How to Carry a Pocket Knife

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holding three knives

Pocket knives are versatile tools useful in various situations, from everyday tasks to outdoor activities. Whether you're a seasoned knife enthusiast or just starting, knowing how to wear and carry your everyday carry knife properly is essential – and once you learn, you can maximize its utility. 

Different types of pocket knives

Pocket knives come in various styles, each designed for specific purposes and preferences. With different blade types, locking mechanisms, and applications to consider, you should choose the best one for you, which may be different from your friend’s preference. Maybe they use theirs for hunting & fishing, whereas you’re looking to carry it for everyday use. Here are three common categories of pocket knives:

Traditional folding knives

Traditional folding knives and slip joint knives have been around for centuries. They feature a single blade that folds into the handle, secured by a spring or a back lock mechanism. These versatile knives come in various sizes and shapes, such as the popular "Swiss Army Knife." Traditional folding knives are ideal for everyday tasks like opening packages, cutting rope, or peeling fruit.

Modern tactical folding knives

Modern tactical folding knives are designed for more demanding tasks. Military personnel, law enforcement officers, and outdoor enthusiasts commonly use them. These knives often feature assisted opening mechanisms, such as thumb studs or flipper tabs, for quick and easy deployment. They typically have a sturdy locking system, like a liner lock or frame lock, to ensure blade stability during heavy use. Tactical folding knives are perfect for camping, survival, and self-defense.

Fixed-blade knives

Fixed-blade knives are known for their strength and durability. Unlike folding knives, these knives have a blade that extends from the handle without any folding mechanism. Fixed-blade knives are typically larger and more robust, making them suitable for heavy-duty hunting, bushcraft, or wilderness survival. They are often carried in a sheath attached to a belt or worn on a tactical vest.

When choosing a pocket knife, consider your intended use and personal preferences. Each type of pocket knife has advantages and disadvantages, so selecting the one that best suits your needs is essential. 

Assessing personal needs and preferences

Before diving into the various methods of wearing and carrying a pocket knife, assessing your personal needs and preferences is crucial. This step will help you determine the most suitable knife size, weight, and features that align with your lifestyle and intended use. Consider the following factors when assessing your needs:

Evaluating your daily activities

Think about the tasks you encounter regularly. Are you primarily using a knife for opening packages, cutting fruits, or performing light household chores? Or do you engage in more demanding activities like camping, hiking, or hunting? Understanding your daily activities will help you determine the level of durability, functionality, and versatility required from your pocket knife.

Considering knife size and weight

Pocket knives come in various sizes and weights, ranging from compact and lightweight to heavy and substantial. Think about where and how you plan to carry your knife. A smaller, lightweight knife may be more suitable if you prefer discreet pocket carry. However, anticipate heavier tasks or prefer a more robust feel in your hand. A larger and slightly heavier knife might be the better choice.

Assessing legal restrictions

It's essential to be aware of the legal restrictions regarding the carrying and using pocket knives in your jurisdiction. Laws and regulations can vary significantly from one state to another. Research the local laws to ensure that you are compliant and understand any restrictions on blade length, locking mechanisms, or concealed carry.

By evaluating your daily activities, considering the size and weight of the knife, and understanding the legal restrictions, you can make a more informed decision when selecting a pocket knife that fits your needs and preferences. Now that you have assessed your requirements, let's explore the different methods to carry & wear your pocket knife.

Options for wearing and carrying pocket knives

Once you have chosen the right pocket knife based on your needs and preferences, it's time to explore the different options for wearing and carrying it. The method you choose will depend on accessibility, comfort, and discretion. Here are some popular options for wearing and carrying pocket knives:

Traditional pocket carry

One of the most common ways to carry a pocket knife is in your pocket. This method offers easy access and is suitable for smaller, more compact knives. To carry your knife in your pocket, ensure a secure pocket clip is attached to the handle. 

The clip lets you attach the knife to the edge of your pocket, ensuring it remains easily accessible and prevents it from shifting around. This method provides quick deployment when needed and is convenient for everyday use.

Belt carry options

If you prefer to have your knife readily accessible on your belt, there are several belt carry options to consider:

  • Belt sheath: Some pocket knives, especially fixed-blade knives, come with a dedicated sheath that can be attached to your belt. This method ensures secure and stable carry, especially for larger, heavier knives.

  • Belt pouch: A belt pouch is a versatile option that allows you to carry your pocket knife securely on your belt. Pouches come in various sizes and designs, accommodating different knife sizes and offering additional storage space for accessories like a flashlight or multi-tool.

  • Pocket organizer: Another belt carry option is a pocket organizer. This compact pouch attaches to your belt and provides dedicated slots and compartments for carrying multiple items, including your pocket knife. This method is ideal if you carry multiple tools or accessories and want to keep them organized and easily accessible.

Alternative carry methods

Apart from the traditional pocket and belt carry, there are a few alternative methods that may suit your needs:

  • Neck carry: Some knives come with a sheath or attachment that allows you to wear them around your neck. This method keeps the knife close to your body and easily accessible, making it popular for outdoor activities like camping or hiking.

  • Ankle carry: Ankle carry involves wearing a knife sheath on your ankle using straps or a specialized holster. This method offers discreet carry and is suitable for those who prefer not to have anything on their belts or pockets.

  • Bag or backpack carry: If you regularly carry a bag or backpack, you can utilize dedicated pockets or compartments to store your pocket knife securely. This method ensures your knife is easily accessible and prevents it from getting lost or damaged.

Consider your personal comfort, lifestyle, and the level of accessibility you require when choosing the method of carrying your pocket knife. Experiment with different options to find the one that works best for you. 

How to safely carry your pocket knife

Carrying a pocket knife safely is paramount to prevent accidents and ensure responsible use. By following proper handling techniques and taking necessary precautions, you can minimize the risk of injury and maintain a safe carry. Here are some guidelines on how to safely carry your pocket knife:

  • Always handle your knife carefully, keeping your fingers away from the blade and cutting edge.

  • Regularly inspect your knife for any signs of damage, such as loose screws or blade play. Ensure that the locking mechanism is functioning correctly.

  • Keep your knife clean and dry to prevent rust and maintain optimal performance. Use lubricants specifically designed for knives to keep the moving parts smooth.

  • Practice safe opening and closing techniques, using your fingers to create space between the blade and handle when folding the knife.

  • When handing your knife to someone else, do so with the handle first, ensuring the blade is closed and secured.

Pocket knives should be a staple tool in your EDC gear bag, but only if carried & utilized properly. Find a blade that works for your everyday needs, whether that be for hunting, fishing, or all-around usage. You’ll also need to consider the legal restrictions when carrying your tool around, as some states & regions are stricter than others.  Generally, pocket & belt carry are the safest & most convenient options, and enable you to get the most out of your blade, which is what we’re all looking to do.