Every Man Needs To Own A Pocket Knife

Even though a permit is not required to have one, I admit to not carrying a pocket knife until 2015. I had realized that I became part of a generational sea change on this item, which I now view as being much more than just a male accessory choice.

It all started when I was at a Garden Center store looking for a trellis, but when I found one, it was bound to several others by nylon zip-ties. I knew I couldn’t saw it free with my keys, so I started to look for some help. I soon saw an old man walking down the aisle and instinctively thought he would have a knife on him, but he didn’t, nor did another man I asked. I then found a store worker who cut them free and off I went with my trellis, though not feeling good about myself or the state of male civilization.

As a kid in the 1970’s, almost every boy carried a pocket knife. It wasn’t a weapon or for showing off, unless it was new. Sometimes you had to actually cut something and scissors just wouldn’t do.

When you were bored, you’d whittle a stick or a piece of wood with it. I have a simple walking stick carved by my great grandfather, and I recall the mystique of watching and helping as he sharpened his knife. In my keepsake box, I have a pocket knife of my father and grandfather. Interestingly, along with a Confederate $5 bank note, Lincoln had one in his pocket the night he was shot.

But times have changed, and I stopped bearing the humble tool that naturally accompanied my forefathers. I am not alone here, and think this happened for various reasons and with certain outcomes.

1. Fewer Men Work With Their Hands Or At Jobs That Need Them

My farmer and forester ancestors needed knives at any potential moment, but for my generation of desk jockeys and mind workers, scissors and box cutters do just fine. This is a banal, demographic reason, but the next ones cut to the core of a man’s soul.

2. The Expanded Safety Culture

Safety is a great thing for us all. Seat belts and even OSHA have had some benefit. In my job as a scientist, we take precautions scientists never gave thought to a few decades ago. People like me in occupations with built-in physical hazards are happy for that.

But when we live our everyday lives with a requirement of eliminating all hazards, we get ridiculous. This leads to safety Nazis who apply their same calculus to pocket knives as they do to guns: viewed solely as a dangerous object to be feared and avoided, and not as an everyday tool that has hazards to be respected.

There’s a reason the 2006 book The Dangerous Book For Boys included topics on uses of knives. The safety culture agitates against even reasonable male daring, much less carrying a tool that could be used as a weapon. This mindset turned rancid as it became codified absurdity through.

3. Zero Tolerance Policies In Schools

It sounds tough, but it’s a cop-out. Adults who abandoned the need of using discriminating wisdom and good judgment implemented “no sharp objects allowed on campus” rules, as opposed to something like “pocket knives may be three inches or shorter” with strict enforcement (liberty with reasonable limits that is age appropriate).

Intractable un-Solomon-like thinking leads to such silly results as boys being expelled for bringing a kitchen knife to school to cut an onion for a science project and for biting a pop tart into the shape of a gun.

You soon realize that when adults don’t use adult discretion, kids don’t learn the right lessons and are trained to have foolish fears. Humble pocket knives became an easy victim. The do-gooders imagined they were protecting kids from switchblade or machete melees, but they forgot that Grace Kelly used scissors to kill the intruder in Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder.

4. The 9/11 Attacks

The pocket knife culture was already feeble, but 9/11 gave it a grievous blow. Swiss Army Knife sales fell by 35% as a result of the attacks. The hijackers interestingly used not knives, but the culturally un-feared box cutter to do their evil deeds: they used our overblown fears against us. Since then, many a pocket knife has been melted into plowshares by the TSA, I assume, after confiscation at airports, including one of mine. All of these contributors have led to another sad consequence…

5. The Emasculation Of Men

I believe the culmination of these factors have led men to be changed and lessened. The old man from whom I asked for a pocket knife at the garden store looked embarrassed to admit his knifelessness, as he knew from whence he had fallen. I felt no better as I had to get assistance from a female store employee, no less, who got some scissors (what else) to cut lose my quarry (what a daring name for a trellis). To complete my humiliation, she had to do the cutting… corporate safety rules, I guess.

As is human nature, some rebel against our anti-knife culture and dive headlong into getting more, bigger and longer blades, but most of us just rolled over, and we were figuratively castrated.

But I’ve decided to not roll over anymore. I didn’t need an impressive knife like my son’s, which doubles as a gun bayonet, but I did ask him to get me a traditional pocket knife for Christmas, and now I carry one with me always.

