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The Open Carry of Hand-to-Hand Weapons

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Tired_and_hungry, Dec 17, 2013.

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  1. Tired_and_hungry

    Tired_and_hungry Member

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    Good Morning All,

    I remember reading some account of life in the 16th and 17th centuries where it was written that:

    "T'was a rare man that went about without a weapon. Most carried large knives, staves and clubs of various kinds. However, the preferred weapon for the stout but untutored fighter was a heavy cutlass."

    Also, I watched a British documentary about life in Elizabethan England which stated that most urban young men carried a dagger and some carried swords.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFNCFMT6Tas

    Hence, my question is......from what you guys know or have been told by your grandparents, when exactly did the open carrying of close combat weapons become Gauche or socially unacceptably in America? Its my understandingn that frontier life endured in the US far longer than it did in the old world so the carrying of swords and such should have endured for far longer yes?
     
  2. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    My great grandmother carried a 38 in a hidden pocket of her apron.
     
  3. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    While many US states banned the concealed carry of fighting blades in the 19th century, the open carry of knives suitable for martial use never faded away in certain areas.
    Big fixed blades are about as common as openly carried pistols in my area.

    There was a guy with a big OKC Bagwell in his belt at the Co-Op this morning. :cool:
     
  4. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    My granddad carried a leather sap in his car in the 1920-30s. A bit off topic, but a fair number of Highroaders, myself included, have taken to carrying a solid cane (mine is a stock cane from the feed store). Open carry, legal on airplanes, formidible weapon even with minimal training, and coupled with situational awareness, a certain amount of deterrence.
     
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Last era where open carry of weapons was generally socially acceptable? Since the U.S. is such a big area and we have distinctive regions where it became unacceptable much earlier than others that's going to vary.

    Latest is probably just after WWII in the SE, SW, far NE and far NW (outside of urban centers). Openly carrying a big knife as a weapon would be considered socially unacceptable in "town" then. As late as the early 1830's it was still legal in those areas, but state's started prohibiting concealed and/or open carry by 1835-38.
     
  6. glistam

    glistam Member

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    I was reading that the stick ("cane" here in the US) as part of normal carry regardless of disability was the direct evolution of wearing a sword in the old days. Not just as fashion, but as a weapon. This is also apparently where we get "swordsticks" as many gentlemen of the 19th century wanted to keep the traditions of the sword alive while appearing outwardly to comply with socially acceptable fashion.
     
  7. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Your initial premise is incorrect. Swords were never as popular in N America as they were in some parts of Europe. Thus, the hatchet, which is a useful tool and dangerous weapon- and much cheaper- would have been more common for rural Americans. I can't speak to the urbanites, but am fairly certain a cudgel would have been a likelier weapon than those effete swords!

    John
     
  8. glistam

    glistam Member

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    My bad, I was referring to Europe.
     
  9. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Sorry, I was addressing the OP. :)
     
  10. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Interesting question.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  11. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    I would encourage the OP to find the book "Cracker Culture" by Grady McWhiney. You would be particularly interested in the chapter on fighting and weapons.
     
  12. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    My Blackthorn cane is a weapon if I need it to be.
     
  13. alsask

    alsask Member

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    25 years ago it was almost fashion statement to be wearing a Buck folder around here, probably 50% of the male population was doing it. That died out around the time cell phones became popular. Probably too cumbersome wearing a knife and a cell phone holster.

    Recently it is not uncommon to see people with folders on their belt again, maybe because the cell phones are much smaller now?
     
  14. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    Yep we had the same thing in Eastern Arkansas.
     
  15. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    As bad as Illinois gun laws are, we're at least blessed with the ability to carry knives, open or concealed, so long as the intent of carrying the knife is not to use it as a weapon. (E.g. hunting, utility, etc).

    I once got pulled over and questioned with an M109 bayonet on my belt. :)

    Cop asked what I had it on me for, I said "I was just out hiking, knives come in handy in the woods."

    Was held briefly while the officer called in to question if it was legal, and released.
     
