I can remember the first time I cut myself with a pocket knife. I was whittling believe it or not a wooden knife and the blade spilled past the wood and into my hand…ouch.
Correct, but maybe not right
Since then I have had an intimate relationship with knives. They are one of the easiest self-defense tools to acquire and with a modicum of training; incredibly lethal. Today’s modern pocket knife has evolved, not so much in it’s lethality, but accessibility. For a knife to be used in a self defense setting speed of deployment will be a major factor. I hear so many folks talk about the advantages of a fixed blade and they are all correct, but they may not be right. A pocket knife; carried in a pocket is ideal for just about everyone.
What’s the Appeal
What makes the pocket knife or folding knife as some reference so appealing. The biggest point I make is the legality of the item. Many states have restrictions on fixed blades regardless of blade length. If we were to steal a phrase from the gun industry, first rule of a knife fight is to have a knife. It is a very rare occasion I don’t have a pocket knife on me or within reach. The next point is the convenience of a pocket knife. If you have a pocket there really isn’t a reason you cannot have a pocket knife stashed in it some how. The last point is utility of a pocket knife. From everything such as cutting a seat belt in an emergency, to opening packages to defending your life. There is a lot of utility in a good pocket knife.
The Nuts & Bolts
With the popularity of the pocket knife what are some features you should look for when purchasing. The four main features are blade type, opening mechanism, locking mechanism and carry features. When it comes to blade type, you can go down the rabbit hole real fast. What kind of blade, the length and point type. These are the most common questions. My rule of thumb is 2.5 inches is a good blade length. While 3 inches is usually the legal limit, I like to come in under to be on the safe side. I prefer a standard blade type versus serrated or combination types. As for point type, I prefer to drop point style for it’s versatility. Since I don’t have a specific purpose other than self-defense this blade type gives me a fair amount of options.
Consider the Details
Opening and locking mechanisms to me are the small print features of a good folding knife. Since speed of deployment is critical I need a three dimensional feature to produce a reliable opening sequence under stressful conditions. Whether it is a thumb stud, thumb hole or T-post it has to have something to grip for reliable deployment. Once deployed, I need the blade to stay open despite the violence being perpetrated. Liner locks and lock backs provide good security, meaning the blade cannot fold back on you. Something I have grown fond of is the ability to secure the pocket knife once I have deployed my handgun. The way I think about it is I am always working towards and improved weapon and/or improved position. These features a few others allow me to safely secure my pocket knife with one hand; a major bonus.
The utility clip has made the modern pocket knife so popular. Having it clipped to the top of your pocket ensures a quick deployment. It does come at a cost, the fact you are advertising the knife’s presence. For everyday carry purposes, good concealment practices can help mitigate this issue, but you must be aware of the message it conveys. The deploying sequence starts by moving to the pocket knife’s location, clearing the pocket. Then using what I call a hip check to ensure my grip is optimally positioned to ensure a positive deployment. Many times folks will run short of their thumb’s range of motion and resort to flicking or using momentum to open the blade. Something you should avoid and unnecessary when you use good technique.
There are little down sides to carrying a good pocket knife. Learning how to choose, carry and deploy the blade in a self defense situation should be a priority if you are a serious student of the art.