A Personal Defense Knife for Women

While women continue to play a significant role in firearms sales—especially as first-time handgun buyers—not all are comfortable with firearms. For those so inclined, a pocket knife may prove to be a more comfortable self-defense tool. After all, a pocket knife doesn’t require a special license and can be useful in a variety of circumstances. In fact, a well-handled sharp blade can, in its own right, equalize a bad scenario and potentially help save a life. While the knife you see here—Spyderco’s Matriarch2 Lightweight Emerson Opener—is marketed toward women, I find it to be a formidable defensive tool to have in my own pocket and unashamedly carry it on a regular basis. What’s in a name?


One of the world’s premier knife manufacturers, Spyderco goes to great lengths to educate its customers (“edge-u-cation”). Check out their website or their 2014 catalog; in addition to the many great knives available, you can learn about steel elements, steel terms, blade shapes, handle materials and terminology, and much more.


The Matriarch2 derives its design from Spyderco’s Civilian knife. The key feature and the one that probably stood out to you first is the curved, serrated blade. The size, weight, and shape of the blade are meant to provide maximum cutting performance no matter how it is held or moved. In other words, in a life or death, last-ditch situation, this knife will cut. While meant as an aid to women for self-defense purposes, the blade serves both men and women equally well.


While the Matriarch2 shares the Civilian’s blade shape, it does not have a full stainless steel liner. Instead the Matriarch2 offers a lightweight, fiberglass-reinforced injection molded handle. With the checkered grip pattern, it offers excellent purchase and is super strong. The attraction for women is that its light weight makes it easy to carry instead of easy to leave at home. I found it to be just as appealing to me to carry all day, every day.

Emerson Opener

The other key feature of this Matriarch2 is the fact that it is an Emerson Opener. Named for legendary knifemaker Earnest Emerson, the hook on the back of the blade is meant to catch on your pocket as you pull it out, automatically opening the knife as it clears the pocket. With practice, the blade opens right up, locks in place, and is ready to go. No need for deployment via thumb or other assisted means. Draw and boom, it’s open.

Keeping the Matriarch2 at the ready in your pocket is a four-position clip—a durable piece of steel that holds the knife at just the right depth in your pocket. Move it to whatever side of the knife is most comfortable, favoring your strong side or your preferred means of deployment.

Wicked looking and wicked sharp, the Spyderco Matriarch2 Lightweight Emerson Opener retails for $144.95 but you can probably find it online for less than $100. If carrying a handgun for self-defense is not for you, but you still want a tool that carries, deploys, and cuts easily, this knife deserves your consideration—no matter if you’re a man or woman.