Every Man Should Carry a Pocket Knife

by Brett & Kate McKay on April 1, 2008 · 303 comments

in Manly Skills


Photo by Zoltron

It used to be that a pocket knife was an essential item that a man carried with him. You had your wallet, your keys, and your trusty pocket knife.

The History of the Pocket Knife

1st Century Romans created the first folding pocket knife. They made for easy carrying for soldiers and other explorers on their journeys and conquests. However, as the use of sheathed knives became more popular, the use of pocket knives fell somewhat into disfavor.

By the late 16th Century, pocket knives began to regain popularity. They were especially popular in the American colonies. From farmers to lawyers, men from all walks of life started to carry them. The ultimate portable tool, the pocket knife was a useful aid in various tasks, including eating on the go.
Pocket knives have been an essential tool for soldiers throughout American history. New York and New Hampshire required their militias to carry pocket knives during the American Revolution. Even George Washington toted one around as he led his troops. The U.S. Navy began issuing pocket knives to sailors during the Civil War. During WWII, the pocket knife was standard issue for American GIs.

Men have been carrying pocket knives for centuries. But with increased security at the airport and other buildings, knives have been disappearing from men’s pockets. Yet these minor obstacles are not sufficient reason to give up carrying a knife completely. The carrying of a pocket knife is a man tradition that should be continued.

Why a Man Should Carry a Pocket Knife

How many times have you been in a situation where you’ve said to yourself, “Damn, a knife would be really handy now!” Here are a few instances when a pocket knife can come in handy or just make the simple things in life more enjoyable:

1. Opening a box.

2. Cutting rope, tags, and string.

3. Cutting an apple. I love eating an apple that I’ve cut with my pocket knife, slice by slice. You feel like a bad ass doing it. You hold the apple in your non-dominant hand and then make a slice with the knife using your dominant hand. After you make the slice, pinch it between your thumb and knife blade. Bring the blade to your mouth and deposit the apple slice.

4. Opening a letter. Sure, you could use your finger, but using a knife is just more manly.

5. Weapon. Not the most effective, but it’s better than nothing.

6. Camping. How else will you sharpen the point of a stick in preparation for stabbing your prey? And by prey I mean hot dog.

7. You never know when you’re going to have to MacGyver your way out of a crisis. Be prepared.

8. You need something to clench in your teeth when swinging from a rope.

What kind of pocket knife should you get?

Picking out a knife is a personal thing. It’s like picking out a wallet. It all comes down to personal taste. Men have a bond with their tools. Pick something that feels good in your hand, and that you’ll take pride in and want to carry around.

There are three common designs of pocket knives: the jack knife, the pen knife, and the multi-purpose knife. We’ll discuss the features and benefits of each one, in order to help you decide what kind of knife you should get.

Jack knife. A jack knife has a simple hinge at one end, and may have more than one blade. The jack knife is popular among hunters, fishermen, and campers.

Pen knife. A pen knife is hinged at both ends of the handle, and usually has two or three blades at each end. The pen knife was originally designed to cut or sharpen pen quills for writing. The pen knife is good if you want more than one type of blade. It’s also small and lightweight and won’t be noticeable in the pocket of dress clothes.

pen-knife.jpgMulti-purpose knife. These are probably the most popular pocketknives. The Swiss Army knife and the Handyman are probably the most well known of the multi-purpose knives. Boy Scout knives are also multi-purpose knives. In addition to the knife blade, multi-purpose knives have can openers, scissors, leather punchers, tweezers, or even screwdrivers. These can come in handy on camping trips. However, if all you’re looking for is a sharp blade, the extra features will probably annoy you.

There are variations of these knife designs that you should take into account as well. Here are few to think about:Lock blade knife. The name of the blade explains it all. When you open the blade fully on this type of knife, the blade locks in place. Closing the blade requires you to release the blade by pressing down on a lever located near the back of the knife handle to disengage the hook from the notch that keeps the blade in place. A lock blade is useful for more heavy duty use. A good example of a lock blade knife is the Buck knife.Slipjoint knife. On a slip joint knife, the blade doesn’t lock, but is held in place by a spring device that allows the blade to fold only if a certain amount of pressure is applied. Most pen knives or multi-purpose knives use the slipjoint blade. Because the blade is less stable, it should only be used for light jobs.

Friction folder knife. This is another method of a non-locking blade. Friction folder knives use friction between the blade and the scales to hold the blade in place once opened.

One handed opening. Newer knives have a feature that allows for one handed opening. On the top of the blade, there is a hole that enables you to place the pad of your thumb in. Just press up and BAM, you got an open knife. This feature makes using a pocket knife much easier, especially when you have your hands full.

Where to Get a Pocket Knife

The best pocket knifes to have are the ones with a sense of history. I carry around a pocket knife that my father gave to me. It’s still in really good shape, and with regular sharpening cuts like new. It’s something tangible that reminds me of my father. One day I hope to pass it down to my son. So ask your dad if he has an old pocket knife that he can give to you. I’m sure he’ll be happy to pass it along.

If you can’t get a hand on an old pocket knife, or the one your dad or grandpa gave you is no longer usable, pick yourself up a new one. You can find pocket knives at any outdoor store. Better yet, find a knife store in town so you have a wider selection to choose from.

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{ 301 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Kevin Reichenbach April 2, 2009 at 3:54 am

I’ve carried a pocket knife since starting cub scouts in the 60′s. Right now I carry a balisong tanto folding which clips onto your pocket and is rarely noticed. For my work as a paramedic, I find that leatherman is the best thing since the invention of sliced bread. Now, if you want to really impress people, remember knife protocol. When handing someone a knife, always hand it to them with you holding the blade edge away from your palm, giving them the handle. You don’t release the knife till they say “thank you”. That way you know they have control of the knife.

102 Keith Dorset May 28, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Every man should carry a pocketknife. My first pocket knife was a little promotional slipjoint when I was about 8. Of course, I promptly cut myself. I learned the lesson to use a tool for it’s intended purpose and a knife is not a drill. Like all the others here, I feel naked without a pocketknife. I use mine 20 times a day in my work. I prefer a traditional knife to a multitool. I keep a Leatherman in my briefcase and there have been many times I have done whole service calls using it instead of pulling out a tool case. I have had more expensive knives, but find that the cheaper ones, kept sharp, are just as useful and tend to stick around like an ugly dog. By the way, all us guys, including the pastor, compare our pocket knives at church. My son carries one daily. He’s an adult now, but got thrown out of high school and charged for weapon possession for having one in his pocket. Be mindful.

103 Lisa June 8, 2009 at 12:56 am

I’ve been looking for opinions and advice. My son is 14 and got his first pocket knife in Scouts, like many boys do. We found that he primarily used it to carve sticks when we were camping, and also at home near our fire pit and the boyscout blade broke, which struck me as dangerous, so we got a different , single-blade style that I supose could best be described as a small hunting knife. He got two – one with a smooth blade and one with a serated blade for sawing through small twigs. Both are under 3″ in size.

