In the previous post I discussed a few reasons why I believe carrying a knife should be given serious consideration by concealed carry practitioners. In this post I will show you a few of the knives that I have that I believe are worthy of consideration. There are other knives that are equally suitable to carry, but the knives I am mentioning are to show the reader examples of what I believe are the types of knives suitable for concealed carry.
Remember, Wisconsin's concealed carry law does not allow one to carry switchblade knives. Switchblade knives have an undeserved reputation for being evil weapons, and as such they have been prohibited by ill-considered bad legislation. On the other hand, switchblade knives do not offer any particular advantage to the average user.
As is the case with smaller handguns, smaller knives are easier to conceal. One might be tempted to say that both larger handguns and knives are potentially more powerful weapons than their smaller counterparts. There may be a certain amount of truth to this, but the variables are so numerous that one cannot say this is true in every circumstance. When it comes to choosing a knife to carry one must consider many of the same questions as when choosing a firearm, e.g., manner of dress, comfort, ease of concealment, accessibility. There is no perfect answer to these questions, and like all security-related issues one must be satisfied with a well-thought compromise when making a final decision.
You will see that in general I favor fixed blade knives over folding knives for concealed carry. There are two reasons for this. First, fixed blade knives are mechanically simple and not prone to breakage. More importantly, fixed blade knives are easier and quicker to deploy under most conditions. Fixed blade knives only require that the knife be drawn from the sheath to be brought into action. Folding knives must be drawn and then opened. Opening a knife requires greater dexterity and fine-motor skills then simply drawing a knife from a sheath. Fine-motor skills quickly deteriorate under the extreme stress of a violent encounter. Additionally, it may be difficult to open a folding knife while being physically attacked. While there are many excellent folding knives, one must test and critically evaluate each one to judge its practicality of use under combat conditions.
The knife pictured above is the Safe Maker II made by Cold Steel with a manufacturer's price of $90. This is a push dagger knife with a 3.25 inch blade and can be worn as a boot knife, neck knife or on the belt. I wear mine on the belt on the side opposite of my gun. This knife is primarily used as an aid to gun retention. If an opponent attempts a gun snatch from my holster, my strong side hand is used to retain the gun while my weak side hand draws the knife in order to offer a strong incentive to my attacker to let go. The edges on this knife are razor sharp, a feature one normally finds on all Cold Steel knives.
This little neck knife is a Columbia River Fixed Falcon with a 2.12 inch blade. Unfortunately this knife is discontinued by the manufacturer (CRKT - Columbia River Knife and Tool) and had a manufacturer's price of about $25. This knife is well-made, very sharp, small and light and easily concealed under a shirt. The sheath holds the knife very securely, but allows for a quick draw. Similar models are easily found.
A somewhat larger neck or boot knife that I carry is the Point Guard by Cold Steel. This knife has a 4 inch blade and overall length of 6.75 inches. I believe this knife is also discontinued but still available from knife distributors via the Internet for less than the manufacturer's suggested price of $70. Drawing the knife from the sheath does require putting pressure on the large "button" that is accessible through the hole on the knife, but the action is very fast and easily performed.
A well-known and popular boot knife that can be bought on the Internet at far below the suggested retail price of $65 is the Kershaw Military Boot Knife. With a 4.5 inch blade and overall length of 9 inches this knife is reasonably sharp and very comfortable in the hand. The knife comes with a sheath that offers a number of carry modes including on the belt vertically or horizontally, boot carry, and what can best be described as a "shoulder holster" rig. At one time I considered this knife to be the largest knife that I would consider carrying concealed. However as you will see my thoughts on size have been modified. This knife is and excellent bargain!
