Benchmade has been a long-time player in the cutlery field, especially everyday-carry and tactical blades. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the company’s models, but a standout this past year has been the Crooked River line. The Crooked River is a big, functional blade that carries well, is easy to operate with either hand and has a reversible clip for either right- or left-side tip-up carry. It has classic lines with a clip-point blade and is rather classy with its stabilized wood scales and orange highlights, but that doesn’t detract from its function whatsoever.</br></br> Blade Steel: CPM S30V</br> Blade Length: 4 inches</br> Blade Thickness: 0.12 inches</br> OA Length: 5.33-9.3 inches</br> Weight: 5.41 ounces</br> Handle: Stabilized wood</br> MSRP: $230
Byrd is Spyderco’s budget line of imported knives, but don’t think that means inferior quality. Spyderco does a fantastic job of ensuring quality control on all of its products, and the Byrds are no exception. While it uses a good but pedestrian 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade, the Cara Cara 2 Ti has a titanium frame and a sturdy lock to make an affordable, light and extremely sturdy folder that won’t bust your budget. </br></br> Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV</br> Blade Length: 3.75 inches</br> Blade Thickness: 0.11 inches</br> OA Length: 4.78-8.53 inches</br> Weight: 3.8 ounces</br> Handle: Titanium</br> MSRP: $100
Columbia River Knife & Tool’s 2-Stage is part of a line of officially licensed knives for Ruger, and it’s a big and bold tanto-point, frame-locking knife designed by Texas native Robert Carter. While the stoutest of the knives covered here, it’s still easy to carry with its four-position pocket clip and flat profile. </br></br> Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV</br> Blade Length: 4 inches</br> Blade Thickness: 0.2 inches</br> OA Length: 5.47-9.44 inches</br> Weight: 8.1 ounces</br> Handle: Aluminum, stainless steel</br> MSRP: $80
The Jarosz Folder is a collaboration between custom knifemaker Jesse Jaroz and KA-BAR, bringing you Jesse’s custom design in a rugged, affordable production knife. The Jarosz Folder comes in two variations: drop-point (shown) and tanto-point designs. Both models use liner locks, glass-filled nylon handles and blades made from hollow-ground AUS 8A stainless steel. The low-profile pocket clip is reversible for tip-up or tip-down carry.</br></br> Blade Steel: AUS A8</br> Blade Length: 3.5 inches</br> Blade Thickness: 0.15 inches</br> OA Length: 4.63-8 inches</br> Weight: 5.6 ounces</br> Handle: Glass-filled nylon</br> MSRP: $55
Kershaw’s Launch 5, a collaboration with Emerson Knives, is part of the company’s automatic knife line. The Launch 5 is a top-end, American-made folder featuring CPM 154 steel and hardcoat anodized aluminum handles. It’s activated by a left-side-mounted push button that is recessed so it’s flush with the handle to avoid accidental activations. The reversible pocket clip can be set up for either right- or left-hand carry. </br></br> Blade Steel: CPM 154</br> Blade Length: 3.4 inches</br> Blade Thickness: 0.15 inches</br> OA Length: 5.1-8.5 inches</br> Weight: 4.1 ounces</br> Handle: Aluminum</br> MSRP: $170
The Dozier Arrow from the Ontario Knife Company (OKC) was designed by custom knifemaker Bob Dozier for everyday carry, and it offers a lot of punch for your dollar. To maintain a slim profile, the knife features liner-less G10 handle scales and a dagger-style, spear-point blade made of D2 tool steel. A single thumb stud allows for one-handed opening, and the pocket clip is set up for tip-up carry. Weighing less than 3 ounces, the Dozier Arrow is a knife that you’ll forget you’re carrying until you need it. </br></br> Blade Steel: D2 tool steel</br> Blade Length: 3.6 inches</br> Blade Thickness: 0.11 inches</br> OA Length: 4.6-8.2 inches</br> Weight: 2.88 ounces</br> Handle: G10</br> MSRP: $79
Consider the Zoom S30V, with its carbon-fiber handle scales, to be the Cadillac of SOG’s Zoom line. Its reversible carry clip and assisted opening mechanism make it discreet to carry yet fast in operation. A manual safety is included in case you’re worried about the Zoom opening a little too fast or too soon. </br></br> Blade Steel: CPM S30V</br> Blade Length: 3.6 inches</br> Blade Thickness: 0.11 inches</br> OA Length: 4.7-8.2 inches</br> Handle: Aluminum, carbon fiber</br> Weight: 4.2 ounces</br> MSRP: $240
The Spyderco Positron Carbon Fiber is an elegant folder that doesn’t sacrifice function for style. With a top-notch CPM S30V blade, carbon-fiber handle scales and a sturdy liner lock, the Positron performs as well as it looks and carries easily in a pocket with its low-profile wire clip. </br></br> Blade Steel: CPM S30V</br> Blade Length: 3.05 inches</br> Blade Thickness: 0.12 inches</br> OA Length: 3.97-7.02 inches</br> Weight: 2.6 ounces</br> Handle: Carbon fiber</br> MSRP: $280
There’s a good chance that if you carry a pistol on a regular basis, you probably already carry a knife. If you don’t, then you really ought to start thinking about doing so. While a knife is certainly useful for a myriad of daily tasks it’s also an important part of your defensive tool kit. Your self-defense gun is only good as long as you maintain control over it, and a properly utilized blade can be an important weapon-retention device.