  16. ChaoSS

    ChaoSS Member

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    The correct answer, when asked why you have a knife, is "cutting stuff". After all, isn't that the task at which knives excel?
     
  17. p35

    p35 Member

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    I always figured the Buck knife thing was started by "The Dukes of Hazzard." Real popular in my high school. I can't imagine the hysterics if someone showed up to high school today with a Buck 110 on his belt, but half my class did it and no one gave it any thought.

    sic transit gloria mundi.
     
  18. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    Yeah, it's alive and well here in the southern Appalachians.

    Nearly everyone in the rural areas will carry a gun. Everyone carries a knife.
     
  19. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Member

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    I don't think it is quite correct to say that everyone went armed.

    Up until the mid 19th century most men of the nobility or educated "gentlemen" went armed. In fact, carrying a sword would have pegged you as an educated and/or wealthy man. Truth is, most folks were simply too poor to afford a sword let alone carry one.

    I believe sword carry died partially because dueling became universally not only illegal but viewed as undesireable by most of society. So people stopped resolving their disputes via the sword (and later, stopped carrying pistols for the same reason).
    Even when it occurred, the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton was becoming socially less and less acceptable.
     
  20. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    I work with a guy who was Navy during the Vietnam years.

    We were discussing common pocket knives and he mentioned that, when he was afloat, pretty much every enlisted rating carried a Buck 110 on his belt. They weren't actually issued, but everybody on board had one.

    That discussion sparked some inputs from others of "our age" (we've got a number of vets in our engineering group), and sure enough the next day guys showed up with their Bucks and other similar folders (including a Case Mako).

    Lots of reminiscing.

    The Buck 110 has been with us a long time, popular with servicemen and guys who have been servicemen.

    And then, of course, there's the hunting crowd and construction guys. That knife pattern seems to be popular there, too.

     
  21. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    Carrying a Buck 110 started in the 60's when they became promoted as an every day knife not just a hunting knife. Farmers,Ranchers,and other Blue Collar Workers started then the Police were not too far behind. By the mid-70's they were a popular gift for teenage boys. Long before the Dukes of Hazzard came on TV.
    We can't forget that it got copied by Case with their Mako Shark and off brands like Ranger.
     
  22. kBob

    kBob Member

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    When I was in the most common thing was a 112 which many folks mistake for a 110. In my Infantry outfit a lot of folks carried them. The were available at the PX at the time. It was not uncommon for the Airborne or Air Assault folks to pin a set of Buzzard Wings or 'Skeeter Wings on their sheath flap. A budy that broke his heel in training an so was not allowed either school, but who happened to be one of the platoon drivers broke the rings of the main portion of a drivers badge and wore his Spare tire on his flap. One of our NCO that had been able to swing a free trip to the Keys wore a Divers Badge on his flap.

    I carried one for the better part of three years before I managed to break the tip trying to free a drain sump in our shower room. As we were out doing security on a Missile site and not due back in the rear for a month I just reshaped the tip with a file and cleaned up my work with a two sided German synthetic stone. I replaced the knife on my return to the rear and when I was again stateside I gave the modified knife to my Dad who also wore it a few years until he switched to a belt tool.

    I think Leatherman was more responsible for the reduction in numbers of folks carrying a 110 or 112. I did for a bit ( call it four or five years) carry a 112 on the right and a Leatherman on the left but then started carrying various clip ons instead of the Buck. I sometimes where the Buck on the left even in these days when it feeling hits me.

    As it happens if I dropped my left hand from the key board at this very moment and let it hang to my side a Buck 112 in its sheath would be under my left wrist....there I just did that.

    -kBob
     
  23. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    I carry a Buck 110 since 2000 but before that I carried a fixed blade or a Ranger clone of the Buck.
     
  24. mongoslow

    mongoslow Member

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    i dont carry on my belt anymore (phone is there, g23 on the right) but i carry a large Gerber clip knife with a tanto point and a partialy serreted blade in my left pocket all the time, if my pants are on that knife is with me :)
     
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