Gunny Back Talk

GUNNY SPEAKS LOUD & CLEAR ON: Knives on Planes • Fire Without Matches • Rules of Engagement

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TK: You spend a lot of time in airplanes. Have you ever found a tiny knife the TSA guards will accept when you check in?
No, and I miss having the toothpick that was in mine. The knife was so tiny, there’s no way on earth it could be used as a weapon, but they started making me hand it over. I got tired of having my little knives thrown into the bin, so I had to stop bringing them. The joke is that when you fly first class, they give you a perfectly good metal-bladed knife to cut your meat. A knife big enough to kill a bear. Isn’t that stupid?

TK: We’ve heard you speak of having “Bolo” knives in your collection. What are those?
“Bolo” is what the machete is called in the Philippines. They come in many different shapes and sizes, but it’s still the machete. The ones I have are Marine Corps-issued machetes. They’re made out of real thick steel, sharpened on both sides of the blade. The handles are slanted down slightly to get really good leverage. Because the blade is so heavy, you get good penetration. I would rather have one of these machetes than carry a hatchet. The machete will cut down a small tree faster than any hatchet you can find. It will cut all the small stuff you need too. Some of the Marine Corps machetes had real sharp points on them, so they could stab if you needed them to.

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TK: We hear you’ve been having nightmares about catching your arm in the crack of a rock while hiking in the backcountry. How’d that happen?
The funny thing is that we did that commercial for SOG before we ever even heard about the 127 Hours movie. The temperature was only 38 degrees when we shot that in the high desert between Palmdale, where I live, and L.A. in southern California. Since this was about a backcountry hiking and fishing trek, we were wearing light clothing. And the poor gal in the film wore a bikini! We froze! The beautiful golden retriever, by the way, belonged to our cameraman.

TK: If I was a custom knifemaker setting up my booth at a show, what could I put out there to really catch your attention?
Anything unique. I like a Japanese flavor to a knife sometimes. I like girth to knives, because I’m a hunter. I like to carry a knife so that if I’m being mauled by a bear, I can pull that knife out and take care of him—or at least have a fighting chance. By the way, I’d love to hunt Kodiak bear—the big ones. They can be 14 feet tall. Tell our readers: Gunny would love to go on a Kodiak bear hunt.

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  • Holger.A.Achaefer

    Hi, like to ask the author which knife he uses to take care of a bear, that means what blade length is necessary – maybe minimum.
    Thanks for the answer