A few blogs ago I spoke about not just being a gun guy, but more of a combatives guy. That prompted a conversation regarding knife selection. Just like anything that is a very personal choice, kind of like 9mm vs. 45ACP. (Just kidding, couldn’t help myself)
During our Combative Edged Weapons class we discuss some features that you want to look for when choosing a folder for everyday carry.
The first thing you need to consider is do you look at the folder as a tool or letter opener. I see so many folks who don’t really select their folder based off being a good knife. A case in point, thrusting versus slashing. If you can agree that thrusting is optimal to reach the vital anatomy then serrated blades are like tits on a bull. That also dove tails with the length of the blade. Before you get too excited, make sure to check your local/state laws for legal blade length. I find a good 3″-3½” to be ideal or about the width of your palm. Plenty of penetration depth to reach most of the organs that might be targeted along with most clothing. As for the blade type or material; well that is a whole can of worms. I prefer a drop point type blade, but tanto and spear points are pretty popular.
After that you want to consider the method of opening, or opening feature. I prefer the thumb stud, but a thumb hole and T-post are pretty popular. Each has merits, but I find the thumb stud works very well from the right side or left side, gives depth to the ledge to allow more positive opening.
The next feature you want to look at is the locking mechanism. There are three main types, the Axis™ Lock, liner lock and spine lock. I prefer the Axis™ as it is ambidextrous and very sturdy. The liner locks are sturdy as well, but typically not ambidextrous and then spine lock needs to have a the lock beveled to avoid accidentally closing with a firm grip.
The body type is personal preference again, but I prefer lighter plastic or glass-filled handles. They are plenty rugged, with good grip texture and of course nice and light. Since I carry a knife on me almost all the time, like when I’m running that is an important feature.
Since most of the folders are designed for daily carry the pocket clip is pretty important. Prior to your purchase, you need to decide on whether you will go tip up or tip down. Some model can have the clip adjusted to allow for left or right hand carry as well as tip up or tip down for total adaptation to the user. I prefer to carry the tip up so that limits my choices somewhat, but I have the option for left or right carry.
There are a lot of other features such as assisted opening or automatics and I strongly discourage you from using them as an everyday carry folder. I have plenty and they are neat, but not a good choice for real fighting. Since they are carried in the front pockets these auto can inadvertently open generally cutting the user on the inside of the thigh. You can see where I am going with that, then some will choice to employ the small and often times suspect “locking features”. Kind of defeats the purpose of a quick opening blade.
These are some of the main points we provide students who are looking for a good everyday folder. It really narrows the field down, which is not a bad thing.