By Tom Adessa
An old friend that is in his late 80’s who refers to himself as, “An ole Pennsylvania oil field man” will never go out of the house without a knife. If he gets groceries, goes to church, fishing or a lodge meeting he has what he calls a “gentleman’s knife” a small drop point. On numerous occasions at the range a friend or complete stranger would ask me, “Do you happen to have a knife on you?” Of course I would be just too happy to oblige them as a knife is standard equipment in my range bag.
With more people hiking, personal defense and prepping becoming a concern, carrying a knife has become a standard item for many people; most of us clip it on a pants pocket. But, whether you carry a folder or a fixed blade the classic drop point is probably the best overall blade style for most people. I can hear the howls and tooth gnashing already about clip points, spear points, tantos and Rambo style blades being the best. Each of these styles has a function, but they have more specialized purposes. Many volume knife manufacturers just pump out radical blade style blades, handle designs and colors to boost sales.
The blade design of a drop point lends itself to safe operation and feels like an extension of your hand, an important factor when using any knife. The classic drop point knife will slope from the handle all the way to the tip, which will give the knife strength; especially with a fixed blade design. There is ample “belly” to the blade which assists in slicing. A disadvantage is that the tip does not pierce as well as say a clip point, but in this regard it does have more inherent strength than a clip point when piercing.
A drop point is probably the most popular blade style out there, used for hunting, survival and duty knives. Personally I carry a Cold Steel folder for a duty knife and it also goes with me hunting, fishing or when my wife and I work in the woods clearing brush. But, I have several drop points with a 1970’s vintage Ensign fixed blade that is my overall favorite.
I could open a real can of worms about the steel for a blade, but I won’t. There are so many new steels available that with a little research you can pick the best blade composition for your needs. Beware though: some modern steels are super tough, but equally as tough to re-sharpen, so do your homework and also invest in a quality sharpening system.
For safety purposes always choose some type of handle that has the construction of being both tough under use and with a sticky or grippy feel to the handle. Smooth, stylish or even stag handles do not lend themselves to safe handling when wet. The drop point shines as a hunting knife design especially for deer hunters or the even smaller versions as bird and trout knives. With Kydex becoming more popular as a material in sheaths, many companies have gone this route, but a high quality leather sheath is my preference.
I can hear my wife now when UPS delivers my next toy…”You bought another knife?” You can bet it will be a drop point.
Tom Adessa resides in Central New York, he is a LEO, an avid lover of the outdoors and passionate about handgun shooting.