Pocket clip design

I believe we have Spyderco to thank for introducing pocket clips to the market, but now they're all over the place. Good, bad, and ugly. Some are integrated into the design of the knife, and some look like they are afterthoughts.

One of the best clips for being part of a comfortable knife handle was the integral clip on Spyderco's pre-'98 Delica/Endura types. Integral to the handle, hand-friendly. The problem was that it didn't have springiness of steel or titanium, and it could break and couldn't be replaced, except by installing a metal clip.

We're seeing some innovation. Edge Design has the new pivot-end deep-pocket clip. The Spyderco Military has a clip unique to that knife, and both Spyderco and Al Mar have ambidextrous butt-end clips. The carbon fiber William Henry knives have an elegant blue titanium clip.

I'd like to see more work by the factories on clip design. For instance, where a pivot-end clip is on the right-hander's side of an otherwise ambidextrous knife, most of them would be more left-hand friendly if they were curved along the back of the handle, instead of straight and interfering with the left hand's thumb ramp.

One thing that I find worrisome is any butt-end clip on a liner lock knife, even if the ball bearing detent is good, since there is no backspring to pull the point back into the handle if some sudden motion partly opens the knife, and now you can reach in and find the point with your fingers.

Post your pocket clip thoughts here . . . .


I also really liked the integral plastic clip (like on the pre-98 Delica's and Endura's). Compared to the metal clips, it was more comfortable, bigger (so it helped you open the blade easier and grip it more securely), was more discreet when clipped to your pocket (in my opinion) because of the look of the plastic clip and the fact that the knife sat lower leaving less handle exposed, and was easier on the clothing. However, I think I am definitely in the minority; I think almost everyone else prefers the newer metal clip ones.

Also, in my opinion, the knives were just barely inexpensive enough to be considered "replacable" (if the clip or anything else broke) so I didn't realy worry about breaking the clip.


[This message has been edited by Bernie (edited 10 January 1999).]
I also liked the older "integral" clip on the Delica & Endura. I've still got both of mine and in one piece too. There is most definetly an art to the whole clip thing.
Interesting topic, to say the least! More than once I've ceased to carry some particular folder because of the clip. Sometimes the design as such was the culprit, sometimes inapplicability to my specific carry needs, sometimes such a small thing as the color (and irreplaceability) of the clip.

More work (and innovation) on clip design would certainly be welcome, and there really seem to be quite a few "afterthoughts" still around.

Just one additional thought, or maybe a few.

I have often wondered the SHAPE of most metal clips (as seen from the side of the clip). I mean the "thick-belt-bulge" at the middle. No pocket-edge or waistband seems to need that. Any other reasons, like maybe helping in the draw? Have modified some (Benchmade and Spyderco) clips to a more sloping shape (maybe something like the A-F Covert seems to have standard, there surely are others), but that isn't easy. (Was it Thaddeus who wrote about the exact technique sometimes somewhere?) Also, I could usually do with considerably SHORTER clips. Why do they have to be so long? Have shortened some, with the above modification, of course, and replaced some with a shorter one (which may be a chore due to subtle differences in screw sizes and placements; a humble bow here to Spyderco's 98 models' reversible, single screw clips, especially if they are not protected by some patent). To sum it up a bit, less bulging and shorter could, more generally, mean LOWER PROFILE. Not many times my grip on a folder exactly *benefits* from the clip, so the less the better (within reason).

As to the design of INTEGRAL (PLASTIC) clips, I find the Cold Steel Voyager clips quite comfortable and "integrated" (haven't tried the pre-98 Delica/Endura). Too bad that their tension isn't enough for secure pocket carry (for me), because they are quite slippery too (wouldn't want a snagging one either, with, e.g., some rubber inserts). And I do worry about breaking plastic clips, because "inexpensive" knives are not very inexpensive anymore when they get to the hands of a "Foreigner" like me via EMS and through the local customs (the total cost of a $40 folder amounts to something like $80).

Needless to say, I haven't met a PERFECT clip yet. Nothing comes even close. In addition to perfect (structural and functional) integration to the handle, low profile, enough springiness and tension, reversibility, etc., it would have to change color and appearance with my clothes. Seriously, two or three wisely *different* clips with each knife might be an idea, or? And even then there may be no such thing as a perfect clip. It's a perfect KNIFE/CLIP(S) combination at best.

