Everyday Carry

10 Frame Lock Knives to EDC in 2018

Authored by:
Jonathan Tayag
Reviewed by:
Bernard Capulong
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
14+ Years Reviewing EDC Products
10 Frame Lock Knives to EDC in 2018

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Your EDC folding knife is only as good as it can perform, especially when it matters most — under pressure. If your knife's locking mechanism is the weakest link in your heavy duty tasks, it can be downright disastrous. That's why a lot of the best and most popular knives for everyday carry rely on a frame lock. It uses the strength of the handle or frame of the knife itself to lock the blade in place, minimizing any play to take on even the biggest cutting jobs. In this guide, we'll highlight a few of our favorite framelock knives from this year so far that deserve your attention. Whether you're looking for your first EDC knife or wanting to make an upgrade to something new and refreshing, we've got you covered.

ZT 0462

The 0462 continues to improve on Dmitry Sinkevich's extremely-popular collaboration design by giving it a serious upgrade in steel and a slightly longer blade to play with. This strikingly beautiful knife features an ultra-sharp 3.75” upswept blade made of premium CPM-20CV stainless steel. That makes for a blade that's even harder than the original, allowing for extreme sharpness while maintaining good corrosion resistance and edge retention. Deployment is made easy with the flipper opening and KVT ball-bearings in the handle. That handle also features gorgeous carbon fiber scaling on one side and a stonewashed titanium frame lock on the other.

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Kershaw Natrix

The Natrix is a tactical flipper folder that was originally released last year, but it's become more widely available in a mix of new materials including copper, carbon fiber, and all-black for 2018. Based on the Zero Tolerance 0770, the Natrix brings that knife's great ergonomics and performance and makes it much more accessible to the average consumer. What sets this knife apart is its “sub-frame” lock. It takes the strong movable locking bar and builds it into a frame that can be of different composition from the lock itself. This lets you avail of grippy G-10 scaling on both sides of the handle of the knife, something you usually have to sacrifice with regular frame lock designs.

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Boker Plus FR Mini

Brad Zinkler's Boker Plus FR is another popular frame lock knife that's received an update in 2018. This model, true to its name, brings things down to a more EDC-friendly size. It features a 2.9” sharp VG-10 stainless steel blade deployed with a flipper and held into place with a titanium frame lock. The smaller size also reduces the heft, with the FR Mini weighing a mere 1.4 ounces in total.



You might think Wharncliffe-style blades are meant only for utility, but one look at the CRKT Rasp should change your mind. Designed by a retired Green Beret, the Rasp is made to do more than just cut boxes. Its 3.671” AUS-8 blade comes together at a slight point for piercing power. It also features a bit of a curve in the sharp plain edge to improve its slicing capabilities. The ergonomic handle conforms to your hand during use, and the flipper mechanism acts as an additional guard in rough-use situations. It's made of 420J2 stainless steel with a frame lock for security in a stonewash finish that adds a nice aesthetic touch to this great EDC knife.

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The M16 is one of CRKT's oldest knife designs, and it seemed to be really left behind over the years in the pace of innovation in knife design. This year, however, CRKT has given it new life by removing the thin liner lock of the original and giving it a more serious frame lock. But don't fret, with its skeletonized stainless steel frame it's still a lightweight knife, weighing only 3.7 ounces in total. Its black oxide-finished 3.057” 12C27 Sandvik blade has a sharp tanto blade shape and excellent corrosion resistance. All in all, this is a knife you can be confident in when carried for daily use.

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Chris Reeve Sebenza 21 Doppler

The Sebenza 21 is still the grail knife for many in the EDC community with its sharp looks, premium materials, and integral lock. The newer Doppler variant makes it even more desirable with a design that's as functional as it is beautiful. Laser-engraved into the stonewashed titanium handle is a depiction of the doppler effect. More than just for show, the ripples add grip when wielding the Sebenza's ultra-sharp CPM-S35VN blade.


Medford Slim Midi

The Medford Slim Midi cuts a classy sleek and streamlined look that pairs well in your hand, especially if you're dressed up for the occasion. It has an ultra-thin yet sharp 0.125” thick CPM-S35VN blade with a 3.25” plain edge that can get what you need done. Its frame lock is strong, yet it doesn't clutter up the look of the smooth look of the handle in the closed position. The knife opens easily via the thumbstud or the deep channel cut into the blade. That channel, and the handle's titanium construction, keep it light at 4.18 ounces. The handle is still big enough for you to get a full grip on it when the blade is deployed.

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ESEE Expat Medellin

The Medellin takes the excellent ergonomics and performance you've come to expect from ESEE's fixed blades and brings it into a more EDC-friendly frame lock folding knife, and at an affordable price to boot. It features a 3.5” AUS-8 stainless steel plain edge blade with a full-flat grind that excels at slicing tasks. The handle features an attractive finish with frame lock on one side and grippy G10 scaling on the other for improved purchase on the knife, even when wet. The deep-carry pocket clip can be configured for either tip-up or tip-down carry, and keeps the knife low profile in your pockets when its not in use.

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Kizer Matanzas

Kizer continues to impress with their EDC knife offerings in 2018 with this Nick Swan collaboration design. It has a modified clip-point blade with a strong curve at the tip that amplifies the cutting area of its sharp 3.44” CPM-S35VN blade. Deployment is made easy with a flipper, but it's also been made to poke out less from the handle when its not in use. The strong titanium handle and frame lock keeps the blade in place during use, and on its opposite side it features a carbon fiber inlay for some visual appeal.