Weapon retention is a very real thing. As a police officer, I’m very cognizant of my weapon when I’m in public. I typically work in plainclothes, so I’m basically in the same boat as the average armed civilian. I carry my pistol on my strong side in a Level 2 retention holster, with a jacket covering it in most cases. Of course, the first step to retaining your weapon is not letting folks know you have a gun in the first place. That’s one reason I’m personally not a fan of open carry. Why let folks know you have a weapon and give them a chance of taking it?
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But even if you’re careful, people can figure it out. Your weapon might print through your clothes, your clothes can ride up or someone may get a glimpse of it as you go into your pockets, grab your cell phone, reach for that item on the top shelf at the grocery store, etc. In my case, once folks figure out I’m a cop, they know I have a gun whether they’ve see it yet or not. So, it pays to plan for the eventuality that someone is going to realize you have a gun no matter how discreetly you carry it, and that someone may decide they don’t want you to have it any longer.
The best thing you can do is find a class or trainer to help you practice weapon-retention techniques. Practice empty-handed techniques for hanging onto your weapon, keeping it in its holster, and breaking free of the bad guy so you can get some distance and take control of the gun yourself. The other thing you can do is stack the deck in your favor and carry some tools that will help even the odds when you’re taken by surprise and/or dealing with an adversary who’s bigger or stronger than you. In this situation, a blade is one of your best bets.
Knives are easy to carry, easy to deploy one-handed if you make the right selection, and effective at inflicting pain and deterring the person trying to take your weapon. Keep in mind that if a person is going after your weapon, you’re in a life-or-death struggle. The person you’re dealing with may not be armed, but the minute they try to take your weapon, they are a lethal threat. You have the responsibility—to yourself and those around you—to hang onto that weapon. The other thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t a knife fight, and it certainly isn’t a fair fight. Your objective is to get that person off of you by whatever means necessary.
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With that in mind, I carry my knife where I can access it readily with my off hand. I carry my firearm on my strong side, so my primary hand is going to be occupied with controlling my weapon or keeping it in its holster; I need to be able to access my knife with my other hand. So, find a spot on your body where you can clip a blade and access it with one hand, or better yet, with both hands just in case.
Once you access your blade, the key point is pain compliance. Again, weapon-retention training is truly invaluable here. But, whether you’re highly trained or a novice, if calamity strikes, start cutting. A buddy who has spent a lot of years studying martial arts of the Philippines once told me that if you get into a fight with a knife, “Cut what you can.” While an advanced knife fighter is going to have techniques and preferred cuts, when you’re in a down-and-dirty fight with a guy right on top of you, I tend to go with the “cut what you can” theory. A knife jammed into his thigh or side and twisted is going to be pretty distracting. If you can rake the blade across your assailant’s hands or wrist and dislodge him from your gun, that works, too, but the main thing is to keep cutting until he’s off of you. That isn’t pretty or sophisticated, but it works. I know of two incidents personally where that’s exactly what happened, and both law enforcement officers are still here to talk about them. Both had basic police weapon-retention training, but neither had any special knife training.
While a very good argument can be made for carrying a fixed-blade knife, something like the KA-BAR TDI knife for instance, I think most of us end up carrying folding knives of one type or another. They’re convenient, they’re discreet, and there is a huge variety to choose from these days. We really do live in the golden age of cutlery in that there are a great many quality companies out there making a wide variety of blades with different locking and operating systems and carry variations. It’s not hard to find a good knife these days, no matter what your budget is, but it is sometimes hard to figure out what you need because there are so many options available. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the newer folding knives available from a number of top manufacturers to give you some ideas.
For more information on the folding knives featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Benchmade Crooked River
Spyderco Byrd Cara Cara 2 Ti
CRKT Ruger 2-Stage
KA-BAR Jarosz Folder
Kershaw Launch 5
OKC Dozier Arrow SP
SOG Zoom S30V
Spyderco Positron Carbon Fiber
This article was originally published in ‘Pocket Pistols’ Spring 2017. To subscribe, visit http://outdoorgroupstore.com
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