Knives of all shapes, sizes and styles have been among the most versatile and prolific tools in human history. But these days it’s the pocket-sized folding knives that are usually the closest at hand. Today's folders are purpose built to be convenient to carry and easy to use for hard work in the field, as part of an every-day defensive tool set or for those little jobs that crop up around the house, office or camp sight. Here are a few top-notch pocket knives that will be more useful to Dad than another tie.
Before ordering any of these folding knives, make sure to check the local regulations to verify which blade lengths and action types are legal to own and carry in your area.
Bear & Sons Cutlery
Founded in 1991, Bear & Sons Cutlery offers a wide variety of high quality knives made right here in the U.S.A. Operating out of their state-of-the-art facility in Jacksonville, Alabama, the company's craftsmen provide all of their own tooling and conduct every step of manufacturing in-house.
The diminutive Bold Action XIV (AC-1400, Top) features a 1.5" black finished, hollow-ground blade made from top grade Swedish Sandvik 14C28N steel. The 2.5" long anodized aluminum handle is available in various colors (orange shown) with a raised round button blade release, a safety lock switch and pocket clip. Because of its small blade size, this knife is listed as legal to carry in the State of California. Overall length: 4.25″, weight: 1.3-oz., MSRP: $134.
The Rancor IV's (MC-500-AIBK-B, Center) 3.75" modified clip-point blade is blackened Sandvik steel hardened to Rockwell 58-60. The textured black aluminum handle has a matte black finish and a removable pocket clip. Use the blade's thumb stud for easy one-handed opening, and take advantage of the sliding ambidextrous blade release for quick one-handed closing. Overall length: 6.5″, weight: 2.9-oz., MSRP: $95.
The Model GA08 (Bottom) is a quick opening automatic with the sleek profile and features of a gentleman's lock-back folder. The 2.75" long drop-point blade is made of high carbon stainless steel polished to a mirror shine. The stainless-steel positive lock ensures the blade remains firmly in place when opened. Smooth, black G10 scales are set into highly polished silver-nickel bolsters for a handsome appearance which is topped off with a polished stainless steel pocket clip for tip-up carry. Overall length: 6.625″, weight: 3.6-oz., MSRP: $183.
Buck Knives 590 Paradigm
The Buck Knives Pro-level 590 Paradigm (0590BKS) is an assisted-opening flipper knife. It employs the company's patented Shift Mechanism, which is a bolster lock. The left-side Cerakoted bolster swings up to release the blade so that it can swing open or closed. When the bolster is re-aligned with the textured G10 handle, it locks the blade in place. The 3.5" satin-finish, drop-point blade is formed from durable S35VN steel that can stand up to every-day use in tough environments. This knife is made in the U.S.A., it has a reversible pocket clip and it ships with Buck Knives' Forever Warranty. Overall length: 7.5”, Weight: 4.7-oz., MSRP: $194.
Civivi Elementum Flipper Knife
The CIVIVI keeps things slim and simple with the liner-lock Elementum flipper knife. Made by We Knife Co. of China, the 2.96” hollow ground drop-point blade is made of D2 steel hardened to Rockwell 59-61 in a silver or black finish. Caged ceramic ball-bearing washers ensure smooth operation. The handle's scales are made of textured G10 and available in a variety of colors (Black shown). Stainless steel is used for the liners, screws, pivot cap and the removable pocket clip. Overall length: 6.825″, weight: 2.8-oz., MSRP: $59.
Cold Steel AD-15 Lite & Range Boss
For over 30 years Cold Steel, Inc. has been working to provide customers with strong, sharp knives in an impressive array of styles using innovative materials and designs. The company draws on skills and resources from around the world to give their fans the features and price points they are looking for. The pair of knives shown here demonstrate just how diverse Cold Steel's pocket folders can be.
The AD-15 Lite (CS-58SQL, Top) tactical folder is identical in appearance and operation to the original AD-15. However, the Lite version uses Japanese AUS 10A steel for the 3.5" drop-point blade, and injection molded black Griv-Ex for the handle, to help reduce the suggested retail price by more than $100. The hybrid handle features a mechanism modeled after Andrew Demko's ambidextrous Scorpion Lock that allows the blade to be opened and closed with one hand. Stainless steel is used throughout, including the reversible pocket clip. Overall length: 8.5″, weight: 6.2-oz., MSRP: $159.
