I’ve been wondering – for those of you that carry EDC pocket knives, what opening mechanisms do you prefer?
If you’re not quite sure, here’s a quick roundup.
I tend to like thumb holes, which be round or stylized. They give me a little positional flexibility, compared to thumb studs, and often allow for quick one-handed opening.
Spyderco knives also have large thumb holes, such as the Spyderco Techno I reviewed here.
You’ll find thumb holes on many multi-tools, too.
In these cases, they seem like deepened nail nicks, but it does make the knives much easier to open one-handed.
The ESEE-designed Zancudo, reviewed here has a thumb stud. Thumb studs are more traditional (I guess?), and are simple, but effective.
I tend to avoid thumb studs if or when other options are available. Some knives’ thumb studs are offensively difficult to reach and use, others are more comfortable. Buying a knife with a thumb stud sight unseen can be a little risky.
Some brands have adjustable thumb studs, which slide along the edge of a knife, but most don’t.
Flipper knives have a little tab that you press down to swing the blade open.
There are different variations of flippers, but the operation is more or less the same.
I really like flipper knives, if you couldn’t tell by the selection of Knife Reviews I have up so far.
There are other functional consequences of a flipper tabs – they often create small barriers between your hand and the blade.
Flipper knives benefit greatly from better construction, and on inexpensive knives they’ll often be coupled with an assisted opening spring.
I don’t like nail nicks, but I’ll tolerate them.
Shown here is on my Moki Red Fox knife, which I reviewed a couple of years ago.
The Case Back Pocket knife also has a nail nick.
You’ll find deep and extended nail nicks on many multi-tools, such as the Rebar I reviewed.
Nail nicks often require two hands to open.
Here’s the Kershaw Leek, my gateway pocket knife and the first one I reviewed here on ToolGuyd. It has an assisted opening spring, and two ways of pushing the blade open – a thumb stud and a flipper tab.
Some knives will give you options like this, but most don’t. Sometimes you can choose, as with Benchmade’s mini Griptilian, but most of the time a knife is designed the way it is, and you either take it or leave it.
Fixed Blade Knives
Sometimes no opening mechanism at all can be a good choice too. The Bradford Guardian 3 fixed blade knife is a fantastic USA-made EDC knife.
I love my Guardian 3, and will be trying out their newer knife styles later this year.
What’s your knife-opening preferences or experiences like?