Just like holsters and accessories, there is a plethora of companies in today’s market that are producing quality, customized, self-defense Small Fixed Blades (SFB). It can be confusing at times at where to start, especially if you’re just getting into carrying a blade for personal protection. A company/ knife maker out of California called Ban Tang, gives you your money’s worth when your life is on the line.
The Ban Tang Pikal:
• 5.5″ Overall Length (OAL) with a 2.5″ Blade
• S35vn Blade Material
• Chisel Grind
• High Polished Convex Edge
• Black Canvas Micarta with Black Liners
• Also available in the “Gen 4” Model with a Double Edge
Ban Tang is a custom knife maker out of San Jose, California. He is known as having “Stupid Sharp Knives” and for his beautiful craftsmanship. Tang has always been intrigued by sharp objects, even as a small child. As stated on a previous interview on bladereviews.com:
“I’ve had a passion for knives since I can remember attempting to make knives using creative materials. My first real knife came around 1998. I was inspired by RJ Martin’s Kozuka. I purchased a Grizzly belt grinder and made my own Japanese cord – wrapped knife out of D2. While my passion for knives has never waned, it wasn’t until 2007 that I began to pick up knife making again, this time more seriously. I started doing modifications, regrinds for Busse knives and within a short period of time, I purchased my KMG. I also started to create my own designs with the BT4 being my first standard production knife. It’s a design that I am most proud of and continues to be a sought out knife even today. Everything I know about knives has been self taught. I owe thanks to Ron Hembrook as he took me under his wing and through emails he graciously gave me tips and pointers about knife making and the proper equipment needed.”
Other than building custom knives, Tang is known to be an avid outdoorsman and enjoys fishing and shooting on his days off. His philosophy is that each knife has a function; it has to cut, and cut well. For each of his designs he goes to great lengths to ensure they are as sharp as they can be. In the end when it comes to his sharpening “secret,” edge geometry is the key. From his massive 18” “Tigress” all the way down to the 2” blade on the “Lagriffe Pikal,” there is no slack in the quality.
Having grown up in a rough area, Tang has always had an affinity towards self-defense. His opinion is that small, Reverse Edge knives are easy to deploy, carry and are super potent in Close Quarters Battle (CQB) situations. The quality and craftsmanship in the “Pikal” goes to show his determination to excel as a custom knife maker.
I received my Pikal in the mail within a few days after he shipped it and my immediate impressions on it after opening it were, “Why haven’t I heard of this company sooner.” From its superior ergonomic grip, to its overall balanced weight and its positive retention in its kydex sheath; I have yet to find a con. The look of the blade itself combined with its unspeakable out of the box sharpness is absolutely terrifying. Also, with its custom engraving of the companies name near the handle of the knife, this is sure to be a piece to show off to your friends.
This is not something you would use for Everyday Carry (EDC) such as opening boxes and daily house chores. You can buy a $30 Benchmade if you want to do that. This blade is solely to be used, in my opinion, as a self-defense tool. This “Pikal” is a work of art and is something not to be taken lightly. I personally carry this on my left side (I’m a righty) Outside the Waistband (OWB) with the hilt (handle) pointing down at a 45 degree angle to the right. In laments terms, when I look down the handle is at a downward angle facing towards the zipper of my jeans. This is so that I can access the blade with either hand with ease under Dynamic Critical Incident (DCI) stress.
Finally, ending with the sheath, it’s completely customized out of Kydex and is mounted with a small Tek-Lock. Obviously, if the user isn’t a fan they can simply switch it out with a Spyderco G-Clip or other mounting options. I’ve personally found the Tek-Lock to be an easy and effective mounting solution with no problem concealing under a T-shirt. Just to note though, the farther you mount it from your centerline, the more the handle will tend to print and stick out of your cover garment. Realize this is the way that I personally wear it, which may not be the same for you. As with different holster options, not everyone’s body is the same, play around with it and see what’s good for you.
I myself am an avid practicing AMOK! student under Tom Sotis and take great care to understand and learn the art of self-defense with open hands, impact devices and even a blade. Not every altercation may require to deploy your firearm or even your blade. Some involvements may just require you to de-escalate by just good ‘ol talking. The fact of the matter is, even though I carry a firearm (usually), I always have a blade on me, especially due to the fact that I live in a state that the gun laws are very gray. Unfortunately, many “firearms enthusiasts” have an idea in their head that a gun is a somewhat of a “magical talisman” that makes the “bad man” go away. As most of us know, that is not true 100% of the time. You may be in an incident where you don’t have enough time to clear you cover garment and un-holster your firearm. A blade is a very effective and efficient tool when put in the right hands of a well taught practitioner. Fixed blades are, dare I say, an even more efficient tool than a folder. You do not have to worry about “stuttering” an opening due to DCI stress and there being no chance of a lock snapping.
Aforementioned above, the positioning of my Pikal is on my belt. The reason I do this other than being able to deploy it with either hand, is the benefits gained if ambushed without warning. What I mean specifically by this is if/when I’m assaulted and end up on the ground being “pummeled” in a grappling situation, somewhere no one wants to be. The facts are that having your “Pikal” positioned in such an area will make it much easier to deploy in an extreme close quarters situation where “traditional” blade strikes cannot be effectively used. Using Reverse Edge Methods (REM) where you can stab, rip and tear your threat to get him off of you, will most likely determine whether you come out of that struggle alive. Being able to “catch” your opponent’s strikes and literally pull the blade towards yourself, will minimize “excessive waste movements” and maximize larger wounds on your threat. For more info look up REM Vol. 1 & 2 by Southnarc (Craig Douglas) of Shivworks, I’d also recommend taking the time and money to enroll in an ECQC class by him. Also, for just all around good info regarding self-defense look up Combatives Training by Tom Sotis.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with Ban Tang’s blade the “Pikal” and look forward to adding more SFB to my collection. His attention to detail as well as insane sharpness of his blades really shows and I am very excited that I had the chance to review this work of art. If you’re interested in a self-defense specific SFB and are looking for absolute quality and exceptional customer service check out Ban Tang’s “Stupid Sharp Knives.”
Editors note: Background info was found off of an interview conducted by bladreviews.com