The Range Boss (CS-20KR7, Bottom) sports a 4" long flat ground, clip-point blade made of 4034 stainless steel. A thumb stud is provided for easy opening. Other features include a Tri-Ad locking mechanism, a reversible pocket clip and the textured Zy-Ex handle is available in Black, Flat-Dark Earth and OD Green (shown). Designed to be comfortable to carry all day, the Range weighs in at just 3.2-oz. and the handle is only 0.38" thick. It looks and cuts like a big pocket knife, but it will slip into a front pocket and ride along like smaller folders. Overall length: 9.25″, weight: 3.2-oz., MSRP: $51.
Remington Prospector Baby Bullet Knife (2021)
In 2021, Remington teamed up with SMKW to revive the company's much loved Bullet Knife series of pocket folders. The "Prospector" Baby Bullet knife shown here is hand-crafted in the United States by the skilled craftsmen of Great Eastern Cutlery using American-made components. This classic slip joint folder features two carefully honed 3.125" long 1095 carbon steel drop-point and spey blades with nail nicks for easier opening. Cartridge brass is used for the liners along with polished brass bolsters and the brass pins used to secure the molasses jigged bone grip scales. It even arrives wrapped in waxed paper, just like in the old days! Overall length: 6.875″, weight: 3.7-oz., MSRP: $169.
SOG's Flash AT MK3 & Pentagon OTF
In 1986, Spencer Frazer founded SOG Specialty Knives in order to reproduce the bowie knife used by the Vietnam War Era's 5th Special Forces Group, also known as the Studies and Observation Group (SOG). Today, this company continues to manufacture innovative military-grade knives and folders well suited to daily civilian life.
The Flash AT (SOG-11-18-13-41, Left) blends features for everyday use with rapid assisted opening. The 3.5" straight-back blade, made of cryogenically heat-treated D2 stainless steel, is available with a silver or matte gray finish. The strong XR locking mechanism provides a sturdy built-in blade locking safety and spine-mounted safety lever. The textured GRN handle, with pocket clip, is available in different colors including gray, black, red, white and cyan (shown). Overall length: 8.29", weight: 4.5-oz., MSRP: $84.
The American-made, professional-grade Pentagon OTF (15-61-01-57, Right) is an automatic knife built to meet the exacting demands of those who need a quick, reliable switchblade knife. The dual-edge 3.79" spear point blade is made of CRYO CPM S35VN steel, an American-made alloy which incorporates vanadium and niobium carbides for increased toughness and wear resistance. It's also treated with a non-reflective black titanium nitride finish. SOG's Dynamic Lock-up System ensures quick, reliable, rattle free operation. Other features include a checkered hard-anodized aluminum handle, a large 'go' button and a minimalistic removable pocket clip. Overall length: 9.08", weight: 6.5-oz., MSRP: $349.
Spyderco Endela & RockJumper
Founded in 1976 by Sal and Gail Glesser, Spyderco has grown to become one of the leaders in the folding knife industry. A few of the company's signature design influences include a rounded thumb-hole in the blade for one-handed opening, tip-up carry pocket clips and offering pocket knife models with a choice of a plain edge or the company's signature Spyderedge serrations.
The Thin Blue Line PS version of the Endela (C243FPSBKLB, Top) is a special edition that commemorates the men and women of law enforcement. The motto 'To Serve and Protect’ is laser engraved on the partially serrated 3.41" drop-point blade. The black fiberglass-reinforced-nylon (FRN) handle is injection molded with a bright blue lining. A lanyard hole and 4-position pocket clip allow for a variety of carry positions. A portion of the proceeds from these knives will be donated to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Overall length: 8.10″, weight: 3.0-oz., MSRP: $142.
The RockJumper (C254SBK, Bottom) is a mid-size, light weight folder designed for rock climbers and outdoor enthusiasts. The broad, 3.41" long Wharncliffe profile blade is made from VG-10 stainless steel. It's a useful shape for tough chores or small, precision cuts. The version shown here has a fully serrated blade. The handle features skeletonized stainless steel liners fitted with Bi-Directional textured FRN scales and a strong back-lock mechanism. This model also has a lanyard hole and 4-position pocket clip. Overall length: 7.49", weight: 3.0-oz., MSRP: $131.