Questions turn up repeatedly regarding different tools and methods and in general, people seem to want a confirmation that their view is best. Another possibility is an attempt to start an argument. I’m not trying to seem jaded, but the actual desire to hear another person’s opinion is rare in my experience. It is like those lists of The Top 10 BEST Martial Arts that seem to crop up over and over. Not everyone is going to agree with those lists, and as often as not, things degenerate into arguments over minutia quickly.
But I did open the door when I asked my readers for topics that you wanted to have me cover, and folding knives kept coming back up. Not everyone is going to agree with my answer, but…
I will be sharing my opinion on folding knives. There are arguments for and against, and both sides of the argument have valid points.
- Convenience. You can carry a folding knife and no one will be the wiser. They are concealable and as such make a great choice when you don’t want to scare the sheep.
- EDC (everyday carry). You can carry a folding knife all the time, every day. I have an awesome Bowie knife (it turns up from time to time in the banner image at the top of the site), but it sits at home all the time because even in Texas of all places, carrying an 11 inch blade is not legal. In a night time home invasion, it might be the first thing I grab…maybe. But if the SHTF while I am out having dinner, my folder will have to do.
- Safety. I have had to purchase custom-made sheaths for many of my fixed blade knives. The sheath that comes with the product, with the exception of my illegal to carry Gurkha Kukri, came with poorly made sheaths. The folder is much safer to carry anytime.
- Weakness. The folding knife has a break in the blade, and while they have locks to prevent accidental closure, these locks can and do fail.
- Lateral strength. You cannot pry with a folder, the line goes. Because of the single piece construction, the fixed blade is the stronger choice.
- Ease of deployment. You draw the fixed blade and it is ready for use. Not so with a folder. Especially under the stress of adrenaline, you might not be able to make your badass draw happen with your folder. With the fixed blade it is ready for use upon being drawn, and that simplicity makes it a good choice for high-stress situations.
Okay, I have brought up all sides, I think.
What I present here is strictly my opinion based on experience with a particular folding knife.
This knife is my Kershaw Black Horse. I’ve had it since the mid-1980s. As should be obvious from the stains and damage, I have not treated this knife very well, certainly not as I would if it were new to me today. During my years as a mason, this knife was a tool for cutting anything, it was also a pencil-sharpener, sometimes it was a screwdriver, occasionally it was also used as a prybar and more than once served as a wedge to hold a stone in place while the mortar dried. I killed a snake with it once. Made a beast with bad intentions back off from a stranger with it once. Short form of the above; this was Mjolnir, I treated this knife as if it were indestructible. When I was young, with this knife in hand, I felt indestructible.
Those white marks in the handle are from mortar. The stains on the blade are from waterproofing material that needed to be cut out of my way. The blade isn’t shiny like when it was new, but that is because this knife was, and still is a tool. It was used. You know the old saw about to a man whose only tool is a hammer? Well, this was my go-to tool. I used it for any and everything.
This knife has never failed me, even under conditions that most people would never think to use it. It holds an edge extremely well, and the blade has zero wiggle to it even today. How many of you have had a heavily used folding knife for the last thirty-plus years and have never had it fail or show signs of failing?
So, yes, I can vouch for a folding knife. But mine is not a five dollar folder. I don’t know if Kershaw still makes these, but I can recommend their products. I put mine through absolute abject and unadulterated hell, and it has never failed. So, I can honestly recommend a folding knife, if it is a good one. As with anything else, you get what you pay for.
If you are in the market for a knife, I would like to recommend a visit to the awesome people over at Reviews.com. They have done a lot of the legwork for you in this article. They also have a ton of other great stuff and they take their research seriously.
Hope this helps!