tip up or tip down


Nov 1, 1998
Wondering if anyone could explain the advantages/disadvantages of tip up and tip down carry. I just got my small sebenza the other day. It is everything I was told it would be. Just awesome. I noticed that the sebenza as well as my Spyderco Dragonfly were tip-up carry. As a result, I was wondering what makes the designer determine if the knife should be tip-up or tip-down carry?
Thanks in advance for any response my fellow knife enthusiasts may have.
both carry styles have their pros & cons. I prefer tip down carry because I have my finger at the opening stud/disc in the first phase of drawing the knife. For me it's a little bit faster. That doesn't mean that I don't like and carry my Sebenza or my other tip ups.

Some say that tip down is safer for your fingers because if your knife opens a bit in the pcket incidentally you wouldn't cut your fingers but I never had this occur (opening in pocket that is) .
But as always: other knife users, other preferences, other draw techniques.

Take care,
RT -
I don't really think there's much difference between the two. You can easily get used to pivot-side vs. non-pivot-side opening.
The thing that's REALLY important for people who carry different knives at different times is to stick with one or the other. If you're familiar with one draw/open type, you'll be a little awkward with the other. And if you're in a hurry, missing an opening is somewhat embarassing.


The biggest advantage of tip-down carry is that if the blade doesn't retain well in the handle and it opens up a bit in your pocket, you won't reach in and cut your fingers. This accidental-opening is generally only a problem with liner lock knives, and then only when the ball-detent system doesn't work well (which is fairly often, sigh. don't get me started on liner locks).

The disadvantage of tip-down carry is that there's just no way to pull out and position the knife without pinch-gripping at some point, something I'm not looking forward to do with sweaty hands under stress. With tip-up, you'll have 4 fingers curled around the clip on the outside, reach your thumb in your pocket and put it on/in the stud/hole, then withdraw; at no point in the entire opening motion do you need to pinch grip. As a result, it's not only more secure but it can be a hair faster. In addition, if the clip loosens up, it's easier for a tip-down knife to fall out of your pocket, because more of the weight is up high compared to tip-up.

Overall, I'd agree with Marvin that it's not as much of a big deal as people think. I like tip-up for its better security during opening, but only when I know the knife stays shut when it's supposed to. Regardless of where the knife is clipped, it's much more important to me that the clip be mounted as high as possible. That means ABOVE the pivot (not at the pivot) for tip-down knives.

RT - I prefer tip-down carry personally. I've had my small Sebenza open in my pocket several times in the last couple of months. I've removed the clip and now carry it in a belt sheath. Chris and Anne Reeve have promised to take care of it - whenever I can bear to give it up for a few weeks.

Here's the link to a thread that I started on the Chris Reeve Knives forum over at KnifeForums.com. It deals with the 'benza opening in my pocket. There are several other people that have experienced the same problem that I have - one even required stitches!:


In the thread, Anne explains why Chris designed the knife with tip-up carry and my arguments against it.

Hope this helps.

You could always buy a new knife that gives you the option of both and try them out. The Endura II, Delica II(Both steel handle's) or an Ascent 830. There are probably some others I forgot. You do need a new knife, right?? For research of course.

I generally like tip down carry for the safety, and I am pretty darn quick with it too, even though Joe is right, you have to pinch it.
My new Commander has been working out great in tip up carry. I drilled out the ball detent so it really grabs, and I have had no problems at all.
What I like about the tip up carry is that I have put a lanyard on my Commander. This means that when I grab for the knife, I even have a backup handle in case I get a poor grip. Sometimes if I am having trouble, I can pull it out mostly by the lanyard. This is a very safe precaution, especially if you are drawing under stress, and the lanyard won't help you on drawing a tip down folder.

I'm with Marvin and Joe. What you're used to makes the difference. I started carrying Spydercos in '83 and have preferred tip up carry. Tried a mini-AFCK recently. Love it when it open, but I do fumble the draw/opening slightly.

Good Luck,
I concur with Joe to the letter.

Another advantage to pivot down is that the big end of the knife is in the pocket, making it easier to get your hand in the pocket to get change etc. out.

I carry my AFCK in the screwdriver pocket of my Carhartt's just for that reason.

Bob Kasper gets around the pivot up fumble by inertia opening right out of the pocket.

Marion David Poff fka Eye

Looking forward to the Spyderco Rolling Lock Knife and SpydeRench.

Anxiously awaiting the Benchmade Axis and Pinnacle. Will there be an AXIS AFCK??? I hope so!!!

