BLADE Magazine

Best EDC Fixed Blade Knife: A Cut Above The Rest

EDC Fixed Blade Knife profile

These EDC Fixed Blade Knife Options All Have Their Positives As Everyday Companions.

Fixed blades are common in the woods though far less so on the streets—politics has largely seen to that. Folders are in the pockets of many these days and are somehow considered “less dangerous” than fixed blades.

I cannot for the life of me understand this as there is little if any practical difference in terms of capability, with the exception of fixed blades in theory allowing for a longer blade.

There is this idea that a fixed blade is more lethal. Sure, a longer blade allows for greater reach and penetration, but it’s also harder to use in close confines—and substantially more difficult to deploy.

EDC Fixed Blade Knife Pros And Cons

The argument against the carry of larger fixed blades is certainly political, not practical. It could be considered in the same vein as the political arguments surrounding guns, most of which are dedicated to regulating what amounts to cosmetic features. If it looks scary, the thinking goes, you can convince people it is more dangerous.

The interesting part is that the small EDC fixed blade knife options in this article are, for the most part, around the same size as box cutters. The thing is, when we see EDC, we often think about how the item is meant to be on your person, at the ready for utility jobs and even self-protection if need be. The latter is more the case with guns, where there are no power settings, only a fully lethal one. 

In my stories on guns, I have often talked about how accessory-laden modern self-defense arms can be, but at the end of the day you’re not going to open your FedEx deliveries with a gun. Self-defense is a major purpose of firearms, whereas your EDC knife should be a jack-of-all-trades and capable of handling all your daily cutting tasks.

In the process of preparing this article, I had the pleasure of moving into a new house. As such I got to put the test blades through their paces, cutting everything from tape and cardboard to zip ties—and even dinner when I couldn’t find my silverware. In place of my carving knife I used the White River M1 Caper to serve chicken dinner.

The point is, these are supposed to be knives that benefit from fixed-blade construction, able to handle tasks that might damage a folder.

Best EDC Fixed Blade Knife Options

Boker Pocket Knife

Boker has quite the little devil with the Pocket Knife. The name, of course, implies that it is to be carried in the pocket, and it comes with a sheath that works very well in this role. It’s the longest blade in the group but has the smallest handle. 

The handle size is deceptive; it is very minimalist in the pocket and the sheath sits low, thus making the knife appear to have a much smaller blade. It carries well and is lightweight—two things I like. However, in use, it becomes a bit more of a challenge.

I do get that the Pocket Knife, designed by veteran knifemaker and police officer Mickey Yurco, has a self-defense vibe. The EDC fixed blade knife’s long, narrow tip is an obvious thruster, though the overall texture of the full piece is very slick. The handle shape forces the hand into a slightly uncomfortable angle. Sheathing the knife is also difficult if clipped deep in a pocket.

As a regular-use knife, I have seen better. That said, in a self-defense role, this would be the best of the bunch. If the blade is in your hand in the reverse grip, it feels solid and firm. The tang cutout between the choil and the handle is perfect for pinky finger placement in the reverse grip, and the knife is an effective stabber and slasher in tight spaces. 

This is an excellent blade to pair with grappling techniques and for dealing with heavy clothing. All said, I like what Boker did here. It is a knife that goes in your pocket, but I don’t think it is well suited for the role of a traditional pocketknife.

MSRP: $94.95

Gerber Gear Vertebrae

Gerber’s Vertebrae is a really interesting little blade. It is sort of the opposite of the Boker in that it is mostly handle and very little blade. The grip is the knife’s dominant feature and it is full, rounded, and rubberized. It allows for a very reassuring handhold in bad weather or if you happen to be doing anything that involves water or mud. Unfortunately, I was unable to test the blade on game, though it was accidentally left out atop my chicken coop in a snowstorm and suffered no ill effects.

Due to the blade’s small size, I would categorize the Vertebrae as simply a cutting tool. It can’t reasonably be used for much in the way of self-defense; the blade is so short it would have problems going through thick fabric and reaching places necessary to stop an attack. For general use, it saw service as a box cutter and for cutting tie-downs. 

As an outdoor knife, it functions well for striking ferro rods, and for very, very light bushcraft tasks and making tinder. The blade size was the limiting factor here. The handle worked great and offered no issues.

Now, I must talk about the sheath—and calling it that is being gracious. For how well the little blade is made, the sheath is clearly an afterthought. Not only does it barely work, it’s flimsy and also can be dangerous. Three times while I was carrying the knife, it simply fell out of the sheath. 

