a pair of black sunglasses, wallet, phone, keys, and everyday carry knife are placed on a wooden background

Choosing the Perfect Everyday Carry Knife

When you visit Pennsylvania’s Largest Gun Show, you can find the perfect everyday carry knife for your lifestyle. Alongside a massive selection of guns and accessories, you’ll find the best EDC knives on the market and even some unlikely contenders for your blade of choice. With so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to narrow down precisely what makes a knife the right EDC for you. By understanding the needs you face in your day-to-day life and how a knife can address them, however, you can find the carrying knife that fits you the best.

What is an EDC Knife?

An everyday carry knife is just what the name implies: a knife that has sufficient potential utility for your day-to-day lifestyle in that it joins your keys, wallet, and smartphone when you get dressed every morning. This knife has the right mix of features, comfortable design, and resiliency to inspire the confidence that it is such an important tool to your routine that it must be included. If you think it’s a little silly to put a knife on that high of a pedestal, then you just may not have met the right knife yet, but it’s probably waiting for you at your local gun show.

Your EDC is Not My EDC

a pocket knife with a green grip is placed next to a pencil holder and a green colored pencil that has been sharpened

Before we start talking about picking out your everyday carry knife, it’s important to note the best EDC knife for one person may be practically useless for the next. Plenty of knifemakers love to brand their latest multi-featured monstrosity the ULTIMATE EDC–all in caps for extra ultimate–but the truth is that may not be the case for you. EDC knives are personal choices that hinge on your day-to-day activities, living conditions, hobbies, work, preferences, and more. 

Learn Your Local Knife Laws

When considering your everyday carry knife choices, you also want to ensure you stay legal. While Pennsylvania’s state knife laws are fairly lenient, primarily restricting them from possessing a knife at sensitive places such as schools and airports, local ordinances may limit the blade length, the carrying of fixed blades, opening mechanisms, or other features. In addition, businesses–particularly those you work at or for–may set their own internal rules on the carrying of knives. Remember that the purpose of an everyday carry knife is ultimately to give you a tool that you can count on to improve your particular situation, and these requirements may factor into that decision.

Finding the Best EDC Knife for You

When you start comparing knives, consider what you would use them for. When was the last time you needed a knife or a better knife than you now carry? What would make a knife the perfect choice for that situation, and how often do you face that situation? While a lot of marketing seems to be focused on tactical knives for everyday carry knives, with features that would make them an exciting choice in an action movie but may make them unwieldy in the garden, cutting boxes at work, or for use on the ranch. In the end, your best EDC knife is dictated by your needs, not those of a marketing department.

hands holding an everyday carry knife, with fingertips touching the blade of the knife

The Blade

The blade of a knife is its most defining feature. It determines what and how the knife will cut as well as how best to use the knife to make the cuts and punctures it’s designed for.

Fixed or Pocket

Fixed-blade knives, sometimes called sheathe knives, offer more strength because there’s no need to build a hinge, pivot, or other mechanism into the everyday carry knife to attach a blade to the hilt. In many cases, a single piece of metal runs from point to pommel, creating a full-tang knife. For more discreet carry, pocket knife blades allow you to fold, withdraw, or flip the blade into a recess in the hilt of the knife. While not as sturdy as fixed blades, modern pocket knife designs have come a long way in bridging the strength gap while making knives more comfortable to carry than strapping a heavy foot-long knife to your belt every day.

Blade Length

Blade length is one of the most regulated knife features, with longer blades often labeled as offensive weapons. While jurisdictions vary, with some restricting blade lengths to no more than three inches, most find a blade of around five inches a comfortable maximum threshold. This allows for a sufficient cutting surface for most tasks without looking like a pocket machete. Fixed-blade knives are less commonly carried, but an overall length of twelve inches or less is commonly recommended, even if your knife laws don’t restrict it further. 

