Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reworking of an old post

In response to some questions as to what knife, or other tool should I buy,
I reworked this post from a couple years ago.

Alright, for those of you who know me, you know I am a proponent of armed
self defense, and the proper use of tools for the job at hand, whether that be in a self
defense, survival, or work situation. And given that the martial arts I study are, at the
very least, weapons intensive, I thought it was time to revise and add some information
to the various postings I have made here and elsewhere on the web.
The first thing to consider is what you carry and why. Have you thought through the
choices available, tried various options of carrying your chosen tools, and actually practiced accessing your tool under a stressful situation, or simulation thereof? The late Bob Kasper
had a drill I would highly recommend for finding out if you can act in time to draw your
weapon. Dress in your normal manner, and have your training partner slap at your
head aggressively while you try to fend him off and access and deploy your knife. This
could be done with any weapon or tool, and in various modes of dress. I was shocked the first time I tried this in winter clothing. Better to learn it then, in training, than on the street for real.
The choices available now in knives, guns, flashlights, and various impact weapons are truly amazing, and honestly, somewhat unneccesary. All the new supersteels are mostly marketing hype, to be truthful about it. The averager user of a knife will not notice a whit of difference between VG-10, CPM S30V, or most other steels. The designs available are there for one reason; to entice you by how it looks. For some designers and companies, it actually is important that it function, but the majority of knives sold are what I term charming cheapies,
and are solely made for looks, with performance a far afterthought, if at all. And above all, mostly irrelevant for most self defense encounters. In the end, you need a reliable lock, a sharp
edge, and a point for knife work. Now remember, I got my first job in the knife industry 8
years ago, selling them, and have been full time in the knife industry for over 3 years now.
I do not say any of this lightly, as I do buy, use, carry & collect knives of all types. But if your focus is for survival and self defense, and money is a concern, as it is for most of us, do not be intimidated or conned in to thinking you need a $300 fighting knife, when a $40 one is just as good for your needs. Only you can decide that, and you should educate yourself, and get what you think is the best for YOU, not what the magazines, salesmen, steel snobs, and theorists
try to push off on you.
The next thing to consider is what your threat status is, and what you should carry to address that. This is a very controversial subject, especially in the online SD/knife world. I have been known to carry more blades than a combine, to steal an off handed compliment I was given once.
I did this for various reasons, most of which do not apply to me anymore, so I changed my carry
routine. I no longer work or live in an area where I know violence will happen. I have a normalish life now, and for that reason, I can amp down on the poundage of steel, leather and lead. Take as much time to honestly evaluate your risk as you spend picking your carry pieces.
You should also learn the laws concerning carry where you live and work, as they may be different if you move between municipalities often. Even if you have no intention of obeying the
laws, it is better to know what they are then being ignorant and leaving your future to luck
and chance.
Now, there are people who will say that this BS, steel is important, yada yada yada...
Look, what is important is, what feels good to you, fits your hand, and your environment. Legalities are up to you to learn, as they vary too much, sometimes from county to county. In all honesty, and after years of disappointment, the best way is to go and play with a bunch of them. Go to a gun show, knife store, whatever, and start touching, squeezing, and otherwise knifesturbating them, that is the only way to find style your knife.
Don't worry about what other people have, think or say. In the end, you will find the perfect one, and it will be yours.


Blogger Jay said...

one token of advice I was given was not to carry a knife I didn't want to part with...

Thanks for the repeat post, Terry!

6:25 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Should have mentioned that, Jay, but I will ditch anything if I have to, so it skips my mind.

I really hate answering the which knife question, as it is so personal.
Knives friends of mine like, I despise, and vice verse.
I was going to put a couple steel charts up, but realized that would kind of be the opposite of what I was trying to get across.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Jay said...


while it pains you, there are those who can use some guidance. ;-)

6:36 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Well put Terry.

I recently had someone referred to me on this subject and wrote them out an involved answer. You hit all the points I was trying to get across much better here.

You also managed relay the only piece of technical purchasing guidance that is really needed.

"In the end, you need a reliable lock, a sharp
edge, and a point for knife work."

I want to call that sentence out and explain/expand a bit for any non-knife people that might read this.

To my knowledge there are very few places in America where concealed carry of fixed blade or double edged knives is legal. Open carry of anything is almost never an option. In light of that the one piece of purchasing advice I have been giving, merged with your statement above, goes like this:
"Generally you want a folding knife with a reliable lock, a single sharp edge, and a good point whose blade length is equal to or shorter than the maximum dictated by the laws in your area. Play with them and find one that feels good and opens naturally for you. Go with that one."

Thanks for the post, so I can just send them a link to it in the future instead of answering myself. ;)

3:46 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Oh, and since I mostly just lurk and we haven't met, I guess I should identify myself.

I am a friend of Bobbe's and wandered over here from his site originally.

I won't claim to be a student of his, since I haven't been to class in so long that I am getting paranoid. I figure that at any moment he may spring out of the bushes and stab me with a curry for vanishing under my workload and not even visiting in ages.

The new poinsettias in the lobby are particularly worrying.

3:52 PM  

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