Different Types of Pocket Knives: What are Your Options?

Different Types of Pocket Knives: What are Your Options? - Uppercut Tactical

Different Types of Pocket Knives: What are Your Options?

The pocket knife is one of humankind's oldest and most versatile tools. The first pocket knives were found in Austria and dated by historians to the Iron Age. They entered everyday use starting in the 17th century, primarily as farming or gardening tools.

Today, the pocket knife is one of the most commonly available types of knives on the market and the most popular knife for everyday carry (EDC).

If you're interested in purchasing your first pocket knife or want to learn about the different types and categories available to complete your collection, follow this pocket knife guide and learn more about this versatile everyday carry tool.

Definition of a Pocket Knife

The traditional definition of a pocket knife is a knife featuring at least one folding blade. This makes it easier to carry than larger, fixed-blade knives. The folding mechanism used by most pocket knives allows the blade to retract inside the handle.

A pocket knife in the folded position is therefore no longer than the length of the handle and, if applicable, the hinge, making it easy to carry in a pants pocket. This practicality also means that, unlike fixed-blade knives, throwing knives, machetes, or daggers, pocket knives do not require sheaths or scabbards to protect the blade.

How Pocket Knives Compare to Other Knives

In addition to the folding mechanism, pocket knives primarily differ from other types of knives by size and weight. Compared to fixed-blade knives, pocket knives have inherent limitations on the size and length of their blade.

In practice, an average full-sized fixed-blade knife features a blade of any length appropriate for its intended task, ranging from 2-inch neck knives to large hunting and combat knives, with blades measuring 8 inches or longer.

A pocket knife rarely exceeds 4-6 inches in length, as the handle must also be able to serve as the sheath. If the knife's blade is longer than the handle, the blade's point and part of the edge are exposed while in the folded position, presenting a safety risk.

Consequently, a deployed pocket knife's length typically ranges between one and a half to two times that of its closed length, depending on the blade and handle.

History of the Pocket Knife

Although the history of the traditional knife dates back to the sharpened flint and silex tools of prehistoric times, the folding knife can be traced back to the jackknife of antiquity.

Antiquity: The Early Jackknife

Archaeologists discovered the earliest known jackknives in Europe, in Germanic regions north of Italy corresponding to modern-day Austria. These knives were estimated to be from 600 to 500 BCE and consisted of a plain blade, a straight, rectangular handle, and a simple hinge. 

These knives featured no locking mechanism, springs, or safety systems whatsoever. Jackknives primarily used friction to remain in place. Later versions, such as those manufactured during the Viking era, featured manually-activated clasps to secure the blade during use. 

Although the construction was primitive and the ergonomics non-existent, all subsequent folding pocket knives trace their ancestry back to the antique jackknife.

17th Century: The Slip-Joint Folding Knife

According to English cutlery specialist Simon Moore, the first locking mechanism for folding knives, the slip-joint system, was invented sometime in the mid-1600s in England. Slipjoint folding knives have three main parts: a side-folding blade, a knife handle with a side opening, and a back-spring. The rear portion of the blade features a cutout designed to maintain tension with the back-spring, keeping the blade locked in the open position.

Slip-joint mechanisms were the first successful folding mechanisms for pocket knives and are still commonly utilized on modern-manufactured pocket knives. They are popular in their native England because the slip-joint mechanism does not meet the UK legal definition of a locking knife; you are prohibited from carrying a lock knife in the UK.

19th Century: The First Modern Pocket Knives in Europe

Two of the world's oldest pocket knife makers, the French Opinel and the Swiss Victorinox, trace their beginnings to the late 19th century. Although each company followed a different path, each produced historically significant products that profoundly influenced pocket knife design philosophies.

For instance, Victorinox is responsible for the invention and production of the Offiziersmesser, a German word for "Officer's knife." The Offiziersmesser is perhaps better known as the Swiss Army knife, a multi-bladed pocket knife that also features a can opener, a pair of scissors, a saw blade, and other short tools that a military officer might need on the field. As of October 2022, Victorinox is still in business and remains the sole supplier of official Swiss Army knives.

