4 Cool Keychain Knives are Affordable, Compact, and Functional
From a conversation piece to the handiest blade available, nothing adds to the everyday carry equation better than the right keychain knife. With little notice until needed, a keychain cutter is ready for action but doesn’t weigh down the pocket or take up too much space in a purse.
At Outdoor Edge, the MiniGrip, MiniBlaze, and MiniBabe are the same knife differentiated only by color in black, blaze—an orange shade—and pink, respectively. “They’re designed to meet the needs of anyone who needs a small lightweight blade that is always within reach,” related Outdoor Edge marketing director William Morgan. “We designed these knives in three colors to cater to all knife enthusiasts. When we developed this series of knives, we noticed a gap in the market for an affordable and mostly practical small knife that can be easily attached to a keychain or carried in one’s pocket.
“We opted to make three colors to accommodate a larger audience,” William continued. “Obviously, the orange is great for high visibility, reducing the chance of losing the knife, while the black is a little more inconspicuous, and the pink seems to be a hit with the female audience.”
Designed in Colorado and sporting a low manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $20.95, each knife in the Outdoor Edge series includes a 2.2-inch 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade, rubber TPR handle, 1.4-ounce weight and 2.9-inch closed length. Each model comes complete with a lanyard that makes attaching to a keychain a snap. Each has an ambidextrous thumb stud for easy one-hand opening as well.
“The razor sharp blade is up to any task, from opening the latest round of Amazon Prime boxes to cutting rope or even performing field dressing tasks,” Morgan concluded. “The rubberized TPR handle serves a few functions. First, this is a small knife, and we were concerned about creating a secure, non-slip grip to avoid accidents. Second, the handle does not jingle against the keys on your keychain, making it a perfect silent addition to anyone’s keys.”
UNIVERSAL APPEAL: The Bear Edge 71523
The Bear Edge 71523 from Bear & Son Cutlery complements a substantial line of knives, and company spokesperson Jacob Eaton says it’s a hit. “It’s affordable, compact and a functional tool,” he noted. “Customers really like it because it’s lightweight, sharp and just the right size. Plus, you will always know where a knife is when it’s attached to your keys. We find both genders purchasing the Bear Edge 71523, and it fits everyone’s lifestyle.”
With a sweet MSRP of $17.99, the imported 71523 is complete with a 2-inch blade of 440 stainless steel, stainless handle, weight of 2.3 ounces, and closed length of 2.875 inches. According to Eaton, the blade length is ideal for typical cutting tasks encountered on a daily basis. “Cutting boxes open, adjusting cordage length and other similar chores are easy with the sturdy framelock design,” he noted, “and one can cut confidently.” Another utilitarian feature is the built-in bottle opener.
The company chose the stainless components for durability, and the knife is sized for maximum versatility. “Stainless steel is a timeless design element and proven to stand against wear and tear,” Eaton observed. “The finish looks natural on a keychain and doesn’t call attention. The frame pattern was developed to fit comfortably into both large and small hands. The blade is a drop point shape, allowing it to complete most tasks, and the 71523 attaches with a standard split key ring.”
VERSATILE CARRY: Al Mar Knives Stinger
The Al Mar Knives (AMK) approach to keychain knives involves easy access and long-term performance, and the Stinger was developed to deliver classic AMK design and function.
Above: The Stinger fixed-blade keychain knife from Al Mar Knives features a 1.3-inch D-2 tool steel blade in a flat grind, a synthetic PP+TPR rubber handle, and dual-injected sheath of the same material. It weighs just .7 of an ounce. Overall length: 3.1 inches. MSRP: $28
“This knife is designed to be great at slicing and fast cuts.” — Justin Rabon
“Our Stinger keychain knife is designed for anyone looking for a durable blade they can keep concealed and on hand, with or without pockets,” explained AMK representative Justin Rabon. “Our users find creative ways to incorporate these on their bags, gear and keys. We feel this versatility can help reach a wide range of users across many different lifestyles. We want our keychain knives to be practical for the majority of our users. We want to find the needs in the industry and have our knives be the solution to those needs.”
The fixed-blade Stinger comes complete with a snug-fitting sheath and deploys with a push of a button. It features a 1.3-inch D-2 tool steel blade in a flat grind, a PP+TPR rubber handle, and dual-injected sheath of the same material. It weighs just .7 of an ounce. Overall length: 3.1 inches. MSRP: $28.
“This knife is designed to be great at slicing and fast cuts,” Rabon related. “It can be used for anything where a short, sharp knife is needed. To accomplish these tasks easily and repeatedly, we gave the knife a D-2 blade. D-2 is known for retaining a sharp edge after repeated use. We also designed the Stinger to have Al Mar’s Wedge-style blade. This provides a superior dagger point where needed.”
The Stinger’s finer points add flair and good looks as well. “The four colors that were chosen for the four Stinger knives—red, blue, black and green—were picked to provide variety while staying true to the traditional red and black of Al Mar Knives. The plastics in the handle were chosen to add extra grip and durability.”
Integral to the Stinger design is an eyelet built into the sheath, and sturdy construction prevents failures. “This makes sure the sheath doesn’t detach from the eyelet,” Rabon said, “and also allows you to replace the smaller key loop with a smaller diameter cord if desired. The Al Mar Wedge provides a superior point if needed, and the finger groove at the base of the blade allows the Stinger to sit comfortably in most hands. This improves the fit, feel and functionality of the knife.”
ADDED FUNCTIONS: Gerber Key Note
Gerber spokesperson Josh Headley says the focus on the company’s Key Note keychain knife is compactness. “We also wanted to add some chisel/scraping capabilities for additional functionality,” he observed. “Gender wasn’t a big consideration. We just wanted to make a tool that was worthy of a place in your pocket or purse.”
Features inherent in the Key Note design brought that idea from the drawing board to reality. “We added the wide clip so that you can also hang keys on your belt,” Headley added. “The knife was designed to not draw too much attention when worn on the clip, but still have a pleasing and almost symmetrical shape. We took a lot of inspiration from the history of Gerber. The overall profile is inspired by the shield logo, as well as Gerber’s past logos and heraldic-naming conventions with a modern twist.”
So, the Key Note combines function with a tip of the cap to Gerber tradition. With a 1-inch blade of satin-finished 5Cr stainless steel, the knife weighs just 3.98 ounces, and its aluminum handle scales are built to last. MSRP: $23.
“The primary function of the Key Note is to open packages,” Josh explained. “The thought was you get home, grab a package off your porch and open your door. You have the tool set to open your door and open your package in hand.”
Available colors add to the Key Note’s appeal for those who look for discretion or want a bit of flash. “We set out to have a modern option and an old-school option for the EDC community,” Headley commented. “The matte-black anodize with the bright contrast from the orange is meant to look at home next to your key fob. The coyote and sage is designed to camouflage among a set of brass keys. We made the scales out of aluminum to increase the strength of the lockup, and so that the weight of the keys won’t knock the blade off balance. To improve longevity, the blade runs on brass washers and operates on a classic linerlock.”
The blade is in a compact tanto style to provide two flat edges that are easy to sharpen. A flat key ring gives an appropriate amount of flexibility between the ring and scales. Several different diameters of rings were tested to determine the best component. A kick-out tab is incorporated to assist in deploying the blade and allow easier opening rather than solely depending on the nail nick.
“The Key Note should be suited to light and medium opening and cutting tasks,” Josh related. “The flat edge on the front can be used to scrape everything from a label to that last bit of errant head gasket. In addition, the front of the scale can be leveraged so that the midpoint of the blade will puncture tape without damaging the contents of a box.”
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