The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

15 Worst Knife Pocket Clips


This post was first written in August 2016 and was updated in April 2024.

A pocket clip can make or break a knife.

Even though it’s easy to remove a pocket clip on most models (and there are some good reasons why you should remove it), many people won’t buy a knife with a poorly designed clip.

During our time selling and handling knives, we’ve come across some major disappointments in the pocket clip area. While we don’t think a knife is lost beyond redemption because of a bad clip (replacing a clip is also just as easy as removing it), it can be the low point on a great knife.

So we assembled a list of 10 of the worst pocket clips around. (We opted for knives still or recently in production because it’s too easy to pick on an old model like the Schrade Cliphanger.) All of these are a matter of opinion, so while you may hate some of these, others may love them. That’s just the way these things go.

15. WE Vision R

Sometimes when a knife designer tries to do something different from the norm, it can be hit or miss. The clip on the WE Vision R tries to shake things up to middling success. This is a clip that many people hate and a few people admire.

It essentially takes the classic clip but instead of putting it on the side, it’s on the top of the knife. Most people say it’s just too awkward to put in the pocket and take out.

This clip style isn’t brand new, of course. The late Jon Graham was one of the first pioneers of this type of clip, but those were just a little better.

14. CRKT Eros

Ken Onion is one of the most influential knife makers alive, having set an industry standard for assisted openers and folding knives in general. But he just can’t seem to make an outstanding pocket clip.


The clip on Onion’s CRKT Eros is not his worst (that’s still to come), but it’s nothing to write home about. CRKT calls it “an extremely unique custom style carry clip” in its product description, but it looks very gangly and thin.

Along with the fact that it’s a one position clip—tip-down, right hand—some have complained it’s susceptible to bending. That’s not surprising considering how narrow it is.

13. Hogue EX-01

Hogue may be better known for its gun grips, but it makes some darn good knives. The Hogue EX-04 was one of our Badass Knives of the Week a while back. Despite its well-made knives, the clips are frequently a subject of derision among knife fans.


I’ve read several accounts of people saying they won’t buy a Hogue because of the clip. Many Hogue models feature a spoon-style clip that’s fairly large and almost feminine as Dan from Blade Reviews calls it.

Sure, whenever I see the Hogue clip, I can’t help but picture a Roseate Spoonbill, but it’s not the worst. Still, some argue the clip is too large, doesn’t carry right, and looks downright ugly. I think the knife is absolutely worth it, despite the clip.

12. Chaves Knives Skull Clips

Chaves Knives tries to turn their pocket clips into logos and people hate it.

The clip itself works fine mostly, but it’s a bit too big and bulky. On top of that, it’s shaped like a skull!

If you take a look through Reddit or BladeForums, you’ll see tons of people saying they won’t buy the knives unless they have different clip options.

11. Spyderco Drunken

There’s nothing too offensive about the clip on the Spyderco Drunken, but when a knife has an MSRP of $770, people expect near perfection. Unfortunately, the clip on the Drunken is too flawed.

Not only doesn’t it really mesh well with the overall design of the knife but it feels cheaply made and flimsy. Others have complaints about how rigid the clip can be and unacceptable tolerances.

It just feels like an afterthought to an otherwise astounding knife.

10. Chris Reeve Sebenza 25

The Sebenza is a gold standard when it comes to folding knives. This custom-like folder is widely considered one of the best knives around. The fit and finish are impeccable. The quality of the materials is top notch. Everything on the Sebenza 25 is perfect… except the pocket clip.

The clip itself isn’t bad. It’s a fairly standard clip that does the job well. It doesn’t stand out or run too high. No, it’s the placement of the clip.


Right where the tip bends up is where the middle finger grips the choil. This creates an extremely uncomfortable grip, especially when wielding tightly or for long periods. Such a shame.

9. CRKT Swindle

The Swindle suffers from the same flaws as the Vision R. This Ken Onion design requires a few steps to actually get it into your pocket.

