The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Is a Knife Clipped to Your Pocket Considered Concealed Carry?

Say you’re walking down the street and you’re carrying a Spyderco Tenacious clipped to your pocket. It may look a little something like this:


If a police officer were to see the knife clip attached to your pocket, would it be considered concealed carry or open carry?

In short, it could be considered either. One of the problems with knife laws is the fact that much of it is left up to interpretation. One police officer may only see the clip and say that the actual knife is concealed in the pocket. Another may say that it’s clearly a part of the knife and it’s showing so the knife is being openly carried.

It matters because in some places, a knife with a blade length more than a certain amount of inches cannot be carried openly. In other places, that same knife must be carried openly.

Wherever you live (and wherever you go), it’s absolutely essential to thoroughly look at your knife laws because they are often littered with phrases and definitions that are general or open to interpretation.


For example, in New York City, knives must be carried concealed. Since the Big Apple is well known for interpreting knife laws very broadly, Knife Rights recommends that knives are never carried clipped to your pocket or you may be arrested, even those with a deep-pocket-carry clip that doesn’t actually show the knife’s body.

In Los Angeles, the code says “no person shall wear or carry in a plain view any knife or dagger upon any public street or public place or in any place open to the public.” A knife, as defined by Los Angeles, has a blade 3 inches or more in length. This sounds very firm, but does a pocket clip—especially a low-carry pocket clip—count as plain view? Again, it’s mostly a matter of opinion from the arresting officer, but it wouldn’t hurt to slip your 3-inch or longer knife into your pocket because there’s no limit for concealed folders.

The problem with clips is that countless objects have clips, like flashlights, pens, and Keybars.

If you saw this, you might assume I’m carrying a knife, especially since Schrade is a well-known knife manufacturer.


However, it could just be a pen.


Many officers will simply ignore pocket clips, but it only takes that one for you to get arrested. Your safest bet is to always assume a knife clipped to your pocket is open carry. If your knife adheres to the law, don’t worry about, but if there’s any doubt, slip it in your pocket.


  1. Jack the Ripper

    January 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I completely disregard the law games, and I carry my Spyderco Paramilitary 2 everywhere.

    • I rather have and not need than to need and not have. Fuck the law I carry 2 knives and they are for bodily harm if you attack me ….

      • Sometimes it is better to endure bodily harm then spend a mandatory 2 year prison term and more years if it is found that you were not justified in using deadly force. Here in Florida, being punched in the nose does not justify a deadly response. No matter how threatened you feel or what you think will happen if you did not stop the assault, it will be a jury who was not there or feeling what you felt, who will decide. A defense consisting of what might have happened if you did not stab your attacker, is very difficult to defend. Going to prison can put high stress on you and your family. Marriages break up over it ala Zimmerman. Jobs are lost and you are not a felon trying to find a good job.

        I carry a gun legally and it will not be used unless there is a clear and present danger and not what I think like some bozo who was trapped by a bunch of teens and when one reached into a paper bag, she shot him. Inside the bag was a can of soda. They were just trash talking and yet one got shot dead. The other guy is serving a mandatory 20 year no parole sentence. If I just show my gun it is a mandatory 3 year sentance. 80% of those arrested for knife and gun charges end up pleading guilty to a lesser term rather than risk a 10 or 20 year mandatory sentance.

        If I shoot someone justifiable, I am looking at $75,000 in legal fees. Zimmerman, had he had to pay, would have cost him several hundred dollars to avoid a lengthy prison term. I carry 4″ or less knives EDC although I have some tactical self defense ones like the Cold Steel Talwar, Paramilitary 2, Police model and many more. I have been collecting knifes for 47 years so I have a lot of good ones.

        However, due to different knife laws in the three counties I drive though , I carry a 2.5 to 3.75″ blade with no assisted opening. I have a nice collection of OTF and side autos as well as a nice Paragon gravity knife and handmade stiletto. I do not need a knife for self defends nor want to use one. Many decades ago I was taught knife fighting and the thing that stuck with me was that it has to be in touch me distance and both usually get cut.

