The Back up Knife
Sure, you carry a gun everyday, along with keys, a mobile device, and other items, but what about that all-too-often needed item that we rarely think about. Yes, the humble knife. Odds are, if you are a gun person, you are a knife person as well.
(The three things you never leave the house without)
Why the knife
There are a million and one uses for the average sharp pocketknife. I grew up in the South and it was a passage of manhood to learn how to safely operate a folding penknife. By the time I was six, I was issued an old Barlow folder by my grandfather and expected to keep up with it. This of course led to a few sliced fingers, trimmed leaves, one whittled bar of soap, a cut hose (it was an old hose anyway), and a few initials carved in various live and dead pieces of wood. However I grew past that stage and have carried a knife ever since.
Moving into adulthood, I have carried a knife both for utilitarian purposes as well as for last-ditch self-defense. In a career that included nearly a decade in law enforcement and another in high-threat force protection, I carried a personal back-up knife everyday. Typically on the off-hand side (e.g. on my left hand side if I was right handed, in other words opposite of my gun-hand), so that if my gun hand was injured, I could still respond with the edged weapon if needed as a last ditch. Usually this meant the knife was a clip-on variety, tucked into my left hand front or back pocket corner. Further, I practiced deploying said blade regularly.
Good choices for a blade
(These are all on my list of often-carried and often used. They include from the left to the top and right: a Kershaw Speedsafe, a Bokker Ceramic knife, a custom forged fighting knife, a CRKT Minmalist, a Victorinox Officier Suisse, a Gerber razor knife, and a Benchmade 10750. A blade for every occasion! Your personal choice of course, is up to you)
The rule of thumb with a back-up knife is to carry the largest knife you can, that's still concealable, deployable, and isn't going to make the people around you absolutely loose their collective sh*t if you pull it out to open a box with. You want to balance necessity, with use and comfort of carry. Small fixed blade knives like the CRKT Minimalist can work for such benign tasks as cutting an apple at work, while still proving razor sharp and very handy if ever needed for defense. I personally like a wide range of knives that I carry and use often.
(A discussion about various back-up knives)
When Plan B becomes Plan A
There are those times where legal open or concealed carry of a handgun is prohibited by law. When your firearm becomes verboten, such as in an establishment where 'no guns allowed' signs forbid carry, it is often still legal to tote a pig sticker with you. For instance, in most Social Security Offices, Federal Law expressly forbids the possession of firearms by anyone --even local law enforcement inside the building. However, knives with blades under 2.5 inches are generally allowed. In those scenarios, you have to keep your pistola at the house or in your car, but that compact blade is better than nothing.
What do you carry?
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