As stated above, generally I favor fixed blade knives over folders. The folding knife I am holding in the picture above is one of the few exceptions that I make. This knife has almost legendary status as a combat knife. This is the "Civilian" manufactured by Spyderco. The knife looks wicked and it is wicked. The hooked 4.125 inch serrated blade is razor sharp. The thin but strong point allows the user to employ a number of special compliance techniques to persuade the person on the wrong end of the knife to move in the direction that the user wants them to move. The knife was designed as a last ditch defensive knife although a number of offensive techniques have been specifically developed around it also. With a suggested retail price of $280 it can be found for approximately half that price with a bit of shopping.
One of the other few folding knives that I carry and recommend is pictured above. This is the 6-inch blade version of the Ti-Lite from Cold Steel. This knife also comes in a 4 inch version and slightly more expensive aluminum handle version. Mine has the synthetic Zy-Ex handle and a suggested price of $85. A little shopping around can put one in your hands for somewhat less money. This knife is a rather large folder, but since it is a folder it allows one to carry a fairly substantial knife in the pocket. The knife is very strong and sharp, and the greatest advantage is the inclusion of a quillon that one can snag on the edge of the pocket allowing the knife to open very quickly as it is drawn from the pocket. This knife is very fast to put into action, opening faster than any switchbade. Because of the speed and ease of opening the knife as it is drawn from the pocket, I consider this to be a folder that does not have the disadvantage of being a folder. As an side benefit, while in the pocket this knife looks to be no different than any other pocket clipped folding knife. But appearances can be deceiving as it is a surprisingly large knife with an overall length of 13 inches when open. I carry mine often and highly recommend it.
Getting into the area of larger fixed blade knives I like the balance and rugged construction of the Roton manufactured "Talon Dagger." This is an 11 inch overall knife with a 6 inch double edged blade. The knife is not particularly common, but can be found for sale in the $200-220 range. This is a true combat knife that is quite sharp and beefy. Since it is a large knife I have carried it only a few times. It is very secure, yet quick to deploy from its very well-made Kydex sheath.
Another favorite of mine is quite a bargain also. This is the Hissatsu from Columbia River (CRKT) which has a suggested price of around $110. Mine came shaving sharp out of the box. It has a 7.125 inch blade and a total length of 12.25 inches. This knife was made for speed and its light weight and balance make it an excellent carry knife and a very formidable weapon for close combat. The grip has a semi-soft rubbery texture which feels secure in the hand. The glass-filled nylon sheath is nice also.
Certainly one of my favorite combat knives is this classic: the Mark II by Gerber. Variations on this knife have been around since the Vietnam War. The current version sells for around $116, perhaps less if one shops around. The knife has a 6.5 inch double-edged blade and an over length of 12.75 inches. Wickedly sharp and perfectly balanced it is very worthy of its near-legendary status as a combat knife. The only drawback to an otherwise perfect fighting knife is the old-style ballistic nylon sheath that makes it a bit slow to deploy and limited in mode of carry. Seeing that it was designed for military use this is no great surprise. The sheath is designed to be worn on a belt, with a string tying the bottom of the sheath to the leg. If one wears long coats the knife can be concealed, but it is somewhat limiting. Perhaps a custom-made Kydex sheath is in order!
The last knife I will show is the Buck Nighthawk. This particular model has been discontinued, but is probably available online. I believe Buck Knives still manufactures a very similar model with a list price of $116. Mine has a 6.5 inch blade and total length of 11.25 inches. This is not a true combat knife, but more of a tactical/survival knife. However the balance and feel of this knife makes it very suitable for defensive purposes. The rubberized grip makes this knife a pleasure to handle and I carry mine often. As with the Gerber Mark II, the major disadvantage is the nylon sheath that does not lend itself to as fast of deployment as one might desire for fighting purposes.
This summary is by no means inclusive of all the knives that I recommend. Perhaps I will introduce you to a few others in future posts.
A final word however: do not use your fighting knives as your utility knives. Carry your Swiss army knife, Leatherman tool or other knife for your utilitarian needs. Very few days pass by without me using my Swiss army knife, with the most use coming from the small blade, the magnifying glass or the scissors.