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