5 Things to Carry When You Can’t Carry


A Fox Karambit.

My go-to not-a-gun is a knife.  My knife of choice for about two years now is this Fox Karambit. The knuckle ring makes it easy to pull from a pocket. The wave of the backside of the blade grabs the edge of a pocket, and it opens one handed as it is drawn. While the blade isn’t long, it is one hell of a self-defense tool.

A big Spyderco.

In situations where something less threatening might be better, I like the Spyderco line. They are still easy to open with just one hand. This monster has a huge blade for a pocket knife. It locks securely, opens easily, and (as you can see from the state of its blade) is actually a useful tool for everyday carry. This one is a Resilience, and it has held up great through three years of abuse.

Max Venom.

But if you’re flying, or visiting the courthouse for jury duty, you may not be able to carry a knife, either. For those moments, I recommend you have something else you can keep in a closed fist. This karambit bottle opener ( The Bottle-bite) from Max Venom is my favorite. The aluminum is strong enough to stand up to a punch, and it isn’t too obvious on a keychain.

The pen is better than nothing...

Pens are useful, too. While I own several hardcore fighting pens, they are not subtle. And I’ve heard stories of them being taken because some (mostly TSA agents) felt they were threatening. I like the Zebra pens. They have stainless barrels, and rubber accents. They’re smaller than I’d like, but cheap, easily replaced, and they’re decent pens, too.

Best if no one sees you carrying one of these.

The last of these could get you in trouble. It could also save your ass, if you needed it. It is a fiberglass and epoxy resin. This one is made by TW Brands Gear. It is seriously sharp. The black on the blade is where it is rubbing on the kydex sheath. It fits tightly, is easy to hide, and isn’t going to set off a metal detector. It will, though, show on body-scans.

All of these have their strengths. The one weakness is that you have to be within contact distances to use any of them. But if you need an edge, you take one where you can get it.

David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. He was a college professor for 20 years before leaving behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry.

  • Phil Whitehead

    As the Karambit is being held, in the left hand, the pocket clip is on the wrong side. To draw from the pocket, clip should be on the outside.

  • James Swanson

    As someone who has to work inside a DoD facility, I had to find folding knives with blades less than 2.5″ long. I found one in Walmart, a Kershaw Shuffle. 2.4″ blade, and the blade is pretty beefy.


    I have been carrying a Cold Steel Spartan blade for the last 4 years. Still wickedly sharp!!!

  • deprogramming services

    Wherever you can’t carry a gun you normally can’t carry a knife either. Either you are allowed to bear arms or you are not.

    In my state of Nebraska they issue concealed handgun permits, not concealed weapon permits. So even after you jump through the hoops and pay your money to buy their permission to exercise your Constitutional right to carry a gun, they still do not allow you to carry a concealed knife. How stupid is that?

    • Archangel

      The Demokratik People’s Republik of Ill-noise doesn’t allow concealed carry of large knives, but they do allow shorter knives – so I carry a spring assisted opening flipper style or a spring assisted OTF knife (both surprisingly legal here) along with my CCW

      In all, my EDC is my CCW, knife, 5.11 tactical pen, and Surefire 1000 lumen pocket light – the bottle bite is interesting, might add that to my key ring – if I’m going into Chicago, especially at night, I’ll add soft body armor or Kevlar lined CC jacket just in case

  • Swedesmith

    A good, stout cane can be a great weapon and no one will bother you for carrying one.

    • Archangel

      Especially if it’s a cane with a built-in stun gun 🙂