Short Blades With Big Grips


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ugaarguy
September 5, 2013, 11:32 PM
Sometimes life takes us to places where the maximum allowable blade length for a knife is quite restrictive. Often, these knives that are short in blade length also come up short on handle size, and overall utility is handicapped as a result. Inspired by the "Little Big Knives" moniker that Spyderco has applied to their Meerkat (and some other knives), I set out to find other pieces with ultra short blades that maintained bigger knife grips and sturdiness.

The results was my Small Serious Knives article (http://www.shootingreviews.com/small-serious-knives/) on Shooting Reviews, where I examined the 2012 Sprint Run Spyderco Meerkat, Spyderco Chicago, Cold Steel Mini Tuff Lite, Boker Plus Subcom Titan, and Boker Plus JC1. There were some interesting surprises that I found in use and testing. I hope you folks find the review useful and interesting.

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Jsg81
September 5, 2013, 11:47 PM
I have found that the largest of the AG Russell pen knives to be more useful than I thought they would be. I have not used it very hard but I do use it often. I also forget it is in my pocket when I am not using it.

SharpsDressedMan
September 6, 2013, 12:04 AM
Victorinox, with whatever tools you think you will need. Infinitely more useful than any single or double folder. You can even get some with a locking knife blade.

DNS
September 6, 2013, 12:31 AM
I usually carry a medium size tactical but I can honestly say that my three inch and under slip joints i carry in my other pocket do 90% of my daily chores. One of my favorites is a Buck Lancer.

ugaarguy
September 6, 2013, 12:37 AM
Victorinox, with whatever tools you think you will need. Infinitely more useful than any single or double folder. You can even get some with a locking knife blade.
Victorinox doesn't offer a single knife with a locking blade less than 4.37 inches. That's not useful for someone in a blade length restrictive locale. Their smaller knives have slick, oval shaped scales and thin blades. That doesn't make for a serious use small knife. Pairing a small Swiss Army knife or other small multi tool with a robust short blade folder isn't a bad idea though.

ugaarguy
September 6, 2013, 12:42 AM
Just to clarify, as stated in the OP, this review focused on knives that are legal in areas with highly restrictive permissible blade lengths. For me, that's college campuses in the state of Georgia. For others it may be times when work takes them to a city like Chicago or anywhere else with totalitarian control on what tools their citizens may carry. I hope that makes sense.

Deltaboy
September 6, 2013, 08:40 AM
The Case Peanut is great and can do 90% of what you need.

JShirley
September 6, 2013, 08:58 AM
And illegal in the restrictive environments mentioned. Only blades with 2" and less length qualify.

kbbailey
September 6, 2013, 09:07 AM
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGaQC-19rwc

Gerber EAB utility knife

This is inexpensive,small, very useful knife that I really like and carry often. Ask any carpenter about his utility knife.

ugaarguy
September 6, 2013, 10:00 AM
And illegal in the restrictive environments mentioned. Only blades with 2" and less length qualify.
Even if we expanded the criteria to the almost as restrictive 2.5 inch limit imposed in many other areas I'd still choose any of the five knives I reviewed over a slip joint. All of those knives have heavier duty blades, bigger and stronger pivots, pocket clips, and some type of one hand opening mechanism.

These restrictive areas are also great for criminals because they keep victims disarmed. Rapes and strong arm robberies are common on college campuses. I'm not an advocate of using a knife as a weapon, but much like John's ARK knife, I'd rather myself or a friend have a stout pocket knife to resist an assailant than nothing at all.

ETA: kkbailey, I'm generally not a fan of current Gerber products but I'll look into the EAB. They're certainly inexpensive. I do have to wonder about TCO of swapping blades in the EAB vs. the life of even a $25 Cold Steel Mini Tuff Life after multiple sharpenings.

HiWayMan
September 6, 2013, 10:19 AM
The wife and I both use the Gerber EAB. If you polish the Gerber logo off it looks like a nice money clip. That is how we use them, a wad of cash and credit cards under the clip.

Maybe not the best blade out there, but cheap and easily disguised and ditched.

