Bigger ain’t always better…

I’m in the middle of writing a piece about knives that are ideal for ladies or younger users – those with smaller hands, limited knife experience and no desire to be carrying a tactical, sharp-edged boat anchor. Of course, I have to be uber polite in my article, here, I’m gonna say it how I feel it:

What is the deal with guys and knives, huh? You talk to men about finding a knife for a young lady, one who has never owned a knife before, and they hand you a pocketknife saying, “This is perfect!” Said knife usually sports a 3″ to 3.5″ blade, and is all black and “tactical” looking.

It’s not the kind of thing most non-knife loving women want floating around in their purse. And when I point that out, these guys feel the need to explain to me (a girl, last time I checked) how wrong I am, that this knife is “perfect” for girls to carry.

I finally have to pull my trump card, “That may be true. It may be the perfect size, weight, balance, etc. However, it’s UGLY to most women and looks COUNT!”

At that point all they can do is stammer about how the things I propose for women aren’t very good for self defense, or something like that. Who ever said this was about defense? Uh, guys, it ain’t!

The point here is to introduce these ladies to knives in a safe, non-threatening way so they can use a nice blade to open that damn box instead of giving me the shivers when I watch them flip open a pair scissors. The point is to convert them to the ranks of knife lovers by letting them fall in love with something small, easy to handle and “cute,” dammit!

I have to wonder if these are the same guys who introduce women to handguns by handing them a large-caliber boomer and saying, “Have a go with that li’l lady!” Then they wonder why the woman never goes shooting with them ever again.

Now, let me make something perfectly clear here. I own and carry several knives and they range from the downright petite and girl-friendly Kershaw Chive (the rainbow finish on that one never fails to get oohs and aahs) to the not-so-petite and very badass-looking SOG Seal Pup Elite that lives in my camping gear.

I love knives. If it has an edge, I’m probably interested in it. I love everything from classic pocket folders to the weird fantasy knives.

But I work with and know a lot of women who do not have any experience with knives outside of using a paring knife. If you’re lucky, they saw Dad or Grandpa with his pocketknife. If you’re very lucky, they know what a Swiss Army Knife is.

Nor am I saying all women have to have small and “cute” knives. Nope. There are a lot of us just like me who think of them as darn handy tools to have around. However, there are women out there who just don’t want the “tactical” look that is so popular today.

And guess what? There are guys out there who, for a number of reasons, would prefer to have something smaller and less “threatening” looking living in their pockets on a daily basis. What a concept! The entire knife-wielding world does not want the Ninja-Warrior, Demon-of-Darkness “Operator” model with a 4″-blade and scales in Covert Black, OD Green, Coyote Tan or Desert Camo.

So, what’s a person to do when they want a knife that’s smaller, easy to handle, has a little style going on and is solid-quality enough to be reliable, sturdy and survive the rigors of living in the depths of that special hell called a “purse”?

Well, I could tease you and say, “I’ll let you know when the article comes out, and you can buy the magazine.” But I won’t. I’ll say instead:

If you’re buying for yourself, go check out knife companies like Benchmade, Kershaw, Gerber, Buck and Spyderco for some incredibly cool knives, including a bunch that don’t scream “COP” or “MILITARY”! Otherwise, drag your friend to a reputable dealer and ask to see some “classic” folders, or some “small” folders.

Explain to the dealer you want something for a new knife user, a good dealer is going to know how to handle it. If they don’t – leave, quickly. Then let your friend decide what feels good.

A knife is a very personal thing. It should feel good in your hand. It should feel like it belongs there, and what feels “right” to one person may feel very awkward to another. Don’t be like my friends up there insisting that the thing that is best for YOU is the best knife for everyone. That’s not the way life works.

When it comes to writing for a living, I have to include model information. When it comes to my personal space, I don’t have to… I will share some thoughts later but remember these are just my favorites. I’ll repeat it, a knife is a very personal thing and it’s important to find one that feels “right” to the user.

And now the fun part. For any of you ladies out there who want to complain that I’m stereotyping and that all women aren’t like that, etc, etc. You’re right. All women aren’t. Hell, I’m not. But I know a lot who are, and I’ve introduced many of them to the joys of knife ownership. In short, instead of getting pissed at me for perpetuating the stereotype, learn something here and start converting people to knife lovers!

For you guys out there who want to disagree, and think there’s nothing wrong with that 3.5″ blade, perfectly suited pocketknife in Covert Black: Let me sum up the point you missed – that may be YOUR idea of perfect, but it’s not everyone’s idea of perfect. If you hand your knife to someone and their reaction is to take it very slowly, with a look of “ah, yeah… uhhhmmmm….. okay…” perhaps that is a bit too much knife for them at this time!

And, if you really want specific model suggestions, well… the sales departments at each of those companies are really terrific. But if you want to know what I got for my kids, the ones I carry around in my purse and ones that are on my regular gift list, that’s simple:

Regularly living in my purse and/or pocket are a Kershaw Chive, a ProTech Runt (a California-legal mini auto), a Spyderco Kiwi and a Benchmade Mini Griptillian. Those are my “little” knives, the ones that are small enough to carry around every day.

Between them, my kids have the Gerber Truss 2.0, the Buck Transport, CRKT‘s Tiny Tighe Breaker and a couple of Swiss knives as well as some others (hey, they’re my kids – you expect them to not be knife geeks?)

And finally, my favorite gifts for newbie knifies? The things that are just too cool to pass up passing on? Kershaw’s Squaw Creek or Chive and Spyderco’s Cricket.

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