The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Author: Tim (page 1 of 45)

Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.

Top 6 Titanium Spyderco Knives

The Native 5 Fluted Titanium photographed by the spydercollector

The Native 5 Fluted Titanium photographed by the spydercollector

This article was first published back in May 2016. It was updated in October 2020 to reflect newer models.

Behold the wonders of titanium.

This metal alloy has so many advantages in its favor—from superior corrosion resistance to excellent durability—that it’s a coveted material. Even though it’s heavier than other materials like carbon fiber, titanium is surprisingly lightweight for a strong metal. The amalgamation of all these characteristics makes titanium one hell of a material for knife handles.

No company has done a better job at making titanium handles than Spyderco. So, we decided to take a look at six Spyderco knives that expertly utilized titanium handles.

1. Spyderco Delica 4, Damascus

Let’s kick things off with a classic: the Spyderco Delica 4. This iteration of the iconic model that turned the knife world upside down features a simple titanium handle with a bead-blasted matte finish. Its good-looking titanium handle probably takes a backseat to the Damascus blade with a core of VG-10, but the handle deserves some love.

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2. Spyderco SpydieChef

Back when this article was first published, the Spyderco SpydieChef wasn’t out yet. Since its release, this titanium folder has vaulted up to become not just one of Spyderco’s best titanium knives but one of Spyderco’s best knives ever.

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15 Striking Orange Knives

This article was originally published in 2015 but has been updated to include more and newer models.

If you look at all the colors that knives and their handles come in, you’ll notice a trend. Yup, they’re pretty much all black. Black is a popular color for knives because of its lowkey appearance and versatility.

While the majority of people opt for those sexy black knives, it’s the other colors that don’t get enough love. So we decided to do a series of posts dedicated to those knives in different colors.

So today we’re looking at orange knives.

1. KA-BAR Dozier

First up on the list is the KA-BAR Bob Dozier Folding Hunter. This iteration of the popular EDC features the blaze orange handle with a black blade and thumb stud. This blade is usually considered one of the best budget EDC knives around because of its reasonable 3-inch blade and relatively low cost.

2. ESEE-4

Next is the ESEE-4 with Orange Handle. The ESEE-4 was previously named a Badass Knife of the Week because of its extreme durability. The knife’s bright orange G-10 handle scales are brought to life even more by the green blade.

3. Spyderco Endura 4

The Spyderco Endura 4 was included on our last of 20 most iconic knives ever. This is the same Endura 4 we all know and love—3.75-inch VG-10 blade—but with orange FRN handle scales.

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10 Best Gerber Knives

This post was originally published in May 2018 but was update in September 2020 to include newer models.

Gerber has a long history dating back to 1939. The brand has evolved over the years — undergoing some ups and downs as some of the best designers and knifemakers around left the company to start their own ventures.

It’s been a rocky two decades, but Gerber seems to be on firm footing with some very well-designed models. Here is a look at Gerber’s 10 best knives currently in production.

Note: As always, these best-of lists are highly subjective. However, I do my due diligence through personal experience as well as consensus from around the internet. These lists will always skew toward the tried-and-true models, but new models will always make the jump.

Gerber LMF II Infantry

Gerber has remade itself over the past few years thanks to three very reliable (and pretty similar) fixed blades. The Gerber LMF II has an undisputed spot on this list for good reason. Gerber says the knife was originally designed to free an aircrew from a downed aircraft, and it remains an adaptable fixed blade that can be used in all types of situations.

The blade is 4.84 inches made from 420HC stainless steel. It has partial serrations and glass-filled nylon with TPV overmold handles.

Gerber Gator

This list is heavily populated with perennial favorites and the Gerber Gator is no exception. It was first introduced in the early ’90s when it was named “Most Innovative Knife of the Year” at the 1991 Blade Show. Despite being so old, the knife remains one of the best Gerber has to offer.

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12 Best UK-Legal Pocket Knives

This post was originally published in April 2017 but was updated to include newer models.