22-rimfire
September 6, 2013, 11:26 AM
Good job with the video ugaarguy. You're making me think about this. My tendancy would be to get the Spyderco Meerkat. But the Cold Steel knife has my attention.

I don't think in terms of sub 2-inch knives (generally 3"), so I really have no practical knives <2". I don't think the Vic SAKs are strong enough to be truly useful with a sub-2" blade except for slicing open a letter or something. The medium sized SAKs have about a 2.5" blade.

Deltaboy
September 6, 2013, 12:47 PM
And illegal in the restrictive environments mentioned. Only blades with 2" and less length qualify.
My Bad I though the Peanuts main blade was only 2 inches. But it is 2 n 7/8 inches .

DNS
September 6, 2013, 04:21 PM
FYI, the Buck Lancer I mentioned has a main blade of 1 7/8ths inches. Darn thing could double as a surgical scalpel in a pinch I think.

mole
September 6, 2013, 04:55 PM
I've been carrying this for years: http://www.amazon.com/Irwin-Industrial-Tools-2089100-Folding/dp/B000HSCOJA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378500499&sr=8-1&keywords=irwin+folding+utility+knife

Ace hardware puts them on sell with an instant rebate knocking it down to $4.99 every few months. It's tougher and easier to use than the Gerber mentioned above (I like the Gerber for light use stuff). Just this week I've used it to open packages, break down boxes, cut drywall, strip wires, and trim a few branches. Very useful and nobody bats an eye at it.

MErl
September 6, 2013, 07:59 PM
Second on the boxcutter. Also been known to fold a piece of masking tape over the edge of a razor blade and just carry the blade.
Extremely useful and sharp small knife.

ugaarguy
September 6, 2013, 11:42 PM
I just checked, and unfortunately the EAB and other utility knives / box cutters don't work for my occasional forays onto college campuses in GA because they fall under "...straight-edge razor, razor blade, ..." wording of OCGA 16-11-127.1. So, everything reviewed is legal, but anything with a razor blade is prohibited. It's silly and stupid, but laws are rarely logical.

That wording contained in that sub section has been on the books for decades here in Georgia. However, in our post September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks world, there's now an irrational fear of box cutters amongst the tool ignorant of western society. I'd not be surprised if there are many other jurisdictions that restrict razors, razor blades, or box cutters. That aside, the lesson here is to read the applicable laws carefully, whether they be in your local area, or when preparing to travel.

Good job with the video ugaarguy. You're making me think about this. My tendancy would be to get the Spyderco Meerkat. But the Cold Steel knife has my attention.
Thank you for the compliment. I'm glad you both enjoyed the video and found it thought provoking.

If you want a Meerkat I'd start looking now, since last year was the most recent sprint run. As a knife knerd / knut I didn't have a problem paying $75 for the Meerkat. It's a very cool knife that's fun to use and play with. Even non knife people tend to be comfortable around it because they think it's cute, neat, or cool. The blade length was just icing on the cake.

The Cold Steel Mini Tuff Lite really was a pleasant surprise. I thought I was ordering the lowest priced reasonable quality knife that fit the criteria. Then i started using it, and realized it really is a great performer. The Triad Lock is also crazy strong. Don't let the price fool you. The best thing is that the MTL is readily available.

I don't think in terms of sub 2-inch knives (generally 3"), so I really have no practical knives <2". I don't think the Vic SAKs are strong enough to be truly useful with a sub-2" blade except for slicing open a letter or something. The medium sized SAKs have about a 2.5" blade.
That's how I feel as well. SAKs and pen knives still have their places. I wanted to find 2" or less blade length knives that had strong locks, grippy big knife handles, and sturdy blades. I think I found a handful of such knives.

Speedo66
September 7, 2013, 12:42 AM
NYC, unfortunately, has it's own, more restrictive, laws. One is that knives with locking blades are illegal.

ugaarguy
September 7, 2013, 01:56 AM
NYC, unfortunately, has it's own, more restrictive, laws. One is that knives with locking blades are illegal.
Hmm. Is there another section of NYC ADC Law besides 10-133 that further restricts knives? Or is this more of DA Vance's judicial activism and twisting the law like a worn out rubber band. I've previously read about the interpretation that a pocket clip fell under the "to wear outside of his or her clothing" clause in the law. I'm not surprised by anything regarding knife laws or their interpretations by the sleazy politicians in NYC. Citations are always helpful though.