Not only is the clip on the spine of the handle but you also have to lift it up in order to actually clip it to your pocket.

8. Cold Steel AK-47

Cold Steel is a polarizing brand—thanks to some pretty ridiculous knife designs and its opinionated president. But it can still put out a well-made knife for cheap. The AK-47 is an aggressive EDC that’s strong, durable, and pretty inexpensive.


The knife is widely hailed as a great EDC for those tough tasks, but the pocket clip always takes a hit. Its design is pretty standard, but most complain about how the clip shreds up their pocket. The clip is exceptionally tight. When you accompany that with aggressive G-10 texture underneath, you’ll have torn pockets in no time.


A simple fix like removing some of the texture beneath or using the Tuff Lite clip instead would make this knife nearly perfect. I also wrote about some ways to keep a clip from tearing up your pocket if you’re interested.

7. CRKT G.S.D.


I love the CRKT G.S.D. (which stands for Get S**t Done), so I’m a bit biased here. The knife is frequently used as my EDC and while it’s not perfect, it does a lot of great things. But it wouldn’t be on this list if it didn’t have a really awful clip.

To be clear, I don’t mind the clip at all. It’s actually quite good in my opinion, but I see why people hate it. It has a sculpted clip that’s essentially a metal bar with absolutely no spring. It doesn’t even connect with the handle. This leaves the knife insecure in the pocket. Others say it gets in the way when holding the knife.

While I don’t mind the clip that much, the G.S.D. could be better with a clip that more closely resembles the one on the custom version.

6. Spyderco Wire Clips

For some, Spyderco’s wire clips could be number one on this list. For others, the wire clips are a major selling point for several Spydie models.


The wire clips are found on models like the Dragonfly 2, Manix 2 Lightweight, and Positron above. Wire clips have some issues bending, but there can also be a side-to-side motion. This makes the knife less secure in your pocket and more unstable when you’re closing it.

Others have said the wire clips get caught outside the pocket and come out. Since these are often on smaller knives, simply taking them off makes the knife even smaller and easier to clip onto your keys or to a small lanyard.

5. Benchmade Mini-Onslaught

The Benchmade Mini-Onslaught is a damn sexy knife. It’s sleek and bold and curvy in all the right places. The knife is a Bob Lum design with a 3.45-inch blade made from 154CM steel and black G-10 handles. Just look at it.


Then look at the other side.


Yeah, the clip really brings down the aesthetics of the knife, especially on the black version. Not only is the clip bigger than it needs to be, it also clashes with the look of the knife and just feels awkward in the hands. It doesn’t carry that well either. Benchmade needs to do something about it.

4. Spyderco Southard


The Southard is a well-made knife that’s popular as an EDC carry. It has a smooth flipper mechanism, a titanium scale on one side and G-10 on the other, and a Reeve Integral Lock mechanism. But say goodbye to your pants if you get this knife.

The clip of the Southard is almost as sharp and pointy as the blade. Just take a look at this image from reddit user diversionmary on the knifeclub subreddit.


That’s the clip puncturing right through his new jeans. It’s not just some fluke either. The same thing happened to a user over at BladeForums.

Due to its sharpness, the clip will poke the hell out of you, your pants, and anything you might bump into. The solution is pretty simple. You can either sand down the edge a little, remove it, or buy a custom clip off the secondary market.

On top of all that, it’s only a one-position clip!

3. Kershaw Leek and Blur


Told you we weren’t done with Ken Onion’s clips. Instead of giving these two knives (which feature similar if not identical pocket clips) their own ranking, we decided to lump them together.

The Kershaw Leek and Blur are widely considered two of the best and most iconic knives ever made. There’s a lot to be said about these influential and beloved knives. They complement each other perfectly and appeal to the masses.

But what’s with the pocket clip?

Aside from the clips being large and bulky, they don’t carry very well, particularly on the Leek. When the clip is set to a tip-up carry on the Leek, an unacceptably large portion of the knife is showing. It also rides pretty high on the Blur, but it’s not so egregious. The clip on the Leek and Blur is not reversible either.


