear tip and are sharp, or easily sharpened. Whether former owners have sharpened it, I don’t know. The blade is double-edged and when you look at it, it tapers down to the cutting edge acutely. It is certainly a weapon designed for stabbing.
    Now here’s where the theory comes in – the most efficient way to cut a person’s throat is to spear behind the windpipe, and it’s easy to imagine the F&S doing that once you have one in your hand. One edge will cut into the carotid, and the other edge will cut into the windpipe. The theory goes, you saw backwards to first slice the carotid artery, then thrust forwards to sever the windpipe. The next best way to kill someone is to stab through the rib cage and into the lungs or heart. The robustness of the metal and the shape of the blade would make this so easy, it’s not worth thinking about. I once used it on hanging lamb, pig and beef carcasses in the name of writing research, and there really is no effort required.
    The Fairburn and Sykes was designed for commandos and it does and will always do the job. It is a weapon only, and makes a lousy tool. Since WWII a knife has been seen more as a tool than a weapon in the military, with the exception of special operations, so military knives now tend to be more like the KA-Bar, or in many cases the bayonet has become smaller and more of a knife to muti-task for soldiers.

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  6. I’m not sure who told you that the point of the Sykes Fairbairn Commando knife is rounded off.
    All the examples I’ve seen, and I have one of my own that is WWII surplus, have a sharp point.

    If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

    The cutting edge isn’t essential because its a thrusting weapon, designed to stab.
    The edge is sharp, but not razor sharp, because it didn’t need to be.
    There are good reasons for the design, and unlike the Ka Bar, it’s not a utility knife.
    It’s a killing tool, and that’s all it is.
    It’s much like an Italian stiletto in that regard.
    It’s designed to be able to pierce a thick German uniform woollen greatcoat plus a couple of other layers and still reach the vital organs.

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  7. This is what a Fairbairn-Sykes should look like…

    If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

    The men of the OSS, including my father, were trained to use it in the following manner:
    Approaching silently from the rear. Left hand over the enemy’s mouth, point of knife behind the enemy’s kidney. Pull backwards with the left arm to throw the enemy off balance while at the same time thrusting forward with the knife into the kidneys. Shock is almost immediate with no reason left to cut the throat of the enemy.
    Approaching from the front, the best targets are the five main arteries. One in each arm that were to be cut just under the shoulder joint. One in each inner side of the leg, cut just below the crotch. And of course the Carotid Artery of the neck.
    Attempting to stab the heart or lungs was considered to be fool hardy as one would have to pass between the ribs and only give you about a 50/50 chance of getting through. And since internal blood loss or a collapsed lung would leave the enemy still a capable opponent, could be fatal to you. Stomach area wounds were considered to be good but only to give you a brief moment to follow up with a kill, since they threw the opponent off guard but were not immediately life threatening.
    The Sykes-Fairbairn was specifically designed for this sort of fighting. Long enough to reach the kidneys and pointed so to make the deep thrust easy. Just broad enough to easily slice the arteries if you place the tip correctly right next to the bone in the legs or arms.
    Lt Col Rex Appelgate, who had served as the Police Commissioner in Hong Kong prior to the war, learned this technique of fighting from the efficient use of the blade by the criminals in China. He was instrumental in the design of the Sykes-Fairbairn and taught OSS members in its use.
    Lt Col Appelgate later wrote a book called “Kill or Get Killed” (Available in pdf form on the Internet) in which he did approve of cutting the throat from the rear and added a number of fighting techniques not taught in the official OSS manual. Kill or Get Killed was later converted into manuals for the military, like FMFRP 12–80 (USMC version)
    Office of Strategic Services Society

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  8. If the point of any knife is rounded off, and the cutting edge ‘isn’t essential’, whatever else it is, it’s not a fighting knife, no matter what the vendor claims.
    The only ‘fighting knives’ with those characteristics I know of are made of rubber.
    Even the Cold Steel ‘plastic tanto’ has a point, and an edge, kinda, certainly sufficiently dangerous a person could get seriously injured messing about with one.
    What’s described in the question sounds more like a novelty Fairbairn Sykes themed butter knife..