If locking blades are indeed verboten in NYC many of the Chad Los Banos designed Boker Plus knives are available as slip joints, denoted by the 42 suffix. The Spyderco UK Pen Knives are another line of sturdy slip joints. The deep finger choils on both provide at least a modicum of safety.

I don't know if a 2 & 15/16 inch blade is legal in NYC, but if it is Knifeworks still has the Spyderco T-Mag (http://www.knifeworks.com/spydercot-magblackcarbonfiberhandleplainedge.aspx) in stock.


From http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ADC/10/1/10-133
a. Legislative findings. It is hereby declared and found that the possession in public places, streets and parks of the city, of large knives is a menace to the public health, peace, safety and welfare of the people of the city; that the possession in public places, streets and parks of such knives has resulted in the commission of many homicides, robberies, maimings and assaults of and upon the people of the city; that this condition encourages and fosters the commission of crimes, and contributes to juvenile delinquency, youth crime and gangsterism; that unless the possession or carrying in public places, streets and parks of the city of such knives without a lawful purpose is prohibited, there is danger of an increase in crimes of violence and other conditions detrimental to public peace, safety and welfare. It is further declared and found that the wearing or carrying of knives in open view in public places while such knives are not being used for a lawful purpose is unnecessary and threatening to the public and should be prohibited. b. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry on his or her person or have in such person's possession, in any public place, street, or park any knife which has a blade length of four inches or more. c. It shall be unlawful for any person in a public place, street or park, to wear outside of his or her clothing or carry in open view any knife with an exposed or unexposed blade unless such person is actually using such knife for a lawful purpose as set forth in subdivision d of this section. - See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ADC/10/1/10-133#sthash.zdAO4LL0.dpuf

jbj
September 7, 2013, 02:42 AM
The best small knife I've fund was the Spyderco Mouse. It's a miniature Wegner (the full size was my edc before Emerson caved and started making a round hole knife). It's no fighting knife, but it'll do most chores.

ugaarguy
September 7, 2013, 03:58 AM
jbj, I just looked up the Mouse and saw that Blade Tech is now offering it. It's now made in Taiwan with an AUS8 blade, and faux G10 FRP handles. Knifeworks has them for $20. I don't NEED another small knife, but at that price I just might have to try one out.

ETA: I just saw that Blade Tech is also offering a mouse variant called the Ratel. Price is the same as the mouse.

Pete D.
September 7, 2013, 06:12 AM
This two incher has been on my belt regularly since it was made fro me by David Boye in 1984.
http://i492.photobucket.com/albums/rr287/PeteDoyle/IMG_1818.jpg (http://s492.photobucket.com/user/PeteDoyle/media/IMG_1818.jpg.html)

hso
September 7, 2013, 06:49 AM
Speedo66,

You may be thinking about the current crazy interpretations by NYC's Cyrus Vance treating common modern pocket knives as switchblades. Then there's the further goofyness over pocket clips. Locking blades, so far, are not illegal in NYC.

22-rimfire
September 7, 2013, 12:06 PM
The Vic SAK Bantam main blade is just a hair over 2". It's usable for general stuff. Cutting weinie sticks might be the outer limit of its utility however. I bought this one to carry with me for the toothpick and tweezers when I carry one of my other knives (and no larger SAK).

When I first read you thread, my first thought was I'd carry my Dozier Personal (with a Wharncliffe blade) but then I got it out and it is about 2.5". I carry this one in the woods off and on. Really like it. The SOG Access Card 2.0 is another one that I thought would fit the criteria, but the blade although small exceeds 2". This is also a very useful office kind of knife.

Speedo66
September 7, 2013, 04:35 PM
Speedo66,

You may be thinking about the current crazy interpretations by NYC's Cyrus Vance treating common modern pocket knives as switchblades. Then there's the further goofyness over pocket clips. Locking blades, so far, are not illegal in NYC.
I found the section, but it's knives 4" or more that lock. http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ADC/10/1/10-134

NYPD cops have always held that any knife they can open by swinging the knife in their hand is a gravity knife. The law does mention opening "by the application of centrifugal force".

hso
September 7, 2013, 04:41 PM
That's a variation of the standard 4" blade length laws found in many places across the country, but in this case it leaves things open for non locking blades longer than 4".

