Why I Like Clips

Oct 3, 1998
Why I Like Clips
by David Rock

Experience and observation teach me that a knife spends A LOT more time in my pocket than it does in my hand. Consequently, I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of hand comfort for the sake of greater pocket comfort and convenience.

In addidition to the added convenience in carrying a knife, I have also found that in some instances a pocket clip actually improves grip.

Case in point: I have here in my left front pocket a Spyderco Delica, '98 version. The clip is removeable, currently set up for a lefty. The handle on this knife is rather thin. The clip provides extra width and a convenient ridge for me to anchor my fingertips against when deploying the blade. Now, let's see what happens if I remove the clip (all it takes is a coin and a few seconds; what a great design--kudos to Sal Glesser and the folks at Spyderco). Okay, the clip has been removed. The knife definitely feels thinner in my hand, but I can get used to that easily enough. Hmmm. I'm noticing that the knife wants to rotate in my hand more than it did before. The clip seems to have improved stability. Let me try opening and closing the knife a few times. Whoa! There's not much to hang onto here. My fingertips tend to slide off the edge of the handle! Smooth Zytel on dry skin doesn't generate very much friction. The force required to push the blade open is sufficient to pull the handle out from under my fingertips, if I'm not careful. Perhaps I'd learn to compensate for this after a while. As it stands right now, I'm noticing that my fingers, in order to gain adequate purchase on the edge of the handle, must press harder and remain closer to the blade. If I use the thumb hole to CLOSE the blade, or if the blade should accidentally close on me before it locks open, my fingertips are very close to the danger zone where the blade fits between the handle slabs. In a situation such as this, I definitely like having the clip as an anchor point for my fingers.

In all fairness, I have done extensive testing on this Delica, on one occasion whittling a hardwood dowel for nearly an hour at a sitting. I will admit that the clip did tend to bite into my hand somewhat after a while. It became uncomfortable, but not exactly painful. This is a compromise I'm perfectly willing to make. After all, how often do I use a folding knife hard for an extended period of time? Almost never.

All things considered, I'm leaving the clip on this knife, even though I generally carry it loose, down inside my pocket. It seems to make the knife work better in ways that are consistent with how I intend to use it.

Regards to all,
Dave, I agree with you for the most part. I don't seem to mind the clips most of the times especially if they're well made like the Military's clip and the Endura. They make opening the knife one handed a little easier most times. On the other hand, I really don't like the permanet clip on my Dragonfly and would prefer that its clip was removable.

The 3 screw clip on my Harpy is nice, it has a deep pocket clip almost as nice as the Genesis & is nearly concealed when clipped to the pocket but I took it off since I usually let the knife ride inside my pocket and the G-10 scales are very secure for deploying the blade one handed.

The pocket clip for the Genesis is the best IMHO. Deep riding and very unobstrusive. EDI did a great job with this one.

Sal if you're listening: The Harpy is an excellent knife. Very practical for day to day jobs like opening packages and those annoying blister packs that everything seems to come in now. Large enough for all most any size job but small enough to hide in a pocket.



Greg - thank you.
Mike - I remember seeing a patent for a knife with two clips, one on each side. You may want to do a patent search before investing money.
If you have the zytel Dragonfly you can still remove the clip. When my clip broke on my Delica(my fault) I ground off what was left and stuck a metal clip on it. Some day I'll send it in for Spyderco to fix. Just hacksaw the clip off, and then clean it up with a dremel.

[This message has been edited by Blades (edited 08 January 1999).]
I dislike clips except for one situation.

The steel clips have done considerable damage to my cloth car seat as well as rubbing up against wooden furniture.

They are also a dead give away that you have a knife. I've had occurrences at work when someone will ask "What's in your pocket?" Someone even realized it was a Benchmade by the clip. If you wear light colored pants then the clip really stands out. A shiny SS clip stands out even more than a black one.

When I carry a knife with a thumbstud and clip, there is a good chance that the stud will get hung up on a pocket edge or waistband.

I used to carry my Spyderco Cricket and Crawford mini KFF in my waistband with the clip. When dropping my pants in the toilet, I managed to have both knives come loose and open up when they hit the ground. This resulted in a damaged tip and knife edge in both occasions.

I now carry my Crawford full-size KFF in an "In the Pocket Knife Sheath." I don't have any problem with the stud hanging up anymore. The sheath also keeps the knife securely closed while in the pocket. Twice during clip carry, the blade opened up cutting my pants pocket. Once it cut my hand. I also carry my SwissTool in a horizonal nylon belt pouch. Since it's a multi-tool I don't care if someone asks me what it is. Everything stays in place when I drop my pants too.

As far as the feel of the knife handle without the clip, the KFF actually feels better without the clip. That's because the KFF's handle is quite substantial to start with.

The one time when I use the clip is when I exercise in pocketless shorts. Then I carry right and left handed AFCK 800Ss modified by Kevin Gentile.


