There’s a point at which a blade is too small for its own good, and a few of these blades come close to crossing that line. But I find a tiny blade to be a super useful tool in a variety of circumstances, including self-defense.
“Tiny” is a relative term, and these blades have varying roles and functions. They can be carried and hidden in many places on one’s person. After you read through these, let us know in the comments which you carry (or which you would carry) and any other thoughts. With that, here are my top five concealable blades.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top Five AR-15 Accessories
- Top Five Autoloading Pocket Pistols
- And Top Five Materials for 1911 Grips
- Top Five Keychain Tools, Part II
- Top Five Non-Electronic Hearing Protectors
1. Spyderco Dog Tag Folder
Retailing for $84.95, the Spyderco Dog Tag Folder features a G-10 laminated titanium handle. It measures 3.23 inches when open. When closed, it is about the same size as a military ID tag. It’s drilled to accept a neck chain too, and it carries nicely around the neck. The 1.23-inch blade is made of CPM S30V steel and sports a chisel-ground, stonewashed flat bevel. With a blade thickness of 0.188 inches and an overall weight of 0.9 ounces, the idea here is light and small.
With a little practice, you can open and the close the knife using your thumb in the classic Spyderco thumb hole. The blade will click in place in either position. However, it does not lock in the open position, and frankly, you should not be doing any cutting that even gets close to heavy-duty. This is a light-duty tool that is easy to hide and carry.
For more information visit Spyderco.com.
2. Kershaw Ember
Retailing for $34.99, the Kershaw Ember sports a 2-inch blade and measures 2.8 inches long when closed. An integrated flipper, which works in conjunction with Kershaw’s SpeedSafe technology, deploys the blade in an easy, one-fingered snap. Once open, the blade stays in place thanks to a frame lock. Part of the handle snaps in behind the blade which keeps the blade open.
Although it features a tiny blade, the knife is versatile and allows for either tip-up or tip-down carry. You can also just drop it into your pocket and not use the clip. The blade is made of 8Cr13MoV steel, and the handle is 410 stainless with a titanium carbo-nitride coating. Overall weight is 2.2 ounces. While this is a more heavy-duty cutting tool than the Spyderco, it is still light-duty knife overall.
For more information visit Kershaw.kaiusaltd.com.
3. Gerber Ghostrike Fixed Blade Deluxe Kit
Retailing for $72, the Gerber Ghostrike Fixed Blade Deluxe Kit provides you with both a capable blade and an ankle holster. Ghostrike’s blade is made of 420HC steel, and the handle is overmolded in rubber for maximum purchase. The blade is 3.3 inches long, and the knife is 6.9 inches long overall. The knife and ankle carrier together weigh only 6 ounces.
This is a very comfortable rig to carry, and you can wear it so that the knife is on the inside or outside of your right or left leg. The Ghostrike is an even more heavy-duty cutting tool than the Kershaw Ember, but it is still a light-duty knife overall. Meant mostly as a last-ditch self-defense weapon, the Ghostrike rides concealed under a pant leg until it is needed.
For more information visit GerberGear.com.
4. Emerson La Griffe
La Griffe means “claw” — and you can probably see why. The Emerson La Griffe retails for $110.95. At the time this article was written, it was out of stock on the Emerson website. The La Griffe is carried in a plastic sheath and hangs from a chain around the neck. To use it, grasp it and give it a tug downward. Doing so frees the knife from its sheath, but please do so carefully.
With its chisel grind, the 1.75-inch 154 CM blade is ready to cut through just about anything when exposed. This knife is one of the toughest in this lineup and, while meant for self-defense, proves eminently useful in a variety of situations and tasks. The overall length of the La Griffe is 4.9 inches, and the blade width is 0.125 inches. Hardness is 57-59RC, and overall weight is 1.5 ounces. The design allows you to get a lot of leverage for efficient cutting, and the stonewashed finish is tough as nails.
For more information visit EmersonKnives.com.
5. Bear Cutlery Boot Knife
Retailing for $79.99, the Bear Cutlery Boot Knife (Model 789) is a modern take on a classic design. The largest knife of this lot, the Model 789 measures approximates 7.88 inches overall. Its double-edged blade is made of 1095 carbon steel and measures 3.25 inches long. At 4.8 ounces, this knife is the heaviest the bunch, but it is still lightweight by most measures.
The G10 handles provide plenty of purchase, but this knife also needs to be considered a light-duty tool. The black epoxy powder on the blade keeps things subtle and matches well the Kydex boot sheath. The clip on the sheath lets you wear it clipped to your boot, or you can latch the sheath to you. I find that this knife carries well inside the waistband on the weak side opposite the handgun.
For more information visit BearAndSonCutlery.com.
To round this up, these highly concealable blades are generally lightweight, small and thin. Their size and weight prove helpful for concealment but limit their cutting ability. This is an exercise in compromise to be sure. Reducing the cutting power of the knife increases its concealability (and vice versa). We’ve got two neck knives, one pocket folder, one ankle rig and one boot knife. Which would you carry and why?
About the Author: Mark Kakkuri is a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.