There aren’t many knives that can be easily recognized by simply looking at its handle, but the sub-hilt fighter is one of those knives, known for its secondary hilt that juts out to form a trigger on the handle.
Recently, I’ve read some articles on sub-hilt fighters and a review of the Big Bear Classic sub-hilt fighter, so I decided to bring the readers of The Cutting Edge some additional information on the legendary sub-hilt fighter.
Although he did not create it, the late Bob Loveless pioneered the sub-hilt knife in a way that it’s now the blueprint for all modern sub-hilts.
The sub-hilt has that extra trigger coming out on front of the handle to place your index finger for a maximum grip. For anyone who’s never used a sub-hilt knife, there are upsides and downsides to this handle.
The first advantage of the sub-hilt fighter is blade control. When your index finger is pressed against the sub-hilt trigger, it gives you a lot of control over how you wield the blade. Likewise, if you go in for a heavy thrust during combat or hunting, you can pull the sub-hilt trigger to get the knife out rather than having to apply a significant amount of pressure.
The second major advantage is its obvious grip control. In hairy situations, the sub-hilt will minimize the possibility of you losing your grip or the knife slipping down.
The downside is its lack of versatility because you can only hold the knife one way. Also, there could be issues when having to pull the knife from its sheath quickly and correctly since you have to slide your finger into the slot.
There are two major ways they make these knives. The most sought after sub-hilt knives are designed from a single piece of steel with the sub-hilt fashioned from the blade’s steel. The limitation with this method is the sub-hilt can only be as long as the original piece of steel. Another option is getting a handle that has a built-in sub-hilt, which is significantly less expensive.
If you’re interested in a knife with a strong grip and extreme control, I highly recommend checking out a tactical sub-hilt knife that’s useful for hunting, skinning animals and general field use.