Knife Rights is fighting the blade length and mechanism restrictions and has converted 7 states in the past couple of years (we'll get TN next year!).

mgmorden
September 11, 2013, 05:05 PM
Technically the town I live in has a local ordinance limiting blades to 3" (though its completely unenforced).

My normal daily-carry knife is a Buck Solitaire which comes in just under. I've also been occasionally carrying an older USA-made Schrade LB5 which is exactly 3".

I also keep a Sypderco Honeybee on my keychain whose blade is only 1.6". I actually use it a lot for things like opening boxes/letters etc.

Generally unless I know for certain that I'd like a longer blade (ie, skinning a deer - though in a pinch the longer two above will work for that too) then I'm completely comfortable with the shorter blades.

Jsg81
September 14, 2013, 01:47 PM
I just used the pen knife to breast some geese this morning. I meant to bring a bigger knife but didn't. It worked much better than I thought it would.

plumberroy
September 15, 2013, 02:58 PM
I have used a vic rambler to clean small game on several occasions mainly just to see if I can. It has been my experiance out here in fly over country that if you aren't being stupid with a knife not much is said. Or they are add on charges for people cimmitting serious crimes. I often carry a cold steel pocket bushman clipped in my left rear pocket around many officers and have never been questioned about it . I just don't go to places that have draconian tool laws, A knife is a tool .

Esoxchaser
September 15, 2013, 03:37 PM
I have been using the Boker for a couple of years now. A very sturdy little knife that holds an edge well.

ugaarguy
September 15, 2013, 07:32 PM
It has been my experiance out here in fly over country that if you aren't being stupid with a knife not much is said. Or they are add on charges for people cimmitting serious crimes.
Yes, but what does the law in your state say? I've also only ever heard of the 2" blade length law in GA being enforced on college campuses as an add on charge. That still doesn't change what the law states. It still doesn't make it worth the risk of having a weapons charge on one's record.
I often carry a cold steel pocket bushman clipped in my left rear pocket around many officers and have never been questioned about it . I just don't go to places that have draconian tool laws, A knife is a tool .
Again, what are the laws in your state? Outside of school campuses Georgia may be the most knife friendly state in the US. Any knife with a blade length of 5 inches or less is legal here, for anyone to carry. Any knife with a blade longer than 5 inches is legal to carry with a Georgia Weapons Carry License or with any other state's weapons / firearm carry permit that Georgia accepts. Other than blade length without a carry permit, there are no knife restrictions in Georgia unless you're on a school campus. Georgia is currently one of seven states that has fully repealed the ban on switch blades.

We can debate enforcement, and politics all we want, and we'll get nowhere. If you want to see laws changed join Knife Rights, and get active in the fight.

The topic of the thread is that some people live in, or travel to, places with restrictive knife laws. Being responsible citizens we wish to have the best tool available within the law.

I have used a vic rambler to clean small game on several occasions mainly just to see if I can.
Food prep is always one of the tasks I use for evaluating a knife's performance for review. It's eye opening to see just how much a general purpose knife can do, but it doesn't make them the best tool for the job. Just because you clean small game with a pen knife doesn't make it the best tool for the job.

plumberroy
September 15, 2013, 08:40 PM
Our laws are vague and leave a lot to interpertation , but from what I've read the bushman could be pushing it if it wasn't showing and some cities frown on the thumb stud/consider it a one hand opener
The topic of the thread is that some people live in, or travel to, places with restrictive knife laws. Being responsible citizens we wish to have the best tool available within the law.

Where you live or travel to is a choice I choose not to live places or travel to places that don't trust law abiding citizens . If everybody stopped going to N.Y.C. or Chicago or D.C for "fun" tourest money would dry up and maybe people living there that vote would vote the people out passing laws that restrict our rights.

