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Do you trust your tactical folder for rapid deployment?

Mar 2, 2000
Hello, everyone.
I'm not sure if this is exactly the right place for this subject, but since I'm going to focus on knife design, it seemed to fit the bill. Personally, I'm most interested in production knives.
My question to you is: Do you trust your tactical knife to open quickly 100% of the time? In an emergency situation, I'd like to know that my thumb isn't going to slip 100% of the time. Yeah sure I might be paranoid but if that 1% happens to be during an emergency, you could be seriously injured or worse.
Personally, I don't trust the most common methods, ie standard small thumbstud or any kind of hole in the blade for quick one-handed opening. What I do trust are the following:
1) Speed-safe mechanism, enough said!
2) Wide thumb rests, such as the high end Bokers (ie orion) or What I really like are the high-tech Browning knife wide thumb rests.
3) Special thumb guards, for example, the Boker Brend with the larger thumbstud, The stud's surface is very rough. I also like the Sogwinder thumbstud, it is very big.

Yeah, maybe I'm being paranoid, but Why take chances?

One small step for man, One giant leap for frogs, One mile for fleas.
It's all about perspective.
I trust my Emerson Commander! It doesn't get much better than the WAVE...

I was going to mention that one. But I didn't because I've never actually handled one of those. I saw that others say it's very easy to open. thanks!!
I just saw a post on the Riddle of Steel forum (in the "Adrenalin" thread) by a guy who tried sprinting a quarter mile and then tried to open his folder -- and couldn't.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Fanatical Cult Leader, Wholly Brethren and Cistern of Voracious Truth
Thou shalt not fold thy knife!
I wouldn't carry an Emerson Commander if I had any doubt about the 100% opening. I'm more concerned about it staying closed 100% of the time in the pocket.

[This message has been edited by Bob Irons (edited 03-20-2000).]
In my modest opinion
the speed and reliability of your knife opening in dangerous situation much more depends on your skills and cool head than on your knife construction.

Sergiusz Mitin
Lodz, Poland
I think it is very difficult how well your knife will open under stressful situations. Let's remember that the folding mechanism, thumb stud, etc. isn't at fault...but YOU are! I would recommned that you practice endless "Busy-Hands" drills with your friends. Have them rush you while you're tying your shoes, pretending to use an ATM, and so on. It is very humbling to learn that you can't find, draw, or even open your folder when someone is tackling you. I'd hate to learn the hard way! This practice is the only reasonable solution. I draw my REKAT or Commander all the time for no apparent reason and from any position. Or I'll try to draw, open, grip, close, and pocket my folder the minute a friend turns around for a second. You know, just to see if I could do it without being noticed. If you get caught it can be pretty funny or embarrasing, depending on the friend. Either way, there's some stress involved so it's good training. If you're really worried about it, get something like a CS Desperado. I can draw mine from nearly any position quickly, and even a sloppy draw comes out with a solid grip!
I'd have to agree with Attila, the Emerson is one of the (if not the) fastest deploying knives available, this side of manual opening knives. There is less to remember or instinctively do than pulling out a regular folder and opening it. All you do with the Commander is pinch and pull, and it's drawn it's as simple as that. As far it staying closed in the pocket, tighten the pivot to the desired tension (even if it's action seems a little tight, work at it and see what works for you when drawing it from your pocket). If you think there may still be a possibility of it opening in your pocket (which isn't likely given the blade positioning is like that of an auto when in the pocket, the blade can't go anywhere because it's backed against the side of your pocket.) Something I did to add to the "grippiness" of the knife (to ensure my fingers don't slip off the clip, which is very likely to happen), is apply some sticky sided sandpaper trimmed to the clip, for a better purchase when drawing. This was actually something Nakano had done to his KFF, and I thought it was an excellent idea

Also, Moving Target brings up a good idea for drills too, by doing the Busy Hands exercises and practicing drawing from different and likely positions that you may get yourself into, you never know, and it never hurts to be prepared.
Well, that's my two,
take it easy all and hope that the situation of needing a knife in an emergency never has to come up


[This message has been edited by jon303 (edited 03-20-2000).]
I am 110% sure that everytime I draw my Strider WP fixed blade it will be open and ready for use. I do carry folders, but usually only for utillity matters and in place that carrying a fixed blade is not an option. Bottom line is, if you want a reliable edge weapon in high stress situations you are going to have to carry a fixed blade. Although I do hear great things about the Commander.


Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?

