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.*