For a good bit of my life, I have had varying interests in Swiss Army Knives. This piece will tell you, the reader, of how I became interested in them and which ones I’ve owned over the years.
I had first learned of a Swiss Army Knife while watching a rerun episode of The Simpsons. I was about ten years old when I saw it. I thought it was pretty cool but had no means of purchasing one. This was 1997, and not every household had a computer much less subscribed to Internet services. The world was somewhat different 20 years prior to me writing this piece (2017.) This meant that, unless one subscribed to the Internet, shopping was mostly limited to mail-order catalogs or the old-fashioned way at brick and mortar stores. Also, in 1997, there weren’t as many brick and mortar stores to choose from in my metropolitan area as there are now. On another note, the only way to go shopping was to get a ride from a licensed driver, since no stores were in walking distance of the house I lived in. Even if they were, I wasn’t allowed to leave the property. Because of all this, I had no means of acquiring a Swiss Army Knife. For Christmas of 1997, one of the gifts I got was a Schrade lock back keychain/pocket knife. It was my first pocket knife and I really wish I knew what happened to the damn thing because it had a sentimental value. However, my interest in knives decreased. I was too focused on buying video games, flashlights and later, radio equipment.
At the age of fourteen going on fifteen, (Fall 2001), I saw what appeared to be something like a Swiss Army Knife, probably at Wal Mart. It had a red handle and multiple implements, like a Swiss Army Knife but was only a dollar and some cents. I had a little money on me, so I purchased it. What strikes me as odd is that I didn’t get carded. Currently, Wal Mart has a policy of not selling knives to anyone under sixteen. In fact, the cash register forces them to check ID before a payment can be made. In later years, I realized that this was a knock-off of a real Swiss Army Knife. Actually, I still have it. It is sitting on my desk as I am typing this piece. I guess it too has sentimental value.
At the time, I was also being severely harassed in school and was just about to start carrying a weapon (thank God I didn’t.) What made me reconsider was when a fellow student got busted for narcotics in his vehicle on school property and was going away for a long time. The principal delivered an address over the closed circuit television system about the severe criminal punishments for students bringing drugs or weapons on campus. Looking in retrospect, this knife I was going to carry was extremely dull anyway. I carried it a few places while off campus from ages 14-16. Then, sometime in 2003, I stopped carrying knives for altogether. I was more into radio communications and other technological hobbies. Also, I had discovered writing love stories in April of 2003 and realized I was more of a lover than a fighter.
In the early 2000s and throughout the rest of that decade (and even into this present decade), my local shopping area began to be built up and developed quite rapidly. In August of 2002, a Target was built among other stores. I was and actually still am a frequent customer at that store. Usually, I was there to buy electronics, but for whatever reason on November 29, 2002, (Black Friday) I was shopping there. I had gone into the sporting goods section and saw a plethora of Swiss Army Knives. In those days, Target had a wider selection of Swiss Army Knives (flashlights too) than presently. This was the first time I saw a true Swiss Army Knife in real life. However, the cheapest model (Victorinox Classic SD) which only had a pen blade, nail file/flat head screwdriver, scissors, toothpick, and tweezer was a whopping ten dollars. There were more expensive models that cost probably from twenty up to fifty dollars. This wasn’t exactly the ideal price range of an unemployed fifteen-year-old born to working class, fiscally conservative parents. I didn’t know of nor could fully appreciate the high quality and fine craftsmanship of Swiss-made goods at the time anyway. So I forgot about Swiss Army Knives for the next almost three years. I had other interests and financial priorities anyway.
