The "mini-" versions of larger popular folding knives

Apr 29, 1999
What are your thoughts on the smaller version of such popular folding knives as the AFCK, SOCOM or even the large Sebenza?
Is it truly just a question of size? Why did you or didn't you buy one of these?
I try to avoid carrying knives over 7" due to local ordinances. I really don't understand why a manufacturer would design a "mini" version of a knife with an overall length just slightly over 7", like the "mini" AFCK or numerous other knives. It seems as if an extra 1/8" is added just for the sole purpose of making it exceed 7".


There's more than one way to skin a cat!

I think there's somewhat of a problem with most of the "mini" designs out there because they fail to take into account that people's hands don't get smaller, and directly rescale the knife.

Take, for example, the Spyderco Rookie. It has virtually the same handle profile that the Police does. Well, in my girlfriend's hand that's great, because she holds it the way any "normal-sized" (hehehe) person holds a Police - a "2+2" grip with 2 fingers in each of the incurving parts of the handle (hard to explain if you aren't familiar with the Police). But for normal adult male hands, the ergonomics of the Rookie no longer work. It's not uncomfortable, but there is no clear indication of where your fingers should go.

An example of downsizing done right, on the other hand, are the Calypso & Calypso Jr. In this case, the smaller knife is of somewhat different shape than the larger one. The Pivot area remains the same size - if you look at them side by side they are nearly identical for about 1" on either side of the pivot. The Jr. has a blade of the same width, but it shortens more abruptly, and the handle does similarly, placing the pinkie behind the knife instead of on it.

Basically, the question is whether you are making a smaller-scale replica of the original knife or making a knife in a similar vein that will act like the larger one but in a smaller size. The first option is better for folks with tiny hands; the second one is better for everyone else. Nevertheless, most "mini" knives choose the former. That's a shame, because a lot of thinking goes into the shape of these full-sized knives and you are throwing it away if you just "miniaturize" the knife - people's hands stay the same size!


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
Even though the small Sebenza is a "scaled down" version of the large, it is still one of the most comfortable knives I have used. And at 6-7/8" OAL, it seems they took certain legal restrictions in mind when designing it.

I don't much like Mini's. I wish makers would take the opposite track and make "Maxi's".

"Every Dog Has His Day"

[This message has been edited by Lucky Dog (edited 26 June 1999).]
I like Minis...

I like the Mini AFCK I have.
I liked the Delica I had too - You cant say that aint a Mini Endura.
I like the Vaquero - but where it can't go - an EL Hombre can.
I Would LOVE to have a Mini REKAT Sifu...

Minis have a place.
I carry a gun almost constantly. I carry an HK USP .40 Full Sized... but when the HK can't come... I take my Walther PPK/S.
Mini Knives, Mouse Guns... Some times smaller is better...

Dont get me wrong... Size does Matter but, better to have something, than nothing.

I mean, if I went around saying I was an Emperor because some
moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, people would put me away!

All of my knives are "mini " knives, or they are at least small to begin with, like the Spyderco Cricket. These knives are the only knives that fit my hands. Yes, my hands are tiny and yes, I hold most minis the way normal people hold the full sized models (like my Rookie, for instance), but I am very happy with my knives.

I know that many of they minis are too small for some, but hey, all of the full sized knives are too big for me. A knife is a tool (or a weapon) and what good is if it cannot be held comfortably?

I believe that there is a place in the world for little knives, not just for the other people with tiny hands, male or female, but because sometimes the full sized models are not appropriate to be opened in public. I would feel uncomfortable opening a full sized Police or Calypso in most public places. But I have no problem opening a Rookie, mini AFCK, or mini Calypso because they are not as big and 'scary' to most non-knife folks. What's important is not the blade size, but the way a knife performs. The minis perform very well, IMO. So what if they're small. To date, I have never needed anything larger than my minis.

I love the minis. I said it on another thread and I will say it again: Little knives rule!

I'm done ranting now...
(Sorry if I got carried away.)


[This message has been edited by Sandra D. (edited 26 June 1999).]
Interesting comments. I personally think they're less likely to get you in trouble with the authorities, and they sure look less threatening. I was just wondering if any of the forumites would strongly object to carrying one and why, but it looks like the performance is not hindered by the downscaling.
Corduroy- you seem to like the Calypso jr. Is that your mini- of choice?
To Corduroy:

You hit it right on the head. As the knife gets smaller your hand stays the same. The problem with a lot of small knives is the handle is to small or slim to really get a good grip. Since the blade does what the hand tells it to, you lose a lot of cutting performance if you can't get a good purchase on the handle.

Outdoor Edge has just started tooling on 3.1" blade models of the Impulse and Magna. On both models we scaled down the length but widened both the blades and handles accordingly to offer a more full, secure grip and more powerful cutting blade. For reference these new models should become available in late Winter-Spring of 2000

Sorry if I waxed philosphical instead of answering your question, trueblade.

To be honest, I don't have a mini of choice because most of my real work gets done by the plain and serrated blades of my Leatherman Wave. I carry a 4" folder at nearly all times for emergency use and just because I enjoy them. I collect full-size folders and my girlfriend, "Sandra," collects the minis.

I agree with her that a smaller knife has its place - indeed, is not only friendlier but better suited to most suburban tasks. If I were going to carry one, it would likely be the Calypso Jr., probably the new liteweight because it's in a great steel and I have an easier time beating up a less pricy knife.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
I'm with you too on this one Corduroy. It always seems with mini versions that it's one extreme or the other. Like you were describing, some are designed by simply "shrinking" the scale. The BM mini-axis is a perfect example. Most people would most likely find this to be either tiny or at least much smaller than they expected. It just so happened I was wanting a knife of this size, and with small hands it's grown on me. The other extreme is the Gerber Covert; this is supposed to be a mini? They should call it a mid-size, offer a mini, and forgetaboutit.

I like both fairly large folders and minis, although my minis tend to get the most carry/usage. I have small-to-average sized hands, and I find the minis open a little more effortlessly (i.e., the thumb motion requires less maneuvering of the knife's body).
Also, oddly enough, I've found quite a few cutting tasks for me seem not only easier but safer using a mini version. So not only are they more p.c., sometimes they are more suited to the task at hand.
I have to chock it up to the smaller versions, for me....As someone said earlier certain mini's work better than others, depending on the designs...Wide blades on mini's have the ability to cut well...I personally have small hands and like the fit of a smaller knife for everyday use...The small Sebenza
is probably the best example I have of a knife that handles bigger than it is !!!Its stout blade works well and handle design is very ergo...I find myself chokeing up on big knives. Also I feel that a smaller knife design does better if the cutting part of the blade is is fairly even with the handle(with the blade open)...this allows you to use the entire blade without the handle and hand getting in the way when cutting on a flat surface..(Re:Sebenza)My small AFCK tends to keep me useing the front portion of the blade...But Don't get me wrong Big knives are bitchen, just like to sport a smaller version to use the most..
I am a large man with small hands.Ilike the minis and I own quite a few.The larger versions have a tendency to intimidate the non knife people.Also a small knife is as good as a large knife with everything but a large camp knife.IMHO