Opinel is known for inventing the No. 1 knife, also known as the "peasant's knife" or "penny knife." Original Opinel knives are renowned for their reliable folding mechanisms, wooden handle, and inexpensive manufacture.

Opinel knives were once widespread among the working class of France, Belgium, and many other parts of Europe. The Opinel was once so ubiquitous the term "Opinel" entered the French language as a generic term for any compact folding knife.

20th Century: The First American Pocket Knives

The now-defunct Camillus Cutlery Company was the first American knife company to have produced folding knives. Their most well-known historical product, a WW1-era combination folding knife-and-spoon, was exclusively sold to the Red Cross and was not intended for the civilian market. 

In 1947, Camillus launched a complete line of folding knives for the Boy Scouts of America. Later, the company produced a multi-blade utility knife, the MC-1, for use by the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam.

For civilians, the first popular folding knife was the Buck Model 110 Folding Hunter, released in 1963. The Buck 110 was hailed as the first practical folding knife for hunting applications. Its influence was significant enough that "Buck knife" became a generic term for folding hunting knives, regardless of the manufacturer.

Numerous American manufacturers have produced iconic pocket knives of their own since then. Some iconic models include the Al Mar SERE knife, the Case Trapper, the Kershaw Leek, the Benchmade 940 Osborne, the Emerson CQC-6 (and its Kershaw-produced variant, the CQC-7), and the Spyderco Paramilitary.

Purposes and Applications

Pocket knives are known for their practicality and value as utility tools. Some of the most common uses and tasks for pocket knives include:

Household Applications

Every household needs useful cutting implements. When standard butter and kitchen knives aren't available, a pocket knife doubles as a valuable replacement for most household uses. Examples include:

  • Mail and package opening: A pocket knife is one of the best tools at your disposal for cutting and opening packages and other shipping boxes. It's also a great choice for opening paper mail, making it an excellent replacement tool for a dedicated letter opener.

  • Bottle opening: With the proper technique, you can use a pocket knife instead of a corkscrew or bottle opener. Alternatively, many multi-bladed pocket knives, such as Swiss Army knives, feature dedicated bottle-opening tools.

  • Belt customization: Pocket knives with suitable blade styles, such as a clip-point or drop-point blade, are ideal for punching new holes into a leather belt and avoiding purchasing a new one.

  • Staple removing: You can use the tip of your pocket knife blade to bend the ends of a staple and cleanly remove it from a pile of papers.

  • Sticker peeling: If you need to scrape a price sticker off of a new purchase or remove a label from a plastic or glass bottle, your pocket knife is the ideal tool to get rid of sticker material stuck to any surface.

Cooking and Kitchen Uses

A pocket knife is a valuable tool for cooking and food preparation, especially when cooking outdoors and away from a fully-equipped kitchen.

  • Peeling: One of the most common applications for pocket knives is peeling fruits and vegetables, such as apples, potatoes, and carrots. Depending on the type and length of your knife's blade, you may need to practice learning to remove the peel without taking too much of the flesh.

  • Cutting, slicing, and chopping: You can easily replace dedicated kitchen knives with your pocket knife for chopping, slicing, and cutting tasks.

  • Fish cleaning: Some pocket knives feature blade types that are well-suited for gutting and cleaning fish, such as clip-point or trailing-point blades. Specific models may even feature dedicated gut points.

  • Can opening: Specific pocket knife models feature dedicated can openers, allowing you to open canned food cleanly. If yours doesn't have one, you can use the tapping technique to puncture the lid and open the can.

  • Meat deboning: Any pocket knife with a long and thin blade type, such as the trailing-point blade or the needle-point blade, can replace a dedicated deboning knife in a pinch.

