The Three Blade Rule

I frequently talk about the Three Blade Rule, and I thought I would take a few minutes to explain my methodology on this, and explain my own EDC tools that I use to fit this.

What does the Ultimate Tactical Handbook say about this? I’m glad you asked:

If you don’t have a sword,

Sell your cloak and buy one.

Luke 22:36

The Three Blade Rule is that at all times, you should have three bladed tools available. A pocket folding-knife, a fixed-blade knife, and a multi-tool. If you have access to all three of these, there aren’t too many issues you can’t solve. On a daily carry basis, the fixed-blade knife may cause some carry issues, but a little research can help here.

The first blade is a pocket folding-knife. There are literally thousands of options on the market, and each person needs to make their own decision. Before you buy one, research your local knife and weapons laws. Some states limit blade length or type. Be sure to fully read the law, because there are many misconceptions floating around. For example, in Michigan, the general perception is that you can’t carry a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches. While 3 inches is mentioned in the law, the law specifies that it’s only unlawful if you have “unlawful intent”. Self defense is lawful, and so is “general utility”.

Michigan’s law also only bans concealed carry of knives greater than 3 inches, so fixed blade knives can be carried openly on your belt or the outside of a backpack.

My personal choices for Every Day Carry (EDC) are Gerber knives or the CRKT M-16.


The second blade you need is a quality multi-tool. Notice I said “quality”. There are many types and brands out there, but I personally recommend sticking to either Gerber, Leatherman, or SOG tools. They are consistently the highest quality tools on the market.

When selecting one, you want one with tools that you will actually use. A couple of screwdrivers, a knife blade, a can opener, and scissors, as well as the plier ends are good bare minimums. I generally carry 2 daily. I have a Gerber Diesel on my belt next to my flashlight (check out the cool holster below), and a Gerber Suspension (smaller version) on my EDC bag.

I carry a more serious one in my Patrol Bag. There I have an SOG PowerLock EOD, complete with a blasting cap crimper. It has 18 tools on it and is very sturdy. I particularly like the 1/4 inch socket drive to attach other things to.

I love this. Never know when you might need to crimp a blasting cap.

The final option you need is some type of fixed-blade knife. I know, a lot of employers won’t let you carry one into work, so at least have on available in the truck of your car. I generally keep one in a backpack in the trunk. Research your local knife laws here.

Again, there are so many great options, and you’ll have to make your own decisions, but quality knives are worth it. A high quality knife that you are going to bet your life on is worth the $100-$300 (or more ) that you pay. You can buy them cheaper (in fact Gerber and Glock have good bargain options), but they are generally not worth it. A Gerber fixed-blade is anywhere from $50-150. Ka-Bars, worth their weight in gold, are $120-$250. If your budget doesn’t allow that, the Glock Field Knife is an excellent knife available for under $50. The point is, get SOMETHING that you can keep available.

If you have all of these tools, you can manage most survival and everyday tasks. But…this only works if they are with you at all times. You can certainly keep a folding knife and a multi-tool with you at all times without any issues, and as long as the fixed blade is available, you are in good shape.

A final reminder about self defense:

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house

His possession are safe.

Luke 11:21

I have a couple of quick updates for you all. First, you can now buy the Base Line Training Manual on this site, by clicking “Books” on the menu. Second, we anticipate Tactical Wisdom Volume 2, Fieldcraft, to be finished in the next few weeks. Lastly, we finalized that Volume 3 of the Tactical Wisdom Series will be “Personal Defense”, focusing on unarmed defense skills, use of a knife for self defense, use of a stick for self defense, and cold firearms combatives (using a firearm as a blunt weapon).

As always, if you’d like to support our mission here, please consider donating below.


Donation – June 2021

Donation to support Tactical Wisdom.



Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

3 thoughts on “The Three Blade Rule

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