10 Non-Locking EDC Knives to Carry (Almost) Anywhere

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You shouldn’t rule out a pocket knife for your EDC just because it doesn’t lock. Sure, advanced locking mechanisms are super useful for letting you safely put your blade to some tough work. But the most useful knife is the one you have on you—and for many EDCers around the world (especially in the UK, other parts of Europe, and big cities like NYC), knives that lock aren’t legal to carry around.

Even if you don’t live in an area with many knife restrictions, there are other good reasons for carrying a non-locking EDC knife. For example, opting for a simpler slipjoint or friction folder can make opening, using, and closing your blade simpler and easier. They’re especially appropriate if you mainly use your blade for light duty tasks, like food prep or opening packages.

We know some of you might feel left out when every promising knife out there seems to have a lock on it. Luckily, we’ve found some capable blades you can carry in even the most restrictive areas, or if you just want a simpler everyday knife. By the end of this Carry Smarter guide, you should have a better understanding of why some EDCers opt for non-locking knives, what to look for when choosing one, and ideas to start your search with our top 10 picks for EDC blades that are legal to carry practically anywhere.

How to Choose a Non-Locking Knife for EDC

  • Check your local knife laws. Knife laws vary by region, so be sure to look up your local legislation to help you narrow down your search. As a general guideline, smaller and simpler is better. Aim for something at or under 2.5” blade length, that doesn’t lock, and needs two hands to open to be on the safe side.
  • Get something that doesn’t lock, but is still secure and safe to use. Some knives have blades that stop halfway before closing or a curved section to firmly grip your finger at the base of the blade. These measures prevent accidental cuts when using and closing the knife. Knives that require some deliberate effort to open the knife are safer. They’re harder to accidentally open in your pocket and less likely to be deemed an illegal “gravity” knife.

  • Keep blade length in mind. It’s an important consideration, legality aside. You’ll have to decide on a length that’s comfortable in your hand, in your pocket, and during your most frequent tasks.

  • Check your local knife laws one more time.

Now that you know what you should look for in a knife, check out our list of knives to get you started. They differ in style, materials, and price, but they’re all designed with legality in mind.


Spyderco Pingo

The Spyderco Pingo was designed by two renowned European makers—Jens Anso and Jesper Voxnaes—to be legal to carry in their home country of Denmark. The blade does not lock, requires two hands to open it, and measures under 2.5” in length. By adhering to the strict knife laws in their own country, Anso and Voxnaes introduced a knife that should meet most legal requirements of the rest of the world. The Pingo features a versatile sheepsfoot blade with plenty of cutting area to work with and excellent ergonomics for an EDC folder.

BUY ($43)


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Boker Plus XS

This design from Chad Los Banos has plenty of functionality you might see in more tactical folders. All it’s missing is the lock. It features thumb studs for easy one handed opening of its 3”, titanium coated 440C steel blade. Grippy G10 handles and jimping on the blade offer improved control during use. And because it’s a slipjoint, there’s a deep, index finger choil to prevent the non-locking blade from closing in on your fingers. Consider the Boker Plus XS if the traditionally styled options here don’t fit your carry.

BUY ($34)


Victorinox Small Tinker

Swiss Army Knives are ideal for everyday carry use because their blades don’t need to lock to be effective, and they’re widely recognized primarily as tools. The small (and sharp!) blades on Swiss Army Knives are held in place by a slipjoint mechanism. It's spring-loaded to keep the blade safely deployed when in use, but it doesn't truly lock in place. The Small Tinker packs a handy set of tools for everyday tasks, including a 3D Phillips head screwdriver, in a compact 84mm form factor.

BUY ($21)


Douk-Douk

The Douk-Douk is a classic French design that dates back to the 1920s. The knife uses a sturdy slipjoint mechanism with a strong backspring to keep its 3⅛” blade from closing during light duty tasks. Its carbon steel takes a razor-sharp edge that’s easy to maintain. Simple construction and an attractive price tag round out this ideal knife to carry where laws are strict.

BUY ($25)


EnZo PK70

So many non-locking knives have classic designs deeply rooted in history and tradition. As a result, you rarely see premium materials and modern styling on them like you do on the EnZo PK70 slipjoint. Between its sleek carbon fiber scales, the PK70 features a 2.75” long blade with a higher end CPM S30V steel. It’s got the look, performance, and design to be a highly capable EDC blade if you’re willing to invest a bit more for its premium materials.

BUY ($101)


Spyderco UKPK

The UKPK (or UK Pen Knife) is another knife from Spyderco that ditches a locking mechanism to accommodate knife laws. At just under 3”, its blade uses high performance CPM S30V steel known for its excellent edge retention and toughness. Spyderco added a small notch on the pivot to prevent the blade from closing in on your fingers and integrated an index finger choil on the blade for even more control.

BUY ($50)


Higo no Kami

Traditionally, this non-locking folder is completely made by hand in Japan. The Higonokami is hand forged, hammered, and sharpened by one company in who has been doing so for over 100 years. This knife is about as simple as it gets, a friction folder with an extended tang for support. To open the knife, push down on the tang. The tang then rests on the handle, typically with your thumb on top of it. This keeps the blade in place during use and allows the Higonokami to function without a lock. Available in a range of sizes, the 3” model should be safe to carry in many parts of the world.

