Web Blast: Buddy System Blades

One Is None — But Sometimes Two Equal Ten!

By John Connor

From The May/June 2009 Issue

buddy 1

Benchmade makes lots of cool “big & little brother” duos like the slick-opening
secure-locking Presidio Axis folders. Pair ’em with the slim Snody-designed
fixed-blade Instigator for a great team.

My Dad told me at an early age about our family tradition of carrying three edged weapons. For hundreds of years they were the classic Scotsman’s stocking knife, dagger and great sword. While they undoubtedly served our ancestors well, evolving conditions demanded different forms. For Dad, that meant carrying a small two-bladed Case pocket knife, a Navy-issue multi-function folder and a fixed blade “deck knife” he had re-profiled to a short, stout spear-point. I was proud to start carrying three blades and honoring that tradition.

After Dad crossed the river, when I was a cop, Uncle John told me every man should carry at least two knives: one everybody knows about; used freely and openly for all manner of cutting chores — plus one nobody else knew about. That made sense to me too. So, in my own tradition of over-doing everything, I’ve wound up carrying four: a big tactical folder on my right, a smaller utility folder on the left, and a teensy Victorinox Swiss Army knife, the 58mm Classic. The fourth? Well …

“Buddy System Blades” simply make practical sense. Do you want to slice that lunchtime orange with the same blade you picked gravel — and possibly “road-kill kibble” — out of the soles of your boots with this morning? Whip out your dragon-slayin’ monster tactical knife to unzip an Express Mail envelope amidst an easily-shocked flock ’a sheeple in the corporate conference room?

Some jobs are just done better with one knife than another, and life seldom allows you to choose the “uses” you may be faced with during the day, when you’re selecting a single knife in the morning. And, there’s always that one possible use; the one that lurks out there in the darkness, even in broad daylight, you know? Here are some discreet, some bold, all solid-gold Buddy System Blades.

For more info: www.almarknives.com; www.benchmade.com; www.crkt.com; www.kershawknives.com; www.spyderco.com; www.lonewolfknives.com; www.blackhawk.com; www.wilsontactical.com; www.surefire.com; www.sogknives.com; www.katzknives.com; www.extremaratio.com; www.ztknives.com



Top and bottom, the multi-function EW-06 Delta and EW-05 Echo are made from solid
bars of CPM S30V steel. At center, the superb folding EW-04 Delta shares its brothers’
blade steel, held in its beefy titanium frame. The heat-treated conical glass breaker
on its butt is one of several on-board tools.

Carrying forward the strength and quality of their tactical lights, SureFire’s
knives are designed combat-tough and mission-ready


Former Special Forces trooper and respected bladesmith Kit Carson has
designed several best-buddy pairs for Columbia River Knife & Tool. All four
here are equipped with AutoLAWKS for added strength and safety. Designer
Pat Crawford’s Triumph N.E.C.K. fixed-blade can be worn, umm … Guess where?


From left to right, the ParaMilitary and Military; at center, the agile FB11 Kumo,
then the 4th generation flagship Endura and Delica models. Spyderco has
more natural pairs than a deck of cards, all winners.


Whether for hard duty or formal dress, Al Mar Knives offers two pair of great buddies.
From bottom, the Nomad pairs up with the hand-filling SERE, while the Eagle and Falcon Ultralights
dress up mighty fine. At top, the BackUp Model 1 is lean, strong and handsome.


BLACKHAWK! Blades offers their best-buddies team folders, the BHB40 and BHB41, in both plain-edge
and partially serrated-blade versions. Both are set up to support tip-up, tip-down, right and left side
pocket clips. The fixed-blade Kalista makes the same edge-preference offer, and supports over 70 carrying positions.


(Left) 1600 Chive. (Right) 1840 Shallot.


(Bottom) 1730TBLK Groove. (Top)1630 Zing.

Just a few final comments on selecting your Buddy System Blades, folks:

Check your “pocket depth” – TWICE! If you’re looking for cutters which clip to your trouser pockets – especially if you wear jeans – I suggest you measure those pockets for depth, and keep that in mind when examining larger folding knives. Some bigger blades, like the 5″ bladed SOG Pentagon Elite II, may not fit; that is, they won’t clip in and stay down and clipped. I carry mine clipped in a BDU cargo pocket. Also give thought to your scrunched position in a car seat; you don’t want a longer knife pushing up and pokin’ you in the belly.

