Traditional style stiletto ...


June 18, 2013, 11:40 PM
Hello all. I am interested in obtaining a traditional, European-style stiletto with a 4-5" blade that isn't a piece of crap. Most I've found may look half-way decent, but they are of really poor workmanship. Anywho, I don't mind spending quit a bit more, provided its a solid knife.

By stiletto, I don't mean a switchblade. Automatic knives are legal to own in my state, but not to carry, and since doing is a serious crime, I am not looking for an auto.

Thanks for any links, etc. :)

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June 18, 2013, 11:57 PM
First, they ain't all they are cracked up to be in the movies.
They are pretty worthless as working knives.
More for stabbing then for cutting anything.

Second, finding a good one that isn't a switch-blade is getting hard to do.


June 19, 2013, 12:00 AM
Thanks for the link. It looks like all but one of them is an auto.

June 19, 2013, 12:14 AM
Heres mine.

But like I said, pretty worthless for any real knife use.

On the other hand, they are kind of like a Anorexic Super Model.

Pretty to look at occasionally.
And they don't eat much to keep them around.


Sam Cade
June 19, 2013, 12:18 AM
Y'know, now that I think about it, If you handed a Fairbairn-Sykes to a typical condottiere ca.1600 it would be perfectly familiar to him.

June 19, 2013, 12:22 AM
Nice looking blades, RC Model. :)

Still looking, but most, though not all, I am finding are autos. Frank Beltrame's blades look nice, but as far as I can see they are automatic.

Minor tangent; I'm running into a bunch of domestic vendors of automatic knives. While I know possession and carry is up to the states, isn't interstate commerce of said still verboten with the feds per the law passed back in the 50s? I'm not going to bother with switchblades, but I am curious about the state of the law at the federal level.

Anywho, back on topic, if anyone has a manufacturer or vendor of stilettos I should check out, I'd value the info and link. Thanks much. :)

June 19, 2013, 12:30 AM
Yes, the federal law is still on the books prohibiting interstate commerce of auto knives.

Everyone except the big commercial dealers ignore it, and you can buy autos at any gun show.

But if you break a spring in a Benchmade for instance?

You can send it to them for factory repair.

But they cannot send it back to you if you are a civilian.


June 19, 2013, 02:18 AM
Their are lots of non auto out their . Just keep looking Do a serch on the net I have found some 15" open I have a couple old ones. Like said they are near impossible to sharpen just good for sticking .

June 19, 2013, 03:05 AM
You can try to find a Case V-42 (


June 19, 2013, 07:50 AM
Now that's a dagger....

June 19, 2013, 08:07 AM
Would a Cold Steel Ti-Lite work? It's well-made and has the classic design and shape, though I could see how it's not super-traditional in appearance since it has modern scales. FWIW I have one and have been very fond of it, and it looks the part enough my Calabrian aunt saw it and called it a "mafioso knife." Though like these other guys have been saying it's more a fighter than user; the skinny blade is probably too fragile for any hard use.

June 19, 2013, 09:18 AM
Yep, the fed law on interstate commerce is still in place.

Also, what are your state laws on daggers since stilettos are often thought of as daggers due to their design?

Search for manual stiletto and you'll pull up several. I like the Kissing Crane manual stilettos, but there are others out there.

Other than being really good at cleaning your nails and getting staples out of paper the utility of the stiletto design is somewhat limited. ;)

June 19, 2013, 10:23 AM
The historic stiletto was a fixed-blade weapon with no edges, usually make "all of a piece" with the grip and blade forged from one piece of steel.

Often the blades were square-sectioned... Made for stabbing. An easily concealable weapon meant for assassins, or for someone to wear "in court" where generally the nobility frowned on open weapons carrying.

When I was in Germany back in the 60s, the Italian-made "switchblades" were very common and could be purchased at any mom & pop store.

They were all (at least the ones I looked at..) of dreadful quality.

June 19, 2013, 10:44 AM
Well, if you don't mind spending the money, Mel Pardue makes some gorgeous customs that are actually functional:

Those don't fit my budget, but the Benchmade 530 ( does. As you can see, the 530 is based off of Mr. Pardue's pattern that last custom linked above is an example of. The very thin profile and very light weight combined with the strength of the Axis Lock made one my choice for clipping onto the waist band of my PT shorts when I was deployed to Iraq. That blade has just enough width to actually make it useful as an EDC knife too. It's not traditional, but it you can see that it does have traditional roots.

