Knives and Concealed Carry
When you can’t carry a handgun for whatever reason, a knife is a good option. Although a knife requires an attacker to be point-blank, knives can and do save lives or convince an attacker to back off every day.
Wisconsin law now allows a citizen with no criminal intent to carry virtually any knife, including switchblades or “auto knives,” with no limit on blade length! The law was changed by Gov. Walker in 2016 to also prohibit cities and towns from making more restrictive knife laws or arresting someone for disorderly conduct just because they were carrying a pocket knife. You do not need a CCW permit to carry a knife in Wisconsin. If you are not allowed to legally carry a handgun, you are not allowed to carry a concealed knife, according to the WI DOJ.
While all this is good news for law-abiding citizens who want to protect themselves with a knife, it’s also a good opportunity to review just how effective a knife can be as both an attacking and a defensive tool.
In our Wolf River Concealed Carry Wisconsin CCW classes, we cover what is called the Tueller Drill. It’s a demonstration of how the average knife-wielding attacker with no special athletic abilities can successfully reach the “good guy” with a firearm if he is within 21 feet or less! This generally applies if the good guy has not drawn his firearm, but in some cases, the knife attack is successful even if the good guy has his gun drawn.
Why do police shoot to kill a knife-wielding person? Watch this video to learn why (warning: graphic content).
Many cities and states outside of Wisconsin still limit a citizen’s pocket carry knife to a 3-1/2 or 5-inch blade. But Wisconsin does not limit blade length. In general, you may carry any knife you want as long as you are not committing a crime. Businesses and government agencies may post signs prohibiting your carry of a gun or knife.
Page 57 of the Wisconsin Department of Justice concealed carry manual (the book we use for all our classes), covers the Wisconsin knife laws.
Any pocketknife can be used as a self-defense tool, but in general, a sturdy folding knife with a strong lock (such as those by Cold Steel, Kershaw, Gerber, SOG, Buck and many others) will suffice. A fixed-blade sheath knife is even better. Opening a folder quickly is crucial if attacked, so an auto-opener, spring-assisted folder (such as those by Kershaw, called “Speed-Safe”), a flipper (small tip on the back of the blade to allow opening it with the flip of a finger) or a knife with a hole or tab on the blade (such as those by Spyderco and others) are excellent choices.
NOTICE: We are now a Cobratec Knives dealer!! This Texas-based company features Texas-made OTF (out the front) and other auto knives, fixed blade knives, knife pens and more! Check out our page on Cobratec Knives here and if you order through us, you'll save 20% off retail price!
Once you start carrying a pocketknife, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it, as they are used throughout the day for a variety of cutting needs!
Sign up today for our Wolf River Concealed Carry classes in New London, serving the Fox Valley region with the latest information on CCW and self-defense! Call 920-982-1719 and qualify for your CCW permit in one morning!