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Pocket knives are miniature versions of the bigger tactical, survival, defense, multi-use, camping, and other knives. Every best pocket knife is made with high-quality steel to serve different purposes, with one uniform necessity! And that necessity was to keep the knives portable for people to carry them easily in their back pockets or bag packs.
Whether you are out on your adventure trip or just want to feel safe while walking home late at night, a pocket knife can be an ideal tool for use. It can help you survive in the wild with the odd cutting applications and act as a self-defense tool on the streets to be safe from muggers, harassers, and thugs.
Benchmade 535 Bugout is the best pocket knife in the lot. It is best not just in terms of its blade quality or cutting potential but is best in terms of price and affordability. It is durable and doesn’t cost you much!
If you are keen to get the best pocket knife for your desired applications, then I can be your guide in that aspect. I am a professional trainer for security people and women to train self-defense techniques. And in the process, I also teach them how to use pocket knives for safety!
So, this is one of my attempts to educate people about the best knives they can get, not just for the sake of safety aspects but also to carry out day-to-day tasks.
Here are the best pocket knife options for you.
1. Benchmade 535 Bugout- Best Overall Lightweight Pocket Knife
The Benchmade 535 Bugout is accountable as the best self-propelled outdoor adventure knife. It is extremely light in weight and is very low profile. It comes with a lock mechanism to hold the blade in position while deployed or closed. This knife is pretty small and has high ergonomics to give you a complete grip upon it while using. The edge integrity is also high, while the portability gets full marks.
- The blade length is 3.0 inches
- The weight of this pocket knife is 1.9oz.
- The blade construction is made of CPM-S30V steel.
- It comes with a straight-edge blade.
- It comes with a drop point locking blade.
- The edge retention is high and has a variety of uses.
- It comes with a Nylon handle to make the knife extremely lightweight and easy to use.
2. Kershaw Leek- Best Value For Money
Kershaw Leek will cost you just half the amount of other high-profile knives. It consists of a pedigreed blade into an assisted-opening and compact tool. The blade comprises high-grade steel and has a lock mechanism that demands you to access it with a thumb for deploying or closing the knife. The blade and handle are built strongly to hold up well for light or moderate use. In addition, the handle and blade within this knife are thin, which makes it completely low profile for taking it almost anywhere.
- The blade length is 2.9 inches
- The weight of the knife is around 3.1oz.
- It comes with a D2 steel edge
- The handle is made up of 410 stainless steel.
- It comes with a liner lock and tip lock mechanism.
- This knife has a matter appearance and a slim profile.
- It also has a lanyard hole and a pocket clip.
3. Sanrenmu 7010- Best Product For A Very Tight Budget
Sanrenmu 7010 is an all-steel construction knife and is very affordable for people who want to start with a cheap yet quality knife. The locking mechanism of this knife is quite proficient and supports a one-hand opening style from both sides. The knife is small and heavy, making it quite preferable for some rough applications. This foldable alloy steel knife holds the edge pretty well, even regularly.
- The blade size for this knife is 2.7 inches.
- The weight is pretty much on the heavier side with 3.2oz.
- It uses 12C27 blade steel for the making.
- It comes with a liner lock mechanism.
- It is highly preferable for everyday carry, hunting, and camping adventures.
- It comes with a straight-back blade shape.
4. Petzlspatha- Best For Climbing
PetzlSpatha has unique properties that make it stand out for one of the most intense use cases. Petzl itself is known as a climbing company, and the design for this knife is suitable for that purpose. There is a serrated portion over the blade responsible for cutting the ropes or webbings. You might need to take this knife to professionals for sharpening the serrations. The hinge of this knife is unique, as it comes with a big diameter hole at the center of the attachment. The hole can be used with gloves for deploying the knife.
- The blade length is small, with 2.7 inches
- The weight is just 1.5oz.
- The blade is made up of stainless steel.
- It comes with a nylon handle.
- It comes with a locking blade.
- It is best preferable for climbing.
- This knife has a serrated blade type.
5. Gerber Ultralight LST- Best For Backpacking Trips
If you are a backpacker and are willing to get a superlight blade, then the Gerber Ultralight LST is the one you need. It weighs just half an ounce and is ideal for any occasional use. Furthermore, every human-powered travel need is powered by this tool. So for all light-duty use, you can ensure to have it in your backpack. Moreover, you can clean it easily over time, and it won’t eat up much of your space in the bag. Finally, even though the small handle is pretty flexible, it still gives you a good grip for your diverse uses on the trip.
- The blade is 1.6 inches long.
- The weight of this blade is around 0.5oz.
- It is made up of 420HC steel.
- It is light in weight and has a good sturdy blade.
- It comes with a drop point-style blade.
- It is preferable for backpacking, hiking, and camping adventures.
6. Havalon Piranta Original- Best For Hunting Applications
Have long Piranta Original is an ideal field-like pocket knife that allows you to take it to the wild. You can carry extra blades of Piranta along with you while you are out on your wild hunting trip. You don’t need to buy the blades separately, as you get 12 spare blades in the pack itself. You can get more of it as an accessory purchase! It is because this knife is designed for the sake of hunting and home skinning applications. And that needs razor-thin blade sharpness that wears out more frequently. Hence, the spare blades come as handy!
- The blade length is 2.3 inches.
- The weight of the blade is around 1.9oz.
- The blades are made up of stainless steel.
- It comes with stainless steel handle.
- It comes with an easy-open back style for easy cleaning of frame-lock construction.
- The handle comes with a bead blast finish.
- It comes with dual thumb studs over the handle for better grip.
