Jay Fisher - World Class Knifemaker
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Short Version: Concealed Knives
Long Version: The reason that I've created this page is because I want to provide simple, clear, and accurate information about knives and concealed carry, particularly my sole authorship, collaborative, and custom knives available either by custom order, or through the website.
You would be right in guessing that I receive a lot of correspondence about making knives specifically designed for concealed carry. Whether it's military or law enforcement, urban or rural knife enthusiasts, everyone would like to have a little edge on what they perceive is a potential threat in our modern world. Military and police often consider a stout and robust knife essential for a backup, and the convenience of a compact and workable package is essential.
Short Version: Check your laws.
Long Version: Read the box below and check your laws.
Short Version: I make them; you make sure it's legal to wear them.
Long Version: It is legal for me to make knives that can be carried concealed or in any other fashion. This is true for most states in the United States of America. It is not legal in my state (New Mexico) to make or possess ANY automatic, switchblade, gravity, or butterfly (Balisong) knife, so I don't.
I do make some knives that can be carried concealed, but I do not support illegal activity. What this means is that it is perfectly legal to carry a knife in a concealed location and with a method that the law allows, and by whom the law allows this method of carry. In our state, knives may be carried concealed on private property and by certain officials. Since all states, countries, and locations vary in their laws, it is up to the person carrying (or wearing) the knife to make certain his method of carry or wear is legal. I can not assume any responsibility for that; no knife maker, supplier, manufacturer, or business can do that; it is up to the knife user and owner.
Many of the knives I make in this fashion are for military, federal, and even state officials. I've made knives that are carried concealed by soldiers, infantry, intelligence, search and rescue military, DEA agents, Homeland Security Agents, FBI Agents, Police, SWAT Teams, and even foreign military. Every knife is different, every application is unique, and often each sheath or method of carry is individual and specific. Since it would be impossible for me (or any other knife maker, seller, or manufacturer) to assure that the knife is carried within the legal requirements of every location, circumstance, and time, this is absolutely the responsibility of the knife owner.
It's important to note that I do obey all laws pertaining to my tradecraft where I live. In our state, it is illegal for me (or any other person) to make, manufacture, sell, or posses ANY automatic, switchblade, gravity, or butterfly (Balisong) knives. This is quite a strict law, and it saddens me to see a huge billboard on Interstate 40 between Santa Rosa and Albuquerque advertising this very type of knife for sale at a truck stop, since that very knife is illegal to sell or possess. Evidently, knife laws are only loosely applied here, but I take them seriously.
Short Version: Be informed. Laws vary greatly.
Long Version: Knife carry laws differ tremendously! In some states, knives of a certain blade length can not be carried in any concealed fashion. In other states (like mine) any knife that is capable of injury is illegal to carry concealed, unless it's on one's private property, within your automobile (which is also your private property), or in any official capacity (rather vague designation). So in truth, New Mexico actually has some very strict prohibitions on concealed knife carry. This is a bit stunning, because we are a fairly rural state, with every rancher, cowboy, and young man having at least a small pocket knife at his hand, though many of these now are carried in belt pouches, thus rendering them not concealed. Every state varies. I highly recommend that you get a clear picture of your own state's laws and the laws of any state you're travelling in by clicking on Bernard Levine's FREE links to state knife laws here.
Please remember that the legal system is never static and new knife laws are in the works at all times. Knives fit into concealed carry permit laws for some states, so knife carry may be considered under those statutes. Some states honor reciprocity for Concealed Carry Permits, some do not. New Mexico honors Texas CCPs, but does not honor Utah's.
In our state, there is no special clause in the concealed carry laws which identifies knives with the specific word of knife, but there is the phrase "deadly weapon." Does this apply to knives? It is unclear. The New Mexico statutes go on to describe firearms, handguns, and deadly weapons, but make no reference to knives in particular. It seems that knives are ignored, since most people are not familiar with knives and specifically not familiar with combat knives or knives that are truly designed as weapons, both offensive and defensive. I expect that these details do not occur to legislators, who are chronically undereducated about knives in general. These specific cases and identifying factors will eventually make it through the court system as individual cases occur and are judged.
When looking over your state's knife laws, you can also get an idea just what the laws might be used for, as laws are refined, often during each case where specific knife carry laws may apply. In our state, if you are convicted of carrying a concealed knife (remember, in New Mexico, that is any blade capable of injury), it is a petty misdemeanor. So, as you can imagine, this law is only loosely enforced, and it could be perceived that it's there more for the capability of law enforcement to detain and help convict suspects of violent crimes where the knife or blade plays a roll. Our state does not routinely arrest and charge people with carrying a knife in their pocket, in public, though they could... and every state is different.
Short Version: Think about it.
Long Version: Common sense applies in the carry and use of a knife, as with any tool or item that may be used as, or may be perceived as a weapon. If, for instance, I wanted to carry a knife with a six inch blade all over my town, mounted right on my hip in a sheath for all to see, that is perfectly legal in most areas. But in our state, the same goes for most firearms carry. Of course, you have prohibited areas for firearm carry, like banks, bars, and schools, or clearly posted areas, but no clear definition exists for knives. In other words, I see no law that prohibits a person from carrying an 18" bowie knife on his belt sheath into a New Mexico bank. I've seen guys carrying big knives in plain sight on their hip into banks here, and no one even gives them a second glance. Don't take my words as advice though; I'm not an attorney, this is not legal advice, and even small localities may have more stringent restrictions.