Outdoor Activities

Outdoor enthusiasts may find the pocket knife to be one of the most useful tools at their disposal.

  • Hunting: Many hunters use their pocket knives as dedicated hunting knives. Iconic folding blades such as the Buck 110 were designed explicitly for hunting applications, such as field dressing, skinning, and cleaning.

  • Fishing: If your pocket knife is good for fish cleaning, you can also use it for other fishing applications, such as cutting lines, preparing bait, or scaling and filleting fish.

  • Rope cutting: Even if you don't hunt or fish, having a knife at your disposal for cutting and sizing rope can be invaluable for camping or bivouacking.

  • Wood and kindling: If your pocket knife is sufficiently robust, you may be able to use it instead of a hatchet to make kindling or baton small logs into firewood.

  • As a first aid tool: Whether you prefer using your primary pocket knife or packing a secondary pocket knife inside your first aid kit, you may need a blade at your disposal for small first-aid tasks, such as removing splinters or cutting gauze.

Other Applications

A pocket knife is a cutting tool that you can carry nearly everywhere, meaning the potential uses are virtually limitless. Here are a few more purpose examples for pocket knives that don't fall in any other category.

  • Crafting: Pocket knives can replace specific tools for whittling, engraving, light woodworking, and arts and crafts.

  • Collecting: Pocket knives aren't just tools. They come in many shapes, types, brands, and models, and collecting them is a rewarding activity all on its own. Many rare or antique models can also make valuable investment items.

  • Everyday carry (EDC): A pocket knife is a natural all-purpose tool for everyday carry applications. If you need a knife for many everyday tasks, add one to your list of EDC items.

  • Self-defense: In an emergency, any weapon is better than none. A pocket knife can serve as a self-defense weapon and help you deter or gain an advantage over a potential aggressor.

folding knives on a black background. pen knives on a dark background

Pocket Knife Features

Although the industry has created many names and categories to differentiate pocket knives, such as the EDC knife or tactical folding knife, the best way to distinguish them is to consider each essential feature individually.

Number of blades

Although the number of blades may not be the first thing a knife shopper thinks of when looking for a new pocket knife, it is crucial to remember that not all pocket knives are single-bladed.

Most pocket knives fall into one of three categories: single-blade pocket knives, multi-blade pocket knives, and multi-tools.

Traditional pocket knives feature a single blade. While they may not have the versatility of multi-bladed or multi-tool variants, single-blade pocket knives are typically the most durable, as they have the fewest moving parts.

Alternatives to the single-blade pocket knife include the multi-blade knife and the multi-tool knife.

  • Multi-blade: A multi-bladed pocket knife typically features blades of multiple lengths and types to suit multiple tasks and applications. The handle typically houses two to four different blades, although they trade some durability for additional convenience.

  • Multi-tool: A multi-tool pocket knife is similar to a multi-bladed pocket knife but features some non-knife blade tools like pliers, screwdrivers and can openers alongside at least one regular blade. Swiss Army knives and Leatherman multi-tools are some of the best-known examples.

Blade shapes and styles

Folding pocket knife blades come in numerous shapes and forms, each with pros and cons. Knowing the best uses and applications for each blade style can help you become more informed when choosing your next pocket knife. Here are some of the most common blade shapes:

  • Drop-point blade: The drop-point blade is one of the most common blade styles. A drop-point blade features a straight spine that mildly slopes downwards to the point.

  • Clip-point blade: At first glance, a clip-point blade may look similar to a drop-point but features less material around the spine. Pocket knives with clip-point blades sometimes feature a partial second edge, making them more suitable for stabbing and puncturing.

  • Tanto blade: Tanto blades feature downward-pointing spines and a visibly angular edge, making them suitable for self-defense and tactical pocket knives. The blade's name comes from the Tantō (短刀), the Japanese term for a dagger or a short sword.

  • Spear-point blade: Pocket knives with a spear-point blade possess a symmetrical blade resembling the tip of a spear. They are double-edged and feature sharp points, making them ideal for piercing and self-defense or combat uses, although not as useful for traditional utility tasks.

