Tactical back up weapon... a spike or shiv and why not a knife?

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

This post is for the professionals who risk their lives everyday to preserve our freedom, justice, and the American way. A backup weapon is a must, because you never can tell when the shit might hit the fan...but what backup would you pick? There are several schools of thought on this. One believes that a backup weapon should be a last-ditch thing that you always keep on you, tucked away til the day you really need it. The other school says that it can be used as an alternate weapon to be used as the situation dictates. Here are a few good options to consider:

A shiv, or spike, is really good at one thing: penetration. So as a last-ditch weapon, it will do the job it needs to do. The one problem is that a spike can really only do one thing, whereas a knife can do multiple tasks and still be a backup weapon.

There several different types of knives that mimic the same function as a spike. Spartan Blades makes a COB knife with ring retention similar to a Karambit, for example. Benchmade also makes one called SOCP, and both have a trainer blade available to train with. The major differences between the COB and SOCP is the cost and the sheath options: Spartan CQB is $160.00 and the trainer is another $45.00. The Benchmade SOCP can be found for under $100, with a trainer for about $60.00.

Spartan CQB sheath is designed much like most kydex sheaths for knives. The CQB can be mounted in many different ways through paracord lashing or mounting hardware to a belt or molle webbing.

The Benchmade SOCP has a more streamlined sheath. This design allows it to fit in a pocket as well as slide into molle webbing with greater ease. Though the SOCP can still be mounted on a belt, it is limited to inside the belt with its clip. The SOCP is easier and faster to move and change its mounting positions should you need to, which is more mission adaptable friendly.

Now back to BT Engineering's tactical spike: the overall dimensions and how far sticks out of its sheath can present some mounting problems. The basic sheath is good - if mounted on a belt it's good for the range and walking around. If it was mounted to a vest or molle webbing it could made more secure. Overall the sheath is not really designed for a vigorous environment.

As you can see in the photo to the right, the sheath is fairly wide. That's both good and bad. It requires more hardware to mount it in different positions, but the width gives it more stability. Both the COB and SOCP, when in their sheaths, only expose the ring for deployment, and that is a distinct advantage.

BT Engineering's tactical spike leaves the whole handle is exposed. But WAIT. So are other knives, you say? Yes, very true, but they usually have better retention. It's a bad combination to have both poor retention and exposing so much handle.

In a vigorous environment the tactical spike could fall out and or also be easily taken by the enemy. Make the sheath retention better and this would not be a problem. On my belt for ease of drawing I tilted the sheath about 30 degrees, trying to draw when it's straight up proved to be awkward unless drawing in a reverse grip. Of course there are other options, the imagination is only limited by the person.

So overall the Tactical spike has the cool factor on its side as well as it intended function, but the CQB and SOCP have more functionality, better retention, and mounting. This is just my opinion, with other belt systems the mounting could be better for the tactical spike, it really needs a redesigned sheath. What are your thoughts on this? What would you carry?

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