Small folders--clip or no clip?

Jan 7, 1999
Wanted to get some feedback for future designs regarding your carry choice for small size folders. Do you prefer having a pocket clip on your folder no matter how small it is or is there a size where you feel the clip begins to overpower the rest of the knife (in length, handle thickness, ?). If this is a factor for you, what's the breakover point in size (2.5" blade length, 2", smaller)?

Also, how important to you is a dual clip position option on a liner lock (same end both sides, opposite ends, etc.)?

Thanks for your comments.

Jim Hammond
Hi Jim,

I've found myself carrying my carbon-fiber Dragonfly or SS Pegasus (both with 2" blades) a number of times lately, although they are not my normal daily carry. I do like having the clips even with blades that small. It takes a fairly small clip and I would certainly prefer flatter screw heads on the clips of those knives, but overall, I have not felt a strong desire to remove the clips.

I've been happy enough with right-hand, tip-down carry, but one of the obstacles I've been noting to buying a certain tip-up knife has been the question of what it would be like to have one tip-up knife in my carry rotation. I'm not sure and being able to switch ends for the clip would make me feel easier about buying it. I don't think I can quantify that feeling right now, though. It's probably not the most important thing but I probably would pay a few bucks more for the option. OTOH, if I were surer about whether it would or would not bother me, then I would either not care or not buy the knife without the option.

Paul Neubauer

An important thing to consider is that the clip is always removeable, right? I suppose those who don't want the clip on a sub 3" bladed folder wouldn't care for the empty clip-screw hole(s), but I'd certainly like the option myself. My favorite folder is the Benchmade Mini Axis folder; it's got a 2.9" blade and I use the clip to carry it in the back pocket of my dress pants at work, as I can sit, etc. comfortably with the small knife back there.
The smallest knife that I use with a clip has a 2.5" blade. But I also have bigger knives that I have removed the clip from, and I can't really tell if I want to keep a clip on until I actually use a knife for awhile. So I would say the most important thing about a clip is that it can be removed without a major problem. And that it looks clean w/out the clip. I only carry my knives tip down so I'd have to say tip down on both sides is my preference for a clip that can be moved.

But then I'm really wierd about clips so I don't know how much that helps.

"Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle."
I usually wear loose shorts and keep my knife in my pocket. But I understand those that like clips. Perhaps a small shield with the makers logo that could screw in place of the clip would make the knife look more finished rather than the "somethings missing" look of a removed clip?


Dam I drifted again. Sorry. Actually a clip on a small knife makes it easier to hold.

[This message has been edited by stray (edited 16 September 1999).]
I personally do not like clips on large or small knives.
The clips have been removed on my Navigator, Pegasis and Dragonfly. Also, the Wegner Jr, all Benchmade and Microtechs, and everything other than my James Brothers Cheyenne autos.
I know I'm in the minority with this anti-clip fetish.
My suggestion to any manufacturer is to provide hardware to fill the clip mount drill holes. These attract dirt and moisture, and otherwise make the knife look unfinished.
I have found suitible micro-sized stainless cap screws that work beautifully on MT and Benchmade.
Spydercos are a problem. You could remove the clip mounting screws, grind a bit of the thread off and reinstall. But you would still have bumps caused by Spyderco's use of domed phillips screws.
It would seem to me that the cost factor to the manufacturer would be pennies, and the option would improve the overall value of the piece in question.
I'm currently working on a pouch with a pocket clip on it at the request of a couple knifemakers. I Should have it out sometime early 2000. That should help solve the problem.

[This message has been edited by TomW (edited 16 September 1999).]
I'd like to see sheaths something along the lines of what TiNives is marketing, except in Kydex.

TiNives makes sheaths form fitted to their knives and puts pocket clips on them, so that the knife is kept firmly in the pocket, and the finish is preserved.

If the sheaths could be made Kydex, and the knives sort of clicked into them, then the knives would be secured securely, and they would have the benifit of a clipless feel!

I'd love to see sheaths like that designed to fit some popular Benchmades and Spydys

I need a bigger bucket.
I'm with Bill in the anti-clip minority.

Large or small, my general preference would be to go clipless, tho making that an option would be nice (ie, meaning that I can remove the clip without leaving some empty screwholes). Makes the knife slimmer and lighter and (I think) look better.

Guess in all my years including growing up in the LA inner-city, I've never had the need to quick draw a knife and would just as soon leave things that way. The exception is that I like to clip a knife occasionally in my backpack so it doesn't get lost with my trash.
On small knives I really like a clip. I use the knife as a money clip.
Bill summed up my clip feeling very well, thanks, Bill. I am with the minority.


Thanks for asking for our opinion.

I would not use a clip on anything under 2.5. I like having the option to remove the clip. Being a righty, I usually just leave the clip on as delivered. Having a little logo plate to cover the ugly removed clip space seems like a good idea.

I really like the recessed clip that Darrel Ralph and Outdoor Edge have come up with for the Impulse.
The first time I saw a clip on a knife, I thought it was a stupid idea -- thought it would be in the way, interfere with my grip. Wow! Was I wrong. Now, I prefer a pocket clip on anything bigger than a Ladybug; I can't imagine even something as small as a Spydie Cricket without its pocket clip.