  • Trailing-point blade: The trailing-point blade features a sharp, single edge and a prominent, upward-swooping spine, causing the point to reach higher than the handle. Trailing-point blades are best reserved for skinning, slicing, and filleting applications and are not recommended for piercing.

  • Needle-point blade: Also known as the dagger blade, the needle-point blade is similar to the spear-point in appearance and purpose but is even more focused on the sharp point, featuring even less of a cutting edge. Pocket knives with this blade style are essentially more specialized versions of the spear-point.

  • Straight-back blade: The straight-back blade, also known as the normal blade, features a simple straight spine with an upward-curving edge. This design resembles traditional kitchen knives and creates a heavier blade than drop-point or clip-point knives, making it ideal for chopping.

  • Pen blade: A pocket knife with a pen blade may also be referred to as a pen knife. A pen knife (or penknife) is typically a compact folding knife, initially designed for re-sharpening the point of a writing quill pen. Today, the pen knife's purpose is to serve as a compact version of a pocket knife, primarily intended for light household applications.

  • Sheepsfoot blade: The sheepsfoot blade features a completely straight edge and a mostly straight spine with a prominent rounded drop. The sheepsfoot blade is primarily suited for straight, clean cuts on flat surfaces.

  • Spey blade: The spey-point blade or spey blade is a short blade with a sharp edge and a rounded, dull point. Historically, farmers and ranchers used this blade style to castrate animals without wounding them. Today, knives with a spey-point blade are popularly utilized for cutting tasks where a sharp point or tip is not necessary.

  • Gut hook: A gut hook knife blade features a drop-point edge and point and a hook-shaped back and spine, making it easy to slice and gut game and fish. Although this blade style is less common in folding knives than fixed-blade knives, some manufacturers like Buck Knives or Gerber carry folding gut hooks in their catalogs.

  • Wharncliffe blade: A Wharncliffe blade features a straight edge, similar to a Sheepsfoot blade. The primary difference between this blade style and sheepsfoot blades is the shape of the point and spine: the Wharncliffe blade features a sharp-angled slope from the spine to the point, making it more useful for woodcutting and carving tasks.

Edge type

Pocket knife blades are available in a few different edge types. Most edge types fall into three primary categories: plain-edge, half-serrated, and fully serrated.

A plain-edge knife features a simple, unbroken cutting edge with no variations from the base to the point. If the shape of a knife's edge forms a straight line or a single broad curve with no sharp turns, it is plain-edged. Plain-edge blades are primarily suited for push cuts, such as slicing and chopping motions that require only a single movement to complete.

A serrated edge features saw-like teeth, giving the edge a distinctive jagged appearance. Serrations allow the knife user to apply more force over smaller contact points than a single, plain edge. 

While serrations are less sharp than plain edges, making them less suited for push cuts, they are recommended for pull cuts like sawing motions. The teeth of a serrated edge are ideal for cutting through tougher and fibrous surfaces quickly.

A half-serrated edge (also known as a combo edge) is a compromise between a fully plain-edged knife and a fully serrated knife. Combo blades typically feature serrations either on the blade's spine or on the lower half of the edge, leaving the upper half (up to the blade point) plain-edged. Many tactical folding knife blades are half-serrated, offering additional functionality and practicality.

Plain or Serrated: How To Choose

Plain-edged and serrated edges complement each other. Where one is unsuitable for a particular cutting task, the other is likely better adapted. The best way to illustrate the difference is with the tomato and rope test.

If you need to cut a tomato (push cut), the plain edge will do it easily, whereas the serrated edge risks crushing it. In contrast, if you need to cut a rope (pull cut), the plain edge won't create enough friction, whereas the serrated edge will chew through the rope and cut it quickly.

