Why is it everyone seems to put so much time and thought into their firearm collection and use. Training at the range, throwing lead, prepping,
cleaning, modifications, and making a fine tuned defense and or hunting machine. I love firearms and completely understand but most people seem to
toss in their knife as an afterthought. I believe the knives you carry and own will prove to be more important in your day to day life and if a SHTF
scenario ever did happen a well thought out blade collection will save your life more than a firearm. Ultimately you want both, but a good firearm
without good knives as back up will leave only half prepared and as far as utility tools goes a good blade will out-pace anything in your survival and
day to day tools.
I should start with I am not a knife maker, I am not affiliated with anyone who sells or makes knives, and I am not a professional. I have however
been an enthusiast for a long time and have spent countless hours reading about, rsearching, and training with edged weapons so I do at least know
what I'm talking about.
To start with having a day to day knife sitting in your pocket is invaluable. Everything from opening letters, boxes, kids toys and packaging, and
pretty much any normal daily use along with a measure of self defense.A Swiss Army knife or non-locking folder, a leatherman or a locking utility
razor are all fine choices if you don't intend for it double as a self defense tool. Remember with these you do get what you pay for, and a cheap
tool is a dangerous tool.If you intend for it to double as a defense tool or simply find yourself needing to open a folder with one hand often I feel
there are several choices:
A good folder with a thub stud is awesome. This knife is made by Kershaw, a reputable brand and you can see the little stud near the base of the
blade. This is made so you can open the knife with your thumb using only one hand. With a little finesse and practice you will learn to do this very
My favorite is the type with a pocket release. This is a knife designed to unfold as you pull it from your pocket. There are many knives that do this
to one degree or another but the best is the Wave system designed by Emmerson knives. The one pictured is my personal favorite a Spyderco utilizing
the Wave design. You can see the little hook looking thing on the top. This catches on the inside of your pocket and deploys when removed. With a
little practice you can do this faster than any switchblade or spring assist available.
Other choices are spring assist knives and switchblade knives. A switchblade is a terrible utility knife and actually slow compared to the Wave
knives, the spring assist knives (Which work like the thumb stud or pocket catch but are assisted by springs) are in my opinion dangerous and offer no
real benefit over learning the finesse without a spring. I am currently carrying a little spring assist knife and see no benefit. (I did give it a
chance I swear)
Finally for the day to day if you find yourself really doing a lot of utility cutting and are not so much relying on defense one of the locking
folders with replaceable razors work good and is better than nothing in a defense situation. The one pictured below is made by Gerber but the Husky
brand (Home Depot) and others seem to function just as well.
Now many of you are thinking to yourselves that a fixed blade is the way to go. If this works for you in your day to day life I tend to agree. But I
will reserve fixed blades for outdoors, hunting, survival, and specific combat situations.
Outdoors Utility and "Gardening Knives
First and foremost if you have property, a yard, or find yourself in thick vegetation you should have a good Machete around. Take it hunting, fishing,
camping, and makes for decent intimidation or a weapon in a pinch. Below is a Machete (I think made by Cold Steel?) with a saw back for a little
extra. This isn't a combat feature! Machetes are are wobbly, usually cheap, and excel at cutting through brush. Be sure to carry a file or sharpening
stone as they dull quickly.
Second in the Garden implements should be a good portable axe I know it isn't a knife but hey who cares?. The Axe below is termed a combat axe but I
don't see it. I think it is a fantastic portable chopping tool that could offer a formidable defense if required. Something like this isn't exacly
the most versatile but if you have the space is very handy to have around. The one below is made by SOG (if you can't guess).