It’s the only weak point in nearly flawless knives. Fortunately, since so many other people want better clips, there are tons of custom clips out there for your enjoyment.

2. Spyderco Gunting

When I first made this list, I somehow left off the old Spyderco Gunting.

The Gunting made our list of the weirdest Spyderco knife designs ever, but it deserves a spot on this ignominious list of terrible pocket clips.

The design of this knife is actually thoughtfully considered as a self-defense knife with the ability to grip it for punching or quickly drawing it from your pocket.

Unfortunately, the placement of the clip is just bizarre. The clip is small and placed right in the middle of the handle, which means it sticks out of the pocket way too much. It appears that the pronounced spine ramp causes too much trouble when buried deep inside the pocket. Just strange.

1. Kershaw Junkyard Dog II

The Kershaw Junkyard Dog was recently taken out back and discontinued but not before the knife world dug its claws into the old dog with merciless criticism of its needlessly large clip.


The much-reviled clip even made it onto the second iteration of the knife. People absolutely hate the way it looks. Some say it looks straight out of the Batman’s lair. It’s extremely wide and fairly sharp.

People loathe this clip so much it’s taken an almost mythical status. It’s not really that bad, but it’s not something I want on my EDC. The awful clip may have had something to do with the JYD II being discontinued.

I’m not sure if the Junkyard Dog is going to come back with a vengeance, but if it does, you can bet it’s going to have a different pocket clip.


  1. I vote for most Microtech/Marfione customs; DOC’s, Whalesharks, Troodons, etc,. For as much money these knives are going for, the simple spring clips they are adorned with are like putting donut spare tires on a Ferrari!!!

  2. Easy one for me. Cold steel voyagers. I have had 4 and they all have failed(the screws and/or insert). I have 2 now both JB welded up.

  3. I have to disagree with your comments on the Sebenza clip; I have had a large Sebenza for-I don’t know-over ten years and never have had a problem with gripping it. The first clip broke off but it was sort of a freak accident-caught on the striker plate on a door lock!-but Chris Reeve sent me a free replacement quickly.

    • Tim

      September 13, 2016 at 10:17 am

      I’m talking about the Sebenza 25. You likely had the older Sebenza since the 25 was first made in 2012. The 21 didn’t have the same grip cutouts as the 25, which you can see in the image line up perfectly with the upswept point of the clip.

  4. My vote is for the Southern Grindstone Spider Monkey clip. Love the knife, but the hot spot the clip creates is very bothersome. Luckily the knife is small enough to be carried in your pocket with out the clip.

  5. I don’t know what it is about Kershaw but hey have by far the highest percentage of bad clips in their lineup. I love my Skyline and a couple of others but the clips on models like the Blur, Storm, Shallot, Clash, Speed Bump, Boa, Baby Boa and many more are terrible. It’s almost easier to pick out the Kershaw’s that have good clips. LOL!!!

  6. What are the sites where I can find for replacement clips ….?

  7. I feel like a huge problem is that a lot of these knives are well designed but the pocket clips are poorly put together. It’s as though they were an after-thought in the process. They don’t feel right, they don’t conceal the knife properly, are placed in the wrong spot, get in the way, etc. All it takes is someone to design a clip for a knife from the very beginning. One of the principles of good design is when form follows function.

  8. I have had a Manix FRN for a few years. It has the wire clip and has Never failed or be pulled from my pocket. In my opinion that’s very important. I have no problem with the placement of the clip either. I have not bent it or thought of getting a new one yet. I am a bit confused as to why it may not be the same for others…I will say this is the only one I don’t agree with….