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WE Knife Zephyr

The Zephyr is an original WE Knife design that features smooth organic curves and an ergonomic design that you don't usually see on something as utilitarian as a frame lock knife. It's certainly different from the machined edges and straight lines that other knives tend to have. The Zephyr features a super-sharp premium Bohler M390 stainless steel drop point blade that comes together into a strong point for piercing tasks. It also has a slight curve in the belly of the plain-edge blade that improves its performance in slicing tasks. With its flipper opening and ceramic ball-bearing pivot, the knife is also easy to deploy at a moment's notice. The stonewashed titanium handle's rounded edges provide a natural grip that conforms to your hand . The frame lock keeps the blade open, and it also features an attractive carbon fiber inlay.


Do you have a favorite frame lock knife? Let us know what it is in the comments below!

Jonathan Tayag

Senior Contributor

About the Author
Jonathan Tayag is secretly an information technology and corporate security expert who prefers to moonlight as a creative event and commercial photographer whenever possible. His varied experience and substantial travels have led him to seek, without even thinking about it at first, the best gear for the best use at the best price available. Before the concept of EDC (everyday carry) firmly took hold, Jonathan already spent untold amounts of time optimizing for the best-in-slot pieces of gear, from cameras and lenses to pocket knives, pens, and bags and packs. In November 2015, Jonathan joined EverydayCarry.com and has since written numerous articles and guides to help impart his knowledge to the community as a whole.

Jonathan's photographic works have appeared on numerous online websites, print, video, and television outlets for over a decade. Jonathan's previous clients include Blizzard Entertainment, Red Bull, ESL, Razer, and several other endemic and non-endemic esports sponsors and brands. His work also features heavily in online competitive gaming communities, especially those of the StarCraft and Fighting Game genres. You've likely seen his work if you've spent time in a stream or in-game chat over the years.

Bernard Capulong

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

About the Reviewer
Bernard Capulong is an everyday carry (EDC) gear expert, entrepreneur, all-around nerd, and the founder and editor-in-chief of EverydayCarry.com—the largest online community for EDC gear enthusiasts. Since founding Everyday Carry in 2009, he’s built over a decade of experience in the industry, reviewing and highlighting brands and products, including pocket knives, flashlights, wallets, watches, bags, pens, and much more.

Bernard is known for bringing everyday carry out of obscurity and into the mainstream, having been published or featured in various publications such as GQ, TIME Magazine, The New York Times, VICE, HYPEBEAST, Outside, and many others. He has also played a part in curating, designing, and developing digital and physical products, resulting in successful crowdfunding projects or limited edition collaboration products with established softgoods brands. He stays on the pulse of the EDC industry by attending trade shows, participating in online interest communities, and actively engaging with fellow gear enthusiasts on social media.

In addition to being the editor-in-chief and main social media personality for EverydayCarry.com, Bernard is an avid gearhead and collector in general. His personal collections span technical bags, fountain pens, digital cameras, retro gaming hardware, personal hi-fi audio gear, and mechanical wristwatches, to name a few. Bernard Capulong is a prominent figure and trusted authority in the everyday carry industry with a career dedicated to helping people discover this hobby and stay prepared with quality gear.

Discussion (17 total)

Yogi ·
Do not own many frame locks as more gentleman carry, however I do own and recommend on a budget....

The Kershaw Cryo is quite the treat for those looking to get an inexpensive Rick Hinderer designed knife with a high-quality build. The Cryo was awarded the "Best Buy of the Year" at 2012 Blade Show and it gets 2 thumbs up from us at Blade HQ.

The Cryo is a framelock knife with a Hinderer lockbar stabilizer. The stainless steel blade and handle are matte gray coated with titanium-carbo-nitride. The assisted opening blade is deployed with a push of the ambidextrous thumb stud or flipper. The pocket clip is four-way reversible for multiple carry options.
Tony Davidson ·
I usually carry a Spyderco, but I’m partial to the CRKT Pilar for a framelock.
Henry H ·
Ah framelocks, the knives of my very early childhood. Most are illegal here in Germany (where I am doing my masters), which is a shame, but not sure how many framelocks I would add to my collection these days anyway. I've grown much more fond of fixed blade sheath knives (I make Finnish style puukkos in my free time) and traditional folders like my beloved Opinels. If I was to be in the market for buying new knives right now (I'm super poor as a masters student, but my birthday was yesterday for anyone feeling generous ;) ), I would be looking to get things like a Higonokami, a Douk Douk, and a K55K before another framelock, but these knives do bring back memories of my youth, and as such I really appreciate the post. :D
James Holcomb ·
Camillus makes one of the best “affordable” framelock folders on the market. AUS8 steel, solid skeletonized handle, the titanium coating is impressive. I’ve used the little beast for work (I build and operate industrial graphite and electrode furnaces) and chores all over the house.
Michael Mutant ·
ZT Hinderer Slicer for me but these are some pretty cool choices.
Josh ·
Also...in a lot of these posts, I keep seeing comments asking about items in the title photo. Maybe you guys should start adding a description for the photo with links or something.
Josh ·
Some really cool knives!
I'm a Spyderco fanboy, but right now I EDC a Ruike p801-sb. Bad ass little knife for 30 bucks! I also own the silver version stonewashed w/blue clip, thumb stud, ect.
What flashlight is that next to the sebenza in the main picture?
Yogi ·
I believe that to be the Klarus Mi7 in titanium?
Antei ·
My favorite frame lock knife is ZT 0452CF: I like its design, materials (CPM-S35VN blade and CF/stonewashed titanium frame lock), workmanship and, most of all, its size and ergonomics.
Michael Mutant ·
I'm into the Hinderer Slicer myself. ZT are solid.
Gooch Gulick ·
So the intro photo has a knife with "Idaho Made" stamped on it, but it doesn't appear that it listed above. Who is the maker of that knife?
Chris Reeve
Yogi ·
That should be the Chris Reeve Sebanza 21
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