Anyway, he’s not allowed to have either in his pocket most of the time – certainly not for school, for example. He’s been allowed to have it at home when there are not younger children around, and when we’re camping or fishing or when he’s at his Dad’s cabin in the woods.

One day last week he had it in his hands, closed and locked it and rode off to the local park. We live in a small river town in Illinois. Some other kids who do not like my son told someone that he had a knife in the park, and he got in trouble with the police.

Since this happened a few people have become furious with me for letting my son have this knife, including the police. All talk about it as a “weapon” and my son and I have always viewed it as a “tool”. The police have been almost crazy about it. I explained a hundred times that he got his first one in scouts, uses it to whittle sticks and does not view it as a weapon, and have conceded he should not have had it in the park. He didn’t threaten anyone with it or anything – this craziness is all because he has it.

Even my parents got on my case for my decision in letting him have it (they don’t remember that my brother had one much younger…and they bought it!)

I am interested in opinions on when a boy is old enough to have a pocket knife and also, why are they so commonly used and sold if, per the police, they are illegal in nearly every state for men of any age to carry (considered a concealed weapon)?

Until this happened I carried a small Swiss Army knife on my key chain – it’s pink…never thought it was a criminal act! I just find it handy for everything from getting dirt out from my fingernails, to opening a package or envelope to yes, cutting an apple…never even thought of it as a potential weapon.

Does anyone feel as I do, that boys can no longer just grow up and be trusted not to be violent morons? My son is not allowed to have airsoft guns, bb guns, rifles or even toy guns that look real at all because I do see they are more dangerous (particularly if someone thinks they are real and shoots in perceived self-defense). But I do let him light camp fires and things like that with my supervision – to me, he needs to learn these responsibilities. I think this living by fear is getting out of control! My son’s preschool buddie was suspended several years ago for having a neon orange water pistol in his backpack – a “concealed weapon” – he was 5. Is this a bit silly or what?

104 1234 June 8, 2009 at 5:20 am

“8. You need something to clench in your teeth when swinging from a rope.”

Haha.. I found that pretty funny.

I carry a Camillus electrician knife, and a generic chinese made swiss style knife, which I pretty much consider expendable.

105 Rahul June 11, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Excellent article. I carry a Buck 110 – I just totally love this knife.

106 rj June 13, 2009 at 6:43 pm

I have a uncle henry pocket knife (the picture of the third knife) and I almost lost it. Luckley I found it in the trash.

107 jacob June 16, 2009 at 7:51 pm

y’all – case knives are the way to go. they make pretty much every type of knife mentioned in this article, have a great history, are made in the US, and feature beautiful and supple materials. they have pioneered a knife whose blades can be switched with one another. thus, you get a lock-back blade with the versatility of a multipurpose knife, hand-crafted with utmost care and only for $110! i mean, seriously, i made half that much daily working as a teenager! here’s the URL to a pic of the knife: http://www.casexx.com/DisplayDetailPage.asp?ProductCode=70050
P.S. no, i don’t work for them either.

108 RG July 10, 2009 at 3:16 am

I carry a case brothers jr scout. thanks for this article!

109 pocket knives July 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

i love pocket knives

110 Derek July 19, 2009 at 9:54 pm

About 16 years ago I purchased a Camillius knife. One of their Yellow Jacket collections called a muskrat. It has two thin blades one on each end of the knife. I used it for work and love it. Unfortunately Camillius is no more (The name was sold to a company in Spain I think) so now I have to find another knife to carry. I wanted a smaller knife (less than 3″) because of the hyper-sensitive security everywhere. I have been looking for the right knife and Zippo lighter for the past month. I am new to the site and haven’t gotten through all of it yet, but if there isn’t an article on Lighters yet that might be a good topic.

111 David Eichler July 24, 2009 at 1:14 am

I love my Xikar 138 and 158 pocket knives. These knives are no-longer made, but some places still have some in stock, as well as eBay. These are amazing well-thought-out, balanced and beautiful knives.

112 Kelly August 6, 2009 at 3:09 am

I used to always carry a pocket knife as a kid. I would even take it to school. The worst that would ever happen was the teacher would confiscate it until the end of the school year. I had several knives confiscated throughout my educational career but was never sent to the Principal’s office. I’m 43 now and times have sure changed. As an adult I got out of the habit of carrying a knife until last year. Two things prompted me to get back in the habit, I started a career as a middle school/high scool shop teacher and noticed all of my fellow shop carried pocket knives. I also read this excellent blog. I love the reaction I get from my students when I pull out my knife in woodshop! I also love the reaction of my 18 month od son and 4 year old daughter when I get out my pocket knife. One time at school the principles were trying to un jam some coins in the vending machine. I got brave and pulled out my pocket knife and fixed it for them. They never said a thing about having a knife at school. Of course I teach at a small rural school in N.E. Oklahoma so that probably makes a difference. Last Christmas I proudly opened my kids presents with my now ever present pocket knife!

113 Marcus Sjöberg August 18, 2009 at 6:58 pm

I daily carry a Leatherman Wave. Got it 8 years ago, only had to clean and lube it once.

As I live in Sweden knives are not allowed to be carried on public places.
Unless you can claim reasonable use, such as a carpenter needing it for work or a scout going on a scout trip.

I can kindoff get away with it since I’m an It tech and can claim I need it for work.

I also dailycarry a smaller gerber knife with a 1.5 inch blade on my keychain.

114 WDG August 26, 2009 at 2:55 pm

I find that some of the best knives are the most simplistic.
I carry a Laguiole Knife I received as a gift for my 18th birthday or an Opinel knife.
Opinels are some of the best deals in knife buying. They are very inexpensive (between 9-15 dollars) look beautiful and last forever.

115 Sam September 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Just asked my dad if he had any pocket knives I could have and I scored a 35+ year-old one that my grandfather owned! Just needs a little steel wool and oil and it’ll be good as new.

116 Elliot Ness September 5, 2009 at 11:40 pm

I love pocket knives. I actually bought my first one at an antique shop. Later when I looked at it closely I found that it was a Viatnam war knife issue. The blade was too lose to really use it though. Still a great thing to have around.

My favorite knives that I use are a flip-out Winchester clip one blade half serrated knife. But one I also like it a Leatherman Wave. Knife, saw, file, rasp, serrated knife, two screw drivers, can/bottle opener, scissors, pliers, and 8 inch ruler. THAT’S what I call a knife!

