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What is the very least knife you carry?

Feb 18, 1999
There are often situations/places where we can't (or shouldn't) carry an obvious knife and such. I only know I feel naked without some knife with me. So far, the most restrictive places I've been are the San Diego Superior Courthouse and of course on airplanes.
When "sitting in" with the resident court reporter, I carried a Victorinox Classic SAK which was no problem at the checkpoint. i also snuck in a Spyderco Ladybug in my wallet.
When called to jury duty, I opted not to carry a locking blade, as I felt as a potential juror I might be searched. I wanted more knife blade than the Classic and didn't need scissors/screwdriver, so I took a Buck 2-blade penknife, which got through.
Throughout years of living/traveling in Asia I carried a Victorinox Spartan SAK and was never questioned about it. Perhaps the SAKs are universally recognized?
So what is the least you carry in these iffy situations?
I was on jury duty last month in North San Diego. I put my micra in the basket with my keys and pen with no problems. For air travel, I carry a micra or Victorinox Executive in my pocket and a Leatherman or a big SAK in my carry on. Sometimes at work I'll just carry a little SAK but I usually have a bigger knife in my briefcase.


The least I've ever carried was a Case stockman or trapper. And that was when I was in and out of the Cook County Courthouse in downtown Chicago. I was doing research at a couple of the alderman's offices, and never got stopped, let alone searched. The only place that you couldn't carry at all was in the Daley Center courthouse building, so I just didn't go there ;-) Otherwise, my usual carry knife while in town was an old Al Mar Eagle folder in whatever pocket was the handiest...either a front pants pocket, or a jacket handwarmer pocket in the cooler months. Even though the law says nothing over a 3" blade, I saw a lot of big folders in pouches. I think the big thing was attitude, and getting to know the cops in the neighborhood? You didn't give them a problem, and they would cut you some slack.

Where I live now I've served on a couple of juries, and walked in most of the time with a large liner lock or lockback in a multitool pouch, and nobody was the wiser. Of course its a whole different attitude here. Every other guy carrys a multitool, or a lockback in a pouch, and its not unusual to see folks wearing small sheath knives or fillet knives during the fishing and hunting seasons. I'll even carry a sheath knife a lot of the time just because I'm testing one out. Plus I'll still have a small folder in a back pocket in case I take the sheath knife off.

Just last week I walked up to an officer that was having a car towed out from in front of the place I caretake. We got to talking, and he asked me what I was working on.....I took a 4" blade lockback out of a pouch and handed it to him to look at. The only thing he wanted to know was if I did any smaller ones, and how much. Gotta love the boonies;-)

I carry my Chuck Ward custom 2 3/4" drop point lockback wherever I go, and it has never received remarks of anything but admiration from my colleagues. I've used it in the office from everything from cutting tape to dicing whole jalapenos at a business lunch (they serve the things as if you're not supposed to eat them, but if not for the knife, I would have had an awfully bland burrito!!)

This is a gorgeous, totally functional custom knife, and I think that carrying it improves the image of knives overall among the sheeple. Most people who see it honestly had no idea that such objects exist.

-- Ryan Meyering, accountant, educator :)

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23

As a kid/teenager I tracelled dozens of times from Italy to USA, then on to several domestic destinations, and back again, and never had a problem with my SAK Spartan. Carried it right on the plane with me, which makes sense when you consider the steak knives handed out with dinner in first class (I could always check it out from my post in coach :-( Anyway, the SAK got through international and domestic flights anywhere I went. I often need to go to the federal building here in Davenport to use their small post office annex, and I frequently have large knives that have never posed a problem. I had a combo blade full size Apache (4" blade) on several occasions, and I have gotten my full size Calypso in several times, too. If I think about it, I leave the knife in my car before I go in, but I usually forget. Anyway, I remove everything in my pockets, put it in the basket, and walk right on through with no problems.
Ironically, the most trouble I've gotten into with a knife (in this country) is when I brought the CRKT Apache in a package that I was mailing from said federal building to someone for a trade! It was all boxed up, and somehow the knife had slipped to the bottom of the box. It was also sitting in the axis of the width of the box, which was on its side, so the x-ray thing made it appear really thin. In addition, the screen was distorted, so it was really long, and had a weird curve on the end, too. It did seem sort of menacing, but when asked, I politely told the guard what it was, explained why I was shipping it, and offered to used the knife I was carrying in my pocket to open the package for him to inspect. He had no beef with me, so no problem!
Another ironic thing...the only time I got any problem in the airport, knife or no knife, was when I tried to clear the metal detector area on a domestic flight (St. Louis, Chicago, or JFK...can't remeber which)_ and I had a Boston Red Socks cap a friend had given me hanging from a belt loop by the adjustable strap. The guard was a black lady and she jumped all over me, forcing me to remove the hat from my belt loop. I don't know if it had gang connotations or something or what! I kept the hat, and put it back on my belt the second I was out of her line of sight! Oh well. I think the bottom line is if you are courteous and you know how the I-am-in-a-uniform-therefore-I-am-important game, then you'll have no prblems whatsoever within reasonable limits.
All I have to say is a MD Mirage X Operator...