There’s nothing like living in the great United States of America, but sometimes you simply have to get out to see the world. Unfortunately, not all of your knives can make the trip with you.

If you’re traveling to the United Kingdom (or live there), your knives will be heavily regulated and subject to confiscation if they don’t meet stringent requirements (and sometimes if they do).

Despite bin campaigns, increasing regulations on knife purchases, and a general demonization of all bladed tools, knife and gun crime saw a significant spike last year. That means knives will be under even more scrutiny.

You can still carry knives in the United Kingdom under very specific circumstances.

UK Knife Laws

Before we get into the actual knives you can carry, here are the basic knife laws in the UK.

“It is illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason – unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62cm) or less.” It seems like it is therefore legal to carry a larger knife or even a fixed blade as long as it’s for “good reason” but I wouldn’t push my luck.

All locking knives are banned, including those in multitools (RIP Victorinox SwissChamp). There’s also a host of banned knives and weapons in the books, such as butterfly knives, flick knives, gravity knives, disguised knives, zombie knives (even those that fall under the regular regulations!), and more.

With that in mind, here are 12 UK-legal knives.*

*It’s very possible these knives will still be taken away so exercise caution no matter what.

1. Spyderco UK Penknife

Let’s start with the quintessential UK knife: the Spyderco UK Penknife. This knife typically tops all of these UK-legal lists because Spyderco designed this knife specifically with those laws in mind. The UK Penknife uses quality materials with a 2.93-inch CTS BD1 steel blade and an FRN handle. It weighs only 1.7 ounces and represents the best a typical US-made Spyderco has to offer.

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Best Everyday Carry Eating Tools

Preparation is the key to survival.

Imagine this scenario: You’re lost out in the wilderness for days surviving on berries and wildflowers when all of a sudden you come across a fresh and perfectly made banana split. But all you have are your hands to eat the delicious and potentially life-saving ice cream creation, so you pass it along and succumb to starvation hours later.

If only you had a tool for eating something on the go.

Sure, this tale is grossly exaggerated (and you would just use your hands to eat and deal with the mess after), but it also serves as a cautionary story about the need to be prepared for everything and that includes eating like a civilized being.

Fortunately for those of us who like to eat on the go without getting our hands dirty, manufacturers make a range of tools designed to serve as utensils in any situation. Here are some of the best.

CRKT Eat’N Tool

Let’s start off with one of the most famous eating tools: the CRKT Eat’N Tool. This little guy has become one of the gold standards for what a simple yet effective eating tool should be. Designed by Liong Mah (of CRKT Remedy fame), the Eat’N Tool has a spork setup with some extras like a bottle opener, screwdrivers, pry bar, and metric wrenches.

Thanks to the cutout in the middle, the tool is surprisingly comfortable to use. It weighs 1.5 ounces and is meant to attach to your keychains for those times you’re stuck without a spoon. If you want a longer one, you can grab the CRKT Eat’N Tool XL.

KA-BAR Tactical Spork

So the name is a little silly, but the concept of the KA-BAR Tactical Spork is great. This is a compact eating utensil made from black Grilamid and looks like a classic spork when closed. But when you need a knife, it splits into two for a knife and fork set.

This tool is made in the United States and has an overall length of nearly 7 inches. This is a good camping set or something you can easily stick in your bag or EDC kit.

Kershaw Ration

The Kershaw Ration shies away from the spork, which does have some limitations and makes a tool with a fork and a spoon (as well as a cap lifter). The stainless steel tool is compact and weighs 1.1 ounces. It also has a cool carabiner to easily attach to a backpack or lunch bag for when you need it.

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Best 1st Response Rescue Knives

Disaster can strike anytime anywhere.

Your car might suddenly careen off the road before landing upside down in a creek or your clothing could get trapped in an escalator unexpectedly.

In either situation, only a knife can save you from certain doom. While any knife can save someone in a pinch, manufacturers have seized on the opportunity to create models specifically designed to aid in a rescue.

