Hints about shtf knives I am a former dealer and as a kid went deer hunting and boy scouting. I have also been trained (getting rusty) in stick and knife fighting. 1. Use Youtube Learn how sharpen knives and tools by watching videos. For example, Spyderco has a three cd /dvd set to watch on you tube about sharpening knives and tools. Watch the knife reviews on Youtube and listen to the comments. 2. Read the buyer reviews about a specific knife on Amazon.com and on a number of knife selling websites. 3. Understand that a knife is a tool. No one tool is versatile to handle all demands. Let me give you some extremes. You can be a pilot in Alaska, walk with bears in Yellowstone Park and wrestle with alligators in Florida. Or you can be the guy who lives in the city, the suburb and has his car breakdown sometimes on the wrong side of town. The needs are very different. 4. Think about teaching basic safety to your loved ones before issuing a knife. Today, I am at Big 5 in Santa Monica, CA. The shopgirl is using a box cutter on a package and drawing it towards herself. I explain how to use a box cutter properly and that she should bring her own knife to work if the company will not issue her one. Last week, I give my girlfriend a folder knife. She is familiar with the French Opinel that opens and locks and is folds back differently. She is shown how to handle the new knife and does it until she understands. If your kid isnt taught how to walk and carry a knife properly in his hand and he trips and falls and cuts himself, you failed him. 5. Dont believe what you see in the movies. One of my knife maker buddies does/has done the knives used in the Rambo series and other movies. Neither of us would carry the huge monster knives used in the movies. Dont believe the war movies wherein guys are carefully honing bayonets to make them sharper. There is a reason that they are issued relatively dull and it is not to save money. 6. Copy the manual that comes with the knife that you select and download the same into your computer. 7. Obtain a decent sharpening system and know how to use it. Heck, I went to college. But I cannot maintain a 30 or 40 degree angle on a free sharpening stone. However, I can move a knife up and down vertically on stones that are properly angled, so I chose the Spyderco system. 8. Think about carrying your folder in a two way pouch. Raine and Benchmade make them in different sizes. You may want to carry a folder horizontally on your belt instead of vertically. 9. Think about your knife carry. There are carry systems for belts, drop belts, packs and so forth. 10. Think about whether you want leather (rattle rattle) or material pouches. 11. Think about how you want to use your knives. I put the following into each suitcase and car: a leatherman with a pair of scissors, a Victorinox Huntsman (wood saw and scissors) or old Champion, and a folder and an inexpensive fixed blade like a Mora. 12. Think about whether you want to have a folder and/or leatherman in each knock about jacket, pack. 13. Think about the appropriate knives for the significant other and the kids, if any. Mora makes wood handle, fixed blade knives. You can get the same fixed blade knife for about 1/3 the price if you take a composite handle. Mora makes the same knives with hand guards and without handguards. A Finn kid gets a Mora with a handguard when he is about 7 years old. When he demonstrates how to use the knife properly and uses it for a few years, he is allowed to cut off the handguard. You will learn that some of the comments also apply to other manufacturers of knives. They make a whole series of different knives using different scales (handles to those outside the industry), metals and blade types. My rule of thumb is that if the knife looks like a fantasy knife or is weird, I wont buy it. 14. Dont underestimate the value of training or the dangers. The average knife fight is over in less than 20 seconds. I saw a kid draw a switchblade. His opponent was unarmed. The unarmed opponent kicked ass and ended up with the knife. Some people have the same attitude with firearms get a mean looking gun or a mean, wicked looking blade and you win! No way. You are incompetent. In every class I have attended, people get seriously cut and most cut themselves. The all time record was a girl who was going to take a kukri knife class and cut herself so badly before the class started that she had to go to the hospital! 15. If it is too big to carry, you arent going to have it on you when shtf when you leave the movie theater, have a flat tire in a bad section of town, or when the threatening group approaches. I carried 5 knives in Afghanistan. My late wife always carried 3 knives.