I had not pushed it far enough into where the notch on the spine engaged the sheath tab. I thought I had got it to click in, but I had not. The clip is long and somewhat hard to manage. It lacks sufficient spring pressure to keep it in a pocket and is so long that it looks out of place carried there. This is a fine tool overall—it just needs a better sheath.

MSRP: $31.48

White River Knife & Tool’s Model 1 Caper

White River Knife & Tool’s Model 1 Caper was the best performer of the reviewed EDC fixed blade knife bunch. I have come to expect great knives from White River, not just ergonomically but also in terms of the quality of steel the company uses. The blades are heat treated very well, are not brittle, and stay extremely sharp even in heavy use.

The first thing I noticed about this knife is the grip, which is not only minimal but very comfortable. I can tell White River spends a great deal of time on the small things, such as the tang cutout having a very nice rounded interior edge that feels great on the finger and never digs into it. The grip material and shape feel terrific in the hand. The only downside is the Micarta® handle gets dirty fast and can stain.

The sheath is very well constructed and allows for positive sheathing with an audible click when the knife is seated. The sheath is meant for belt carry and is not a clip style like the others in the test, and fits most standard belts. The sheath surprised me a bit; it was the easiest to use of the bunch.

As far as utility for a carry knife, this one is probably the most versatile of the group. It is extremely sharp and has an aggressive, fine tip. It is so sharp it can pass through just about any normal material easily. I used it to cut heavy packaging straps and minutes later to prepare dinner. This is the definition of an all-purpose knife.

MSRP: $120-175

Citadel Vannak V

Made in Cambodia by Citadel, the Vannak V is an excellent EDC fixed blade knife. Overall, I really like this little guy. It doesn’t claim to be anything other than a daily use, small-task cutter. It’s great for opening mail and packages, light food prep, and small craft work. It is very pleasant to use and has an exceptional appearance.

Despite it being a great performer, I don’t have a tremendous amount to say about the Vannak V. It is devoid of gimmicks and is just a very tiny knife that does no more than its size allows. I like the wood grip and that the knife is made by hand by people who obviously care about what they’re doing. 

The fit and finish are great. I have no complaints about grip texture or the depth of the tang cutout as the knife can’t really be used in the reverse grip—it’s just too small. The sheath is leather, minimalist, and completely functional.

MSRP: $175

Gerber Dibs

The Gerber Dibs is a one-piece, skeletonized-handle knife common among small examples of the genre. The 440A stainless steel blade is 2.5 inches and has a modified clip point. A flat grind gives the edge plenty of bite for tough cutting chores. 

The ergonomic handle has a large finger recess that doubles as an integral guard. When you grab the handle, it expands a bit to fill your grip. In addition to reducing overall weight, the skeletonized holes accommodate a paracord wrap to further augment purchase. 

An all-encompassing black PVD coating provides a low-profile appearance and enhanced corrosion resistance. Overall length is just shy of 6 inches, making the Dibs a great compact knife for general use or food prep.

Out of the box the edge was excellent, ready to work and featuring plenty of bite. It dispatched cardboard with minimal fuss. The edge quality along with the dropped blade design help promote overall knife security, using either a choke grip for precise maneuvers or resting a thumb on the blade spine to add more control or pressure for the cut. 

With skeletonized fixed blades, it is important to have a more complex handle design with varying features to help you retain your grip in the absence of scales. Despite having no scales, the Dibs is quite comfortable to grip. Skeletonized fixed blades are not meant for long periods of continuous use and are for convenience of carry instead. Bottom line, the knife is a pleasure to use.

The sheath is sewn-and-riveted leather dyed yellow. At first it appears too big—which it probably is—for such a small knife, but sheathed the Dibs is advertised as totable inside the pocket as well, which explains the large design. 

If you have cargo pants with larger front pockets, it carries very well there. A button-snap strap secures the knife and a large loop accommodates most belt sizes. The sheath’s edges are rough and not finished too well. Then again, Gerber targets affordability and as much bang for the buck as possible with the Dibs, so corners apparently were cut. 

MSRP: $36

Kizlyar Supreme Hammy

The Kizlyar Supreme Hammy is an incredibly ergonomic knife. The leaf-shaped blade is 2.1 inches long  and sports a full flat grind for slicing power. Blade steel is Niolox stainless. The highly ergonomic handle is loaded with curves that feel molded for your hand. Orange G-10 scales provide a pop of color and a solid grip. The handle is expertly chamfered and contoured in the right places, further enhancing user comfort.

At first glance the Hammy appears cute—but don’t let looks fool you, as it’s designed and built for work. It’s a fixed blade the size of a small open folder. The blade is .11 inches thick at its thickest point and sports a distal taper to the tip. Jimping on the blade spine and thumb rest offer non-slip purchase for your thumb or index finger.