So we compiled a list of 20 of the best rescue knives. These come in all designs and styles, from small folders to massive fixed blades.

Take a look and let us know your favorites.

1. Kershaw Funxion

The Kershaw Funxion EMT is an updated version of the knife with a feature-rich design. The knife comes with a 3-inch partially serrated blade that deploys with the SpeedSafe assisted-opening mechanism.

Hidden within the K-texture GFN handle is a carabiner clip, hex wrench, cord cutter, glass breaker tip, and screwdriver tip. This is a nice multitool to carry that would come in handy in the event of an emergency. This knife is particularly useful for an EMT or medic.

2. Spyderco Assist

Spyderco makes some bizarre knives, but there’s no denying they’re great at their job. The Assist is no exception.

According to Spyderco, the knife was designed for emergency, fire, and rescue professionals (as well as civilians who like to be prepared). The 3.687-inch VG-10 blade features a blunt tip and a partially serrated edge. Along with the Round Hole, the knife features a protrusion that further aids in easy one-handed opening.

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10 Best Spyderco Knives

This post was originally published August 2018 but was updated in August 2020.

When Sal and Gail Glesser started a company in the 1970s based around a device called The Portable Hand — which could assist jewelers and other professionals who work with small parts — they likely never imagined it would become one of the premier knife brands in the world.

But, more than 40 years later, the company known as Spyderco is a top-tier brand with some of the best and most revolutionary knife designs ever made.

So, as we’ve been doing, we decided to go through the 10 best Spyderco knives currently in production. You’ll notice this list is heavily populated with classics, but that’s partially thanks to Spyderco’s CQI (constant quality improvement) program that improves upon existing designs. That’s how you get perfection.

Here are the 10 best Spyderco knives you can get right now.

Spyderco Para Military 2

Let’s get the Spyderco Para Military 2 out of the way. The PM2 is almost universally known as not just the best Spyderco model but the best pocket knife available.

So how does a knife like the PM2 capture the hearts and minds of people everywhere? It has a nearly 3.5-inch blade with a functional design and quality S30V steel. On top of that, it stays engaged with the easy-to-use and reliable Compression Lock. The G-10 handle had been improved from the first generation for better ergonomics.

This knife has pretty much everything you can ask for in a larger folder.

Spyderco Dragonfly 2

What the Para Military 2 is to larger folders, the Dragonfly 2 is to smaller folders. Pound for pound, the DF2 is one of the best small folders you can buy.

Although the Dragonfly isn’t widely accepted as the best small folder, some of the most trustworthy names in the knife community swear by this knife and for good reason. The leaf-shaped blade is only 2.25 inches, but the whole design and ability to choke up on the blade make it feel larger than it is. It locks into place with a backlock mechanism while the bi-drectional textured FRN handle scales are grippy and reliable.

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10 Best CRKT Knives

This post was originally posted in August 2018 and update in July 2020.

Formally known as Columbia River Knife & Tool, CRKT is a relatively new company in terms of big knife brands, having only been established in 1994.

However, over the two decades the company has been around, it’s put out hundreds of different knives. There’s a lot to love about CRKT, from its truly innovative designs to its collaborations with some of the top knifemakers. Unfortunately, the use of inexpensive materials leave a lot to be desired by the knife community.

Picking the 10 best CRKT knives was easy at first, until I realized all the knives I was forgetting. The company puts out dozens of new knives every year and discontinues a ton. Unlike many of the other brands, this list is a mixture of new and old.

Let us know if you think we missed any.

CRKT M16

We’ll start with the flagship series from CRKT: the M16. The late great Kit Carson, who pioneered the flipper tab, helped propel CRKT to where it is today, thanks to his M16 series. His knife was named one of the 10 best tactical knives of the decade by Blade Magazine, and the CRKT interpretation is nothing to scoff at.

These days, there are dozens of variations on the M16, so much so that it’s hard to sort out all the models available and the confusing numbering system. The M16-14SFG is a crowd favorite.