Blade Shape

The shape of the blade plays a large role in how it is used. You’ll want to carefully consider what cuts you usually need a knife for, how they’re made, and what would make them easier. A few of the more popular blade shapes include:

  • Normal/Straight Back Blade – Featuring a broad spine and long, straight-bladed edge that curves up to meet the spine near the starting ¾ of the way along the blade, this blade offers plenty of utility and serves as the basis for many other styles.
  • Drop Point – This modification of the normal blade style sees the spine begin to thin and curve downward ¾ of the way along the blade as the edge curves up until they meet at a sharp point. Still good for cutting, the point makes it better for puncturing.
  • Clip Point – Another modification of the normal blade, instead of curving down like a drop point, the back appears to be clipped out, giving you a very sharp stabbing point on a blade that still makes long, straight cuts. The popular Bowie knife shape was a clip-point-style blade modified for knife fighting.
  • Tanto – A popular addition to blade types, the tanto style offers a long cutting edge with a sharply beveled and angular point that rises to meet the spine near the tip of the blade. Traditional Japanese-type tanto blades curve gently along their length, while American tanto design uses a straight cutting edge and an angle of 60° or more to create a sharp chisel-like tip.
  • Sheepfoot – A strong blade for cutting, the sheepfoot features a long, straight edge and a thick spine that falls to meet it at the tip. The antithesis of the standard straight-back blade, this blade is meant for cutting, not poking.
  • Hawkbill – The hawkbill excels at draw cuts, with a broad spine and sharp edge along the length of a blade that curves downward like a bird’s beak.
  • Spear Point – The spine of this blade thins and is sometimes sharpened along the last ¼ of the blade, creating a point that’s excellent for stabbing while the blade close to the hilt retains a broad, unsharpened spine for added cutting leverage. Most often found on fixed-blade knives.


The material your everyday carry knife is made of has a significant impact on your experience as a user. Stainless steel is very common and user-friendly to care for, but not as hard as other steels. High-carbon blades are much harder but require more maintenance to protect them. Titanium and ceramic blades are less common and more expensive while also being more brittle, but their edges are often ground to surgical precision. Unless you have the time, knowledge, money, or tools for a specialty blade, good steel is probably your best bet.

A pocket knife with a blue grip, the blade piercing into a wood log

The Grip

The grip of your everyday carry knife serves as its connection to you, so it needs to be just right. A poorly chosen fit, style, or texture can negatively impact your safe handling of the blade.


You need a grip that fits your hand. A grip too thick may not allow you to bring your power to bear on the blade, while a thin grip may be dwarfed in your hand, causing you to lose some control. Short grips are harder to maintain a solid grasp on, while overly long grips can be unwieldy. Look for a grip that fits your hand comfortably, allowing your fingers to close entirely without getting in the way of each other.


A good texture can help you keep a firm grip on the knife, even if your hands are wet, tired, or slick. The wrong texture can feel tacky, fragile, or even rub like sandpaper while you’re trying to use your everyday carry knife. Try out as many knives as possible to find what you like in a knife handle. That way, you know you’re getting the best EDC knife for your grip preferences.

The Features

As knife manufacturers Victorinox and Wenger found out long ago, the features you build into an everyday carry knife beyond the blade can be just as useful and essential as the blade itself.

Opening and Lock Style

For pocket knives, how they open and lock in place–if they do lock–can be an important part of choosing the best one. Traditional non-locking knives often have a thumbnail slot in the blade to help you open them up. Modern pocket knives may have thumb buttons or notches to make opening easier. They may feature a lock in the back of the knife that secures the blade to the tang or a lever in the frame indention where the blade is housed that holds the blade open. Some folding knives even use springs for assisted opening or self-opening operation, although some jurisdictions may brand these as prohibited switchblade knives.


Embedded or built-in tools are becoming popular for the best EDC utility knives. These can include screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, seatbelt cutters, and more. Remember that added features often mean both added price and bulk, so prioritize accordingly.

Bells, Whistles, and Doodads 

If you can dream it, a manufacturer has tried it. From the hollow-handled survival knives of the 1900s to modern options featuring specialized equipment built into the hilt, you’ll see some truly amazing knives on the market. Does a knife-themed for the zombie apocalypse fit into the everyday carry knife category? Maybe, if it does what you need it to do day-to-day (a lack of zombies notwithstanding). What about designs based on superheroes or aliens? They’re out there, and you’ll find them at one of our shows. You have to decide which of these features is worth the price to add some personality to your pocket.

Get Your Gun Knife Show Tickets Online

Wherever you are in Pennsylvania, there’s a gun show coming soon to a community near you, giving you the chance to find the best EDC knife for your money. Start your planning now to be sure you know exactly what you’re looking for the day of the show. Order your tickets to the next Eagle Shows Gun Show online today.

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