June 19, 2013, 01:12 PM

Vintage manual stilettos are out there aplenty from companies like Puma, Kissing Crane, and (I think) even Case.

June 19, 2013, 01:36 PM
Thanks, HSO.

Ed Ames
June 19, 2013, 01:46 PM
Slightly off topic...

They are pretty worthless as working knives.

A few years ago I was in a situation where I needed to do a lot of fiddly cutting... tape, lines (rope), etc., in a bouncy/unstable/awkward environment.

The tool I was lent for this was, believe it or not, a Benchmade infidel OTF stiletto. A sharpened one, since apparently they come fairly dull to protect that fine tip.

My first reaction was to laugh but it was amazingly handy. I could sit/stand/twist around getting bumped and tossed without worrying about cutting myself. When I needed to use it, *click*cut*click* ... the live blade stayed out maybe 1-2 seconds tops and then went away like magic. After awhile I didn't even need to think about it. The double edged blade meant I could cut either direction without releasing my grip, handy in awkward reaching situations. I guess they also sell a single edged blade version but the double worked fine.

I wish I had one. They are quite expensive and I wouldn't buy one for home use only, but I was unexpectedly impressed by what I prejudged as a tacticool gimick. Maybe in September in honor of a recent Texas bill signing....

June 19, 2013, 02:23 PM
Also, what are your state laws on daggers since stilettos are often thought of as daggers due to their design?

Sorry, I missed this question earlier. I do not intent on carrying a stiletto on my person while out and about. Depending on how you look at the laws, they may very well be legal to carry, but since the knife laws are often vaguely defined, I'm not going to tempt fate.

I realize I may have confused the issue with the original post when referencing the laws on switchblades. I know for a fact carrying those concealed are a no-no and since I'm not up on the Byzantine regulations on how collector may transport them, I'm not going to bother.

Hope that clarifies.

June 19, 2013, 02:24 PM
But I would argue that a Benchmade Infidel is not your typical Italian Stiletto by any stretch of the imagination.

The blade edge geometry and cutting ability is far superior to any Italian Stiletto I ever seen.


Ed Ames
June 19, 2013, 02:43 PM
Could be/I don't know. I was just surprised at how much that gimmick OTF mechanism and double-edged blade helped in an awkward "one hand for the ship" type situation. I never would've credited such a knife as a utilitarian working tool, but it was.

June 19, 2013, 06:26 PM
I like that story about the Infidel. It's funny how everything has a niche.

I've seen some auto knives that are shipped with the spring as a separate part, to make them legal for purchase. The option to install the spring is left to the buyer. I can't suggest a particular model though, I've yet to see an italian-style stiletto that seemed useful for ordinary tasks.

The cold steel Ti-lite suggested above was my best guess:

Here are two fixed-blade options:

June 19, 2013, 06:54 PM

The term "stiletto" is sometimes misapplied to OTF knives, but since the term also is misapplied to anything that isn't the early medieval stiletto it isn't that big a deal.

Real stilettos

"stiletto" folders

trapdoor "stiletto" OTF

modern OTF "stiletto"

Ed Ames
June 19, 2013, 08:34 PM
Those are some pretty knives. I don't want to know what a trapdoor OTF costs.

The historical stiletto is definitely a combat tool compared to the others. It looks like it could punch through some types of armor if the user applied enough force, and it looks like it could handle some force without breaking. The others - in comparison - look perfect for coring an apple. :)

June 19, 2013, 09:20 PM

I have one of each, but the vintage trapdoor that looks very much like the one in the picture was a tad expensive to put in my collection. I still have both arms and both legs, though.;)

June 19, 2013, 10:56 PM
the bottom one has nice curves

June 24, 2013, 01:36 PM
This place has just about everything from 5 dollars to 5 thousand. They have what you are looking for, I just bought the G factor, series, for an ecd. It has no butons, you push on the right side of the frame and the spring opens it, or you can swivel it with the nub on the blade, "avoiding the spring action". The spring remains cocked for whenever you choose to use it.
I had a real italian hand crafted one stolen during an armed robbery in 1972, it was left to me by an uncle, and was 100 years old then, "Ivory handle", it was in my Gucci case, so everything he got was Italian. That and my dads ring was gone forever, amoung many replacable things.
The oldest trick in the book is to ask directions, "it was so obvious" I knew it was coming but the ignition was already off and I had that stupid "chapman" lock pressed in. I miss those two things that I will never get back to leave to my Grandkids.

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