Oh, and try to leave all the loaded magazines at home when checking a bags. Whew, left one lodged and forgotten from a Glock 27 in a Mountainsmith bag of mine and almost was almost strip searched at the Hartford Airport.
Least knife? As far as dress conditions where just a pair of shorts, tee shirt and a pair of sandals are the wardrobe of the day it would be my REKAT Utility(or other make) neck knife. And an SAK on my keychain near my photon microlight.


"To earn a million is easy, a real friend is not."
It's the SAK for me too. It's the only knife you can get into a courthouse with, in my experience. I remember James Mattis telling about his wife having a problem entering a courthouse though, cause they found a fork in her purse or briefcase !
I’ve been able to carry my SAK on airplanes with no problems. However, when reporting for jury duty at the King Co. Regional Justice Center in Kent, WA I was turned away and told to stow the knife in my car. It almost went through, as the security personnel were so interested in the metal buckles on my suspenders that they did not look at the metal items I put in the tray. As I was putting them back in my pockets one of the guards noticed the SAK.

No problems taking a Micra into the Federal bldg in Seattle. They were interested in my surefire flashlight and cell phone, and insisted I turn them on.

Things are sure different in Oregon. In those courthouses where the presiding judge has made the order, it is illegal to bring any weapon into the courthouse including any kind of knife. Generally, courthouses in more populous counties have security checkpoints and will not permit even a SAK Classic to pass through. The Federal Courthouse in Portland is just has tough--no knives, no matter what kind or how innocent they may be.
Get a Utility Key. Thats all I'm saying.

We were up in Shelton, Washington, a smallish lumber town where my daughter lives, and we happened to wander into the old fashioned county courthouse there. No metal detector! Just a stack of airport/bus station type lockers in the lobby with a sign on them saying "Please check your weapons here."

Since I was only carrying knives, not weapons, I didn't.

Add my name to the list of those who always have a SAK Spartan, also on my key chain with the photon. Literally don't leave home without it.

My general rule for knife carry in iffy situations (i.e. courthouses) is to carry something small and obviously more utilitarian than weapon such as a Leatherman Micra or smaller SAK.
I carry an Umfaan or Vero Beach mini UDT auto daily.
These are small but practical knives.
The VBM is an auto, but it's size does not suggest "weapon" in any way.
I've flown all over the US with the Umfaan, but wouldn't even consider taking the auto.
A year and a half ago, I was the jury foreman for a murder trial in Oklahoma County.
Not thinking (or behaving habitually), I took the VBM along the first day of court.
I politely surrendered it to the policeman at the metal detector. He smiled, said "nice knife" and that I could pick it up when I leave for the day.
When I showed up, there were several other policemen who were admiring the knife.
Over the course of the next month while I was on jury duty, all the policemen ordered and received their VBM-UDT's.

[This message has been edited by Bill McWilliams (edited 11 June 1999).]
SAK's are pretty small and non-threatening, and can usually be taken anywhere. Thank "MacGuyver" for showing the world how useful they are as a tool. Otherwise, I carry an Old Timer Trapper, or an old Buck stockman. People are never threatened by these, and they usually say "hey, my dad carries a pocketknife like that".
Since I pack either a .40 caliber HK or a .380 Walther PPK/S, packing just a knife IS THE LEAST!

And right now, a Gigand Spectrum is the least I carry - it matches the PPK/S very well, and if I pack the HK, my AFCK, or a Cold Steel Vaquero goes nicely...

JUST a knife? Ah... no...

I mean, if I went around saying I was an Emperor because some
moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, people would put me away!

The least I carry is my B.M. stryker, along with the micra on my keychain. But I have never gone into a courthouse or airport with a knife. Does anyone know specific knife carry laws in the airport/on airplanes?

Well, just for these occasions I ordered a Spyderco Cricket with the lightweight zytel handle and a plain edge.
It is a REAL blade (not like the SAKs, I gave up on them several years ago...) and it is absolutely non-threatening to most people. Women even find it "cute"!!!
Just to be sure, use it as a money clip and no one will ever stop you.