JShirley
September 16, 2013, 08:42 AM
Where to travel is indeed your choice, but where to attend college is likely to be a more complicated decision. Ugaarguy has written a review concentrating specifically on knives allowable in GA universities, and since these are similiar to restrictions found in some less knife-friendly locales, the article has wide applicabilty.

plumberroy
September 16, 2013, 06:10 PM
Complicated decision, yes but still a choice. I was invited to apply for a job here lately just a little more money per hour but several more holidays per year I declined, the place requires people to be tobacco free. It is not the right of an employer to tell you what you can't do something at home that is legal . For the record I don't smoke and quit snuff 13 years ago .
It has been more than 20 years since I was in a college class room. I don't remember knife regs ever even mentioned
Roy

ugaarguy
September 17, 2013, 11:13 AM
Roy, we can debate the politics until we're blue in the face, but that's a discussion for activism. The point here is complying with the law until we can get it changed through political action.

I reviewed five folders that meet some of the toughest blade length restrictions in the US. In addition, these five folders come as close to large folder performance as possible despite their short blades. All folders reviewed have large grippy handles, stout locks, sturdy blades, and large pivots.

If the review doesn't apply to you, that's fine. But it doesn't warrant criticism of those who are complying with the law while they actively fight to change it.

AJumbo
September 17, 2013, 09:12 PM
I'm currently carrying a very small lockback Byrd knife of somewhat uncertain pedigree. It's 3 1/4" closed, 5 3/4" open, and has a 2" working edge. The blade is 2/3 serrated, and made of 8Cr13MoV steel; it's held its factory edge quite well, requiring only some stropping to keep sharp. There are traction grooves both on the 'hump' and on the ricasso, allowing a decent choke-up grip and a little more grip area folks with big hands.The pocket clip can be used left/right and tip up/ tip down. The handle is grippy as heck in any direction. My only gripe is that the pocket clip holds the knife exceptionally well, and when combined with it's small size, it can be tough to draw and present quickly. I'm thinking of adding some sort of lanyard to help get it clear of my pocket a bit more quickly. Apart from that (and the 'China' etching on the blade), I can recommend this knife.

I don't built cabins with this knife, but it serves me well as a nice general purpose pocketknife that would add zero weight to a daypack, bug-out bag, hunting kit, whatever. I'd say it compares in size to the top three knives accompanying the article.

ugaarguy
September 17, 2013, 09:34 PM
AJ, the Byrd knives are actually Spyderco's economy line that are built to their specs in China. The knife you mention is the Robin, and it's a great small folder. I have one myself, but the blade is just a bit too long to meet the law I was working with. It does meet the regulations in many other restrictive areas, so it's definitely on topic. The 8Cr13MoV blade steel is a Chinese copy of AUS-8. Spyderco used the original Aichi AUS-8 for years, so it's no surprise that they get such performance from 8Cr13MoV.

TimboKhan
September 18, 2013, 01:27 AM
Is it just me, or are people not understanding the gist of this article? It was written from a particular point of view to address a particular issue realistically faced by a particular person.

<rant on>

Yes, it is a choice. However, the University of Georgia isn't exactly Clown College. Most people who yearn to be a Bulldog are applying for specific reasons and are not likely to say "I am going to pass up an education at a premier university because, like, they won't let me carry a folding katana".

Certainly there are limits to the things I will and will not put up with, but for the most part if I have the chance to permanently better my existence on the planet and have to temporarily abide by laws I don't agree with to do so, then brothers, sign me up. Neither am I going to deny myself the pleasures of seeing the country and/or the world because for a temporary period of time I can't carry the knife I normally carry, or in line with the premise of this review, I have to make a compromise and carry a smaller knife.

Hey, I am a gun guy living in Colorado. Trust me, I have excellent and recent experience in dealing with laws that I find restrictive and distasteful. This idealized vision of a Valhalla of personal freedom simply does not exist in our world anymore, so I applaud my southern pal here for writing an article relevant to dealing with what is, as opposed to ranting about what should be.


