California Screamin'


My "new knife page" is at:

It includes all the latest knife laws as of 2002, and much more.

Knife laws and cutlery as a legal CCW alternative
This page requires 800x600 resolution to read all the text between the two pics at the bottom!  Sorry...

Let me start by saying I have a far more extensive knife collection than gun collection. In over 18 years, I've never been without a combat-capable blade except for court houses, police stations and the like.

I've had to draw once (against a mugger with a large wrench) and he ran off, a result I'm more than happy with. I saved a man's life on BART three years ago: he was being kicked and stomped by four individuals, I pushed them off, the victim ran to the next train back and collapsed and the assailants pulled out a pair of claw hammers. I put my hand on a good-sized blade, they backed down and were rounded up by BART PD.

So I'm running about one incident per decade in which I'm glad I'm armed. No actual use of "cold steel" needed, one life saved…not a bad record.

Not too unusual, either. A knife isn't the greatest weapon around but it's not too shabby; considering that CCW is being radically restricted by illegal and unconstitutional means and batons/clubs/sticks have been flat-out banned as defensive weapons, the knife is just about the sole deadly force left to us "commoners".

The good news is, California knife laws are actually quite reasonable, and a lot better than average. For those interested, I'll include a detailed examination of current knife law here but in general, the best bit of news is that per state law, you can carry a folding knife that's designed for manual one-handed opening on your person openly, OR CONCEALED, your choice.

With no length limit on the folders.

This is a discussion on general California knife law, with quotes of actual penal code sections plus a bit of "fringe stuff" just for fun.

A bit more discussion here...

California rules on school grounds carry, including Colleges and Universities, was sketched out in this thread.

The last law change affecting this happened effective 1/1/1998. When that happened, I was one of the first people to realize the implications and started carrying what I term "megafolders", folding combat knives with blades of 5" or more. The two that were available then were the Cold Steel Vaquero Grande and the AlMar QSV, the latter is out of production. Both had "plastic" handles (a high-grade nylon called Zytel to be precise) and while decent pieces, both had limitations. The CSVG is fairly slow to open, uses a medium-grade steel called AUS-8 and has a funky serration pattern that's almost impossible to sharpen – even the factory won't do it. Still, for the price, the CSVG and it's smaller 5" blade cousins in the Voyager/Gunsite line are pretty good hardware. Pictures, specs and list prices are available here.  Figure discount prices on the Internet will be at least 1/3rd less than list, in Cold Steel's case.

But in the 4" range, great strides forward were being made in blade materials, overall construction and especially lock design and strength. Benchmade came out with the Axis lock licensed from a smaller company called William & Henry, and Round Eye Knife And Tool (REKAT) came out with the "Rolling Lock"; each offered excellent strength and high resistance to accidental closure, both critical in a combat folder.  Other good locks are out there but these were and remain among the most advanced in the world.

Since most of the nation has a 4" length limit on folders, Benchmade wouldn't even consider a megafolder. But REKAT started up a discussion forum for their product line as a sub-forum on Bladeforums, a discussion board which I'm a charter moderator of. Led by yours truly, we convinced REKAT that 1/9th of the US population (California) made up a decent market for a smaller company such as them. They were still hesitant, so I pointed out that Texas has a 5.5" limit, and a 5.45" megafolder of good quality with a modern steel and the Rolling Lock would be something no serious knife knut would want to be without.

They did it – the result was the REKAT "Sifu", Chinese for "teacher" and what you generally call an instructor in Kung Fu, Wing Chung or whatever.

This is currently the absolute over-the-top undisputed king of the combat megafolders.  It opens like greased lightning, feels rock-solid in the hand, the steel is good (ATS34) and adequate for any possible "combat" situation.  For daily hard-use utility, they're about to ship a D2 steel version that'll have edgeholding from hell but for "daily defensive carry" ATS34 or it's close relative 154CM will do just fine.  Except for the basic concept and the 5.45" length, I can't take credit for the actual design...I wish I could.

The people who operate Bladeforums also run an online store and given that this is one of the finest online communities available anywhere AND the Sifu's birthplace, I'd highly recommend doing business with them.  Prices will be good, and discounted, but not quite as low as some of the deepest Internet discounters.  Not far off though.  And REKAT has been producing special Bladeforums limited editions with unusual color patterns, such as the red-grip, black blade special guaranteed to get that extra measure of wetness out of any mugger's undies :).  Mike Turber and his trusty sidekick Spark the webmaster do an unconditional 30-day guarantee so if you can't find one of these "in the flesh" to fondle, buying from these guys is an excellent plan.

Order the Bladeforums "red'n'back special" here or goto the main BF store (Onestopknifeshop) to see other Sifu variants like the Carbon Fiber.

For being the main guy prodding 'em into building this lovely beast, REKAT offered me serial number one of the first 70 handground specimens.  It's been daily carry for about six months now and I'll never part with it.  I just can't say enough good things about this critter.  Mine pre-dates the introduction of pocket clips on Sifus but since I hate clips anyways I don't miss it.  I designed and built my own sheath out of Kydex, a thermoplastic:

You can see more on this sheath's design, including blueprints and a "how to", at this link.

For more general info on California knife law plus other goodies such as Old Testament and Talmudic knife and self defense law and morality, you really need to check out James Mattis's pages:

His main commercial page where he runs a nice little online cutlery shop...

His personal pages, including lore, current knife laws focusing on California, many more goodies.

Last, BLADEFORUMS where we all meet online to discuss all things slicey...

EMail me: Jim March
First page edition 7/3/2k

PHOTO COPYRIGHTS: red-grip photo, the vertical picture (blade open) and the Sifu-on-gun pics are from the BF store sites, used with permission.  The two pics with sheath were done by me, on a scanner :).