When choosing the basic type of knife for your carry needs, it usually comes down to the choice of a basic folder or a fixed blade. Both types of knives have their advantages and disadvantages and your choice will most likely be decided based upon two main factors: your environment or the intended use of your knife.
It is quite obvious that the need for a knife will be different depending upon your environment. In most urban environments, a folder will be a better choice for the majority of practical uses. The quality and dependability of many folders has increased to the point that many are solidly constructed and can function almost as well as a fixed blade knife. It will also be less likely to raise the level of concern by your neighbors or local LEO’s that could arise with the sudden appearance of a large fixed blade.
While the more serious outdoorsman or hunter will probably be better served by a good fixed blade, the average hiker or camper can probably survive most situations with a good quality folder. Many knife-makers even realize the advantages of both types of knives and are now offering combo units that allow for the carry of both a folder and a fixed blade in the same sheath.
While easier to carry because of its compact nature, a folding knife, unlike a fixed blade, can also be harder to keep clean and be more susceptible to the effects of dirt and debris which could affect its functional qualities.
The other area in which a fixed blade would also be more advantageous would be in a combat situation. This is a very specific use and generally wouldn’t be of concern to the average person that is not involved in a combat situation.Those who are involved in stressful situations including combat or self defense situations on a more regular basis might be prone to remain more calm when found in a dangerous situation such as this. Because of this, it might be a good idea for the average person who is interested in self defense and being prepared for anything to practice hand-to-hand combat and the use of their knife of choice. Whether you practice with a folder or a fixed blade it can always prove to be an excellent form of stress management not to mention the numerous situations it can come in handy in the real world.
The Intended Use of Your Knife
Most cutting chores of a routine nature can be safely and adequately fulfilled by a good quality folding knife. Most non-routine cutting chores will be more likely to require a decent fixed blade knife to get the job done. Obviously, a folding knife won’t be as efficient as splitting kindling as a fixed blade in an outdoors or wilderness environment. On the other hand, a large fixed blade probably won’t be necessary to open a bag of charcoal in an urban environment. While most people give little thought to a farmer carrying a machete, it will seriously upset your neighbors if you try carrying one around in an urban neighborhood.
If you are apt to find yourself in a combat situation on a regular basis, you may want to consider a fixed blade as your main carry option. A fixed blade will generally be, but not always, easier to deploy in a defensive manner. The type of sheath that your fixed blade is carried in and the style of clothes you are wearing will affect the deployment of your blade. A folder will quite often require one to two additional steps before it can be effectively used in a combat situation. These two steps generally include the release of your folding blade and quite often a shift in your grip to obtain better control after removing it from your pocket.
While the choice of whether to carry a folder or a fixed blade will be largely a matter of personal preference, it doesn’t hurt to consider the effects of your environment or the intended use of your knife before making that choice.
Staying above the water line!