        I rather carry a main gun and a small backup gun. I can defend myself beyond knife range.

        • Lol your trippin man there is a stand your ground law in florida and if you are punched in the nose you are able to use Lethal force. As long as you say you felt your life was in danger i had a friend that had a illegal weapon and used it in this manner and he didnt even get a charge they just took it called it a day longwood FL florida has the best defense laws!

          • Those Florida laws are insane. It’s like Florida isn’t even part of the United States, wish it wasn’t.

          • Bro Florida’s knife laws are weird. I can open carry my Ka-Bar USMC all day(and I do), but if I conceal my Guardian Tactical oft, straight to jail

        • Nopius Maximus

          May 21, 2023 at 7:38 pm

          Handguns and knives are in my opinion simply tools that enable you to escape a dangerous situation.
          If an assailant gets within knife range then a tactical mistake has been made.
          Situational awareness is your best protection in addition to quickly deciding on an escape route to move toward a more defensible position if possible.

        • You take you find them. A person with cervical spine issue or osteoporosis is at risk of death of punched in the head or face and may defend themselves accordingly. The fact that the attacker is aware of the condition of the their victim is not a legal defense.
          While the age is not a factor as anyone may be so vulnerable, the elderly are assumed to be physically vulnerable and unable to defend themselves against a non elderly attacked regardless of their actual physical condition. This is the basis of laws that protect the elderly as a special class from physical abuse and punish assailants harshly. Thus, a little old lady may use whatever means at her disposal to stop an imminent physical attack upon their person.
          I couldn’t guess how elder laws apply to two grumpy old men engaged in mutual combat, whacking each other with their canes.
          ‘Take then as you find them’ also applies to civil law. For example, a individual in a car with an existing injury may be reinjured or injured further in a minor fender bender where a physically sound person would not. Full liability would apply to the injuries sustained.

      • Guess you are right Mr. Lu if someone attack you will pulled-out your knives no matter what. The cops can’t do nothing!

      • Here in Ohio I own 50+ automatic knives from double action OTF switchblades, single action OTF switchblades and lots of push button coil spring auto’s.
        For many years now every time I leave my house I have at LEAST one auto (sometimes 2) with me at all times.
        I typically have the knives clipped to the inside of my pocket and have never had an issue with the law during routine traffic stops.
        I even went to Canada (and forgot to leave a Boker automatic at home) and had it in my pocket. Well going across the Canadian border my Ohio custom license plate “UZI” aroused suspicion at customs and I was asked to pull over for inspection. Nice security folks really, I did drop the knife in my pocket so the clip wasn’t showing (just in case), but did not have an issue at customs and ventured on into Canada as normal (this was back in 1998).
        Today in 2020 my new carry rig is a Gerber 06 tanto serrated automatic which I purchased from BladeHQ.
        I mention all this to show you can carry auto knives in Ohio with no issues if you are a law abiding citizen.

      • your fucking physco

    • Be ready to be arrested any time a cop is in the mood then.

      • Or any cop that like your knife and wants to add it to his collection.

        • Mr. Byrd is correct. Even if you hire a lawyer multiple thousands, to get your weapons back: assuming they were legal in possession and context is going to be a pain in the arse. And all of you talking about how you carry w/e you want f’ the police. GOOD FOR YOU! I MEAN IT! but also understand you are ONE TERRY PAT away from facing an illegal weapons charge. Where I live I have been Terry patted on the way to the corner store for “Wearing a suit”. How that has any correlation to anything I couldnt tell you….but in MI it is 3 inches and under one side blade only, assisted open will be considered illegal. They hate the MOLLE and TEK-LOK systems although they remain legal as of now. You can open carry a longer knife but with a definition of “can be seen clearly from at least 3 sides” you would have to almost go kitana. (prepare for a whole new set of questions). However open carrying a gun is legal af soooo yea.

  2. Agree with you man! First time on your blog from Google search. Super v.


  3. A person definitely needs to be aware of their state’s knife carry laws.

    In Florida, the definition of a weapon doesn’t include a “common pocket knife”. The debate is what is considered a “common pocket knife” since the Florida Statutes don’t specify what constitutes a “common pocket knife”(i.e. Blade length).

