Thursday, April 01, 2010

CAS Hanwei Tactical Wakizashi

That's right, a "Tac Wak," and I'm inexplicably excited.

This is a weird, hybrid beast, and I can't discern any realistic role or requirement for the thing.

As a wakizashi, it breaks all traditional aesthetics and notions of form. It is, in a word, ugly. No self-respecting Japanese swordsman would train with such a monstrosity.

As a tactical tool, it seems equally useless. It seems too specialized for a soldiering role. I can't imagine any kind of law enforcement use. It has inherent drawbacks as a civilian self-defense tool. Consider, for example, the trouble one student found himself in when he killed a trespasser with a katana... This is trouble he might've avoided if he'd hastily armed himself with a stick, a kitchen knife, or even a handgun -- any item more reasonably acceptable.

I have heard of backcountry hikers arming themselves with large blades where either they or the park are squeamish about firearms.

And please, no zombiggeddon cracks. A wakizashi is way too short for that environment...

But despite these obstacles, it does look cool. I'm sure it will find its way onto my "list" -- just not prioritized very high. There has been a trend toward larger tactical knives, and also toward more traditional shapes. I found myself salivating over CRKT's giant Hisshou, but the price has kept me away. If I spend that much money on a blade, I'm buying a Viking sword.

But the Hanwei Tac Wak is modestly priced between $114 and $150. At that price, I'd probably send it out for a custom kydex sheath -- probably with a shoulder strap so i can make cool, over the top, ninja-style draws! Hmmm... maybe I should hold out for a tactical ko-katana, or Tac Ko Kat?


Ben said...

I have been desiring a ko-katana for quite some time. Tac-co-kat! Better call the copyright office now...

Anonymous said...

Actually, that student ended up with having no trouble at all. He was cleared of any charges and it was settled as a clear-cut (pun intended) case of self-defense. Illegally entering a persons home is a crime on multiple levels. Americans have the RIGHT to kill intruders with WHATEVER they happen to have handy.

jrf said...

Thank you, Anonymous. Your pithy bumper sticker views of the situation are quite enlightening.

You might want to click the link in the post above and read the entire thread -- including the links to the actual news articles.

The situation is far more nuanced than you imply here.

Yes, the student's home was broken into earlier that evening. He heard a noise, grabbed a katana and then left the house. Outside the residence, the student discovered an unarmed man in the vicinity of a detached garage. The man made a sudden movement -- apparently toward the student -- and was killed with a single, somewhat wild slash.

The uncertainty for weeks was about whether or not the Johns Hopkins student would be charged. The facts, as presented in the press, made one wonder if the student had gone looking for revenge for the earlier break-in. The Maryland law on self-defense was somewhat unclear about his duty to retreat because the student wasn't in the residence, and he wasn't cornered.

The situation after the incident was undoubtedly aggravated by the student's choice of weapon. It was unusual enough that it brought a great deal of scrutiny on the case, upping the pressure on the Police and Prosecutor's office to do... "something."

In the end, it turned out the dead man was a repeat offender with a history of minor violence. The student had a clean record. And he must've convinced the Prosecutors that he wasn't out seeking revenge when he went outside to investigate the noise.

It was never clear if the dead man was involved in the earlier break-in, was attempting another break-in, or was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. All we know for sure is: he's dead. It is also certain that the Prosecutors were convinced that the young man was in fear for his life when he took that swing, and thus decided not to charge him -- they could've punted and taken him to court to let a Baltimore jury
decide his fate.

And we need to keep this in mind too: the student killed an unarmed man in the dark with a sword. So on top of the media attention, the police and prosecutors questioning him, and the legal fees he still incurred for counsel, he has to face that unpleasant fact. And no matter how bad a person the dead man was -- it is "unpleasant" to kill another human being. I don't disagree with your bottom-line: you do have the right to defend yourself. But that act always has serious consequences. I suspect that student still wakes up with nightmares, attends counseling, and continues to second guess himself.

So much for "no trouble at all." Take it somewhere else.