7. Benchmade North Fork- Best Multi-Purpose Knife
The Benchmade North Fork pocket knife is a bit expensive tool, but the quality is outstanding and is worth the price. It comes with a shallow clip point blade that offers an excellent balance between edge retention, durability, corrosion resistance, toughness, and sharpening ease. It comes with a center axis upon which the locking system is embedded for safe usage. It comes with an aesthetic wooden handle that is perfect for gripping and style. Moreover, it also comes with a variant that has a G10 handle for using the knife in moist environments.
- The blade length is around 2.97 inches
- The weight of the knife is 3.16oz.
- The blade is made up of CPM S30V stainless steel.
- The handle is made up of Dymondwood.
- It comes with an amazing factory edge.
- The grip in hand is pretty firm for intense use.
- The company is offering free sharpening service for a lifetime.
8. Crkt Provoke Kinematic- Best Defensive Knife
The CRKT Provoke Kinematic knife is a self-defense tool with a folding mechanism that promotes enhanced blade strength. It comes with a mechanical design that gives it a good grip, style, and agility. This knife comes with two arms meant for retracting and expanding the blade. Hence, it allows the tang to stretch beyond the usual termination point. The blade has high edge retention and is light in weight without compromising durability.
- The length of the blade is 2.41 inches.
- The weight of the knife is 6.1oz.
- The blade is made up of D2 tool steel
- The handle is made up of aluminum for ensuring durability and lightweight factor.
- This is one of the toughest of all defensive knives
- Professional fighters use this kind of ergonomic knife for practice.
- The built quality is premium and lasts for a longer time.
9. Victorinox Classic Sd Swiss Army Knife- Best Keychain Knife
The Victorinox Classic SD Swiss Army Knife is the perfect multi-tool pocket knife that you should mandatorily have on your adventure trips. The brand is different from others and is ready to help you with diverse actions. The small blade will rise onto the occasion and help you out with the application every time you need it. It is perfect to be used as a keychain, as it has some grooming tools upon it as well, such as scissors or nail filer. The scissor is perfect for cutting nails and paper. But the knife is not that robust for use over intense applications, which is a clear distinguishing factor here.
- The maximum blade length is 1.5 inches.
- It comes with multiple keychain-oriented tools, including tweezers, toothpicks, scissors, fingernail files, and a knife.
- The weight of this pocket knife is around 1.3oz.
- The handle is made up of acid-resistant aluminum or plastic.
- The components are made up of stainless steel for prolonged durability.
- You can use the lanyard ring to clip it as a keyring.
- It is an ideal tool for everyday use and camping adventures.
10. Spyderco Atlantic Salt- Best Salt Water Knife
If you are out on your boating adventures over saltwater lakes, then you need the Spyderco Atlantic Salt to ensure that you get over with the applications without wearing out your knife. This folding series knife is embedded with rightful materials to ensure that it can deal with corrosive environments. It makes it easy for you to cut through tough materials such as seat belts, tiedown straps, and other such items. In addition, the back lock upon this pocket knife makes it safe for use, even in high-stress situations.
- The blade length is 3.68 inches.
- The weight of the knife is around 2.75oz.
- The blade is made up of nitrogen-based H-1 steel
- It comes with an FRN handle.
- It comes with an ambidextrous locking mechanism.
- The knife is light in weight for easy use.
- The built quality and the factory edge are outstanding.
- It is completely corrosion-proof.
11. Buck Cadet- Most Versatile Knife
Buck Cadet is a highly versatile blade available at a budgeted rate. It is versatile because the traditional design replicates the EDC knife, outdoor knife, and woodworking knife. This knife comes with three blades, and each of them has quality materials that promote edge retention, corrosion resistance, and strength.
- It comes with a 2.5-inch clip point blade, small 1.75-inch sheepsfoot blade, and 1.68 inches Spey blade.
- The weight of the pocket knife is around 1.9oz.
- The blades are made up of 420 HC stainless steel.
- The handles can either be of rosewood or Valox, depending upon the variant you choose.
- The availability of three blades makes it easy for you to carry out different applications with just one knife.
- It is quite easy for you to sharpen this knife.
- The factory edge is good, and this knife is covered under Buck’s forever warranty.
12. Spyderco Para Military 2- Best Low Maintenance Pocket Knife
When you expect the weight, edge retention, and performance to be perfect, then the low-maintenance Spyderco Para Military 2 knife is the best pick. The blade comes with a full flat grind built and a straight edge. The edge retention is pretty high, and the locking mechanism makes it easy to handle this knife. In addition, it comes with a back-lock that is quite easy to operate for deploying or closing the knife.
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- The blade length is around 3.42 inches
- The weight of this knife is around 3.8oz.
- The blade is made up of CPM S110V stainless steel.
- The handle is made of G-10 Material.
- This knife is lightweight
- It comes with an ambidextrous locking mechanism.
- The factory edge stands out with high retention.
13. Crkt M16-10ksf- Best Tanto Blade Knife
There are people with a unique taste for tanto blade knives. And there is nothing better than that of CRKT M16-10KSF for you to get one! This model of the CRKT knife replicates that of the classic model and has a tanto blade that combines both serrated and straight edges. The finish of this blade has a black oxide coating. It comes with dual thumb studs to help you deploy the knife quickly and easily. When deployed, the frame lock will then secure the blade at its place until you manually push it down to close it.
- The blade length is 2.94 inches.
- The overall weight of the pocket knife is 2.7oz.
- The blade is made up of 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel
- The handle is made up of black oxide stainless steel.
- It is quite easy to operate and has faster deployments for tactical needs.
- It is an affordable tanto blade knife for fanatics.
