OUTSIDE THE WIRE
FOR INSPIRATION & FUNCTION, RANGER ROLLED WITH BUCK & LEATHERMAN
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.