Hunting and skinning knives are also specialty outdoor utility knives. A good skinner / gutter will help make dinner faster as it is purposae built,
but any sharp knife will work if needed. For this reason I wouldn't add one to my pack but in my opinion if you're going to I would definitely get
one with the gutting hook like the Buck knife below. This just adds more value and utility for the weight:
Now ofcourse there are the "Survival" knives. There are a few purpose built for downed pilots, and other specialties. Then the Rambo style ones that
have a hollow handle and are filled with useless crap. If you want that crap buy a sheath with a pocket. The only good here is you can attache a stick
to the hollow handle and have a spear otherwise I think they are garbage. If you're getting a fixed blade it should be full tang (The metal goes all
the way down inside the handle). The only one I really like is the multipurpose made by Tops Knives below. This just has so much versatility and
quality it would be a good single blade to carry.
Defense / Combat
Now we can move to the purpose build defense / combat knives. All of these make great utility knives as well if your going to bug out.
If you want chopping and stopping power along with so many varied and frightening uses is the Gurka Kukri. If you only have one knife many would
recomend this one. It works as a Machete, an Axe, a combat knife, a shovel... Many begin and end here. I think it is slow and unwieldy not to mention
I couldn't order a real one from Indonesia and am still bitter. The one below is made by Cold Steel and as a warning there are a ton of cheap knock
offs and Machetes shaped like Kukris.. this isn't a Kulri just a Mchete. The one below is somewhere between a really good one and a Machete. Note I
place this as a combat knife only to quell anger. It really isn't a combat weapon but a tool used as a combat weapon.
I happen to own my Grandfathers Navy KaBar style combat knife he carried in WW2. A fantastic knife in design and quality. There are many variants and
KaBar has many great knives made in a siilar style with new materials. You can't go wrong here. Below is KaBar's reproduction of the same knife they
made during WW2. Note there are many good manufacturers of similar knives and these are good utility knives as well.
Then ofcourse we have the Trench knives. These are essentially cut down sabers or bayonets with a handle in design and originally that is indeed what
they were. For a combat knife they are generally very good. For a utility knife... well anything sharp will pass really. The one pictured below is a
also a Damascus knife. There is much debate as to whether the new style Damascus is as good as the old as the tecnique was lost. I would suppose if it
is Boker got it down in this Tench knife. The benefits of Damascus is supposed to be greater shatter resistance, sharper edges, and edge holding. It
is essentially layered and welded steel.
Last but not least is the Bowie knife. People often call the KaBar's Bowies or anything with the similar blade shape. The distinguishing feature
between a real Bowie and one similar is a good hand guard. Jim Bowie as the story goes, cut his hand when a Boar charged him and invented the Bowie
knife with a good hand guard as he presumably didn't want to get his hand cut again. (Not sure how true that is as all sources from that time were
prone to exaggeration and fantasy). The one below is made by Boker.
Other than style it is important to take into account materials, manufacturer, design, and just plain what feels best in your hand!
When Selecting a steel you need to take into account SWEST
Basically do you need a knife that is rust / chemical resistant, resists lots of repeated wear and tear, holds a good sharp edge, is strong as in
being able to double as a pry bar, and is tough as in resisting impact. This gets very complicated and there is no one answer. As such I will refer
anyone to this article which is the best summary I found along with lots of other good info:
Article on ZKnives
Finally no matter what knife you chose know how to use it. I can't emphasise the importance of becoming familiar with your knife. Familiar with how
to use it, and safety.
There are many dull metal and wood taining knives available. Buy books and videos or go to you-tube and watch lots of knife techniques and defense.
Then go practice with your buddies with training knives. Or if you're lucky there might be a self defense course that teaches knife skills nearby
you. This is the most important thing. Learn to use that knife and practice a lot! If you are not confident and skilled you could run into trouble
trying to defend yourself with that knife you have!
Another good resource to "Shop" for knives is here: Knife Center Dot Com
but nothing beats a local cutlery
or sports shop where you can go in and try out the knives before you pick one out. As a rule if I'm going to go to a store I will buy there to
support local rather than online. It is rude to waste their time and resources to save 20 bucks later. But thats just me. I hope someone found this
helpful and I am sure there will be many more opinions so please add them, I would love to hear them.