- It is a lightweight knife that makes it easy to handle and operate.
Buying Guide: How to Pick Pocket Knife
Choosing the best pocket knife may seem to be a very simple task. However, it is not that easy. To pick the right pocket knife, you will have to consider several things. Here are the most significant factors that you must consider.
The first and foremost thing you need to think of before buying a pocket knife is what purpose you need the knife. Pocket knives do not have a single-use. Instead, it can be used for several tasks. Based on your intended usage, you can pick an ideal pocket knife.
- Outdoor Use
Many people buy pocket knives for outdoor use. As you will use the knife outside, there are high chances of exposure to water and extreme weather conditions. When buying a pocket knife for outdoor usage, make sure that the handle and blade of the knife are resistant to tough weather conditions.
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Moreover, if you plan to use a pocket knife for camping, look for a durable one. A knife is essential for various camp activities like food preparation, carving wooden figurines, fire starting, and more. Having a strong and pointed knife proves to be handy.
- Everyday Carry (EDC)
Consider a knife with an assisted-opening system when you want a pocket knife that you will carry with you every day. It will ensure easy and quick access. Moreover, make sure that it has a secure and good clip. It is important because poor clips may cause damage to your pants. On the other hand, smooth clips allow you to keep the knife in your pocket without the risk of any damage to your clothing.
If you want to use the pocket knife for self-defense, choose the one that comes with a liner lock. Appropriate size knives with sharp blades and high-quality locking mechanisms are ideal for self-defense, ensuring optimum safety.
2. Number Of Blades
The number of blades is an important consideration when buying a pocket knife. When it comes to the number of blades, here are the popular options you will find.
- Single Blade
The single-blade pocket knives are quite simple and easy to use. They come in a number of sizes and shapes. The single-blade pocket knives have locking mechanisms that account for their sturdiness. It makes them an ideal option for demanding works. Moreover, some pocket knives may even have spring-loading opening mechanisms that allow you to pop open the knife in a second.
However, one of the drawbacks of single-blade pocket knives is that it lacks variety. Such knives can be the best option if you want an all-purpose knife. But if you want to perform different tasks simultaneously, these knives are not the right choice.
The multi-blades pocket knives have multiple blades. It allows you to do two to three tasks, all at the same time. Generally, the multi-blade pocket knives come with two to four blades. The two-blade knives feature a combination of sheepsfoot, spey, or drop point blades and are traditional.
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However, knives with three or four blades are more stylish. In addition, such knives provide you with different types of blades to easily perform several tasks. But a potential drawback of the multi-blade knives is that you will have to compromise on the durability or strength compared to the single blade knives.
3. Blade Length
The length of the pocket knife blade is another factor that cannot be overlooked when making a purchase. You can find a wide range of blade lengths, from a 2-inches blade to a 7.5-inches blade. While it may seem to be a matter of some inches only, the blade length or size can make a significant difference. Here are the most common blade length options you will find.
- Small Blades
The size of the small blades usually falls within 2.75 inches. One of the best benefits of pocket knives with small blades is that they are legal everywhere. You will not face legal consequences for keeping small blade pocket knives regardless of your country or traveling to. Moreover, such knives are usually lightweight and easy to carry. The small blade pocket knives are ideal for basic tasks such as opening boxes and cutting strings.
However, pocket knives with small blades also have some downsides. One of the disadvantages is that they are not versatile or strong as the large blades. In addition, owing to their small size, they may fail during extreme use.
- Medium Blades
The length of medium blades of the pocket knives varies from 2.75 inches to 4 inches. Most pocket knives available in the market have medium blades. One of the benefits of using pocket knives with medium blades is that they can perform several tasks. Moreover, they are mobile and easy to carry. In addition, the medium blade pocket knives have different locking mechanisms, allowing them for strenuous tasks.
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Whether you want to use your pocket knife for small tasks or heavy-duty, medium blades are the perfect option. The medium blade pocket knives do not have many drawbacks. However, one of the downsides is that several local laws impose a ban on the use of pocket knives that have blades longer than 2.75 inches. So, while buying such knives, make sure to consider the laws of the area you live in.
- Large Blades
The blades whose length is more than 4 inches fall under large blades. Large blade pocket knives are an ideal option for self-defense. Moreover, these knives can also be used for display purposes only.
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A potential downside of the large blade pocket knife is that it is quite heavy and may prove to be burdensome; owing to the length of the blade, the knife becomes bulky. Moreover, several local laws disapprove of the use of such knives.
4. Types Of Blades And Their Ideal Use
Knowing about the number and size of the blade is not enough. Having an idea about the blade type and its ideal usage is also important. Here are the prominent blade types of the pocket knives and their ideal use.
- Clip Point
The clip point is a common blade that most pocket knives have. However, the back edge of this blade has a concave shape to provide the blade with a sharper tip. This leads to creating a unique cutout that can be curved or straight.
The clip point blades are ideal for everyday use. While the finer tip allows you to use the pocket knife for piercing, the curved-up design facilitates better slicing.
- Needle Point
The needlepoint pocket knives are less common. A needlepoint blade is sharp yet symmetrical. These knives come with two sharp edges. While the thin point is ideal for piercing different objects, it can break quite easily. Therefore, the ideal use of needlepoint knives is for piercing and self-defense.
- Drop Point
When looking for an all-purpose blade, the drop point pocket knives can be a great option. The drop point blades are designed mainly for daily cutting tasks. However, these pocket knives also find a place in the survival kits due to their design. In addition, the drop point blades are ideal for piercing and skinning.