117 Bruno O September 6, 2009 at 10:02 pm

i like my opinel its a good simple pocket knife and thats i want and need.
i might get a douk douk .
i am new here but why is everyone john l sullivan.
by the way hes a hero of mine i just didnt think too many knew of him

118 Dave September 7, 2009 at 12:33 am

Funny – I got my first pocket knife, an official Cub Scout knife, for Christmas, when I was eight years old. I have carried a pocket knife every day since, yes even in elementary and high school. The funny part is that nobody gave a second thought to the fact that I had a I probably even used it to cut tapes, rope, whatever, for the teachers. What’s more, many of my friends also carried pocket knives, and nobody found it strange that a normal boy would have a pocket knife. But that was many years ago. Nowadays, many people seem a little surprised to see that I’m carrying it, but they’re always grateful for it, as I’m opening packages, cutting twine, etc.

My how times have changed.

119 Gerald Smith September 7, 2009 at 2:38 am

I’m entirely impressed by this article, I’ve carried a pocketknife since I was a kid and have found numerous uses for it on a daily basis. I’ve owned many Case knives of different sizes and makes as well as CRKT and Buck knives and I can say hands down that every Case that I’ve ever owned has always been an absolutely amazing tool.
Kudos Brett and Kate, keep the good articles coming!

120 Rob September 7, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I’ve been carrying a small knife on me for years, but this post inspired me to get a more traditionally styled knife. That was a few months ago, and now I’m currently awaiting the delivery of my 4th Case pocket knife. Just wanted to say a quick thank you for introducing me to my new hobby of knife collecting.

121 Scott September 9, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Don’t forget about the marlinspike! I make my living on the water and its great not only for the cutting ebge but for splicing lines and untieing tight knots…

122 Gary September 10, 2009 at 4:36 am

I carry what is called a “doctor’s knife”…very elegant looking, and has never caused an issue when pulled out an used.

I think part of the problem with people’s attitudes is the same issue as guns. If they look military/tactial, then there’s the “oh that’s dangerous” ….but if it looks like something their dad/grandad carried or less threatening like a swiss.multi tool….then that’s okay.

123 Air Support September 11, 2009 at 7:49 pm

The Kershaw Chive is a great knife i got mine from here.
Its small and sharp and has one hand opening function i love mine.

124 Drew Carrington September 15, 2009 at 7:11 pm

This article is excellent!

I always carry a knife on me, and I have since I was about 10 in Boy Scouts. Truly, if I don’t have it on me, I feel naked. And it is nice to have it on hand when you really need to use it!

For example, I was the best man at my friend’s wedding. When the happy couple went to light the Unity candle, that they light together, they couldn’t get it to light be cause the wick was too short. My friend turned around and looked at me in panic! His new bride was getting upset, and I could tell this was going to end in tears if someone didn’t do something.
So I moved forwards, and removed my knife from the back of my tuxedo trousers. I then proceeded to cut a deep crater around the wick, allowing enough room for them to light it. I then stepped back, and motioned for them to continue. The candle was lit, and they went on to have a lovely ceremony.

And at the reception, so many people thought it was marvelous that I came prepared. My friend, and now newly-wed, even commented “This is exactly the reason I picked you to be my best man. You were prepared to save my ass!”

it felt really good. I was hoping to attach that story to the knife, but sadly, i misplaced it at work one day, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. But I have a new one! So I am prepared once more.

125 dannyb September 16, 2009 at 10:16 pm

my grandpa is 75, and i bet he has carried a pocket knife on him for the last 65 years. it’s always at the ready.

126 ChrisS September 18, 2009 at 10:37 am

Just so everyones aware Magnum Boker is not a true Boker. Boker’s are very nice but Magnum Boker is a subsidiary made in Asia.

Gerbers are very nice, Smith and Wesson you have to be careful (their tactical stuff is nice, and the magnesium handled are light), Kershaw are nice. I’ve never actually had a Remington, Spyderco, Winchester, Buck, Leatherman or SOG.

The leathermans i’ve used have been of really good quality.

127 ShutterCat September 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I carried my Leatherman Wave on my belt every day in Montana Conservation Corps. It was useful, not just for me, but for the whole crew. 90% of the use is on the pliers, file, wood saw (huge improvement over the old style), and screwdriver. Everyone carries a pocketknife, so my big blade is seldom used, and stays sharp. I’ve heard great things about the SOG multitools from SCUBA divers, but I think they’re overkill for my terrestrial adventures.

128 Bob September 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Here in the UK, you can only carry a folding knife with a blade less than 3 inches.
And even that becomes illegal if you use it in a threatening manner.
See attached website.

129 Bob September 19, 2009 at 4:32 pm
130 Brad September 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm

My first pocket knife was a Swiss Army knife that I received as a gift when I was in the Boy Scouts. I used to carry that knife everywhere. When I was in high school, one of my teachers told us that we should always carry a pocket knife because you’d never know when you would need it.
For a number of years I stopped carrying one, but then started a few years back when I received a small pocket knife that hangs on your keychain. I had forgotten how handy the things were to always have around. Inevitably there’s always something you need to cut, and having a pocket knife on me has been a god send.
But that all stopped when I went to a high school football game. I life in a good town, and going to a high school with little to no violence, I was startled when I had to walk through a metal detector at the gate. I was not allowed to come in because I had my pocket knife on me. This tiny little knife with a blade less than two inches long was apparently such a dangerous weapon that I was not allowed to carry it in to the game with me. After walking all the way back to my car and then walking all the way back to the stadium, I decided that it just wasn’t worth the hassle. Sure, I could keep it in my pocket and then just leave it in the car if I went anywhere, but I know I’d forget.
I just think it is so sad that a tool, a necessity like a pocket knife, is being banned because it’s considered a weapon. I could do more harm to someone with a pencil than with my dinky pocket knife. You’d figure that common sense has to come in to play sometime.

131 Martin September 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I carry a simple Smith & Wesson blade that has a straight edge, a serrated edge, and a solid bulk at the end for bashing out a window. Inexpensive, highly useful, and of course manly.

132 Mack September 27, 2009 at 9:34 am

I have always carried a pocketknife, usually a small one. Several years ago I happened to notice a nice, made-in-the-USA Gerber pocketknife with part of the blade serrated. I paid $20 and immediately suffered buyer’s remorse: I have several knives; why would I buy another one? But a few weeks later Hurricane Rita left my part of the world wrecked and without electricity for almost six weeks. That sturdy Gerber served me well!

I said Hurricane Rita, not Katrina; this is Texas, not New Orleans, and here we get off our butts and DO something

133 David September 29, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I always carry a pocket knife. I typically have one in my pocket (usually a kershaw or a case knife) and also carry a multi-tool and a swiss army knife in my briefcase.

