EDC fixed blades

A little while ago, I was chatting on IRC with a few folks about knives.  A couple of them told me that they prefer carrying fixed blades.  I’ve been puzzling over that for a while.  I still don’t get it.

I’ve generally had the impression that most folks in “polite society” disapprove of folks having larger fixed blades attached to their sides.  Sure, go camping, spend a good bit of your time in the woods, etc and you’ve got to go for the right tool for the job, but you’ll get strange looks walking down main street with a Kabar hanging off your hip.  This mean that you’re pretty much looking at smaller blades that can slip into your pocket.

Since I’m a fan of knives, I decided to pick one of these little blades up from Academy the other day.  They didn’t have a great selection, but I was able to pick up a Buck Smidgen.  I will quickly admit that it’s not the finest example out there.  The one that I picked up desperately needed sharpening, and I know people aren’t particularly impressed with 420HC stainless steel when it comes to keeping an edge, but this was more of an experiment in carrying a fixed blade than this particular knife.

I still don’t get it.

Here’s a a couple pictures to explain why:

The comparison knife is my Syperco Endura, which is my largest EDC knife.  As you can see, you’re looking at about the same length with the Endura closed and the Smidgen sheathed.  When deployed, the Smidgen’s overall length isn’t much longer that the Enduras blade!  Yes, the Spyderco is thicker and wider, but it’s the length that is at the limit for reasonable EDC for me.

I know some say that it’s easier/faster to deploy a fixed blade in a self defense situation, but I’m not convinced given that any fixed blade would have to have a retention system of some sort to be dealt with.  I’m also of the mind set that if I can’t deploy my Spyderco in time, I’m probably not going to be able to reach for anything in time and am better off hand to hand, but that’s another hive of bees to be poked.

There’s also the argument that fixed blades are inherently stronger designs than folders.  That’s true, but I’ve never had a good quality lock blade fail on me.  I did have a $1.50 bargain-bin knife fail on me, but it was a complete piece of junk with a price to match.

So what am I missing?  If I had chosen a different a different small fixed blade, would I have had an aha moment?  Am I blindly looking over something?  Please let me know.  I always love having a new excuse to buy something sharp and pointy.

*edit: Just noticed that something ate part of this post.  It very well may have been me, but I can’t remember what it was.  Be assured that whatever it was, it was brilliant.  Deleted the couple words that made it obvious that I was going to say something else.*

9 comments to EDC fixed blades

  • Pyrotek85

    I think that while fixed blades are stronger overall, modern quality made folders are very strong, especially for what most people use them for. Of course I’d like it if I were able to carry a large knife without drawing extra attention, but the reality is you can’t in most places. I carry a SOG Trident Tanto by the way.

  • … I got nothing.

    I keep a Kershaw folder clipped to my pocket pretty much 24/7, but my murse has a Leatherman and a small fixed-blade (ESEE Izula) in it too.

    Why? … Because I can. I’m sure I could manage with any ONE of them 99.9% of the time. If I only had to pick one of them to keep with me, it’d probably be the Izula – because it can do everything the folder can, is arguably lighter, stronger, easier to clean, and more comfortable to hold.

    • Oddball

      But I noticed that it’s the Kershaw that rides in your pocket, not the Izula. The Izula looks like a nice knife (that I’m adding to my want list), but, at 6.25″ + whatever the sheath adds, it’s a bit too big for me to slip into my pocket comfortably. Especially when you consider that my Delica has a similar length blade, but is only 4.25″ long when closed. The Delica also has a longer handle to boot.

  • +1 to what ZerCool said:

    because it can do everything the folder can, is arguably lighter, stronger, easier to clean, and more comfortable to hold.

    There’s a couple of different camps on fixed-blade knives. One camp wants a fixed blade that is useful for cutting only; these people tend to gravitate toward Moras and puuko. The other camp wants a sharp pry bar that does a lot of different things (most of them poorly, especially cutting) and is guaranteed not to break. Those are the ones that buy ESEE’s, R.A.T.’s, and Busse.

  • IANAL, but…

    In Maryland, anything that folds is a “pen knife”, regardless of size.

    Everything that does not fold is a “dagger, dirk, or push knife”

    Having a “pen knife” is legal, having a dagger is a felony. Say what you want about the right to keep and bear arms, I don’t want to be a test case.

  • It’s a question of utility and circumstance. When I lived in the city I carried a Benchmade folder and that was all I needed. It worked great.

    When I moved out to the toolies, I found that the folder wasn’t getting it anymore. My new dusty environment caused problems, I once almost lost it because it came unclipped from my pocket, and I sometimes needed a “sharp pry bar.” Now I carry a Gerber Freeman, which in some ways isn’t the knife my Benchmade is – but it doesn’t give me the problems the Benchmade did.

    When I visit the city, I carry the folder. It’s just a matter of circumstance.

  • Jumbo

    I carry a leatherman micra with scissors in my pocket for cutting in polite society.

    I carry a 3.5 inch folder in my strong rear pocket for heavier cutting around the house or work, that could also be used for defense.

    I carry a concealed Glock 19 on my strong side.

    I carry a 3 inch fixed blade in my front appendix area that is well hidden, and in a good sheath that’s attached to my belt with a piece of black 550 cord. I can grasp the handle and draw this knife with either hand. This knife is for very impolite society.

    Everyone in the world has now seen MMA and knows what the rear naked chokehold is. I learned about it in the military and LE. Criminals know what it is too. If you’ve ever been in one, you know you’ve only got about 7 seconds to get out of one before you pass out. Typically the assailants legs are wrapped around you in such a manner that you can’t get to your gun or pocket knife. The fixed blade belly knife is your last chance to avoid possible brain damage or death, you don’t want to be fumbling around trying to open a folder with your weak hand and wasting those precious seconds.

    Typical defensive response would be to draw the knife and either cut/stab at the femoral artery or cut/stab at the eyes/face of the assailant to get him off your back and to release your throat.

  • Eric

    I recently got interested in carrying a fixed blade as an EDC and got a CRKT Folts Minimalist. There are three different blade styles to choose from; bowie, wharncliffe, and tanto. The pluses for me over a folder are faster deployment when it’s on the bottom of my back pocket so that there isn’t a clip sticking out that can catch or scratch stuff like a folder. I just reach in and pop off the sheath with my thumb and pull it out. The finger grooves allow for a very secure grip as well.

    Go check it out and I think you’ll find it’s design works much better.

  • Hey Odd. I’ve been carrying both a fixed blade and a folding blade every day at work for years now. The folding blade is a working blade, but the fixed blade is carry inside the pocket offhand. It is the same knife I carry, in the same way, for when I am carrying a handgun. One of the issues with a folding blade is that you require space and an extra step to deploy. After the draw from the pocket, the pivot path must be unobstructed and enough force must be maintained to open the blade to the locked position. My fixed blade is carried with its sheath mounted to a karbiner that is clipped to my pocket. When I draw it, once the sheath comes above the pocket rim it anchors and the blade is drawn in full readiness. That fixed blade is primarily for use against someone trying to disarm me. That means toe to toe. I couldn’t trust a folding blade to be put into action like a small fixed blade should. Automatic folding knives are easier to use in these situations vs a manual. However, the draconian laws of both the feds and many state governments often make buying and carrying difficult. Training is important for both sorts.

    There’s a lot of decent small fixed blades coming out these days. I carry a cold steel mini-tac tanto. It has a subhilt that gives it excellent retention. There are various ring types, and others. I’m sure we’ll discuss this more in the #gunblogger_conspiracy

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