    There is case law that basically states that the manner in which the knife is carried or used is the deciding factor. In the Tampa area, there was a man who was caught burglarizing a home. He had a pocket knife on him and was charged with armed burglary. The Supreme Court stated since the pocket knife wasn’t an element of the crime and was in a closed position that it wasn’t a weapon. I believe the blade length was “3 to “4 inches.

    There was another case in Florida where a lady made verbal threats to harm another person. When police contacted her, she had a similar sized pocket knife in the opened position. She was charged with Aggravated Assault and the charge maintained by the courts.

    The only knives in Florida that are illegal are “ballistic” knives. The automatic knives are in a gray area here since there isn’t any guidance on those.

    Open carry of knives, especially knives in sheaths are acceptable in Florida. Florida is a very friendly knife state.

    • I am from Florida,and I have carried a sheath knife(buckmaster 184)
      and I have never had a problem . I have had officers tell me that they would rather see it openly.

    • I’m in NYC and fuck this Law … I rather have and not need that to need and not have. And my knives serve one purpose protection. But, if they as its for emergency medical procedurs .

    • I’m from fl I’m 16 almost 17 can I open carry a knife. And open carry I mean in my pocket with the clip

    • In Florida. A knife with a blade under 4″ can be concealed . Any length over 4″ can be carried but not concealed..
      All automatics cannot be carried concealed regardless of blade length, but can be carried open regardless of blade length.

    • Stop with the Florida crap. We all know that Florida is a state full of people that nobody else wants. It’s like the land of lost brains. Nothing about Florida is good or sane. Your Governor is a POS spoiled rotten rich baby who doesn’t give a shit about you.

  4. I’m so glad I live in the South. Here in the state of SC we can legally own and carry any size knife, concealed or openly. I have done so all my life and have carried everything from a small pocket knife to a full size 8″ bowie. I’ve never had a problem here in my state. As long as it’s sheathed or in my pocket and I’m not causing malice or threatening anyone, people don’t care, (and that’s the way it should be.)

    • Yup! Here in Tennessee, any size blade open or concealed is just fine.

    • I’ve had a Rock Hill police officer tell me that fixed blade knives with blades longer than 3 inches were illegal to carry. I was unable to find anything in the code of laws at any level available online that supported that claim though. Unfortunately, you can still have issues with cops while doing something completely legal as not everyone knows the law very well and it only takes a couple triggered liberals calling 911 for things to go South. I definitely agree that as long as we’re not doing anything else illegal we ought to be able to possess whatever knives and/or guns we desire without incident.

      • Right….liberals.

        • right? im liberal and i say one is none so pack two. I am also harassed by the law enough to know better than to break it. 3 inches can’t tell you how many NICE knifes are 3 1/8 3.13 etc etc, i just look past them. I have watched them take the ruler out more than once and they don’t give you a fair shake, they start measuring where the metal starts, depending on blade design the knife may have no edge for the first 1/4 inch ish i would say. So be aware—- metal = blade —— g10 micarta etc = handle

          I do not think this is subjective as I have seen it done like this multiple times.

    • I’m so glad you live there. The South should have a giant fence built around it so you nuts can open carry the shit out of each other. The North should have cleaned the South out after the Civil War, you’re all nuts.

      • Jesus Christ, read what you just said and see who sounds like the nutjob here. Get some help.

      • Nopius Maximus

        May 21, 2023 at 8:03 pm

        It took the North four years to defeat the South,a primarily agricultural region with very little industrial capacity and no history of armaments production.
        The North out produced the South due to industrial strength and the location of the major weapons suppliers.
        Your blind liberalism is showing and I doubt you’ve ever spent any time here.
        We have good and bad just like everywhere else.

