Good knife for a one armed 10yo boy ?


Al Thompson
March 23, 2008, 06:23 AM
Hi All,

My nephew has only one arm and wants a pocket knife. I'm thinking a single bladed that's easy to open one handed. That may be pretty obvious, so I'd appreciate any help.. TIA!


If you enjoyed reading about "Good knife for a one armed 10yo boy ?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 23, 2008, 07:30 AM
I'd take a look at the Spyderco Native that is available at Walmart. You can open it one handed, but I would take him along to test it. Other choices are obviously a small fixed blade always does the trick too and very easy to deploy in the woods and so forth, any of the assisted opening SOG folders (such as a Twitch) would be slick (perhaps a bit too slick for a 10 yr old), and if you want something bigger perhaps the SOG Vulcan which opens by gravity when you snap your wrist. I believe SOG is coming out with a smaller version of the Vulcan this year which might be more appropriate for a 10 yr old.

Added: Mini Vulcan Link

March 23, 2008, 08:40 AM
Al, check out the Kershaw 1660. Spring assisted, single blade, designed for one handed. Not to large for a 10 yr old. Priced good at around $40.

March 23, 2008, 09:05 AM
I was thinking a Kershaw Leek (or Chive). I've been closing liner-locks one-handed for years, now, and both've them are good knives. :)

March 23, 2008, 09:33 AM
Smokey Mountain Knife Works has some knives advertised on their website as one handed opening.

March 23, 2008, 09:35 AM
Ditto on the Leek, Chive, or Scallion; easy to open or close one-handed, and SHARP.

March 23, 2008, 01:27 PM

Having one arm may allow him to carry an auto if the state he lives in allows it. Fed law allows him to.

Otherwise I'd stick with any quality one hand opener from any of a half dozen manufacturers. There is so much variety out there it almost becomes a question of personal preference on his part.

March 23, 2008, 01:35 PM
Depending on what he likes, Kershaw makes alot of pieces that would work well. Emerson has the Wave feature that might work for him as well. If an auto, then Benchmade has some nice pieces to choose from.

March 23, 2008, 01:43 PM
SOG Twitch

March 23, 2008, 02:09 PM

From a traditional perspective, I submit the One Arm Jack.

Ten years old and Uncle Al gets him a really neat knife with history, tradition and was designed for folks - just like him.
Pretty darn special in my book.

One example :

March 23, 2008, 02:18 PM
The Gerber Mini Covert Applegate-Fairbairn is a good one handed small knife. It is slightly under 3", making it legal to carry almost anywhere. My son carried one for protection through college. CRKT makes a nice variety of knives with a Carson Flipper for quick deployment. Some models have an automatic safety that blocks the liner lock in. I would avoid those for a one armed person. The largest CRKT folders work great if you are wearing slacks, but are hard to retrieve from your pocket if you are wearing jeans.

The Tourist
March 23, 2008, 02:32 PM
You put your head around the rifle, not the rifle around your head. Same deal here.

You start with the boy, not the knife.

Is he mature? Is he a camper, a whittler, a collector, a hobbyist building model cars and planes? And just what level of his dexterity does this afford?

Then, I'd ask him.

My Father, for all of his faults, had one major one. Someone would ask me a question, and he'd answer it. One of the major "apron cutting" aspects of our relationship was to get the old boy to stop telling folks what he proffered I was thinking.

You could really enjoy wilderness camping. Perhaps he hates it. I know I did. A camp knife for him would be tanatamount to spurs on a bowling ball.

This project offers you a good chance to spend some quality time with him. Use it to the best advantage.

And when you do buy him that knife, make sure he gives you a coin. Old Sicilian tradition for good luck.

March 23, 2008, 02:36 PM
The Tourist,

Excellent post!
Thanks for reminding everyone about the coin.

My role is to share traditional knives around here...equal time and all that stuff with the new and fangled that always get mentioned.

March 23, 2008, 02:42 PM
Gerber EZ-Out is a good one, but kind of big. I assume they also make one that's a little smaller.

I bought an EZ-out before Gerber was bought by Fiskars, and it was dangerously sharp right out of the package (that's a good thing.) I bought another one a couple of years later for my Dad and it was only kind-of-sharp out of the package.

The Tourist
March 23, 2008, 02:43 PM
Thanks for reminding everyone about the coin.

No prob. It's a good tradition to pass on, and a great way to teach young collectors about a new hobby.