BUY ($15)


Lansky World Legal

This knife stands out from the rest of the more traditionally styled offerings with its technical design. True to its name, the Lansky World Legal slip-joint folder boasts a non-locking, 2.75” 440C stainless steel blade and nylon handle construction. Its 4-way pocket clip allows for deep pocket carry, keeping the knife out of sight and out of mind. Like the Spyderco Pingo, this knife is also by a Danish designer who had their strict regional knife laws in mind.

BUY ($24)


Case Sodbuster

Case makes knives ideal for those looking for something simple to get work done and sharpen up easily, without the added complexity and legal concerns of a locking mechanism. While the one shown here has a 3⅝” blade, the Sodbuster comes in plenty of colors and a smaller 2.75" configuration called the Sodbuster Jr., so you’re sure to find something that fits your EDC. Case knives have a classic design and solid construction that make them appealing to many EDCers, regardless of their local knife laws. For a capable, hand-crafted pocket knife with timeless American styling, don’t miss this manufacturer.

BUY ($26)


Fallkniven U1

The Fallkniven U1 is a bit of old and new. Its minimal slipjoint design features wooden inlays as a nod to traditional styles, and nail knicks on both sides of the blade for ambidextrous carry. At its heart is a 2.44” blade made with modern manufacturing techniques, featuring Fallkniven’s high end 3G laminate powder steel. If you’re particular about your steel and have the budget for it, consider this slipjoint for your daily carry.

BUY ($184)

Hopefully we’ve helped you with your search for a capable EDC pocketknife that’s legal to carry where you live. If you found this guide useful, please share it with your friends who might find it helpful as too! Do you EDC in a place with strict knife laws? Let us know where you’re from and what your favorite legal EDC blade is in a comment below.

Words by Ed Jelley and Bernard Capulong

#slipjoint-knife #uk-legal-knives #buying-guides #knives #carry-smarter #everydaycarry-top-nonlockingknives #best-slip-joint-pocket-knife #best-slip-joint-knives #everyday-carry-knife-legal #is-the-viper-slip-joint-pocket-knife #non-locking-knife #what-is-a-non-locking-knife see all



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Discussion (15 total)

Thanks for the post. As a girl scout leader we require that pocket knives for the girls be non-locking folders. This list included some options I never considered.
Another extremely good option is Svord mini peasent knives. I don't see them enough on here considering how fantastic they are!
"knives that lock aren’t legal to carry around."

If you are in communist NYC no knives are legal to carry around anymore regardless of what the actual laws are and while a Non-Locking knife might help you in court with a judge who actually abides by the law, it won't keep you from being arrested, ticketed and have the knife seized. Never carry your knife clipped to your pocket in New York City. Law enforcement are trained to look for clips and will stop you.

Here are a couple good websites the author could have listed:

“New York City has paid out at least $347,500 over the past five years for false arrest and malicious prosecution claims related to NYPD enforcement of New York’s controversial “gravity knife” statute.”
http://www.thetruthaboutknives.com/2015/11/new-york-city-on-the-hook-nearly-350000-for-wrongful-knife-arrests

HOW A '50S-ERA NEW YORK KNIFE LAW HAS LANDED THOUSANDS IN JAIL
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/how-a-50s-era-new-york-knife-law-has-landed-thousands-in-jail-6662589

Knife Rights
http://www.kniferights.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=67&Itemid=1
I would like to add, anyone who wishes to carry a knife needs to join Knife Rights. Without their diligence many more places in the U.S. will become like NYC.
I know you probably don't want too many from any one company, but in terms of modern knife companies and non-locking knives, I'd go with Spyderco. There are two good ones on this list, but you could also go with the Roadie, Chicago, Spy, Urban, any of the ClipiTools, the Dog Tag, or for something smaller the Grasshopper.
Most Swiss Army Knives are legal, apart from the Swiss soldiers Knife, hunter XT and some others. If you are looking for a non-locking folder, victorinox is awesome
In germany police doesn't bother about the locking. It's the fact that a knive can be opened by one hand that makes the carry illegal.
The laws in those countries SUCK! Change em'. ;)
I went to go look at one of these (the world legal) bought it and two others.
I don't necessarily agree with it, but I can understand the reasoning behind requiring someone to have a reason to carry a knife. Restricting whether that knife can lock or not, however, makes no sense to me whatsoever.
quick correction, the UKPK is a slip-joint, not a friction folder.

local knife laws in some parts are purposefully ambiguous, and will lead you straight to a holding cell for having ANY of these in your pocket. i've spoken with NYPD about it before, and it all comes down to their discretion. they can arrest you for carrying a swiss army SD if they don't like your attitude. yet on another occasion i was let go while carrying a benchmade CQC7, because the guy who stopped&frisked me was looking for weed, not weapons.

also, +1 to (almost) everything Dillinger said.
Opinel carbone knives are excellent and cheap!
yes but their vibrolock system means they don't belong on this list. Some people read 'non-locking' and assume Opinels are excluded because their locks don't engage automatically, but it's not that simple. The key phrase in UK law here is that it must be foldable at any time, without engaging or disengaging any mechanism.

Daft I know.
Nice. Also check out the Cold Steel Lucky. Carbon Fiber scales, CTS-XHP steel, with TWO blades, one serrated and one plain edge. Made in Italy to boot.
I would add the Syderco Squeak as a contender too. Great steel, slip joint and not too 'tactical' looking so doesn't scare sheeple when you use it.

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