Blade length

The longer the blade, the heavier and better suited for heavy-duty tasks. However, a longer blade means a larger knife, which may make it less suitable for EDC. Besides practicality concerns, knowing the blade length is also critical to ensure you don't run afoul of your local knife laws.

  • Short blade: Pocket knives with blade lengths under 2.5 inches are among the smallest and lightest models on the market. Short-bladed models are the easiest to carry, making them ideal for EDC purposes, but they may not have the durability to withstand heavy cutting tasks.

  • Medium blade: Most pocket knife blades fall between 2.5 and 4 inches in length. Such blades are considered medium-length, offering a good compromise between EDC and heavy-duty practicality.

  • Large blade: Pocket knives with blade lengths over 4 inches are primarily intended for outdoor activities, self-defense, or tactical applications. This category covers the largest and heaviest knives, making them less suitable for EDC but generally more durable and better suited for outdoor and fieldcraft tasks. Blades over 4 inches long are more likely to be restricted, so ensure you check your state's knife-carrying laws before purchasing a blade of this length.

Opening system

Unless your pocket knife is one of the rare fixed-blade models, virtually every pocket knife has a mechanism to allow the user to open and either unfold or deploy the blade. Some of the most popular opening mechanisms on today's pocket knives include:

  • Thumb stud: Thumb stud knives feature one or two protruding studs on the rear of the spine, providing leverage for opening a side-folding knife. Dual studs allow for left-handed or ambidextrous operation.

  • Flipper: Flippers are textured levers found at the blade's base, under the bottom of the edge. They resemble a dolphin's flipper and allow the user to operate it with a single finger. With the right technique, it is possible to deploy a flipper knife and click the blade into place almost as quickly as an auto button.

  • Nail nicks: Nail nicks are shallow grooves or recesses cut into the top of the blade, intended to be pulled with a fingernail. Classic pocket knives, such as the original Victorinox Swiss Army knife or most Opinels, are well-known for this opening system.

  • Auto button: An automatic button (or auto button) is a trademark feature of automatic knives. They are spring-loaded push buttons that allow a user to automatically and instantly deploy the blade. Depending on your local knife laws, auto knives may be considered switchblades and subjected to additional regulations.

  • Thumb slide: Thumb slides are designed for one-handed use and allow for deploying and retracting the blade quickly and efficiently. Thumb slides are typically associated with out-the-front (OTF) knives and are usually found on the handle's spine, making them naturally ambidextrous.

  • Butterfly: Butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, use a two-piece pivoting handle that can fold into the blade. The butterfly opening mechanism is the most challenging to use competently, as the user must always remember the blade's orientation. Butterfly knives, like auto knives, may be subjected to additional restrictions; always check your local laws.

  • Hidden release: Pocket knives with hidden release buttons are knives that, at first glance, appear to have no mechanism to release the blade. In reality, the mechanism is hidden inside the blade's bolster and activated by sliding it to the side.

Pocket Knives Isolated on White

Locking mechanism

Although related to the opening system, a knife's locking mechanism does not determine how to open or close the knife. Instead, it defines how the blade remains secure when deployed. 

Each mechanism has its own level of complexity and mode of operation. Here are some of the most common locking mechanisms found in pocket knives.

  • Liner lock: The liner lock system is the world's most widespread pocket knife locking mechanism. When the user sets the blade to the open position, a tensioned metal bar in the handle locks into a recess in the tang. The bar must be manually pushed out of the way to let the blade rotate back inside to close the knife.

  • Frame lock: Frame lock systems function similarly to liner locks but use a part of the handle instead of an internal metal bar. n other words, the knife handle serves as the locking system. Most frame lock knives feature grips made of sturdy materials, such as titanium or steel.

  • Back lock: Back-lock or Lockback knives use a notched grip, in which you can find the back of a locking bar. Pressing the bar causes it to pivot, unlocking the blade and allowing the user to rotate it back in the handle. Buck Knives was the first knife maker to popularize this locking mechanism in the United States.