For me, dual position isn't that important, but I understand why it would be for some people. I like the idea of some sort of shield with logo for those who want to remove the clip.

For me, it is more a factor of weight and shape. For example, the BF Native is flat and light and not what I consider tactical, so I prefer to carry it in the pocket with no clip. The Benchmade Mini AFCK is kind of square edged, and kind of tactical, so I use the clip. I had a Spyderco SS Calypso Jr. that was small smooth, non-tactical, but so heavy that it was like having a rock moving around in my pocket, clip again.

So, smooth, light, non-tactical knives of smaller size, go in the pocket, and a bigger, stronger folder with a clip goes in the back pocket at the same time. Knives that don't ride well in the pocket, have sharp edges, or that I might want quick access to keep the clip. I can't imagine wanting a clip on a pocket knife with a handle much under 3".

I carry a Spyderco Cricket and Ladybug on my job and I have to say that the Cricket is by far my favorite of the two because it has a clip and is much easier to get to when I need it.
Usually when I need a knife, I have something in my other hand that needs to be cut and fishing around in the pocket with one hand and holding the item you need to cut in the other hand is a big pain in the ass. I find the whole task is easier if I can retreive my knife from the top of my pocket, make the cut and return the knife without digging deep in the pocket.
The Cricket is of course a 1 7/8" blade and the clip is definately more help than hindrance.
The pocket clip RULES!
Tip up, tip down, one side or the other, it all works for me.
BTW These recessed clips on the Outdoor Edge Impulse and the Magna are outstanding innovations on an already great idea.

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

[This message has been edited by misque (edited 16 September 1999).]

[This message has been edited by misque (edited 16 September 1999).]
I guess I am the antithesis is Bill McWilliams. I like clips on everything, even one of my guns had a clip on it. I was wishing the other day that my Leatherman Micra had a clip on it because it is a royal pain to use it when it is attached to my keychain, but I do not want it running loose in my pockets because of all the stuff I carry regularly as it is. With a clip I could keep it in the change pocket of my jeans where I can easily keep track of it and not have to dig to get to it.

I do think that Bill is right on with the suggestion that clipped knives should come with flush screws to fill in the screw holes, for both aestetic and cleanliness reason, and knives with multiple clip positions should have plugs for the empty holes.

I am not the biggest fan of sheaths because when I have a sheath on, that part of my body is dedicated to the carrying of that utensil. even if I pull out my Leatherman fron its sheath, the sheath is still there on my belt taking up space and generally uncomfortable if I am rolling under my truck or whatnot. Sheaths are bulky, protruding, and generally a pain. And that is the good ones. ... ... ... ...ooops sidetracked....

removeable clips...YEa...on everything..


It is not a matter of whether or not you are paranoid, it is a matter of whether or not you are paranoid enough.

AKTI # A000348
Good thread.

Any thing 3 inch under no clip. Larger than this I like the clip.

I also like lanyards so a lanyard hole is nearly a must. Use of lanyards can prevent you from dropping a knife and losing it say around water or on grating. It can also be used as quick access to the knife so somewhat serving the function of the clip. This is especially true if the knife is small enough to fit in a watch pocket.
Clips clips clips clips... :)

I have some knives that have no clips, others that did, and still others that still do. By far though, my knives with clips get used more and more often. I'm a tip-up guy personally ( I don't get to wear jeans too often to work, and tip down doesn't seem to work as well in near vertical pocket openings), but think any clip is better than none. Well almost.

I havn't seen a knife with a side-&-end reversible clip yet, I think it would take some doing to make it non-cluttered and still functional though.

Just my two-cents...can I have my change?
For what it's worth, I prefer a clip on any knife that doesn't need a sheath. I do understand that some people think a clip ruins the aesthetics of a knife and no doubt that's true for some designs, but in a working or tactical knife a properly designed and executed clip,[ie, a wire design in titanium or, if you want to go wild, silver] can add alot. For me, the smaller the knife the easier it is to lose it in a pocket or thru a hole in the pocket. I like clips. I prefer a tail clip for a faster draw but a reversible design would please more people. Some of the members think the anti-clip folks are the minority - but from the posts on this thread it looks like you guys have us outnumbered!
Mr. Hammond,

I'm for clips on folders of just about any size up to 5" blades or so. They make the knife so much easier to locate and open quickly, which increases its overall utility. I sometimes feel that having a knife clipped in a pocket makes it hard to use that pocket for anything else - but compare this to having the knife loose, where anything else in the pocket makes the knife hard to locate and may also scratch and ding it all over.

If clips interfere with small knives, that is the clip's fault, not the knives. I'd bet 95% of the "clip" knives in production use a standardized clip that was not designed for that particular knife. Of course they interfere! There are only two basic sizes of clip used by Spyderco and only one used by Benchmade, and these clips are universal up-down, left-right, any-knife clips. No wonder they frequently look bad and feel worse!

The solution is to match the clip to the knife. Just because my shoes won't fit a 6-year-old girl doesn't mean she shouldn't wear shoes. I believe that very small knives can and should have clips, and these will not interfere with the look or feel if they are properly matched to the knife. It doesn't need to be a different clip for every knife design, but it must be a greater range of sizes and shapes than we have now.

-Drew Gleason
Little Bear Knives