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Knives for Disaster Use


The Coach”


Editor’s Note:  I do NOT receive any financial compensation from any company or product that I mention in any of my articles. I only state what has or has not worked for me.

My grandfather gave me my first knife and sharpening stone when I was seven (7) years old. It was a small folding blade pocket knife. He told me that one sure thing of owning a knife is that I would get cut. He also told me, if I kept my knife sharp, I would not have as many accidents as I would with a dull knife. He was right on both accounts. My mother had a fit.

I am now sixty-three years young. Ever since my grandfather gave me that little knife, I have always carried some sort of a knife on my person every day. I now own many folding lock blade and sheath knives.

I have learned over the years, a non-lock blade knife is very dangerous. I have stopped carrying them because the blade can fold back on your fingers while using them and cut you. I learned that lesson the hard way. Being cut by your own knife during a disaster is NOT something you need to happen. During a disaster, any medical services are usually overwhelmed or nonexistent.

I have always lived in metro New Orleans. I have weathered all of the hurricanes that have hit southeast Louisiana, including Katrina.

The day before Katrina hit, I decided to upgrade from a small folding lock blade pocket knife that I normally carry and go to a larger sheath knife. I have a Randall, RAT 7, sheath knife that I use when I go in the woods and camping. I found out quickly that a large sheath knife was NOT the knife I wanted to use because every time I sat down in a chair, the knife punched me in the ribs.

I then tried a large folding lock blade, a “Buck”, model 110, knife in a belt sheath. This knife worked well but I soon found out that it was just a knife. There were a lot of jobs that I had to stop and get just a screw driver or a pair of pliers in order to complete.

I then remembered that I had a “Leatherman Wave”, multi tool in my knife box. I took the Buck knife off and put on the “Leatherman”. It worked great! I used that multi-tool numerous times in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

There are many companies that make good multi tools, “Gerber”, “S.O.G.”, “Leatherman” and Victorinox to name a few. There are also as many companies that make junk. Just remember, you get what you pay for. The last thing you need is anything that you use during and after a disaster to fail and possibly injure yourself.

I have been told that the military is now issuing multi-tools to the troops when they go through survival training because they have more uses that just a knife.

Hollow handle, fixed blade, survival knives are NOT a viable option. They are normally weak and break at the point where the knife blade attaches to the hollow handle.

Be sure that you check with your local law enforcement before carrying any knife concealed or openly. The laws change drastically from state to state and from county to county.

Also remember, if Martial Law is declared in your area, the laws as you know them are suspended. You then need to check with the governing authority to find out what is allowed and not allowed.


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  1. I think that the combination of a multitool, such as the Leatherman Wave, and a Buck 110 would be a fine one. Another knife option would be one of the smaller Buck lockblades, such as the Squire, or newly re-introduced Duke. Both of the latter can be easily carried in the pocket.

    I have to disagree with your assessment of hollow-handled knives. Martin knives of Texas make a line of extremely durable hollow-handled survival knives. I have never read of one of them failing.
    Chris Reeves also made a pretty good line of tool steel one-piece hollow handled blades. I have a few; very, very strong.
    I almost forgot the classic Randall, another one that I have not seen any complaints on. With the popularity of Randall, we would have.

  2. for the most part your right but cold steel has come out with a 1 PEICE hollow handle knife and this thing ROCKS ive used it for a LOT of stuff

  3. Don’t know what else to say except AMEN! I too was raised in Louisiana (Northern) and was given my first knife by my Grandfather (w/stone). “A dull knife is of no use to anyone and a danger to the one carrying it”, Papaw Laurence.

  4. If I put my 2 cents in I would have to go with a Gerber “Multi” type tool. There is one very important difference between a Leatherman and a Gerber. Although not being needed very often, it can be imperative to pry a small opening larger (any clamped/crushed hose/orifice). Because of a Leathermans’ pivoting head, it cannot accomplish this task ONLY a Gerber can. I have carried a Gerber on my side for many years and will continue to do so.

  5. I have a Robert Parrish 8 inch hollow handle survival knife made in November 1984, # 337, The only way to seperate the blade from the handle is to destroy the knife. A friend who has since passed away told if a boy did not have a pocket knife ans BB gun by the age of 12 he wouldn’t amount to anything as in personnal responsibility.

  6. Gotta respect a mans policy, specially one built on his or her personal experience. Like you and (JohnP) i was given a pocket knife and stone when I young (7 years), In my (EDC) I carry two locked folders, one (MT) and two (SAK)’s, one on the key chain and a huntsmen. My daughter shared with me last night they had ohana day at the beach with my two sisters and their families. Problem was aunt bought a new mini BBQ that needed some assembly, there they were on the beach but needed a Phillips driver for the BBQ, no problem my youngest daughter pulled out her (Gerber) MT whipped out a “Phillips” point and began assembly. Then aunt announces crap!, I forgot to pack a knife for the meat. In steps my eldest daughter, no problem Aunty, she pulls out her (Leatherman) MT and whipped out the blade. Aunt could not believe how razor sharp it was. Then laughed that these nieces of her where indeed my kids. But it saved the day.

  7. This author brings some very good points, and I agree a good multi-tool is invaluable. I would point out though that in a survival/emergency situation fire is key. In order to process fire wood you could use a multi-tool but it will take forever even with the saw. In my honest opinion in this situation a good 5.5 to 7.5 inch fixed blade is worth its weight in gold. I would still carry a muti-tool as a backup blade, but for my money give me an old hickory butcher knife any day.

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