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  10. I think most people who buy one do so for their collections. I bought two, one to keep in new condition and one to play around with.
    Mine are made by Nowill in Sheffield. They have an edge, but it is so bad they can’t really cut.
    The advantages I see with the F-S as a weapon are the light weight and ease of concealment for a knife of that length.
    The Gerber MKII is a superior knife, even the current version, and the Applegate-Fairbairn is even better than the Gerber MKII.
    The F-S is still a nice addition to a collection.
    There are expensive custom versions of the F-S which I’ve heard can have sharp edges. Some makers even have the Pattern 1 version.
    Fairbairn’s book “Get Tough” shows cutting techniques for the F-S so it was not only intended for stabbing.

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  11. Here is a page from Fairbairn’s book Get Tough ;

    If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

    The first F-S knives were like the drawing, with an s-shaped guard and ricasso to allow varied grips, but as can be seen they were sharp in edge and point. Fairbairn and Sykes learned to fight as police against the gangs of the Shanghai waterfront, and they knew whereof they spoke. The knives were initially developed for SOE and other secret agents in occupied countries, who were trained to attack without warning vulnerable places on the body and limbs where death would be quick. The adapted knives for commando forces came later.

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  12. Who told you/where did you read that the cutting edge wasn’t essential? No blade is special if it’s dulled it in such a way as described above. There’s just too many people giving out bad info either for profit or self importance or both. Believe me I have bought worthless books on combat styles and weapons aplenty. The Sykes Fairbairn was a fine weapon for its purpose unfortunately some of the companies producing the knife turned out some bad copies of the weapon during those desperate days that it’s reputation suffered greatly. So be careful what you’re being told.

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  13. There’s nothing special about the Sykes/Fairbairn. It was the result of a couple of good fighters doing tests to determine the best FIGHTING knife. If you’re the sort of person who goes around looking for knife-fights, and you want to train endlessly with that thing, you’ll probably increase your chances. Except that doing so proves you’re an idiot, so your chances dropped further. Smart people don’t get in knife-fights.
    .
    The S/F is of no use as a battlefield knife, or a bush knife. It’s simply a murder weapon. Murder weapons are useful only to murderers.
    .
    So, what SHOULD a person carry as a belt-knife, including the unlikely possibility of a fight?
    .
    Nothing. Don’t get in the habit of carrying a knife as a possible “weapon”. Carry a knife as a tool.
    .
    If you want to carry a USEFUL weapon, better than any knife on the market, find a five-foot long hickory stick and carry THAT. I do.
    .
    Now you have a real weapon. You wanna fight a guy with a twelve inch knife, or a guy with a slender five-foot hickory staff, who has done a little training? Take all the time you need to answer that question for yourself.

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  14. I don’t know what kind of beat up, rusty piece of surplus crap you’ve looked at, but a knife in that condition would not be something that should have the word “Combat” attached to it.
    The Fairburn-Sykes knife is a type of dagger or stiletto, that is purpose built to penetrate the ribcage or other vulnerable areas on an opponent. The edges should be sharpened to specifications, in case the need to slash is presented.
    Plus, a dull knife isn’t worth carrying around. It sounds to me like somebody that previously owned your knife, made it safe for kids to handle while they were telling war stories to the grandkids.
    Good Luck
    JE

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  15. No magic to it. It’s a dagger suited for a style of martial arts. Mine has a full double edge and a very sharp point. It feels very stabby. I haven’t stabbed anybody though. It’s a cool knife for lots of other stuff too though.
    Mine was made by Ek Knives when it was a company in Effingham, owned by Blackjack Knives. Mine was a great knife, still is in fact. It has a paracord wrapped handle. It also has a brass bolster. I believe these were of 440c stainless but they were treated to a cryogenic hardening process that worked quite well.
    I had a …

