Neck Knives, Boot Knives, Swords, Daggers, Cleavers, and Steak knives, oh My! It’s true. Man’s oldest tools have been around forever and are not going away anytime soon. There are thousands of custom knife makers and manufacturers across the globe who are pumping out millions of knives each year. With so many to choose from, the helpful staff here at SKILLSET want to offer several reasons why you should carry a fixed blade everywhere you go.
From kitchen knives to machetes to that little blade included in your multi-tool, knives are indeed a part of our everyday lives. Like with about everything else in this world, collectors and consumers of the world’s edged tools can be overly opinionated.
Five Reasons You Should Carry A fixed Blade
While some users are like, “eh, it’s a knife, I use it to just rope and boxes at work,” many are like,” I only use the finest super steel, with superior edge retention to cut my lunch apples.” Without a doubt, whatever the end user decides is best for them in a knife is best for them. But the key word here is “best,” and on many occasions, that tends to put all the “knife experts” on opposing sides of an argument. Another argument is what kind of knife one should EDC.
Most will argue a fixed blade, some a folding knife, some a multi-tool. Some, like myself, will carry all three.
Some may argue that carrying a fixed, a folder and a multi-tool may be a bit much, but it is not. But In today’s article, I will give five solid reasons why if you choose to carry only one knife, it should be a fixed blade. Know, to be fair. I am a knife designer. Having designed everything from neck knives to folders to short swords. I always have everything either on my person or in my vehicle. If I only have one knife on me, it is a fixed blade.
1. Moving Parts Can Fail
Regarding fixed blades, it almost seems like the materials are endless. While there are super steels out there that can be used with many knives, fixed or folder, I tend to stick to tried and true. One affordable, proven steel for a fixed blade is 1095 High Carbon Steel. A lot of outdoor knife companies like TOPS KNIVES and ESEE Knives (both based in Idaho) like to use this steel for a variety of reasons. It is strong, is easy to sharpen in the field, and holds an edge well.
While you can get 1095 on a folding knife, it is generally more used on fixed hard-use blades. Because it is High Carbon steel, it is susceptible to rust, so it is essential to keep it cleaned and oiled after every use. Skip high-carbon steel if you are a scuba diver. There are titanium diving knives, such as the Audeamus Titanium Dive. Titanium knives are lightweight and rustproof.
Also, with a fixed blade, you do not have to worry about locking mechanisms that can fail. For the most part, most of us do not use our knives in the hardest of ways. But there is a population that does. I sold a $450 Benchmade OTF knife to a friend who owns a stone countertop company. He beats this little knife to hell, cutting everything it can in his warehouse. He showed me the blade, and it was everything but destroyed.
Almost everything on the knife is loose in the wrong places. The blade does not always lock out, and it’s missing screws. Now, this is a perfect example of the wrong tool for the job. He clearly did something to mess up the spring and lock mechanism. What he did, I am not sure. But I know that a small, stout fixed blade with no moving parts would probably be better for whatever it is that he is doing over there.
No matter what materials may be used, the more parts you have, the greater chance of failure in the field. I say use the method “Two is one, one is none,” so carry a fixed and a folder.
2. Faster To Deploy
There is not a folding knife in existence that can open faster than a knife that is already open. If there is, I would like to buy one. Seriously though, because a fixed blade is ready to go as soon as it is drawn, it has a lot of advantages. This is something to keep front of mind if you are carrying a knife for self-defense purposes, but other reasons. In most cases, the knife is used as a tool, like a hammer. Imagine opening a hammer every time you need to use it on the job. I think you get the point here, or maybe just the tip.
This goes back to the first reason. As I have mentioned, people tend to use knives in ways they should not. Another example would be prying shit or even batoning wood. While some stout folders out there can take the abuse, none can, as well as a fixed blade. Not to mention, the more dependable folders tend to cost more. A ten-dollar gas station throwaway knife is a ten-dollar throwaway knife. So, you may have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a folder that you can trust as much as, say, a fifty-dollar fixed blade.
If you have a thing for stabbing car hoods, cinderblocks, and out-the-box stuff like that for destruction tests, I say use a cheap knife. Have fun breaking a gas station knife. Keep your good knives chip and ding free. It’s possible to ruin or break a good knife using it in a way that real life doesn’t dictate, so why do it?
4. Multiple Carry Options
This goes back to having the right tool for the job. You can get more use out of a three-to-five-inch fixed blade than you can from a folder of the same size, especially if the fixed is a full tang blade. Many people will say that a folding knife offers easier carry options, but that is more opinion and preference. Between your boot and your neck, there are plenty of options for carrying a fixed blade.
A fixed blade can also be more helpful if you are in any way into spending time in the great outdoors. If you need something to cut boxes, save time and money and get a box cutter.
5. Because Cool Custom Sheaths
Let’s be honest with ourselves; we like to EDC cool shit. Knives are no different. Cool knives bring up cool conversations with like-minded folk. Don’t get me wrong; I like cool folders. But again, I always have a fixed blade on my person within reach.
The truth is, you can get a kick-ass custom sheath made for your folder, but unless it is a slip joint, it has a pocket clip on it. Fixed blades, however, are a different animal.
There are some killer custom leather sheath makers out there, like www.bigbleather.com. The owner of Big B Leatherworks, Bernabe Velarde, is making seriously wicked goods to carry your knife in. Be cautioned, though, these custom sheaths can cost more than your actual knife in many cases. Custom sheath designs are almost limited to the imagination, from leather to Kydex to a combination of both. Sheaths complete the overall eye candy part of the overall package.
The same can be said about custom scale materials (handle materials) such as www.voodooresins.com. Almost everyone and their Momma has a knife kitted in custom scales by Matt Peterson at Voodoo. Matt seems to be the current king at making custom scales right now. I have seen five hundred plus fixed bladed with custom scales by Matt on Facebook. Fixed blades are easier to customize for most people, which is an excellent reason to own one.
Bonus Points: Comfort And Control
If you are not comfortable carrying a knife, don’t. However, whether you realize it or not, you have a lifetime of experience using fixed blades, for example, your kitchen knives.
If you are not comfortable carrying and using a fixed blade, you probably will not be comfortable carrying and using a folding knife. I cannot tell you the number of times I handed a folding knife to a non-knife person, and they had no idea how to close it. They were uncomfortable and handed it back to me, open to close. Even though we have provided several reasons to carry a fixed blade, some people can and most likely will counter with five reasons to carry a folder. And that is perfectly fine.
What matters is that whatever you choose to carry, choose quality. A cheap knife can fail or break and be disastrous to you or someone around you. If you are in the market for a knife, save up, get a different budget, and look up reviews before deciding to purchase. Then, if possible, find a store that will let you hold the knife so you can see how comfortable it is in hand before you plunk down your hard-earned cash.