- Tanto Point
The tanto point, also known as chisel point, is a popular blade for its unique strength and look. It has a flat grind and a high point. However, it has no belly. The pocket knives with tanto point blades are suitable for piercing tough materials and push cuts.
- Spear Point
The spear point blades have equal rise and fall on both edges. These blades have a very sharp point that makes them ideal for piercing. The spear point blades can be either single or double-edged. While it is best for piercing, you can also use such knives for slicing.
- Trailing Point
The trailing point blades have an upward curve, making a deep belly. Therefore, it is an ideal option for slicing and skinning. The design of the pocket knives with trailing point blades are usually lightweight. However, they tend to have a very weak point.
The straight-back blade is known as a normal blade owing to the traditional shape. You will find a curved edge at the knife’s front. However, the back of the knife is straight. Whether you want to use the pocket knives with these blades for slicing or chopping, they can be used all-purpose.
It is a unique kind of blade and gets its name due to its resemblance with the curved shape of a hawk’s bill. The blade has a dull spine and a concave cutting-edge. The hawkbill pocket knives are ideal for stripping wires, opening boxes, and cutting cords.
Pen blades are tiny blades with sharp and dull sides. You can easily carry the pen blade pock knives everywhere you go. It is meant for small tasks only.
The spey-point blades usually have a straight back and a straight edge with upward curves. The multiple blade pocket knives have this type of blade. It is ideal for skinning furry animals.
If you feel clumsy keeping a pocket knife, then the sheepsfoot pocket knives can be the perfect option for you. Originally, these blades were designed for trimming the foot of a sheep. However, they can also be useful for slicing and cutting.
You will find the Wharncliffe blade quite similar to the sheepsfoot blade. However, there are some minor differences. One of the significant differences is that the back of the knife’s blade starts getting curved close to the handle and gradually forms a curve. The Wharncliffe pocket knives are suitable for carving wood. However, you can also use them for cutting.
5. Opening Mechanism
While buying a pocket knife, the opening mechanism is important to consider. There are three opening mechanisms of the pocket knives: manual, automatic, and assisted-opening.
- Manual Knives
Most pocket knives come with a manual opening mechanism. In addition, such knives come with a nail nick, a small indentation that enables you to open the knife using your nails. However, if you are looking for a pocket knife that you can use with one hand only, knives with thumb stud blades are the perfect option for you. These pocket knives allow you to open the knives easily by using your thumb.
- Automatic Knives
Automatic pocket knives are popularly known as switchblades. These knives have a lever or push button to enable you to open the blades easily. However, automatic pocket knives are considered dangerous by the lawmakers of many countries.
- Assisted-opening Knives
The use of assisted-opening knives is quite uncommon among people. To open the blade, you will have to apply the directed pressure. However, Assisted-opening knives are ideal for hunters and survivalists who require fast access to the blades.
A specific brand makes every pocket knife. By seeing the logo on the pocket knife, you will get to know the knife’s brand. Several brands hold a solid reputation for delivering high-quality pocket knives to customers. Make sure to get a pocket knife from the top brands to ensure longevity. Some of the top brands include Kershaw, Spyderco, CRKT, Benchmade, and SOG.
Price is one of the most vital factors on the list that you must consider while purchasing a pocket knife. You can easily find pocket knives at different prices. While some are very reasonable, others are quite expensive. Depending on your personal requirement and usage, you can decide how much you are willing to spend on the knife.
However, before considering the price, make sure to look at the knife’s features. If it is a durable pocket knife that will last for long years, spending some extra money is worth it.
Today, people look for customization options in every product. The same goes for the pocket knives also. It means how well you can tweak the pocket knives to suit your exact purpose for customization. Some pocket knives are designed in such a way that they enable you to swap out the blades easily.
The high-end pocket knives even allow you to rebuild them entirely. However, for this, you would require the help of a technician or a manufacturer. Some other pocket knives also come with movable pocket clips. Such a customization option allows you to carry the foldable knife in either of your pockets conveniently.
9. Traditional Knife Models
If you are purchasing a traditional pocket knife, you would have to consider the various models. Some of the most common models of the traditional pocket knives are:
- Congress Knife
The congress knife comes with a convex front. However, the back of the knife is either concave or straight. The blade combination of congress knives may vary a lot. One of the common combinations is sheepsfoot, copying, spear point, and pen blade.
- Elephant’s Toenail Knife
As the very name suggests, the knife resembles the shape of an elephant’s toenail. It consists of two wide blades. Most commonly, it includes a pen and spear blade.
- Barlow Knife
During the 20th century, the Barlow knives were quite popular among farmers. This knife model features a long bolster and two blades. The handle of these folding knives are made up of various materials and is slender and long.
- Stockman Knife
If you are looking for stellar blades for daily use, then the stockman knife is the best option for you. It is light and has blades like sheepsfoot, spey, and clip. Generally, the body of this knife is straight. However, at times, it can come in sowbelly or serpentine shape.
- Canoe Knife
These pocket knives have a resemblance to canoes. The canoe knives may consist of one pen blade and one spear point blade or two spear point blades.
Trapper is one of the larger pocket knives. This knife has a Spey blade and a clip blade at the same end. It finds wide use for skinning and trapping.
Types of Locking Mechanism
Not every people likes to carry folding pocket knives! But the people who do are either adventure freaks or are conscious of their safety aspects. Irrespective of your intentions with pocket knives, you need to prioritize the locking mechanisms. The style factor is one of the prime considerations, as the standard folding lock mechanism is no longer aesthetic.
