Carrying while in the Military?

Sep 8, 1999
I've had this question for a long time and haven't found the proper place to air it....well I'm gonna let her fly here! Im getting ready to go into USAF Security Forces.....Is it acceptable to carry a Tactical Folder while serving w/ the military. To my understanding I should be able to keep (and carry?) any blade under 4 inchs on base. Any inputs?
I was in the Marine Corps for six years and it was almost expected in the infantry that you carry a knife.
What is allowed seems to vary from service to service and even from command to command within a service. It was difficult to function without at least a multi-tool handy. A lot of installations adopted whatever the local laws stated.

I can't imagine what the Marines would have been like without an original Leatherman or assembly/disassembly of weapons, a fixed blade for the field, and a good folder for all the time carry.

It should be an issue item to have a sturdy folder!

Enjoy the service! It'll provide you with some of the best times of your life!!!!!

Chris Canis
I don't know if it's UCMJ or not, but you're only allowed to cary a knife with a 3 inch blade on base in the Army, however a Leathern or such is a tool, not a knife, if you follow.

Forget about fixed blades, you ain't carrying any sort of weapon on base unless you're an MP, I don't know if concealed carry permits will get you anywhere.

In the field it's different, though at the discretion of your commanding officer, or his.

Anyway, all weapons have to live in the armory, though they will number and catalog the weapon and you still have access to it for hunting or camping or when you leave, you just need to let you C.O. know. Anyway, they're accountable for your stuff, so they take real good care of it. Well, I'm sure there's exceptions to the rule, but they're pretty responsible about weapons.

I remember how in Boot they locked down, was it Kelly Hill?, because a M-9(the pistol) went missing from a display or something and didn't let anybody leave till they got it back, some days later.

Anyway, the only weapons you really get to play with in the service when you're not in the field is what they issue you and specificaly order you to use/carry/train with.

Greg and Snickersnee have got it right. The policy varies from base to base but normally the Buck 110 with its 4" blade is the maximum allowed.

I do carry short fixed blades in a pocket slip sheath and haven't run into any problem (at my base) as the blade is shorter than that Buck when opened but again Commanding Officers, Wing Commanders, et al have within their discretion the ability to set local policy.

My son is a Navy Corpsman serving with the 1st MarDiv. He can carry a Spydie Moran with its short fixed blade and most one-hand folders, but his MadDog ATAK2 stays either in his locker or in the armory unless they're in the field. And even then he has to get permission first to take the big blade along.

He just returned from a deployment to Okinawa where the local commanders policy was NO knives period! Go figure!!!

-=[Bob Allman]=-

I did NOT escape from the institution! They gave me a day pass!

BFC member since 3 Oct 98
AKTI membership pending
VHA and NRA member

[This message has been edited by bald1 (edited 15 September 1999).]
I carried a Buck110 for 3 1/2 years while in the Marine Corps. and no one hassled me about it. Good Luck with your new endeavour Defender!

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

I've been carrying one of many folders on my person in the Canadian Army for quite some time now. A knife is a very practical item, and a multi-tool is pretty much a necessity.

"Earth has its boundaries, but human stupidity is limitless."

For four years of active duty as a BM2 in the Navy I carried a Buck 110 on bases all over the world in a paddle sheath on which I also carried a stainless steel marlinspike. I think the marlinspike would have made for a better weapon.

As I understood it, Naval Regs dictated that folders were the only acceptable carry knives for personnel that weren't given command dispensation to carry a fixed blade.

The designated rescue swimmers on our ship had permission to buy a knife of their choosing for aiding in that assignment. When I was on our ship's reaction force (landing party) I was allowed to keep a Ka Bar in the weapons locker with the rest of my gear.

I would think that a non-auto folder below four inches would be acceptable, but since you are in a different force and times may have changed, ask someone you can hold accountable.
hmmm seems the times have changed. When I was on active duty in the Army (Army Security Agency/ Military Intelligence) we carried any kind of knife we wanted problem. Of course they probably figured we were just gonna use them to shred documents with.
And they probably hoped we would use them to cut our hair, or heaven forbid...SHAVE with
USAF SpecOps ( Black Angel ). Carried a Ka-Bar USAF knife issued which I did not like. No reall tactical folders back then but I think today I would carry an Emerson Commander which I carry now if I could not carry an auto.

