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I'm curious.

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by jackknife, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Okay, since the last post on blade shaped degenerated into a med, I want to ask a simple question. Not being provocative or trolling, but I'm actually genuinely curious. I admit I'm an old fart right up front, and like most fossils my age, sometimes there's a lack of understanding of the younger generation.

    My question is, what do most of you with the modern one hand folders that clarify as a tactical knife, do with them? In you daily life in and around modern suburbia, what do you cut, what do you see as the mission for what I've seen some of you describe as your pocket tanks? What do some of the more outside the box blade shaped offer that the traditional blade shaped do not?

    I understand the quest for a better steel, and more rugged materials, really I do. But the shaped and design of some of the modern knives leaves me totally bewildered. In everyday life, what does a tanto blade do that a spear, clip, drop or sheep foot blade will not? Let alone some of the stranger blade shapes I see on modern knives.

    Being born in 1941, I never saw a lock blade knife until I was a teenager. Then it was the Italian style switchblades of the James Dean era. Not exactly a good role model in the view of my mentors of the time. I remember when Buck came out with the 110 and set the knife world on it's ear, and the black belt pouch became the uniform of the day no matter what you were dressed in. By then I'd already grown up using scout knives and slip joints in general, and couldn't see why a person would carry a big heavy knife with only a single blade. Growing up, if you needed a knife that wouldn't fold over on you, then you used a sheath knife. I guess I still have that attitude and have trouble seeing why do some people carry way they do.

    So, enlighten me. Tell me what you do with your knives on a day to day basis.

  2. powernoodle

    powernoodle Power Member Gold Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    Mine gets used for common EDC tasks, like opening boxes, letters, and clam shell packages, maybe peeling an apple, and opening a bag of cat food. Good stuff like that. I also hold in the back of my mind that I can defend myself with a "tactical" style folder, though I recognize (and hope) that its highly unlikely. And I do carry a gun as well.

    I am drawn to the aesthetics of traditional knives, but for me the lightning fast deployment of a modern one hand clipped folder is the drawing card. When I want to cut something, I don't want to go digging around in the bottom of my pocket looking for my Baby Butterbean. I carry a lot of EDC stuff in my pockets, and a traditional folder gets lost among it. A Delica 4 will be right there where I can find it and use it.

    As for these guys who carry a big, heavy sharpened pry bar type knife, I think they do it because they have churning testosterone and its fun to carry a huge knife. This is the tattoo generation looking for significance, and carrying a big, heavy knife plays into that. And I guess some guys actually do "need" a ZT0300, but I'm not sure why.

    Bottom line for me though as to why I carry a "modern" tactical style folder is that is just quick and easy to access.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  3. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    At the moment(for the past few months), I have been building a house so my knives get used for a lot of things. Shaping wood for various things, sacks, rope, boxes, and of course food.
  4. bladeboss


    Mar 6, 2012
    Right now I'm carrying a slip-joint, but I have carried a Cold Steel Mini AK-47 for months before.
    I use it the same way, but harder, because I know it can handle it. I make harder cuts and put lots o' pressure sometimes when cutting with it.
    That's pretty much the only difference for me.
  5. Planterz

    Planterz Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    I'm 32, so I'm probably what you consider the "younger generation".

    I went through a large portion of the full gamut of "tacitcal" folders. Spyderco Military, Benchmade 710, Microtech SOCOM and LCC, etc. I even carried a Severtech for quite some time. And although I didn't own them, I've handled many large folders through passarounds. Like Spydercos Police 3 and Barong, ZTs 300 and 550, Kershaws Tilt and Spec Bump, and others. And of course, the Sebenza.

    What kinfe/knives do I use most these days? A 2-4 bladed slipjoint, like a stockman, mini wharncliffe trapper, or a congress. I hardly ever carry a modern "tactical" knife...at least with the intention of using it for utility (I carry a SE Endura Wave...but that has a different purpose). I found that I really don't have a need for a big, heavy knife with a thick blade and a robust lock. It has been a year or so that I've been carrying a slipjoint as my primary EDC, and I've yet to come across a situation or task that made me wish I hadn't sold my 710 or Severtech. I simply don't have a use for such a knife, so I fill my pockets with something else.

    What do I cut with my slipjoints? The same thing I cut with my bigass tactical folders. Looking back, the word "overkill" seems an appropriate description. Overkill for me, anyway. I'm sure others benefit from having a larger, more robust knife, but for myself, living in the city, I prefer a smaller, more controllable knife with a thinner blade that slices well.

    As for blade shapes, that's one of the main reasons I like traditionals. With a 2-4 blade knife, I can get at least one straight and one curved blade. Between them, there's little I can't cut with ease and precision. I never liked tanto blades, nor am I a particular fan of folding prybar type blades that are so thick they can't slice cardboard without getting stuck. Again, I'm sure others can benefit from them, but I can't.

