OUT­SIDE THE WIRE

U.S. ARMY RANGER GRANT MCGARRY’S GO-TO KNIVES

Knives Illustrated - - Contents - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY GRANT MCGARRY

They're the elite. The very best of the best. They are SEALS, Rangers, Green Berets, Marine RECON and more. In this new column, you'll meet some of them, find out what blades they car­ried while on ac­tive duty and why, and what they now carry as civil­ians. First up is Grant Mcgarry, a for­mer U.S. Army Ranger, best-sell­ing au­thor of “A Night in the Pech Val­ley” and a com­bat vet­eran with five de­ploy­ments to Iraq and Afghanistan in the War on Ter­ror.

“TO REACH FOR THE KNIFE AND DE­PLOY THE BLADE ONLY TAKES ME A FEW SEC­ONDS, WHICH IS CRIT­I­CAL, BE­CAUSE TIM­ING IS EVERY­THING IN COM­BAT.”

Respect them, ap­pre­ci­ate them, learn from them. —Ed­i­tor

AC­TIVE DUTY

Q: WHAT KNIFE DID YOU CARRY WHILE YOU WERE AC­TIVE AND WHY?

While serv­ing in the 1st Ranger Bat­tal­ion, my knife choice was the all-black Pre­sidio Auto 154cm Bench­made. In 2008, I got the knife as a gift from my pla­toon sergeant be­fore we de­ployed to Balad, Iraq, and I car­ried it on two more de­ploy­ments to Afghanistan, as well as while for­ward de­ployed on a DOS con­tract with Triple Canopy at the U.S. Em­bassy in Bagh­dad, Iraq. I still use the same auto Pre­sidio I got nine years ago. I have only sent it back to Bench­made for one tune-up, which I did in 2015.

It has an alu­minum han­dle, a par­tially ser­rated edge and a drop point blade. I car­ried this knife be­cause the au­tore­lease was, and still is, re­li­able. I also car­ried it be­cause it is as sturdy—or stur­dier—than any knife I have ever used.

I al­ways uti­lized the clip to se­cure the knife into my front right pocket, where I al­ways car­ried the 5.6-ounce blade, be­cause this helped keep my ter­tiary weapon seated in my pocket per­fectly. While serv­ing, we con­ducted op­er­a­tions, flew in heli­copters, jumped out of air­planes and made long move­ments in aus­tere en­vi­ron­ments at night. Hav­ing a lit­tle weight pro­vided the re­as­sur­ance I needed to know that my ter­tiary weapon was in my pocket.

Also, I found that plas­tic Grip­til­ian Bench­made han­dles are not as slim as the metal han­dles, and the slim­ness is key to make it more com­fort­able for me in my pocket. This re­duced the pos­si­bil­ity of it get­ting caught on some­thing.

More­over, when prac­tic­ing com­bat­ive move­ments, the weight dis­tri­bu­tion of the knife was awe­some. Ad­mit­tedly, I am not a fan of the look and ap­peal of the knife, but the grooves cut into the han­dle cre­ated the tex­ture to bet­ter en­able a good firm grip while barehanded or gloved in most all weather el­e­ments. Fur­ther­more, the au­to­matic blade makes for an easy and fast way to open the knife. Through rep­e­ti­tion, any­one will be able to wire the move­ment into mus­cle mem­ory. Be­cause I have opened and closed the au­to­matic blade hun­dreds of thou­sands of times, I am able to do so without even hav­ing to look at the knife. To reach for the knife and de­ploy the blade only takes me a few sec­onds, which is crit­i­cal, be­cause tim­ing is every­thing in com­bat.

While I was serv­ing, the Bench­made was more than a knife. As noted, it was my ter­tiary weapon; hav­ing the alu­minum han­dle made for a bet­ter weapon than a plas­tic han­dle be­cause it could be used as an impact weapon.

More im­por­tantly, the ser­rated por­tion of the blade would have proven more lethal in the event of mak­ing a c-cut into the flesh of a com­bat­ant, which is a huge rea­son why I like the combo blade.

In­deed, while serv­ing with the 1st Ranger Bat­tal­ion, we were al­ways train­ing in the Ge­or­gia woods and Florida swamps, so hav­ing the op­tion of a ser­rated blade helped with cutting 550 para­cord and small sticks and branches, too.

CIVIL­IAN LIFE

Q: WHAT KNIFE DO YOU CARRY NOW AND WHY?

I still carry the Bench­made Pre­sidio. When I need a smaller blade, how­ever, I carry a medium-sized CRKT Point Guard, which has a ser­rated edge with a drop point blade. Pat Crawford de­signed this, and I carry the CRKT be­cause it is light and very prac­ti­cal as a self-de­fense weapon.

The han­dle fea­tures black Zy­tel scales and has cutouts, which re­duces the weight. Due to the place­ment of the holes, the frame strength is not re­duced. As a bonus, it looks re­ally cool. The pocket clip on the han­dle isn't overly stiff, but it does pro­vide a se­cure lock when hooked into my pants pocket; how­ever, this knife is best served to just be in my pocket. Be­ing that the pocket clip is re­mov­able, I have thought about tak­ing it off.

“… THE GROOVES CUT INTO THE HAN­DLE CRE­ATED THE TEX­TURE TO BET­TER EN­ABLE A GOOD FIRM GRIP WHILE BAREHANDED OR GLOVED …”

Be­cause it is light and short, the knife is very con­ceal­able in a pants pocket, which is de­sir­able as a self-de­fense weapon. It is not an au­to­matic knife, so there is a unique thumb disk that en­ables you to push open the blade with your thumb. With a slight flick of the wrist, you are able to have the blade fully opened very seam­lessly. Once open, there is a liner lock for the blade with a lock on top for ex­tra pro­tec­tion—both locks can be locked and un­locked eas­ily. KI

While de­ployed, Grant Mcgarry car­ried a Pre­sidio Auto 154cm Bench­made. While he still car­ries that, Mcgarry, now a civil­ian, also car­ries a CRKT Point Guard.

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