The 4 Knife Grips You Need to Know

[This is an archived post from Mad Science Defense, currently on indefinite hiatus, and may not reflect the usual tone and content of Author J.R. White and/or the Storyteller at Large Blog. If you have arrived here via links from a website elsewhere in the tactical and combatives training community, we wish you the best in your skill development journey.]


There are a lot of ways to hold a knife, and each way has its own pros and cons, but what are the most basic grips that everyone needs to know… and why those grips? In the text and video below I suggest the 4 grips that everyone should know. Each of these grips has variants and subtle ways to do them differently, and this list is far from definitive.

Here are the 4 knife grips you need to know:

1) Forward Grip in the Dominant Hand

This grip is simple. You just grip the knife with the blade protruding from the top (thumb-side) of your fist. There are some variants, with the most common being the hammer and saber grips. For the hammer grip, just grab it like you would a hammer. For the saber grip, place your thumb on the spine of the blade or hilt. The sharp edge can face inward or outward (I prefer outward so the edge faces my attacker).

2) Reverse Grip in the Dominant Hand

Another really simple grip. This time the blade protrudes from the bottom (pinky-side) of the fist. This is sometimes described as an “icepick” grip, because back before the days of ice makers you had to use an icepick to chip your ice off the block and thus everyone knew what you meant by “icepick” grip. Now I mostly call it that just because it sounds cool. As with the forward grip, the sharp edge can face either inward or outward (I prefer outward so the edge faces my attacker).

3) Forward Grip in the Off Hand

4) Reverse Grip in the Off Hand

Wait, those are just the same two grips in the other hand? Justin, you lazy bastard. I know, I know, but those really are the other two grips you need to know.

Watch the video to find out why…

You can read the Chris Fry article I mention in the video here: Conventional and Unconventional Knife Grips.

Until Next Time!
Justin White

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