I recently used my kershaw to “rescue” a lady in distress, although I hesitated briefly before doing so, not being sure how she would react to me carrying a knife in my pocket at work. “Rescue” may be a bit strong — my boss was having trouble opening a packet of coffee at the coffee bar. I offered to help, took the packet of coffee, and said (in hopes to belay her fears of me carrying a “weapon”), “Here, let me get that with my trusty Boy Scout pocket knife”. I took out the kershaw, zipped open the coffee packet, upon which she remarked, “Wow, that thing is SHARP!”. I slipped the knife back in my pocket, and handed the cleanly-sliced coffee bag back to her with a smile.

Always carry a knife!


134 will October 21, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I’ve always preferred knives to guns for protection.I feel more in control with a knife than a gun.Plus you can do more things with a knife than a gun.

135 Clark November 1, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I carry my grandfather’s pen knife with me every day. It’s a great knife and it feels like I have a bit of my family history with me wherever I go – my grandfather is my primary role model when it comes to manliness. He passed away in 2004, but is very much alive in my memory.

136 Chris November 10, 2009 at 3:26 am

Wonderful readings, all of you. Brings me back to yesteryear. Been Knife crazy since a young lad growing up at Grandma’s house (Grandpa past on when I was very young).. First knife was Grandpa’s Winchester (lost it somewhere) and after that one Grandma gave me several that she had (haven’t lost those yet). Ofcourse now I’m into the expensive stuff, Microtech, Benchmade, Tighe, special Tacticals (I’m ex SF, 1973 SOG). Carry several on my person every day. I like to believe that a Knife is first a tool then a weapon. It’s too bad the way things are now days, but I will never give up my collecting and carrying of Knives. I’ll sign off now and to all you Knife Lovers out there, keep on cuttin’ (away from yourself ofcourse) and God Bless, Sincerly “Double Edge”.

137 john armstrong November 28, 2009 at 8:36 pm

When I was six or seven in about 1953 my grandfather and I were shucking corn part way up the hill by the garden when he discovered that he’d lost his small bone handled Case pocket knife. I recall crawling around with him in the grass till we found it. Since them I’ve always had a pocket knife. During elementary and high school we were told carrying a knife was forbidden, but I found that if it was kept in your pocket it was OK. It’s now 2009 and I still carry a small knife in my left front pocket. It’s a tool, but it’s also a pocket piece like a big coin or whatever. I now have a Bear and son, 3 inch with one locking blade. Over the years I’ve had all manner of less expensive knives which were all oiled, kept somewhat sharp and useful.

138 Big Dan December 1, 2009 at 6:54 pm

I’ve been carrying various knives since I was 17 or so. A friend of mine had a very nice Buck and I was always needing to borrow it for various tasks. Eventually he got tired of it and suggested that I buy my own knife. I bought a small Buck knife and I was instantly hooked. I’ve gone through several knives at various price points, including the Chive, a large Spyderco I got at a going-out-of-business sale, and my current favorite, the Benchmade Mini-Griptillian. Good article, keep it up!

139 Toysoldier159 December 23, 2009 at 10:09 am

I got my first knife when I was four years old. I was visiting my grandparents house and my grandfather, Pop, reached into his pocket and handed me a nickel. I wasn’t sure what it was for, but hey, when someone gives you money you take it, right? I put it in my pocket and we continued puttering around his work bench for a few minutes. He reached into his pocket and came out with a brand new Barlow two-blade pocket knife. It was bone handled and it was beautiful. He asked me if I’d like to buy this knife off of him since it is bad luck to give someone a knife (it severs the relationship, or so the old wives tale goes). I reached into my pocket and pulled out my nickel and he sold me my first knife. That was 44 years ago and I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I have carried a knife (or two or three) every day since then. The only time I don’t have a knife and my Leatherman Wave on my person is when I put them in my checked baggage at the airport. I always stop and pull them out as soon as I get my bag. You always will find a use for a pocket knife so always carry one.

140 Jonathan December 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I’m 18 and I’ve carried a Leatherman Wave constantly for a year or two now. It is the most useful thing I carry, and probably most useful thing I’ve bought. Still made in the USA, as far as I know, and only cost me $75.

141 Steve December 23, 2009 at 2:26 pm

In 1981, my parents gave me a Boy Scout knife on my birthday, and I don’t leave home without it. The blade, bottle opener (with screwdriver tip), and awl get used all the time. With the advent of pull-ring cans, the can opener doesn’t get used as often.

I used to wonder “how do people function without a pocketknife?” I realized they were able to do so because men like me DO have pocketknives to help them out. And after I do help them cut or fix something, about half the time they then ask “Why do you carry a knife?”

142 Staples December 30, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I received a Victorinox Swiss Soldier knife for Christmas. It has a locking blade with one-handed opening and partially serrated edge–the sharpest blade I’ve ever felt! The handle has a rubberized grip which feels really good in the hand.


Although it was a great knife, I realized it would be too large for practical everyday use at work and college, so I exchanged it today for a Victorinox tinker–a classic Swiss army knife with two smaller blades. It already feels at home in my pocket!

143 Brian January 27, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Great website & article… I am a big fan of carrying a knife, and I especially like Spyderco and Benchmade. From either company, you can get a very well made knife for $50-$75, that will last a long time and is made with good blade steel (this is the biggest advantage to spending a little more!). The Spyderco Delica & Endura, and the Benchmade Griptilians fit this category. This is about the same price as a good multi-tool, but I find I use just a blade more often. I like the kind of knife that is one blade, fairly slim, and sits in your pocket while clipped on to the edge for easy access. I was able to meet the people at Spyderco at their factory in Colorado recently–they are wonderful people who are very supportive of those in the save & serve professions–a small American company who listens to their customers…pretty cool…

144 Brian January 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Forgot to mention the different States’ knife laws–it’s a confusing mess, but you can find some information online…
are a few links that I found by doing a quick google search, if you are concerned about this. Frankly, I just use good sense and safety, and don’t pay any attention to this mess. When government starts telling you whether you can carry a tool in your pocket or not (technically it could be used as a weapon, yes, but so could a pencil) I believe some non-violent civil disobedience is appropriate.

145 Self Defense Knives January 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I either carry a kershaw Leek 1660 or kershaw blur. both are great knives and has served me well. just bought a Frost Mora 740 for bushcrafting. Life is much easier with a Knife :)

146 Derek D. February 26, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Anyone know what kind of knife is shown in the photo toward the bottom of this page with the Panerai Luminor?


147 Ibrahim | TwentiesLife.com March 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I rock a Kershaw Onion knife. It’s simple, has an assist open, and is pretty sturdy.

148 Jonathan Ganz March 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t find a need for my knife


and it never hurts to carry a fixed blade as a back-up


149 Randall March 12, 2010 at 2:09 pm

My dad always told me that a gentleman must always have “a pocketknife, a handkerchef, and a dollar in change.”