I hope that after I die, people will say of me: "That guy sure owed me a lot of money."
So, where can I find a pic of this Strider WP knife, and Why are do sure that it will open every time? What type of devise does it employ that makes it so easy to open.
BTW did you know Dolph Lungren play the part of Flash Gordon in the '80s?
There are some good opening mechanisms out there, but many of 'em come only with liner locks, and it's the liner locks I don't trust!

Getting to defensive situations ... my main objective here is to be aware, and through awareness to avoid having to do an emergency opening. I've never used my knife for self-defense, but have palmed my folder and partially-opened it when I hit condition orange, well in advance of any possible contact. So for me, I judge the high-probability situation to be that I am aware of the situation and have already taken action, and the low-probability situation to be an emergency opening.

For the high-probability situation, I'd say the folder almost has an advantage here. I can palm and partially open the folder without anyone ever knowing it. With a fixed blade, depending on the mode of carry, I might have to make an obvious (and provocative) move to grab the handle and get ready, even though the situation turns out to be nothing. Now I have to worry about the misjudged-badguys calling the cops on the nutty knife guy who threatened them for no reason!

In the low-probability situation of an emergency opening, unfortunately I can't give any guarantees either way. I have opened my folders quickly under some stress, but nothing like the stress that I'd have in an outright defensive situation. I *think* I could do it reliably, but there's no guarantees until I actually do it -- which I probably never will.

Why do you not trust liner locks?
Would a back locking knife be preferable to you, and if so, why?
Personally I would trust a smootly operational liner-lock over a back-lock because with most back-locks you have a less smooth motion than liner-locks. I think it has to something with a spring in there or something.

[This message has been edited by edrozen (edited 03-20-2000).]
Liner locks are more prone to failure, resulting in the blade closing on your fingers. Benchmade's Axis lock or REKAT's Rolling Lock are both examples of locks that you can trust. Lockbacks can disengage due to pressure from the palm on the release. Integral locks (or frame locks, or mono locks, or whatever you want to call it) are another good lock, since they are 'positively engaged' (hand pressure helps the lock, rather than hinders it.



Sorry I should have been more clear. I was being a sarcastic bastard, my Strider WP is a FIXED blade. It don't fold!
The annoying point I was trying to make is that the ONLY knife you can count on "opening" 100% of the time is a knife that doesn't fold and doesn't rely on a lock. I don't have any pictures of my WP loaded, and its not on the Strider sight right now, but I'll get some soon if you still care.


If your talking about Flash Gordon the movie, then you're wrong. The actor in the Flash Gordon movie was Sam J. Jones, he does look like Dolph though. If you're talking about something else, then I was unaware of that. However, that is one of my favorite movies. My user name though is the title of a cheesy porn spin-off of Flash Gordon called Flesh Gordon. That name always made me laugh.

Jared - giving out to much info.
I've never had a reason in my 53yrs to need to "trust your tactical folder for rapid deployment", if I did or thought I ever would it wouldn't be so much the knife as it would be to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!
Hi, again.
I really appreciate all of the replies. Yeah, I certainly appreciate the fact that you don't have to worry too much about opening a fixed blade. Unfortunetly, I can't legally carry one, even if it is in plain view. What I'm trying to do is get a handle on what you guys consider the folders that are easy to open. Even for a "butterfingers".
In other words, I just trying to eliminate any problems that might occur in an emergency situation that would require me to open a folder quickly.
thanks. Ed
I trust my Spyderco Military. That big hole makes it open right into my palm when I draw it, and ever since I rounded the edge of the thumb serrations, it slides out of my pocket without catching at all. I can have it open before someone finishes saying "Does anyone have a...?" Which is embarrasing when they were asking for a pen.
If you consider yourself a "butterfingers," a knife is not something you should be using in a tactical situation; it's likely to end up in the grasp of your opponent, or at least on the ground. Work on your grip strenght and coordination before you even think of taking a knife into a tactical situation.

And yes, if you can carry them, fixed blades are best. I know better than to call a folder a 'fighting knife,' unless it comes to the last resort.


Having been in a few situations requiring use of my knife, I have found that speed was not critical (no fumbling of course). What was critical was getting it out and knowing what to do with it once it was out. Just the fact that mine was bigger than my opponents and that I didn't run was enough to cause one man to turn and leave.
Like it's mentioned above, practice is much more important than the tool.

A practiced magician can deploy a parakeet out of his sleeve with the greatest ease. A knife shouldn't be any problem.

I carry a CS Vaquero. I bought it 'cause it was cheap. Over time, I really started to dig this puppy. I'm pretty sure I can use it much more effectively than the Emerson Commander I owned a couple of years ago.