What Is A Dirk Knife Used For Exactly?

Someone who is not a knife enthusiast may not be able to know what a dirk knife is, and might even guess that it is a short sword.

They may think that it is a new kind but actually, this has been long associated with Scottish history.

What is it anyway?

A dirk knife has a cultural significance, similar to how the Japanese perceive the Katana.

Most likely to be developed in the 16th century, a traditional Scottish dirk is used as a personal weapon worn at the side of the belt by the Highlanders.

It became a symbolic icon for the Highlanders, carrying one on their belt every day.

Commonly called a “Dirk” by users and enthusiasts, this is more considered as a multipurpose weapon than a knife because of its history, size, and characteristics.

It is considered to be a kind of dagger, a weapon dedicated for use to stabbing or thrusting.

Dirk knives could have either a single edge or a double edge blade, but there is no exact standard blade size.

The blade is very triangular and pointed at the centered tip.

As a matter of fact, these are sometimes crafted from longer knives that are broken, explaining why they differ in blade sizes.

In the past, blacksmiths also create this kind.

It is paired with a leather or wood sheath, that also serves as a protective cover to the person carrying it.

It is commonly carried on the belt and could cause harm when worn without one.

What is it used for?

As a weapon, a dirk can be used on its own or with a Targe (a type of small shield).

It is recommended to get proper training before using it as a self-defense tool.

It will also help you maximize the possibilities and correct techniques in using them to save lives.

It is typically held in the handle with a stabbing position.

If used as an everyday tool, it can be too bulky.

The thick blade can help with emergency situations and works like a normal knife.

It will help to chop off wood easily but should be careful in giving a lot of pressure, common dirk knives don’t have a hilt that protects the user from the blade.

The user’s hand may slip from the handle and touch the blade, where it can lead to a serious hand injury.

Today, it is still used in Scotland as a part of ceremonial dress and Scottish weddings.

It is still worn in the belt, paired with traditional Scottish clothes such as a kilt.

They use it to cut a wedding cake too!

How about the law?

If you plan on buying a dirk knife, make sure to be informed about the rules and regulations about owning and using them.

Since it is considered to be more of a weapon, there are some places (like shopping malls or schools) that you will not be allowed to enter if you are carrying with one.

Some dirk knives have a shape and characteristic that can also be considered as a concealed weapon.

Even if it is only in your bag or hidden in the boots, you can be punished with imprisonment.

A dirk knife, because of its particulars, is considered as a stabbing weapon that can cause permanent disability or death to the person who will be attacked with it.

To gain more knowledge on proper handling and owning of it, try contacting an enthusiasts group in your local area or through non-profit organizations that represent the knife industry or knife owners.

Taking care of it

A dirk can be made from various steels, but the modern ones are from stainless steel that makes it easy to clean and store.

If the one you own is made from high carbon steel, make sure to always keep the blades dry when storing them.

Besides, a wet one can damage the sheath too.

You can also put some special wax on the blade’s surface to keep it shiny.

Those that are made from stainless steel just need to be cleaned thoroughly and have it air-dried before storing it.

Where to buy one?

The fact that this is considered as a weapon, it will not be easy buying this everywhere except on tactical knife shops or dedicated knife sellers.

You should also be reminded that in buying one, you are already carrying a weapon where the law applies.

Remind yourself to be careful whenever buying it for personal use.

It will be easier to buy it online, where you can choose from a wide variety of designs and coming from different countries.

You might be overwhelmed by the great selection that is available on the internet.

Take note of the shipping process, your state or the country may not allow sharp objects to be brought inside the country through couriers.

You may also clarify that through a verified online seller or store’s customer service support.


If you are a self-defense enthusiast, you may use it together with proper training from experts or professionals.

Proceed with care and buy with caution as there are rules and regulations in owning this weapon.

Various organizations can help you learn more about responsible ownership of it.

Just like any other knife, always proceed with caution with every use.

Last Updated on July 22, 2021 by Andy Wang

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My name is David Strong. I'm a knife expert and a US Marine veteran. I used to fight in Iraq, so I gained lots of combat experience there, especially when it comes to combat, tactical, and outdoor knives. And this blog is where I share my expertise with you alongside my friend Andy.