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I wrote the book Street Steel shortly after moving to Colorado to work for Paladin Press™ in 1994. The inspiration for the book came from a number of experiences I had in which friends would ask my recommendation for a personal carry knife, and then go out and purchase something totally different. One friend in particular—who was also an early training partner of mine in knife tactics—went through a number of different knife styles and carry positions. In the process, he spent hundreds of dollars and commissioned me on more than one occasion to build custom carry rigs for him. After months of experimentation, he finally accepted my first recommendation and realized that it was by far the best option for his needs.

Based on that experience and several others just like it, I decided to write a book that would lead readers through the logic of selecting a knife and carry method that was truly consistent with their needs, their style of dress, and their willingness to “bend” the law to carry what they felt was necessary.

In the process, I also wanted to document some of the lesser-known aspects of knife tactics that would later become a distinguishing element of Martial Blade Concepts, specifically one-handed knife opening techniques. At the time the book was written, the concept of the one-handed folder had really just taken hold and many people did not understand the full scope of possibilities. I therefore wanted to be the first to address things like ring-finger reverse-grip openings and teach the true physics and mechanics of inertial “wrist-snap” openings. Interestingly, things like Benchmade’s Axis Lock and Ernie Emerson’s “Wave™” did not even exist yet (that makes me feel old) and were therefore not included, but the book remains the most thorough discussion of knife selection and carry options ever written.

One of the other things Street Steel did was to recognize some of the most creative minds in custom knife making at the time, including Bud Nealy and James Piorek, aka “Blade Rigger.” Their work on concealment sheath systems was truly revolutionary and their support of the book—especially the generosity of Bud Nealy—was instrumental to its success.

Again, before you spend big bucks on a personal defense knife, invest a few bucks on this book to ensure you make your first choice the right choice to meet your needs.

Michael D. Janich