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  16. Possibly what you’ve seen (or been sold?) is one where the tip broke off and someone “fixed” it.
    It’s no longer Captain Stabby.
    You would think the edge isn’t important, but actually what you are doing when you stab is opening an incision. A long, slicing cut in effect. Even if you’re going into the neck there’s a lot of cartilage and connective tissue to get through, and it’s pretty tough. What you want is to be opening up the big blood vessels, not shoving them aside (classically the blood goes into the wind pipe to silence any cry, as described by Dr Mallard during one particularly bloody NCIS episode).
    If it were mine it would be sharp. Like my filleting knife. It goes through fish and flesh like it’s not even there thanks to that long, slicing cut.
    I also have a sad little Sabatier kitchen knife. It lost its point when I tried learning to throw it. I should have used something cheaper! I had to buy a replacement when I found out just how useful a good point is through not having one.

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  17. Never seen one with a rounded point.
    The edge does not have to be razor-sharp, either, as it still tapers to a point and thus makes a diamond cross-section just like the thrusting swords (rapiers and the like) that worked perfectly well for hundreds of years… although saying that, the edges often are sharp, too.
    As to what makes it so special – Just ask somebody who has actually used one in anger!

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  18. There is no place for dull knife with round point in fight. I expect that the knifes were only ground and never sharpened when they were made. Knives made of Carbon steel have to oiled to protect the edge from rust in storage. the sharper the knife the harder it is to keep oil or grease on the edge and the more likely the edge and point are to be damaged in shipment. The military had men working cheap that could sharpen the knives when they needed them sharp why spend money paying factory workers to sharpen knives that could hurt people packing and shipping them.
    On of the considerations in the design of the knives for World War Two was the experience in World War One having problems with broad point knives getting through one or two heavy wet wool overcoats the Germans wore in the trenches of World War One.
    Sykes & Faibrain made an ideal knife for the last war and not a bad knife for the next war buy putting a very slim sharp point on thick narrow dagger. The knife was inexpensive to make as it could be finished one or two jigs on a square shaft to cut, grind and sharpen each side.
    A solider that planed to use a Sykes Fairbain knife as a weapon would put a sharp point and sharpen the edge so they would stab through enemy clothing.
    The US issued a bunch of knives to its soldiers and sailors in World War 2 WWII FIGHTING KNIVES Most of our daggers had wider bales and rounder points than the knife under discussion here. We Issued a awful lot of knife on a Bowie pattern and a few Bolo knives made of 1/4 inch steel with a short wide weight forward blade. I was probably good for digging I gave mine to knife maker friend that wanted the steel.

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  19. Don’t know where your information came from. The Sykes Fairborn, sharpened to original specs, was an effective slashing weapon and the point isn’t even close to rounded. I have a Wilkinson and it has a perfect spear tip.
    It is special because two guys intimately familiar with knife combat designed it and a methodology that goes with it and it was real world effective and demystified hand to hand combat. Everything Fairborn Sykes teaches is actually effective and only took a few weeks.
    Fairborn went on to design other knives but this one was a truly effective weapon.

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  20. The edge is potentially useful, even if the edge is only to make the stab more dangerous (because it cuts, plus it makes it go easier).
    The point is rounded off so it glances off bone & keeps going. Traditional arrowheads would frequently be made in the same way, for the same reason.
    The Fairbairn Sykes is a good all-around that would (at six inches or so) be useful for sentry removal. It’s thin without being fragile, so I’d assume it would slip between the spinal bones or the ribs more easily, plus the edges & rounded tip.

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  21. Nothing special, really.
    I used to carry a modern F-S knife (third-generation) while I was in the Army, until I realised how fragile the tip was. It is a single purpose weapon; very good for taking out a sentry, but that’s it. After that, I bought a Cold Steel tanto because the knife is far more robust, and gave away the F-S dagger because I had broken off the tip.
    I then had the opportunity to purchase an F-S second (earlier) generation dagger, but now both the F-S and the original Tanto are too rare and valuable as collectors’ items for me to actually risk using (and losing) them. I now carry a modern (still expensive but non-collectable) Cold Steel Recon Tanto or a Cold Steel copy of the famous K-Bar as my woodland knife.
    The F-S is only special for its’ historical importance.

