The original Spyderco Military was introduced in 1996 and quickly became one of the most iconic knives of all time. The knife came about after someone asked founder Sal Glesser what folding knife their son should take into the military.
For nearly three decades, the Military excelled as a lightweight yet hard-use folder you could bet your life on.
However, Spyderco is never a brand to rest on its laurels and finally updated the classic knife into something even better.
Since 1974, Kershaw Knives has been making some of the best EDC pocket knives on the market. If you don’t believe me, just look at the numerous awards handed out to Kershaw every year at the BLADE Show.
While some companies have ups and downs in their reputation, Kershaw has been going strong for decades with no sign of stopping.
We first wrote this post way back in August 2014 with the best-selling Kershaw Knives from Knife Depot. The list looks (almost) nothing like it does today. For a quick refresher, the top knives were the Leek, Blur, Amphibian, Clash, and Shuffle. As a sign of the times, two of those knives have been discontinued and another has fallen out of the top-sellers.
Discontinued Kershaw Amphibian
To help you see what others are buying, we decided to update this old post with the best-selling Kershaw knives at Knife Depot over the past few years. Quantity sold and gross sales were factored in.
Let us know if any of the knives surprised you.
10. Kershaw Launch 11
We’re going in reverse order to the best-selling Kershaw knife, so coming in at number 10 is the Kershaw Launch 11.
As you’ll notice throughout the list, there are a ton of Launch knives on this list, and the rest are sitting just outside the top 10.
The Launch 11 is a top-notch auto with a smaller 2.75-inch blade and aluminum handle with an open design. It has some nice flourishes like a titanium pivot ring, integrated backspacer, and slim pocket clip.
9. Kershaw Blur
The Kershaw Blur took quite a fall in the past few years in terms of top-selling Kershaw Knives, but this iconic Ken Onion knife is still up there.
The Blur is a robust assisted-opener with curves in all the right places. The blade is 3.4 inches with a modified drop point blade. The handle is aluminum with Trac-Tec inserts that make it comfortable to hold in all types of conditions.
Knives often struggle finding a balance between offering something unique or eye-catching and something highly functional. The Cold Steel Ti-Lite Kris manages to perfectly blend the two extremes together.
Way back in 2019, the original Ti-Lite was a Knife of the Week because of its large size and slim design. However, the Kris version takes things to a whole other level.
This Ti-Lite has the same dimensions, including a 6-inch blade, Zytel handle, and impressive reach. What really sets it apart is the blade.
The blade takes inspiration from the asymmetrical Javanese dagger with a wavy edge. The daggers were mostly ceremonial, but they also excelled at self-defense.
When you need a knife that can open and close in a blink of an eye with a single hand, there is only one choice: an OTF knife.
An OTF, which stands for Out The Front, is a type of knife where the blade comes out of the front of the handle rather than the side.
These types of knives have become increasingly popular with tons of varied and compelling designs from the top brands like Kershaw, Boker, Benchmade, and more. We’ll know they’ve finally crossed the mainstream when we finally get an OTF version of the Buck 110!
Our team took on the unenviable task of narrowing down some of the best OTF knives you can currently buy. Before we get into the list, let’s take a quick look at the background of the OTF.
A Brief History of the Best OTF Knives
Although the OTF seems like a modern invention, the first OTF was supposedly patented in the late 19th century, but I couldn’t verify the information widely spread across the Internet.
Instead, some of the earliest OTF knives that were widely used date back to the World War II when paratroopers used OTF knives as emergency tools. Unlike modern OTF knives, these were gravity knives, meaning the user disengaged a lock and used gravity to slide the blade out.
The designs have gone through multiple evolutions like the Kershaw Ripcord, Smith & Wesson Power Glide, and even box cutters. More recently, we’ve settled on dual action automatic OTF knives that open and close with the push of a switch as the default OTF design.
Let’s just into the best OTF knives you can currently buy.
1. Benchmade Infidel
Let’s start with an obvious entry on this list of best OTF knives: the Infidel.
