Generally speaking, when it comes to everyday carry knives, we prefer blades that come with some kind of locking system. It’s just nice to have that little bit of extra security when it comes to quick operation. That being said, we realize that not all occasions allow for carrying a locking blade. For instance, there are parts of this country and the entirety of others that don’t allow people to walk around with a folding knife unless it is lock-free.
For those situations, don’t fret – you can still keep an EDC knife by your side. And we’re not talking a friction folder either. A superb alternative to a frame or liner lock, when necessary, is the slipjoint. Not a lock in the traditional sense, a slipjoint is a folding blade that features a strong “backspring” which helps keep the folding blade stay closed or open position without actually forcing it to stay in either position. If you’ve ever owned a Swiss Army Knife or an old scout- or hunting-style folder, you’re probably already familiar with this pseudo-lock. If not, it’s time to become acquainted. The following are our picks for the 12 best slipjoint knives available right now.
Buck Knives Solo
Buck Knives, an American brand that’s been making quality hunting blades for over a century, unsurprisingly is behind one of the best slipjoints on the market. Called simply the Solo, this single-blade knife features a construction of carbon steel and wood. It isn’t fancy, but it will consistently get the job done and can be relied upon as an excellent go-to non-locking folding knife – so long as you take care of it.
Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, even when deployed, this offering from Columbia River Knife and Tool is a gentleman’s folder in every sense of the phrase. Measuring up at 5.15 inches overall, the Quill features a stainless steel blade – deployable via a nail nick – that folds into a stainless steel and black bone handle. It’s sleek, easy to use, and handy in a variety of situations in which a locking knife isn’t appropriate. You can even pair it with your favorite money clip for a handsome and classy combination.
Made by Spyderco’s low-cost sub-brand, Byrd, the Tern features the company’s signature styling in an affordable, relatively small, non-locking format. With the brand’s familiar leaf shape and iconic large thumb hole, the blade is crafted from 8Cr13Mov stainless steel and is mated to an incredibly light and durable G10 handle. It’s also fitted with a handy easy-carry tip up pocket clip, so you can keep it secure and ready to go at any moment.
Case Sod Buster
One of the oldest knife-making brands in the United States, the W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company makes a large number of superb folding, hunting, and fixed blade knives. So it’s no surprise that their foray into slipjoints would not only be successful, but also one of the best examples out there. Called the Sod Buster, this non-locking folder is equipped with a Tru-Sharp surgical steel blade, a synthetic handle, and is made right here in the USA. It also weighs just 3.4 ounces and measures up at only 4.63 inches when closed.
Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer
It should come as no surprise to any hardcore EDC fanatics that Victorinox is responsible for one (or several) of the best slipjoint knives ever imagined. This version of their Swiss Army Knife is called the Pioneer and, on top of being equipped with a large stainless steel blade, also comes with a few other handy functions – including a can opener, bottle opener, small screwdriver, and a wire stripper. So, really, it’s more of a pocket multi-tool than just a slipjoint knife, but it still falls well within our criteria.
Leave it to the folks at SOG to take a slipjoint style folding knife and give it a tactical edge. The Terminus comes equipped with a BD1 steel clip point blade with a nail nick for deployment and a textured G10 knife handle for superior grip in all conditions. It also benefits from a total weight of just 2.9 ounces, which is impressive when you consider that its overall length is actually 7 inches in total. Still, it falls within the guidelines for countries with non-locking knife laws and is an excellent offering from a superb brand.
A collaboration between visionary knife designers Jesper Voxnaes and Jens Anso, this knife was what the pair came up with when trying to cope with the strict carry laws of their home country of Denmark. What we love about it, besides the fact that it is more legal than many other EDC knives, is that its design doesn’t sacrifice in regards to style or quality. The unique blade is crafted from N690Co steel and the handle is made from fiberglass reinforced nylon and features a reversible tip-up pocket clip.
Boker Plus Chad Los Banos XS
What you might not know about Chad Los Banos, the designer of this knife, is that he’s actually a Corrections Officer by trade. But with ideas like this knife, we’re glad he’s taken the time out of his career to design some EDC gear. This particular knife features a satin finished 440C stainless steel blade, a G10 textured knife handle, weighs 4 ounces, and comes with a reversible pocket clip for extra carry options.
Quiet Carry The West
Though we are not sure how, Quiet Carry has managed to stay somewhat under the radar in both the knife and everyday carry worlds. Whatever the reason, we’re glad they made it onto ours and The West is a perfect example as to why. This stylish slipjoint folder measures up at just 3.9″ when closed and is comprised of a D2 steel satin-finished clip point shaped blade (with nail nick for deployment) and a grade 5 titanium body. Across the board, this 3.2 ounce urban-style carry blade is superb.
Fallkniven is one of those brands that has garnered a lot of respect in the knife world, but doesn’t get the recognition they deserve from EDC enthusiasts. Maybe this slipjoint knife can help change that. The U1, which features a nail nick deployment, measures up at 3 3/8″ closed and features a laminated powder 3G steel drop tip blade. And its mated to a handle with gorgeous and rare cocobolo wood scales. If you need a slipjoint pocket knife and you hover somewhere in-between wanting a gentleman’s style blade and a hunting knife, this is the one for you.
Benchmade 319 Proper
It was only a matter of time before Benchmade, one of the leading pocket knife brands, took a swing at a gentleman’s style folder. And, we have to say, kudos to them for a job well done. The 319 Proper is sleek and simple, but doesn’t skimp where it counts – like in its CPM-S30V 2.86″ blade or lightly textured Micarta handle. And all of that in a package that falls within the guidelines of a small-form non-locking pocket knife – excellent.
The James Brand County Knife
If you still feel a yearning for the boy scout knives of your childhood, but your tastes have become somewhat more refined, then this offering from The James Brand should be right up your alley. Made from a superb combination of Sandvik steel, 416 stainless steel, and gorgeous walnut, this knife is equal parts showpiece and workhorse. And, measuring up at 6″ deployed and only 3.5″ when closed, it’s more than small enough to pair with any existing everyday carry loadout.
Best Flipper Pocket Knives
If you are unfettered by knife lock laws and your priority is in quickness of deployment, you might want to take a look at our picks for the best flipper pocket knives on the market.