I’ve always been interested in knives, and I’ve carried a pretty large selection over the years. As a teenager I got caught up in the Rambo craze and saved my pocket money for a “survival” knife, complete with hollow handle (which was held on with an unlocked nut, and didn’t take long to fall off). I’ve had a wide assortment of pocket knives, ranging from simple Opinel lock blades to Swiss Army knives. I’ve lost quite a few, broken quite a few more and discarded most of the rest as useless. But I still carry a knife with me a lot of the time, and while people’s first reaction on finding out is usually “Why do you carry a weapon?” their second is inevitably “Hey, can I borrow your knife for a minute?”
Obviously that makes perfect sense – knives are useful. Along with some way of starting a fire, a knife is one of the two most important survival tools you can ever carry. With a knife you can defend yourself, cut materials to make shelter, fire and other tools, prepare food and generally keep yourself alive.
When you’re on duty, however, my personal opinion is that you need two knives – one on your belt or gear, one in your pocket. There are a couple of reasons for that. The size of what you can carry in your pocket is limited, but you’re pretty much guaranteed to always have it with you. A belt knife is more likely to be lost or separated from you but can be larger and sturdier.
Let’s look at the pocket knife first. After lots of experimenting, I finally decided that a good multi-tool is the best option. Sharpen the main knife blade to a surgical edge and you have a cutting tool plus a bunch of other useful attachments. I currently have a Leatherman Super Tool, but I’m tempted by the Wave. The Super has loads of handy gadgets though. Straight and serrated knives, a saw, pliers, file and multiple screwdrivers mean you can make or repair just about anything with it. It’s a bit heavy, but I think it’s worth it for all the capability it packs in. I honestly don’t see the sense in carrying a conventional pocket knife when a good tool has so many more uses.
As for belt knives, my advice is keep it simple. I currently have two – a classic Kabar USMC combat knife and a khukuri. The Kabar doesn’t need any introduction; it’s a strong but simple knife with a good-sized blade that holds a good edge. On the other hand, if you’re already issued with a decent bayonet, the Kabar doesn’t bring much else to the party, which is why I find myself more and more attracted to the khukuri. The traditional tool and weapon of the feared Ghurkas, this is a much heavier-duty item. Mine is the “Operation Iraqi Freedom” model from KHHI in Kathmandu; it has an eleven-inch blade based on the WWII issue version but with some modern features added, like a blood groove and hollow-ground edge, and comes with a light wood handle and sand-coloured sheath. KHHI is the official supplier to the British Army, so their knives are solidly made even if they sometimes look a bit agricultural, but there are some modern western interpretations of the design as well. If you’re looking for a heavy knife that can double as a machete these take some beating – the curved blade, with most of the weight well forward, gives them amazing cutting power.
Knives are a very personal thing and we all have our own preferences, but you should never go on duty without some sort of cutting tool, and I really recommend having two. What pair of blades suits you best?
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.