CRKT Drifter

The Drifter is an unlikely addition to this list. In many ways, the Drifter is an unspectacular folding knife, but it is exactly the knife that anyone can use and enjoy. In fact, the knife was named the best folding knife for the masses by The Wirecutter. It’s dirt cheap, features a reasonable sub 3-inch blade length, and uses a no-nonsense liner lock.

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10 Folding Karambits For EDC

The karambit is an ancient agricultural tool created by the Minangkabau people of Indonesia and modeled after the claws of big cats. These days, the karambit has entered the knife realm as a versatile self-defense tool that allows for different fighting techniques, thanks to its curved design and finger ring.

While karambits are probably best known for their self-defense qualifications, they can also make great everyday carry tools. Not only do they have comfortable, ergonomic designs but the blades also sometimes work much better than straight edged blades in certain situations (like cutting rope, for example).

While you may want to carry a secondary straight-edged knife for good measure, these five folding karambit knives have worked well as EDCs for many people.

1. Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Karambit

I’ll start things off with one of the most understated folding karambits. The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Karambit features a 3.5-inch blade with less of a curve than other models. This gives the blade more versatility than a pure karambit style blade and reduces the overall “scare” factor.

The knife still retains the claw-like design with G-10 handle scales and a stainless steel finger ring. The blade opens via ambidextrous thumb studs and stays engaged with a liner lock. There’s a reason this knife is a best-seller at Knife Depot.

2. Cold Steel Tiger Claw

Sure, Cold Steel is known for its aggressive designs and focus on self-defense, but this Andrew Demko creation is actually made with everyday carry in mind. The Cold Steel Tiger Claw was designed after Demko aimed to make a multipurpose folder that could perform while he was on the job as an electrician or engineer.

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15 Knives That Weigh Under 2 Ounces

To some people, weight is no issue in a knife. They will happily EDC a large half-pound folder made of steel because they love the design or appreciate the heft.

For others, even just a few extra ounces can feel like extra pounds when they’re carrying it around all day every day.

If you’re a weight watcher, then you’re in luck. We’ve been working on posts about knives within certain weight limits. The first post from a few months back dealt with knives that weighed under an ounce. This post focuses on the best knives weighing under 2 ounces (more specifically 1-2 ounces).

See which knives made the cut.

CRKT Eros

The Eros from CRKT is a thin folder that is easily identifiable as a Ken Onion design. CRKT calls the original the one that pioneered the “gentleman’s tactical” category. While you can find a version closer to the original, this upgraded Eros boasts better material and a lighter weight.

The blade is 3 inches of Acuto 440 steel while the handle is 6AL4V titanium with a frame lock.

Weight: 1.4 oz

Kershaw Launch 4

California legal automatic knives are becoming increasingly popular, and the most popular in this category is the Kershaw Launch 4. Although the knife is small with a 1.9-inch automatic blade, it makes an excellent EDC.

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10 Badass Knife Money Clips

This post was updated in April 2020 with more current models. It was originally published in August 2017.

Wallets are large, uncomfortable and bulky (if you’re lucky). But if you’re the kind of guy who’s bent on keeping your pockets as unobtrusive as possible and aren’t bogged down by rewards cards from places like Petco or Panera Bread, ditch the wallet for something a little more discreet and fashionable: a money clip.

The money clip is straightforward, unassuming, and typically boasts a nice metal design that’s more durable than any leather wallet. And to kill two birds with one stone, many money clips also double as a pocket knife.

To help you in your search for a new money clip and pocket knife, we’ve broken down some of the most interesting knife money clips.

SOG Cash Card

Money and a knife. Is there anything else you really need to carry? The SOG Cash Card was designed with this purpose in mind. It features a minimalist design with cutouts that keep the weight at a reasonable 2 ounces. The best part is the functional 2.75-inch liner locking blade. The handle is stainless steel.

Victorinox Swiss Army Money Clip

The Swiss Army knife is the ultimate multitool, so it makes perfect sense to attach a money clip to it and make it a full-fledged multitool that’s the only thing in your pocket. The Victorinox Money Clip model has a blade, scissors, and nail file with cleaner. This model actually comes in three colors.

