Friday, June 12, 2009

The "Right" Knife, 2

In "The 'Right' Knife", I mentioned some general principles of knife design. These principles apply to fighting knives as well as to survival knives.

If you're reduced to fighting with a knife, the situation has already degenerated to a point of desperation. At this juncture, do you really want to trust your life to a blade designed for something else?

If I have to fight with a knife, let it be with one designed for fighting. My 2-foot long Scottish dirk comes to mind; also my Cold Steel LTC Kukri.

The dirk and the kukri do not lend themselves well to street carry in town. And I don't know of any place in the U.S. where you can get a permit to carry a concealed knife.

If law enforcement personnel become aware that you're carrying a knife, something called officer discretion comes into play. He will decide whether you're carrying the knife as a tool or as a weapon, and your knife's size and configuration -- along with your appearance and attitude -- will serve as major factors in his decision.

If you're thinking of a survival/fighting knife for a wilderness survival scenario, you have a lot more latitude. But I can't recommend a single knife that does it all.

As I've recently begun the planning and assembly stages of my own "Bug Out Bag" (BoB), I've realized that while surviving with just one knife is "manly" and Spartan, it probably makes surviving harder than it has to be.

So, here are the knife-type tools I plan to have in my disaster survival kit:
  1. A good hunting knife (maybe my Cold Steel Master Hunter) taped to one of the shoulder straps of my pack, hilt downward so I can access it easily;
  2. A two-edged fighting knife taped to the other strap (subject to further thought);
  3. An LTC Kukri attached to the pack (so I can access it by reaching over my shoulder) for cutting through brush & light chopping;
  4. A folding camp knife, such as issued to the military in the Vietnam era, with knife blade, can opener, screw driver, etc.
  5. A Kershaw multi-tool (technically, it's a knife, since it has a knife blade) which features a vise-grip rather than pliers -- the extra hand you often need.
The fighting knife may be moot, since I have the kukri.

The biggest argument against multiple knives is the extra weight. So, would you rather be tired from carrying more tools or from the extra work it takes to force a tool to do something it's not entirely good at?

If the weight is that great a concern, divide the knives among the BoBs of your family or survival unit.

I know this is not the answer you were looking for, but if it stimulates your thought processes, I'll be happy whether you ultimately agree with me or not.

Addendum: that last paragraph sounds a little harsh, and I did not mean it that way. What I mean is that you will do best by thinking about the tasks your knife (knives) will have to perform and then making your choice(s) on that basis. As always, my opinions are just the opinions of someone who still has a lot to learn, so I expect some folks to take exception based on their own knowledge, skills and experience. At this site, honest disagreement over the details is perfectly okay.

1 comment:

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Now you really have me thinking....

Most of my knife ruminations have been along the lines of what to carry every day.

Thanks for turning my wheels yet again!

Spencer