Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Fallacy of the Excluded Middle

There's a piece over at GAT Daily that discusses how "knife" in the gun world has come to be synonymous with "tactical folder", which is to say aggro-looking things with textured scales in Tactical Dirt Colored G10 and meat-eating 3"+ blades.

I certainly have several knives that fit this description, but I don't generally carry them anymore. The closest thing is probably the rather understated-looking Bestech Kendo I'll bring to SHOT, because I like the way it looks and if it disappears over the week's travels I won't be crushed by its absence.

It may be slim and understated looking, but a 3.75" blade makes for a noticeable pocket anchor.

For day-to-day use, I've even retreated from the waved Spyderco Endura I used to carry to the smaller waved Delica.

Even these middlin'-sized Spydercos can be a little startling to people uncomfortable around anything weaponlike, what with the way they deploy instantly with an audible *snap* on being yanked from a pocket.

This socially-acceptable angle is what caused the author of the GAT piece to wax eloquent about grandpa's slip joint pocket knife.
I’m talking about the gentleman’s pocket knife. If your dad didn’t carry one of these, your granddad almost certainly did. These are the smaller, slimmer 2-3 in bladed knives from Buck, Case, and Great Eastern Cutlery.

Most of the folks from Gen-Z forward will likely be most familiar with this knife format once I say “Swiss Army Knife”

These are far from tactical. You need both hands to open the knife, there’s no pocket clip, the blades are relatively thin, and the knife doesn’t lock open. But they carry a lot of advantages as well.

Firstly, one of the biggest benefits is the fact that they’re not tactical. Pulling out one of these in mixed company is more likely to spark a conversation than it is to make someone uncomfortable.
I get that in certain quarters of the Manliness Movement, it's fashionable to cosplay an imaginary version of the Fifties, and that Old Spice has staged a comeback alongside the fedora, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with LARPing as grandpa, but it is possible to have a small, elegant gent's folder that looks like it was designed in this millennium. You don't have to go retro for a nice looking bit of pocket jewelry.

Benchmade has been making attractive small gent's folders for decades, but you don't have to spend a bunch on a pre-prodution McHenry & Williams Benchmite or 1st Production Terzuola Park Avenue to get a sleek little pocket knife. The current CRKT catalog, for instance, has the slick-looking but inexpensive Dually, with a sub-2" blade (legal in even Chicago and Boston). It even has a built-in bottle opener, in case you aren't far enough into the grandpa-LARP for twist-off tops.

Just because you need a small, classy knife, it doesn't mean you have to start wearing white socks and sandals and pulling your trousers up to your armpits.