150 Cleveland Noel March 12, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Spyderco Kiwi. Love that little knife!

151 Octane March 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Not a day goes by that I don’t have my pocketknife within arm’s reach. However, people unfortunately get a little nervous around larger knives, so I have to skip the sheath knife and kukri when on the job. I feel naked without them. :<

152 Random Knife Guy March 14, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I probably carry a more expensive knife than most, not because I care about bragging but because I really enjoy high quality knives that much. But there are plenty of fantastic knife companies at different price ranges. All of them make good to outstanding products. At the very least, they’re effective. Companies I trust in varying prices ranges:

$5-$30: Opinel, Douk Douk, Victorinox, Wegner, Gerber, Kershaw, Spyderco
$31-$80: Kershaw, Spyderco, Benchmade, Cold Steel, Leatherman
$80-$175: Spyderco, Benchmade, Kershaw, Zero Tolerance, Leatherman, Cold Steel, Boker, Falkniven, ESEE, Scrap Yard
$175-$300: Zero Tolerance, William Henry, Spyderco, Kershaw, Benchmade, Swamp Rat, Busse
$300-600+: Strider, Busse, Chris Reeve, William Henry, Customs (I carry a Hinderer XM-18)

I’m sure I’m forgetting some great names. Two fantastic places to learn about high quality knives:

153 Spring Assisted Knives March 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I love my pocket knife. kershaw leek 1660! speedsafe assisted opening. feels real comfortable in your palm, and its very sharp. its my favorite everyday carry knife

154 George March 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I’ve been carrying pocket knives for at least thirty years. I started with a small Gerber single blade lock back but soon switched to as a Victorinox Soldier. I use my knife every day.

155 Tom Servo March 28, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Thanks for a great article. All the comments have been very helpful, and after doing a bunch of research and weighing all the opinions here, I am the proud owner of a new Benchmade Mini-Barrage. A tad pricey for an every day knife, but quality was important to me, and I appreciate the fact that it’s made in the USA (I’m Canadian, but USA imports are much preferable to overseas imports given an equal choice). It’s got a nice weight to it and I really like the AXIS locking system (never did like liner locks… something about partially closing the blade while my finger is under it). I think I’m going to have to go back and exchange it though, as I got the straight blade version, and I just found out it comes in a half-serrated version, which would make it more useful as an every-day knife.

156 Bryan April 11, 2010 at 3:04 am

I used to carry a small folder handed down by my grandfather. It worked ok. Now I carry my Leatherman Wave… the quality of the steel is quite nice, and everything locks. Does a lot more than cut things and the tools are actually useful. I had a Swiss army knife for awhile but the tools seemed more for decoration than to be actually used.

157 todd brown April 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I have carried a Case mini copperlock for the past eight or nine years. before that I had a Case two blade jackknife. I got it when I was eight years old and carried it every day for about twelve years. I bought a Benchmade when I was in the Marine Corps and carried it for about two days before I gave it to a buddy. It was nice , I just prefer an actual pocket knife to a tactical folder. I would highly reccomend a CASE to anyone looking for a pocket knife.

158 Ray April 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

I made a new year’s resolution; I think when I was 7 to always cary a knife. I had a few confiscated at school but quickly either stole them back or replaced them and have never broken the resolution. I just seem to be the kind of person that always needs a knife for something. Currently I have an opinal no.8, a kershaw 1000, a buck BLW and a nieto riverwood. The last one is legal to carry in public but also the most dangerous to the user with a very strong spring to make it snap open and closed. I carry the others when working.

159 noah kubler May 4, 2010 at 12:02 am

yeah, i remember when i was 7 i think i went to the phantom of the opera with my grandparents and my grandmother was bawling until my grandfather puled out a hanky i thought that that was so manly ever since then i have carried one on me. another time it was just me and him fishin in the sierra nevadas i knew he always carried an ancient stelleto switchblade not some crappy chinese thing the real italian knife that sprang open in a flash 11 inches of speedy steel so some guys i guese hobos came over and asked us for money and my gandpa said we didnt have any so they got closer an i saw one had brass knuckles and another had a baseball bat they cept getting closer and closer until i saw a flash and my grandpa had his 11 inch switch out i was so scared they finaly backed off ever since then i carry around his 11 inch switch he passed away 1 year ago so it is really important to me now i never go anywhere without a hanky and his switch

160 Ezra Moore May 22, 2010 at 2:37 am

I have two knives that I carry a lot. The Kershaw Tanto Blur assisted opening. This is one rugged knife. Great for every day things. If im going out on the town though and need something a little more discreet there is nothing better than the A. G. Russell ‘One Hand Knife’ it is a very thin solid steel body with a 3″+ blade. It is the most blade you can get in such a small package. The steel is very high quality. I can’t wait to pass it down to my children or grandchildren.

161 Jason Barker June 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I always!! have a Swiss army knife with me.Consequently when someone needs one I am the one they look for.This to me is the single best Father Son gift a father can give.My father gave me mine at age seven,and to this day it is still my favorite present.Last year I gave my seven year old son his.A great tradition I hope he continues.

162 Tim June 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm

By no means am I a collector of knives, but I do have about a dozen. When people ask me why I have so many, I ask them “Have you ever tried to use a rip saw to do a cross cut? They are both saws, but have their own distinctive purpose and uses.” Knives are like any tool – some knives perform a job better than others. I carry a stockman as my daily knife. I find each of the 3 blades has its own usefulness for the occasional daily tasks like opening mail, opening boxes, cutting twine, etc. But if I know I’m going to be using the knife a lot like helping somebody unpack, I will take my Kershaw assisted opening knife. The quick release of the blade allows for easy access for the numerous times I need to use it to open a package. If I’m going to be working around the house a Leatherman or Gerber multi-tool is my knife of choice, and I always have one in both of my cars and at the house – just in case. For hunting, I need a different knife that will help me field dress and skin the game. I also have a more formal stockman with a mother of pearl handle that I carry when wearing a suit/tux. Some people think my formal knife is just over kill, but I ask if they would wear a Casio sports watch with a suit? Women accessorize with purses, and men can accessorize with knives.

As for age, I received my first knife when I was 5 years old, and I gave my daughter one when she was 9. My sons are 2 and 1, so I will give them one as well when they are ready. The age that is appropriate is dependent on the child and their maturity level. This is a personal call that only a parent can make. Though, there is nothing like handing a boy a knife to give him the confidence to be a man.

As for legality, I suppose there is definitely a regional divide. I was born and raised in GA, and carrying a pocket knife is common place. Even going to the court house, I drop my knife at the security desk, and the security guard promptly returns it to me upon exiting – usually commenting on the craftsmanship. I even work on a military base as a civilian. Carrying a knife is common place here amongst the men (especially the locals), and never have an issue. But this is also dependent on the style of the knife. If I was carrying a K-Bar or some other tactical knife that’s a different story. A common pocket knife will never get questioned. Again, it could be a regional thing. Here, the cops openly recommend that citizens get a concealed carry permit, and offer free gun courses for the ladies. And I don’t live in a rural area – it is just the mentality of the region. We understand the need for knives (and guns) as tools. Though, we do have restrictions of knives at schools. Though, I consider this a result of the failure of parents to teach their children how to be proper gentlemen and ladies. I strongly believe no such ban would exist if boys were taught the lessons echoed here at AoM.

