How to Choose an EDC Knife

Pocket knife on green mossIf you know a lot about knives, it’s easy to pick one out. You understand the advantages of different steels, handle materials, blade shapes, and features, so you can easily select the knife that meets your needs. It’s also easy to pick out a knife if you know nothing about knives. You just ask someone who knows a lot about knives for their recommendation. Knowing a little bit about knives, however, can make choosing a knife pretty difficult.

You may be aware of a scandi grind, and you might have heard of a sheepsfoot; you’ve seen D2 steel, and have felt G10, but when it comes down to it, you don’t really know what these things really are, why they’re important, and when you would want them. It can get a little overwhelming at times, and if you don’t have time to learn the ins-and-outs of knives, you might find difficulty in choosing the right one.

Really, most people don’t need to know the difference between 154CM and 440C steel, and even fewer people use knives in such a way that those distinctions even matter. Ultimately, most of the people who deliberate between Micarta and G10, or D2 and 1095, are collectors and connoisseurs.

That’s not to say that these things don’t matter, but for 90% of the population, the subtleties in these decisions won’t affect the performance of their EDC knife. If you are interested in specific details about different blade materials, the internet has more than you would ever want to know on the subject.

Choosing an everyday carry knife that’s right for your needs requires a little bit of thought, but don’t be intimidated by the process. The most important thing to consider is how you will be using your knife. Are you cutting boxes? Slicing fruit? Cutting rope? All of the above?

How you use your knife will affect everything from the size, shape, material, quality, and the features of your knife. EDC (everyday carry) knives are very different from survival knives. You don’t need to – and probably shouldn’t – walk around the office with a 7-inch, full tang, high-carbon steelĀ  blade attached to your hip with a Kydex sheath. At the same time, a 2.5-inch folding pocket knifeĀ  made of AUS-8 steel isn’t going to cut it as a camp utility knife.

If you’re just going to be cutting boxes, you don’t need a fancy, high-end knife. A simple, stainless steel blade will do. If you’re going to be doing some more serious work, however, you need a higher quality knife.

Also keep in mind that there are feature that have very specialized uses. Serrated edges are nice for cutting through rope, but they make more precise cutting difficult. Getting a half-serrated edge is a nice compromise if you plan on doing both types of cutting, but with this decision you’re looking at a jack-of-all trades, master of none situation.

Keep in mind that there are a number of features that have more of an aesthetic significance than practical significance. While you can argue that the shape of a blade lends itself to different applications, the differences are often slight. Some say that a clip point allows for more precision than a drop point, but when you consider that most EDC knives aren’t being used for specialized tasks, the main difference between these shapes is in how the blade looks. Other features, such as Damascus steel blades, increase the price significantly without a direct increase in blade performance.

Other things to consider:

  • Are you left-handed or right-handed?
  • Do you want to be able to open your knife with one hand?
  • Do you want a knife that opens manual, assisted, or automatic?
  • What type of lock do you want? (frame lock, liner lock, back lock, etc.)
  • Blade length
  • Local knife laws

The best way to choose an everyday carry knife, is by handling one, and picking the brain of someone who knows about them. We carry a great selection of knives, and would love to help you find the knife that’s right for you. Stop by the store and see us!

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