Best of the Drop — The Knives Have It

This week, I decided to bring you another “best of” edition of the Weekly Drop — this one dedicated to knives.

The fact is a quality survival knife can come in handy for a ton of different tasks. But there are all kinds of knives out there, from pocketknives to machetes…

Which ones should you buy? How should you care for them? Is it legal to carry them around?

I’ll answer all these questions — and more — below. Take a look.

But first, be sure to send any survival questions YOU have to to be featured in a future mailbag alert.

Do you know anything about the knife laws in New York City? There is much confusion about this on the internet.

— Morton S.

The fact is New York City has some of the strictest knife laws in the country. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but one thing I can tell you is that it’s illegal to possess a knife with a blade longer than four inches.

Also, many of NYC’s knife laws don’t address a specific type of knife but simply make it illegal to expose a knife in public. For example, it would be illegal to carry any kind of knife clipped to your pants pocket because it would be in open view.

Again, I’m not a lawyer. But IF I were going to carry a knife in NYC, it would be small (less than four inches) and NEVER leave my pocket unless I were using it.

What’s the best way to sharpen and care for my survival knives at home? Is there a sharpener you recommend?

— Sheldon E.

If you own expensive knives, I recommend doing an internet search for local knife-makers. They’re all over the U.S. and will be able to take care of your knives the way they should be treated. (Do not go to some large retail store to have your knives sharpened.)

I also recommend checking out the Lansky brand of knife sharpeners. These are inexpensive sharpeners that are great to throw in your bug-out bag for sharpening on the go.

Are you folks still championing the Guardian?

— Les D.

The fact is a machete is a great survival tool. It can be used to clear brush and chop wood as well as for self-defense. One of the top reasons a machete is an effective self-defense weapon is that you can defend yourself without getting close to your attacker.

In other words, if you had to use a knife, you would obviously have to be right up in your attacker’s face, but a machete lets you keep some distance. Plus, unlike a firearm, a machete won’t run out of bullets.

I recommend looking at the SEAL Saber XL. This kukri-style, full-tang knife is made of military-grade 3Cr13 stainless steel that won’t corrode or tarnish. Plus, the black oxide 751 coating prevents light from reflecting off the blade for added stealth.

Thank you for your incredibly informative emails. You recommend always carrying a quality pocketknife. My question is… which brand/model/manufacturer do you recommend?

— Gary M.

I am a knife junkie and I own a lot of knives. In my experience, both Benchmade and Spyderco make top-quality knives. You can’t go wrong with products from either company.

I enjoyed your article on the advantages of a neck knife. It would be helpful to know the type of neck knife you carry, since it works for you (and you’re the pro).

— Stephen B.

Funny you should ask, Stephen. I actually wear a custom neck knife that I had made for me. Take a look at the picture below:

Jason's neck knife

I like a small knife that fits in a Kydex sheath I can deploy quickly, which is what my knife does. When shopping for one of your own, just be sure you don’t buy some cheap Chinese neck knife for $10 — invest in quality.

How do you carry throwing knives?

— Richard L.

I don’t recommend carrying throwing knives for two main reasons:

  1. Depending on where you live, it may be illegal to conceal or even carry throwing knives.
  2. Unless you’ve spent years mastering this skill, throwing knives can be very difficult to use. They’re not something I recommend for someone who is new to knives.

That being said, I do think everyone should carry some sort of knife on them for close-quarters defense and survival purposes. A knife in the hand is a lot deadlier than trying to throw one for 99.9% of people.

I am a former DOD contractor, search-and-rescue member, prepper and survivalist living in remote Alaska. I believe in a knife that will not break, crack or shatter… Do you have any recommendations?

— Arnold D.

It’s difficult to find a quality knife on the retail market. I suggest finding a custom knife-maker and telling them exactly what you want. (Just know that a custom knife is not cheap.)

The fact is I spent years looking for a knife that would meet my survival needs. In the end, I paid a custom knife-maker to produce a knife to my exact specifications. I call it the NOC Knife — and I have personally tested it under a variety of extreme circumstances.

The NOC Knife has no ring guard, which IMO makes it less effective than the Emerson Gentleman Jim.

— Nils M.

The Emerson Gentleman Jim is a quality folding knife — I’ll agree with you there, Nils — but, frankly, the NOC Knife is a better survival and self-defense knife because it has a fixed blade.

I always carry a folding knife clipped to my pants pocket that I use to open the mail and all of the boxes I get from Amazon. But other than these purposes, I wouldn’t want to put my life in the hands of a folding knife.

A “folder” is not built for prying or for intense force, and it will snap off at the pivot point under significant pressure. A fixed-blade knife is much stronger and more reliable.

When we designed the NOC Knife, we wanted to produce the best all-around knife for any situation, which is why it’s made with a full tang fixed blade.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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