As for age, I received my first knife when I was 5 years old, and I gave my daughter one when she was 9. My sons are 2 and 1, so I will give them one as well when they are ready. The age that is appropriate is dependent on the child and their maturity level. This is a personal call that only a parent can make. Though, there is nothing like handing a boy a knife to give him the confidence to be a man.

As for legality, I suppose there is definitely a regional divide. I was born and raised in GA, and carrying a pocket knife is common place. Even going to the court house, I drop my knife at the security desk, and the security guard promptly returns it to me upon exiting – usually commenting on the craftsmanship. I even work on a military base. Carrying a knife is common place amongst the men (especially the locals), and never have an issue. But this is also dependent on the style of the knife. If I was carrying a K-Bar or some other tactical knife that’s a different story. A common pocket knife will never get questioned. Again, it could be a regional thing. Here, the cops openly recommend that citizens get a concealed carry permit, and offer free gun courses for the ladies. And I don’t live in a rural area – it is just the mentality of the region. We understand the need for knives as tools. Though, we do have restrictions of knives at schools. Though, I consider this a result of the failure of parents to teach their children how to be proper gentlemen and ladies. I strongly believe no such ban would exist if boys were taught the lessons echoed here at AoM.

163 jcard21 July 3, 2010 at 11:03 am

Great article … read again 2 years later! Great refresher course!

For those males who shudder at other people’s reaction when you use your knife:

A real man follows his own moral code, not the conventions of (misguided) society.

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” … sometimes in reverse order!

164 gnefkow July 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Great article,

I just wish more would read it.

Carrying pocket knives seems to be lost on my generation (I’m 22). I’ve carried one everywhere for 5 years or so, and it seems like every time I pull it out to use it I get blank stares and questions from everyone around. Seems like I have to repeat, “its not a weapon, its a tool” every day.

I guess I blame the airlines and the school rules. When I was in school, you could get expelled for a pocket knife. Now that it is less common for people to carry them, its more annoying for those of us who do.

Oh well

165 Brian August 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I bought a 5 inch made in pakistan folding knife 30 years ago. For 1 dollar at a dollar store. it is still a great slim knife. a bit intimidating, though. I carry one I bought at tractor supply co., fat sharp blade, ‘proline’. But tonight I found an old multi purpose, 3 1/2 incg, 2 blades, one bottle opener, one can opener. Old and rusty, that black scaled handle like I had in the early 60s, in some old tools I inherited. I 3-in-1 oiled it. Trying to read the co. name on the blade. I think it says “Ideal”, in cursive script, says under it USA. It’s going boating with me tomorrow.

166 Mark August 16, 2010 at 11:03 pm

I don’t carry the older knives I was given by my grandfather since I don’t want to lose them (falling out of pockets or being taken at airports, etc.). I have a Buck pen knife that I now carry with me since my Old Timer fell out of my pocket a few years ago. When I go camping or something outdoors, I will have my Swiss Army or Leathermen with me.

Case and Old Timer are my favorite knife brands.

167 HM August 19, 2010 at 10:37 pm

I have a tiny folding buck knife with a 1.5 inch locking blade. It weighs probably an ounce and I carry it around everywhere, which is great in the summer when I’m just walking around the house in shorts. It also only cost about 7 dollars at the local outdoor store.

Today I was at my college orientation and when we got our class selection books, they were all tied together like a bunch of newspapers. After one person struggled with her car keys to saw it for a few minutes I just said what the hell and took out my knife. I don’t like to advertise it with the political climate, especially in my state, but you’d be surprised how many times your the only person in a room full of people that can open something. It kinda gives you a feeling of satisfaction.

168 HM August 19, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Once you wear your mask long enough, it WILL become your true face. The true dilemna is picking the right mask so you do not become something you will regret later.

169 Josh September 23, 2012 at 2:30 am

I carry two pocketknives for various things. I carry a Victorinox Swiss-Army One Hand Trekker on a day-to-day basis on my keychain, as well as a Victorinox Swiss-Army One Hand Sentinal at work.

I love both of these knives and use them every single day!

170 Dan Oblak September 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Lisa, what you are describing is close to the root of why many of us are happy to find a web site like this one … calmly explaining and debating what a reasonable expectation of a man should be — despite the crazy intolerant lack of common sense that rules the day in this generation. I delayed giving my own son (now 14) a knife, not because I felt he was too young to have one at half that age, but because I know America is not the country it was when I was 7. Today, kids can assault each other with sharpened pencils… but heaven forbid if they have a plastic knife in their lunch bag to spread peanut butter (which, with allergies being so out of control, they’ll probably be arrested for as well). I have to train my son to be ‘TSA safe’, which is to say, if he’s not carrying anything the TSA wouldn’t allow on an airplane, then we know we’ll have no problem dealing with that argument should a cop feel it’s his duty to harass my boy for whatever it is that his own mother told him was a sign of pure evil. Pop psychology, the modern media, and your friendly neighborhood government Representatives all make a living telling us how to think — don’t think it’s a ‘conspiracy theory’ just because it’s the popular thing to do. But part of growing up a man (or woman) is to learn when to challenge these idiotic ideas — or when to ‘pick your battles’ (walk away). My personal opinion is that the most dangerous thing we will face on the ground is a sociopath — and that doesn’t have anything to do with what’s in anybody’s pockets. But then, that nice police officer wouldn’t be able to do anything with a complaint that ‘there’s a sociopath in the park.’

171 Mikey September 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm

I have carried a pocket knife since I was eight years old. Dad gave it to me then and it felt like a Right of Passage. I get grief from some friends for having it but they are the first ones to use it in a tight spot. My current knife is a Kershaw “Ken Onion” 1470 and I keep it razor sharp. My youngest son carries also, so we are never in a bind.

172 JT November 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I never leave home without my zippo lighter ( full of lighter fluid ) , my Keys with my spare pill bottle on them , my sidearm and my Military Issue 1968 U.S. Camillus pocket knife.
It has a Knife Blade , a Can Opener , a Bottle Opener / Flat Screwdriver and a Belt Punch and is equiped with a Clevis ( or Shackle ) that I use to clip the pocket knife to my metal key clip on my belt. This way it’s always handy even when I’m sitting down and the knife doesn’t wear a hole in my pocket.
This knife has come in handy so many times through the years . The reason I’ve never lost it ? That’s because after every single time I use it I put it right back when it belongs , clipped to my belt.



173 Kaleb November 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm

It’s funny how he would use the knife to get a sharp stick to poke with when he could just use his knife to poke.

