American manufacturing is coming back, but not in the way we expected. Instead of once again being the gas-breathing mass-producers from days of old, America has become a land of artisans; regardless of how large or small a company is. There’s a few big, mass-producers who still handle all their crafting here at home, but more and more it is the businesses with a personal stake that takes the time and spends the money to make the best stuff on the planet right in the land of the free.
The United States is the home of the untamed frontier, the wild west. That mentality still permeates much of American culture, and often the best items that are made in the USA are those that reflect the pioneering spirit. Hatchets, textiles, camping gear, and survival essentials are all a little bit better when they’re made by domestic craftsman. They know what American buyers want, and how to produce an item that will stand and deliver when being used anywhere from sea to shining sea. Our 10 best EDC knives made in the USA is a perfect example of how far this homemade pride extends beyond aunt Bee’s apple pie.
SOG Twitch II
Real Looker: Using AUS-8 steel for the construction, the Twitch II is the sequel that the people demanded. The satin finish and slightly softer steel combine to make it able to be re-sharpened at a moments notice with a strop or your favorite whetstone. A drop point with a quality full flat grind gives it the ability to be used for work, for whittling, or for defending yourself against your neighbor’s frenzied pitbull. A little kick during the opening process locks it in place on the anodized handle without a micrometer of play.
Buck Knives 112BRS Ranger
Traditional Grit: Buck has been proudly making knives in the United States since 1945. Hoyt Buck was a blacksmith from Kansas who started the company with his son Al, and together they created a knife that changed pocket blades forever. This is not that knife, but a smaller version of the famous 110 that is intended for more miniscule jobs, and easier carrying. Closed, it’s about 4-inches long. Deploy it and the 420HC blade adds 3-inches of serious steel. Brass accents on either end and the traditional wood handle make this a tiny, inexpensive heirloom piece that bleeds red, white, & blue.
Kershaw Ken Onion Blur
Thick & Thin: Sandvik 14C28N steel coated with a tungsten DLC to reduce reflection and add a stealth mode to this blade is a stroke of genius. If you somehow managed to not hear of the Blur from knife maestro Ken Onion, then you’re missing one of the most glorious EDC knives of all time. The body from back to blade is nice and thick for a broad surface that can hack through rope or shave the fat from your lean roast beef. From side to side, it’s svelte as a supermodel and eats just as much. It doesn’t hog space, and, also like a supermodel, is a pleasure to hold.
Bear & Son Damascus Steel Lockbacks
Back to Basics: Not everyone is aching for a new tactical blade with the finest in military combat accessories. Buyers who want a simple, timeless lockback knife don’t need to go further than the American institution Bear & Sons. Their lockback knives are small and simple for doing light jobs around the house or keeping on hand for the unexpected. A multitude of styles let you pick the one right for you, and the ability to switch and swap your favorite blades means each handle can become a custom cutter with ease.
Wetlander: The Gator is made to work in any conditions without slipping. Rain or shine, the rubberized grip with its alligator texture is hard to lose with wet, oily, or bloody hands, and the razor-edged CPM-S30V steel blade begs to be used with all three. Carry it on your neck with the lanyard hole, on your belt with the included case, or tuck it away for when the going gets sloppy, the Gator is a little killer for all seasons.
Benchmade 551BK Griptilian
Light Load: The Griptilian is a brand unto itself. This model has dual thumb studs for ambidextrous opening, AXIS locking, a 154CM blade that lands right at the sweet 58-60 spot on the HRC scale, and a glass-filled nylon handle, all with a textured and molded grip. At less than five ounces, it’s managed to pack a lot of power into a very limited space. Intended as a long-term work knife, it keeps an edge for ages, even when hacking at twine day after day on the range, or merely opening junk mail.
TOPS x Buck Knives CSAR-T
Protect & Serve: TOPS and Buck are great knife manufacturers alone, but when you put them together on a true tactical project, something deadly happens. About a foot in length, the CSAR-T is no dainty blade. It reflects the timeless “bigger is better” attitude of the U.S. and has a clearly aggressive design that can be employed for combat or rescue ops. With TOPS solid, heavy-duty manufacturing, and the precision of Buck, the CSAR-T is not only a great tactical bit with G10 handles and ATS-34 steel, it’s everything good about American manufacturing.
Spyderco Paramilitary 2
Bet on Black: The dowdy and dapper Paramilitary 2 is a knifeman’s knife. It’s what knifemakers will happily carry from time to time when they want a dark horse with a full-flat CPM-S30V steel build and textured G10 handles. The crowing glory of this bombproof Spyderco piece is the compression lock that keeps it snapped in, sturdy as a fixed blade with the body of a small, dangerous folder.
Zero Tolerance Hinderer
Worker Bee: The Hinderer is a flagship product among a company full of such items. ZT was founded to provide flipper knives to men and women in uniform who work to rescue others, save lives, and battle the enemies of freedom. The handle is 3D machined titanium that reduces weight even as it provides a home for Bohler-Uddenholm’s ELMAX steel blade. A deep carry pocket clip makes it concealable, but can also increase the draw time. We suggest a belt holster if you’re going to be putting your boots on the ground in any hostile territory.
Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21
Pure Genius: The Sebenza 21 might not just be the best knife on this list, many hold it as the absolute best EDC or folding knife that can be bought today. First made in 1987, the Sebenza has been tweaked over the years to include a CPM S35VN cutting surface, and stonewashed titanium handle that’s part familiar and part brand new. This model, the 21, came into being in 2008, celebrating the Sebenza. While the standard issue model is marvelous, many people find customizing it to their personality is the real draw of this All-American hero.