The Benchmade Infidel has been by far one of the top-selling OTF knives since it was introduced in 2006. If you collect knives, this is likely a prized center of that collection.
What made the Infidel such a big hit at the time (and even these days) is its robustness and utility. It caught the eye of military and law enforcement personnel because of its dual action design and general toughness.
Over 15 years later, the Infidel is still a top-seller, thanks to its 3.95-inch D2 steel dagger blade and aluminum handle.
2. Kershaw Livewire OTF
From the oldest knife on this list, we go to the newest. In 2023, Kershaw released its very first automatic OTF knife to much fanfare.
Kershaw is well-known for its high-quality Launch series of automatic knives and the brand has been exploring manual OTF designs like the Kershaw Interstellar and Kershaw Kapsule. It only made sense for them to merge its knowledge of OTFs and automatics into something amazing.
The original FlatIron was a Knife of the Week back in 2020 because of its versatile design. But this upgraded version is worthy of a second look.
First, let’s extol the virtues of the cleaver design. The cleaver has a strong point that won’t break even in hard use. It’s also versatile for slicing, chopping, and finer tasks. On top of everything, its blade shape is much less aggressive than others with similar attributes (looking at you tanto!).
You can find other blue knives by searching at knife-depot.com, but hopefully some of these will inspire your own blue period.
Let’s kick things off with an iconic EDC from Kershaw. The Blur is available in all types of colors and materials.
This version with navy blue scales and black Trac-Tec inserts is quite a looker.
Hogue Ballista I
The Ballista is a real beauty and one of the best EDC automatics to come out in the past five years (it’s not surprise we named it one of the best new knives of 2022).
This version has blue aluminum scales with a drop point blade, but the Hogue Ballista I available in a few different iterations
Spyderco went through and upgraded some of the knives on its Value Series of folders named after admirable traits. The Resilience is one of our favorites because it’s much longer with a 4.2-inch blade. It uses S35VN steel and a dark blue FRN handle.
Cold Steel Tuff Lite
Cold Steel is best known for its huge folders, but the Tuff Lite may very well be the best EDC Cold Steel has to offer. This small Wharncliffe-bladed folder uses Demko’s Tri-Ad locking mechanism. This version has an eye-catching blue handle.
KA-BAR Dozier Folding Hunter
The Dozier Folding Hunter has been a mainstay of KA-BAR, so it’s no surprise this folding hunting knife continues to receive praise and varied colors.
Despite its legal gray areas, the automatic knife (sometimes called a switchblade) is one of the best types of knives on the market.
For those who don’t know, an automatic knife is a knife that can be opened with the push of a button or switch. For a more in depth look at the difference between a switchblade and an assisted-opening knife, check out this article.
We’ve been going through and carefully picking some of the best knives of each brand and category. So, it only made sense to do autos.
One caveat here: We are not including OTF knives in this list. While most out-the-front knives are technically automatics, they’re almost their own thing. We’ll have a separate list for the best OTFs coming soon.
Check out which autos made the list below.
1. Buck 110 Auto
The Buck 110 Folding Hunter is one of the most iconic folding knives ever made. Its only major downside is its inability to open quickly with one hand.
With just the push of a button, the classic 3.75-inch clip-point blade bursts to life instantly. This version uses the same 420HC stainless steel that the 110 is known for and also keeps the lockback mechanism. For strength and dependability, you can’t go wrong with a lockback.
The handle is Crelicam genuine ebony with brass bolsters and pins.
Even after all these years, the Buck 110 remains an excellent choice for a knife and this auto version just makes it even better. You can opt for the premium Buck 110 Auto Elite if you prefer S30V steel and a G-10 handle. There’s even the Buck 112 Auto if you need a smaller knife.
2. Kershaw Launch 6
With the new Kershaw Launch 15 coming out in 2023, this list could easily have contained 10 different Launch knives because they are all simply excellent.
But we kind of arbitrarily picked the Kershaw Launch 6 for this spot. The Launch 6 is a full-sized auto with a 3.375-inch drop-point blade and an aluminum handle.
It has a cohesive all-black look that’s downright sexy.