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While several icons of the American knife industry have faded away in recent years, they have been replaced by a new crop of forward-thinking knife companies that have introduced many new and innovative knives designed for EDC (everyday carry).
Larger than most traditional pocket knives and more modern in appearance than the classic folding knives of yesteryear, today’s EDC knives represent the many advances made in blade steels, blade designs, handle designs, and locking mechanisms. In addition, although EDC knives are meant to be general purpose knives, many of them also serve well as tactical knives.
5 Features To Look For
When choosing a modern EDC knife, you first need to consider the purpose for which you intend to use it. Only then should you choose the blade steel, the blade design, and the handle design.
1. Size – Look for a knife that is the right size for however you plan to use. Also, it should be a size that allows it to be comfortably clipped to the edge of either your front or back pocket. It should also feature a well-made pocket clip that enables you to carry it tip up or tip down and on your left or your right side depending on your preference.
2. Blade Design – When choosing a knife, blade design is another critical factor. Because an EDC knife is meant to be a working knife that can also serve as a self-defense weapon, the blade should be moderate in shape and have either a Clip Point or a Drop Point blade design so the tip of the blade is positioned close to the center line of the blade for piercing, and so the belly is full enough to enable efficient slicing.
3. Blade Steel – Most people prefer knives with blades made from stainless steels such as 420J2, 420HC, AUS-8, 440C, or ATS-34 as opposed to high carbon, non-stainless, tool steels because they require less maintenance to keep them corrosion free. Also, most people prefer tough steels over hard steels because they are easier to sharpen. This is important because EDC knives tend to be used for many different purposes that often require them to be resharpend frequently.
4. Handle Design – When choosing an EDC knife, you should first choose a knife with a handle design that is both ergonomic and large enough to completely fill your hand so that it provides both a secure grip and plenty of leverage over the blade.
5. Handle Material – You should choose your handle material depending on how you intend to use the knife. For instance, if the knife is to be gently used, then the handle scales could be made from a decorative material such as an exotic hardwood. But if the knife is to see hard use, you should choose handle scales made from a tough material such as Delrin or G10.
Our Top 5 Choices
1. Benchmade Torrent – The Benchmade Torrent every-day-carry knife features a closed length of 4 5/8″ inches with a 3 5/8” Drop Point blade made from 154CM stainless steel hardened to 58-60 HRC with a Saber Grind. In addition, the blade of this knife is available either with or without serrations and it is available with either a satin finish or a black, epoxy powder coated finish. Also, this knife features Benchmade’s Nitrous Assist opening mechanism with thumb stud and a Liner Lock locking mechanism with 420J stainless steel liners and black, contoured, G10 handle scales with a tip-down, deep-carry, stainless steel pocket clip. This one is expensive, but very high quality.
2. SOG Aegis – The S.O.G Aegis (pronounced “ee-jis” meaning “shield” or “protection” in Greek) EDC knife features a closed length of 4 ¾” inches with a 3 ½”, Drop Point blade made from satin finished AUS-8 stainless steel hardened to 57-58 HRC with a Flat Grind. In addition, this knife features SOG’s proprietary S.A.T. Assisted Opening mechanism w/thumb stud combined with their Piston Lock locking mechanism. It also has black glass reinforced nylon handle scales with stainless steel liners and their trademark, reversible left/right, tip-up only, bayonet pocket clip.
3. Kershaw Injection 3.5 – The Kershaw Injection 3.5 every-day-carry knife features a closed length of 4 ½” inches with a 3 ½”, Drop Point, blade made from bead blasted 8Cr13MoV stainless steel (Rockwell Hardness unknown) with a Flat Grind. In addition, this knife features a Liner Lock locking mechanism with black, 3D machined, G10 handle scales with stainless steel liners and a left/right reversible, tip-up only, pocket clip. This is a great folding knife for the money.
4. Columbia River Knife & Tool Drifter – The CRKT Drifter EDC knife features a closed length of 3 5/8″ inches with a 2 7/8”, Clip Point, blade made from 8Cr14MoV stainless steel hardened to 58-59 HRC with a hollow Saber Grind and a grey, titanium-nitride, coating and it is available either with or without serrations. In addition, this knife features a very ergonomic “InterFrame” handle design with a Liner Lock locking mechanism and G10 handle scales with stainless steel liners. Last, this knife features a right side only, tip-down only, steel pocket clip.
5. Gerber E-Z Out Skeleton – The Gerber E-Z Out Skeleton every-day-carry knife features a closed length of 4 ½” inches with a 3 ½” Clip Point blade made from high carbon stainless steel (Rockwell Hardness unknown) with a Saber Grind. In addition, this knife features a Lockback locking mechanism with a very ergonomic handle design made from glass reinforced nylon and “Softgrip” inserts with stainless steel liners.
As you can see, when choosing an EDC knife, there many brand names, blade designs, blade steels, handle designs, and handle materials, as well as numerous price points to choose from. In addition, they each differ from classic folding knives in that rather than being designed to be carried in a belt pouch, they instead feature pocket clips that enable them to be accessed and deployed quickly. Whatever knife you choose is completely up to you, but hopefully this article gave you some things to consider.