Knife Clipped to the Pocket, Don’t Do This

Tactical pen, kubaton and fixed blades are some alternatives to folding knives in states that target them.
Fixed blade knife, kubaton, and tactical pen
Tactical pen, kubaton and fixed blades are some alternatives to folding knives in states that target them.

I used to carry a folding knife clipped to my pants pocket with the clip showing. This is a popular way to carry because it’s easily accessible. The downside is that it’s conspicuous. Just about everyone knows we’re carrying a knife and depending on the venue, it may be illegal (i.e. schools, police stations). Also, we may not be able to enter an event or location with a visible knife.

Get Your Hand Out My Pocket

Once, a police officer attempted to grab me as I passed him, but changed his mind. That was the closest I ever was to being stopped. He stopped in the middle of the motion and continue on his way without a word. We were on private property, there were a lot of kids and families present, I was with my family, and I wasn’t causing any trouble. His actions would have been the cause of an incident.

The real problem is carrying this way while being Black. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but the rules apply differently to people of color. The story of Philando Castile is a prime example of how we can still end up dead even when complying. He did what “they” say we should do when we’re legally carrying a gun. Castile told the officer about the gun and following the officer’s instructions, but he was killed anyway. Would he still be alive if he didn’t mention his permit or firearm?


New York City police officers target people with visible knives. It is a top priority for them. The majority of those arrested and convicted are Black and Latino men. Most of these men have no criminal history and use the knives for work. They are arresting plumbers, electricians, and construction workers for having these knives. Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio know the law is being applied too broadly. They don’t want to shift the burden of proof of the knives’ legality to the police and court. You know, kinda like how the burden of proof should rest on the state. Basically they want to arrest everyone with a folding knife, classify it as a gravity knife and leave it to the individual to prove the knife isn’t illegal.

Knife Alternatives

Folding knife, kubaton, and tactical pen.
Folding knife, kubaton, and tactical pen are weapons.

In cities with racist and unconstitutional stop and frisk laws, there are few alternatives. Because these laws target Blacks and Latinos, putting the folding knife down in the pocket will put it out of sight but won’t stop us from being “randomly” stopped and searched. Merely possessing the knife can lead to arrest, regardless of the intended use. Some alternatives are:

  • Fixed blade knife. We must be mindful of the law with this as well, since there are restrictions on the blade’s length. These knives may be carried in the pocket, the boot, strapped to the leg, arm, worn around the neck, etc.
  • Kubaton. The kubaton is a small fighting stick that is used for jabbing, joint locks and pressure point manipulation. Typically it’s used as a keychain to double the way it is used.
  • Tactical pen. Made of metal for strength. They are similarly to the kubaton, but are more discreet. A sturdy pen may be used the same way without the label “tactical,” which makes it a weapon. Keep in mind that a pen CAN be a weapon, a tactical pen IS a weapon.
  • Other improvised weapons. Many everyday objects can be used as a weapon. From tightly rolled newspapers and magazines to belts to keys.
  • Martial Arts. Often overlooked by Black adults, this is one of the most effective forms of self-defense. Many of us assume we can fight and “wish a nigga would,” but we haven’t had a fight since our school days. A trained fighter will always have the upper hand over a non-trained one.

We have to understand that legal doesn’t necessarily mean legal for us. Others may get a warning whereas we would get the maximum sentence. It’s important to carry a knife for emergencies because of its versatility. At the same time, we must consider what we’re carrying, why we’re carrying it and is there a better alternative for prepping while black.


  1. Great info. I carry a similar folding knife but it is clipped to my belt instead of my pocket. It’s right next to my CCW. I also sometimes carry a larger knife, also clipped to my belt. Fortunately I live in Texas where the knife laws have been amended such that there are no length restrictions. But I agree, we have to be extra cautious about how we handle those encounters with law enforcement so that we have a better chance of surviving the encounter.

    BTW, love this site. Extremely critical information for our people.

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