William Ewart Fairbairn and his close friend Eric Sykes were badasses! They fought in WWI then became Shanghai police officers and then trained special operators during WWII.
These two men were responsible for starting the combatives style of fighting for military and police personnel. They were truly ahead of their time but have left a lasting impression on the combatives systems that exist today.
When Fairbairn and Sykes discovered that the existing knives did not fit their killing needs, they designed their own. Out of raw experience in the field they created what would become one of the most famous knives for fighting that have ever existed. This knife is still issued to the British Royal Commandos!
Their knife design was unique in the fact that it was not a copy of a bayonet, which was the only edged weapon carried by most military personnel in WWII. The Fairbairn-Sykes Dagger is a pointed and long double-edged knife with a raised ridge running the length of the blade down the middle. It has a full handguard to protect the user’s hand from sliding onto the blade during use, and it is still concealable and able to be carried comfortably. Furthermore, the design allowed deep penetration of the enemies’ clothes or gear to attack appropriate targets such as the heart and lungs. The design also allowed for a quick and easy recovery of the blade so as to avoid the knife being retained in the enemy’s body.
These knives are still readily available and manufactured by several companies so you have a choice as to which version you would like to buy. So if you are thinking about purchasing a new combat ready knife, or you would like to own a piece of history, then the Fairbairn-Sykes Knife is the way to go.
*Photos courtesy of macdonaldarms.com
Author – Dr. John M. Landry, Ph.D. (State Law Enforcement Detective Lieutenant – Retired). Dr. Landry has served as a police instructor since 1995, and is certified as a Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor (Rifles-Shotguns-Pistols), General Topic Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, TASER Instructor, Chemical Weapons Instructor, Impact Weapon Instructor, Firearm Retention Instructor, Handcuffing Instructor, and Reality Based Training Instructor. Dr. Landry has also trained with some of the best instructors in martial arts, firearms, and combatives to include the Crucible’s Iraq Pre-deployment course.