We've seen some fancy knife handles in our day, but none more interesting than the ones you'll find on the ends of these Pearce Knives ($20-$75). Surprisingly affordable, these unique knives are made by a second-generation craftsman in the traditional manner of heating metal to high temperatures in a fire and then beating it with a hammer. The handles are made from all sorts of everyday objects, including horseshoes, bolts, rebar, railroad spikes, and even rasps, making them a nice mix of the old and new.
Looking for an all-purpose knife to carry on you pretty much everywhere? The Gerber Outrigger Knife ($35) should do just fine. Taking design cues from at least three prior models, the Outrigger features a fine edge blade, the company's Assisted Opening 2.0 technology for quick access, dual thumbstuds for one-handed operation, a pocket clip for keeping it handy, an open frame design to reduce the weight, a plunge lock for carefree closure, and a rubberized overmold for comfort. Also available in mini and XL versions.
Most knives are made for cutting, but few are designed for cutting attackers. The Manticuda Knife ($275) is designed to aid in weapon retention, and as such offers a pistol grip for a secure hold and added power and a multi-faceted edge design that provides more cutting angles. Its wide design serves to produce larger wounds, while cutouts reduce weight and perform various utility functions, and an included nylon sheath keeps things safely tucked away when not in use.
Every man needs a dependable pocket knife — and like a meat patty at Burger King, you can have yours your way with the Buck Custom Knife Builder ($TBA). This Flash-based tool lets you select from three models, a variety of blades and handles, and even lets you add engraving before deciding what type of sheath you'd like. It's as close as you're going to get to building one yourself.
Why carbon fiber? Why not? These Carbon Fiber Daggers ($200) come in a bundle, and include the slotted-blade Escort, the honeycombed Escort II, and the open-handled Escort III. With weights ranging from 20.67 to 31.2 grams and lengths ranging from 7 3/8" to 9", there's sure to be one to suit whatever situation that might arise.
Knives don't need to do a bunch of different things to be useful — they just need to do one thing really well. The Gerber Venture Knife ($75) adheres to this mantra by limiting its design to a polished titanium handle and a three and a half inch serrated blade that's ready when you need it thanks to the Venture's FAST spring-assisted opening mechanism.
Who knew becoming a ninja could be so affordable? Apart from the black outfit you made from scrap linens and black socks, all you really need are the tools of an assassin, and these Ninja Stealth Throwing Knives ($7) should work just fine. Arriving in a three pack with a nylon case, they measure 6.5-inches overall, with a circle loop on each end, and a blade that's reasonably sturdy yet dull enough to make them great for beginners — so you might want to sharpen them before trying to hurl them through another man's skull.
When shaving every possible ounce of weight out of your pocket or pack is really essential, nothing beats the Baladeo 34 Grams Knife ($35). Made from 420 stainless steel, this diminutive blade is true to its name, weighing in at a scant 34 grams — 1.2 ounces — all while packing in a locking system and integrated belt clip.
Here's yet another essential to add to your zombiepocalypse toolbox. The Gerber Gator Machete Pro ($55) was designed with zombie killin' in mind — you can see it in use on The Walking Dead — and as such features a multi-purpose blade that can be used as an axe, machete, or knife, a grippy rubberized handle, a military nylon sheath, and an included sharpening stone to keep it ready for action when you're on the move. Oh, and you can also use it for clearing brush, chopping through branches, and other more mundane tasks.
It's not exactly a switchblade, but it's as close as you're going to get while staying on the right side of the law. The Benchmade 581 Barrage Knife ($220-$235) offers an AXIS Assist locking mechanism that helps you get the blade out in a hurry when it's needed — such as when fighting off
rival gang members angry flocks of chickens — and a reversible pocket clip to keep it handy. Available with a plain, ComboEdge, or black-coated blade.
Inspired by professional mountaineer Ueli Steck, these new Wenger Titanium Knives ($140-$200) promise maximum utility in a lightweight package. The blade on all three knives is 50 percent thicker than standard blades and offers six functions, while — depending on the model — you'll also get extra appendages like a wood saw, bottle opener, file, wire stripper, can opener, and key ring.
We're big fans of minimalistic wallets, but we're not sure we've ever seen one that doubles as a knife. Designed by John Kubasek, the Creditor Carbon Fiber Money Clip Knife ($200) is a cunning combination of materials and functionality, featuring a carbon fiber and titanium body that folds to become credit card size — hence the name — while a clip holds your cash and cards, but press down on the side of the handle and it unlocks to become a handy six-inch blade. It can even fit into another wallet with the clip removed. Just be careful not to inadvertently cut your money in half — nothing says "shady" like paying for your Starbucks with a taped-together twenty.