The Everyday Pocket Knife

It’s sad and disturbing to think that when my kid(s) are of an age that I trust them with knives, they simply will not be allowed to carry them at school. Of course, this has always been a touchy subject, but I carried one everyday from third grade on. In fact, 9/11 was the only event that caused me to stop carrying a knife, as our population was too scared post-9/11 and I had no patience to deal with the odd looks.

Time passes, memories fade, and look — there’s a knife in my pocket everyday again, but why?

I’ve talked a lot about knives in the past and even offered a few reasons to carry a pocket knife everyday, but I don’t think I’ve convinced everyone just yet — so let’s try and do that now.

There are three keys to wrapping your head around carrying a pocket knife on a daily basis. You need to de-weaponize, utilize, and familiarize your knife.

(Well, you have to buy one too, but that’s another issue all together that I will address in a later post.)

De-Weaponizing

The hardest part about deciding to carry a knife everyday is that, as an individual, you must make the distinction between weapon and tool. A pocket knife is rarely ever a weapon and almost always a tool. Think of your pocket knife less like a gun and more like a hammer. Yes, a hammer can be used as a weapon, but first and foremost it is a tool — so too is your pocket knife.

In the many years I have spent carrying a pocket knife there have been exactly zero times I have needed to use the knife as a weapon and countless thousands of times I have needed it as a tool. You simply won’t find yourself in a situation where stabbing with a 3 inch knife blade is more beneficial than throwing a rock.

Pocket knives are tools, in fact, most knives are — first and foremost — a tool.

Side note: You are not likely to ever convince non-pocket knife carriers that your knife is a tool.

Utilize

If I can convince you of that first hurdle, the next question people always ask is: “What do I need a knife for?”

So, off the top of my head, here’s a list:

  • Cutting things.

Perhaps that is too overly simplified, but it is the truth. I am not going to try and sell you on the idea that carrying a pocket knife is going to change your life, or even save it 1 , but I do believe that carrying a pocket knife results in an easier life.

Easier in the sense that I don’t struggle to rip open some packaging, try to snap a thread off my shirt only to cause a bigger problem, or any of the other various minutia that I encounter in my day-to-day life which requires cutting something. You honestly will be amazed at just how much you could use a knife everyday, but instead you struggle to get by without a knife and that largely works — not fun though.

Familiarization

If you are sold on the the above two arguments, the last hold out is always your comfort level carrying and using a pocket knife.

There is only one way to get over this: you get really, really, comfortable with your knife.

This sounds trivial, and it is, but it will be the one step that takes you from carrying a pocket knife sometimes, to carrying and using your pocket knife everyday. Remember how awkward it was to type on your iPhone when you first got it? Then after some practice and usage you can tap out things quickly and easily. Same principle here, you need to get your knife in your hand and use it — a lot.

The more comfortable you are with your knife, the more you will find it being a natural extension of your hand. Again, like your iPhone probably is.

Practical Advice

You’re convinced now, right?

Now being the good nerd you are you will Google: “best pocket knife to carry everyday”. From that search you will learn two things:

  1. Knife geeks call these types of knives “EDC”, or “Everyday Carry” knives.
  2. Every person has their own opinion as to what the best EDC is, and nobody seems to hold the same opinion.

Since you are now lost, I will offer you two places to start your search: Blade Reviews and Amazon. As you are looking through all the options, you need to consider the following:

  • Blade length. Ideally you should try to keep this under 3-inches, most US States and Cities have regulations surrounding knives over 3.5 inches, so be sure to look that up for your area.
  • Overall length. Most websites won’t tell you the closed length, so you will need to subtract the blade length from the overall length to get an idea of how big the knife will be in your pocket. I prefer a knife between 3-4 inches long when closed.
  • Blade type. Look for a straight edge, nothing with serrations to start. Get a standard “drop point” (the blade shape that looks like your stereotypical knife blade).
  • Price. Keep it under $50 to start.
  • Brand. Stick with name brands, such as: Spyderco, SOG, CRKT, Gerber, Buck, Benchmade, etc.. If it sounds familiar it is probably OK to start, but a quick trip to Blade Reviews will put you at ease.

If this is your first knife, don’t get too hung up on the steel types used. There’s a huge variation in quality, but for a daily pocket knife you can get away with cheaper steel if you are willing to sharpen your blade more often and aren’t worried about using the knife for survival.

Which reminds me, be sure to buy a sharpener.

Parting Wisdom

Buy a knife that you are proud to show off, is comfortable in your pocket, and one that reflects your personality. If you buy a cheesy knife, you will never want to take it out when others are around and this defeats the purpose.

If you buy a knife that you truly love you will want to find things to use it on — and that’s when a pocket knife moves from crap in your pocket, to an essential tool.

  1. Just as your knife is not a weapon, it is highly unlikely it will save your life — just think of how many scenarios you have been in where a knife would have saved your life. That said, it can’t hurt if you are in a bad situation.
Originally posted for members on: October 30, 2012
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