  9. Thank you. This is a GREAT article, I found well worth reading. As another commented.. I am looking forward to the Best clips article ! 😉 Also, I have a Sig Pterodactyl that is IMO an Awesome knife. The clip leaves some to be desired tho. Mine has already broke and I cannot seem to find a replacement. I have tried to contact the factory in Italy, and due to language differences and our emails not working together, I have had NO luck finding one !. Sad because this is a wonderful EDC. If it had a clip ! lol

  10. The thing that stood out for me in this list was the fact that only the pocket clips on the Kershaw Blur and Leek were cited for the fact that they left a sizable part of the handle visible when in use in a pocket, when ALL of the pocket clips on all of these knives left between one half to nearly or over an inch of the handle exposed when in use.
    When I’m carrying a knife in my pocket, I DON’T WANT EVERYONE KNOWING THAT I’M CARRYING A KNIFE IN MY POCKET!
    All I want showing is the clip with nothing visible to show what the clip is attached to; discretion is the better part of valor.
    I am as amazed as I am disappointed that the knife makers haven’t yet remedied this situation as the negative effect it has on the sales of their knives is beyond question.

    • I actually prefer .5″ showing of the knife. Easier to grab that way. In fact the only after market deep carry clip I’ve bought was for a manix 2 xl because I didn’t want 2 inches hanging out, now it’s down to 1 inch haha. I do see the value of a deep carry, but it’s not the preferred choice of everyone.

  11. have lots of knives. until this article, never gave the clip a second thought. all of mine operate exactly as intended.

  12. Oh yes i love the Hogue EX-01. The Blade looks just so modern and it really deserves the name badass knife.
    This is the one of my favourite in this collection.

  13. Of all my folders, the very worst clip offenders are the Cold Steel (CS) knives. I cannot count how many jeans I’ve trashed with CS knife clips. I have drawn up plans for an after market scale replacement made of G10 with a smooth area for the pocket, and a specifically designed clip that is not a plank of unbendable steel. I’m working with an attorney as I write to find out if I may be able to have these manufactured as “Aftermarket Equipment Accessories.” I didn’t come up with this idea to make money; I was pissed off at CS for not correcting a WELL KNOWN defect, and for treating me as an idiot for even suggesting the idea. When I called customer service, the young man dressed me down, telling me CS didn’t want the knife to fall out of the pocket. “Try sticking a nickel under the clip,” he said! Okay, I own SEVERAL CS knives. I can purchase from any other company. I want my fellow CS fans to have the ease of placing, and pulling their favorite CS knife without any hesitation, or grief whatsoever. If legally permitted, I will do it for the least possible profit.

  14. I have two smaller Spydercos with wire clips. They work fine for me.

  15. I nominate another Ken Onion design: the CRKT Swindle. It’s a lovely design style but functionally useless.

  16. Cold Steel Luzon: monstrous wide clip that was also so tight it was difficult to get on and off of pocket. Fortunately it’s molded plastic, so I was able to easily modify it. Ground it a lot narrower and took most of the hump off the back of it so it slips on and off pocket considerably easier.

  17. So which knives pass the pocket clip test ??

  18. Curtis A. Hatridge

    April 10, 2024 at 6:12 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with most every clip you’ve called out here, with the exception of the Chaves Skull. I reckon everyone has there own preferences & reasons for liking/not liking a particular thing, but I really like the uniqueness of the Chaves Skull. In fact, I’m carrying a TAK Flipper as my 5th pocket knife tonight. I don’t find the size terribly obstructive of anything I use it for, and it’s never (so far) given me any issues when putting in or removing from my pocket. I will say, however, that I am a lanyard guy, and use my lanyard more times than not to retrieve the knife from my pocket, so the clip isn’t ever an issue there.

    • Tim

      April 11, 2024 at 8:48 am

      Yeah, I don’t really have a problem with the Chaves Skull, but it’s a very polarizing clip. A fair number of people have refused to buy the knife because it offends them so much, but it does kind of add to the charm of the design.

  19. Cold Steel and Buck (still does manufacture) folder sheaths for big and small knives. A lanyard with a weight fob (pocket watch fob was stylish and a statement in 19th century). Why this idea of messing up the grip of a folding knife handle go to be a great 👍 👌 Idea 💡I will never know? Add kydex and fiberglass sheaths to my hate list.

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