A proficient locking mechanism is important to hold the blade properly while still in the pockets. So, here are the different locking mechanisms that you must count on while buying one amongst the best pocket knives:
1. Generic Locking Mechanism
Most of the locks you will find in the pocket knives available in the market are generic-style locking mechanisms. These designs are named so because they are free for anyone to use. The standard locking mechanism that has been talked about earlier in this section is this! Even though it is a common pick, it is still one of the most popular options preferable by the knife owners.
2. Friction Folding Lock Mechanism
This folding lock mechanism eventually fails the first one! The first option in the list had a folding gesture over the pocket knife but had no locks. Unfortunately, it means that the blade can slip open anytime in your pocket. And to correct that flaw, this friction folding lock mechanism is the evolution. This mechanism comes with a pivot, a point where the handle or blade rotates to either open or close.
The handle for such a lock mechanism is pretty simple. Instead of proper locking, these knives come with a tang or extension of the blade beyond the pivot upon the opposing end. This tang is fanned out and prevents the blade from spinning 360 degrees. The knives with locking mechanism demand the user to implement pressure or friction upon the tang to deploy the knife.
3. Slip Joint Locking Mechanism
Just like the friction holder mechanism, the slip joint knives do not have any technical locking mechanism in them. But they are somehow equipped with that mechanism for making the knives even more secure while they are in your pockets. The locking inclusion in slip joint knives engages two positions. First, it adds resistance to the knives by keeping the blades closed until a manual force is implemented.
A back spring installation makes it possible for this knife to hold the blade firmly at the operating position. The back spring is in the handle itself, demanding a little pressure to open or close the knife blade. This type of locking mechanism is quite popular in swiss army knives.
4. Liner Lock Mechanism
The liner lock mechanism is accountable as one of the first technical mechanisms commonly used in all carry knives. With the liner lock technology, the knives now have a side-spring device that resembles a lock bar. It is made of stainless steel, and some knives have it as a titanium part. The liner acts as a notch against the extension of the blade. It creates a barrier that prevents the blade from folding back into the closed state.
To close the knife, one must manually shift the liner lock using a thumb or any finger. These locks are pretty convenient and are now preferable for most knives to make them secure. The opening style is the same, as you need to push the liner notch to release the lock and deploy the blade.
5. Frame Lock Mechanism
The frame lock mechanism is the bigger version of the liner lock! They are destined to operate the same principle but more proficiently. It comes with a side spring, especially titanium or steel. This side spring shifts into some area beneath the blade when deployed. This side spring prevents the blade from closing until you manually move it aside.
The major difference that distinguishes it from that of the liner lock mechanism is its integration with that handle. The side spring is added onto the handle scales that replicate a liner with the frame lock mechanism. As a result, the frame locks are ideal for lasting longer than the liner mechanisms. Moreover, they are also stronger and more reliable. But, over time, they will lose their efficacy as well!
6. Back Lock Mechanism
The back lock mechanism is ideal for use over American-made pocket knives. Back locks are not as popular as the other mechanisms in this list. But the working principle is still the same! When you open up a knife, this locking mechanism consists of a moving spine within the handle scales. This spine slips into an area under the blade after fully deployed. This mechanism prevents the blade from folding back within the handle.
Back lock mechanisms are installed at the back-end of the knife handle, which makes it different from all of the other mechanisms in this list. In addition, the back lock mechanism comes with a cut out somewhere in the lower end of the handle, allowing users to press down the spine to deploy the knife.
But the only drawback is that the back locks are pretty sturdy to use than liner and frame lock mechanisms. But what’s important is that it is durable than all others on the list.
7. Button Lock Mechanism
The button lock mechanism is a modern-day locking mechanism that is most preferable in automatic knives. It requires little or no effort to open or close the knife, but it is a strong locking mechanism that doesn’t fall out in any situation. So you get two functions in the automatic carry knives with a button lock mechanism.
The first function is to prevent the blade from accidental deployment, and the second function is to replicate the button as a notch to keep the blade deployed without falling back to the handle case.
This lock is also applicable to some manual knives where the button is used to open the knives, and manual resistance is essential upon closing the blades. This resistance effort is essential to implement in manual knives to prevent accidental deployment of the blade while the knife is in its pocket.
Types of Pocket Knives
There are different pocket knives that you can opt for your adventure or safety concerns. As you are already aware of the locking mechanisms, you are now heading towards learning about the different variety of pocket knives available in the market for your purchase. The pocket knives are categorized in terms of their applications, and here are the few options for you to filter your needs:
1. Peasant Knife
Peasant pocket knives have existed in the market for a long time now. However, these were the first versions that came into existence in the 17th century. These knives were small and foldable, making them quite safe for easy carrying. The blades of these knives were made up of bronze and iron, while the handles were of wood or bone.
Unlike the modern knives, the blades of these peasant knives didn’t have any lock upon them. Therefore, the blades didn’t stay in a place without manual resistance. Instead, the blades were swiveling upon the pivot. To operate with the knife, one needs to hold the blade with the tang.
2. The Slip Joint Knife
Soon the knife makers realized that there was some form of danger to rely solely upon the friction potential for keeping the blades open upon pocket knives. Therefore, the experiments began with modifications upon the lock blade, which is in use! Soon, the pocket knives with the slip joint came into existence.
As per the experiments, the slip joint knives were locking the blade in its deployment place when open, using tension through the back spring. Such knives with a slip-joint lock mechanism allow you to open the blade by rotating it. Hence, the blade’s tang rotates against that of the back spring. And the pressure of the spring against that metal is responsible for keeping the knife open.
3. Barlow Knife
The Barlow knife was created in England and had a design that represents an oval handle. It has a clip point & pen blade that got an immense reputation for a long time. It comes with two small and one big knife for diverse applications. The blades house into the oval handle and use friction and a pivot joint to lock them in.