My two cents,


I always carry a clip folder, but I too agree that none seem all that great. The clip as an idea is great, but the application seems to need tweaking. Perhaps one that retracted into the handle when not clipped.
The plastic clip on my Spyderco Rescue gave me no problems until it broke off, luckily because of the nature of the system, it fell into my pocket so I didn't lose the knife. I've not carried a Knife with a plastic clip since. BTW Sal thanks for putting the metal clip on my new Rescue.
I'd also like to see a black clip that stays black, they all seem to wear very quickly.
Just my ramblings.
I like the Spyderco/BM clips as they seem to give the most grip onto your pocket/waistband although placement on many is not ideal for left handed use as per James's initial post. I had to gring down the clip on my mini Stryker to be able to reach the disk with my left thumb.

My Genesis clip does not have anything like the same "gripping surface" in contact with pocket etc. I am slightley worried that I will loose my Genesis because of this.

I think an allmost ideal pocket clip placement would be but end and reversable ala new Sypderco and Almar (although I have not handles the Almar version) Does anyone know is Spyderco is plannig to use their reversable clip on any models other than zytel handled ones?? I wouls love a reversable clip on my Calyso Jnr.
As has been mentioned, Clips have many dynamics that are not obvious initially.
Tension is an issue, too much tension makes the knife difficult to remove from whatever it is clipped to. Too little and the knife can fall out. The tooling on the Endura and
Delica clip was modified 6 times in an effort to try to come up with the optimum combination of tension, memory and impact strength. We eventually decide to drop the integral plastic clip (at least for now) on the lager (2.5"+ blade) becuase we could not achieve that optimum performance.

Size of the "open" area is an issue. Though the original clips on Clipits were designed to fit inside a pocket, many like to wear their knives clipped inside a belt.

Torsional strength is an issue. A clip hitting a door fame or workbench corner has to deal with rotational impact.

Fastening strength is an issue. Can you bend that clip perpendicular to the knife handle without breaking the clip or the handle material? Do you fasten to the pivot or around it? How low of a profile is too low to rapidly access and deploy, etc,etc.

All of which require refinement and evolution. I don't think the "clip evolution" is by any means finished, but I must admit, I see many that in my opinion won't go 5 years of hard use. Sometimes what appears" to be an afterthought to the less experienced knife user might be more well thought out than it seems. We all learn from time and each other. Some thoughts to share.

Bagman - Calypso jr lite weight will be reversible left/right but it will be tip down. (Spyderco's only (at this time) tip down lite weight).
Sal ,thanks, I dont mind if its tip up or down as long as its reversable.

Do you plan to use the reversable clip on on your non zytel knives ala AlMar?
bagman - in the past, we haved always made left and right hand models. In this manner, the serration was on the opposite side for lefties and left no open screw holes. Linerlocks were even more important for left handed models because of the release. They were always tip down. I believe Gary at Al Mar is using their lanyard hole for their reversible clip (tip up). Unless the designer requests tip up carry, like the Bob Lum "tanto", our non "Zytel" models will be tip down. If we get enough requests, we run a batch of left handed pieces. Originally (back in the early '80's) all of our models were made with a left hand version (20%). It became too difficult to predict sales per model and inventory became a problem. "old style lefties still on the shelf when "new revisions" were made. We still produce lefties in our stainless Police Model with plans to do the same for the G10 version (assuming the ELU (End Line User) like the piece). (Law enforcement, firefighters & paramedics get preferential treatment). I think a left hand C36 would do well. Next new project to the Military (C36)is to try to lower the MRSP.
I have not seen information on the referenced Calypso Jr lite weight. Will it have a flat or hollow grind? Any guess on availability date? Thanks.

Best Regards, Todd (fellow lefty)
Thanks for the info Sal, but now you say there may be a left handed C36 just weeks after I bought a right handed one, AH well another Spyderco needed for the collection

I would also have a left handed G10 Police.

ToddO- Sal refered to it in a previous post but I dont remember which one.