Knives are, fortunately, among the least affected by the desire of some to control all others lives, decisions and actions. However, if one lives in New York City or Los Angeles or pretty much all of Great Britain owning a knife and actually carrying it may come at the cost of your hard earned money through fines or when faced with NYC’s largest mafia; death.
It should be noted that for the purposes of simplicity ALL edged weapons and tools will be referred the as knives in this article.
Like so many other items in the world what is true about them is never actually promoted or defined by those working hard to ensure their total banning. And so first we must understand the facts of the matter.
- Knives are tools.
- Knives can be sharp and statistically are more dangerous for the handler than any other person.
- Knives are not sentient and like firearms, cars and hammers require a decision and action by an individual.
- Knives, more likely than not cause injury because they are mistreated or misused and not because of the homicidal fantasies a very small percentage harbor.
How should individuals like myself who are both free and prepared go about choosing a knife. What criteria is most important and what criteria is least important? Is expensive better, what is a tang, stainless or carbon, wood or micarta; the list of criteria and choices can easily overwhelm even the savviest of outdoorsmen and lead to the all too common mistake of choosing simply because someone they worship did.
Knives much like firearms are built for specific purposes, unless of course they are built like so many modern firearms for looks alone. For myself the questions that are necessary to ask before choosing a knife or selection of knives, follow.
- Why do you need a knife?
- Do you spend more time in cities or outside of them?
- Do you hunt for much of your food?
- What climate/ ecosystem do you live in?
- Do you train using knives for defense or plan on eventually needing one for defense?
- Do you know how to put a true edge on a knife or are you going to rely on others for this?
A knife MUST first be reliable, to meet my standards of reliability it has to hold an edge and ONLY require honing every once and awhile while dressing large game. If you have too resharpen it during the dressing of large game, pigs and larger, than honestly its not a great knife. Honing is NOT sharpening, but this is for another article.
A knife MUST be strong, to meet my standards of strength it must have generous flex OR if it has reduced or no flex, must take my body weight being pressed against it while in a vice. Additional tests of strength include but are not limited to being able to cut through ALL items of a rockwell hardness less than it is supposed to be, including steel, concrete and more.
A knife does NOT have to preform more than one measurable task, as you do not need to carry ammunition for knifes you can and in fact should have more than one knife on your person at most times. Obviously, there will be many modern Neanderthals that simply cannot fathom ever needing to prepare their own food or make their own clothing or even, “gasping” HUNT!
- I carry a solid folder, regardless what some interesting individuals may say, folders can in fact be as strong or stronger than non folding knives and definitely more reliable depending on approach to care of build.
- I have within reach always a non folding blade of better quality though I may not actually always carry one on me.
- In all of my vehicles, bug out bags, go bags and camping rigs there is a Morakniv Companion, Opinel #8 and set of DMT Dia-Sharp wallet sized diamond sharpening stones that can be used without water or oil or with either.
- At my home and in my primary vehicle resides a set of japanese/ arkansas water stones, two gallons of potable water SPECIFICALLY for this purpose and several strops with varying degrees of buffing compound.
- Additionally I have several sets of curved stones for oddly shaped knives and even some diamond files for re-profiling work when necessary, though honestly I wont buy a knife that requires this to be functional.
It is well known among my inner circle and in fact most circles that I am a bit of a bladophile and have a knife for every mood, day of the week, color of the rainbow and potential current chemical balance I am undergoing at present. However, I have my favorites and those in some form will be on my person or within reach always.
For instance my Sheffield stainless Sign Dubh with Walnut or Rosewood grip rides in a front pocket, sock or at times my underwear and can be used for everything from eating to shaving with just the smallest touchup necessary upon occasion. In fact I have not used a stone with a grit rougher than 1000 on that knife in over three years now.
Next is the Opinel #8 with either a beechwood or bubinga or walnut grip and a polished edge this knife is perfectly at home in a pocket, glovebox or toolbox and to be honest if I do not have one within reach it is likely because someone didnt put it back where it belonged after using. Which happens frequently with these, however, at an average of $12 apiece I gift them quite frequently and have dozens myself.
The Morakniv Companion is an aptly named must have knife for anyone who is serious about long term survival, prepping, camping or simply living. They come in stainless or carbon steel just as the Opinels do and both work perfectly well though I prefer the carbon steel versions simply for a better edge life.
My Hudson Bay Condor built camp knife is always in my camping gear and often is on my belt when I am outside the dirty city. With a 9” long 2” wide 1/4” thick blade and a full tang its uses could seem tpo be hampered by size alone, however, with about 20 minutes of work directly following unboxing you can skin game, fillet fish and chop fire wood. It is in my opinion a FAR better deal than any other camp knife on the market today and averages around $40-$50 with a smashing LEATHER sheath.
Benchmade CQC7 (sadly Emerson is the only maker of these now, though the emerson designed Benchmade versions were by far the best!) or Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 are the go to folders of choice for myself, either one of these can be given a shaving edge and hold it through thick and thin. Both run well over $100 apiece however, for what you get the value far outweighs the cost. As I have and carry both and simply have no real preference between the two I say flip a coin and get ONE of them.
Lastly the only CUSTOM knife to make this list is my Caruthers 3V Pig Sticker. Made of the infamous 3V steel this knife is wicked in its design, meant specifically for Texas and Louisiana hog hunters but working equally well in the wilds of Washington state and Arizona its edge holding ability and overall strength are simply amazing. I willingly and gladly paid $300+ for this knife and a series of different sheaths.
I have thrown EVERY knife listed above, are they designed for throwing NO, however, have I and can I using the NO SPIN throwing technique, YES!
I have used them as hammers, prybars and for every conceivable NO NO you can put a knife through. Why you may ask? (or if you know me or understand the value of knowing your equipments limits you wont.)
As with everything I suggest or review, TEST, TEST some more and when that is done, TEST IT AGAIN! Your life and that of your loved ones is reliant on your knowledge that the tool you hold will function upon command. So there you have my choices, reasoning and approaches with regards to knives. Understanding of course that I may actually have additional minor changes and really do enjoy my Kukris, machetes camp axes and hatchets the above outlines my general basic carry.
Free the mind and the body will follow