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Should I Carry a Pocket Knife?

Updated on December 3, 2015

My Pocket knife

Pocket knife
Pocket knife | Source

What is a pocket knife?

The first thing we need to know is, what is a pocket knife? A pocket knife is a folding knife, otherwise known as a jackknife. A basic pocket knife usually has a single blade that folds into the handle of the knife. The blade length varies widely, as does the quality of the knife.

In the distant past, the pocket knife was a simple device, a single blade that folds into the handle with none of the modern amenities, it lacked a locking mechanism, slipjoint or backspring.

Swiss army Knives distant ancestor

Some pocket knives have multiple blades that perform many different functions. The Romans were probably the first people to have a multitool device that most closely resembles our modern day swiss army knife. Although it seemed to have been designed with culinary convenience in mind. The Roman multitool device boasted a build in knife, fork, spoon, pick and a spike.

History of the pocket knife.

The most basic pocket knife, also called the penny knife, peasants knife or farmers knife, has been around since before the roman empire. At the time it was a costly tool to own, and not many people had one, the pocket knifes popularity truly boomed when it was mass produced at an affordable price. One of the earliest pocket knife found was in Hallstatt, a simple bone handled device made around 600 – 500 BC.

Pocket Knife

Pocket knife
Pocket knife | Source

Pocket Knife, should I carry one?

In my opinion, the answer would be a resounding YES, I cannot imagine why someone would not want the convenience of having a pocket knife on their person.

I have met a lot of people that do not understand my fascination with knives, mostly girls actually.

This is kind of hard to explain, but it is mostly a matter of convenience, I seem to be whipping my knife out at least every other day. Admittedly for mostly mundane things, like cutting open letters, opening boxes, cutting string and slicing up fruit. I know I am not supposed to be doing this with a good knife, but I also use it for prying things open, tightening small screws ( usually the screws on my sunglasses ).

Some of the changes to the humble pocket knife.

The pocket knives made in the past did not have any locks to stop the blade from folding back into the handle or any of the other features that we so commonly see today, after the pocketknife gained popularity, many different types of handy features where added to the humble pocket knife. The clip on the side, so that you can clip your pocket knife to your belt, or the inside of your pants pocket. Lanyard holes to attach strings or chains to your pocket knife. A thumb stud so that you can use your thumb to push open the blade one handed, or Spydercos famous thumb hole at the base of the blade, that serves the same purpose as a thumb stud. Locking systems to lock the blade into the open position, so that it does not accidentally fold back while you are using the knife.

Different types of locking systems.

Two of the most popular being the liner lock system and the lockback system.

Liner Lock System

The liner lock is one of the most popular locking systems today, overtaking the previously very popular lockback system. When the knife blade is opened, a vertical metal lockbar is angled from the side of the interior toward the center, where it presses against the tang of the blade. The pressure of the lockbar prevents the blade from folding close. To fold back the blade just slide the lockbar back into its original position using your thumb.

The Lockback Safety System

The lockback system of locking a blade was popularized by Buck knives in the early 1960's, and was the most popular locking system for decades. Some people might say it is still the most popular locking system, but I tend to disagree. The lockback essentially has three moving parts, the blade with a groove in the back ( this part is in the handle ), the backspring which has a hook that locks into the blades groove ( this is the back of your folding knife ), and a spring bar which pushes against the backspring ( this part is inside the handle and exerts pressure against the backspring ). To release the lock, you have to press against the notched part of the handle pushing the backspring down, thus lifting up the hook away from the blade. A simple yet strong locking system.

Pocket knife

Pocket knife
Pocket knife | Source

Here is a list of other locking systems.

Framelock ( similar to the liner lock accept that the frame of the handle replaces the liner that is inside a liner lock folding knife)

Lawks knife safety system

Autolawks knife safety system

L.B.S lockback safety

Midlock ( similar to the lockback, popularized by the company Cold Steel )

Ringlock ( made famous by Opinel knives )

Lever lock ( has not gained that much popularity )

Pocket knife for emergency use.

Have you ever needed to use a pocket knife in an emergency?

See results

A couple of emergency uses for a knife.

In an emergency a knife could save a life. Cutting a seat belt to get someone out of a car in an emergency.

My friends apartment door broke, and was jammed shut, his daughter had finals in 45 minutes and was locked inside, while he was locked out. , My trusty knife came in handy, I was able to remove the lock in time for him to drive his daughter to her finals.

I am sure that other people have had to use their pocket knife in an emergency.

Is a pocket knife a good self defense tool ?

The short answer would be no. Pocket knives that are meant to be used for self defense are called tactical knives ( a term credited to Robert G. Terzuola, a fantastic knife maker/designer). Tactical knives are very nice to look at, but in my opinion they are still just pocket knives, in a tactical situation, I would much prefer a fixed blade. For the average person, using a knife for self defense is just as dangerous for the victim, as for the perpetrator. Unless a person has had some training in using a bladed weapon for self defense, the chances are about 50 – 50 that the knife will be taken out of their hands, and used against them. Sign up for a self defense course that teaches weapons mastery, if you have any intentions of carrying a tactical knife to protect yourself with. If you are untrained, carry pepper spray.

Is it legal to carry a pocket knife?

Carrying a pocket knife is legal in most countries, one should just keep in mind that every country/state, and sometimes even city, have different laws regarding what types of knives are legal. Make sure you check your local law on what types of pocket knife you are legally allowed to carry in your area.

Many countries have banned the carrying of Easy Open and Spring Assisted knives.

After reading this article

Do you agree that everyone should carry a pocket knife?

See results

Places that you cannot carry a pocket knife.

Airports, schools, hospitals, power plants, police stations, most government buildings, mental institutions, prisons, juvenile detention centers, shelters and many other places, usually a little bit of commonsense will tell you where you can and cannot carry a knife.


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