All Knives Are Not Created Equal

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

I’m kicking off this edition of the Weekly Drop with a couple of questions about the NOC Knife — including what makes it a superior survival knife and the best way to care for it.

Then we’ll look at a few bugging ins and outs. Finally, I’ll share a great point from one of my readers on where to look when sweeping your vehicle for tracking devices.

Let’s get started.

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.

A question regarding NOC Knife maintenance: Where and by whom can the NOC Knife be properly sharpened, cleaned and lubricated? It does not seem that an at-home stone would be right…

— Greg B.

If you don’t have the means or the know-how to properly care for your knife at home, do a quick internet search for knife-makers in your area. They will be able care for your NOC Knife the way a quality knife should be treated.

Do not I repeat do notgo to some large retail store to get this done.

Hey Jason. How about some bug-out advice for those of us who have no way to hike anywhere? If we can’t get to where we have to go by car, it’s live in-place. I live in Tucson. It’s 111 degrees today, I’m 74 years old, and there is nowhere to go that makes any sense except Mexico or Phoenix…

— Jerry L.

Well, Jerry, every person needs to evaluate their survival plan on a case-by-case basis to develop a plan that works with their limitations.

As you mentioned, trying to leave by any means other than a car would probably put you at more risk. Therefore, I suggest stockpiling plenty of extra food and water for a long-term bug-in. Because if leaving by car truly isn’t an option, then you really have no choice but to hunker down at home.

Often, this is the best plan anyway. I don’t recommend anyone leave their home unless absolutely necessary, because your home already provides shelter and has your emergency supplies.

[Editor’s note: Check out this piece by Jeff Anderson (published earlier this week) in which he offers some valuable survival tips for those with limited mobility.]

To protect your bug-out location, is there something that will let you know if anyone entered your cabin, or if anything had changed enough that you could observe it through a scope? Then you could check it out before you approach too close…

— Jim B.

I recommend installing a simple security system with motion detectors or a motion-activated trail camera. Another simple device you could use is a doorstopper alarm, which would be moved out of place if someone entered through the door.

As far as checking to see if anyone has been in your bug-out location, start by walking around the exterior of the building and looking for any signs of entry — such as a broken window or kicked-in door.

Then look through a window to see if anything inside has been moved or disturbed. This would be difficult to do from a distance with a scope, but with a scope you would at least be able to see a broken window or a door ajar before you approached.

The gas cap is another great place to put a GPS tracker on someone’s car. Most people never think to check there even though they hold it in their hand every time they get gas.

— Lowell L.

That’s a great point, Lowell. The gas cap is another place you should check when looking for a GPS tracker on your vehicle. Depending on the vehicle, you can open the gas cap without access to the vehicle and hide the tracker inside.

Even though you remove the gas cap fairly often, most people wouldn’t think to look for a tracking device in the cap. So let this serve as a reminder if you think you’re being followed: The next time you fuel up, double-check your gas cap.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

P.S. Help me help you! Send your survival questions to so I can answer them in a future mailbag alert.

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