Knives for Every Day Carry (EDC)
Though we usually address firearms related topics, we thought it might be a good idea to address something that many conceal permit holders also carry – a knife. What type of knife should you carry? What style should it be? Out of what metal should it be made? Below, we have listed some interesting components of selecting a knife for everyday carry. Please keep in mind that knife laws vary from state to state so make sure you allow those laws to overrule any of the information you see below.
Purpose – Knives can be used for many different things. They can be used for self-defense, hunting, cooking, utility, and much more. Make sure you know the primary purpose of your knife. Things such as blade shape and the type of steel you will use vary depending on the knife’s purpose.
Metal – There are many different types of steel used to make knives and different combinations of alloy elements (carbon, chromium, nickel, etc.). Things such as edge retention, corrosion resistance, strength, etc. all have to be taken into account when selecting a knife. Essentially the whole “which metal is best” issue boils down to a spectrum with “hardness” on the one side and “toughness” on the other. The harder a steel is the better it will retain an edge, however it is also more brittle and can’t take as much of a beating. A tougher knife is usually a softer but more durable metal that you have to sharpen often but can take a beating. Most knives try to obtain some combination of hardness and toughness and land somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
Accessibility – If the knife is for defensive carry then it is essential that you can get to it quickly. A fixed blade knife in a sheath can be accessed very quickly (assuming you don’t have buttons or straps on it). However, it may be harder to conceal than a folding knife. Most people use some type of folding knife that may have a spring assist, be fully automatic, or that they can just open with a flick of their finger or hand. It is important that your blade is able to “lock” once it opens so it doesn’t close on your fingers in a real situation.
Blade shape – It is important that you select a blade shape for your knife that corresponds with the purpose for which you carry it. If you are cleaning a deer you may want a gut hook or drop point. This is different than using the knife for utility or defensive carry. For defensive carry you want the blade to do two things: First, you need a blade that will pierce. This is where a clip point, spear, or Japanese-style point can be helpful. Second, you need a blade that will make a long, smooth cut. The longer the blade “stays in the cut” the better at slicing it will be. You have a lot of options.
Serrated or straight – A common question for those who go to buy a knife is, “should I get a serrated (or partially serrated) knife or a straight edge?” Again, it all depends on its purpose. A straight edge is easier to sharpen and is better if the knife is used for defense. However, a partially serrated edge is great for utility (cutting rope, etc.) and is also not too shabby when used in defense. Some people prefer a straight edge for defense (so the maximum amount of blade edge stays in a cut for the maximum amount of time) but, for heavy utility, a serrated edge is better. The straight edge is usually easier to sharpen yourself, while the serrated edge stays sharper longer but you made need the services of a professional knife sharpener to bring the edge back eventually. In all practicality, both blade types can be used for both purposes. Select the one that is right for you.
Blade grinds – There are several ways that blades are “ground” to make them sharp. If you were to point the tip of the knife towards your eye (don’t try this at home) and look at the edge of the knife you would see that the edge of the knife is narrower than the rest of the knife. Some blades are flat ground which makes the whole knife (with its edge) look like one big slender triangle. Others, like a machete, are sometimes just sharpened on one side (what is called a chisel grind). Most knives that are used for self-defense have some type of saber, hollow, or V grind. This just means that the cutting edge of the blade is thinner than the back of the knife which makes it sharp, but also gives the blade more thickness for durability higher up.
Training – If you carry your firearm for defense, you also carry the responsibility to be properly trained. The same moral responsibility applies if your EDC knife is intended for self-defense. Seek training! Carry your firearm everywhere it is legal to do so. Carrying a knife every day is also an excellent idea. We hope that you find some of these tips helpful in selecting a knife for everyday carry.