best edc knives

Choosing An EDC Knife

One of the most common and most useful bits of everyday kit is an EDC knife, which a lot of people carry in conjunction with their concealed carry gun and other ancillaries. Having one on hand is always a good idea, as a knife is both a good tool and implement of defense at close range. In the right hands, a knife is every bit as deadly as a pistol.


That said, there are certain things you want to look for in a knife for everyday carry, so you'll want to pick a good model before you put it in a pocket or possibly in a small sheath on your gun belt along with spare mags, gun and holster and whatever other EDC gear you tote on the daily.


Fixed Blade Or Folding Knife?


folding vs fixed blade

Some debate whether a fixed blade or folding knife is better. It's kind of like how some people argue whether open carry or concealed carry is better. In reality, both have their benefits and drawbacks.


Folders conceal better, but you sacrifice blade length (which is actually not as important as you'd think...unless you're talking filet or chef's knives) and also structural rigidity, as a fixed blade has a full tang - where the steel part, including the blade, runs the entire length of the knife - and is much stronger in that regard.


Ultimately, you should consider what the use is. Do you need a full-size knife on the daily? Or do you just need something to open letters and such with occasional other duties as needed? A good folder fits better in the latter case.


A Pocket Knife Must Fit In The Pocket But Draw Easily


knife for pocket carry

The first thing you should have an eye on is that a pocketknife should fit in the pocket easily, hold securely but must also draw easily. Sounds like a lot, but it's actually not that difficult to pull this off. All told, what you actually look at to determine this is two primary attributes of a knife: the dimensions and the belt clip.


After all, these are the attributes that are going to determine how easily a knife will fit in the pocket as well as how easily it can be pulled. A slim 3.5-inch folder with a good clip will fit more easily and draw more easily out of the pocket than a bulky tactical folder festooned with large grips, texturing and ancillaries all over it.


Granted, not that there aren't some great tactical folders that aren't suited for daily carry; plenty are. That said, it's more the case that the more a knife looks like something out of science fiction, often the less practical it becomes. Do take care to select a knife that you can effectively handle though; it's not very useful if it's awkward to use.


Blade length should ideally be somewhere between 3 inches and 4 inches. Any less and it may not be suitable for some tasks; any more and it becomes more of a pain to get in and out of a pocket. Ideal overall thickness should be less than a half-inch, but make sure the blade is thick enough to be actually useful. Too thin and it could very well break; too thick and you're toting a meat cleaver.


Also, take care to ensure that the clip is strong enough to endure years of being taken in and out of a pocket. This is often the Achilles' heel of a knife, so it had better be able to work for a long time or be easily replaced.


As to fixed blades, pick a blade length that fits your needs. Most often, a 4-inch knife is all you need. Make sure the handle is easy to get a good purchase on and also invest in a quality sheath. Just like a good pistol carry holster it should carry the knife securely and you should be able to draw and sheath it with ease.


Be careful, however, to comply with state and local guidelines regarding knives. Some states dictate a legal carry length, so be sure to be in compliance at all times.


The Blade's The Thing


best edc knife blade

With all that said, if there is one aspect that is more important than anything else it is the blade. The blade is what makes a knife an indispensable tool or just merely a thing that is convenient to have when it works.


What makes a good knife blade?


A good knife blade is actually a balance between a few different factors. Hardness, toughness, resistance to wear and corrosion, and also taking and retaining an edge. Steel composition makes a big difference here, so make sure to select a knife made from good steel.


Carbon steel makes some of the best blades as it takes an edge better than almost anything else, but corrodes easily and doesn't suffer much in terms of abrasion. Stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion and takes and holds an edge well, but the wide variety of stainless steels means you have to be careful in which steel you select. Look for a high-carbon stainless, such as the 400 series stainless steels, with 440C being one of the best.


Other steels commonly used to make knives include tool steels, which are tool-grade stock normally used to make - you might have guessed this - tools. Often enough tool steels can make excellent knives, though just as with stainless there may be an attribute sacrificed for another, such as a tool steel that's tough and therefore ultra-durable, but will require more constant sharpening to attain and hold a good edge.


Another common steel used to make knives is spring steel, which also happens to go very well as an insert in steel core gun belts and other things. Spring steels usually have higher carbon content and resist wear very well.


Other alloys are employed as well; the best thing to do is find out what kind of steel a knife is made from and figure out how best to care for it.


Serrations are also a good thing to consider. For the most part, they are useless. The typical pocket knife is not well-suited to sawing and especially when compared to an actual compact saw. If anything, serrations are a coping mechanism for a bad blade; they are better employed on a bread knife or steak knife. On a survival knife, that's one thing, but on an EDC knife they really don't belong.




Sam Hoober 

About The Author


Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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