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When my friend introduced me to BladeOps.com, I never imagined that one of the first knives I saw would become my grail knife. My friend told me about the cheap out-the-front knife that was used in the Dark Knight movie and encouraged me to get one for myself. After making the purchase, I started browsing through the other various wares of BladeOps.com and that is when I discovered the Microtech Ultratech. I didn’t really know what it was, but the tanto edge was so slick and clean. I fell in love with the design immediately and thought, “I have to have this!” That was when I discovered the price. While some might consider the lower $200 range to be cheap for a knife, I had never spent over $50 at this time. I knew I would need to save up for a while. What I didn’t realize is that the knives sell out relatively quickly and there are long waits between productions. After nearly 3 years of saving, waiting, and watching, I finally managed to score my grail knife. It is more amazing than I even imagined and I am extremely satisfied. The engineering is perfect and I am very pleased with the fit and finish. I know this blade will satisfy me for quite some time. I wonder what my new grail will become.
I don’t have an excessive amount of knives, maybe 20-30 in all. Out of the collection, there are about 5-10 that I would say are “in rotation.” I put sarcastic quotation marks there, because one knife has not left my pocket for about a year. I will carry the Spyderco Paramilitary 2, and a SOG Twitch II. I might slip a Benchmade 915 Triage in my pocket before I walk out the door and realize that the Triage is in my back pocket and the Para 2 is in the front pocket. The same happens with most of my blades. I can’t seem to find a knife that is more suited for my EDC (Every Day Carry) than the Paramilitary 2.
I even tried not to buy The Para 2. I have seen a lot of reviews of the Para 2 on YouTube, and I mean a lot. Nutnfancy, cutlerylover, TheApostleP, the list goes on, and they gave the Paramilitary 2 high marks and recommended buying one. But I kept saying to myself, “Self the Paramilitary 2 has been around for years, there has got to be something better, Right?.” Than one sunny Tennessee Saturday I had the opportunity to fondle a Paramilitary, not the Para 2 but the first one. If I had the cash in hand I would be writing about the original Paramilitary. It is that awesome before the refinements of the Para 2, and it was a combo blade (partly serrated) which I am not a big fan of personally in the EDC role. I ordered one as soon as I had the enough cash in the Zack fund (where I save for buying sharp and pointy things).
When I opened the simple but iconic Black, Red, Silver, and Gold Spyderco box and removed the new addition to my knife collection and noticed something I had missed when I first handled the Para 1. It wasn’t the Cheshire cat smile that had taken control of my face. The Knife felt great in any hand position, but it was more than comfort. The balance is so spot on that knife feels like it is part of your hand. Not like Freddy Krueger or Wolverine, but like using the right tool for the job. The G-10 (Camo on my Para 2) is grippy but not so rough that is sands your pocket apart after a month. The Para 2 is my first compression lock and almost instantly became my favorite locking mechanism. It is everything I like about a liner/frame lock married to everything I like about the Benchmade Axis Lock.
The blade shape seems to be right for just about anything. The full flat grind slices through normal day to day tasks like a pocket sized light saber deconstruction object on a molecular level. That is to say the CMP S30V blade came sharp out of the box and into the phonebook paper that had suddenly created something that looked like the start of a paper mache project. The fine tip had me a little concerned about snapping it off, but I avoid using it like a screwdriver or pry bar and stick with the using it as a knife and it has held up great. I think it would make a capable self-defiance blade fast in hand great penetration and cutting.
The Paramilitary 2 may not be the perfect knife for every person or even every task, but it is so close to perfect for me that I can’t seem to get it out of the EDC rotation.
This is my Cold Steel Ti-Lite. I own many knives that are far more extravagant looking, made of better materials, and carry a heavier price tag, but this knife is truly my favorite. It has not to do with its capabilities as a blade, or what utilitarian function it serves, but the memory of my dear friend Matt Smith, or as some in his battalion knew him as ” Lance Cpl. Mathew Smith”.
Matt was my good friend all through high school. We played football together, we fished together, we hunted together, we talked about guns and knives together. We were two peas in a pod. After we graduated high school, Matt immediately enlisted in the Marines. As a joke referring to a YouTuber known as ParkourDude91, I got Matt a Kabar knife with ” Semper Fi ” written on the side of it in silver sharpie marker. On the day that Matt left for his deployment, he gave me a Cold Steel Ti-Lite knowing how much I disliked Cold Steel. On May 10, 2003, Matt’s mother called me and told me something that I was not ready for. At the young age of 21, and only 8 days before returning home, Matt’s Humvee was involved in a non-hostile accident which took his life.
Other than the missing thumb stud, the knife is mint condition. I’m afraid to carry it, afraid to use it, afraid to lose or break the one thing I have left of Matt. I keep it on my desk along with a picture of him and I standing on the banks of Lake Erie right before we set out to go Walleye fishing.
Freedom isn’t free, and he will not be forgotten.
I’ve been a fan of knives since I was a little kid. Ever since my older brother gave me his boy scouts knife, I’ve been hooked. Where I went, so did that knife. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I abused that thing, but it held up to the rigors of what a young outdoors lover could dish out. I learned to appreciate what a fine instrument a knife could be. In a pinch, or to just to whittle on a stick, or to carve my name in a tree out of boredom.
Over the years my collection has grown. Family and friends never seemed to understand or to appreciate my love of a fine blade. I still to this day carry a knife with me wherever I may roam. And I still own that first boy scout knife which my brother handed to me nearly forty years ago now. No I no longer carry it, but that knife will forever hold a place deep inside my heart.