  5. I live in Ohio now haven’t had a problem here

  6. People’s Republic of Massachusetts, Lot’s of grey areas, Police Officer interpretation—also known as , PD doesn’t like citizens with pocket knives, or better yet…Make-Believe -Laws…I noticed some online shops won’t send assisted knives to MA., but they appear to be misinformed. Assisted knives–both spring, and manual IKBS/Ball bearing type are for sale in MA. Local Walmart in one township that’s very friendly in knife sales has CRKT Hissatsu’s for $50.00..As well as The larger Fossil, and some other CRKT items…Also all manner of Kershaw’s…The only places I’m aware of that have “so called township/cities ordinances.” Would be Boston—“DNC/ DemoCRAPS permission 2 1/2 inches only from work or to sport…Whatever that means…All US Constitutional-Bill of Rights infringements anyhow…Includes a few other cities /towns with their own Monchary…” Anyhow, I support my constitutional rights —if it’s being declared a personal weapon…Then it’s constitutionally protected…If it’s a tool, it’s still falls under property rights…Remember, Their is NO Such thing as “Pre-crime.” Furthermore, Murder is a Crime….It is already against the law!

  7. Go Wisconsin! Gov. Walker just removed the law of concealed carry, and no local government can overrule this law. Now one doesn’t need a license for any type of concealed knife.

    • Tim

      March 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Yes, Wisconsin is now one of the friendliest states for concealed carry.

      • Yup. Lifelong Illinoisian and finally couldn’t take it anymore.

        When younger while in the military traveling to and from Camp McCoy, the state police used to look for and harass military personnel. I was one of ’em. Twice. lol

        I swore and took an Almighty oath to God that I would never, ever again step inside the state of Wisconsin.

        30 years later I found myself a resident after having first legally residing in states during my 3 year divorce of 40 years in the states of VA, NC, DC, WV, OH, back to Illinois for a short sprint and finally Wisconsin. Been here since 2013 now and haven’t looked back.

  8. In Florida a knife is a tool. Weapon laws don’t apply.

    • I live in New York City, and depending where you are, the clip can get you in trouble both ways. I was arrested for walking through a subway station with a clip knife because having a visible knife in the subway is a violation. The real problem was that even though I always keep my blades tight, the hinge had loosened enough from use that the officer was able to flip it open, and a gravity knife is a weapons charge. Ironically, if I hadn’t forgotten to drop it into my pocket, I would have been fine. The charges were eventually dropped, but jail isn’t fun. I don’t carry in the city anymore.

      • Tim

        March 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm

        No one should carry in NYC anymore. The laws are too open to interpretation and they’re really trying to make an example out of anyone. Glad the charges were dropped—if not, Knife Rights would have your back.

        • Tim, I live in Florida and almost a couple of months ago, I went on a Thanksgiving trip to NYC. In there, I did carry my little SAK Classic all throughout NYC, completely concealed deep in my pocket. It didn’t have a pocket clip anyway and I removed the key ring since I left my keys at home. I had absolutely no problem with the NYPD.
          While the SAK CLASSIC knife was perfectly legal under the NYC law, I found that its best to keep the knife completely concealed, unless of course, I have to use it, as to not cause any trouble.
          I got a tab flipper from Gerber this past Christmas. I am sure this, and all tab flippers, would of been deemed a “gravity knife” in the eyes of NYC law, even though it has no spring assist.

      • Get yourself a cheap knife with a clip and liquid steel the blade shut. Watch the officer sling his arm out trying to open it!

        • THAT is an absolutely GREAT idea!

          Keep that one as the one the officer confiscates while hiding the real one under the toupee in case of emergencies. hahahahaha ………. lol …………

  9. Does anyone know Michigan’s Knifes Law?

    • Yessir. Single edge only. Concealed carry 3 inches or under. No assisted open no auto open. You CAN open carry a single edged blade that is longer. The definition of OPEN CARRY is iffy, “Must be visible from 3 sides” so a clip on a pocket will not suffice as ‘open’. So 3 inches or less single side blade conceal away.

  10. We have traveled through New York and NewJersey.
    I always carry my pistol and my knives concealed .
    I don’t go into federal buildings with them.
    I have a personal carry permit but is not accepted in these states. I carry smart.
    I will not draw my knife or gun to threaten. When I draw it’s going into use right now. I was “asked are you not afraid to get caught with your weapons”?
    I replied” I’m afraid to get caught without them” !