[This message has been edited by Axel Yup (edited 08 January 1999).]
It's true that clip carry can be hard on pocket edges, especially if the handle material is abrasive (anodized aluminum or G-10). On the other hand, a knife carried down inside the pocket will wear a hole pretty fast, if it's very long or has corners on it. As you have mentioned, Axel, the inside-the-pocket sheath may solve this problem, so I'm not gonna argue about that.

Here's another reason I like clips on my knives: Shirt-pocket carry! I dig shirt-pocket carry.

Shirt-pocket carry =

Clips =

David Rock =

I'm with you, Dave. A well-designed clip actually enhances grip. Classic examples: any Spyderco, Benchmade Sentinel, MicroTech SOCOM (once it's been tweaked-see my post on that topic). Of course, a bad clip design is just a pain in the ass. Classic example: CRKT's S-2 Frame Lock. We're talking stab your fingers and wreck your pants here!


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

Thanks for the heads up on the clip. The clip I plan to make is so different from the patented one that my Patent attorney feels there would be no conflict.


A member sent me a picture of what he looks like when he thinks about clips. I always wondered why Bill had that puzzled look on his face

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

[This message has been edited by Mike Turber (edited 13 January 1999).]
Clip tricks - Although Spyderco hasn't found a "long term" solution to the above mentioned problems with clips, some of the "short term" solutions that you can perform yourself are;

1) cut a short length of "shrink tubing" (local hardware store), slide the tubing on the clip, cut to length and heat with a hair dryer. colors are available and they don't scratch anything and they grip well. It just doesn't last 5 years.

2) get some of the stuff that is made to dip tool handles in. dries to a thin plastic. available in colors.
I have been carrying clip knives for years, but they have all had plastic clips, which is probably why I haven't seen too much wear. When I worked as a millwright, i carried a tapemeasure every day, clipped to my change pocket, and that really started to abrade the lip of the pocket untim I used the dremel "grey erasre" to polish the edge of the clip. When I get a knife with a metal clip, I will probably do the same thing.

But the focus of my reply is why I like clips. I LOVE clips. I love them so much, I have one on my Kel-Tec, and plan to get one for my 1911.

Most of my adoration of the clip comes from the convience of being able to easily draw the knife from my pocket, no digging for the dang thing, no unfastening a sheath, then fighting for a grip to pull the knife out.

I prefer a clip on my knives because sheaths require that I carry yet another thing on my belt, which drags my pants down, and is uncomfortable (if you spend time crawling under cars for fun & profit, you will understand this).

And one other good reason I like clips, the placement of the knife is utterly convenient. It is right there in my right hand pocket, right at hand level, no reaching for it, I can easily and discreetly draww it, it is covered at most times, andif it is seen, it is of no consequence, I guess most Alaskan are used to such things. About 3/4" of my VG shows from my pocket because of where i placed the clip, and noone yet has asked about it, and it looks like a small knife from the amount that protrudes from my pocket, which adds to the "freak the squares" factor when I klack it out. If I wore a sheath, more of my VG would be visable unless I wore a coat all the time, and would draw much more unwanted attention.

But that's just me, and I am wierd......YeK
Somewhat off the topic of knives, but has anyone used one of the clips they now make for pistols? I have only seen them on .45's but they may make them for other guns.

How 'bout that -- somehting from the knife industry spilling over into the firearms world.

Clay Fleischer

"10,000 Lemmings Can't Be Wrong!"
Axel Yup...how does the In the Pocket Sheath work? Does the sheath just float in the pocket or is it clipped onto the pocket? Who makes them? Does it slow down the knife draw?

It sounds like I could use one of these, but I have never seen one nor do I know anything about them. Please fill me in!
Doesn't TiKnives come with an in-the-pocket sheath?? It looks like an open top eyeglass carrier with a clip on one side. Has anyone else seen it besides me??
If it weren't for clips, I don't think I'd collect very many knives. If I did, they'd all be fixed blades. By the way, had anyone seen a satin finished clip on a 910 Stryker or a 750 Pinnacle? It looks awesome!!! Got the idea from my new Military. -AR

The Inside Pocket Knife Sheath I use is sold by GunVideo (800)942-8273. It sells for $29.95 + S/H. It functions pretty much like a handgun pocket holster. It is made of leather and has an extension on the bottom to keep the knife upright (no clip). The knife simply sits down vertically in the sheath pocket and is held in place by friction and gravity. You reach into your pocket and pull the knife out. It works best with large pockets (i.e. Dockers), but Lenny Magill of GunVideo does demo it in jeans on his instructional video.

I did make some modifications on my sheath to make it work for my Crawford KFF. The sheath is sized for an AFCK so I had to have a cobbler resew it to fit my KFF. I also cut off a flap/back which impeded my grip of the knife.

I like it a lot. After practice I find it to be as fast as clip carry. Plus you can discretely put your hand in your pocket and grip the knife ready to draw. You do want to practice drawing so the bottom extension on the sheath catches your pocket allowing for a clean release of the sheath.

Jim Six uses an Uncle Mike #2 pocket holster for an inside pocket sheath. He likes it and has said that it is cheaper. I haven't tried it so I can't compare the two.

Kel-Tec offers a clip as one of their accessories. I though it was nifty, and it has been. It carries well behind my right hip.