Regular readers know that I am a big advocate of learning martial arts. You never know when you will find yourself in a life or death confrontation. But unarmed fighting skills will take you only so far. That’s why I believe that every man should carry a tactical knife with him at all times, and there is no better knife for this job than the Kershaw Tanto.
A Man’s First Duty is to Protect His Family
I live in the US. Generally, it is very safe, but that doesn’t mean the threat of violence is zero. Before we had kids, I never carried a weapon. Thankfully, nothing ever happened. But there were times that I would have felt a lot more comfortable being armed with something.
For example, my wife and I have always taken long walks together in the wooded park near our home. There have been a couple of times when we encountered groups of about eight young men (not boys) walking through the park as well. On these occasions, my natural “spider sense” was triggered. I could tell that these men were up to no good. For whatever reason, my body language or just pure luck, these men left us alone. That’s a good thing because one man against eight is not good odds no matter how skilled the single man is in fighting.
Once we had our first child, the need to step up the protection of my family became urgent in my mind. It is the first duty of every man to guard his family. The first thing that I did was start looking for a good tactical knife that could become part of my everyday carry (EDC).
Everyman Needs an Everyday Carry Knife
Having a knife on you can dramatically improve your chances if your life or the lives of your loved ones are in danger. Martial artist William E. Fairbairn, inventor of the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife that is used by the British SAS, wrote:
In close-quarters fighting there is no more deadly weapon than the knife. In choosing a knife there are two important factors to bear in mind: balance and keenness. The hilt should fit easily in your hand, and the blade should not be so heavy that it tends to drag the hilt from your fingers in a loose grip. It is essential that the blade have a sharp stabbing point and good cutting edges, because an artery torn through (as against a clean cut) tends to contract and stop the bleeding. If a main artery is cleanly severed, the wounded man will quickly lose consciousness and die.
I wanted a serious weapon, not a toy. It had to be sharp enough and sturdy enough to endure a fight. It had to be compact enough that I could carry it whether I was wearing a suit or shorts and T-shirt. And it had to be easy to open—there is no sense in getting a pocketknife that you need two hands to open in a dangerous situation.
I didn’t even think that such a knife existed, but then I ran across a recommendation from Taylor Marshall for the Kershaw Tanto. Taylor is a Catholic philosopher, but he is also a skilled outdoorsman and a true man’s man so I trust anything he recommends.
Ken Onion Kershaw Tanto Serrated Blur Knife with SpeedSafe
I ordered the Kershaw Tanto and I have not been disappointed. As soon as you open the box, it becomes clear that the Kershaw is a serious weapon. It just looks mean, in a good way.
The handle is made of lightweight aluminum but it feels rock solid. It is strong enough to handle being dropped on cement and it can be used as a bludgeon even if the blade is still closed.
The blade itself is razor sharp. I haven’t tried it, but I believe it is so sharp that you could shave with it.
The blade is made of high tech Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel. Sandvik 14C28N is a top-of-the-line knife steel that combines a razor sharp edge, high hardness, and good corrosion resistance while still being easy to sharpen.
But the real magic of the Kershaw Tanto is the SpeedSafe feature. Custom knife designer Ken Onion invented the SpeedSafe technology. It uses a torsion bar to keep the blade under tension when it is folded. That means that you can easily open the blade with one hand. And it opens fast—very fast.
I have never owned a switchblade, but I cannot imagine that it would open faster than the Kershaw Tanto. Honestly, I would not be surprised if some do-gooder, nanny state politician doesn’t introduce legislation to ban the SpeedSafe technology. It is that blindingly fast.
If you don’t already have an EDC knife, I strongly recommend the Kershaw Tanto. I never leave the house without it.
My wife loves it too. Although she doesn’t carry the knife herself, she likes the idea that I always have a weapon at hand.
Ladies, if you are looking for a masculine gift for your husband, boyfriend, or brother, I can guarantee that the Kershaw Tanto is a gift that will be appreciated by any non-wimpy man. (Click here for the best price.)
A commenter (David) suggests an alternative to Kershaw that is produced by Benchmade. I am not familiar with Benchmade, but you may wish to check it out here.
I wish I had read this yesterday – I just got for all my gang matching Swiss Army Knives – gave ’em the ‘camper’ – I keep one in my ruck-sack side pocket ready to go and never take it out when I am at home. I have carried a pocket knife with me since I was a kid, one Christmas one of my older brothers got pocket knives for all the boys – an ‘Old Timer’ that I ended up losing. My second knife that I bought myself was a three blade ‘Booker’… that got lost as well… when I started hiking I got my first SAK… and I have had one ever since and have always given them out to young friends as gift… I do have a few hunting knives that I strapped to my hip or tuck into my bootleg when camping or hiking… but I have never had something tactical like this, I know my youngest brother does carry knives like this but I am still looking around for something that fits right for – I will look into this one on your recommendation… I like old classic stuff in design and simplicity and functionality.
I also do not leave home without a knife in my pocket – and in all my fights and all those brawls and bad situations, it has never occurred to me to pull my knife… looking back at the moment I can only conclude it was because I was never in a knife fight… and sometimes you just gotta take your beating… and when you have to give a beating… give a good one.
Michael Sebastian says
Victor, I don’t think I would be tempted to use the knife unless I felt the situation was literally life or death. My last real fight was in high school. I didn’t have a weapon on me so my initial reaction was just to fight open handed. But when I realized that my opponent was out to genuinely do me serious harm I made use of what was at hand to end the fight.
A couple of years back, some Norwegian female politician was stabbed repeatedly by some psycho in a public area. Though there were lots of people around, none of the men came to her aid. We’ve been so conditioned by our governments to “call the police” but that doesn’t help when seconds count.
Part of our job is to stop being such pussies and reclaim our natural masculine nature. That includes being armed at all times. You are lucky. It seems you have been able to maintain your masculine edge even in the face of our feminizing culture. That’s no small feat in our wimpy world. It will become even more important as we hit turbulence up ahead.
I think we would have a less violent and a more polite society if everyone had a few weapons and knew how to use them. Self-defense is a basic human right for everyone.
Love your idea of having a EDC knife, as I’ve been carrying since I too was a kid. Now at 52, I still don’t leave home without my Benchmade Mini Barrage, designed by Osborne, with an axis lock, which allows for quick open access. I highly recommend Benchmade knives, as I believe they’re top of the line when it comes to knives.
Thanks for all you do, Michael. Happy New Year.
that’s another good looking piece of gear – gonna look into that too, one can never have too many knives.
“Honestly, I would not be surprised if some do-gooder, nanny state politician doesn’t introduce legislation to ban the SpeedSafe technology.”
It states on amazon that “This item is not for sale in some specific zip codes.”
I just received mine in the mail. Cheers! This Catholic boy has an EDC. I decided to go with another Kershaw knife with SpeedSafe tech that is similar to the Tanto but about half the price — $20 plus shipping. I am very impressed and will buy two more for my parents later this year.
Personally, I prefer to carry a handgun (in addition to a knife) wherever legal. I generally go with my .38 special AirWeight J-frame revolver. A bit old school, I know. I’ve got a couple Glocks too.
Sadly, I work in a gun free zone (government office building), but we are allowed to carry knives up to 4″ in length. Thus, I carry a similar Kershaw folder.
Even when carrying a handgun, I still like to carry a knife, both as a backup to the firearm, as a close range defensive weapon, and as a general tool for life.