CRKT K.I.S.S.

The late Ed Halligan wanted a knife that kept to the motto “Keep It Super Simple” (or Keep It Simple Stupid), so he made the K.I.S.S. The knife was picked up by CRKT and was unveiled at the Shot Show in 1997. It became an instant it. This design is as basic as they come.

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10 Best Kershaw Knives

Article was originally published in May 2018.

Kershaw Knives has a long history that dates back to 1974 when Pete Kershaw left his job at Gerber to form his own company. More than 40 years later, the Oregon-based company continues to flex its muscle and show why it remains one of the best knife companies around.

The company has evolved over the years with popular and revolutionary knife models coming and going, but we wanted to take a look at the best knives currently in production at Kershaw.

Note: Best is obviously a very subjective term. While there will be some bias in which knives to include, I will try to select the knives that receive generally widespread acclaim from professional reviewers and customers. Some knives may also get some bonus points for being important to the company. New knives often need a few years to gain the stature needed to be called the best but there are always some that are obvious additions.

If you feel any knives have been slighted or want to mention a knife you feel is the best, let me know in the comments.

Kershaw Leek

I’m kicking off the list with the most iconic Kershaw knife ever made: the Leek. This Ken Onion design has always been lumped in with the historically important knives (it made our own list of most iconic knives) and for good reason.

The Leek is simple, effective, and is a gold standard for EDC knives. The knife features a 3-inch modified Wharncliffe blade made from quality 142C28N steel, a stainless steel handle with a frame lock, and the SpeedSafe assisted-opening mechanism.

Because the Leek is a staple of Kershaw, it’s available in tons of varieties and colors. For example, you can pick it up with an orange handle or with a composite D2/142C28N steel blade. In my estimation, the best Leek is the newer carbon fiber Leek.

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Kershaw Blur

When people think of a Kershaw, they likely think of two knives. The first is the Leek, and the second is the Blur. Also a Ken Onion design, the Blur has been a part of Kershaw for years and acts as a sort of counterforce to the Leek.

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10 Best Carbon Fiber EDC Knives

Article was originally published in March 2017 and updated March 2020.

There are a few characteristics nearly everyone looks for in an everyday carry: strength, durability, and a light weight. Few other handle materials boast those qualities like carbon fiber.

Over the years, carbon fiber has grown in popularity due to its versatility. It is a synthetic material that will not break under pressure or crack through use. According to Knife Art, it is stiffer than steel and five times stronger.

But the best part may be its weight. CF helps cut down the overall heft of a knife, giving your EDC a light feel. Oh, and it looks great!

Of course, there are different levels and qualities of carbon fiber. More companies have been doing a laminated version of carbon fiber with G-10 to cut down on prices while giving it the look and feel of carbon fiber. While laminated carbon fiber and G-10 is not pure carbon fiber, we’re including a few here too.

Enough gushing over carbon fiber. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best carbon fiber EDC knives.

1. Kershaw Leek, Carbon Fiber

The Kershaw Leek is one of the best and most iconic EDC knives, so when it came out in carbon fiber a few years ago, it made something great even greater. It has the same CPM 154 stainless steel 3-inch blade with assisted opening but the handles are carbon fiber. The weight is a cool 2.4 ounces.

2. Boker Plus Anti-Grav

The Boker Plus Anti-Grav goes all in on lightweight materials, including carbon fiber handle scales and a 3.25-inch ceramic blade. The all black blade and CF handle makes the whole knife look sexy.

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15 Bright Green Knives

It’s an old tradition to wear something green on St. Patrick’s Day. Some people wear green shoelaces or a green hat, but if you’re the kind of knife nut who’s reading this blog, you’re probably going to carry a green knife.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re looking at 20 great knives with green handles.

This article has been updated a few times since its first publication in 2014 to get rid of discontinued models and put some new ones.

