Small Fixed Blade Knives for Every Day Carry
*Please note, it is YOUR responsibility to know and understand the laws regarding carrying a knife. This post is for information purposes only.
There are a number of affordable, easy to conceal, easy to carry and effective Small Fixed Blade knives (SFB) available. For the purposes of this post I am speaking about a fixed blade with a four inch or less length blade. Combined with the right sheathing, carry and application methods these SFB’s make excellent Every Day Carry knives in addition to or replacing the folding knife. Here are some considerations and options to consider if looking to integrate a small fixed blade into your every day carry setup.
The best sheathing material for these knives is some type of Kydex or rigid plastic sheath. While leather sheaths, like leather holsters, are comfortable and nice looking they do not offer the varied mounting options for carry or rigidity that Kydex or a plastic does. Kydex offers the end-user any number of mounting and carry angles and ride heights. The sheath must retain the knife but not be so tight that accessing the SFB from the sheath requires excessive effort. We do not recommend retention straps or locks preferring some type of custom molded sheath specific to that blade. A number of companies are available that can make after-market custom sheaths for any number of blades. One of our favorites is Tom over at Dark Star Gear.
While the ways people can attach knives and sheaths to themselves and gear is limited only by the end-users imagination, the best attachment methods and devices we have found include:
How and where the SFB is carried is possibly more important than the type of knife. If the SFB is being carried with the express purpose of personal protection as either a primary or secondary option it must be readily accessible. The ability to access any tool, under the pressure of close quarter attack, is heavily dependent on where that tool is placed. The SFB should be placed in a “hips forward” position as close to the centerline of the body as possible, allowing easy access with either hand.
The three most common and practical carry locations include:
1) Waistline Carry – inside waistband or outside, this is heavily dependent on mode of dress, environment, sheathing and sheathing attachment options.
2) Pocket Carry – pocket carry allows the end-user to covertly index (Palm) the SFB in a normal, non-threatening and non-telegraphic manner. This method is heavily dependent on mode of dress, environment, sheathing and sheathing attachment methods. Pocket carry generally makes accessing and deployment problematic if accessing with the support hand.
3) Neck Carry – not our favorite option but still an option, if you decide to neck carry make certain the hilt of the knife hangs down low enough. We recommend the hilt of the SFB should rest ~1″ above the hem of the shirt or cover garment. Another option is clothing specific relying upon wearing some type of button up garment that allows access to the hilt through the opening holes between buttons. Be aware that neck carry should not cause excessive time spent fishing under the shirt to locate, access and deploy the blade.
Whichever method you choose remember, what you can do while standing in front of the mirror at home is far different than what you may be capable of during close range criminal assault.
Any application of a knife should be based upon the justified use of lethal force, training experience and the blade itself. My goal using ANY defensive weapon, including knives, is to get an assailant/s off of me and keep them away from me. That’s it (Credit to my friend and mentor Craig Douglas for that) to stop them from harming me or someone Im responsible for. While a number of martial arts teach a myriad of techniques using a knife, few focus on using the knife to disengage and escape. Whatever application methodology you choose to follow make sure you possess an understanding of the justifiable use of lethal force prior to your decision to carry a SFB. Check out my article, Why the Knife, for more info on our application methodology and selection of the knife as a personal defense tool.
It is beyond the scope of this post to list every production or custom small fixed blade option available. This list encompasses SFB’s I have found to be 1) affordable 2) viable 3) legal – in my jurisdiction and 4) I have personal hands on experience with carrying. You will need to investigate the legalities of knife carry in your jurisdiction.
Custom Sheathing Options