Two Letters Re: Folding Fighting/Utility Knife Recommendations?

Mr. R.:
I read SurvivalBlog regularly – great site – and have been a contributor. It’s worth every penny. I would strongly encourage folks to check out Smokey Mountain Knife Works. I’ve gotten both CRKT and Cold Steel items there at very deep discounts. They’ve had both Kasper and Steve Ryan folders and fixed blades on sale at less than half their sale pricing elsewhere, both CRKT produced versions of those gentlemens’ customs. The Ryan Plan B fixed and the Model 7 folders are knives to have. They’ve had both full-size and compact Pendleton Hunters from Cold-Steel – not just a great knife but they come with adjustable Concealex sheaths, and once again, at prices almost too good.
Browse at Knives Plus for their Blade Clearinghouse. Spyderco has a new line of outsourced knives – the Byrd Line – and their Raven and Crows are the real deal; all metal folders that are very well-made, tight, and sharp. The Raven and Crow are less than $20, for what is essentially a $40 to $50 knife.
I’ve been “prepping” since ’97, filling in the edges as I go, and for “tools” these two sites are way ahead of the pack in choice and performance for price. Trust me – I’m a doctor, and there are no better prices to be found. – MurrDoc from NM


Dear Jim:
I carried a folder for years, but after taking a partial-contact knife class (with dull training blades) I am convinced that a fixed blade is much preferable Bottom line – have you ever tried to open a folder while being tackled or hit? Having done some well-padded half-contact sparring, I can testify how hard it is to pull off fine motor movements with an adrenaline dump, and under attack.

In a dynamic assault you just pull a fixed blade and go, not, “pull it, lever the folding blade open, and then make darn sure it’s locked before fighting, so you don’t cut your own fingers off!”

Just like gun fighting, to get a good idea of what really works you must do a realistic combat simulation – Gabe Suarez has some of the best insights here:

It might even be legal in some of the semi-free states to carry a fixed blade!

Granted, a fixed blade is tougher to carry – but there are options. I like inside the waistband, appendix carry, clipped to the top of the pants, behind the belt.

Knife fighting is scary business! The more I learn about Close Quarter Combat, and how the bad guy who initiates has the advantage, the more I want to be well armed and trained. – OSOM – (Out of Sight, Out of Mind)

JWR Replies: I agree that fixed blade knives are definitely superior for self defense. The problem is that most people don’t have the discipline to carry a sheath knife daily. It is quick and easy to put a clip-back folding knife you trouser pocket every morning. I do just that, every day. (Except of course when I take a commercial airline flight.) But it takes far greater discipline to transfer a sheath knife every time your trousers go in the laundry, or every time that you switch from work jeans to “church” pants. There is the added complicating factor of societal acceptance. A clip-back folding knife elicits hardly more than a second glance–at least outside of big eastern cities. But a sheath knife is a whole ‘nother matter in many social situations. They are also banned from carry in many U.S. cities and counties. IMHO, the practical compromise between the two approaches is to carry a fairly large folder with a very positive automatic lock. (Such as found on most “liner” locks.)

BTW, training is crucial. Close quarter training is available from Front Sight and several other qualified training organizations.With the right training, drawing and opening a folder becomes a fluid, almost automatic reflex. Perfect practice makes perfect.