Pocket knives have a history dating back as far as the invention of the wheel. Since the early Iron Age, knives were fashioned from flint and other natural materials. The oldest pocket knife is dated to around 500 BCE and featured a bone handle.
Today, there’s a wide array of pocket knives designed for different applications. From the traditional Opinel tactical knives used by emergency responders to Swiss Army multi-tools often used by professionals or gifted to boys as they reach manhood, the numerous types can overwhelm the inexperienced. However, this segment is solely focused on how to find the best pocket knife for a gentleman.
What is a Gentleman’s Pocket Knife and why do You Need One?
The concept of a gentleman’s knife is quite simple – it’s designed to be the sharpest part of your outfit. First off, these smaller knives focus more on easy and discrete carrying – thereby necessitating a sleek and slim profile that can seamlessly fit in your pockets. Tactical has no place in the attire of a gentleman.
As such, gentlemen’s knives are not intended for gutting deer, hand to hand combat or grievous bodily harm. They are purely simple, small, and stylish.
Secondly, gentlemen’s knives are typically uncomplicated in regards to both functionality and style. For instance, a highly tactical switch blade wouldn’t qualify as a gentleman’s aide. So while it’s not necessary for gentlemen’s knives to be absolutely free of accouterments, they tend to be very simplistic overall.
Finally, the blades on gentlemen’s knives tend to be timelessly built from rare and beautiful materials. Some people say these types of knives are intended only as a fashion accessory, but we strongly disagree. No matter its size, a gentleman’s knife is a purposeful tool that should always be able to carry out various cutting tasks. These are just some of the reasons why a gentleman needs to have a pocket knife present at all times.
Other reasons include:
- Self-defence against assailants
- Opening packages and letters
- Cutting ropes, cords and loose threads from clothing
- Sharpening a pencil or whittle wood while camping
- Cutting or slicing up fresh fruit, cheese, or meat while on the go
- For emergencies i.e. picking locks, tearing clothes for first aid or cutting safety belts after an accident.
Truth is, there are more reasons to carry a pocket knife than not to. After all, doesn’t luck favour the bold and prepared?
Having said all that, be mindful of the recent changes in the UK laws on buying and carrying knives: (A) it’s illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason, unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less; (B) it’s illegal to carry lock knives in public without good reason.
Key Features and Considerations when Buying a Gentleman’s Pocket Knife
As mentioned above, some of the key characteristics of a gentleman’s pocket knife include a small, simple and stylish design. When buying your pocket knife, look for a small profile with clean lines and smooth polished surfaces. Wood accents are also quite common with some variations. However, most gentlemen prefer a pocket knife with the following traits:
As mentioned above, the pocket knife is the sharpest part of a gentleman’s look. Formal attire and formal gear tend to pair very nicely. Tactical knives can be big and intimidating. So try to look for something smaller and less aggressive.
b) Light and Streamlined
Even with a nice bespoke jacket, a bulky knife will look terrible sitting in the pocket. It completely ruins a good look by flopping and bouncing around whenever you take a step. A good pocketknife needs to be almost weightless on your person.
The Best Pocket Knife For A Gentleman
1. Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Pocket Knife
When we speak about the Swiss Army knife, chances are everyone’s thinking about the legendary officer’s knife. The knife that’s been handed down from father to son for generations signifying the coming of age. This legend continues with the Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Pocket Knife. This all inclusive gentleman’s pocket knife measures 91mm by 21mm and weighs in at a measly 97g. The exterior features the classic red colour design and white cross with a shield.
So, what does this Swiss Army knife have to offer? Well, the Victorinox comes equipped with all the tools a gentleman would need for both outdoor excursions and day to day activities. These include a short 38mm blade, and a longer 60mm blade – both extremely sharp. There’s also a can opener, a 3mm screwdriver, wire stripper, 5mm screwdriver, punch and sewing awl, reamer, corkscrew, toothpick, key ring, scissors, wood saw, and a multipurpose hook.
With all these tools, a gentleman should be more than prepared for multiple situations. Whether it’s opening an impromptu bottle of wine or going off the grid Bear Grylls style, the Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Pocket Knife should be enough to solve all your needs. People often buy the Swiss knife together with the Victorinox leather pouch and accompanying Swiss Army knife Whittling Book.
