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Gerber's Uppercut Punch Dagger - Review

Not that anyone ever wants to get cut, but why is it that the cuts we feel, but that are so clean they take a few seconds to see, seem worse?  That was my first experience with this knife: a surprise cut.  My own carelessness led to the cut as I worked to get the knife out of its packaging.  I felt the cut, looked and saw a clean seam… and then the red welled up as it started to bleed.  My first thought about this knife, after silently cursing the super secure packaging, was, “Wow; that’s a really sharp edge!”

The Uppercut double-edged punch dagger is a small package of wicked sharp edged tool.  I know there are still a lot of people in the law enforcement industry – and other warrior services as well – who feel that boot knives, hide-away knives, and other such tools don’t have a place in the profession.  I think that the circumstances weigh greatly on that decision and would rather have such a tool available just in case I need it, rather than needing it but not having it available.

The Uppercut sports a 2” double edged blade in front of and centered in a 3” wide grip handle.  Overall length for the tool is 4”.  The polymer sheath has a removable clip that is angled right and strong enough so you can attach it to your belt, boot, etc.  If you remove the clip you can lace the sheath onto a cord or attach it to a vest.  The knife is held into the sheath by way of two plastic “arms” at each side of the sheath’s mouth.  When you push the knife into the sheath (being careful to keep it centered and straight) it “clicks” in and is held pretty well.  It takes a good amount of intentional pull to get the knife out and an equal amount of careful pushing to get it firmly secured back in.

Now, as I figured out how to test this smaller knife I realized that its primary purpose, based on its design, is “aggressive defense.”  Let’s face it: a punch dagger is used to get someone to back up off of you when lethal force is justified and they’re within arm’s reach.  Yes, absolutely you can slash back and forth (and my opening testimony shows it’s quite sharp enough to do some serious damage) but even the design designation “punch dagger” makes it clear that you position it centered in your hand, point toward the enemy and PUNCH.  Two inches of blade is more than enough to cause mortal injury.

But what if you have a more mundane cutting chore that you need to handle and this little blade is the only tool you have to perform it with?  I kept that thought in mind as I headed out to do my normal cut testing.  I pulled out my usual assortment of “stuff” that included fishing line, twine, string, paracord, ½” plastic (that ugly yellow) “rope,” some 1” wide nylon strap and, just because  found a length of it, some 11mm kern mantel rope.

Holding the knife as it was designed to be held, I was able to cut through most of the materials in a single pull.  The 1” nylon strap and the ugly yellow rope took a bit more work but were still cut cleanly in the end.  After that I did some minor “punch” testing with it, holding it tightly and stabbing a log from our firewood pile.  I learned two valuable lessons here:  first, make sure when you grip the knife to punch with it, the fingertips of your hand press the handle into your palm and don’t rest between the end of the handle and your palm.  On impact, if your fingertips are in between, they get pinched.  Second, grasp it tightly.  You might / will experience some minor impact bruising on the back of your middle and ring fingers where the “hilt” of the knife pushes on them at each impact, but holding it loosely only makes that worse.

Finally, I wanted to see if it could be used for other cutting chores; more detailed work you might say.  What I found was that by holding the knife with my index finger and thumb positioned on either side of and at the back of the blade, the rest of the handle in my hand backed up against my palm, I could almost use this knife like a scalpel.  Shallow and careful cuts were easy, but I also could have used it in this way to cut food if need be.