Tip-up or Tip down, what is the critical difference?

Mar 21, 2000
I'm perplexed with this question, what is the major difference between the two carry positions.
Tip down, right pocket, seems like the knife is more conducive to faster opening, at least with
my BM 905. I'm new to this forum, can someone explain.

Thanks to all that reply!
I find tip-up much faster, since I don't have to flip the knife around to get my thumb on the thumbstud. The drawback is that a knife might partially open in the pocket, and the tip of the blade catch on the pocket, opening the knife. Axis locks secure the blade closed very well, so I don't have that problem with my 705, or the 730 that should show up any day now.


With tip up carry if the knife opens in your pocket you might cut yourself reaching for it. I have cut myself twice.
As far as speed, you can open tip up knives with double thumb studs (BM 710) by catching the bottom thumb stud on the top of your front pants pocket and it opens as you pull it out.

RICK - Left Handers Unite
My AFCK is a tip down kinda knife, and I love tip down for two reasons. First of all, the safety thing. The blade opened on me twice in my pocket (I knew because it actually cut through my pocket) and I am glad that the tip was down or else I would have sliced my fingers really good! I just had to tighten the pivot screw a tad, and have had no trouble since. And secondly, I find tip down to be very fast on the draw. I don't need to flip the knife over to open itbecause I grab it with my thumb and pointer finger, with the rest of my fingers pointing down (palm down). the knife quickly slips into my palm and my thumb rotates the blade into an open position. If you grab a tip down knife with your palm up it will be slower because you do have to flip the knife over. Simple solution- grab it the way I do!!!

"Come What May..."
In absolutes, tip up gives a superior grip as the knife is drawn. The pad of the thumb is in contact with one side of the handle over the entire pad, while the opposite side of handle (clip side) is grasped sequencially by each finger until it is completely withdrawn. As soon as the pivot end of the knife clears the pocket (or waistband), the thumb can be used to open the blade.

That being said, linerlocks make a risky tip-up carry because the blade can open in the pocket and stab/slice your hand as you try to draw or dig around in your pockets for loose change, photon light, etc. I have several linerlocks and prefer that lock mechanism to lockbacks due to the ease of opening. All the linerlocks that I use can be flipped open with some effort with the factory pivot pin tightness.

Also, many times, my knives are not on my person, but clipped to a pack, vest, or strap where the tip-up position may not be the easiest method of draw.

Last, tip-up knives don't sit quite as deep in the pocket because of the taper of the typical blade neccessitates a taper in the handle, which will not support attachment of a clip (or enough strength for a molded clip a la previous generation Spyderco Delica/Endura)

Mostly though, it's personal preference.
I think it is mostly a personal preference thing. I have small hands. Tip down works better for me on larger folders because I extract with my thumb on the inside pivot area and the index and third finger on the clip. The knife slides out into my forward grip and ready to deploy. I find I have to adjust with a large folder carry tip up.

As far as tip out opening up in the pocket, a good ball detent should take care of that. I don't mind tip up for my smaller folders, though I generally carry a larger one in my pants pocket.


AKTI #A000356
I prefer tip DOWN. Like RGRAY, I have had problems with certain thumb studs catching on my pants and having the knife open up while I am drawing it out.
I now keep one of my fingers ON the blade as I draw it out.

RGRAY - FYI, its the BM730 that I have had problems with. IMHO, the thumb studs should be a little lower. I don't have a 710 to compare the height of the thumb stud with. BM could be using the same univeral ones. My 730 studs measure at 4.2mm (almost 3/16" high - 4.762mm). May be its a LEFTY thing, since I am lefthanded.....LOL. :p Otherwise the 730 is a good knife. My 1st BM since last June.
It looks like they got their act back together.

I've never had a problem with a tip DOWN knife opening up - gravity keeps it closed. If I snag it pulling it out, it keeps the knife closed still. Give the BM720 Pardue Axis lock -- you can change it from tip up and tip down.
Just my thoughts - let us know what you end up buying.

