We've all heard both sides of the argument on which style of knife is better; "Folders are smaller, lighter and generally cheaper" "fixed blades are tougher, easier to deploy, and more reliable" my questions to the Fire Fighter Nation are these:

Which do you carry?

How do you carry it?

Why do you carry whichever style you carry?

Benefits vs. Drawbacks?

Better: being defined as which is more suited to a general purpose (jack of all trades) type firefighter who at some point in his career will perform engine duties, truck duties, command, etc.

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I carry a folder...but I've never had to use it. I carry it on my r coat pocket. Its has the pocket clip.


Define "better". 


What is the purpose of the knife?


In what situations would you plan to use it?


What else would you be carrying or wearing?  (i.e. gloves)


One definition of "better" would tell you to carry a two-handed broadsword, depending on the answers to my questions above.  I'm pretty sure that's not what you were thinking, so could you give us a more specific definition of what you mean by "better"?

Edited in the definition... by the way a broad sword could actually have some purpose at a fire scene now that I think about it haha

I have always carried a folding knife.  In my unifrom pants pocket, in my turn out coat pocket, and in a pouch on my gut belt.  Maybe overkill in somes mind but I don't always have my turnout coat or my gut belt on.  When my gut belt and SCBA are on getting into my turnout coat pocket becomes difficult.  It is all about accessibility.


Why a folding knife versus a fixed blade knife?  Personal opinion really, in my mind I just look at a fixed blade knife as being more agressive in the eyes of the public.

If you happen to prefer a fixed-blade, you shouldn't hesitate to go with that. This concern about an intimidation factor eludes me. I'm thinking a Haligan, 6' hook, or an ax would be every bit as intimidating, and then some.

The kind of knife I carry - one with a sharp blade; all others are useless.

I have both styles that I use for a variety of jobs. With the FD I carry a folder with clip on my right bunker pants pocket, a leatherman with a folder in it on my adjusting strap of my bunker pants, and another folder in my uniform pants. The one on my uniform pants gets used the most and usually for stuff around the station. Overall it doesn't matter what you carry as long as it is in good condition, it works for you, and most importantly you know how to use it properly. Knives are not prying tools they are cutting tools

Seriously?  You don't get how having a fixed blade knife in a scabbard on your belt, or hanging off your coat may be seen as aggressive or intimidating by some people?

The Haligan, hook, and axe are all reasdily identifiable tools by the public.  A fixed blade knife is not.  Look at the movie immages of fixed balde knives.


We have a few guys at work that cary fixed lade knives on their gut belts or hanging on their turnout coats.  I just prefer to be a little more discrete I suppose.

Yes, Don, seriously. If, in your capacity as a firefighter responding to an emergency, "some people" see you as aggressive or intimidating because among the tools you carry is a non-folding knife, I don't get that. Actually, more to the point, I wouldn't care that "some people" would see me as aggressive or intimidating. I mean, why do they think I'm there, to cut their throats?

If someone in the public worries about the potential damage caused by a fixed-blade knife and doesn't worry about the damage that can be done by a halligan or a fire axe, then that someone's perceptions are skewed from reality.


There are fixed-blade knives that are much less threatening or dangerous than any folding knife - the CRKT Bear Claw is one example.  Blunt-tipped river knives such as the Gerber River Shortyor Gerber Rivermate are almost useless as weapons but are excellent for cutting seat belts or cutting rope or webbing, removing interior auto trim to expose SRS systems prior to roof removal, or for cutting wires or other entanglements.


Fixed blade knives have a huge advantage over folding knives - you can draw them and go to work without trying to fumble a blade open.  If you're using the tool to cut yourself out of an entanglement, not having to mess around with opening a folding knife while wearing firefighting gloves is important.

I use a leatherman.

I personally have not bought any knives yet but I am looking into both a spring loaded folding knife as well as a fixed blade. But if I had to pick between the two, I would prefer the spring loaded folding knife. Now for me, I am trying to decide what kind of blade I want on the knife. I have a few favorites but it is just a matter of which one. 

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