March 23, 2008, 02:52 PM
Al, pretty neat, as some others have already said, but there is an old Southern tradition that you NEVER give a knife to anyone. Bad Luck!! Ya let your nephew buy the knife from you...small amount but let him buy it.

And as for your question, I've carried a Kershaw cam assist for a couple 3 years now and can be operated very easily with one hand. BUT check local laws on these. I live in a city divided by two different one it's legal, in the other it not. luckily I lived in the county where they're legal.


March 23, 2008, 03:38 PM
Maybe a Case Russlock, if he prefers more traditional stuff.

March 23, 2008, 04:32 PM
Yep, I was thinking Russlock too.

March 23, 2008, 05:13 PM
Ditto on the Leek, Chive, or Scallion; easy to open or close one-handed, and SHARP.

Having one arm may allow him to carry an auto if the state he lives in allows it. Fed law allows him to.

Carrying an A/O or a switchblade may not be a good idea for a 10 year old, even if legal, especially if he only has one hand. I just had a young relative, 13, manipulate my Kershaw Scallion and my sub-1.5" auto-knife, and he had trouble closing both with 1 hand. He can manipulate it with 1 hand, but overcoming the spring with 1 hand was difficult.

I would go with a cheap-o linerlock that locks up solid. The reason is that the pivot is reasonable looser than a quality folder, and the lock and blade can be manipulated with 1 hand very easily. Just check the quality to make sure it is o-k, and not junk. Look for something with a 2.5 to 2.75 inch blade.

March 23, 2008, 05:58 PM
I recently picked up a Buck "Rush" (about $50).

It has a 2.5" blade and is very pointed. Blade is robust and sharp.

It's a liner lock, and easy to close one-handed.

It has a cam lock for those who worry about accidental opening. The lock lever is placed so that it works well one-handed.

One thing, though. The clip is mounted at the "tail" of the handle, rather than the pivot end. If you're used to the more traditional pivot-end clips, that can take a little getting used to.

Good knife, though.

Here's the one I have

March 23, 2008, 06:37 PM
Benchmade mini grip...plain edge...thumb hole...not the thumbstud...

AXIS lock is incredibly easier to close one handed...and it's very easy to open one handed...I don't think I've ever used two hands when operating that knife.

Lock is stronger that a frame lock or a liner lock.

$56 at Grand Prairie Knives...retails for $100

March 23, 2008, 06:47 PM
The previously mentioned Gerber E-Z-Out is the easiest to open knife I have ever used, but it is also a bit big.

May I suggest the Robin from the Byrd line by Spyderco. I got my girlfriend one and she loves it. It's small enough not to take up much room and fit will in small hands,yet still big enough to do actual hard work. You'll have to spend a little time opening and closing it first to break it in, but these have smoothed up fairly quickly. I would advise against the FRN handles. They come with a different pocket clip that is not as good as the steel handled ones. I got this one for about 17 bucks or so.


March 23, 2008, 07:34 PM
I'd say get thumb stud over thumb hole. Thumb holes take a while to get used to.
Also, I'd say that framelocks are the easiest to open and close on handed. I have a Buck Mayo Hilo, and its a good knife. Very easy to open/close one handed.
It's a little big, but they make a smaller version, the Cutback.

March 23, 2008, 07:58 PM
I'm pretty sure they are now discontinued, but if I remember correctly the Camillus Lev-R-Locks were designed for somebody's son who had only one hand.

March 23, 2008, 09:59 PM
I would have recommended a Swiss Army Knife. Most have more than a couple blades, but many have a one hand opening feature for the main blade. The other "tools" may not be accessible to a one armed person. But for me, a Swiss Army Knife (SAK) is hard to beat and the price is usually great.

March 24, 2008, 12:29 AM
gerber has a spring assisted knife... hte fast draw, safety and lock is a sliding button on the side. its not a full auto but almost as fast as one...

The Tourist
March 24, 2008, 12:16 PM
Some of my clients like strength in a knife, but need a smaller blade, or are restricted by legal codes in their jurisdiction. If you want tough and small, but with a full-size handle, look at the Emerson Snubby. It's the top knife. Two-inch blade, four inch handle.

March 24, 2008, 01:59 PM
Benchmade Griptilian

this is the one i have

pull the thumb stud safety
flick wrist
- its open
pull the thumb stud safety
flick wrist
- its closed

completely one handed operation
and it glides VERY smoothly

i found mine online for about $65 shipped

March 24, 2008, 02:21 PM
A $20 CRKT M-16 from Wal Mart, one handed op with ease, good blade, the used to be very pricey, and now they are very inexpensive but still very good quality.