174 a November 16, 2012 at 12:10 am

my favorite pocketknife is a winchester that i won at a raffle at one of my dads friends houses and a machete my grandparents sent me from mexico when i was 5

175 Stilicho November 17, 2012 at 11:41 am

Any attempt to make an environment ‘safer’ acts like a ‘survival knowledge subsidy’, preventing an individual from gaining the proper experience required to safely negotiate their own environment without the subsidy in place. This creates a much greater danger to that individual and their community in the end. For over a hundred years, we’ve tried to make the world safe. Perhaps it is time we lose our false pride that drove us to this mad task in the first place and admit failure. The next logical step is for individuals to learn how to survive in the ‘real and naked’ environment… rather than the one with padded walls erected by multiple generations of foolish and arrogant leaders who believed erroneously that the world itself can be made safer by padding everything.

176 Andrew November 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Love this article. Just re-read for the third time. I carry 2 small Victorinox classics, one on each of two keychains (work and home). I use them every single day, in innumerable contexts. Just picked up a small, simple Buck lock-blade for slightly beefier day to day tasks. I also have a Buck 110 and a Buck classic fixed-blade hunter for the great outdoors. I have been carrying a pocketknife since I was a kid. I got one for scouts activities, and was given more than one by each of my parents. I can barely get through a day without one on hand, as I’m always forced to recall when I fly, or have to go into a secure building…

177 Jerry Parkhurst November 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Every man should carry a pocket knife anytime he leaves home. It’s just the right thing to do….!!!!

178 Dennis November 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I carry a old swedish EKA knife from around 1920. It used to be my great grandfathers knife (4 generations). Looks like this. http://www.cultur.nu/knivar/fallkniv/fallknivmapp_2012/Emil%20O_8cm%20falld_365SEK_small.jpg

I also carry a Victorinox classic sd on my key chain.

179 Cryo December 1, 2012 at 11:45 am

I carry a Gerber mini paraframe at all times, and probably use it about 5-6 times a day at work. It’s small, incredibly light, holds an edge well and the blade locks open.

For going out and about, I carry a Cold Steel Ti-Lite 4″. It’s a bit big and bulky, but I always wear denim, so the added weight is minimal. The Cold Steel is razor sharp, holds an edge pretty much forever, and is very intimidating when deployed (it snaps open like a switchblade, but is entirely manual).

I have carried a knife every day since I was 9 years old and watched my grandfather save a child’s life by cutting a string that had become tightly wrapped around his throat.

180 Codongolev December 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I carry a gerber suspension multitool. it’s great for the price (it only ran me about 25 bucks on amazon), and it’s got a straight blade, a serrated blade, pliers, flathead, philips, bottle opener, can opener, awl, scissors, wire cutter and a nice saw. I use it all the time. I got it for myself as a high school graduation present.

I remember this one time when this other guy and I were both comparing knives and a third guy asked why so many people at this school carry knives. it was then that I realized that you never really realize how much you need a knife until you have one. I mean, yeah, you could open that package with your hands, or rip open that bag with your teeth, but it’s so much easier, cleaner, and frankly manlier to just whip out your trusty knife and do it fast.

181 Andrew December 7, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I have about 30 knives of different types and of one make or another. Hunting knives that are put away and a couple of dozen good quality pocket knives. Some are scattered somewhere about the house. I made a very nice one on a course and kept if for years just to look at. Gave it to my niece to use on a moose. Some knives are in the tool boxes, a couple on the workbench, a few fancy ones in my dresser, and always one in my pocket. Anywhere they are needed. Funny thing is I can’t remember the last time I used the one in my pocket. The wife just said it was earlier today opening the boxes of Christmas ornaments. It’s so handy and used so often that I don’t even notice. It’s second nature. I have to make a concerted effort to make sure it goes in the luggage when I fly and not keep it on me. It’s one of the first things out of the suitcase when we arrive. I’m uncomfortable without it. I use it enough that I instilled the notion in my grandsons heads when they visit. Last Christmas they bought me new one. My best one. I’ll have to make sure I show them the proper way to use it in a year or two.

182 nick December 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I love pocket knives, i carry a single bladed locking knife, which i got at a boyscout summercamp a few monthes back, its such a good knife i havent had to sharpen it yet, their like $12 online, everone should one

183 Henry December 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Whatever you do, buy a knife made in the USA. Yes, they are still made here. A few examples are Buck, Case, and Mooremaker. You can also find excellent pocket knives made in the USA on the popular internet auction site–both used and what they call New Old Stock, or new knives from back in time. Beware of companies that have bought out the names of knives that were formerly made in the USA but have now moved the production to China.

184 Herding Cats December 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Everyone should carry a knife! My first pocket knife was a gift from my Dad when I was 10 and I still have it. I plan on giving my son a knife for Christmas this year and I hope he continues the tradition. I agree that you should try to buy American, but it’s not easy to get a really good American made knife anymore. Take a look at Queen Steel made in the USA or other options are Boker, Puma, & Hen & Roster all are German, but look for old stock items a lot of the new German knifes are garbage.

185 steven December 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Great website, I have carried a knife for 39 yers , current EDC is a Spyderco Delica which is just legal for open carry here in Los Angeles. Recently was stopped from entering a government bldg because of my small Swiss army knife that even my 10 year old grandson remarked is not a knife.Real men carry knives.

186 Nick December 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I’m an electrician, and lost TWO Kershaw blades on the job…the clips just didn’t keep them in my pocket in certain tight spots. I went knifeless for a while and it drove me nuts, finally picked up a Klein tanto lockblade. Klein is primarily a tool maker(USA made), but this is a great knife that holds it’s edge and really stays in your pocket. It’s small and slim, and the clip mounts what most would consider “upside down” so that the blade points up in your pocket. It’s never opened unexpectedly on my though, and I haven’t lost it yet. Great knife, I’d recommend it to anyone.

187 Surellin January 1, 2013 at 8:45 am

I carry a 50th anniversary WW2 Navy knife from Camillus. It’s a bit large to hang from the key ring, but aside from the regular blade and the screwdriver/bottle opener thingie, it has a can opener. At least a few times a year I’ll be at work and somebody will need a can opener. “Sure I’ll open that can for you, ma’am – doesn’t everybody carry one of these?” Also, when opening boxes at work, it’s very satisfying to have the right tool rather than using a scissor blade or something horrible like that. A butterfly knife is also very useful, especially if you can open it one-handed with a flourish. Takes a few minutes of practice.

188 mac January 1, 2013 at 9:16 am

I was in an electrical engineering class on the first day. The professor knew I was a marine engineer back for an EE degree. As he gave the initial lecture about being an EE, he noted that there was one thing he learned from his professors when he was a student that was supposed to be the mark of a real engineer. He then turned to me and said, “Please give me your pocketknife.”

