Accessibility depends on use, circumstances and, most importantly, the person’s imagination
By Stephen Garger
The idea of our car crashing into the water and sinking truly scares my wife. She fears the possibility similarly to the way a person afraid of flying worries the plane will crash. I had known of her concerns for some time but, when I saw her white knuckling the steering wheel while driving on a bridge across a lake in Northern Idaho, it finally occurred to me to do something to ease her anxiety.
I keep a small hand ax under the car front seat and a Spyderco Assist I rescue knife in the glove compartment, but, since I have plenty more knives, I thought one of them might hold a possible solution to her fear. As I thought about it, I realized should the car flip or an injury occur, it would be nearly impossible or require a great deal of luck to locate the ax. Likewise, the glove compartment could jam shut or fly open and spew its contents, and access to the rescue knife would be lost.
After thinking about such things as the position in which the car could end up, potential injuries, water everywhere and the overall impact of the crash, I found the solution in knifemaker Bud Nealy’s MCS II. MCS is short for Multi-Carry System, and the MCS II was part of the package I received when, sometime previously, I bought Nealy’s small, 3.5-inch, reinforced-point Pesh Kabz fixed blade after it was featured on page 117 of the April 2005 BLADE®. Part of the MCS II is a strong adhesive material and a sort of super fabric fastener, which can be used to firmly attach the Kydex® sheath just about anywhere and in any position.
I went through the vehicle and finally found a spot on the lower plastic part of the front driver’s seat where I could reach the knife easily with either hand. The location also was situated so the knife could not be seen from the outside with the driver’s door open during a rest or gasoline stop. Together, the small ax, glove compartment’s rescue tool, and the sheathed and attached MCS II largely alleviated my wife’s fears.
I was relating how we had addressed my wife’s water-crash fears to Dan Delavan of the Plaza Cutlery retail knife store in Costa Mesa, California, and he agreed Nealy’s MCS II lends itself to that sort of thing.
“It’s also not unusual for people to keep a knife somewhere on their bikes, wherever they can put it so they can reach if it they’re knocked down,” he said. “For bikes, they tend to use knives like those from Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) and Kershaw with it in mind that the odds are they’re never going to use it, but it’s there if they need it.” Delevan had no suggestions as to how the knives are attached, but did mention that people he knows mount a knife under their car dashboard. “Any knife with a Kydex sheath is a good one to mount that way,” he noted. Though he did not say if he kept a knife in his vehicle, he did indicate he keeps an “old original Gerber Mark II under the mattress.”
Jeff Hall of Nemesis Knives approached the idea of knives in unusual and easy reach from the point-of-view of where the knife replaces a firearm for home defense.
“Anywhere people would hide a gun they may hide a knife instead,” Hall began. “Nobody’s breaking any laws, and people uncomfortable with guns will have knives around the house—even the anti-gunners will have a knife.” Nemesis is in California, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States and gives perspective to Hall’s view. “People keep knives in their refrigerator, in the bathroom behind the toilet, and hanging from the door knob or above the front door frame, since you don’t always know who’s at the door,” Hall said. “I’ve also heard of knives between the bed linens, attached behind the TV, as well as between the cushions of the couch.”
Hall did not have many particular examples of what types or models of knives people use in such instances. “Everybody has different tastes,” he responded. “Size may relate to the spot. If it’s a small door frame, then our little Hellion neck knife will work fine.” Hall also mentioned another small Nemesis fixed blade, the 2-Zero, and its titanium pocket clip. “[The titanium pocket clip] reduces the weight and allows you to carry a fixed blade in a shirt pocket, giving it the convenience factor of a pen,” he explained. The idea appeals to me, given how I tend to leave the desk in my study unexpectedly and end up in a room where I need a knife.
“We have a knife we did for a police department that is mounted underneath the brim of a hat,” observed Mike Fuller of TOPS Knives. It is the TOPS Thumb Nail and can be bought attached to a TOPS cap, which provides pretty handy access while fishing. “A lot of people in the inner cities take our Cockpit Commander and wrap it so it hangs over the steering column and can’t be seen from the window,” Fuller continued. “It’s an excellent tool and you can place just about any neck knife in that location.” TOPS also provides knives with magnetic sheaths which allow for numerous concealment opportunities and several ALRT models, which range in length from 3.5 to 5 3/8 inches and lend themselves to assorted ways to stow the blade, including inside the belt, hanging from a shower curtain ring, or just about any place you may conceive a knife may be needed and in easy reach.
Brian Huegel of Country Knives retail knife store in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, has a slightly different take on keeping knives in unexpected places with convenient access. There are many seat-belt cutters available for emergency purposes “which provide a marginal amount of success in a crisis,” he opined. Huegel mentioned CRKT as offering a wide range of knife options for any purpose. “[Spyderco’s] idea of a pocket clip makes a folding knife easily accessible,” offered Huegel. “Lots of people who come into the store want to know how to defend themselves, but you want to be careful not to be construed as providing people ways to hide things for possible criminal purposes.”
A knife is first and foremost a tool. Like any tool, it must be readily available when needed. Factoring in current knife and carry systems offered, accessibility will likely be determined by the intended use, circumstances and, most importantly, the person’s imagination.
Editor’s note: Please be sure you are not in violation of your local and state laws when you store knives in out-of-the-way places. Also, be sure the places are such that small children cannot access the knives.
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