4. Camper Knife
Over time, many manufacturers took the Barlow knife’s design, and more tools were added onto the housing. Screwdriver, cork opener, and many other types of knives were added to this pocketknife style. And this was named as, camper knife! The boy scouts were mandatorily asked to hold this knife as their assistance tool! Soon, it became a favorite tool for the campers to enjoy their time outdoors.
With the newer variants of camper knives, there were can openers, screwdrivers, scissors, and other such tools. Therefore, the campers gave it a name as a multi-tool knife. The Swiss army knives are one of the best sellers that fall under camper knives.
5. Canoe Knife
Moving ahead, the evolution of the Barlow knife hasn’t stopped yet! The canoe knife also comes with an oval handle that houses the blades. But the difference in canoe knives is that blades are coming out from either side of the handle housing. It means that there are two pivots or locking points with these knives. The combination of blades is often a drop point knife with a pen blade.
6. Congress Knife
Congress knife is constructed with a classic slip-joint pocketknife that can house four blades at once. The combination of blades that is most preferable for a congress knife includes a spear point knife, coping knife, sheep foot knife, and pen blades. The blade got its name because all of the blades form a congress, which means they come at the middle of the knife housing every time you close it.
7. Peanut Knife
The peanut knife is called so because of its small size. This blade comes with two blades, a drop point blade and the clip point blade, on the same end. Both the blades are locked with the use of a pivot and friction. The handle houses the blades, and you need to put up manual force to deploy them.
8. Sodbuster Knife
If you are an adventure lover, you should have a pocket knife with a single blade. If you were looking for one, then a sodbuster knife is what you need on priority! This knife is affordable and is accountable to be treated as the best beater knife. This is the modern version of the peasant knives.
9. Tactical Folding Knife
Knives are now standard for the soldiers! A Tactical-folding knife comes with a big blade-folding knife and is not a pocket one. However, over time, the tactical knives were made smaller and easily foldable to be carried by adventure lovers, campers, and even women for their safety. This knife has a thumb stud that you need to press to deploy it within the blink of an eye. Hence, it is an ideal pick for tactical and do-or-die situations.
So, these are the eight most favorable pocket knives that you can buy from online or offline stores. Many other modern knives come with the latest locking mechanisms and added designs to make them look cooler and more useful. However, great for adventure wanderers and ideal for women’s safety, mostly use single-blade knives.
Key Features of Pocket Knives
The pocket knives come with a wide range of features. Here are some of the key features of pocket knives that you must know.
1. Blade Edge
When you are buying a pocket knife, the blade’s edge matters a lot. The folding pocket knives usually have three types of blade edges: plain, partially serrated, and fully serrated. You can select the ideal blade edge based on the kind of cutting you want to use the knife for.
- Plain Edge Pocket Knives
If you will use the pocket knife for push cuts, then this blade edge is the perfect option. However, these blades won’t work well if you want to use the pocket knife for tasks that involve sawing motion, such as cutting tough rope. The blade’s full length enables you to easily make controlled and clean cuts. These blades are also easy to sharpen.
- Partially Serrated Edge Pocket Knives
When you want the best of both worlds, then the partially serrated edge pocket knife is an ideal choice. Such pocket knives have a half serrated edge and half plain edge.
- Fully Serrated Edge Pocket Knives
The opposite of the plain edge pocket knives is fully serrated edge pocket knives. These knives are an excellent option for pull cuts. They also work well for ropes and woods. However, one of the drawbacks is that it may be difficult to sharpen.
2. Blade Material
The Material of the blade is an important feature of pocket knives. Several alloys are used in the making of the knife blade. However, the most common materials are carbon steel and stainless steel.
- Carbon Steel
Carbon steel blades are highly durable. However, if you plan to use the pocket knife in a corrosive environment, knives with carbon steel blades may not be the right option. It is because they are more susceptible to corrosion and staining. Moreover, it may be difficult for you to sharpen this knife. But the good news is that it will retain the edge for a longer period.
- Stainless Steel
The pocket knives with stainless steel blades consist of nearly 12 percent chromium or even more. This enhances the resistance of the pocket knives towards rust. So, if you want to use your pocket knife in a wet environment, this can be the best option. However, stainless steel blades are usually dull compared to carbon steel blades. But they are easier to sharpen. So, for survival knives, stainless steel is the best option.
Titanium is also a material used for making the blades of pocket knives. It is light in weight and durable. Moreover, it retains the edge for a longer period, thereby making it an ideal option for all-purpose knives. The titanium blades are also easy to sharpen.
3. Handle Material
You may sometimes use the pocket knife with an oily or sweaty hand. To ensure a strong and safe grip, the quality of the material of the handle matters. Each handle material comes with its unique benefits in terms of comfort and performance. However, it is completely upon you which handle Material you want to choose. Some of the common handle materials are:
Most of the latest pocket knives have aluminum handles. Aluminum pocket knife handles come with a protective film and is light in weight. Moreover, such handles can provide you with an excellent grip. If you want to use your pocket knife in harsh weather conditions, make sure to choose one with an aluminum handle. It will ensure that it lasts longer.
If you want a classy look at the pocket knife, try getting one with a wooden handle. Wood handles are available in several forms. Stabilized woods such as burl and buckeye are softwoods. These types of wood usually pass through a stabilization process to make them hard enough to serve as a knife handle. Other commonly used woods for the pocket knife handles are curly maple, rosewood, blackwood, snakewood, koa, elder, box, and more.
- Stainless Steel
You may know the blades of knives are made of stainless steel. However, some pocket knife handles are also made of stainless steel. Such handles are quite durable and offer resistance to corrosion. However, the stainless steel handle pocket knives may be a little heavier.
