A push knife has one job – to hurt someone. Sure, it could cut cordage and with a little practice you could probably even use it to make a feather stick or perform a few of the other traditional bushcraft/survival chores. In reality though, a push knife is a weapon, first and foremost. It is designed to inflict serious injury.
While I was working on the manuscript for Prepper’s Armed Defense, I wanted to include a push knife in the book. This sort of bladed weapon can inflict horrific injuries with very little practice. If you can punch, you can use a push knife. It is also very difficult to disarm someone who is using a push knife. Not impossible, mind you, but difficult.
I shopped around a bit and settled on the TOPS Grim Ripper.
Honestly, this is a beast of a knife. It is much larger than I anticipated. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.
Overall length: 6.5 inches
Blade length: 3.75 inches
Blade thickness: 0.25 inches
Weight without sheath: 8.8 oz
Weight with sheath: 10.9 oz
For starters, as I mentioned earlier, this is a big knife. All told, it is 6.5 inches from handle to tip. At the widest point, the blade is about 1.5 inches across. This isn’t a keychain weapon, that’s for sure. It is properly held such that the blade protrudes from between the index and middle finger. Either hand will suffice, whichever is more comfortable for you. Some people keep it in their dominant hand as that’s the one they feel is best for punching. Others like to keep that hand empty for grabbing and such.
With this length, the knife could be used for slashing attacks as well as punching. Plus, you want a blade that will penetrate past clothing, skin, and muscle in order to reach vital organs.
One thing that took some getting used to was the handle shape. Most push knives I’ve used had a symmetrical handle, where the handle was the same shape and length on either side of the blade. That’s not the case with the Grim Ripper. In fact, it has some jimping at the top of the handle which, to be honest, I felt was a bit awkward. The way the jimping is designed on the Grim Ripper, it is almost like a thumb rest. But, you don’t want to use a thumb rest like that on a push knife as doing so will weaken your grip.
The handle is linen micarta. It is very durable while also providing a little bit of traction when gripping.
The blade itself arrived shaving sharp. It has three aggressive serrations too, adding to the brutality of the knife. This is a single edge blade with a long clip profile shape. The Grim Ripper has the TOPS black traction coating on it, which helps protect the 1095 steel from corrosion.
The sheath is kydex and has a spring steel belt clip. This clip can be swiveled, allowing the user to carry it in any position. The sheath also has several holes for lashing the sheath to a pack, vest, or elsewhere.
I did have some difficulty drawing the knife from the sheath. It is held very securely in the kydex and sort of snaps into place. With other knives I’ve owned that used a kydex sheath, you could use a finger to push against the sheath as you draw the knife, which helps to break the seal, so to speak. That’s all but impossible to do with the Grim Ripper. Because of the body mechanics involved with drawing the knife, you don’t have a way to push against the sheath. A good strong tug will pull the knife out but it’ll also pull sharply against your belt or wherever you have the sheath attached. As time goes on, this may be less of an issue as the sheath might get worked in a bit.
In playing around with some targets at home, I found the Grim Ripper was easy to maneuver and had very good penetration when punching. Slashing movements were also very natural to perform, without any clumsiness arising from the large blade or the weight of it.
I don’t generally give any sort of ratings when I do reviews but if I had to do so in this case, I’d give the TOPS Grim Ripper a B-. It is a durable knife, well made and solidly constructed. But, I find the handle shape just a bit awkward. Further, drawing the knife from the kydex sheath takes a lot of effort. While adrenaline will be pumping in a self-defense situation, I wouldn’t want to end up pulling the knife and finding the sheath still attached to it.