Ray 'md2020'

ATKI member #A001042
I think I prefer tip down for larger knives. Tip up is fine with smaller, shorter blades.

That said I love my Wegner, 710, and 730. All large knives, all tip up, No safety problems with any of them - yet.

I think what RGRAY was saying, is that if you twist the knife as you draw it from your hip pocket, you can cause the stud on the 710 to catch the top seam on your pocket, and open as you draw the knife. Sort of like the Emerson Wave. This is very fast, but I at least have to try to do it. It does not happen by accident. This seems to work well when I am carrying the 710 and wearing a pair of jeans. I haven't tried it yet with the 730.


I much prefer tip down. However, with really small knives I don't care.

Spyderco knives are especially useful when tip down because they can be "dropped" open. You can draw the knife by placing your thumb in the blade hole, rather than on the handle. Since your thumb is already on the opening mechanism before the knife even leaves your pants pocket, drawing and opening the knife takes place in one motion.
I like tip up but carry tip down to make it easier if I have to open with the opposite hand.
Its what you prefer and are use to. My first knife was a Spyderco Endura. So I'm quick with it, and the Delicas I carry now. If my first knife had been a Spyderco Police, I'm sure I'd be just as fast with it.

I have found out that I have to dig deeper in my pocket when the knife is carried tip up. So, tip down it is.

Tea drinker and hellraiser from Northern Sweden, above the arctic circle.

Sorry Ray, Mike is correct; quicker draw.

I would only do it with jeans. I don't recommend this. I was only commenting to synergize point about faster opening.
Mike, I said from front pocket; not hip pocket.

RICK - Left Handers Unite
Tip-up tip-down depend a lot of the place where yuo are carrying your blade adn the way you want it to came in your hand. If you have to push the blade out tip down is better or if you pull it out the tip up is more suitable for hammer grip and opposite for icepick grip.
For example you are carrying the blade in your wastband on left side (just behind the horisontal mobile phone holster), so it is easier to just grab the knife with fist two fingers and push up a little towards to the left and tip down is a superb way of carrying (if you want to have a hammer grip).
I guess that if I think back to my first clip knives, which were tip down (Spike & AFCK) I was really pleased. When I saw a tip up, My initial impression was that it would really be neat! When I got a tip up, I think the first one a BM 710 it was the slowest thing I had ever tried to use. I had to flip it over twice to get it open. The first flip was reflex, the second followed when I realized that I should not have flipped it over the first time.

There was A time there that tip up drove me crazy! I wanted everything tip down. At this point having used both a fair amount I don't really care much any more.

RGRAY, Sorry,
I carry my primary knife in my hip pocket so just naturally assume that everyone else does too!

Rick, and Mike,

I should have added that it happens more ofen with Chino/Dickies style pants that have the angled pockets. I haven't had it happen with my std blue jeans.

The BM 730 is a sweet knife. I'm looking into a 720, and may be just tap/thread the otherside for LH carry. I'm not sure why BM didn't bother to do that (??). Unless just the early ones weren't ambidexterous?

Up, or down is personal preference - whatever works for you is the 'best'.

Ray 'md2020'

ATKI member #A001042
Depends where it is clipped. I can open a tip-up Spyderco (Delica or Endura) from my pocket fairly quickly. But if it is IWB behind my belt (my BM Pinnacle), I prefer tip-down, because the friction of the belt prevents easy access. I can also do a "pinch" opening fairly quickly with tip-down carry, depending on the knife; say (gasp!) a Gerber EZ-Out (I know, I know, not high quality, and fails spine whack test regularly).

Do fish complain that the sea is wet?
I don't have a real preference one way or the other for smaller blades. But when you get into the 4 inch or so range, then I prefer tip down since I sometimes have problems reaching the thumb studs on a 4 inch or so folder carried tip up. My BM 710 can be a pain to get out at times . . .

Simon Yu

"I look at it this way. If things get much worse I'll be too dead to care."