One Isn’t Enough: Your Second Knife by T.S. — BladeOps Writing Contest #2

Open the drawer that is closest to you right now… it’s ok, we’ll wait for you…. There’s some sort of knife in it, isn’t there? Yeahhh, we thought so.

Whether you think of yourself as a knife guy, knife girl, a blade addict or just someone who appreciates a good piece of sharpened steel for its utility, there is one big problem with every single knife on the planet… one just isn’t enough. That’s why we have drawers full of knives, but the drawer is definitely not the best place for them all.

Until the day comes when liquid metal transformation technology reaches Terminator 2 levels (which will give us a whole new set of problems), no single knife can work for every purpose. And as much as having a specialized tool for every job is part of the American Dream (well, at least part of someone’s dream), it’s even more important to have the right tool with you at the right time. After all, the perfect knife for your situation isn’t so perfect if it’s sitting in that drawer at home.

Like potato chips, you can’t have just one knife. Here are five reasons why you should consider carrying (at least) two knives with you as part of your everyday carry (EDC) setup:

1) If you carry a REALLY nice (or sentimental) knife… you probably should carry a second knife.

Chances are, if your knife a) came with a hand-signed certificate of authenticity, b) cost more than your first car or c) is specifically listed to be passed down to your next of kin, it falls into this category.

I don’t baby my knives… not even the really nice ones. If it’s not capable of cutting, it’s not a tool worth having. That said, I wouldn’t use a custom knife to cut up boxes or slice through tape, pointlessly subjecting the finely-tuned inner workings of a precision tool to sticky gunk. There’s a difference between proving (to yourself) that your fancy knife is just as much a tool as a disposable razor, but is it really the right tool for the job?

If you carry a really nice or sentimental knife, consider also carrying a rougher one for chore tasks. No one takes a Ferrari off-roading, even if they can afford it. I think it’s just fundamentally disrespectful to the craftsmanship that went into a blade that has the potential to be an heirloom piece that could still be admired 300 years from now.

2) If you carry a defensive knife, particularly a fixed blade… you probably should carry a second knife.

If you carry a defensive knife, whether it’s a zombie-limb-remover, combat-tested dagger or a last-ditch neck knife, you probably don’t want to take it out or hand it over to a co-worker just to remove a loose thread. Unless you work somewhere really cool, HR departments tend to frown on battle-proven steel “brandished in the workplace.”

An unintimidating folder like grandpa had, or even a small-ish, conventional folder can be a great addition to your pockets for simple tasks when you’re in public.

If you carry a defensive blade, consider also carrying something non-threatening for chore tasks. They’re better suited to a larger variety of tasks anyway.

3) If you carry a multi-tool… you probably should carry a second knife.

Have you ever tried to open the blade of (almost any) multi-tool with just one hand quickly? If your life depended on your speed, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.

If you need to pry, pinch, snip, file, twist or pop something open, a multi-tool is the tool of choice. But for accessing a cutting blade quickly, efficiently and with one hand, you probably need a second, dedicated knife. Multi-tools give flexibility for multi-tasking, but a knife is one unitasker you need.

If you carry a multi-tool, consider carrying a second knife that you can access and open with one hand quickly. It can literally be a lifesaver.

4) If you are defense-oriented… you probably should carry a second knife.

If you are a CCWer, an edged weapon combatives practitioner, or concerned with things like IFWA, ECQC and many other acronyms*, you may want to carry two defensive blades.

The specifics are up to your preferences and training, but you might carry a fixed blade and a concealable one, a blade accessible with your left hand and one for your right hand, a strong side folder and a weak side auto, a high-line neck knife and a low-line boot knife. As many preppers like to say, “two is one and one is none,” and the same holds true when it comes to defense.

If you carry one defensive blade, consider carrying a second knife to increase your range of accessibility and give you an edge in case “one” becomes none.

* In Fight Weapons Access and Extreme Close Quarters Combat for the curious.

5) If you like to keep an ace up your sleeve… you probably should carry a second knife.

In Japanese martial arts and culture there is a concept of ura and omote, or hidden and public… what is the inner truth and the outer appearance.

The Scottish sgian dubh translates to “black knife,” but it doesn’t really refer to the color. It uses the word “black” the way it is used today in “black ops” – something secret, hidden and nefariously effective… very similar to ura in the Japanese tradition.

When you apply these historical concepts to modern blades, consider that hidden knives aren’t just for “mall ninjas.” If you carry ANY knife every day, consider carrying a “backup to the backup” that lives in your wallet, waistband or bag. It’s a simple, time-tested way of making sure you’re prepared for a worst case scenario, and have something sharp to use when the chips are down.


No one needs to convince you that a knife is a useful tool, but there are a lot of reasons for carrying (at least) two blades. Shuffle through those drawers and see which secondary blade deserves a place in your pocket or belt, or pick up a new one to supplement the knife you already rely on every day. Depending on where I’m going and what I’m doing for the day, I may add to my EDC knife and tool loadout, but I always keep the same core blades… because they work.

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