Knives are a very personal choices but there are a few things you should consider when selecting one to carry.
1) Consult your local laws! Balisongs, spring assisted openers, fixed blades, double-edged, and longer blade lengths may be restricted in your location or where you may travel. Knives are actually subject to a more complex patchwork of local regulations than firearms in many areas.
2) Blade shape. I use my blades as a general utility tool and ask them cut rope, paper, cardboard and plastic and pry when necessary. Because of this I like a blade with a slightly curved cutting edge (belly), a thicker point and spine thick enough to provide reasonable torsional strength. Lastly I prefer a non-serrated edge due to its increased slicing capabilities and easier sharpening. This leads me to lean towards drop or some clip point blades.
3) Knife scales. Knife handles can provide grip based on their shape, material or by adding jimping. I actually like scales that are NOT made a grippy material for pocket carry because it makes it easier to extract so I look at plastic or metal scales. To provide the required purchase I look for good jimping for the thumb and forefinger.
4) Ease of opening. Assisted opening, thumb stud, thumb hole, and wave opening a all acceptable opening systems, I just need a knife that has easy one-handed opening. Personally I lean towards the thumb stud because spring assisted knives can be confused for switchblades and the stud is slightly easier for me to manipulate.
5) Ease of closing. I do not like any folding knife that does not lock open because of the risk of it closing during use and cutting your hand, but because I believe a knife should be capable of being operated one-handed, the locking mechanism is important to me. I look for locks that don’t require me to move the unlocked blade towards my fingers or to use my leg for assistance and I really like Axis lock by Benchmade.
6) Method of carry. Knives can be carried tip up or tip down and on either the right or left side, but not all knives can be carried in each or even multiple methods. The choice of tip up or down is driven by you preference in how to open the blade and the side is driven by which hand you deploy the knife with. In an upcoming post I will cover why I carry tip up on my left side.
7) Overall size. The size of the knife is important because if it is too small it is difficult manipulate and doesn’t provide the leverage it could. If it is too large it can be difficult to reach thumb stud or thumb hole when you grab it without adjusting your grip.
With all of this in consideration I chose the Benchmade Griptilian 551. It may not be the knife for you, but it is the knife I have chosen to have with me… when the balloon goes up!