Now examine your other pocket depth: your projected knife-buyin’ budget. My advice is to sit down and think about, then write out your knife-needs. What kind of cutting might you be doing with a knife? Do you need a serrated blade? Can one with a short serrated section do the job for you? What about how you carry it? Tip up or down? Blade facing forward or to the rear in your pocket? Left or right side?

I prefer “point down, blade forward” in trouser pockets for these reasons: If the blade comes open in my pocket, it is most likely to do so during violent activity, or when going into crouched or sitting position. I don’t want the blade sticking UP, where it’s mostly likely I’ll only find it has deployed by slashing the heck outta myself. I knew one dude whose point-up blade-forward folder stuck him in the gut when he got into a car. For me, the best things about “point-down, blade forward” combine my own “pulling and presentation” movements and a significant safety factor: I can reach down with both hands, using thumb and forefinger, grab the tops of the knives where they’re clipped in my pockets, and instantly confirm the blades are safely closed.

Some knives like Spyderco’s Delica and Endura are rigged for tip up or down, right or left side — and lots of others aren’t. It would be a pity to put up a big chunk o’ change for a knife you can’t wear in your preferred position. Hold out for a knife or knives which specifically suit you and your budget! Now go get `em!


Wilson Tactical
With solid titanium frames and CPM S30V blade steel, the RRF “Rapid Response Folder” and big
brother Combat Elite Level 3 are just about bombproof, and the stubby, thick little Wilson Cop Tool is D2
tool steel. Both folders are extremely strong frame-locks, and the Cop Tool packs a knife, chisel, pry bar
and a half-dozen other functions into 6″. All from Wilson Tactical.


Katz Knives
There’s gotta be a better word than “silky” to describe the action of Katz Knives’ Kagemusha folders.
When the blade pivots out to lock, it feels like it’s on needle-roller bearings. Pick from a wide variety of
blade profiles and handle scale materials — these are cherrywood; the Memsaab Helena’s favorite. For a
backupfixed-blade, the sturdy Avenger is up to any mission.

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf  Knives
You don’t have to be an executive to appreciate Paul Poehlmann’s cocobolo-handled Executive, and
his slightly smaller Perfecto is, well… Perfecto! Both are from Lone Wolf Knives and feature Paul’s Axial
locking system, which locks the blade in both open and closed positions for greater safety.


If that monster folder from SOG Knives at top looks huge, that’s because it is, with a full 5″ blade. The
Pentagon Elite II’s “little brother,” the PE-I is big enough for most folks with a four-inch blade. Both have
SOG’s Arc-Lock action; smooth and super-strong. The quick little fixed-blade is called the Pentagon Mini,
though there’s nothing “mini” about its performance.)


Extrema Ratio
Italy-based Extrema Ratio’s knives have won art design awards and enthusiastic cheers from hardcore soldiers. These are some of the toughest, most ergonomic combat knives I’ve ever run across, and the racy lines don’t hurt at all. Consider this: Lamborghini commissioned an engraved Shrapnel (the shorty fixed-blade at left) to accompany the sales of their new super-car, the Superleggera, and a Reventon folder comes with every Lamborghini Reventon car — all 20 of them. Just buy a Reventon for about $1.4 million, and you get the knife free!

Zt knives

ZT Knives
ZT – Zero Tolerance – Knives seem to be about as rare as scales shed from a dragon’s back, and the
few people I’ve talked to who own one regard them with the same sorta mysticism, and say they are truly
built to “zero tolerance.” The 0121fixed blade at top and 0302 folder beneath it wear G-10 scales and
Tungsten DLC coatings on their S30V blades. The folding Mudd Knife at bottom is purpose-built for
gloved hands in harsh conditions, and well worth checking out.

That’s all for now, folks, and maybe these are enough to occupy your blade-browsing time for a while. Then, maybe we’ll take a look at what’s in the other side of my knife-closet, huh? Connor OUT.

May/June 2009

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