When you grip the handle and your thumb rests naturally on the blade spine, you feel how comfortable the Hammy is. You can also sense the knife is highly controllable, instilling user confidence. The jimping could be a little better. It could be more defined/aggressive to offer a better bite into your thumb.

The leather sheath has a button-snap retention strap. There are also two smaller belt loops attached to the main belt loop. These are provided to carry the Hammy horizontally, as it is set up for traditional vertical carry like most straight knives. 

While the sheath itself is well made and includes a whimsical artwork stamping of a hamster (the same illustration appears as an etching on the blade’s right-hand side), it doesn’t have the snuggest fit around the knife. Even with the retention strap buttoned it is possible to still wiggle the Hammy out. This is not so critical if you carry the Hammy vertically, but it is a concern if you carry it horizontally. A properly fitted sheath at this price point is a must. 

MSRP: $99

Boker BFF

The Boker BFF fixed blade designed by Lucas Burnley is ultra-compact for discreet, comfortable carry. Its design cues are taken from the barlow pocketknife, a general go-to cutting tool for centuries. The 2.7-inch blade is AEB-L stainless steel in a clip-point shape that is very utility friendly. The blade has an acid-wash finish to hide scratches. 

At 6 inches overall, the compact fixed blade almost disappears on your side. The handle comes in a choice of walnut or a more practical green canvas Micarta®. The Micarta is contoured nicely, making the handle rest in your hand snugly. The brass rivets and thong tube provide a nice visual contrast. The knife’s beauty lies in its simplicity of design and execution. It proves that no bells and whistles are needed for a cutter to be highly functional.

The sheath is a nicely made leather pouch style with a slight symmetrical taper toward the bottom. The iconic Boker tree logo is stamped into the leather. A sturdy steel pocket clip enables the BFF sheath to attach to or be removed from your belt quickly—no muss, no fuss. 

With such a lightweight knife, a big belt loop would be overkill. The knife fits the sheath like a glove, with no rattling or wiggling. The sheath compresses down on the handle to hold it securely inside. When the knife is sheathed, the handle sticks up about an inch, plenty for you to grab onto. It also has a hole for a lanyard.

MSRP: $245.95

Spartan Blades Field Grade Enyo

Spartan Enyo

The Field Grade Enyo is a staple of the Spartan Blades line. It boasts an easily concealed blade designed for either utility or backup personal protection. It shares the same dimensions as its higher-priced sibling in CPM S45VN stainless steel, the Enyo, with the exception that the blade steel is AUS-8 stainless.

The modified clip point blade is 2.68 inches and the knife is 6.25 inches overall. The skeletonized one-piece design simplifies the knife and makes it easy to carry. The handle accommodates two different hand holds, which aids in increasing the knife’s versatility. 

Several areas of jimping assist in getting a good non-slip grip. A black epoxy coating throughout provides a low-profile appearance. A paracord lanyard includes a polished Spartan helmet bead, which is pretty neat.

In action the Field Grade Enyo is all business. Don’t mistake it for a small, cute knife. It has attitude and packs a punch! The blade tip is reinforced a bit due to the false edge and penetrates fairly well. Thanks to the way the blade profile tapers, the tip cuts easily. The flat grind and superb edge quality out of the box enable the knife to handle business immediately.

The handle’s various curves seat your hand snug and solidly. The two-thumb rest provides the option of choking up further on the blade for a more reliable grip and improved control. It’s amazing such a small, compact fixed blade can feel so trustworthy in the hand.

When you tackle larger cutting chores, you can choke up on the handle to stabilize the knife and feel in charge at all times. The lack of handle scales means the knife is the bare minimum in bulk.

Those who say they do not like skeletonized knives might want to reconsider with the Field Grade Enyo. You’ll find yourself using it more and more. AUS-8 is well known in the industry for being a good, mid-grade steel, balancing edge holding and economy. It certainly doesn’t disappoint here. It is an excellent choice of steel for a knife of its price point.

The sheath is form-fitting molded plastic riveted for strength. One of the best things about the sheath is how well it locks the knife inside. There is a ramped, notched thumb button on the opening end that when pushed up releases a lock so the knife can exit the sheath. When sheathing the knife you will hear a tiny click indicating the lock has engaged. No amount of tugging on the handle or violent shaking of the sheath upside down can cause the knife to fall out. 

This is very well done and a feature not commonly seen, not only on knives of this price class but more expensive ones, too. Included is a belt loop for IWB (inside waistband) carry, as well as a length of paracord for neck carry. The two carry choices promote both discreteness and ease of access.

MSRP: $88

Editor’s Note: Dexter Ewing contributed to this piece.

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