Jeff Gonzales is Director of Training at The Range at Austin, TTAG’s home facility which opened earlier this year. This piece comes to me via Mr. Farago, and we are happy to pass it along to you.
What to consider when selecting a knife:
by Jeff Gonzales
While the concealed carry world is evolving every day, is there a case to be made for carrying a knife? Knives are an important tool, a tool you may reference as your last, best option.
Recently, I have been working with a student who will be heading into the animal kingdom on the dark continent. The conversation traversed several subjects, but when it came to critical gear there was surprise when I suggested a solid field knife. For the concealed carry practitioner, they probably don’t need a field knife, but a good folder is still a valuable tool. As a general purpose tool it is hard to list the number of times a utility knife will save the day. One of my most valuable items I had with me on every operation and exercise was a good old fashion Swiss Army knife. My fascination with them started in my youth and still to this day I’m a fan of a multiple purpose utility device.
Despite my affection for the old champ, I don’t carry it on me every day. It is reserved for my vehicles and emergency deployment gear. However, I did work with a multi-tool device overseas as my primary folding knife. It fit perfectly into my pocket with its convenient clip, the only problem was it was slow to deploy to serve my needs. That is where the distinction between a utility knife and defensive knife begins. I want my defensive knife to be rapidly deployed into the fight. When people think of carrying a knife little attention is paid to how one will deploy the knife. If it takes you forever and a day to get the damn thing out then it’s like not to matter.
Thrusting for the win
The defensive knife industry is a huge industry and there are several models available to fit your needs and financial requirements. I give students only three recommendations when selecting a defensive knife and the first one is recognizing the intention for said knife. It will be used to stop an attack, an attack where you or a loved one could suffer severe injury or death. Like a projectile fired from a firearm it will need to strike the vital organs in order to achieve an immediate cessation to hostilities. Most of the same organs are accessible to a blade when used in a thrusting manner. Slashing may and often causes disturbing damage, but will it stop the attack? So, the first recommendation is to find a knife with a blade designed for thrusting.
Up or down, find what works for you
Second recommendation is finding a blade with multiple options for carrying on your body. The most common method is a folder with a clip to secure to your pocket, though fixed blades are popular. Since laws very, consult your local area for the legalities of carrying a fixed blade. This feature allows you to carry the knife in a variety of configurations and my suggestion is find a knife that supports your style of fighting or if you have none gives you a blade tip up orientation. This has been the best configuration for my style of fighting. As a safety point, make sure the blade is held shut by the corner of your pocket when secured.
Practice like you mean it
The third recommendation is to select a model that has a training copy. An inert knife trainer usually comes in a different color and non-sharpened blade. The training knife allows you to practice deploying, striking as well as working with a partner in a safe manner. Another safety point, even though these inert trainers have a non-sharpened blade they still hurt when thrust with force so caution is in order. Like dry-firing with safe firearm think of practicing with an inert knife in the same manner. It allows you to explore the true potential as well as preparation. Most comment that using a knife is not hard, true. What is hard is getting the knife into the fight in timely manner and that takes practice.
Knives are an important tool for just about everyone. If you carry concealed consider supplementing your loadout with a good knife designed to fit your needs