Spyderco Dragonfly 2, British Racing Green

The Dragonfly 2 is a truly amazing knife. It is small yet versatile, efficient yet sexy. The black version is already excellent, but the Spyderco Dragonfly 2 in British Racing Green takes things to the next level.

The blade is made from ZDP-189 and features dark green FRN handles. When folks in the knife community call this one of the best EDC knives ever, you know you have a winner.

Artisan Ravine, Green

Artisan Cutlery is an up-and-coming brand with a lot of new and exciting designs. Each comes in a variety of options and materials. The Ravine is a great little design with a modified Wharncliffe blade and ergonomic handle. This version has a D2 blade and green G-10 handle scales.

Other Artisan Cutlery knives come in mint green as well.

Bear & Son Cutlery Undead Bear Tac II

The Bear & Son Cutlery Undead Bear Tac II is a green knife through and through. It features zombie green G-10 handle scales and a zombie green blade made from 1095 carbon steel.

Buck Spitfire, Green Aluminum Handle

The Spitfire from Buck is a versatile folder that will easily become your new EDC the moment you hold it. This beauty is made in the USA and features a thin design. You can choose the color it comes in, but the one we’re concerned with is this brownish Aluminum Green handle.

Electrifying California OTF

California legal OTF knives are becoming increasingly popular. These little out the front automatic knives have blades under two inches. Even though it’s small, it still works like a charm for most EDC tasks.

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15 Best Keychain Tools

Quick, empty your pockets.

If you happen to be outside the house, you’ll likely have at least three items: a wallet, phone, and keys. We’ve already talked about credit-card knives that fit into wallets and the iPhone multitool case, but that leaves us with keys.

Since your keys are always within reach whenever you’re outside the house, they’re a natural place to attach essential tools.

If you’re looking to make your keys even more useful, we’ve assembled this list of tools that fit right on your keychain.

Some of the tools we first wrote about when this was published in May 2015 have gone the way of the dodo, so we decided to give this list an update.

Gerber Shard

The Gerber Shard is a small and easy to carry piece of steel that doesn’t overwhelm with functions. The small tool has two screwdrivers, a pry bar, a nail remover, a bottle and can opener, a scraper, and whatever else you can get out of it.

The tool is 2.75 inches long and made of stainless steel with black titanium coating.

Victorinox Classic SD

Perhaps the best-known multitool ever is the Swiss Army knife. The Victorinox Classic SD is not only one of the best-selling Swiss Army knives but it is also small enough to fit on your keychain.

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Modern EDC Slipjoints

If you don’t have a tactical folder that can hold the weight of a car, do you really have a functional knife?

Yes! The truth is for countless years people have successfully used nonlocking folders for all kinds of jobs. In fact, in more recent years, companies have started making slipjoint knives you can carry as an EDC folder.

While these knives aren’t something you’d want to baton with (get a fixed blade for that unless you’re Advanced Knife Bro), nonlocking folders are a great option for an EDC. You don’t have to settle for an old Case knife either (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You can now get a modern-looking slipjoint that uses higher end materials.

Here are some of the best modern EDC slipjoints currently available.

Byrd Tern

Unfortunately, Spyderco recently did away with many of its best slipjoint models — such as the Pingo and the PITS. OK, so the PITS isn’t really a slipjoint, but it’s still a nonlocking folder. However, the sub brand of Spyderco called Byrd Knives has an inexpensive slipjoint called the Tern that features a modern look.

The knife is essentially a cheaper version of the UK Penknife.

CRKT ARt Deco

There was one point a few years back where CRKT had a few modern EDC slip joints to choose from. However, they’re not always as popular as locking knives. Fortunately, for just a little longer we have the Art Deco folder from Ken Steigerwalt.

Boker Plus Wasabi

Boker is probably the brand with the most modern EDC slipjoints, as you’ll see farther down the list. One of the best and newest is the Wasabi, an interesting design from Kansei Matsuno.

