min read
edc knife

The Quick, Dirty Guide To EDC Knives

An EDC knife is an incredibly useful accessory, and much like other bits of EDC gear, there's all sorts of hullabaloo about them. Yes, you should probably have one but what you actually need in one is very, very basic.


There are all sorts of different features that we can talk about, but most of them are ephemeral. In reality, there are three things you want to look for, and none of them have to do with how cool an EDC knife looks or what kind of point it has.

It's much like concealed carry guns. You can blather on about this, that or the other thing, but what you need is a gun that works, sights you can see and a trigger that works; all the rest is window dressing.

Here's the quick, dirty guide. You need three basic things in an EDC knife, and if it has these things...you're golden. Everything after these three elements is down to personal preference. If you're in to fixed blade handmade knives there are some really great options out there. However, for these purposes, we're going to discuss folding knives instead of fixed blades, because a fixed blade is not usually picked for EDC purposes by most people. So, let's get started.

An EDC Knife Must Take And Hold An Edge


Forget almost everything else about an EDC knife or ANY KNIFE AT ALL. This is the first and last thing that matters. The blade has got to be able to take and hold an edge. If it can't, you have an expensive butter knife with a stupid-looking blade and a clip on it.

So, let's have a quick talk about steel. Steel is an alloy of carbon and iron, which makes it harder but can also make it a little more brittle depending on the carbon content.

Now, that matters when it comes to sharpening the knife. The softer the steel, the easier it will be to put an edge on the knife...but it will also lose the edge faster. Harder steel takes more work to put a serious edge on the blade, but will hold it for longer.

Therefore, pay attention to what steel the knife is made of. If the manufacturer doesn't say, it's probably not great.

Ultimately, a knife lives or dies by it's edge, just as a concealed carry holster lives and dies by how comfortably it carries balanced by how well it works. Like anything else, it either works or it sucks.

And if you don't sharpen your knife or even know how...boy, do you have a lot to learn.

An EDC Knife Should Be Reasonably Fast To Open


Let's be honest: for the average person, all you're ever going to use an EDC knife for is opening packages from Amazon. However, people also commonly carry one in case they have to use it to fight with.

Knives don't need to be reloaded, after all.

That means you might need to get the knife into a fight quickly. Therefore, you need a knife that can be opened easily and relatively quickly. Granted, that doesn't mean you need an actual switchblade but an assisted-open or at least just easy-to-open EDC knife is a good idea.

I love Buck 110 knives. They're a standard by which pocket knives are judged, and for good reason. The blade locks into the frame better than any other knife, so it's strong. The clip point blade is perfect for outdoor use; it whittles very well and will take apart fish and game with ease.

But they take forever and a day to get open, so it doesn't make a good EDC knife in this respect.

That said, in this day and age...frankly, fast-opening knives are the rule rather than the exception anymore, so if you don't get one it's basically your fault.

However, be sure to read any local or state laws carefully regarding pocket knives. Some states proscribe against certain opening mechanisms. Actual switchblades are illegal in some states, others write the laws in certain ways that suggest spring-assisted as well as spring-operated (big difference!) knives might be illegal as well.

An EDC Knife Should Be Easy To Use

edc knife

Additionally, you should be able to use your EDC knife fairly comfortably and easily. If having it in your hands isn't pleasant, then it doesn't do you any darn good, does it?

Just like how concealed carry gun fit matters, fit of a knife matters. If it doesn't fit well or at least fit decently in the hand, and shouldn't rub you the wrong way while you're using it.

This same idea applies to kitchen knives and any other tool you can imagine.

Knife grips matter in this regard. Folks these days seem to think that some sort of LUDICROUSLY TACTICAL!!! grip material just HAS TO HAS TO HAS TO be on their EDC knife.

It doesn't. G10 is great material, but textured soft rubber grips are going to be a little more comfortable. But you do you, boo.

Ultimately, WHAT you find comfortable is completely up to you but THAT you find the tool usable is non-negotiable.

Just like with a concealed carry holster, if you don't get a knife that you feel like you can use...you're not going to.

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.