March 24, 2008, 03:40 PM
how about a neck knife?....I was thinking one of the CRKT would be a good choice for a one armed need to open it either.

March 24, 2008, 04:27 PM
And how do you put it away when you're done . . . ?

Fred Fuller
March 24, 2008, 09:20 PM
Take a look at A G Russell's idea for a one hand folder. I bought one of the first stainless steel ones when they first came out and carried it for years. The nice thing about this design is that it gets your fingers out of the way to close it- thumb and middle finger grab the lock and lift, holding the knife at the same time, while the index finger pushes the blade closed. The other fingers can be out of the way the whole time.


March 24, 2008, 10:08 PM
Mole, I wouldn't worry about FRN handles at all. They are incredibly tough, lightweight and the steel ones get cold in the winter.

March 24, 2008, 10:58 PM
What I like about these knives.
It has a tang flipper. One finger opening. It has a secondary lock, still one finger to make extra sure it will not fold. To fold, remove second safety lock, push first lock in, gently start to fold the blade in, move any appendiges out of blades way and push close. Put in pocket. The handle can be flipped for a lefty or a righty on most of them. The one at Walmart is a tad smaller, perfect gentlemans knife, sharp, easy to use, strong, sexy, but not intimadting (unless it needs to be)


March 25, 2008, 10:58 AM
mossberg, I have no worries about the FRN handles. It is the pocket clips on the FRN handles that I do not like. They are not the same as the pocket clips that come on the steel handled ones. They are a different length, width, shape, and use a different headed screw. My brother is currently trying to get replacement clips from Spyderco, but no one will return his e-mails.


March 25, 2008, 12:34 PM
Hey, Al. Hope you're well. Hope you're not too bored. Send me an email with stuff you need.

I was going to suggest a Spyderco Delica or Dragonfly ( The Dragonfly might be the better choice of the two. It's big enough for everyday tasks, but not too big. Like most Spydercos, it can be easily operated with one hand.

The Byrd suggestion is a good one, as well, especially if you're afraid the knife might be damaged or lost.

March 25, 2008, 12:57 PM
My vote would be for a spyderco. I've yet to find anything that works as well as a hole in the blade. That big round hole has me coming back every time.

March 25, 2008, 10:49 PM
That big round hole has me coming back every time.

I don't like big holes.

March 25, 2008, 11:58 PM
In the blade, or are you attempting perv humor?

March 26, 2008, 10:58 AM
I really don't like the big hole on the blade, I don't feel any gription with it. I really like the tang flipper set up.

March 26, 2008, 07:45 PM
here is one similar to the one i carry, mine has a fine edge, no serrations, an earlier designe.
the one i carry is actually the fast draw

March 26, 2008, 08:24 PM
I'm not a big fan of thumb holes myself. Always get a thumb stud, if you can.

March 27, 2008, 01:17 AM
What hso said. An auto if the state allows him.

March 27, 2008, 02:22 AM
Spyderco or Gerber if you want a lockblade w/o assisted opening. They are designed to open and close one handed. Kershaw if you want the assisted opening.

Personally, I like a more traditional pocketknife, because they tend to cut better, and I like how they look and feel better. I have had to learn to open and close them one handed when forced by circumstances. The Case Copperlock is one that is easy to open and close one handed. Can pinch the blade and snap it down, or grip the back of the handle between the lips and pinch the blade open with the fingers. Non-lockbacks are fairly easy to open one handed, especially if they are single-bladed, by doing the same method of gripping the handle by the lips and then pinching the blade open -- that method requires enough blade above the handle to pinch.

I would not give a 10yo a switchblade to carry around. Maybe just to play with and have for when he gets older, but for now, it would be a more conventional, low profile pocketknife. Butterfly knives are one-handed tools, as well, and while it would probably be fine to give it to him to have, I would still have reservations about him carrying it. Benchmade model 42, if you go that route.

Heck, you could just get him a small sheath knife, like the size of a paring knife, or even an Old Hickory paring knife -- less to worry about opening and closing then, and nobody should hassle him about it.

March 27, 2008, 11:10 AM
one handed operation really doesn't get much easier than a Benchmade with the AXIS lock

they are available in tons of styles and will fit most tastes

If you enjoyed reading about "Good knife for a one armed 10yo boy ?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!