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15 Best Lightweight Fixed Blade Knives

The old saying goes that the best lock mechanism on a knife is a fixed blade.

Back in the day, fixed blades were mostly robust outdoor tools, but the trend has been increasingly toward lighter and lighter fixed blades. That’s a plus for everyone.

A few years back, I wrote a post on the best EDC fixed blade knives. While all the knives performed well at EDC tasks, many of them were quite hefty.

So I decided to take the concept of an EDC fixed blade and narrow it down even more to the best lightweight fixed blades. All of these knives are at least under 3 ounces — with many of them being under 2.

Check them out.

CRKT Minimalist Wharncliffe

Weight: 1.1 oz
Blade Length: 2″
Overall Length: 5″

OK, I know my love for the CRKT Minimalist permeates everything around here, as this model makes it onto many best-of lists (including the aforementioned best EDC fixed blades). But it deserves another mention here. In the best EDC fixed blades post, I highlighted the Bowie version, but the Wharncliffe version is even lighter at a mere 1.1 ounces.

This is one of those knives you can feel confident carrying anywhere you go and feels big in the hand, despite the — well — minimalist handle.

Spyderco ARK

Weight: 0.9 oz
Blade Length: 2.56″
Overall Length: 4.98″

A Spyderco made it on the best EDC fixed blades, but the Street Beat is a pretty heavy folder. Enter the Spyderco ARK. Standing for “Always Ready Knife,” the ARK was designed as a personal defense knife by U.S. Army combat veteran John Shirley and his friend Sam Owens.

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Best Ontario Knives

Over the past year or so, I’ve been going over the best knives from each brand. Some have been really easy to narrow down such as Spyderco and Kershaw.

However, few brands have been harder to pin down than Ontario Knife Company. Ontario, sometimes known more simply as OKC, has a surprisingly robust and diverse selection of knives that all serve a purpose and do it well. There are some obvious choices — ahem, the RAT folders — but there are so many other serviceable knives that could have been on this list.

These lists always carry some level of bias and subjectivity, but I feel like this list may contain more whimsy and randomness than others.

If I’m alive and kicking and still have this job, I’ll redo this next year and may swap out some others, but this is the list for 2019. Let me know which ones I missed in the comments.

Ontario RAT Folder

Let’s start with the easiest addition to this list: the RAT Folders. I’m cheating a bit because this includes the RAT 1 and RAT 2 folders. They are essentially the same knife but in different sizes.

The RAT folders are a perennial favorite among knife people because they are relatively cheap, reliable, and solid knives. The fact that they are now available in D2 at a low cost means they may be the best budget knife on the market.

Along with D2, you can get an assisted version, an AUS 8 version, and some with different blade finishes and handle colors.

Ontario Black Bird SK-5

The next no-brainer is the Ontario Black Bird SK-5. The series is designed by Paul Scheiter. The survival knife was named the best of the best by Field and Stream Magazine in 2011. It’s a pretty simple bushcrafting knife with a 5-inch 154CM stainless steel blade and G-10 handle scales.

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2020 Discontinued Spyderco Knives

With a new year comes new cuts to old favorites. Spyderco announced which knives were getting the ax back in September on their forum.

While that’s bad news for those who loved the knives, there is still some good news to be had. Most of these knives are still available but only for a little longer.

To help you, we’ve assembled the list of about 30 discontinued knives with links to where you can buy them. Then later in the post, we’ll talk about which models we’ll miss the most.

