OUT­SIDE THE WIRE

FOR INSPIRATION & FUNC­TION, RANGER ROLLED WITH BUCK & LEATHERMAN

Knives Illustrated - - News - BY TOM F. WITH NATHAN TU­VALU - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY TOM F.

Our sec­ond in­stall­ment of Out­side the Wire features re­tired Army Delta Force Op­er­a­tor and for­mer Army Ranger Tom F., who served 20 years of ac­tive duty, mostly with SOF units.

I. Ac­tive Duty

QUESTION 1: WHAT KNIFE DID YOU CARRY ON AC­TIVE DUTY AND WHY?

When I first en­listed, I wasn’t much of a knife guy un­til some­one gave me a Buck Knives Cross­lock as a gift from the man­u­fac­tur­ing fam­ily. I was like, “I’ll try it.”

When it came to tasks that re­quired a ser­rated and sharp blade, the Cross­lock, which was al­ways in my kit, worked per­fectly. The Cross­lock’s ser­rated edge, es­pe­cially in Iraq, wound up cut­ting things open—from items like bags to burlap. Other tools didn’t meet the same ca­pac­ity as my Cross­lock be­cause the ser­rated edge was much more user-friendly. Plus, the larger han­dle al­lowed me to se­cure a firm grasp. I’ve al­ways kept it with my Leatherman Wave, which is the sec­ond knife I car­ried.

I re­ceived my Leatherman Wave from the Army. It’s quite ver­sa­tile through­out my day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties. The last thing a ri­fle­man needs is his sights too loose, so I would use the Wave to ad­just and tighten all my weapon sights.

I used my Wave’s pli­ers to cut cord, clothes­lines, phone lines, strip wire, and I also used it to pull shrap­nel and other things.

The Wave’s small ser­rated blade al­ways came in handy when its main blade waned off. I use the mini-saw blade in sev­eral sur­vival sit­u­a­tions, like cut­ting trees and small branches for fire­wood. The small set of scis­sors be­came use­ful in cut­ting fish­ing line and thread for mend­ing clothes, too. I al­ways liked—and fre­quently used—the bot­tle opener. It never let me down. Ever.

QUESTION 2: WHAT DO YOUR KNIVES MEAN PER­SON­ALLY TO YOU?

In a time of war, my Buck knife was a gift that granted me the be­lief to per­se­vere. It wasn’t just a mea­ger nod of grat­i­tude for thought; it was a per­sonal way to keep me fight­ing the good fight.

On and off the front­lines of war, you latch on to the lit­tle things peo­ple do for you, whether it be a love let­ter from your sig­nif­i­cant other or a knife pre­sented as a re­spect­ful to­ken. That’s what my Cross­lock meant. As time pro­gressed, it proved its dili­gence, be­com­ing one of the most in­dis­pens­able tools within my kit.

I re­ceived my Leatherman as pro­vi­sion from the Army. It was one of the best items, in my opin­ion, I could have been is­sued. The good thing about an is­sued item is if it breaks, you can re­turn it for a new one. I’m on my third be­cause I would push its lim­its—like snap­ping the blades and bend­ing the pli­ers—all of which was my fault, of course. I still be­lieve my Leatherman Wave to be solid.

II. Civil­ian Life QUESTION 3: WHAT KNIFE DO YOU CARRY NOW, AND WHY?

I have both my Cross­lock and Wave on me at all times. As a civil­ian, I keep my Leatherman in my range bag, and the Cross­lock in my pickup truck. I mostly use both when I am teach­ing on the range. It’s not un­com­mon for some­one’s firearm to need ad­just­ments.

I also use the Cross­lock to open mail now, since I’m not on the front lines any­more. I don’t have much use for it as I once did, so I keep it in my pickup for emer­gen­cies.

Aside from my ever faith­ful Cross­lock and Wave, I have looked into other knives. The only knife I would buy would be one from an­other vet­eran-owned com­pany, Half Face Blades. In terms of in­di­vid­ual qual­ity, the crafts­man­ship is some­thing I can ap­pre­ci­ate.

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