The two knives I have now are quite different and illustrate the types that are suitable for many guys. My small one is barely 2-1/2 inches long when closed and is a sleek 3/8 inches wide, with two thumbnail opening blades. It serves for minor and general use at work and doesn’t fill my pocket. It looks and works better than a stupid freebee keychain Victorinox-wannabe with bad scissors.

My other knife is almost four inches closed with a full-bellied blade and can be opened with one hand by a thumb stud. It is more useful for chores around the house or in the woods.

A thick, multi-tool Swiss Army knife is useful, but can be too bulky for a pocket, which is why if you have one, it’s likely in your dresser drawer. Just start with your needs and avoid the urge to go full-bore Crocodile Dundee. You may rarely need it, but when you do, you’ll feel better for having your own pocket knife.

Read More: How To Keep Your Knives Blazing Sharp

45 thoughts on “Every Man Needs To Own A Pocket Knife”

  1. A good old Boy Scout issued Swiss Army knife will never fail you. Had mine for many years and all it needs is a small drop of oil each side every couple of years.
    For our US based readers keep the main blade under 3 inches and you are generally fine is any state. For our international base, read your law. I know in some countries even carrying a pen knife over an inch can be a major crime.

    1. True. I lived in socialist Denmark for a short while while working for a Danish manufacturer a few years back. Not one of my better life choices. I had a Gerber stainless locking blade pocket knife that would have landed me in a Danish prison for a minimum of one year. I left it back in the states.

    2. I have about a dozen various knives. I keep one in every room in my house. Always handy. I have a pocket knife as well but I never carry it because its just not worth the risk of jail time. It stays in my desk draw at work.
      Definitely you are not a man if you don’t own a knife. You should see the shock on men’s faces at work when I unsheathe my blade to… open a parcel.

    3. Curiously… I’ve carried a small Swiss knife through TSA several times. Never intentionally, I just forgot about it. I can only assume it was positioned in my side pocket in such a way as to be invisible to those asinine body scanners. That and TSA isn’t known for being anything close to remotely resembling intelligent.
      I sure don’t miss flying!

  2. A great, simple, pocket knife that I personally carry and have for as long as I can remember is Case. It’s american made, holds an edge well and is easy to pocket carry. Think about your grandpa’s pocket knife, that’s a Case knife. Not a paid endorsement, just a regular guy who has used one most all his life.

  3. A Barlow was good enough for Tom Sawyer as well as me from 11 years old until I graduated and traded up to a K-Bar for Uncle Sammy. But we used to bring our shotguns into high school since everyone knew we were going burd hunting that afternoon. And that was 1978. Sadly, it’s the same, slow and stupid argument about safety. (I.e. Control.) Instead of aggressively exterminating our swirn enemies the country turns on its citizens for ensuring “security”. But we never stopped setting aside a pocket knive AND purchasing a Red Ryder BB Gun for each new addition to our extended families. 2nd Amendment and all. With great Rights comes Great Responsibility. MAGA.

    1. I had pocket knives and a Red Ryder BB gun as a kid. Totally awesome. You could buy ammo at a corner store or supermarket, no age limit. These days you can’t own one in Australia, unless you are an adult and have a shooters licence. I think you need to be at least 16, maybe even 18 to buy a knife these days. What a bunch of fags my country has become.

  4. That’s not a knife!
    I bought myself, Pa and Uncle a SOG Power Assist multitool each that we keep on our person while at work or for our projects during down time. A cheaper Leatherman would do the trick, but I like the fact I can use the jaws one handed for anything, freeing up my other hand.
    I don’t take it with me while abroad, I couldn’t allow an overzealous airport officer to confiscate it.

  5. 68 yrs old have never not had a pocket knife on me even throughout school except1 afternoon in Washington d.c. had to hide my schrade single blade trapper out side under a sign to get into a small museum how silly was that.

  6. My Uncle Henry Bearpaw is a superlative knife that has served me extremely well for the decades I’ve owned it.

  7. I’m 62 and have carried knives since my 20’s. I started with the classic Buck 110 Hunter and have had many others since, trying to find one that suits me best. Since I work on things a lot, I often carry two knives and a multi-tool. Right now mt everyday carry knives are a Kershaw Select Fire with a built in screwdriver and bits, a Buck Bantam BHW and a Gerber Freehand multi-tool. The Buck is for heavy cutting since it is a lockback and I don’t fully trust liner locks.
    I learned a Finnish saying while researching Finnish Mosin Nagants:
    “A knifeless man is a lifeless man.”