All 2020 Discontinued Spyderco Knives

BY03TIP2 – Cara Cara 2 Titanium (Sold Out)
BY04TIP2 – Meadowlark 2 Titanium (Sold Out)
BY10TIP2 – Robin 2 Titanium (Sold Out)
C07GP4 – Police 4 G-10
C28S – Dragonfly Stainless SPY
C28SBK2 – Dragonfly 2 Black SPY
C69GP3 – Lil’ Temperance 3 G-10
C82GP3 – D’Allara 3
C91SYL – Pacific Salt Yellow SPY (Look for the Pacific Salt 2 in 2020)
C91PYL – Pacific Salt Yellow PLN (Look for the Pacific Salt 2 in 2020)
C91SBK – Pacific Salt Black SPY (Look for the Pacific Salt 2 in 2020)
C91PBK – Pacific Salt Black PLN (Look for the Pacific Salt 2 in 2020)
C91PBBK – Pacific Salt Black Blade PLN (Look for the Pacific Salt 2 in 2020)
C91SBBK – Pacific Salt Black Blade SPY (Look for the Pacific Salt 2 in 2020)
C123CFP – Sage 1 Carbon Fiber
C152STIBLP – Chaparral Blue Stepped Ti
C152STIP – Chaparral Stepped Ti (Out)
C170GP – Karahawk G-10 Satin (Out)
C193PGY – Squarehead Lightweight Gray
C193PBK – Squarehead Lightweight Black
C203TIP – Mantra 2 Titanium
C212CFP – Magnitude Carbon Fiber
C214TIP – Advocate Titanium
C218GP – Opus G-10
C219GP – Q-Ball G-10
C224GP – Lil’ Sub-Hilt G-10
C225GP – Hundred Pacer
C227GP – Hanan G-10
FB38GP – Junction
K11S – Cooks Knife SPY

Spyderco Sage 1

The Sage series is a great idea — taking a great design and making it with different lock mechanisms. Unfortunately, many in the Sage series have been discontinued, including the Sage 1 with a liner lock this year.

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Top 20 Knives with D2 Steel

This post was updated in December 2019 to include newer models.

Finding the perfect steel is tough. Not only are there so many types available but there are also tons of factors to consider — price, ease of sharpening, hardness, corrosion resistance, and more.

The perfect steel is ever elusive, but you can pick the right steel for the job. If you want a steel that’s nearly stainless but has great edge retention and wear-resistance, opt for D2.

D2 tool steel has been around for a very long time. It became popular as a tool steel during World War II in factories. In terms of knives, knife makers Wayne Goddard and Bob Dozier pioneered the use of D2 steel in knives. In fact, Dozier is sometimes called Dr. D2.

Here is an excerpt from Steve Shackleford’s Blade Magazine post on why D2 is still so great after all these years:

While D2 may not be stainless, it remains a top performer due in no small part to its high wear resistance/edge-holding ability. “It will hold an edge for a very long time before it will go dull,” says Paul Tsujimoto, director of engineering at Ontario Knife Co.  Combined with its relatively inexpensive price, this makes D2 a favorite of manufacturers and custom makers alike. “For us, it’s the perfect combination of performance and an affordable price,” notes Dietmar Pohl of Pohl Force Knives. Agrees Devanna, “It’s the best bang for the buck because it’s priced reasonably and works well.”

While D2 does sacrifice ease of sharpening and some corrosion resistance, it remains an excellent choice for knife users everywhere.

If you’re interested in seeing what D2 has to offer, I collected a list of 20 knives that showcase the variety of D2 knives. Take a look.

1. Ontario RAT 1 D2

The RAT 1 is one of the most beloved budget knives of all time. It (and its smaller brother the RAT 2) are praised for their designs and overall utility. The only major complaint the RAT 1 gets is its adequate AUS-8 blade steel. So Ontario Knife Company came back with a D2 version of the knife.

The one I’m highlighting here is an all-around fantastic limited edition version with a D2 blade and a carbon fiber laminated G-10 handle. It doesn’t cut down on the weight as much as I’d like, but it looks and feels great in the hand. Other than the upgrades, the limited edition RAT 1 maintains the same design elements as the original.

2. Benchmade Adamas

“This knife is a tank.” I’ve heard that about the Benchmade Adamas a million times, and it’s not hard to see why the folding version gets so much love. The 3.82-inch blade is 0.160 inches thick while the handle features liners and G-10 handle scales. Coming in at more than 7 ounces, the weight would be a liability in a lesser knife but the Adamas uses it as leverage in heavy-duty tasks.

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