While driving home from work one evening several years ago, I approached an intersection that was controlled by a traffic light. The traffic light was red and I was preparing to make a right hand turn. There was a vehicle in front of me doing the same and a vehicle to his left, operated by an elderly man who was preparing to continue straight once the light turned green. In New York State the traffic laws allow you to make a right turn on a red signal after making a full stop and when it is safe to proceed. The vehicle in front of me stopped, then proceeded to make his right hand turn on the red signal. The elderly man, prompted by the movement to his right, assumed the light had turned green and proceeded forward into the intersection. To my horror, I observed a black Chevrolet coming from the right, traveling at high speed, enter the intersection and collide violently into the car driven by the elderly man. In an instant, I jumped out of my car and ran to the man’s vehicle. There was smoke emanating from under the hood and he was conscious but confused, dazed and in pain. Fearing that the vehicle may erupt into flames I tried to get him out of the car but could not release the seatbelt hasp. Not wanting to waste time, I pulled out my Case pocket knife that my grandfather had given me before he passed away and sliced right through the seatbelt as if it was a hot knife through butter. I pulled him out of the wreck and carried him to the nearest curb and waited with him for EMS to arrive. Shortly after that, the engine compartment erupted into flames. Within 5 minutes however, the flames were extinguished by emergency workers who arrived on the scene and the elderly man was removed safely to the hospital. I’m happy to report that the elderly man, who I later learned was named Edward, fully recovered from his injuries that consisted of broken ribs and two broken wrists.
When I think back on that day I will never forget the look on Edwards face when I first approached him and I will also never forget how easily the Case knife that my grandfather had given to me, sliced through a stubborn seatbelt. Since then, my knife collection has grown significantly and when people ask why I carry a knife every day………… I tell them to ask Edward.
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Whenever I meet new people, the question eventually arises–“What do you do for work?”
My simple answer is, “I sell knives.”
It is amazing how often I get some kind of baffled silence as an answer. And then, maybe right away, if I am meeting an unusually forward person, I get a follow up question. “Like CUTCO?”
After chuckling politely, I then explain that I have a retail store called BladeOps.com where we sell military, hunting, camping and collectible knives. Normally this is enough for the person to properly categorize me and be on their merry way.
But when I tell people I collect knives as a hobby, I always get a much more puzzled reaction. “Why?” is a common response. Unless of course it is another aficionado–and then we launch into a delightful conversation about our favorite designers and the newest materials as well as what style is our favorite.
But to answer those who don’t collect knives. I collect knives because I like knives. The why behind the knife collecting hobby is much like the why behind any other collecting hobby. We begin to collect something that interests us. As we learn more about the interest, our search broadens before it narrows again. In the beginning, more is better. You find this often with new collectors. They begin to pick up every different kind of knife they can, adding to their collection willy-nilly. After a few months or years, they begin to specialize. And since the world of knives is so huge, so enormous, it only makes sense to specialize.
Perhaps they like a specific manufacturer and begin to collect as many of their pieces as possible. I know people who only buy Spyderco knives. Others I know will only buy a knife if it is a Pro-Tech. Other collectors begin to focus in on specific styles or patterns. There has to be several thousand Out the Front automatics on the market, and some guys will only buy OTF knives. Others specialize in fixed blade. Some go for historical knives with a story.
Wikipedia has some good insight into the whole idea of collecting. Under the entry, Psychology of Collecting, it reads, “When people think of collecting, they may put in mind expensive works of art or historical artifacts that are later sold to a museum or listed on ebay. But the truth is, for many people who amass collections, the value of their collection is not monetary, but emotionally valuable—and often not for sale. . . . Some collect for the thrill of the hunt. Collecting is much like a quest, a lifelong pursuit which can never be complete. . . . Motives are not mutually exclusive, different motives combine in each collector for a multitude of reasons.” This gives us a good start on the why we collect knives, but I think it doesn’t completely answer the question.
At least for me it doesn’t answer the question. I think most of us collect knives because we like them and the stories they tell. I have a an old Spyderfly B02TR butterfly trainer knife. It really isn’t “worth” that much as a collection piece. But to me, it represents the beginning of my collecting days. It was one of the first knives I added to my collection. And it is a discontinued model. Because of this, it is unlikely that I will ever part with it. I don’t use it very much–I’m really not very good with butterfly knives. But I like it and what it represents–so I hold on to it as part of my collection. I also have a very nice Brous Blades Coroner with the Zombie Finish. The knife isn’t one I would ever consider actually using, but I like it because it is so over the top. It’s very extremeness makes me like it. My family gives me a hard time when I go to Costco to do some shopping. I like big, I like extreme, I like over the top. Because of this, I like the Coroner–and so it maintains a spot in my collection.
I have several knives in my collection that I use all the time. I have a Boker Kalashnikov 73 that I carry several times a week. It cuts great. It is easy to maintain. And it is perfect as an EDC. Other knives I carry on a regular basis include my Pro-Tech TR 1.31 Tactical Response, a Pro-Tech Runt 5415, a Benchmade Volli, a Benchmade Mini Barrage, as well as my Microtech Ultratech. I like all of these knives for daily use and cherish them as part of my working collection. But I definitely have a couple of knives that don’t get used–they are more of an investment to me. These include a couple of very limited Microtech Marfione pieces, a couple of SHOT Show limited Benchmade knives from past shows I have attended, as well as a couple of very nice knives from Pro-Tech.
So you can see I collect knives for two reasons. First, I collect knives that I can use on a daily basis as the tools they were intended to be. Second, I collect a few knives because they are extremely rare or limited and represent an investment of sorts. As pieces of art, limited and rare knives maintain their value quite well.
So, tell me, why do you collect knives?