    I don't know if my answers will be the ones you're looking for, but I'd like to offer my perspective, having come "full circle", as it were, having started with traditional knives like the SAK or stockman, then "graduated" to expensive "tactical" folders, and then back to the traditional knives of the older generations.
  6. Daddyo16


    Jan 12, 2012
    Jack, I'm in the same camp as you, buddy. In my quest for THE perfect folding knife, I have gravitated toward the SAKs, traditional slipjoints and smaller, sleeker one-handed folders. For me, they'll do anything that a big, heavy, "tacticool" knife will, and with a lot less bulk and weight. I just don't have a need to cut anything heavier and more challenging than paper, food, or string on a typical day. Also, less expensive works just as well for me as anything I've seen or tried in the more expensive lines.

    Seeing as how I ain't gettin' any younger or stronger, packing small and light is becoming more and more important to me.
  7. PaMtnBkr


    Dec 31, 2009
    For me, and I am 52, I like a bigger knife because I am big and have big hands. I carry a Paramilitary II which I really enjoy using on everything from cutting fruit at lunch to breaking down boxes and last PM I used it to shave some plum wood shavings for throwing on the coals while cooking chicken breasts. I use it almost everday in a varied amount of ways. A smaller knife just doesn't feel as comfortable or safe to me?
  8. MTHall720

    MTHall720 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    My main reason for big knives is very large hands. I am not comfortable with small knives although sometimes I do carry and enjoy them too.
    My usual uses are the same as other posters like opening boxes, mail, cutting a variety of stuff and once in awhile whittling or carving the end I a stick when I am on the trail. :)
  9. Bigfatts


    Mar 12, 2012
    Like PaMtnBkr, I have good sized mitts and a larger knife allows me a more comfortable and secure hold. As for the tactical styled knives, I buy them because I like them, not necessarily because I need something so tough. They get used for various edc tasks from opening bags/boxes/packages to whatever else I may need. Blade shapes for me are mostly aesthetic so I just buy which ones I like.
  10. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Never understood the "pocket tank" mentality. 1/4" thick blades don't belong on folders, in my opinion. I think that a lot of it boils down to people being under-informed about the actual realistic boundaries of strain that their cutting tasks put on their knife. A lot of people are "deaf" to the way that a tool "speaks" to you, and so don't trust the tool because they've never been able to gauge just how much the knife can take. So they err on the side of caution and get something so tough that a 10-ton enraged gorilla couldn't break it. However, many "tactical" modern knives are of practical design and scale, and just happen to have modern features of convenience. And some individuals in certain lines of work do genuinely need knives of extreme durability on account of their extremely dangerous jobs. They might have to ask their knife to do things that would seem "stupid" if it weren't an absolute necessity.

    Regarding a lot of the unusual blade shapes, a lot of that is just aesthetics. Sometimes those aesthetics actually hinder function for the individuals needs, and sometimes it doesn't. It all depends on the knife, the user, and the tasks. The tasks that many people these days have for their knives often don't actually require a specific blade shape, so anything goes.

    A lot of it is also marketing. There's a constant push for "bigger, faster, stronger." The industry is, presently, mostly built on the model of "The stuff that came out last year sucks now. Buy this new BETTER stuff." While innovation is a wonderful thing, I feel that sometimes that energy is being put into the wrong areas. Many knives these days seem to be designed with whimsy rather than specific intent. I feel this dilutes the function of the tool, if that makes any sense.

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  11. Goosey


    Mar 19, 2012
    I think a lot of it is in the back of people's minds, they want something that can be used as a weapon.
  12. Magnaminous_G


    Jul 13, 2011
    This is a generation that loves all things tactical. You are right to be bewildered because it actually isn't very sensible from a practical standpoint. A blacked out tanto blade has its uses... on a combat mission. From a geometry standpoint, a tanto tip is probably the strongest for penetrating, and the black coating prevents the blade from flashing and revealing the wielder's location. But those two characteristics that work so well for a fighting knife actually just detract from most other uses. A tanto blade doesn't slice or make most utilitarian cuts as efficiently as a normally curved geometry, and the black coating scuffs on material, etc. That's basically my problem with *some* modern knives.

