The Push Dagger
A push dagger (alternately known as: push knife, gimlet knife, fist knife, Stoßdolch, push dirk, T-handled knife or punch dagger) is a short-bladed dagger with a “T” handle designed to be grasped in the hand so that the blade protrudes from the front of one’s fist, typically between the 2nd and 3rd finger. Over the centuries, the push dagger has gone up and down in popularity as a close-combat weapon for civilians and selected military forces.
The push dagger is thought to have originated from the Indian subcontinent, and is related in principle to the 16th-century Indian katara (कटार), or punching sword. However, the katara is gripped by two close-set vertical bars, while a push dagger uses a T-handle and a blade that protrudes between the fingers when properly gripped.
In 1800s America the knife was adopted by men and women in all walks of life as a defensive weapon and an item of daily wear. Politicians wore them into state and federal buildings, even the United States Capitol. As a concealable weapon, the push dagger was a favourite choice of civilian owners requiring a discreet knife capable of being used for personal protection. Before the development of reliable small pistols such as the derringer, the push dagger was especially popular among riverboat gamblers and residents of the larger towns and cities of the Old Southwest, particularly gamblers and émigrés from the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
During the latter half of the 19th century, the push dagger also enjoyed a brief period of popularity in Britain and Central Europe, particularly in Germany, where it was called the Stoßdolch or Faustmesser, meaning “push-dagger” and “fist-knife”, respectively. The weapon is thought to have been introduced there in the mid-1800s by foreign sailors visiting North German ports. German cutlery makers began to manufacture domestic versions of the design, often set in nickel-silver mountings. The Stoßdolch was sold primarily as a self-defense weapon for travelers, salesmen, and others who required a compact, concealable weapon.
During the 1980s several new versions of the push dagger concept were produced by a variety of speciality cutlery manufacturers, and were sold primarily as ‘tactical’ or self-defense weapons, particularly in the USA. The laws of many nations and several U.S. states and cities prohibit or criminalize to some degree the purchase, possession, or sale of push daggers or knuckle knives.
Info source: Wikipedia
Photo source: Litton’s Custom Knives