The weapons industry and knives in particular have many colorful items from the past. Among them are the push dagger, a unique knife designed for close combat and defense.

Although likely thousands of years old, there are still versions of the push dagger available today. They include the MANIK from Krudo Knives. It can be attached to key chains, belt loops, purses or backpacks, making it easy for everyday carry (EDC) and use.

While the push dagger likely started in India, it has a long history in the United States.

The Push Dagger Design

A push dagger has a short blade and a “T”-style handle that allows it to be gripped in the palm of the hand. That results in the blade protruding from the front of the fist between the fingers. Clearly, that has advantages. It’s especially useful in close combat, as everyone from riverboat gamblers to World War I soldiers would eventually discover.


Push daggers were worn by many people as a defense weapon in what was then a scary, uncertain New World, according to “Daggers and Fighting Knives of the Western World” by Harold Peterson.

Carrying a weapon was no big deal, then, with politicians openly carrying push daggers into courthouses and legislative buildings, according to Peterson. He also notes that before the invention of reliable pistols, the dagger was used by riverboat gamblers and those living in the Old West. It also proved handy for residents of rough-and-tumble river port towns along the Mississippi River or in ports such as New Orleans.

The blade also became popular briefly in Germany, where it was known as the “fist-knife.”

World War I

During World War I, where brutal trench warfare led to the need for stabbing weapons for use in close combat, the push dagger once again emerged in popularity. Driven partly by a shortage of pistols, the push dagger was issued to many soldiers in Britain, according to “British and Commonwealth Military Knives” by Ron Flook.

During World War II, the push dagger again was used, this time issued to British commandos and those in other specialized forces. Typical uses could include sentry elimination and, again, close-quarters combat.

Today, the push dagger is still a popular choice. A blade such as the MANIK offers self-defense no matter the situation. It provides an easily accessible weapon that can be used in close-quarter situations where gun or even other knives might be difficult to use.

It also provides a powerful addition to your EDC or Go Bag.