Pocket Knives: Cool, Cheap, Tactical

Claycomb Knives
Claycomb Knives

Tom Claycomb

USA -(Ammoland.com)- Everyone carries a pocket knife, don’t they? At least everyone I know does. I don’t know how you could get through the day if you didn’t. Someday I’m going to count how many times I use one. You may not think you use one that much but just try going one day without one.

As a kid there weren’t that many options. Now, I just glanced through Brownell’s knife offerings https://www.brownells.com/emergency-survival-gear/knives/index.htm , and they had 25 pages of knives. And check out https://www.knifecountryusa.com/ , I’m not even going to try to count how many models they offer. Or just check out one manufacturer-Case XX knives. I’ve never counted but they have to offer hundreds if not thousands of choices.

So, let’s say you’re just getting inducted into manhood and are going to start carrying a pocket knife. What should you carry? It can make you dizzy trying to narrow down a choice. So, let’s start off and place them in a few broad categories.

  • Everyday use knives
  • Working knives
  • Tactical Knives
  • Cheap knives
  • Cool knives

Self-Protection knives (Which could almost be under the Tactical heading)

When you think about it, a huge percent of your tasks involving your pocket knife is trimming finger nails, cutting string and cardboard, stabbing things to make a hole, cutting sausage or strings on hay bales. Or if you’re like my buddy Frank, it’s a screwdriver, pry bar or chisel. Your everyday pocket knife has a rough life, much like a hog dog.

Due to the above, a lot of you out there do not want to spend a lot of money on their everyday pocket knife. Plus, while we’re in a confessing mood if you were to be honest, some of you lose a knife pretty regularly. Whether it gets misplace or those little knife stealing TSA perverts confiscate it. So, you may be thinking why spend a lot of money on an everyday knife?

Well, the good news is you can get some decently designed knives pretty cheap now but still, I want to carry a halfway decent one so I can sharpen it and it doesn’t fall apart in the middle of a task.

So, with that said, let’s check out some selections offered on a few of our favorite online knife stores. I haven’t tested all of these but they’re some that caught my eye as I was perusing through their websites. We’ll break them down into three price ranges.


This list is for you knife abusers or regular visitors to the “Lost & found” booths. (One word of warning, even though a lot of cheap knives have a nice design, don’t expect them to hold up for too long).


  • Tac Force Knives 876
  • Schrade H106 Interlock
  • Rough Rider Knifes 817
  • Winchester Folding Knife 61324
  • Rough Rider Stockman 1835
  • Rough Rider Mini Trapper
  • RUI 19438 Tactical Interlock Black
  • RP840 Tiny Stockman


  • Brownell’s
  • SOG Knives-Flash II
  • Benchmade 943 Osborne

Knife Country USA

  • Case 106 Stockman Brown Delrin

Ontario Knives

  • Rat 1 SS
  • OKC Black Tac Folder


Ontario Knives

  • XR-1 Safety Green Serrated


  • Cordovan Lite

Knife Country USA

  • Spyderco 91SYL Pacific Salt
  • Spyderco 10PSBK Endura 4
  • Case 035 Stockman Yellow
  • Boker 7474 Stockman Rosewood
  • Boker 7588 Stockman Green Bone
  • Pro-Tech TR4MA2 Model TR-4 Tactical Response

Regardless if you buy a Joe Cheapo on up to the most expensive, you’ll need a stone to sharpen your knife. I love the Smith’s AC158 Diamond Tri-Hone. This is the stone that I use in my knife sharpening seminars. It’s the ultimate set-up.

It is elevated for easy use which helps you readily obtain the proper angle and has all three stones that you will need for your knife sharpening tasks. Plus, it has 2 1/2×8-inch stones. https://www.knifecountryusa.com/store/product/141802.141831/smith-s-ac158-diamond-tri-hone.html

So, as we wrap up let’s re-cap.

I don’t like cheap knives. Normally you carry it for weeks and then that critical situation pops up where you really need it and whammo, it malfunctions. But they do have their place. What if you want to leave a knife in your tackle box?

Or what if you’re flying and would feel safer carrying a knife but there’s a good chance it may get confiscated at a convention or between jumping on planes if you forget you have it and those little TSA rustlers inherit another one of your knives. You don’t want to lose a good knife.

As I get older I find myself liking to carry decent knives on up expensive ones. Not a right or wrong, just according to your own individual taste and budget limits. And even then, I think there’s a place/need in all of our lives for every one of the three price range categories. But then, maybe that statement just further reveals my knife addiction problem.

About Tom Claycomb

Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoors writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, Bowhunter.net and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening for $.99 if you’re having trouble”

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The other Jim

TSA Policy, Procedure, Law?: Is there a margin for human error? If you are older, in your 80’s and you forget things generally, nothing life-threatening, you take your medicine, etc, or if in your busy and stressful day, being you use your little pocket knife with a 2 and 1/8 inch blade continuously and have used it thru out your life, it slips your mind to leave your pocket knife at home and the TSA does confiscate it; is there a procedure to get it back? If there is, is the procedure burdensome and costly whereas they know the time… Read more »


What about a Buck Trio or Stockman or the Case equivalent as a starter knife? They have graced the pockets of America for generations. With two or three blades, you can choose which blade gets abused and which are protected.
And sharpening with big flat stones is so old school. A good set of triangle ceramic sticks will even sharpen many serrated knives. The Spyderco Sharpmaker has served me for 35 years. I have even honed a knife on a juice glass or a chromed screw driver shaft or socket extension.


If a $190 Benchmade Osborne is only a “decent” knife, then I’m reading articles above my pay grade.

Tom Claycomb

Opps, I slotted it in the wrong category. Thanks for the correction.


While I enjoy reading your articles, I have to take issue with your unnecessary remarks about TSA Officers being perverts and rustlers. Really! As mentioned by others, TSA Officers do not steal knives from people.If you pay attention when you pack your bags and person your knife will be with you. Like the TSA or not, they are just trying to do a job.

Tom Claycomb

Ha ha, ok. I agree.

Jim Macklin

You can buy knives from 25 cents to $2,000 and even more. There are catalogs of fantasy knives which seem to be mostly junk with some real bargains hidden within the pages. http://www.BUDK.com Smokey Mountain Knife Works carries lots of knives and edged weapons and is a good dealer http://www.smkw.com CASE, KA-BAR, KERSHAW, too many to mention. German, Japanese, and of course Chinese make knives and quality can vary from junk to masterpieces . You need to carry several knives. A knife for each task. You don’t want to use a surgical Victorinox to scrape battery terminals to get your… Read more »

Clark Kent

What? No mention of Swiss Army pocket knives? The KING of knives? P.S. The TSA does not ‘steal’ knives or ‘steal’ undeclared firearms. If you are too lazy or stupid to understand and follow the law (plainly posted at every airport) it is not the fault of the TSA.

Jim D

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been carrying a Swiss Army knife, as my everyday carry knife, for over 40 years. I have a box full of other knife that I will carry for specific purposes.



Wild Bill

@Clark, I missed the clause in the Second Amendment that said except in airports, and the TSA is an agency of the federal government.