He didn’t know I had a pocketknife. He just knew I was a working engineer and automatically assumed I had one. He was right, of course, and I handed him my Victorinox Swiss Army knife. He held it up in front of the class and said, “Gentlemen, good engineers ALWAYS carry a pocketknife. If you don’t have one, get one.”

If I’m out of my bed, I have my pocketknife on me. It’s the rare day when I don’t carry at least two. I truly don’t see how a man can live his life without carrying a pocketknife given all the times daily that mine comes in handy. When I’m doing home repairs, for knives I’ll be carrying my Victorinox, a Leatherman and a Darrel Ralph assisted opening blade. There’s nothing like having the right tool for the job.

189 Robert January 1, 2013 at 9:24 am

I’ve carried pocket knives every since I joined Boy Scouts at age 11, maybe even before. I have numerous pocket knives that get carried depending mainly on whim.

Currently on board: a Wenger Standard Issue Swiss Army knife and the Victorinox Classic, both knives with the silver alox scales. Some other favorites: a Buck Canoe with wood scales, my old scout knife from early 1960s (Imperial), a old Camillus #2 lockback, and several Chinese knives (San Ren Mu 710, Navy K611, Bee L04-GN)

190 Paul January 1, 2013 at 9:41 am

I disagree.

Those saying that a man should always carry a pocketknife haven’t tried going through an airport recently, where you lose your grandpa’s folding kershaw, or whatever. No questions asked. Lose it to the TSA bins. At least they don’t try to throw you in prison though.

Or, until you try carrying a knife in a place that’s trying to crack down on violence, and the police decide they don’t like either a) the look of your knife, or b) the exact manner in which you’re carrying it (the clip is visible? You’re done.). Lose the $150 spyderco, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Plus, you might be arrested, something about gang violence. NYC, I’m looking at you.

And if you happen to live in Britain, where carrying is often illegal, you might be thrown in prison for mere possession of a knife. That’s the place where a guy was imprisoned for bringing a gun he’d found to the police station to turn it in, for possession of a firearm. Knife controls are almost–but not quite–as stringent. That’s why the boy scouts there can’t carry knives (unless that particular legislation has been repealed, which I can’t find evidence of.)

Don’t get me wrong, knives are great in the right time and place, and socially we’ve become a bunch of ninnies about anything that might be used for defense / swinging from a rope. Hence this site. But don’t get yourself in trouble through ignorance or zealousness.

191 Rich January 1, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I got my first pocket knife at about 8, when I was in the Cub Scouts. IT was a standard blue handled multi-bladed cub scout knife with blade locks which I carried for years. I and many others felt it was better made and more useful than the boy scout knife. I have carried a knife basically every since. Currently it is a stainless steel single blade one hander. The blade does not hold a sharp edge well but it is very slim, skeletal so weighs little and does most of what I need. I just have to be sure not to go to an airport with it in my pocket. My daughter has a small Key chain swiss army knife which she occasionally uses to sharpen pencils

192 Chris January 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm

A Benchmade folder with pocket clip and blade lugs for single handed opening is my carry knife. It has a 3″ blade because, here in Delaware, one is prohibited from carrying anything longer.
I clearly remember my first pocket knife, a Boy-Scout-style folder bought for me by my father at the local convenience store. Nearly cut the end of my finger off with it while slicing a green apple picked from the Golden Delicious tree in our yard. Our family doc sewed it back on for me and I went on to make lots of wood shavings with that knife.

193 Robert January 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

@ Paul January 1, 2013 at 9:41 am

I travel often to the same place, and I long ago mailed myself there a small collection of pocket knives. This avoids the TSA grope & grab.

But it’s a real annoyance if you make only occasional trips.

On two occasions I have bought small knives (Victorinox Classics) after arriving, then mailed them home to myself.

194 Robert January 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm

As for carrying in areas where knives attract unwelcome attention, well, keep it small, place it in an inside pocket (so it doesn’t “print”), and just cruise under the radar.

195 Robert January 1, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I feel handicapped without my Leatherman on my belt. Knife, pliers, screwdrivers, scissors, file, awl, etc. It is used several times daily, probably evenly divided between pliers, scissors, and knife. I definitely felt “old-school” when I used the pliers to reattach a pedal on the bike an unknown boy of maybe 8, encountered on the street. Or sitting at the mall food court with the kids, while Mom shops, and entertaining them by cutting milk cartons into birds. You can make bracelets by cutting their straws into little “beads”…cheesy, but kids love it. Or carve a stick into a little totem pole. To say nothing of repairing the car! The kids call it my “manure knife” since I use it to open manure bags during gardening season, but it gets cleaned, and they are willing enough to eat food cut with it.

At my wedding, held on a beach, we forgot a knife to cut the cake. My father-in-law smugly pulled out his Swiss Army knife, and saved the day. After it was put away (licked clean), a lovely young lady rushed up, having missed out on the cake. We looked at each other, Dad and I, smiled, and out came the knife for one more slice. I remind him of that to this day, after 20 years. It was he that gave me the Leatherman.


196 Zac January 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I asked a couple guys from work if they wanted to play mumbly peg with me on our break. After explaining how to play, the first thing they did was check there phones for a pocketknife app… WTF? Love Zac

197 da ha January 5, 2013 at 12:34 pm

last year we went to a amish school for a christmas party ,they love polite english visitors .and there was at least 15 pocket knives exchanged plus real lit candels in the windows if you decide to go to thair school please stop after school interduce yourself and ask if they would mind your visit and please no firearms .all grades in one room

198 Roger January 6, 2013 at 7:41 am

What makes a pocket knife different from a small folder?

199 no2liberals January 6, 2013 at 9:43 am

Enjoyed your article immensely.
My grand father gave me my first pocket knife, a Buck pen knife, when I was eight years old. Carried that knife with me every day for over twenty years and still have it, though the blade is so worn down from use/sharpening it is only a keep sake.
I was able to save the life of one man in an overturned vehicle by cutting his seat belt, but not the driver and had to watch him burn alive. I vowed then I would never get into a vehicle without a knife that would be where I could get my hands on it in an emergency.
I have several that I carry on a regular basis, mostly Cold Steel models with a pocket clip, but most times I carry a simple Meyerco lock back that is a clip point and half serrated blade, with a one hand opening notch. It has a rough textured finish for a sturdy grip and has enough heft to be useful in all situations, including Eskrima tactics.
I also wear a 3″ fixed blade necklace knife nearly all the time.
I highly recommend NEVER getting into a vehicle without a sharp pocket knife.

200 Carlito January 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I’ve been carrying pocket knives since I was about 8 years old. I’ve also carried various fixed blade knives off and on over the years and I’ve been thinking about carrying one again when I’m out and about. My current pocket knife is a Kershaw Blur. I fits my hand perfectly and I love the weight.

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