Summary: Was Expecting More
Comment: Janich is a precise but impersonal writer who keeps his distance from his readership, which he prefers to keep on a formal basis. The information he conveys, one would think, would be about knives and steel, but he can't resist going back to technique.
I bought this book wanting to read what the title promised. I was disappointed. Things he could have appropriately included would be: 1) the qualities of steel. Does it matter if a defensive knife is made from 420 stainless steel or is there anything to be gained from a higher quality steel like AUS 8 or AUS 6? Gerber uses 440A steel for some of its folders, yet 440A really doesn't have a good reputation among knife afficianados; 2) things to look for before buying and using a knife. I recently bought a knife, the blade of which would not remain open. The cause? The base of the blade was ground at the wrong angle for the liner lock to engage. The blade slid along the angle and disengaged, allowing the blade to close on one's fingers; 3) blade lengths, which he arbitrarily sets as 6-inches for a minimum in a defense knife. Yet many find 4-5-inch knives to be adequate.
I wish the book would have contained more information on knives and that Janich would have reached into his own personal experience. Even tips on knife sharpening would have been nice.
Summary: Level Headed
Comment: No matter what your expertise in self defense, the carrying of a knife and the study of Martial Bladecraft (self defense with the use of a knife) Michael Janich is still the most level headed, even keeled instructor out there. He has a lot of expertise in the field and probably more respect from other Martial Artists than any other well known figure in the bladecraft industry. Michael writes reviews for new knife models in several knife magazines on the newstands including "Tactical Knives" magazine. Mr Janich's book, Street Steel: Choosing And Carrying Self-Defense Knives, includes good insight into exactly what is necessary in a carry knife. You probably don't need a sword, by the way. As mentioned, he has designed several respected models of knives for different manufacturers including MOD and Spyderco.
I was lucky enough to take a Beginner's course in Martial Bladecraft with Michael. During the break in his course, he brought out 30 to 40 of the recent popular models of folding knives that are on the market. We got to handle the knives and get Mr Janich's thoughts on the pluses and minuses of each model. That information is the basis of this book. This information helps both novice and more experienced people interested in protecting themselves in choosing their carry knife. The information is based on Janich's HANDS ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE not guesses or knife company hype.
THE book to read on the subject!
Summary: Think of it as only a buyer's guide.
Comment: Looking at this book might give one the impression that is a do all, end all book encompassing everything that needs to be known. This is not the case.
This book is a somewhat short (100 pages - pictures included), but to the point book about how to properly select personal carry knives. What kind of knife in itself is right for you, how best to carry it, and deploy it in a quick and efficient manner, these are the major points that are gone over in this book. Along with that is what mechanical qualities you should look for when buying one. Only a handful of combat situations are mentioned in order to give perspective.
A number of common misconceptions I had nearly sent me into buying a knife that was totally incorrect for my situation. It turns out that though they were visually appealing, they had little or no true tactical combat value. WHEW!
Just for the sake of repeating, this book is only like a buyer's guide for a self defense knife. It does NOT detail actual combat strategies, moves, defenses, etc. If that is what you are looking for I would recommend -Knife Fighting : A Practical Course- by the same author.
Summary: Street Steel Review
Comment: This book goes into details about how to choose fixed and folding blades for self defense. It is oriented towards the selection, not into defense/offense. Some of the knives featured are no longer for sale, but still gives the reader some ideas of what to look for when selecting his defensive blade.
This book is yet another example of Paladin Press' large selection of books in this subject. Since I have the Master of Defense knife he designed, the book was a clear must.