  • Button lock: A button lock knife employs a simple spring-loaded button to unlock and release the blade from the closed to the open position. Button locks may be manual (must pull the blade manually) or automatic (pressing the button deploys the blade instantly).

  • Lever lock: Lever locks are primarily found in traditional switchblade knives. A lever lock system employs a lever connected to a tensioned pin that passes through a locking hole inside the tang. Depressing the lever pushes the pin out of the locking hole and causes the blade to shoot out of the handle, deploying it instantly.

  • Ring lock: Ring lock knives feature a ring-shaped collar around the handle, which the user can rotate into an open or closed position to move or lock the blade into place. Ring locks are uncommon in the United States and are primarily associated with Opinel knives.

  • Axis lock: Axis lock knives are primarily associated with Benchmade folding knives. n axis lock knife features an ambidextrous, side-mounted lever that, when pulled, applies pressure to an internal tension bar and unlocks the blade for opening or closing.

  • Compression lock: Compression lock knives were developed, patented, and are primarily utilized by Spyderco knives. The tang of a compression lock knife features a leaf-shaped spring that wedges laterally between a stop pin inside the handle and a specially cut ramp inside the tang.

Blade material

Most pocket knife blades use steel in their construction. Avoid any pocket knife that doesn't use steel in its blade, as it risks wearing out quickly or breaking during regular use.

Knife blade steel materials possess five critical properties: Hardness, toughness, durability, corrosion resistance, and edge retention.

  • Hardness refers to the blade's resistance to deformation when subjected to impacts or applied stress. The harder the blade steel, the stronger it is. Hardness is measured using the Rockwell C scale (HRC). Most competently-made pocket knives feature an HRC rating of 56 to 62.

  • Toughness is the blade's ability to withstand chipping and cracking when subjected to brief heavy impacts. Blade steel with low toughness is said to be brittle. Toughness is inversely correlated to hardness; the harder the blade, the more brittle it tends to be. 

  • Durability is the blade's ability to resist damage from abrasive wear (passing through softer surfaces) and adhesive wear (damage due to debris being forced off the blade). Although high-durability blade steel tends to have higher hardness, the blade steel's chemistry plays a crucial role in determining its durability.

  • Corrosion resistance is what the term implies; the blade's ability to withstand rust and corrosion from exposure to humidity, salt, moisture, and other corrosive agents. Although producing a corrosion-resistant blade typically decreases the edge's maximum theoretical cutting performance, the difference in most real-world applications is minimal.

  • Edge retention refers to the edge's ability to maintain its factory sharpness even after long periods of use and abuse. The better a blade can retain its edge, the more challenging it is to re-sharpen.

Every blade steel on the market has its own combination of the above five characteristics. The best kind of steel for a pocket knife depends on its primary intended purpose.

Most blade steels on today's market fall into three categories: stainless steel, carbon steel, and tool steel. Below are the general differences between each category.

  • Stainless steel blades feature a high amount of chromium (12% or more) and other elements that trade some toughness and hardness for increased overall durability and corrosion resistance. Stainless steel blades are ideal for pocket knives intended for cooking, EDC, or maritime and underwater use, such as diving knives. Examples of stainless steels include 420HC, 440C, 154CM, ATS-34, and AUS-8.

  • Carbon steel blades feature a high amount of carbon (0.8% or more). Although not as resistant to rust and corrosion, carbon steel blades are ideal when hardness and ease of re-sharpening are the priority. Carbon steel is primarily used in tactical, survival, and hunting knives. Examples of carbon steel include 1075, 1095, and 5160 spring steel.

  • Tool steel is extra-hard steel used to manufacture tools. Tool steels typically feature high hardness and durability, and the best tool steels have excellent edge retention. However, they are typically expensive and among the most challenging to sharpen. Examples of tool steels include CPM3V, D2, O1, M4, and S7.