My point is that appearance does matter. Everyone thinks that if you have a pouched folding knife on your hip, you're a blue collar working guy, and it's just a tool. If you have a 6" bladed sheath knife on your belt, you're probably some outdoor enthusiast or hunter. But if you happen to have a knife that is purposely concealed inside a belt buckle, up your sleeve, or in your boot, you are a criminal unless you are on your own private property or on someone else's private property that allows this.
Are you confused yet?
In our state, a jury is left to determine the "specific character" of a knife. What do juries know about knife character? Nothing: that's what. The general public is grossly uneducated about knives, if you're reading this that is probably crystal clear to you. I do not want to be subpoenaed to testify as to the character of a knife and sheath combination I make. Knives do not have character, as they are simple objects. The character issue exists in the minds of the person looking at the knife, in the framework of his experience, education, or lifestyle. What a ridiculous notion to prosecute on!
I look forward to the day when a beautiful edged tool can be proudly carried at your side like a piece of fine jewelry and dress, admired and respected. It pains me to think of man's oldest and most cherished of tools hidden, concealed, and secreted away because of possible offense, political correctness, or perceived notions of nefarious activity.
Unfortunately, this is not the trend in most places in the world. Many countries have outlawed the carry of any knife without permits, permissions, and certifications. A carpenter who travels to his work in one of these countries can be stopped by any agent of the government and asked to present his papers, proving he needs the knife for his job. The same is true for a chef. If you live in the United States, this whole scenario of jack-booted thugs demanding papers sounds like something out of a 1950's era cold war movie, but this scene plays out daily in many other places in the world. Countries are pushing for legislation banning all types of knives, and even removing all points from knives that are absolutely necessary to live (like kitchen knives). Just like gun control nuts, knife control nuts think that there is some possibility of removing and regulating the billions of knives that exist on the planet, and the millions and millions of new ones made and sold each year.
It isn't the notion of removing a simple form from our existence (a cutting edge), it's the idea that removal of this form will prevent crimes committed with them that is basic nonsense. What is the probable, most certain future of removing knives from mankind? This will leave plenty of ice picks, screwdrivers, tire irons, and wrenches to ban. Remove all hammers next, all sticks, all loose rocks, all sand that could be thrown in the face on a beach. Since this won't really work, the next logical step is to remove all hands from the arms, perhaps the feet too, and to place every individual in a padded cell. Of course, you'll have to feed them a slurry of nutrients through a straw, and those nutrients can only be made of the proper foodstuffs like vegetables. Those veggies have to be processed and blended into the soup, but it takes knives to do that, and we have remembered to ban all industrial knives and cutting edges as well. So, we'll just throw a raw turnip into the cell and watch our human root around on the floor armless, legless, and hungry, trying to take a bite. Wait! Those teeth look pretty nasty, and some of them have little points...
"Let us be clear, if you carry a knife our objective and
determination is that you will be prosecuted; you will be punished...but
we want to do all in our power also to prevent anyone carrying a knife
in the first place.
Enforcement, punishment and prevention together!"
Rt. Hon Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister of Great Britain...July, 2008
Short Version: Be reasonable.
Long Version: I make the real thing. That means real combat knives, real working knives, real works of investment art. I make real sheaths, made for real men (and women) for actual wear and carry. The sheaths are devices that work, are extremely durable and long lasting, and are practical in every sense of the definition. There is a lot of crap out in the knife world, knives with magnets attached, soft and floppy nylon sheaths, thin kydex held together with rivets that will bend, split, and eventually fail. This is not what I make.
In making the real thing in knives and sheaths, I take into account how each can, should, and will be worn, if it is made for wear (art sculptures excluded). This is why I'm known for the best combat and tactical knives and knife sheaths in the world. I offer realistic, practical devices, fixtures, fittings, and attachments that will allow the knife and sheath to work with the body. See the links below for more details.
In doing this, it is obvious that many ideas about knife wear are completely ridiculous and impractical. For instance, I do not make sheaths to accommodate wear on the arms or legs. The reason for this is that the knife must fit snugly in the sheath, even with alternate means of retention, like straps or snap flaps. When the knife is pulled out of the sheath, it is in the direction of the limbs smallest diameter, which will pull the entire fixture down the arm, or down the leg. In the arm it is particularly troublesome, because the wrist is smaller than the girth of the arm at the elbow, so the straps are trying to pull down the arm. It's the same reason that socks won't stay up! You're trying to pull downhill yet have the sheath stay in place. So the only way to counter this is with a long strap that goes up the arm that the sheath is mounted on, over the shoulder, and is retained around the neck. What a mess! It works good in Hollywood, but in reality is an entirely different affair.
There is also a problem with knife sheaths mounted on the leg. In order to pull against the taper of the leg, just like on the forearm, the knife must be pulled up to be unsheathed. That means that the clear and unobstructed area to pull the knife must be as long as the sheath throat and full knife length added together. No man can lift up his pants that high; he'd have to be wearing shorts, so this is impractical. If the pull is downward on the leg, he's pulling against geometry (like the arm) or the knife may have to have some type of complicated retention method to prevent falling out. What a mess.
This doesn't mean I won't consider all options for individual wear requirements for my clients, and this service is constantly evolving. Just don't expect the impractical to work. This reminds me of a popular television show producer who called me once asking me to make an imposing dagger and sheath for the heroine to wear hidden in her skin-tight stockings, but quickly and suddenly appearing in her hand. It was to be thin yet substantial, light yet striking, and of real substance, yet invisible when sheathed... in her stockings. Hollywood. Sigh.
For more detailed information and specifics, please visit these links on this site.
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|440C: A Love/Hate Affair|
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