Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Playing Knifey Spoony in the time of Terrorism: What and when to carry a knife.

"That's not a knife. This is a knife."-Crocodile Dundee.

This will be a bit of a short post. I'm doing a million things at once. Dealing with sponsors and lost gifts in the mail....

In recent years it has become something of a taboo to carry a pocket knife. Increasing concerns over terrorism and the seemingly increasing rate of violent crimes has left many people in authority to pass or revise concealed weapons laws. Laws that now include having a simple pocket knife in your pocket in many places constitutes as having a concealed weapon. It's caused groups such as KnifeRights.org to pop up to contest these changes in rules. So the question is begged when is it appropriate to carry a knife and what situations dictate what types of knives?

It's sort of a difficult question to answer. Laws in each state and even counties are different. I've heard and read a variety of things for a variety of the lower 48 states. Most of them very hard to understand and was recently a topic of discussion in regards to "assisted deployment" folding knives and their legality in Ohio over at the Equipped to Survive Forums. Regardless of what I have read, I do carry a knife on me in some form or another at all times. The life I lead often dictates that a nice sharp object be wielded to cut a rope to free myself or just for safety.

But enough about legality. I'm not much of a rule or law follower anyway. Let's talk about what everyday situations dictate carrying a knife. By situations I mean out for an evening on the town, in the middle of the woods or simply at work. Once again these are three categories. I find three to be good number for these sorts of things. They work for me and usually work for everyone else.

First let's start with a casual evening out on the town. Most likely you're in somewhat formal attire or work casual clothing. Not much space for many things. Dress pants tend to be of a thiner material and not quiet friendly for those of us who stuff their pockets full of all manner of equipment. Nor are the belts for this sort of attire meant for something along the lines of a belt pouch. Often knife companys target this specific "situation" with a line of specific products. Gentlemen's Folders they are often referred to. Well built and ornate, petite folding knives. Columbia River Knife & Tool make several families of knives that work well in this situation. The answer to the question is one knife. Something functional, though. I suggest the CRK&T line of M16 knives. Lightweight and pocket clip equipped, but still remaining "tactical" and functional.

Second would be when you are in the greater outdoors. Naturally you have free reign out in the middle of nowhere more so than you would in public to carry whatever bladeware you wish. Personally I go with a three (There it is again!) knife approach. Being that I am outdoors I am assuming I will be doing a variety of things and possibly putting myself into a variety of dangerous situations. For those very reasons I go with a solid folding blade (Griptilian, in this case) kept clipped to the inside of my pocket. Clipping it on the outside runs the risk of losing it very easily. Secondly I wear a Leatherman Multi-Tool (New Wave or Blast) in a leather pouch on my belt fixed to a belt loop via a paracord lanyard. Finally I go with a fixed blade kept on a drop-thigh system or on my hip. I alternate between a 7" Becker Knife & Tool Combat Bowie or a non-descript Gerber Profile 4" knife. The fixed blade depends on the location. Having a large knife over 6" in length is often a multi-faceted tool that can take the role of an axe, shovel and hammer.

Third and lastly is at work. Much like when deciphering what situations you might find yourself in resulting in an injury to find out what best to keep in your "work first aid kit", you must think about your daily routine. Let's take Merriwether for example. His job might involve a fair amount of cutting plastic tubing, tightening wing nuts around beakers and other wonderfully mad scientist like laboratory accessories. So what kind of knife should he carry? In this case a decent Swiss Army Knife. Something along the lines of a Victorinox Super Tinker or a Victorinox Champion. Effective cutting blade with several tools that are very common in every day use.

Getting back to the legality of it all now that you have some good idea of what I mean about what and when to carry. Several times I've encountered Park Rangers or other Law Enforcement Officers. Many times they have noticed I am carrying a simple folding knife. They don't normally make a big stink. They tap me on the shoulder and ask me to make sure the clip is inside the pocket and that the knife is visible. Generally keeping it visible as well as keeping it on a belt pouch avoids a lot of trouble.

Adventure....Excitement....For God's sake don't cut yourselves too much.

-Izzy G of Timbuk2 & Tippy Canoe Adventure Blog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cheers Izzy,

I think the fact that you have thought about the issue will help diffuse any potential problems.

I think we have worse problems here in the UK but I'm not sure.

Stay safe out there...

PS - Nice shoes ;-)