Grip/Handle material

Pocket knife grips come in near-infinite variations, each offering slightly different properties such as shape, ergonomics, and durability. However, the most critical feature of a pocket knife handle is the material used in its construction.

Pocket knife handles are available in many materials grouped into three broad categories: metals, synthetic materials, and natural non-metal materials.

Metal grips typically offer the best durability. They are also resistant to corrosion, making them suitable for everyday carry. However, they are also the heaviest, although whether the added weight is a pro or a con depends on personal preference. f you enjoy heavier knives, opt for stainless steel. Otherwise, look for aluminum or titanium grips, as they are lighter than steel but can be nearly as durable.

Synthetic materials include carbon fiber and proprietary products such as Zytel (fiberglass-reinforced nylon), G-10 (fiberglass laminate composite), or Micarta (phenol resin). These materials are lightweight, tough, and require little to no maintenance. However, they are also more brittle than metal grips and may not feel as comfortable to hold.

Natural non-metal handles range from classic wood grips, made from one of the dozens of different varieties to more unusual grip materials, such as bone, mother of pearl, or abalone. 

While each of these materials offers a different feel and texture, they are usually porous and prone to staining or degradation unless you opt for more expensive options. For example, mother-of-pearl is non-porous but significantly more expensive than wood or bone.

What to Look for in a Good Pocket Knife

If you're looking for a quality pocket knife but aren't sure which features to look for, the primary criterion to remember is the knife's primary purpose. Traits that make a knife suitable for one particular task may make it less suited for another.

While you can use a pocket knife as an all-purpose tool, no one product excels at every possible task. Here are a few recommendations for typical applications when shopping for pocket knives.

Everyday Carry (EDC)

If you primarily want a pocket knife for EDC purposes, then the most critical characteristics should be mechanical simplicity and ease of use. The grips should also be made of lightweight, corrosion-resistant materials, especially if your pocket knife will spend most of its time in a pants pocket.

A knife intended for everyday use should also be as simple to operate as possible so that cleaning and maintenance do not pose any problems. If you plan to pocket carry the knife, ensure that it comes with a durable pocket clip with high retention.

Outdoor applications

Whether you enjoy camping, hiking, backpacking, or live in a rural or backcountry region, having access to a dependable pocket knife can make your life easier, even if you don't need it every day. Prioritize lightweight pocket knives that do not add excessive bulk to your equipment.

Although most classic blade shapes (e.g., clip-point blades) are more than enough for outdoor use, consider a pocket knife with the blade shape and features you might need on the field. For example, if you regularly need to cut rope or twine, a half- or fully-serrated blade may be a good choice.

Hunting and fishing

If you need a pocket knife for cutting, cleaning, and gutting game and fish, consider larger, heavier products with the specialized features you need to perform each task as efficiently as possible. Consider carrying multiple pocket knives for different purposes instead of seeking a single, general-purpose blade.

For example, if you regularly cut and clean fish, you may want a trailing-point blade. In contrast, blades with gut hooks are valued by hunters for dressing and cleaning game.

Self-defense and survival

If your pocket knife's primary purpose is personal defense, you should first and foremost check your local laws. Not all opening mechanisms or blade lengths are legal everywhere. Once you know what knives are legal in your area, look for knives designed for defensive or tactical applications.

Some blade shapes like tanto blades, spear-point blades, daggers, and needle-point blades are designed to offer better cutting and piercing capabilities, which you may need in a defensive situation. If possible, opt for longer blades, increasing your reach and improving your knife's effectiveness as a self-defense weapon.

Pocket knives intended for survival applications may include additional features built into the blade or the handle, such as a glass breaker tip or a seatbelt cutting device.

Shop Quality Pocket Knives at Uppercut Tactical

Whether you are new to the world of knives or want to add a new model to your collection, Uppercut Tactical has a pocket knife for you. Our inventory includes a wide selection of side-folding and OTF knives suitable for all purposes, from collecting and EDC to hunting and self-defense. Browse our online store today and find the pocket knife you need.


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