Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What knife should I carry?

Dear Professor Prepper,

What knife should I carry?

That’s easy. The Gerber Silver Trident.

Too big, you say? Then how about the Spyderco Ladybug?

Too small? Then the Benchmade Nimravus.

Doesn’t fold? Oh, then you must be looking for a Kershaw Ken Onion Tactical Blur.

Don’t like the handle? Well then how about the Surefire Delta.

Too expensive? Then how about a Buck Nobelman?

Not strong enough? Then how about the...

You know, why don’t you just tell me what you want the knife for and I’ll tell you which one is best for you.

Let’s see, you want a lightweight, strong folder, of high quality, with a functional blade shape, one hand deployment but not automatic, excellent steel, textured handle grip, and a price around $100.

That’s easy. The Benchmade Griptillian. You even get a choice of sizes, blade shapes, and plenty of other options. It’ll cost you about $80 online, or if want a totally customized set of Benchmade pieces, they offer such a service on their website.

Benchmade will custom-make your knife with your choice of right and left hand handle colors, serrated or plain edge, blade shape, blade steel, black or satin blade color, highlight colors, and even blade text, and get this, blade image (uploaded from your computer). That  last point should be a hit with the zombie lovers. But none of that really matters here.

The Griptillian won’t turn any heads when it comes to bulk, beef or mass. What makes the Griptillian knife so great is that it is a true performer, and a worthy EDC. And the Griptillian offer choices. Some prefer the tactical black blade and black handle of their black opps dreams, while others go for “emergency orange” to complete their hero fantasies. Black is less obvious, but can look scary. Orange is highly visible, but the that’s the point, and you hardly look fearsome with a safety orange knife. That latter point is important when you have to whip out your blade in public to open a box or cut some rope.

Folding knives are great except for the fact that they fold. Folding means a hinge, and a hinge means a weakness.

Most of us won’t need to stab a tree then stand on the knife in order to shoot over brush or cars, but then again society usually doesn’t crash down around us. The solution is two knives. An EDC folder, and a fixed blade. The value of a knife is so great that outside of he-man Bowie knives and Tennessee Toothpicks, the size and weight of a second blade is trivial compared to its potential contributions.

My opinion is that the knife is for cutting. Use a different tool for heavy tasks since it might be the end of your knife. Now, as much as any other beer drinker, I love the youtube product destruction videos where paintball mask wearing outcasts chops firewood with a pocket knife. But really, if it comes to that, you got bigger problems. Baton if must, but save some edge for your own jugular.

And then there’s the raging argument between plain and serrated blades. I say get the serrated edge, then then my truck has only six cylinders, and I don’t shoot a 1911. Purists will claim they can cut through anything as well or better than a serrated blade, and their so much easier to sharpen. While smooth edges take less skill and time to sharpen, the rest is hogwash. Like the Glock is for shooting, the knife is for cutting. Sharpening is not the job of the knife. With your smooth edge, try slicing through thick cardboard smart guy. After five inches, your plain blade will useless squeaking like Jeep Wagoneer. And how about plastic sheeting? Forget it. Wet polypro rope? Especially not after dulling your blade on the plastic sheeting. This ain’t a contest solder, it’s a mission.

A razor sharp plain edge is like a fine meal. It’s a pleasure for the moment and makes a fine memory, but still, it won’t last long. And anyway, if you have to ask me, then you need a serrated blade for you pocket EDC knife. But your fixed blade, now that’s a different story for a later time.

My crystal ball gets a little smoky when predicting just when the end will begin, but I have this gut feeling that I might get plenty of use out of my EDC knife long before the fan turns brown. Sure, I got one or two in my BOB, but the essentialness of a knife demands that one is with me at all times. 

My EDC knife must compliment my BOB knives. Since I work in an office and most of my cutting tasks involve envelopes and frozen burrito packages, my EDC is nothing to stick a pig with. However, in my desk, car, truck, daypack, computer bag, and the junk bin on my dresser are many more choices from a Cold Steel tanto, to a Spyderco Rescue, to a Kershaw 1620ST, a Glock field knife, and others. Which all leads me to my final answer to your question “What knife should you carry?”

You should carry a serious knife as often as possible, and a smaller one when the serious one is too much. This EDC carry is merely for day to day operations and back up for when TSHTF. In you BOB you need a fixed blade. A good fixed blade. Not one of those sub $20 specials on Amazon so popular with the hobby preppers. You know the type. The ones who expect a long and loud government warning before the trouble arrives, and only plan the end to arrive conveniently during a warm summer evening, not in the dead of winter while out of town.

Here are the knives to get
(choices influenced by availability, price, warranty, and, of course, experience):

If stuck on a deserted island: Gerber Silver Trident

Small EDC: Spyderco Ladybug, serrated edge

Fixed blade stelth: Benchmade Nimravus
Fixed blade overt / survival: Gerber LMF II (color of your choice)

Fixed blade pig sticker: Glock field knife with root saw

The point of all this is to tell you exactly what you need so you can stop worrying about it and move on to the more constructive aspects of life. Things are great right now so enjoy them. Savor the flavors. Enjoy your pillow. Drink clean water. Waste ammo at the range. But please, please don’t encourage the arrival of the apocalypse. Really, it won’t be fun.

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