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  23. The shortcomings of the Sykes-Fairbairn were addressed by the Applegate-Fairbairn. In my opinion it is a much better combat dagger. Which makes sense as that was the purpose of its development. It offers a much more easily sharpened blade, and while slightly shorter, which was done to make it more practical and portable. The handle is shaped so the blade is quickly oriented in the dark. The guard and handle is more ergonomic for a fencing grip as well. The handle material, while not the most handsome being nylon, will not be painfully cold to manipulate in freezing weather.

    If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

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  24. If the point is rounded off, it isn’t a fighting knife anymore, it’s a letter opener.
    The Fairbain-Sykes is specifically and exclusively designed as a stabbing weapon, and the gentleman who designed it literally wrote a book on how it is to be used. It intentionally has a very thin blade and acute point that is designed to easily penetrate flesh and clothing and is precisely balanced to make it throwable. The edge is designed to be kept razor sharp so that it does additional damage when it is going in or coming out. Furthermore, a blood vessel cut cleanly with a sharp edge will bleed more profusely than a jagged cut. The F-S knife is extremely good for its intended purpose and method of use, and completely useless for any other purpose or style of fighting.
    The intentionally lightweight construction of the F-S also makes it pretty much useless as a utility knife. Because they point is so fine and acute, F-S knives are prone to have their tips break off, especially if used for anything except their intended purpose, which may be why you saw one with a rounded tip.

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  25. If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn’t essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as opposed to any other knife?
    Where did you get the idea that the Sykes Fairbairn had no edge nor point? The edge is not essential, because it is essentially a thrusting weapon, but SAS Troopers kept their edges honed to razor sharpness. Notice the needle point on this WWII British knife. This has often been called the greatest fighting knife ever designed.
    What made it so special? That needle point and long blade would penetrate the heaviest winter clothing. Typically, this was a commando knife. One of the tactics taught was to approach from behind, penetrate the neck from the side, and slice the throat from the inside out.

    If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

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  26. I don’t know what you’re talking about – but that’s OK, because clearly neither do you.
    Every Fairbairn-Sykes I have ever seen has an extremely sharp point, so I don’t know where you got the idea that it’s rounded off. It’s mainly a stabbing weapon, so the cutting edge is indeed not essential – but it’s certainly useful , so tends to be razor sharp.
    What’s so special about it? If you’re good with a knife and want to reliably take people by surprise and kill them, it’s an extremely effective blade for that job.

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  27. As William says. The Sykes-Fairbairn is a refinement of the Fairbairn fighting knife issued to British commandos during WWII:

    If the cutting edge of the Sykes Fairbairn combat knife isn't essential and if the point is rounded off, what is so special about it as

    This was a straightforward stabbing dagger, and though pretty decent it suffered from being rather weak (the points tended to break off) and the straight, tapered edges were not very conducive to cutting.
    The Fairbairn/Sykes design, as William’s pic shows, is a stronger design, still well-suited for thrusting, but with the curved edges towards the point… Better suited to cutting.

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  28. I will not go so far as to say that the cutting edge is not essential. In my view, and this is strictly my own view it is firstly a combat knife, one that was developed for fighting.
    That does not mean that it will never be used for the purpose of cutting anything, which means that the cutting edges, as well as the needle sharp tips must be sharp for the knife to be fitting for the purposes it was made. Sharp tip for stabbing, and sharp edges on both side of the blade for cutting.
    I believe that as in all things in life there must be a balance though on how sharp the cutting edges are, too thinly sharpened and they may lose the edge fast, too blunt, and it may not cut nicely. So use your own thoughts on that idea.

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