Is there a trend towards smaller knives?

Dec 27, 2000
Is it just me, or does there seem to be a movement by manufacturers toward the smaller knife? Especially with folders, this appears to be the case.

Next question: Why? Is it a move towards "political correctness"? Maybe as a "hedge" against perceived future negative legislation?

Any thoughts?

Mebbe smaller knives are easier to carry? Day to day, I'm not fighting off hordes of attackers or defending myself against muggers, I'm opening boxes, letters, etc. I don't need anything longer than 3.5" to do that (2.5"-3" is just about right). Weight is important too. My knife selection has nothing to do with PC and everything to do with how comfortable it is to carry. Therefore, I tend to buy smaller knives.

I agree that smaller knives make more sense for most people. Think back in the days of the classic pocket knife. Most patterns like the stockman, trapper, whittler, pens, etc. were not that big. The main traditional folders that approach the size of a full size tactical were the folding hunters, Daddy Barlows, and Fishing Knives. The other patterns tended to be no larger than a Mini AFCK (large trapper or muskrat for example). I think that if men like my father who grew up in the 1930's & 1940's when knife carrying was expected, functioned well with a 3" main blade stockman or electrician's knife, I don't see why I can't function with a small or mid sized (2" - 3.25") one hander.
I'm not sure there's a trend towards smaller knives; when Spyderco came out with the 3" Gunting, lots of people wanted a bigger one. Camillus was talking about making a BFF (Big Freakin' Fighter). REKAT has come out with about eight different variations of the SIFU (Carbon Fiber, Grooveless, Black-Ti, etc.). I don't own one, but look at the Buck/Strider collaboration, Madd Maxx, and a host of other extremely beefy production and custom knives. That said, I've been leaning towards smaller knives for my daily carry simply as a matter of convenience and use. But I also enjoy a solid-feeling large blade snapping open in my hand.
I think a trend may be developing as well, and perhaps it is a little bit of both. I can't speak for Canada or other countries worldwide, but many cities in the United States have local ordinances which limit the size of a legal carry knife. Also, the fact that many airlines are now objecting to large knives or serrated knives, despite FAA guidelines, make it practical to carry a small knife for travel. Don't get me wrong, I like large knives and do prefer them, however, in today's world full of paranoia and liberal legislators out to ban all knives, it is becoming practical to carry smaller knives, especially when travelling.

[This message has been edited by el cid (edited 04-06-2001).]
I don't think there is a "trend" forming, but there do seemt to be an aweful lot of small knives coming out of manufacturers. Not sure what prompted it, but you are correct in your observations.

El Cid:
You are so right about the legislators out to ban knives, or any other "potentially dangerous" items. Wish people would realize there is a reason the government is heading in this direction, maybe then an honest investigation could shed some light. There are oh so many secrets being kept.

Dark Nemesis

Crimson Horizon
Nothing but edge baby...
I haven't carried a folder with over a 3 1/2" blade since I was in the Navy. None of the folders I have bought in the last couple of years have a blade length of 4" (Ex. CRKT/KFF). I think larger folders can be impressive or maybe a better word is intimidating, but I have no need of them as a practicle carry knife.
I think KnifeKnuts do themselves more harm than good when they complain about their rights being infringed on yet insist on carrying knives that by their style and size indicate that they aren't being carried for any other reason than to use as a weapon. I mean who are we trying to kid?

"Will work 4 Knives!"
My PhotoPoint Site
I find myself going for the smaller daily carry options.

[This message has been edited by bteel (edited 04-06-2001).]
My cats breath smells like cat food.
(double post)

[This message has been edited by bteel (edited 04-06-2001).]
I agree that a 3" blade serves fine for most uses, is more acceptable, and its light weight more comfortable to carry.