<rant off>

mole
September 18, 2013, 05:25 PM
I'm an graduate from there and I carried a Gerber E-Z-Out clipped to my pocket most of the time while there including on 9/11. If I recall it has a 3 1/4" blade. Only once did anyone have anything to say about it and that was only that it was a "large blade" in their view. Of course most of my time was spent around the sciences area and away from the north campus wackos that would have a problem with a knife. I also worked with stuff much more dangerous than a simple pocketknife in some of the laboratories....

My wife carries the Byrd Robin everyday. Cut the tip off and regrind it. It would be a more affordable option.

AJumbo
September 18, 2013, 07:58 PM
Thanks, agaarguy.... I knew the Spyderco connection, but could not remember which model that was. I won it in a raffle, and carried it as boot knife for over a year before I actually used it.

Mole..... why would I grind the tip off it? Did I miss something? The tip is splinter-pickin' sharp as it is.

mole
September 18, 2013, 08:38 PM
I was suggesting doing it so that it would be less than the limit that ugaarguy is discussing. Personally I think that the Robin is a fine knife.

AJumbo
September 18, 2013, 10:47 PM
Very well; see, I DID miss somethinG!

lobo9er
September 19, 2013, 04:26 PM
http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/img/products/original/701758_1.jpg

I like this little guy.

ugaarguy
September 19, 2013, 04:43 PM
I like this little guy.
Cool. ¿Que Es?

Bix
September 19, 2013, 05:15 PM
Looking forward to part II of the article.

hso
September 20, 2013, 08:40 AM
uga, that's a Knives of Alaska Cub Bear caper with a 2.75" blade. Outdoor Edge has a similar knife. KOA's sister company DiamondBlades also has a 2.75" caper.

Readyrod
September 20, 2013, 09:32 AM
I live in Japan and the laws here are pretty restrictive. You can't carry a blade that is over 5.5cm, which is about two and a quarter inches. I carry a Spyderco ladybug. I've heard that the cops here will take away any knife that they find on you though.

hso
September 20, 2013, 10:13 AM
Most places outside the U.S. don't have even the pretense of limiting LE authority that we have here in the U.S.

maskedman504
September 20, 2013, 10:48 AM
I just scored this 'Pocket Butcher' by Eric Bonner. cpm154, thunderstorm kevlar scales, satin finish with a leather pocket sheath

2" edge, 5" OAL

http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc99/maskedman504/IMG_4338_zps0b4b5dde.jpg (http://s214.photobucket.com/user/maskedman504/media/IMG_4338_zps0b4b5dde.jpg.html)

And I love my Spyderco Techno

http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc99/maskedman504/IMG_4121_zpse2f6e875.jpg (http://s214.photobucket.com/user/maskedman504/media/IMG_4121_zpse2f6e875.jpg.html)

hso
September 20, 2013, 12:53 PM
maskedman504,

That's so CUTE! Really clever mini cleaver!


BTW, to get back on the OP's original theme, good article and good reviews. I'd say there's a useful niche for reviewing sub 3" knives.

ugaarguy
September 20, 2013, 07:33 PM
MM504, that pocket butcher is sweet.

Bix, I'm trying to round up one, maybe two, more fixed blade(s) for part two of the review.

Thank you all for the compliments.

Ohen Cepel
September 20, 2013, 07:35 PM
I really like the Buck Hartsook for small and useful.
Lots of fakes out there of it so make sure you get one from a reputable dealer.

CHighfield
October 2, 2013, 04:25 PM
I've EDC'd a Kershaw Chive for well over a year now. Blade length is 1-15/16 and it has been supremely useful.

I don't know if all of them are frame locks, but mine is a stonewashed frame locking model.

soccergod04
October 4, 2013, 05:42 AM
Not super restrictive, but a lot of cities have a 3" cut-off. I love my CQC-14 for carrying around town. Just under 3" blade, but fullsize and beefy in every other way.

Goju
October 4, 2013, 06:48 AM
The Al Mar SLB has a sub 2.5 inch blade; I've read many positive reviews of it but have no first hand experience ....

And I do own one of these - Three Sisters Forge CCT. Blade steel is Elmax
http://threesistersforge.com/folder.php?fmPage=58

hso
October 4, 2013, 09:09 AM
I've handled an SLB and it was a very nice little knife.

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