2. Opinel No.9 VRN Carbon Blade Lock Knife
Back in the day, you simply couldn’t beat the popularity of good old Opinels. Looking at the No.9 VRN Carbon Blade Lock Knife, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was a just another traditional Opinel. However, this gentleman’s blade features a lot more technology than the average knife.
The most notable feature is the blade. The manufacturer used carbon steel which not only guarantees excellent cutting quality, but also offers great wear resistance. It’s also very easy to sharpen or regrind. However, carbon does tend to corrode easily. So it’s recommended that you avoid getting your Opinel wet or damp. The beautiful, wooden handle exudes class that is fit for a gentleman. When manufacturing Opinels, Beech wood remains the most common material for making handles. The Beech is sourced from France and is tough, durable, and easy to work with.
However, there’s one feature that truly makes the No. 9 Opinel a true traditional knife. It features a Virobloc safety ring which was invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955. The Virobloc has two sections where one is fixed while the other slides. This allows users to lock the knife both in the open and closed position.
3. Leatherman LTC33 C33 Crater Knife
Leatherman knows all about multi-tools. In fact, it’s all they live for. The original Leatherman tool was called the PST (pocket survival tool) that comprised up to 13 different tools. 8 years later and the company is still churning out some incredible tools. Their LTC33 C33 Crater Knife is no exception.
One of the key characteristics of a gentleman’s pocket knife is that it has to be small and lightweight. If you’re looking for a simple, ultra-light and super small knife that is quick to deploy, the Leatherman LTC33 C33 Crater Knife fits the bill to a T. Starting at the blade, the C33 comes complete with a sturdy 6.6cm blade which tapers down into a thumb stud for sure fingered handling.
The handle is made from 60% glass filled nylon with a black finish that resembles painted wood. For safety, the knife comes with a locking liner. For such a small knife, Leatherman definitely went overkill on its warranty. This bad boy comes with a 25 year guarantee to assure users of many years of dependable service. However, the warranty does not cover theft, loss, abuse, alteration or unreasonable use of your knife.
4. Promithi 1.7-Inch Blade Outdoor Survival Folding Pocket Knife
What started as an ancient European smithy is now one of the largest online amazon businesses in the UK. Promithi aims to provide all its customers with a great shopping experience as well as helpful and functional products. As the company strives to become your everyday reliable partner, they’ve managed to merge your outdoor needs with high quality product designs.
The Promithi Outdoor Survival Folding Pocket Knife is not only stylish, but also fully legal to carry in the UK. Its stainless steel blade length is 2.48 inches which is under the allowed 3 inches in the UK. It weighs in at only 93 grams. The handle is perhaps the most notable feature of all. It comprises an old school wooden design with a wild, rustic finish. At the bottom of the handle is a key ring pendant that can be used as a key-chain or attached to your backpack.
Once you open the folding knife, you’ll see a hole at the base of the blade. The manufacturer warns that the hole is strictly decorative and not meant for hanging the knife. As the most affordable model here, the Outdoor Survival Folding Pocket Knife from Promithi is a great budget option.
5. Gerber 31-000716 STL 2.5 Fine Edge Pocket Knife
Founded in 1939, Gerber is an American brand that has seen decades of innovation. They’ve already build a name for themselves as masters of knives and other tools. Their problem solving, lifesaving products are designed to go above and beyond the call of duty. Just like the hunters, soldiers and people who exclusively carry their gear, Gerber is indeed unstoppable.
The Gerber 31-000716 STL 2.5 Fine Edge Pocket Knife embodies all these desirable qualities and more. The sleek and attractive pocket knife is light, strong and exceptionally thin. Although it’s a larger evolution or the original, this 1.5 ounce bad boy fits effortlessly in your pocket. But don’t be fooled by the small size – the blade is strong enough for most cutting tasks. This rugged featherweight folding knife features a light handle with solid frame lock construction.
Frame locking prevents the blade from closing during operation. The fine edge of the blade allows for easy and rapid sharpening no matter where you are. At the side is a small lanyard hole that provides optional tie down as well as additional security. If you’re looking for a stylish, functional and affordable knife, the 2.5 fine edge featherweight Gerber is the knife for you.