Back Pocket Knife

The knife that's been in my back pocket since my Gigand Mosquito failed the Cougar Allen Fundamental Knife Test (see ) is a Gil Hibben single-edged throwing knife I cordwrapped the handle of. It's the one at the top of the picture. The picture is from the Discount Knives website and the price in the picture is suggested retail; Discount Knives sells them at a discount.


There's a similar Gil Hibben line of throwers that come with a thin cordwrap -- the handle is shaped differently and I don't like it -- YMMV. They come with a nylon sheath I don't like as well as the nice leather sheath mine came with, too.

First the bad news: it's 420-J2 steel, also known as "surgical stainless," and edgeholding is not great. Also the handle is short and it takes some artful cordwrapping to make it work.

The good news: this knife passes the Cougar Allen Fundamental Knive Test.

First I wrapped the handle. I tried my pet wrap first, thin mason's cord in continuous half hitches, and still couldn't get a secure grip on it. Next I tried continuous half hitches with black 550 cord, and that works. You can force the knots to line up as you wrap but I don't; I let them follow their natural tendency to form a spiral pattern.

You might prefer to make wood scales for it or build up a handle with Miracle Weld epoxy putty.

Then I tied a short fob on it, black 550 cord with a knot about 2" (5cm) from the handle. I cut the belt loop off the sheath and I carry it in my back pocket with the fob sticking out. I can grasp the fob between my thumb and forefinger and the knife comes out into my hand. I can also draw it into a palmed position and later produce the knife out of nowhere like a magic trick.

I ground an abrupt drop point on it. The Bladerigger's Archangel has a similar pug-nose drop point; I'll look for a pic later.... It's a useful blade shape, safer for gutting fish and game, cutting seat belts and bandages and clothes off people, and palming in either forward or reverse grip.

You could do that with a file almost as fast as I did on my 100 grit wheel. The drop starts about 3/8" (1cm) from the point.

The handle is short ... even with the cordwrap and the fob to help grip some people might find it inadequate. There are two larger sizes of the same shape knife -- cordwrap either of those and I think you'd have no problem holding onto it.

I did this as an experiment ... with only a few buck$ and a few minutes work I got a prototype knife that works pretty well (though edgeholding still sucks) and now I can grind a knife out of harder steel ... and the next prototype will have a slightly different handle shape; I've been using this one for a while and now I have a better idea of how to shape a handle than I did. Don't hold your breath waiting for me to go into production, though. In the meantime, here's how to make a low-buck back pocket knife that will serve well for defense and will work as a general-purpose utility knife if you don't mind sharpening frequently.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Oct 4, 1998
I had an odd idea about these knives awile ago. How about dipping the handle of one of the larger ones in red or blue Plasti dip (used to coat tool handles with a polymer coating) and carry it just as you`re doing. The handle would stick out some but would look to all the world like a plastic comb handle. It would be easy to access and "technically" wouldn`t be concealed. Just a thought. Marcus
I think that would work very well with the middle-size model or the biggest one. They're about the size of a handled comb and the handles are big enough so you'd be able to get a reasonable grip on it with a rubber coating.

I forgot to mention the knife is hollow ground, which is another thing I don't like about it. It's a moderate hollow grind, though, could be worse.

-Cougar Allen :{)