"The victorious Warrior wins first and then goes to war, while the defeated Warrior goes to war and then seeks to win" Sun-Tzu

Please feel free to e-mail me at your discretion at: --> mdpoff@hotmail.com <--

In the waistband carry - tip down

Dress trousers - tip up

I find these ways the easiest to position the knife for quick opening.
I really prefer the clip be anchored to the knife at the tip end. I guess that means tip up for IWB or pocket carry.
I think the best designs are the one that allow for personal preference.
I prefer tip-down carry for a different reason than those listed here. Seems like most of my knives with the clip secured to the pivot end have the clip higher on the knife than knives with the clip on the butt end. I know of no reason why this would have to be true for most knives, but it seems to me to be the case with my selection of blades.

I have my Ascent on me today and there is definitely less sticking out of the pocket with the clip on the pivot end than the but end.

Other than that I don't really have a preference except on liner locks (pttoey!) but the only one of those I still carry (I have gotten rid of most of mine) is my BM Mini-Spike, one of my favourite knives, one of BM's best offerings ever IMHO, and my prototype for a well-made liner lock.


After I recieved my sebenza with tip up carry other folders seem awkward by comparison. If folder is well made there should'nt be a problem with opening in pocket. I know there was a big thread on other forum about sebenzas opening. Really dont see how that can happen unles there is something wrong with knife.
I Prefer tip-down myself for safety as well as speed draw. You'll find most manufacturers go tip-down. Those high-priced engineer's must know something.
lol I can say that because my Father is a nuke plant builder.

I think also most of the time there is more room down by the blade connection for a clip, rather than by the butt, considering most knives taper towards the butt for comfort.
Looks like most of the gang here prefers tip-down. Add me to that number. It just works better for me and is quicker and easier to deploy, whether carrying the knife inside or outside. And the safety factor goes without saying. Wonder why so many manufacturers are going with the tip-up concept. Did a whole lot of people demand it? Are we, then, the minority? Hope not.


Knife lover, Philosopher, Humanitarian, and All-around nice guy
(all right, so I'm just a knife lover)
Joe Talmadge:

I wish I could see you execute your tip-up draw technique in person. In my experience it is difficult to pull a tip-up folder (e.g., '98 Endura) out of my pocket without having my hand back a bit to far on the handle to reach the thumb hole. I have to shift the knife back a bit, and this is pretty awkward. Perhaps your method works better on smaller knives?

I have found that the fastest way for me to deploy my Endura is to give the knife a downward shake, once withdrawn, followed by a quick turning of the wrist to swing the blade open. Using this method I don't have to touch the thumb hole. I don't suppose I could open an auto any faster.

Could you elaborate on your four-fingers-around-the-clip technique?

David Rock

Never carry a knife shorter than your schnoz.
--Reuben "Stop When You Get To Bone" Merriweather.
I'm also a fan of tip-up carry.

I think Joe's mention of the "four fingers on clip" draw out of the pocket goes something like this.

1. Thumb hooks in pocket, indexing non-clip side handle of knife.

2. Four fingers close on the clip. Not vertically, but at a slight inward toward body angle.

3. Knife is pinched between thumb and fingers.

4. Knife is drawn. Thumb is either over or near Spydie hole, ready to open knife.

This technique works for me with both Delicas and larger Enduras and Wegners.

Different strokes for different folks. Like anything else, the key is practice until it becomes smooth, fluid, and natural.


Okay, I did the draw just now. It's pretty much as Joel described it.

First step, four fingers partly on clip but partly touching the right scale over my pants. My right thumb goes in the pocket and reaches for the thumb hole. All 5 fingers are on the knife, though 4 of them are holding the knife over my pants.

So, how is it that I can get my thumb to the thumb hole even on the relatively long endura? I'm not sure, I just reach in and don't stop until I get to the thumb hold -- I think my pants are crinkling up under the cilp to shorten the distance.

As I withdraw the knife, my four fingers slip over the pocket and onto the knife itself. Once the last one clears the pocket, I can open the knife since my thumb is already in the thumb hole.

Thanks for the clarification, Joe and Joel. You guys must have large hands. Using the method as you have described it, I find that, even scrunching the pocket material, my thumb cannot reach the Spydie hole until after I have withdrawn the knife completely and adjusted it in my hand. With practice, I can execute this withdrawal/adjustment fairly efficiently. I fear that as I relax my grip slightly to allow the handle to slide back into my hand, I may drop the knife someday in an inopportune moment. I think that, given a choice, I prefer tip-down carry. Thanks one and all for the input.

David Rock