  8. No only I carry a pocket knife on me all the time, but I also keep in every coat I have an extra pocket knife, plus a small flashlight and a lighter.
    It’s when you quickly need a tool to cut something, to light up a dark space or to make a fire or simple light a candle of a cigarette you understand how handy those things can be.

    1. What is that you are riding? I ride a Honda CBS 600. Been thinking of arming myself while riding. Just in case. But need research the law here in Cali.

        1. Cool. I ride a Honda CBR not a CB(f*c*ing)S! LOL I was thinking more like a legal pocket knife. For firearms in the US you need a concealed carry permit. Too much hassle

  9. Knives are good. Here in U.K. carrying a lockable knife (one you can stab/defend yourself with) is prohibited. They want us totally vunerable and emasculated. Regarding ‘911’ , there is no way anyone can overpower a plane full of people with a ‘box cutter’ knife that is DESIGNED to break like a matchstick if you stab someone, even gently.
    Problem is the Mossad BS merchants that spun this ‘conspiracy theory’ didn’t realise that all knives are not the same as they never do any work or build or create anything.
    They do not realise that NOBODY would sneak a ‘box cutter’ on a plane with the intention of using it as a weapon unless thye had never used one.
    if you tried to take over a plane with a ‘box cutter’ i would stop you, if you stabbed me the blade would break along the purpose made grooves you see on the picture of ‘box cutters’ in the article.
    Even if the blade did not break it would take you at least 10 minutes of constant stabbing to even incapacitate a grown man , let alone kill him.
    And while the not very powerful Saudi guy is doing this the WHOLE PLANE just sits and does NOTHING?
    And this happened on 4 planes at once? Oh yes, silly me , one was ‘brought down’ by courageous patriots at shanksville where there was no crash site and no wreckage!
    It’s clearly bullshit.

      1. But how long would it take you to “slice” someone to death?
        Maybe the other passengers would stand around and time you while they wait for their turn?
        Have you seen too many movies with Arab guys hijacking planes?
        My understanding is that many of the ‘attackers’ were found alive in Saudi Arabia after the event, Mohammed Atta’s passport “just happened” to survive the ‘crash’ and fire and flutter to the ground 2 blocks from the towers.
        Are you really that dumb?

        1. Dude, I wasn’t arguing with you. I was merely restating the official story.
          I am with you on this one and I would actually say this: how the fuck would the feds have know whether someone was stabbed vs sliced?
          The official story is that these people were incinerated when the planes hit the building. Can you do an autopsy on a body that was cooked in jet fuel and then convincingly state whether someone was stabbed vs. had an artery severed?

    1. Patriotic cucked Americans needed a good catalyst to whole heartily support Israel’s nefarious plans for the middle east. To hell with the countless goyim Christian and Muslim lives lost and enslaved in the process. Satan’s chosen must be appeased.

  10. My EDC blade is a Spyderco Tasman Salt in H1 steel, best damned pocketknife I’ve ever owned. The only knock I have about it is the massive pain in the ass it is to sharpen. Before that I carried a CKRT semi-serrated M16 with a tanto tip. Lost it exploring a cave one day, it was a major bummer. As for more exotic blades, whenever I’m out trail running or in a shitty part of town I opt for my Spyderco Matriarch 2 in VG-10 for some extra edge. It’s like the scaled down version of the Civilian and one scary fucking blade, however, it’s utterly impractical as a useful tool.

    1. I have a Civilian, and it is one wicked knife. You’re correct in that it’s basically useless as an everyday tool, and I’ve thankfully never had to use it, but it’s in my pocket whenever I’m in an area that restricts my second amendment rights.

  11. If I use a pocket knife for self-defense won’t I be charged instead of those who attacked me?
    That’s what I heard at least.
    Is there a criminal lawyer in comment section?

    1. @Benny
      Here in Canada that could certainly be the case. It’s a long-standing joke that if someone breaks into your house and you kill/severely hurt them, you’re often given an equally if not lengthier sentence.

  12. Every man needs to own a Kalishnikov PKM. But alas, even in gun-friendly America, our laws still suck. PKMs are hard to get and very expensive when legally available.