Remember though that as folder blades move up in size, so does the handle. For chores which require a good grip on the handle, most adults generally need around a 4" blade.
PhilL, I don't think it's a case of people wanting to carry large knives as weapons. Any knife can be carried as a weapon regardless of blade length, as can a pen or a pencil. Even a Victorinox Classic can be used as a weapon if one were so inclined. I agree that there are people out there who carry large knives for the sole purpose of self-defense, however, there are many people who work with their knives and many prefer a knife with a 3 1/2 to 4 inch blade length for user comfort. The fact remains that laws are being passed which set limits to the kind of knife you can carry or even buy. Misguided legislators think that by setting limits or banning certain types of knives, they will cut down on violent crime. The fact is that legislators are kidding themselves. I own and carry many types of knives, large and small. When I travel, I carry a small folder under 3 inches in blade length for convenience and for peace of mind in knowing that if I am in a city with restrictive knife laws, I won't be having to worry about getting it confiscated or arrested, should I have a run in with the law. Many times I can get by with a small folder. In today's society where people are quick to blame inanimate objects for the actions of one person, it is becoming clear that smaller knives are less likeky to be seen as threatening weapons by most people.
I would also like to add that the trend in smaller knives can be beneficial to both the knife company/maker and the consumer. In the past, if you lived in an area that bans knives over 3 inches in length, you were limited as to the knife you could buy and legally carry. That meant that you could not legally carry a Sebenza or a CRKT Crawford/Kasper or a Benchmade Stryker. Since these companies make smaller versions of these knives, it allows the consumer access to the designs and allows the maker, a wider market to sell to.
I carry two sizes of the same knife: The Cold Steel plain-edge Clip-Point Voyager. I carry a 3 inch Medium as my knife for everyday cutting tasks. I carry my 5 inch Extra-Large as a back-up to whatever other "defensive/offensive" weapon I may also be carrying.

(...So far I haven't had to use the larger knife.

Dann Fassnacht
Aberdeen, WA
ICQ# 53675663
I'm not so sure if there is a growing trend toward smaller knives so much as there is a lapse in the trend toward larger and larger knives.

It comes down to practical matters for most folks:

"Practical" for most folks means under 3 1/2 inches. 98% of chores from opening boxes to skinning out an elk is readily handled inside this range. The clip point on my Leatherman Wave 2 7/8 inch sees far more use than any other knives I own. Waaay more on an annual basis than my 15 inch HI AK.
In all fairness, laws governing blade length are not new. Many of the laws are at least eighty years old, many are more than 100 years old. That's not to say that new laws are not being created, however, the idea of blade limits itself is not new. That's why so many of the classic pocket knife patterns are small or medium sized.
A big knife can do what a small knife can do and more but a small knife can't do what a big knife can do.

bigger cuts, bigger slashes, bigger is better!
I hear that

Now I don't think now a days it is wise to carry sword or bowie unless you have a special purpose for it. But I carry a BM42 Balisong(Oh yeah finally got one
) and I could not imagine using something smaller than a 4' blade. All in all bigger is better.

I have a sword in my pocket!
I am seeing more & more guys at the shows request smaller blades vs. the larger ones. More UDT's & Pro-Tech Dukes are being sold vs. Socom Elite Autos. In the CRKT line, I have been running sales on the Mirages......the small Mirage outsells the Large Mirage, even tho they are about the same price. The small Kasper is more popular than the Large Kasper these days.......just a few observations. Guys seem to realy want something light in their pocket......I know I scaled back from a MT Socom to a Pro-Tech G-10 about weight and size re-duction....and I have found out that so far, I have not had a cutting task that really required the large 4" blade in my daily routine.

Knives & Things
Mike Payne
I don't know whether its a trend or just marketing towards people who can only carry smaller knives to work. I work for a large company, in a large building were it is required that you wear business attire, i.e. shirt, tie etc. In this environment it is very difficult to carry a knife that too large to conceal without drawing attention.

I have opened numerious knives at work from small pen knives to tactical one handers and the reaction is almost always the same, "why do you carry knife or why are carry a knife like that". I just shake my head, because I have carried one since I was 9 and there are many uses for them other than what they think!

99% of the population don't realize that a sharp pencil is as deadly, and you don't feel threatened by a pencil until it's sticking out of your neck.