Auto wise I would carry a D/A SOCOM Tanto with combo edge.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

I can tell you how things work now. I have 17 years in the AF, and the first 11 1/2 of those where spent in Security Forces. Although most of my time was spent as a TNT insturctor, I also worked aircraft, weapons storage area, and missile field. Currently SF is discouraged from carring anything larger than a pocket knife that is visible to the public. While in the missile field, most flight chiefs allow their troops to have a knife with them. The size is determined by state laws. However, even if the laws allow a specific sized blade to be carried, the Flight Commander or Flight Chief has the final say as to whether you can carry a blade or not. If you are heading for basic training and then Tech School, don't even think about taking a knife with you. It will be confiscated, and not returned! Once you recieve your first assignment, depending if you are single or married, and where you live, differnet rules apply. If you live in the dorm/barracks, there are NO WEAPONS of any kind allowed. You will be required to store any weapons in the Security Force Armory. (Don't do this, I ran an armory for 3 years, and know what happens with pows (privetly owned weapons) there. If you are married and live on base, you are required to register all weapons with the Security Forces, and your First Sgt. Married and off base is the best, no restrictions (within the laws) and no registrations. Good Luck!

Ed Caffrey
"The Montana Bladesmith"

Ed is right. I forgot that I lost a few items storing them.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

Whew, should have picked Intel. Anyway...

While in the Army, recently, I always carried some kind of knife and was definitely the unit "knife guy." Occasionally when on TDY I'd get weird looks from folks who didn't know me.

Take a Spyderco Endura to Basic, but don't let anyone know you have it. Keep it clipped to the inside your BDUs, or sew a special pocket in them while sitting on the can during fire guard. IET (Initial Entry Training) is a no knife environment. Just be careful. Went through many a shake down during AIT with a Spyderco clipped in my PTs.

Active duty always carried two folders, but usually an OTF auto plus an auto folder. Carried a MT Halo 1 in a shoulder rig for a while, then switched to Halo 2 in the horizontal rig.

In the field most Commanders are scared that someone may get hurt, so they discourage big blades, not to mention they tend to get caught on stuff while riding on your LBE.

My two bits would be save your pennies and get a MT DA SOCOM. You'll be happier in the long run.

"Women bring life into the world
and much death, for they sway the
destinies of men." -Anneas
Defender, I applaud you for your decision to enter the world's greatest Air Force. I am a Chief Master Sergeant with 24+ years in the Air Force and recommend you listen closely to Ed Caffrey's spot-on advice. Carry no knives until you get to your first permanent duty station and then ask your First Sergeant or Chief what the rules are before you violate them.

To the other well-wishing people making suggestions, Army and Air Force regulations/instructions are not the same. It is irresponsible to recommend this new troop do anything illegal. You could be responsible for making his Air Force career very short.
the handiest knife i carried while as an 11B, was a victorinox swiss army knife. raised no eyebrows, or broke any rules, but it was the handiest darn pocket tool box i used! carried a barry dawson fixed blade when conditions allowed...

"Audaces Fortuna Iuvat"
Your edged tool & extreme gear resource for professionals, adventurers and enthusiasts.

Wow the US armed forces seem even more restrictive in knives that the UK goverment is with civilians.

What is all this talk about weapons, they are tools right.

In the Teritorial Army over here, on base I carry a 4" folder and a multi-tool and when out in the field I carry whatever I want (which generally means quite a lot
fixed blade utility, machette, spare multitool etc)

I have done quite a bit of basic recruit training and we always tell them to have a pocket knife, preferably locking although lots of people turn up with SAK's when they come on their 2 weeks basic training course.

Harvey Wareham

Live Long & Prosper, so you can buy more knives

The main thing is to keep it low-key.
I have been in the Army 14 years now and have as yet to have any problems with knife carry.
The first 4 years I spent as a ground pounder (late '80s) and we were allowed basically any blade we wished(God bless the now defunct 9th I.D.). Nowadays it is a bit more difficult to pass most blades off as "Tools" to many of the bleeding heart liberals in command positions.
I am now in the Medical field and carry a Military and a Swisstool. They both see their fair share of work, however, the Military is more "covert".
I will say Chief gives good advice...wait until you finish training and then check into any applicable regs/laws.
Either way good luck and God speed.

"Worst of all my foes, I fear the enemy within"
*John Wesley*

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!

[This message has been edited by William Johnson (edited 16 September 1999).]
I'm currently serving in 29 Palms (USMC), and have carried several 4'' bladed folders while both in and out of uniform. The base regulations DO require that knives with 4'' and over blades be registered, and or stored in the armory (if single). Now what is required and what actually happens is dependant upon the individual. However if the Military Police happen to stop you and decide to frisk for some odd reason, ya might encounter some problems. So, make decisions carefully!
Do NOT carry ANY knife into Boot Camp with you!
If you are caught, you will more than likely get court-martialed and thrown out with a Bad Conduct Discharge if you are lucky.
If you are not so lucky, you will spend some time in a military brig or prison. This is NOT where you want to be.
Trust me on this one.
Listen to Chief's advice. He is dead on.

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.