  11. The confusing NYS laws state switchblades and the like are illegal, yet while hunting or fishing under a valid license they are legal. What about the commute to said activities?
    Unfortunately the vague folding knife laws regarding assisted, auto, gravity, and flipper types comes down to the officer on the street and his adeptness at flipping open your knife.

  12. I’m in VA. I own several switch blade knives all with pocket clips. As long as they are visible in my pocket by the clip is it legal to carry it?

    • I also live in VA and I think the same way. If it’s clipped to your pocket and the clips visible (shirt or jacket isn’t covering it) it’s open carry, which is what this page said at the last paragraph.

  13. Get yourself a cheap knife with a clip and liquid steel it shut. The watch the cop sling his arm out trying to open it!

  14. Make a few clips. Put them on combs, pens, pack of gum, or just clip the clip to a pocket with nothing on it. When they ask for it just grin when you hand it over.

  15. My opinion on the whole thing is that VA is a communist state and law enforcement is gonna make up the laws as they see fit. I’ve asked for lack of a better word cops about automatic knives or switchblades and they tell me and spring assisted knife is illegal to carry in this state. But if you look it up. Any knife is legal to own in Virginia. But in the article they keep saying open carry but don’t say exactly what the term open carry is. This way they can do as they see fit and arrest you. This state is as crooked as a politician.

    • Are your healthcare and universities free? If not, then it’s not communist lol. Those are the core principles of socialism and communism. Before I left Germany to emigrate here, my family paid less than 300 USD in taxes. And all of that was provided by the government. Socialism is amazing, and it works in nearly every country it exists in. BTW, we also still have guns in Germany. We probably have more rights than you Americans.

    • Agree … Most cops in Virginia are mentally challenged sophomoric welfare cases… They want to sit on their asses and write traffic tickets. They don’t know the laws and violate your civil liberties.

      Suggest you record and film all interactions…

      Identify yourself (ID NOT verbally)
      Ask why they approached or stopped you
      If you are being charged
      Get full name badge number
      DO NOT answer any questions whether charged or not
      FILE formal complaint with City AG — Not the PD

  16. Just received a response from Florida Dep’t of Agriculture and Consumer Services (those that issue a concealed weapons permit here) and when a pocket clip is utilized, the knife is considered as concealed. So if you happen to have an automatic knife, or a knife with a blade longer than 4″, that have pocket clips AND you possess a Florida CWP, then you are considered within the law, in Florida. I believe if those particular knives were in sheaths, for open-carry, then anyone can carry, in Florida.
    While making these statements though, I don’t believe all law enforcement jurisdictions are fully aware of the laws and sometimes may react “on-sight”.

    • Yep! My rules : 1. Knife 2. Police force flashlight taser 3. Skin dying mase 4. 9mm….. then keys purse kids! Mess with me or my kids, the case isn’t going past stand your ground hearing.

  17. I carry an OTF-DA (Out The Front-Double Action), in my pocket, clip showing. Automatic knives are legal here in Ohio. An officer once asked me if I was carrying any concealed weapons. I said no. He immediately noted the knife in my pocket, accusing me of lieing. I said ” First of all, my knife is a tool, not a weapon. Secondly, you immediately noted to me I was carrying a knife. So in doing so, you admitted to knowing it was a knife. Therefore not concealed because if it was concealed you would have never known it was a knife or that I was carrying one.” A double win for me. I was left alone after that. It’s a sad thing when a law-abiding citizen cannot even carry a knife without being harassed by law enforcement. Because of my trade, I use my knife nearly every day.

  18. Hi
    Are you originally from St. Louis? Name familiar

  19. “Many officers will simply ignore pocket clips, but it only takes that one for you to get arrested. Your safest bet is to always assume a knife clipped to your pocket is open carry. If your knife adheres to the law, don’t worry about, but if there’s any doubt, slip it in your pocket.”

    This makes no sense!

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