Accessories, Tools

Cuts That Count: The 10 Best High-End Pocket Knives

Heirloom pieces have changed with the ages. Buying a lifetime piece today is a coin toss between vintage aesthetic, modern workings, and luxury feel. Tactical pieces are now being handed down from generation to generation. Automatic knives, despite complex workings are showing up in the pockets of grandchildren, still as stealthy a stiletto today as ever. Picking a quality knife means there’s a deep bench. So, rather than decide on one, here’s the 10 best high-end knives for EDC, for stuffing stockings, for putting on shelves, and even all of the above.

Chris Reeve Sebenza 21 CGG Doppler

After ages as the top knife in the world, the Sebenza found itself with a bunch of competition. Soon, it was merely considered a great knife. That’s when the brand expanded, blowing out a load of different Sebenza options. Our favorite of the new batch is the Doppler. Marked with a radar burst on the handle, it’s stylish and different, but still a clear Sebenza from afar. The titanium handles are clear, with the matte sparkle of stonewashed CPM S35VN steel. It sells out as fast as they can make them, so expect a wait that is well worth it. Purchase: $450

Strider SMF Gunner Grip

The only brand that SpyderCo truly looks up to, Strider still makes the big-belly hunting knife of choice for anyone who avoids fixed blade choices. The SMF has a stiff frame lock that holds the CPM-S30V blade as well as can be expected without a full tang. While you can go with the G-10 scales, the textured carbon fiber of the Gunner Grip felt better in hand. It all depends on if you want a showy knife like the Mick SnG – a timeless classic – or prefer something with some slither. There’s also an auto SnG worth a look. Purchase: $570

Hinderer XM-18

Short of a K-Bar, there’s nothing you can pull out that looks like a combat knife more than the XM-18 from Rick Hinderer. Black DLC (Diamond-Like Coating) keeps the blade free of marring, even during heavy work. It won’t snag on wood, or bone, sinew, or whatever else. The scales are olive drab G-10 and house a top notch CPM-20CV blade hardened to hit 59-60 on the Rockwell. Unless you’re going to be entrenched with the enemy, this is more knife than you need. Purchase: $465

William Henry Monarch Woodridge

William Henry has carved out a name for himself – pun intended – as a maker of quality knives that are also extremely pretty. Among his arrangement of showman knives – most of which are functional, depending on the make – the best in show had to go to the Monarch Woodridge. Titanium inlays create a steady handle with enough patina to matter, and set off the Desert Ironwood sharply. The wavy Damascus blade has a tribal feel, and adorned with ZDP-189 steel, it’s ready scalp. Purchase: $775

Benchmade Infidel

Lovers of Benchmade have always been relegated to the mid-range category of knives. Users were seen as unrefined. There was a sense that Benchmade lacked the artistry to ever be a high-end knife maker. It was through the back door of ingenuity that Benchmade has proven they can outfox the blade industry. Through their heralded Infidel line, Benchmade created an OTF (out the front) automatic knife that is truly poetic. D2 steel with 60-62 hardness starts the show, letting the indestructible 6061-T6 Aluminum handle with its deep carry clip and snake-strike opening action keep the delight going long into the night. If you don’t love the Infidel, automatic knives might not be “your thing.” Purchase: $480

SpyderCo Para 3 Carbon Fiber S90V

It’s mandated by heaven that if you make a list of folding knives, some version of the Paramilitary has to be on it. For us, that’s the Para 3 S90V with its never-die carbon fiber build. Outfitted with that sweet thumb action that makes SpyderCo known throughout the land, the compact amount of S90V steel shoved into the leafy, gut-rending frame doesn’t scamper or flit. It kills and goes to dinner. It also lasts longer than most marriages. Purchase: $230

Victorinox Wine Master

Purchase: $150

Vic Workchamp XL

Purchase: $215

Rockstead HIGO JH

Purchase: $830

Boker Leopard Damascus

Purchase: $859

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