I was now eighteen and my interest in knives had suddenly reignited sometime in late January of 2005. It started from using a friends knife to open a bag of frozen potatoes and accidentally cutting myself. I re-realized the defensive stopping power of knives and soon purchased a Winchester liner lock pocket knife with rubber handle. This thing was very sharp, despite being so cheap (<$10.) I would do odd jobs for family and usually buy cheap knives with the money I earned. It was now the summer of 2005 and I had acquired a job of 35 hours a week at minimum wage ($5.15/hour.) I also had no bills whatsoever, so I kept all the money I made. Needless to say, I had a good bit of disposable income. Many days after work, I would go shopping. I went to the Target and looked at the Swiss Army Knives. I saw a Victorinox Sportsman for $16.99+tax. It was the second cheapest model on display, so I bought it. This was my first true Swiss Army Knife. I followed it with two Wenger models in August of 2005 (just weeks prior to Hurricane Katrina.) Then in September 2005, I purchased a Victorinox Recruit. There was also my interest in flashlights coming back since I started carrying a flashlight in May of 2005. I had suppressed that interest throughout most of my teen years for fear of harassment, but by the age of 18, I simply didn’t give a damn if someone would harass me for liking flashlights. Actually, most people thought it was cool that I liked flashlights. Of course, Operation Iraqi Freedom was in full swing and tactical gear was marketed to the public like never before so maybe people’s attitudes had changed, but that’s another story. In December of 2005, I had purchased my first Mini Maglite. At some point, in early 2006, I was in Target and saw an AAA Mini Maglite bundled with a Victorinox Recruit 2. This made me think that Swiss Army Knives go naturally well with Mini Maglites. So in February of 2006, I purchased a Victorinox Climber to go with my Mini Maglite. Unfortunately a few weeks later I misplaced it, not to find it until December of 2010. Though currently unemployed and studying, I had money left over from my summer job and went to my local Academy Sports and Outdoors and purchased a Victorinox Fieldmaster. Until 2008, this would accompany my Mini Maglite everywhere I went. I even tried to get other guys to carry similar combinations, with varying degrees of success. In May of 2006, at the age of nineteen, I graduated high school. In December of 2006, I purchased a Victorinox Super Tinker at Target. A few weeks later, in January of 2007, I met the girl I would marry and suddenly didn’t have as much money available for purchasing Swiss Army Knives. For Christmas of 2008, with gift money, I purchased a Victorinox Cadet with an Aluminum handle for myself and actually used it on my jobs a few times. In the summer of 2009, I purchased my first Swiss (Wenger) backpack. It wouldn’t be until April of 2016 that I would purchase another Swiss Army Knife. My interests had shifted from knives almost completely to flashlights sometime in 2010. Around my twenty-third birthday (January 2010) I purchased a Leatherman Kick and began to forget about Swiss Army Knives. In March of 2010, I got another Wenger backpack with income tax refund money. And in September of 2011, I purchased my final Wenger backpack, which I had until 2015. From 2012 to 2016 I carried a Blue Xenon Mini Maglite with a Klein Electrician’s knife. In December of 2015, I purchased a Victorinox Trooper Backpack which I considered an upgrade from the Wenger backpacks I had previously used. In April of 2016, I was feeling reminiscent of my high school days and began to search online for The Victorinox Recruit 2 bundled with the Mini Maglite (a popular combination during those days.) I found a set on eBay as new old stock, secured the money and purchased it. The ironic part is that it came in the mail on the twenty-sixth birthday of a girl whom I had a crush on in high school but remain good friends with now.
In the Fall of 2016, CBS had begun a modern version of the classic show “MacGyver.” Just like in the classic, the current MacGyver used a Swiss Army Knife of some sort to help carry out his missions. This renewed my interest in Swiss Army Knives. So, I planned financially and researched meticulously which model to buy, finally settling on a Victorinox Explorer in December of 2016 at my local Academy Sports and Outdoors. Prior to that, I had purchased a Black Xenon Mini Maglite to go with it in October of 2016. Also in November of 2016, I purchased my current Victorinox backpack on eBay, but I am unsure of the model. I carry these two items in the said backpack currently.
In September of 2017, I was doing research again about Swiss Army Knife and Mini Maglite combinations. I saw on eBay a gently used Victorinox Cyber Tool M in Sapphire Blue for under $40. It was up for bid and only had a few minutes lasting in the auction. This was a helluva deal, even though it was used because it was selling for about a quarter to a third of the MSRP. Thank God, I won the bid and now it is coming to me in the mail. There is a Black Xenon Mini Maglite that I’ve had since June of 2014 and I plan to pair my latest Swiss Army Knife with it. I’ll also keep them with my Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro calculator, Energizer Hard Case Penlight and Midland HH50B pocket-sized weather radio. I use these items for EDC whenever traveling or working on computers.
In November of 2017, I saw a cool looking Wenger SwissGear backpack at my local Target and realized that the Wenger bags were built better than the Victorinox bags. It was selling for $59.99+tax and all my other bills were paid, so I bought it. It has a coloring of what seems to be a combination of gray and olive drab. This is now my current edc backpack.
As far as I can see I will continue to have an interest in Swiss Army Knives. Being Swiss-made, they are engineered and built very well. They also can get a whole bunch of jobs done in any given situation. They are carried by elite military groups around the world and even used on space missions. Try one out for yourself. You, the reader, will be pleasantly surprised. The local retailers that currently have the widest selection are Target and Academy (but nowhere near what they used to be.) K-Mart and Sears (the few that are left) seem to have a decent selection. Most Wal Marts only sell one model in-store, the Classic SD, but have many others available online. eBay is an excellent choice and probably has the widest selection of both new and used Swiss Army Knives, but be extremely wary of knock-offs.