Q&R: What Knife Tool Should I Buy? – Terry Trahan

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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 average 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.

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