  13. What is that you are riding? I ride a Honda CBS 600. Been thinking of arming myself while riding. Just in case. But need research the law here in Cali.

  14. The Gerber pliers and Leatherman tools (and the like) are a godsend. Not only a blade but a pair of pliers and a wire cutter at hand all the time. I had one for 25 years until I lost it, thankfully Ford Trucks was giving them away at a trade show in 2005 and I had that “extra” one in the kitchen “junk drawer” all that time and just switched to that one. Better than a mere knife although any knife is handier than no knife. (BTW, if you can find a copy- check out the old book “how to do nothing with nobody all alone by myself”)

  15. I have a CPL (concealed pistol license) and there is an issue with carrying a pocket knife in some places. I haven’t checked out of state because it doesn’t matter (you will see why) but here in Michigan the legal length of a pocket knife varies by county. And some of the regulations are very short. Yes, I could in theory find out what the shortest one is over all the counties and carry a pocket knife that size or smaller. But that is a lot of work, I’m not sure I can just Google my way to that, and regulations change from time to time, it seems on a whim. How am I supposed to keep up with that? The problem with the CPL is that if you get “busted” for having a knife too long you immediately lose your CPL and you will never get it back. Well, not normal people. If you have lots of money for lawyers and/or friends in high places you could probably eventually get it back. But I don’t have those resources. A guy I know lost his CPL over exactly this scenario. Pulled for a traffic stop that somehow ended up in a pat down. Knife was too long for that county (it was 3 inches), and he lost his CPL forever. The risk of losing my CPL to carry a pocket knife is not a bet I’m willing to make. Additionally, by the time you holster up, add 1-2 spare mags, put your wallet, keys and phone in your pockets you have more gear than Batman. I really don’t want to add a knife to an already big load. I need a weapons caddy.

  16. First Question: Do you need a tool or a weapon.
    Tool: Small tool ->Swiss knife. Large tool: Full tang (google) and tanto for example Eickhorn KM 2000 Field (https://www.amazon.de/Eickhorn-825215-Field-knife-2000/dp/B00KQEN8AE/ref=sr_1_8?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1518688837&sr=8-8&keywords=Eickhorn+KM+2000 ) because of stability.
    Fighting knife: Dagger. For example Eickhorn KM 5000 (https://www.amazon.de/Eickhorn-KM-5000-Glatt/dp/B004EVTX2C/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1518688837&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=Eickhorn+KM+2000)
    Street fighting: Fist dagger
    Always test the sheat. No noise!
    And have a look on tomahawks! (CRKT Kangee)

  17. I carry my spring-assisted Kershaw tanto everywhere I go. The blade is only three inches so legal for me to carry everywhere except schools and airports. I have never had an opportunity (thank heaven) to use it in self defense, but I think the satisfying click of a knife being dawn and opened in a second (yes, I practice with it) might deter any sticky situations I unwittingly find myself in.

  18. Yes, carry a knife but please don’t fall for the fantasy that you’ll use it in self defense. That is a myth. The knife as a weapon is offensive only. The Sharks and Jets haven’t had a rumble in a while and knife duel don’t happen. In the second or less you have when attacked you run, use empty and technique or create space and shoot. Period.
    I was a cop for a while and taught defensive tactics. I never even HEARD of anyone using a knife in self defense.
    You can argue, but you’re wrong.

  19. I agree that running away from a fight is the best defense, but knives are often used defensively.

    YouTube is full of videos showing individuals using knives as a defense. Not the best defense, but still used to some degree of effectiveness.

  20. In my business I use a pocket knife daily and it always goes in the pocket on the way out the door. One of the things that drives me crazy is seeing a grown man trying to open a taped box with a goddam ball-point pen.
    One of my favorite customers would buy a knife from me about once a month just because the last one was dull. Tried to sell him a sharpener and he said he just liked buying pocket knives.

  21. Re; “Zero tolerance”, I have the 0450 titanium slapped Sinkevich ZEROTOLERANCE folder as my EDC, it’s way light and I use it almost every day.
    “F oxtrot T ango W hiskey.”

  22. should be,
    Re; “Zero tolerance”, I have the 0450 titanium slabbed Sinkevich ZEROTOLERANCE folder as my EDC, it’s way light and I use it almost every day.
    “F oxtrot T ango W hiskey.”
    Sorry about that.

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