    With all that said, I do appreciate the modern steels and the locking mechanisms, and there are plenty of fast-deploying ninja-flippers that are great EDC knives. And it's certainly true that being able to quickly deploy a knife and close it easily with one hand is a huge advantage. Realistically, I'm probably never going to be in a situation where having that ability will save my life, but it sure is convenient and nice, and I have nothing against it. What I have a problem with is the coated, long, thick blades with weird, tactical geometry. I know for a fact that none of these guys needs such a blade. In fact, they would be better served for their actual needs by a 1" - 4" long, fairly thin blade in simple clip or drop point. But that wouldn't be nearly as cool, of course...
  13. djjonny


    Jan 11, 2012
    It varies, depending on knife and job required, eg:
    I use my leatheman blade for beater type jobs, like cutting card board and scraping
    I use my SC native, or Benchmade Grip for heavy cutting, like cables or cable ties
  14. Isaeus


    Mar 14, 2011
    Greetings, Jackknife:

    I wouldn't even pretend to need any of the knives I have. The reason I have them has almost no relation to their use as cutting tools. On the rare occasion when I want to, oh, open a bag of grass seed, I'll usually grab a scissors or a utility knife so as not to risk putting a little scratch on that M390 super-steel blade.:)

    I just happen to like things that have more capability than I'll likely ever need, things way over-engineered for my purposes. A back-of-my-mind security thing, perhaps. And an affinity for excess and the extreme. I also happen to like very high-quality things, things that display human artistry and attention to detail.

    Unfortunately, I can't afford most things that are both very high quality and over-engineered for my purposes. Ferraris are out; Patek Phillipe watches are out; most knives are in! Of course this is just my idiosyncratic explanation.

  15. marcinek


    Jan 9, 2007
    As I get older and older...it seems the knives I carry get smaller and smaller. I'm down to a Vic Classic most of the time at this point. If I worry about lock failure even slightly...I go fixed blade.

    I never got the tactical folding slab knives, let alone the huge XXXL folders (sorry, but those crack me up). The most oversized, tactical I own is a Kabar Dozier Large Folding Hunter...and I rarely, if ever use it.

    But, hey...tons of people seem to like the tactislabs and pants monsters, and none of us "thin blade slicer old farts" are gonna change their minds.
  16. bdmicarta

    bdmicarta Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    1. Knife handle size is normally proportional to blade size, it is difficult to do significant cutting with a knife with a small handle so you when you buy a knife with a large enough handle it has a pretty big blade.
    2. I like a keen point on a knife for opening boxes or even picking out splinters. Most of the time when I am using a knife I seem to be using the point only. "Tactical" knives seem to have better points than older style knives that look like skinning knives.
    3. I like a knife with a thick enough blade that it instills some confidence in me that it will do things without breaking. Our hands and muscle control are not perfect and when putting a lot of force into cutting something we will naturally be exerting sideways force on a blade without trying or intending to do so. I have heard of people breaking knives while slicing cheese even.

    Now granted I have carried a knife every day for very many years without a need to use it in a tactical situation, and I've read where people even have a hard time defining what tactical use is or what makes a knife a tactical knife. I do however cut boxes, hoses, wire, carve on wood, plastic, sometimes even aluminum, slice meat, etc. and I also will do light prying with the knife when I need to do that.

    Ever since I discovered pocket clips, blade holes/thumb studs, and lock types other than lockback I have bought and carried only those types of knives.

    So I pick a knife that has:
    1) keen point
    2) big enough handle for me to hold onto it
    3) built heavy enough that I have confidence that I'm not going to break it in my daily use
    4) pocket clip
    5) thumb stud or blade hole
    6) liner/compression/axis lock
    There are very few knives produced these days that satisfy these requirements and don't look somewhat tactical.
  17. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I think it's also worth pointing out that many folks use the knife they carry as a form of expression just like they do when they pick out a t-shirt in the morning.
  18. BlueFalcon


    Feb 29, 2012
    I have a lot of zts and I use them for everything, I hear a lot of rumbling about tactical knives. But I feel that comes from a very civilian I work in am office my whole life mindset. no one its the same. I'm a marine and can get away with the tactical aspect. Because I earned the right through training, blood sweat and tears. Years in the corp has taught me what I need in a knife and it needs to be hefty. But for the daily grind of a civilian yes it would be a little much. Though I think that a locking blade is an amazing invention and I don't understand why the slip joint community continually hates on it. That's like someone saying ' black powder rifles worked great why do we need modern rifles? Darn that modern technology with its preloaded ammunition and its removable magazine!! '
  19. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I don't think the slipjoint community "hates on" locking mechanisms as much as the fact they point out that if you use the knife properly they're rarely a necessity. Sort of like seat belts. But for those rare times they sure do save you! :D
  20. jimw451


    Oct 11, 2011
    I buy the tacticool folders just because of that. They're cool to me. I like the exotic and new steels, the assisted or flipper opening, the wild handles and scales. It appeals to me and I buy what I like. It also performs all the cutting tasks I could ever throw at it and with a proper sharpening, the tip of the largest tacticool blade can cut with as much precision as I'll ever need. If I carry a larger folder one day over a slipjoint the next it's because it fits me for the day. I've struck up many more conversations over my ZT0560 than my Schrade 180T ever did. No one to this day has looked at the Schrade and said "Holy crap, that's cool!" :D

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