If you are looking for pocket knife handles that are resistant to corrosion and durable yet light in weight, titanium handle pocket knives are the ideal choice. The newer versions of the pocket knives usually have titanium handles. However, even though they come with high performance and strength, they are often considered impersonal and cold.
Celluloid is a kind of synthetic plastic that can easily morph into any kind of color. However, it usually resembles natural materials such as horn, ivory, pearl, agate, stag, wood, and even tortoise shells.
If you want a pocket knife with a tough handle, then the micarta pocket knives are the best choice. It may not be hard like G10, but it is well known for its toughness. Most commonly, it is available in tan or yellow color.
Zytel is a simply unbreakable material. It is thermoplastic and offers significant resistance to abrasion and impact. Zytel has recently become a popular handle material due to its durability and low cost. Moreover, using the Zytel material handles can give you a good grip. Zytel offers a nice look to the pocket knives. However, on frequent use, the chances of scratching are high.
Bone is another common pocket knife handle material. It is available in several varieties, including jigged bone, giraffe bone, smooth white bone, and scored bone.
Rubber is a commonly used material in several different types of products. This makes the rubber handles a popular option. It provides the users with a familiar texture and feels. In addition, the rubber handles offer a strong grip. However, it may not be durable in comparison to other synthetic materials.
G-10 is known to be one of the extremely durable materials. It is made of fiberglass. The fiberglass is first soaked in resin and then compressed before baking. As a result, this handle material is strong and lightweight at the same time. Moreover, it can function well in inclement weather conditions and is resistant to water. Therefore, G-10 is commonly used for making the handles of survival and tactical pocket knives.
The stag handles of pocket knives are made up of deer antlers that fall off naturally. The rough texture of this pocket knife handle can provide you with a stronger grip. However, a major drawback of pocket knives with stag handles is that they are very expensive.
- Mother of Pearl
Mother of pearl is one of the rarely used materials for making pocket knife handles. A composite material is made up of mollusks. You will usually find this Material in the pocket knives that fall under the premium category. It is known to last longer and has an appealing appearance.
Delrin is also a thermoplastic. The Material may provide you with a feeling of being dense, heavy plastic. However, in reality, it is quite smooth. It is softer than many of the other materials. For this reason, the chances of scuffs and scratches are less. Also, it is very durable.
Kraton has some similarities with Zytel. However, it is flexible and soft. As a result, it can provide you with a strong grip and ensure optimum safety while you hold the pocket knife. This helps in reducing the chances of injury.
Benefits of Pocket Knives
The days of counting the knives as a kitchen tool are outdated! As time advancement has changed the era, the knives are now being carried in pockets and are used for tactical advantages and safety measures. Today, if you are an outdoor enthusiast and are fond of adventure, you need a pocket knife on priority. All of the basic survival applications are taken care of by the pocket knives. Some of the available products in the market are not just knives but are pocket tools that come with bottle openers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, and different purpose knives.
So far, you have already gained exposure to the different types of pocket knives and their applications. Now is the time to help you make your decisions even clearer, with the practical benefits of carrying pocket knives with you on outdoor trips. The benefits are as follows:
1. Wild Survival Tool
When you are out on a hiking or camping trip, you should have a pocket knife. It is because carrying a big survival or tactical knife is not feasible while you are restricted with a small hiking bag. People count on taking machete with them in a different sheath tied next to their waist for camping or hiking ventures. But that is again uncomfortable for the weight that it adds upon you!
Hiking and camping trips demand you to be agile to cut through the tough terrains. But with so much weight on your waist, you will exhaust soon! So, a perfect pocket knife is ideal for carrying with you on these trips, as it would fit easily into your pockets. While you are on a wild adventure, there is nothing that a machete/tactical knife can do and a pocket knife can’t.
Moreover, you can also use the pocket knife to carve out messages or make signals over wooden blocks or trees to remember the site of your return. Apart from that, you can also leave a message for someone to read it and find you if you are lost!
Whether you want to cut vegetables, set up tent, clear bushes on your path, or handle fires, the pocket knives will do the job for you. For example, if you intend to make a fire at the campsite, you just have to create a spark by colliding the knife blade with that of the stone.
2. Preparing Food
The pocket knives of today come with sharp blades and are perfect for chopping vegetables if you miss out on your cutting utensils. So while you are out on an adventure trip and have missed out on packing your cutting utensils, forks, and other such essentials, then a pocket knife can come in handy for use!
A ready-to-go breakfast with bread, cheese, and other essentials is quite easy to prepare with pocket knives in your bag pack or travel pants. But yes, you do need to select the right kind of pocket knife, the blade of which is designed for handling vegetables, fruits, and other food items. Using the cheap blades over pocket knives would just ruin the knife’s longevity.
If you have some canned foods on your trip, and you lack the opener, a knife is here for the rescue! You can try opening a champagne cork or use it as a beer bottle opener, at ease. The only condition is to get a knife from a reputable brand that is popular for its quality products. All of the options above are best in terms of quality but might vary in other specifications. So, count on your optimal choice, and head out on your adventurous picnic.
3. Carrying Out DIY Projects
A pocket knife can be the perfect emergency tool if you have a DIY workshop where you would like to make things out of your creativity and necessity. Some of the top pocket knives with sharp blades can make the cleanest cuts, as per your need. You just need the hand of a craftsman to direct the knives to cut through the wooden pieces, and that is it!
