The Emerson/Perrin LaGriffe


I’m sitting here and wondering how I can relate to you, the reader, how excellent this tiny knife really is. How simplicity can be so brilliant and excellent. I’m thinking that you are not going to believe some of what I have to say about this tiny little knife.

Some of you that have never held a LaGriffe are simply not going to believe how effective this knife really is. I honestly think this is just about the most deceptively dangerous knife I have ever owned. If you already own one, you already know.

Someone seriously interested in Self-defense using edged weapons cannot ignore this knife. I’m sure some have and will in the future, but personally, I cannot see how.

I once told a friend of mine who is also practicing The Blade Arts, "I would rather face someone ignorant with two large knives than a Skilled Man with one LaGriffe."

Sure, the theoretical, "ignorant attacker" I was referring to would be dangerous but I don’t think the danger would be on the level of someone skilled with this knife. The skilled person is dangerous with just about anything they can get their hands on. And dangerous without any weapon as well…

The LaGriffe is possibly the most underrated neck knife being made today.

People type thousands of words out about neck knives. It’s good typing practice I guess. This is The Neck Knife. It is the standard by which all others should be judged.




From The Emerson Knives Website:

Handles: Skeletonized Handle

Blade: 154 CM

Finish: Black Oxide

Grind: Razor Sharp Chisel Grind

Overall Length: 4.9 in.

Blade Length: 1.75 in.

Blade Thickness: .125 in.

Hardness: 57-59 RC

Weight: 1.5 oz.


Some people have reported some minor rusting problems with the LaGriffe carried next to the skin. I have not had this problem though. What I would like to see is basically all coated blades go to the incredibly tough Boron Carbide Coating. It seems to be impervious to even scratching which is obviously attractive as well.

The Emerson Titanium LaGriffe is an attractive idea as well but I have never even held one! If the steel version is 1.5 ounces, the Ti-version might be as low as one half ounce! Since the LaGriffe is basically a featherweight knife, one can only imagine what the Ti-version must feel and carry like! Coupled with the fact that Titanium will never rust and you have a very high-tech neck knife. I don’t know how sharp the Titanium Model is, however, reports about other Titanium Knives are not encouraging when compared to steel. It’s a trade off but I honestly cannot say, as I do not own the Ti-LaGriffe.


Several more attributes


There are several attributes that make this knife so dynamic and viable for Self-defense:


The Market


The Cutlery Industry has flooded The Market when it comes to neck knives. Most of them are garbage compared to the LaGriffe. That might be unpopular to say but I believe it is the truth. If you have the ability to have the knife locked into your hand, why on Earth would you pick something different? Even if the neck knife has a four-inch blade and a rather comfortable grip, I would still choose the smaller LaGriffe.

"But you can’t thrust with it!" Really, you can’t thrust with a LaGriffe? Well, you can thrust with it, but it is such an effective slasher it will probably overshadow whatever you can accomplish by thrusting with a small neck knife.

The LaGriffe has a point and the gentle curvature of the blade does not rule out a thrust. Is the thrust something it was designed to do? Obviously not, but you can thrust with it. Examples of other "hook blades" that are not really suitable for thrusting would be Spyderco Civilians, Matriarchs, Harpys and Merlins. You can thrust with them in a bottle-opener motion but the LaGriffe can be thrust straight into the target if you have to.


Dynamite comes in small packages


The first time I held a LaGriffe was at The Blade Show in 1999. I was sitting in a room at the Smyrna, Georgia Holiday Inn and someone handed it to me. I immediately saw how effective this knife would be. It screams it. I started doing some really slow work with the LaGriffe, holding it in the same hand as the "Loop Tube" handle of a JSP-BladeRigger Manrikigarrotte [The V-Gar System] and was instantly a fan of the knife.

I have always been a fan of hook-type blades. They have their rightful place. The LaGriffe actually performed better than I thought it would when I finally tested it.

A friend of mine was over for a visit and we were talking about knives and passing them back and forth in my living room and he was looking at a LaGriffe and he was not very impressed with it. [Jeff, you have no vision sometimes!]

So, I said something like, "Well, what is wrong with it, Jeff?" He started talking about how it was small…how it was "too small to really do anything…" And going on about that…so…I was throwing this one couch out… [You can almost figure out the rest, right?]

I was trying to explain to my friend that in real life, due to something called Flesh Compression, a knife can often cut and thrust deeper than you might think by looking at the blade. The hard cut or thrust has a tendency to compress the tissue and the result is, the knife goes deeper than you would expect.

I don’t think he grasped exactly what I was talking about, so I showed him.

I did not tear the couch to ribbons, I took the two cushions off of the couch and we had an informal and un-scientific cutting test. I say "un-scientific" just to amuse you, it was "scientific" enough for me…

[Unless you know exactly what you are doing, do not attempt this. It is dangerous if not done correctly.]

I had Jeff hold the couch cushion with both hands, but with his hands pulling in opposite directions. That way, if I made a mistake, all he had to do was release the cushion and his arms would fly away in opposite directions. His hands were on the sides but towards the back of the cushion if you can understand that. I’m sorry I did not have my digital camera then, you would be amazed.

I did a medium speed, diagonal [#1] cut. It was a powerful cut, it was not lightning fast, but it was how I did it that made the difference. The cushion was approximately six inches thick and the cut was approximately 15 inches long and I put the knife down. Jeff looked at the cushion and his jaw dropped. That little LaGriffe had went over three inches deep on a somewhat easy passing cut. The cut itself was gaping.

Now, furniture-grade foam used for cushion and padding is obviously not flesh and muscle. It does give you an idea, however, of the sort of power that can be achieved with a LaGriffe. Other straight blade knives that had 5-inch blades did not cut the same material as easily. Sure, they cut it, but there is an effortless feeling with the LaGriffe. As I pointed out before, the fact that it is locked into your skeletal system along with the slight curvature of the blade…equal a lot of power.

I think if you could invent some formula that took into consideration the size and weight of a knife and the ability to cut…I believe the Emerson/Perrin LaGriffe would beat every neck knife commercially available today.

Some people just can’t get past the small size of the knife. While small knives might deserve criticism in some areas, the LaGriffe is unique in many ways.




I was fortunate enough to receive a LaGriffe Trainer, made by Fred Perrin himself and it passed through a few hands and was given to me as a gift from my friend Eric B. [Thank You!]

Working with the Trainer and going through scenarios and "Tactical Problems" in Close Quarters, you begin to see how truly effective this tiny knife can be. Above and beyond what I have already composed in this article.


A Dremel Tool and a Whetstone


For possibly the most realistic Trainer, you might consider purchasing the Emerson LaGriffe in the "White Water Rescue" configuration. It has a blunt/rounded tip from the factory.

You could then take a Dremel Tool and completely remove the edge and then using whetstones or ceramics, round the flat off left by the Dremel Tool to make it safe. If you were to do this, you must round the edges off the flats you create with the Dremel Tool. The entire area where the edge and point once existed must be smooth to the touch, like a bar of used soap.

Remember, metal trainers are extremely dangerous and if they are not made or used properly, they can injure and kill.

If you chose to do this, you would then have a Training LaGriffe and a matching Kydex Sheath for deployment drills. And that is an important aspect that many people overlook.



As always, I am not responsible for anything you do. This is "For Information Purposes Only." Educational, entertaining and informative. If you choose to carry any knife, consult an Attorney who specializes in that aspect of the law and if you choose to train, find a good Instructor and train safely. Always, always use eye protection and any other necessary safety equipment.


Don Rearic


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