Tactical Knives: From September 11 To Anyone's Pocket
by Robin J. Derry
Who hasn't read the account of the September 11th New York and Washington DC terrorist attack, where terrorists were thought to have used "box cutters" in order to get by airport security and launch their mission. Instead, it turns out that the likely weapon used emerged from the new field of tactical knives.
No longer relegated to camping and fishing expeditions, short and long blade serrated edged tactical knives are turning up in many urban scenes "when a gun is not an appropriate means of self defense".
Fear of mugging and assault from an already well armed populace, ordinary city dwellers from all walks of life are turning in droves to the latest high tech survival knife designs. Compact and easily concealed, ergonomically shaped, offering a simple one-hand flick to instantly reveal a potentially lethal blade, the new breed of pocket knives deliver lethal potentials to whomever ends up on the wrong side of the handle.
When Does A Tactical Knife Become An Outlawed Weapon Like Switchblades?
Like knife designs, supporting laws are complex and define restrictions yet offer opportunities for designers to enter "loophole" areas. A ¾ ounce tactical knife requires the tiniest of "manual" movement in order to release its 1 ½ inch perforated blade. A switchblade, even while opening slower than the legal unregulated tactical knives, is narrowly defined in earlier 1950's law as a weapon requiring a trigger-button design element. Push the button and the blade springs to open positions, hence the name switchblade.
Design And Use Origins - Tactical Pocket Knives.
No mistaking that the origins of 21st century pocket tactical knives lies in the combat armaments design tradition. Key attributes? Light weight, ease of concealment, blade length with optional serrated edge or perforated finish in order to convey maximum damage.
One Hand Operation.
While law enforcement officials view any knife as a crime-in-waiting, people hiking, swimming, boating, making temporary in-field repairs to gear all appreciate ease-of-use. One hand operation for opening and closing allows quick-fix jobs to be completed safely. And, yes, self defense may require that once-in-a-lifetime response need where you're being attacked and you can only use one hand to locate and then engage your tactical knife against some bad guy.
Tactical Pocket Knives - Weight And Length.
Ergonomic handle plus blade typically measure 4 inches or less while weighing in at around 6 ounces or less. Blades are offered in steel, light weight titanium, straight edge or serrated edge. There are even plastic assisted opening knives that are easy to conceal, yet offer cutting performance equal to the job of cutting meat or even light wood.
Brands And Prices.
Most of the major brands produce designs in the tactical pocket knife segment, producing annual sales of over $1 billion. Entry knives in this segment can cost $20 whereas some brands are priced at $140 or more. Major manufacturers and their online or bricks-and-mortar distributors include Leatherman, Case, Cold Steel, Buck, Benchmade, Masters Of Defense and others.
Legal Issues - Virtually Unregulated.
State and city laws remain uneven, so the expanding market for tactical pocket knives will continue to be de facto unregulated. Individual cities like Atlanta have a 2 inch blade legal limit, but that hasn't prevented "legally permitted" tactical knives to become the weapon-of-choices in well publicized homicide investigations.
Until either broad based umbrella Federal laws come into effect, tactical pocket knives will have virtually open running room to design and sell all sorts of knock-off miniaturized combat knives parading as in-the-pocket tool and self defense "aids".
Compare performance, different sizes and major brands of combat knives, tactical pocket knives for the outdoor or survival needs you anticipate.
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