Whether your kids need a school project or make something decorative for the house, a pocket knife saves your expenses upon buying the respective tools. You can achieve your desired cuts and shapes until the time you decide to experiment it upon something really, very thick. Pocket knives are ideal for moderate applications and cannot replace the heavy tools for cutting thick sheets of wood or other materials.
4. Emergency Seat Belt Cutter
God’s forbid if you ever meet with an accident and the seat belts are stuck around you, you need to cut them off and get out before anything worse happens. At that time, if you have a knife in the glove compartment of a car or your back pocket, you will have an easy escape! So, it is a useful safety tool to must-have in a car.
5. Self-Defense And Protection
It is one of the major concerns for which people are willing to have pocket knives with them on the go! Women count on keeping these knives with them at all times to repel away from the eve-teasers and defend themselves at critical times. But what’s important here is that women should keep these knives and take up courses to learn how to use them. Inappropriate use of these knives for self-defense or protection can hurt you as well. But even without training, you can use it for random defense or protection from muggers, wild animals, and other such instances.
6. First-Aid And Life-Saving Needs
If you are out on a ride and see someone met with an accident with grave injury, you need to respond immediately. A pocket knife is a perfect tool to treat anyone in times of emergency. You can use your pocket knife to rip off the clothes to help a person get free air to breathe or retrieve the objects from wounds upon sterilizing the blade.
These knives don’t demand you to shape them up before the applications, such as cutting gaze cloth to make a bandage or free someone tangled with ropes. But yes, if you are willing to do a minor operation upon the injured area, then you should count on either heating up the blade or sterilizing it with an alcohol substance for killing the bacteria and viruses that might infect the wound.
7. Portability & Longevity
The best part comes at the last! And portability is the USP of these pocket knives! The idea of carrying these knives with you anywhere and at any time is what makes it easy for you to deploy them for anything you need. Buying a knife that is too big to be carried out in public is a waste of money.
What is the use of a safety knife that cannot be with you at the time when you need it? Therefore, go for the smaller ones that are more efficient in doing almost all jobs. Moreover, carrying big knives might unintentionally scare other people around you. As that is not at all the purpose, make sure you take care of that aspect while picking up portable pocket knives.
Just like that, longevity is also a sign of pocket knives being highly durable at the moment! If you are going with a knife made out of stainless steel, you can just count on your knife to last for a lifetime. This is because stainless steel does not rust, even if you get it in contact with water or other chemical fluids. So the usability won’t be affected, and the look of the blades will stay intact.
8. Multi-Tool Pocket Knife Benefits
Some pocket knives come with multi-purpose tools such as screwdrivers, cork remover, nail filer, and other such tools. These tools will come in handy for cutting and many other applications. In addition, some specific designs are meant for giving you added benefits at the cost of a little price hike. But as it is still a pocket knife, you won’t have to pay a hefty price like a machete.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Legal To Carry A Pocket Knife With You?
You are legally permitted to carry a knife with you less than 6 inches and 1.9 inches wide. And all of the pocket knives would fall under this criteria without putting you at the risk of legal interrogations. To be on the safe side, you can keep the knife in your bag until you reach the destination. And then you can carry it in your pocket till your adventure trip ends.
Can I Carry A Pocket Knife For Self-Defence?
If the knife you are carrying is bigger than the permissible size, as per the Arms act, you might be legally questioned upon it. A pocket knife falls under the legal criteria, and you can carry it in your purse or pocket for the sake of self-defense and survival applications. However, if you try to threaten or use it for illegal acts, you will be penalized or punished accordingly.
If you are carrying a machete or a big tactical knife, it is completely illegal for you even to have it in your possession without any adequate license. So, count on taking the privileges of the laws without violating them. Choose the best pocket knife amongst the options above, and you will just be legally right upon your possession of a self-defense weapon.
How Big Of A Pocket Knife Can You Carry?
As per the rules stated by the legal authorities, you are permissible to carry just the pocket knives that are 6 inches long and 1.9 inches wide. However, anything beyond that will be considered illegal by the Police and other officials. Therefore, if you have any bigger knife than that, you should wish for the respective law authorities not to catch you with it during your transit to any place.
Having any kind of knife in a private space is not illegal until you use it for any such prohibited activities. So, keep this in mind while you are traveling with pocket knives in your bag or pockets!
At What Age Are You Allowed To Have A Pocket Knife?
There are no federal laws that specify any kind of age requirement for purchasing pocket knives. But knife laws again vary from state to state. The ordinary pocket knives that come at cheap rates are legal for all ages in all states. But the tactical and camping knives trending in the lot might be restricted as per age in some states.
It is better to check with the laws of your state for knives, which will help you decide whether you are eligible to buy a pocket knife. But to be on the safer side, it is better to buy a pocket knife only if you are above 18 years of age. In this way, you will have your choice of the knife without being concerned about what the federal laws have to say or impose!
What Is The Oldest Pocket Knife?
The Hallstatt knife is stated as the oldest folding knife! This artifact is from around 500 to 600BC and comes with a bone handle. And the look of this knife is quite similar to the present-day folding knives. So it does explain the urge and demand for folding knives since the ancient era.
As stated right at the beginning, the Benchmade 535 Bugout winner of this comparison! It is better because it is the perfect blend of quality and affordability. The other options might be better in blade strength, longevity, and other factors, but they are pricey!
Moreover, if you count on edge retention, blade quality, handle strength, longevity, and other factors stated above in the buying guide, then the 535 Bugout stands out in all of those factors. You don’t have to worry about changing it frequently over time, as it would join you in your versatile outdoor trips for a long time!
If you have a higher budget or a more precise use case, then sort your necessity as per the other options available within the list. And that will help you pick the best pocket knife for your respective needs!