TLDR: “Deadly” is a relative term, especially given how creative some fiction writers can get with their stories. Gimmicks, on the other hand, are another matter.
The Turkey Baster from Hell
The world of knives might seem mundane if you don’t know where to look. Knives cut things. End of story. They’re pretty interchangeable from one to the other. Nothing to see here, folks, right?
Not so fast, chump, especially when there are things like the WASP Injection Knife, which made its debut in 2008 as “the world’s deadliest knife.”
Those outside the knife world might not have heard of it, likely because no one they know owns one given that $500 price tag. Why the steep tab? I’ll let this description from KnifeCenter do the talking:
This weapon injects a freezing cold ball of compressed gas, approximately the size of a basketball, at 800psi nearly instantly. The effects of this injection will drop many of the world’s largest land predators. The effects of the compressed gas not only cause over-inflation during ascent when used underwater, but also freezes all tissues and organs surrounding the point of injection on land or at sea. When used underwater, the injected gas carries the predator to the surface BEFORE blood is released into the water. Thus giving the diver added protection by diverting other potential predators to the surface.
It’s that injection of carbon dioxide that sets the WASP apart from other knives. It’s like a turkey baster from hell. However, that “injection” comes from a one-time-use-only cartridge that must be replaced, adding to the ongoing price tag.
What Characters Would Use the WASP?
Although the WASP’s design originally targeted divers, it found some usefulness above the water for hunting and self-defense, where I suspect it’s better suited anyway (dive knives often, but not always, lack a tip to prevent unintentional punctures of SCUBA equipment). KnifeCenter lists these types of users:
- Special Ops Troops (Land or Sea)
- Downed Pilots Stranded In Open Water or Remote Forests
- Military Survival Kits
- S.W.A.T. and Special Police
- Security Guards (Special Protective Services, Air Marshals, etc.)
Is It Really the Most Deadly Knife in the World?
Given that impressive list of occupations, it might be assumed the WASP’s claim as “the world’s most deadly knife” is right on the money. In reality, I’d bet this knife is purchased for its gimmick factor by collectors.
Why? Note how the watermelon and the ballistics gel in the two videos above aren’t moving. Conditions have to be just right to get the most out of the WASP. At $500 plus the ongoing cost of cartridges, a dime’s worth of ammunition from a backup gun is looking mighty appealing. Divers might disagree, but that’s fine. Their underwater situations are the only ones where I imagine it’s worth the money.
Also, dedicated, single-purpose tools tend to perform better than multi-purpose versions. Once the WASP’s cartridges are gone, it’s no better than a standard fixed blade knife. And are there sturdier, better designed fixed blade knives out there? You bet.
You want to know what the deadliest knife in the world actually is, kids? It’s what your parents told you to stay away from until you were old enough to handle them: everyday kitchen knives. Their ubiquity makes them deadly out of sheer odds.
Plus, no watermelon I’ve known has survived the chef’s knife in my block right now. It only cost me 20 bucks and requires no reloading. Take that, video demo at the top of this page.
The WASP in Fiction
It comes as no surprise that the WASP found its way into the world of fiction after its debut. This article at KnifeNews.com cites the WASP’s appearance on Law & Order, CSI and Discovery Channel programs, along with a mention of an upcoming feature film.
Should You Use the WASP for Your Characters?
Like all of the alternative weapons I cover on this site, I think the WASP’s best use is on the shelves of knife collectors and in the pages of fiction. This thing is begging for a story to use it in some capacity. It even comes complete with a cool name. What more could a writer want?
P.S. If you own or have used a WASP before, drop me a line. I’d be interested in your experiences.
Get the Book
The Writer’s Guide to Weapons: A Practical Reference for Using Firearms and Knives in Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books) comes with everything but the ammo. Pick up a print or digital copy from these fine retailers: