J.S. Leonard's everyday carry (courtesy everydaycarry.com)
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Retired surfer J.S. Leonard  is an everydaycarry.com “guru.” I wonder if the SIG swami is ready, willing and able to use his Benchmade SOCP ComboEdge black dagger on a two-legged predator. Let’s face it . . .

stabbing/slashing someone — or, say, a dog — requires a different mind- and skill set than shooting a bad guy with a SIG SAUER P938.

There will be blood (courtesy fmapulse.com)

How many concealed carriers who carry a blade for personal defense train in knife fighting? Precious few I’d imagine.

I admit it: I’m a cutting edge ignoramus. (Declaw the snake?) I figure I’ll deploy my knife only if I can’t get access to my gun and things are going seriously south. And then, well, stab.

Is that how you view it?

edc everyday carry concealed carry

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        • Well, I suppose one can do what one wants with ones knife but, I try to avoid cutting cardboard with my good knives – I have cheapo box cutters for that.

          That said, I was really only trying to find a way to pose the question about whether or not boxes that come from amazon are amazonian.

    • In a knife thing, I’d think a slash is more psychological where being stabby is more decisive. Aside from that, I’m no expert, but in the good ole days, a sword, axe or some shafted device was today’s equivalent of a rifle, and a dagger was more like your CCW pistol.

  1. Yes, definitely. I have a couple of training knives and practice with them regularly on my heavy bag. My office does not allow me to carry a firearm but they will tolerate a folding knife. So, I practice.

  2. I would imagine 99% of the people on here will say “ oh yeah, I have no problem using a knife. Would take nothing for me to cut my way out of a fight” have no experience what so ever. Watching a man fight for his last breath after a knife fight is nothing like you’ll ever experience. It’s not fast. The sounds will haunt you for a lifetime. Yes, a knife is a great backup defense weapon or good when a gun is not an option. But it’s not as easy as you play it out in your head. The person has to be close. More than likely the person will die in your arms while fighting. You’ll hear the gurgling and them fighting for their last breath. Your tacti-cool $350 knife looks real nice in your pocket. Keep using it as a box opener.

    • I have dispatched some wounded animals with a knife. Even a quick thrust to the heart or brain feels pretty brutal. I imagine that if I ever had to do that to a person it would seriously screw me up.

    • “It’s not fast. The sounds will haunt you for a lifetime.”
      This is the opposite of my experience. Surprisingly fast, much less mess than a GSW, and a lot less screaming and crying. Most of the time they are dying and they don’t even know it.
      When it comes to neat and clean, no muss no fuss, I would prefer to stab over shoot any day.

      • How much experience do you have with killing people with knives

        If you are some kind of super secret black ops dude (because there’s a lot of those on the internet) that’s cool and all but is involving training that most people carrying knives don’t have.

        I can happily say I have never been in a knife fight. I carry a gun so that, hopefully, I never have to be. But I’ve seen the results of some. Never clean. Rarely ‘quick’. Your results sound entirely opposite to what I’ve seen.

        • EMT and army medic. Decades of experience treating hundreds of penetrating traumas of every variety all over the world, and yes, some of them inflicted by me. And just to be abundantly clear, hundreds isn’t any exaggeration at all.
          Most people stabbed sit there quietly dying. Most of them deny they are even badly hurt.

      • I agree completely. I’ve put down plenty of big game animals with a knife but never a man. I did respond to a call once where two teenagers( 13 and 16 years old) had cut up two grown men in a fight. The two men didn’t even know that they were dieing until both all but bled out.

      • I rodger you on that. Bleeding out is a preferred way to go, as long as you don’t fight it, as in move…the veins light up like fire, as if a transfusion of bleach has been injected.
        Yes, have some experience with loss of blood, been in proximity to harms way, but there are ex-mil, and then, there are EX-MIL.
        GOD BLESS , SIR!
        When you ride a sub, you don’t get shot at, it’s all or nothing, so to those front liners, we salute you! I’d would like to know, what you can’t possibly, but, HOW MANY LIVED DUE TO YOUR COURAGE. Again, GOD BLESS, SIR!

    • A human skull is not hard like a coconut. It’s only about 3/16″ thick. Don’t cut your way out of a fight.

    • $350 for a knife? For that kind of green, I’d rather buy a small 380 for a back-up. But, to each his own.

  3. I don’t carry a knife for personal defense. I carry a knife for opening packages and letters and things. Carrying a knife for defense is dumb. Rule #1 of knife-fighting is that you are going to get cut. Carry a gun for defense instead and make the other guy bring a knife to a gunfight.

  4. Situational awareness and being prepared should keep your tools where they belong. And I’m not just saying a pistol on your belt is being prepared. It’s a last resort before opening your toolbox, or getting to your rifle. Eyes open, head on swivel, and weapons on hand.

  5. I train kali, and knife-work is a big part of it. Personally, I imagine it would be extremely unpleasant, and the high possibility of fluid exchange alone makes me want to avoid it if at all possible, but I’m pretty sure my muscle memory would have no problem at all using a knife on someone if I had to.

    • Case, I train in Krav which includes Kali knife work and hope that I never have to use it. Like you I believe my muscle memory will take over and I will survive. Will all the sounds and blood bother me? I hope so, afterwards. I will deal with that if I am still alive. We train regular so we react and survive, not analyze and die. I do agree that most people that carry knives as defense weapons are not ready to really use them. The same statement can be applied to a lot of CHL carriers. Both are deadly force solutions and are a mindset. Till that mindset is there, most should not carry. IMO. The key to survival is practice, practice, practice.

  6. We are a first world nation. Affluent and soft. Mentally as well as physically. Some of us have lived on a farm. Some of us are hunters. Some of us have military experience.

    The rest of you are behind a real long learning curve.

      • the instinct to survive has a learning curve akin to a light switch.
        at the point that i’m convinced option two is go i’ll be perforating until i can put some distance. i really don’t think i’d stop until things were super freaking ugly, if past experience is any indicator.
        psychological implications of dropping anything trying to drop me will include smug satisfaction and being the recipient of many proffered glasses of mid- grade tequila.
        only farmers, hunters and servicemen need apply.
        you can be scornful and ridicule all of those horrible little jerks that everybody hates, but don’t underestimate the desire to not be killed. what a bunch of hooey.

      • those of you that find yourself behind on the learning curve please feel free to attend my hay bale throwing, manure shoveling, bow stringing, squirrel skinning, bed sheet corner folding and marching seminar, no charge. these rare talents will help you to defend yourself and prepare you for the hollow sucking sounds of death.

    • I’ve never taken a persons life and hope never to do so. I have however taken many animals life’s and have contemplated if I could do that to a person to protect me or my family. I feel desperate need to rush to dispatch a wounded animal no second thoughts . I imagine fear/anger would make it fairly easy to do the same to someone trying to harm me. I am sure afterwords would suck though.

    • this. I wouldn’t compare a deer or other game animal to a human in terms of psychological implications re. inflicting or receiving damage, but biologically, guts are guts, fish, fowl, or mammal. And any hunter has unfurled piles of ’em.

      • Pretty much this. . . If you’ve dressed much large game, you know that sans armor of some sort, we are all walking around with 50ish feet of guts rigged in us in such a way as to literally spill out the hole if something very sharp is rubbed up our tummies. I’ve never so much as seen it done to a human, but if you think of us like upright walking deer, we don’t look so well put together once the sharps come into play. It’s sort of the same with ‘mechanical cutting’. . . the only thing that makes the slicer glide through the upper arm sized hunk of meat is to make the meat firmer, such as flexing it would do. . .

        I train very little on knife, and what I do train is big, gross motor movements that keep the knife plunging up and into the lower chest/upper abdomen and slicing down and out, over and over, while attempting to stay alert enough to use the non-weapon hand to keep the opponent off balance or fouling their weapon/arm enough to hopefully reduce the severity of the wounds I’m likely to be receiving . . . and just keep the advance/pressure on. . . I only wish to leave time to think ‘run away’ before I’m backing out because the damage is done and there is no point taking more damage from what is effectively a dead man walking.

        Ugly? Of course it is ugly, which is perhaps why in the few times I’ve seen knives come out, no one wanted to get too close to anyone else who had one. Real fear of another human for me is encountering the guy who advances on a drawn knife briskly and in a matter of fact manner. . . screw that guy, I’ll run for it! It’s part of the reason for carrying a gun in the first place. . .guys like that. . . nightmare stuff.

  7. I too carry a knife to open boxes and envelopes and such. But I’d like to think that in extremis, if it’s going to be me gurgling and dying in somebody’s arms, or him in mine, I’d have the courage/willpower to get over it and use the knife.

  8. I carry a knife and have had some brief training in using it as a last-ditch weapon if I end up on the ground unable to draw a firearm (someone trying to grab it, malfunction, etc). I think I could do it but since I haven’t had to, I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I know. I have some pretty significant criticisms of Grossman’s conclusions he draws in his books but I think he presents a very well-evidenced case that as combat gets closer- from artillery to long-range gunfights to contact range and finally blades\mechanical weapons things get a lot harder, psychologically.

  9. I carry a knife and pepper spray on the infrequent occasion when we visit a bar. Firearms are banned in Texas bars, but I do want to have some kind of legal weapon.

    Understand, when I say “bar”, we’re talking a local, after work, happy hour type place or a wine bar in the uptown Galleria area. We’re not talking about some unlicensed dive down by the docks. So I don’t actually expect to have to use a weapon. If I did, we wouldn’t go there in the first place. Still, anything can happen any time, any place, though, so you want to have something more than nothing, just in case.

    I’ve never stabbed anyone before, but a few times in my youth I did have to deploy a knife to defend myself. It served its purpose and either scared them away or allowed me to get away.

  10. the law in my county says no to a pistol, yes to a folder, so that’s what i carry. am i trained? no. am i better off with it than without it? it seems so.

  11. The pointy end goes into the bad guy. If the other guy has a knife, grab a baseball bat. No, you probably don’t need combat baseball bat training either.

    Where has common sense gone?

    • Not having an obligation to use the “oh, I was gonna go play baseball” excuse here, I keep a three foot long flanged mace I welded together in my car for the same reason.

      I’ve never had occasion to swing it, nor the smaller one I carry hiking. Generally speaking, even the most methed up tweaker I’ve encountered out hiking might dare you to shoot them, but something primal gets triggered when they see my “obedience stick”.

      So far as a knife, I haven’t had to stick a person, but I’ve stuck a Rottie and a half dozen hogs, I reckon it works the same on people

  12. Why do you think the US military relies on bombing villages from the air these days instead of sending troops in to engage at close range? Not seeing the civilians dying in the village from the bombing is a necessity.

    Because most Americans – including US military – are both cowards and inexperienced to dealing death face to face.

    In previous wars it was bayonet time at some point – either masses of Japanese or masses of Chinese. Nowadays, do they even issue bayonets any more?

    Special Forces guys do this sort of close-up work on occasion, but the average US soldier does not.

    If you have to use a knife, hope that the other guy doesn’t have one because both of you will get seriously hurt. But a knife against someone’s hands is a definite advantage.

    Even the old saw “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight” isn’t completely true. Even Marshall once said his biggest nightmare was being caught in an elevator with an expert knife fighter. He reckoned he’d win but he’s lose an arm doing it.

    You have only a 20-25% chance of dying from a bullet wound, but you have something like 30% of dying from a knife wound, due to increased exsanguination.

    Stabbing is only effective if you can hit a vital area like the heart. Slashing opens up arteries and you can’t bleed out for long without dying or at least going into shock. This is why the argument for straight blades vs curved (karambits) is mostly misplaced – either can be effective depending on how you’ve trained.

    • What have you done that puts you in a position to make these claims about US bombing strategy and the cowardice of the military? Can you point to a credible source that indicates that bombing is used to spare our troops the sight of dead civilians? If that is the case why didn’t the air force carpet bomb Fallujah? What operations have taken place in the last 20 years that would have been swayed by the use of bayonets? Have you even spoken to a combat vet who served in Iraq or Afghanistan?

    • Richard Steven Hack you seem ill informed. I believe the US is using many surveillance based wepon systems that rely on one or more human operators. As tech has advanced the cost of an attach is getting closer and more violent for the “push button” soldier. I also believe that the operator may feel less than honorable for killing from so far away.

    • “Because most Americans – including US military – are both cowards and inexperienced to dealing death face to face.”
      false nonsense.

  13. If it’s me or the bad guy I will use every tool at my disposal to protect my loved ones and myself. Guns, knives, flashlights, fists, knees, kicking, teeth, nails, eye gouging, clubs, and whatever else comes to hand. When it’s over and I’ve calmed down and ensured mine are safe and whole I’ll have a sammich and say it sucks to be you Mr. Bad guy without any guilt or remorse. I’ve decided that I’m going to prevail or die trying. What say you?

  14. When in rural Wyoming I carry my 15th century (replica) quillion dagger on my left hip in a Blackwood and bronze scabbard. It is mostly there as jewelry and because I am HEMA geek. Only had about 35 hours of dagger training and sparring. I have zero experience fighting a person for my life but I have fought an angry ocean a couple times. I would not expect to live through a knife fight but I think if presented with that as my only option I’d give it the ole college (Miskatonic U) try. My dagger is very large and if it comes down to exchanging stabs I think it might give me an edge over a smaller blade. Maybe I’d live long enough to see the end of the fight, who knows.

  15. Skillful use of a knife need not be fatal and can be useful in disarming or disabling an opponent, but you have to be trained and also lucky. Nonetheless, you gun guys need to remember that an assailant with a knife can cover 20 feet and hurt you before you can begin to deploy that thousand dollar pride and joy. Situational awareness and tactics are ALWAYS the first resort. Without them, you’re going to lose your gun…and probably your life…to some teenage gangbanger who did his planning ahead of time. And unless you had some really rough practice and a lot of it in a very demanding school, the likelihood is that when the crap hits the fan and you’re in the middle of it, you’ll be too busy hurting to even remember to get the gun out. That goes double for a knife. Tactics, tactics, tactics, and stay out of trouble to begin with. That’s the way you handle threats, and that’s the best policy for professionals AND great pretenders. .

    • Yes well, a herd of wildebeest can overtake you at a rate of 73 feet per second so you’d better be read for those. BTW the knife beats gun meme is way over played, you weebs need to take a break. LIGHTNING BOLT LIGHTNING BOLT LIGHTNING BOLT!!!!!one!

  16. Two types of knives carried around, those strictly for utility (box cutting) and those purpose built for defense. Those carried for protection need to be sharp at all times.

    I am lucky enough to have had some knife training and it’s an eye opening experience.
    In a knife fight the winner goes to the hospital the loser goes to the morgue.

  17. I stress that even though a lot of knifes are sold over the counter, knowing what your state law says in this case is an absolute must. A double edged knife that is sold over the counter might not be legal in the very state it was sold in, people just don’t pay attention to this. Its technically a “dagger”, switch blades only recently became legal in Texas outside of LEO/MIL.

    As for training, well, start working on your cardio, because I think the best option is to break contact and run.

  18. If it’s a bad situation I don’t care if I have a shovel a knife, a fork, a wiffle ball bat. Someone’s gonna get it of it means survival

  19. For a prepared human the mind and body are your true wepon, everything else is an opportunity or tool. Killing always has a cost. I believe that is why many combat warriors choose non violent resolutions if they can.

  20. I’ve spent a lot of money on knives in the last several years hunting for “the one.” Sometimes I’ll rock two. Now I have more than I know what to do with and rotate cutlery from time to time. Funny, though, I’ve come to terms, knowing myself, that it’s very unlikely I’ll even remember the knife in my pocket during a fight. I think of the finely tuned dexterity-related act of actuating a thumb hole or stud in the heat of the moment and match it up with the ever-understood fine motor skill, adrenaline soaked, clumsiness of racking a slide, working a safety and having presence of mind to point a gun where a round is meant to go. With a knife I know I’ll probably hose it. My knives are for utility. If I remember it’s there, cool. I know I”ll get cut in a knife fight. I worked in a knife store for a year and got cut plenty. But I have no illusions about my knife saving my life in anything other than a utilitarian way. It’s boring to see EDC pics of someone’s tacticool dump. Like many here, I think, “yeah, right.”

  21. You won’t get cut in a knife fight if you have one and he doesn’t.
    I would never want to get in a knife fight; I would rather fight with swords, which have both offensive and defensive capabilities. Or an arming dagger (usually 16″ long blade, 4″ handle with cross bar guard).
    I always carry a pocket knife (a Kershaw), which is quite sharp but is most definitely not designed as a fighting knife. It is too small, too short and too fragile. That does not mean that in a pinch it would not be extremely effective, as long as one respects its limitations.
    A short knife should be used against the closest body part of the opponent (usually a fist) to cut, and against the face, throat, and inside the elbow where blood vessels are close to the surface. A cut at or above the eyebrows may result in enough bleeding to blind your opponent and end the fight. A stab adjacent to the wind pipe or into the side of the neck, even with a short blade, will likely result in a fatal wounding. Forget the heart, stab into the liver (upwards stroke, just below the rib cage) and then cut; the liver is full of blood and far less protected by ribs. If you end up behind your opponent (and he is not trying to flee), attack the kidneys, or the hamstring just below the buttocks, if available. The latter will not likely kill your opponent, but it will almost certainly disable him.
    The rules of a knife fight are the same as for a gun fight; the purpose is to stop the attack, not to kill your opponent.

  22. I see some of our resident statists are out and about commenting….Usually the same tired diatribe about you carry a knife as a tool, never for defense…Well, ancient history shows the Knives , Dirks, Daggers, Bowies, Tantos, etc.,etc…Have all been used by peasents, (When NOT being harassed, or killed by knights, samurai, Sheriff’s of Nothingham, etc…), were perfectly suited as a tools, or weapons for the common defense…Just that Big Government, Paramilitarized, Left-wing police/ STASI, and Statist Bootlickers are going give u long winded lectures about “why you don’t need to have one–for anything…Is the same BS talking points of Globalist/Neo-Communist/Liberal Pro-Aggressive DemoCRAP Gun control and Anti-2nd Amendment activists…Obviously, like other free-thinking commenters have said…Its a tool for cutting boxes, and such…But if lethal danger is abound, a simple emergency weapon one can deploy ta close range on short notice…And the pointy end goes into bad guys trying to hurt you….No Mall Ninja training required…Go for broke ! Live another day!

  23. A knife is indeed a tool, perhaps the first and oldest Multi tool. Used for work in field, hunting, butchering and defending ones self, then eating at the end of the day. In this country we have kind of gotten away from our human roots and left the knife at the dinner table, in favor of a firearm.
    For those of us that choose to Honor our history by carrying a knife, let us not forget that, just as with a pistol, there is responsibility. And just as with a gun, you can do damage without Training, but to gain maximum potential, you need to train and train hard. Muscle memory helps, but determination,familiarity and skill go alot farther when rubber hits the road. During the onset of the war, I recall alot of guys getting stabbed by they’re own blades. Because in CQB, when you had two guys fighting for control of a firearm, alot of our guys forgot that they had knives strapped to they’re gear. The other guys would grabb it and go to work. Alot of this fell to the fact that many of our guys didn’t see they’re knives as weapons. They used them more for opening boxes and cans and had no training in the use of a blade. I believe that if a little emphasis had been placed on the idea as knife as weapon as well as tool, like it was in times past, perhaps a few more of our guys would have made it home.

  24. The only thing I ever killed with a knife was a 130ish pound feral hog. I was surprised at how quickly a thrust into heart and lungs dropped it, and how little movement and noise followed.

    It has been a long time since I had any filipino knife classes, though I have had some (three a week, for a year).

    I carry weapon grade knives (usually a Benchmade Osborne but sometimes an Esee Izula or Busse HG55), but mostly for regular old knife use, such as cutting twine on hay bales, etc. A knife is one of the most basic and useful tools around.

  25. I practice my draw and deploy at work and live practice on a jean jacket covered Rubbermaid garbage can.

  26. If you think all you have to do is start stabbing to win a knife fight, then all you have to do to win a gun fight is pull the trigger…

  27. Defensive knives are stupid and worthless for 99% of people.

    If someone is using deadly force against me or to menace me; I will draw my gun. If someone is just beating on me? Why the hell would I ever pull a knife to make the situation worse?

    I’m an EMT, I’ve seen the ending of plenty of knife fights, you end it either on a gurney or in the morgue; my only bladed objects are trauma sheers and a Victorinox Cadet.

  28. Reading all the above opinions, comments I’ve remembered a for me surprising personal experience from last year, which could have ended badly both for me and for my opponent. I am writing this down because the animal instinct must not be dead in me even though today I am an absolutely peaceful, even pacifist old guy . Before I go any further I will state that last time I’ve killed something with a knife it was 350 lb pig which we were butchering. It was a simple hearth stab and it bled out within a couple minutes. I was a teenager at that time. Today I would be hesitant even to hunt/kill although I’ve used to hunt also.
    This is what happened; I was visiting in Eastern Europe. At a bus stop I got involved in a nasty verbal fight with a gipsy. This evolved to the point that when he – I thought stepped threateningly closer to me- I hit him in the face with the handbag in my hand, lightly, for just a warning, just for him to reconsider. He then stopped his advance and reached into his pants pocket. If you know the circumstances, the gipsy in that area are notorious knifers, and I know this. I thought he is going for a knife. Not many civilians can carry a gun in that country. Since I also carried 4 1/2″ sharp switch blade, I pulled it out from pocket and held it unopened in my hand. It was invisible but the gipsy already knew and said so that I have a knife in my hand. I was ready to flip the blade open and was already considering if I will slash his outstretched arm or if he is close enough the right side of his neck. I have good anatomical knowledge. Surprisingly enough a red mist descended over my eyes and I thought I am ready to hurt even kill without any further consideration, even with many already booing witnesses and an overhead camera present at the station. Luckily enough the gipsy was more a domesticated coward than a thug, because he pulled out his mobile phone, not a knife, to call the police to complain that I have hit him. In the afterthought this all was very lucky because otherwise I would have landed in jail for about 15-20 years. Even more luckily the bus came right then and I could flee the scene.
    I do not know what this tells to anybody, but for me even today it is frightening that I could be, I do not know how to call it, that vicious, possessed by animal instinct.

  29. Yes, I am.
    I am prepared to use my Gerber Multi-tool 600 to as a Yawari as well.
    As well as anything else I can pick up.

  30. A young co-worker at my husband’s office had a date who proceeded to become rather ungentlemanly as the night grew later. She told him she had a knife in her purse and he needed to leave, at once.

    The next day at work, she thanked my husband for giving her the knife, which is a basic utility knife, but sharp. The date never knew, he made the choice to leave. I use mine to cut boxes, whatever.

  31. There are basically 5 ways to deploy and use a knife. You can slash with it, hack with it, stab with it, filet with it, and flick with it. Now some knives cannot do some of these 5 methods due to their design certainly. There are a number of good knife instructors out there like Steve Tarani, Brian Hofner, etc. if one is interested. They teach basic good techniques that do not take years to properly master, that can be effectively learned in a couple of days and kept up then with practice. No you will not be a knife master but you will be able to use it with effect against that 95% of bad guys.

    • Agreed . . . a knife in any hands is trouble and a lot of potential damage. . . even a little training in something simple and basic just made that knife in the hand magnitudes more effective. . . couple that to an instant and aggressive will to use it and that drawn knife will win out in a great majority of circumstances. If you happen to run into a true master of the art, you’re probably going to die, it’s also so unlikely to happen as to come as a consideration behind getting lightening rods for your house and a flu shot and about 10 million other things that are much more apt to be encountered.

      I trained with knives basically only after being forced to go gunless in a time and place. . . it was rewarding in its own way, but I’ve only ever really thought of it as a last ditch weapon for use on unarmed or very poorly armed opponents. It’s always, to me, been a ‘get off me’ or ‘let go of me’ or perhaps ‘don’t approach me’ weapon that a mainline one. That said, I also feel that it took little time, ingenuity and effort to reach a place where I felt as if it was unlikely that an opponent would survive a knife fight with me. . . not that I was going to live either, just that the sorts of damage one can do with a knife when actually trying, with a little background in basic anatomy and fight science, is so fast and so severe that when two people who have these things; the tool, the basic skills, and the will meet, neither comes out in anything but critical condition.

  32. I have operated a knife store for 15 years. So many men and women come in and tell me they want a knife “for protection.” That can lead to some interesting conversations.
    I usually try to ask them politely if they have had any training, or any other strategy for self-defense.

  33. We carried the SOCP overseas a part of our kit. It was designed to create space so you can get to your weapon in tight quarters. I’m thoroughly trained in it’s uses. I’m comfortable with it and it’s why I still carry one today.

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