Knives (or sharpened objects) are man’s earliest and most common tool. Archeological excavations often uncover some sort of cutting or chopping tools, no matter how far back in human history we go. Today, we use them just as much. We just make them with more sophisticated materials.
I never considered carrying any kind of pocket knife on a regular basis. Certainly, I’ve owned a few folding pocket knives going back to when I was a kid. But, I never got into the habit of always having a knife on me…. until about 2 years ago.
First, I discovered Spyderco knives. Spyderco is a company based in
Golden, Colorado. They make knives that come in many flavors, high quality, and at affordable prices. Some of their models are nearly custom-built quality. I bought one “Spydie,” and then I was hooked. What I like about Spyderco knives is that while they appeal to collectors and knife aficionados, they are definitely “users.” They aren’t so expensive or so rare that you’d be afraid to use them every day. And, they are high quality that will stand up against time. There are MANY other worthy knife makers. Everyone will have his / her favorites and biases. I just happen to like Spydercos.
“Excuse me while I whip this out.”
I try to work in “Blazing Saddles” lines wherever I can! 🙂 When I decided to add a knife to my EDC (Every Day Carry) “system,” I remained doubtful that I’d ever reach for it during my daily activities. After all, I’m an urbanized dental professional, not a
farmer working in a barn. What I did not expect was how often I DO reach for it… every day. I was honestly surprised.
Most frequently, I grab my knife to open packages at the office and at home. I don’t know about you, but I get a LOT of packages. Instead of going off to find scissors, x-acto knife, box cutter, or a letter opener, I just reach into my pocket. But, there are many other situations where it comes in handy. Spyderco knives (as well as some other brands) have a pocket clip making them always easy to grab and secure in your pocket.
You may have noticed the “Spydie hole” that is present in every Spyderco knife. It allows the user to open the knife one-handed by placing his thumb in the hole and pivoting the blade open. See video below.
A knife saves the day
Last Friday, I was leaving the office to start my weekend. I was going to meet a dentist friend at the shooting range for some practice. I started my car and heard a belt squealing. And, then I smelled a pungent burnt rubber odor. I popped the hood and saw that the tensioning pulley for the A/C belt was seized. The belt was slipping on the seized pulley and burning up. If I had driven the car, the belt would have broken within a few miles. If that happened, it might have tangled up in the other belt (brakes, alternator, steering, and water pump), causing it to fail, rendering the car inoperable. And that means calling a tow truck. I was stuck for the moment. I didn’t have any tools with me (or at the office).
I called my mechanic on my cell phone and he correctly advised me to just cut off the A/C belt. Duh! I wouldn’t have any A/C, but I could drive the car. So, I reached for my Spyderco knife right then and there. It cut through the belt cleanly with a single swipe. Having a good knife handy saved me from being stuck, and I was able to meet my friend for lunch and some range time. I’d rather sweat than be towed (and miss range time with my buddy)! I was also able to drive my car to my mechanic the following Monday to get the pulley and belt replaced.
Handier than a Swiss watch
I also carry a SAK (Swiss Army Knife) for all the little tools it conveniently includes (like screwdrivers, scissors, nail file and cleaner, and tweezers for example). It resides loosely in the bottom of my pocket along with my keys. The blades on SAK are not that great, generally. But, they work in a pinch (the steel is nothing like what you get with Spydercos). I like the quick one-handed deployment of the razor-sharp Spyderco blades for real cutting chores. But, the compact SAK comes in handy more often than I would have anticipated.
Just another tool
Just to be clear, I do not see a pocket knife as a self-defense weapon. I carry one purely as a cutting tool. Edged weapon defense is a specialized skill that requires training and practice. I have not trained with edged weapons. Personally, I prefer not to get that close to the “action.” Though, in a real SHTF situation, you do what ya gotta do, eh? It’s better than nothing.
But, it’s easy to hurt yourself with a knife. Spyderco and other quality knives come hair-popping sharp right out of the box. Every Spydie owner eventually gets his first “Spydie bite.” I poked myself with the tip of a brand new Spyderco while admiring it after unboxing it.
Should you carry a knife? I find having one with me is as handy as a Buffalo knife or Bard Parker is in the lab. My only suggestion would be that, if you do decide to get one for your pocket, stick with a quality product like Spyderco. Another popular brand is Benchmade (although I have no personal experience with them). You can expect to spend between $50 – $200 for any of the nicer Spyderco knives. Many of them are in the $60 – $80 range. My favorite online store is Cutlery Shoppe.com. An excellent choice for a first (and even only) knife is the Sage 1 (just under $100). Click that link and be sure to read the review at the bottom. 🙂 Cutlery Shoppe offers a great variety at the best prices I can find. Service is excellent. Tell them I sent you! (I have no financial interest.)
Video review of a few Spyderco knives:
PS… Had to post a couple more photos of these beauties!
Edit to add on 1/1/21: A knife carried by a “Johnny-on-the-spot” (who happened to be a Marine) saved a baby’s life.