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Best Clip-Point Blades: Knives At The Ready



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The clip point is one of the more common knife blade shapes used as an EDC or hunting knife. These blades look like the forward third of the blade is “clipped” off — it can be straight or concave. Variants include the California clip, with a clip greatly extended in length, and the Turkish clip point with its extreme recurve.

On a clip-point knife, the spine of the blade begins at the hilt and continues to a point between one third to one fourth of the blade length. The blade’s spine then tapers in thickness in either a straight line or a curve to the knife’s point, which may be located above, below, or in line with the central axis of the blade. The thinned false edge of the clip may be sharpened to form a true second cutting edge. If the false edge is sharpened, it increases the knife’s effectiveness in piercing. Many production makers shy away from this due to knife laws in some jurisdictions regarding double-edged knives.

Today, the design itself is largely considered American and is associated with the Old West, as it was popular on Bowie knives from the 1800s through the present. However, the clip point is an ancient design dating back at least to the time of Alexander the Great in a working metal blade of iron or bronze. Examples of knapped flint clip-point blades from the Stone Age have been found in Central Europe. 

Piercing is the forte of the clip point and a reason why hunters like the design for skinning game. The clip-point blade allows a quicker, and thus deeper, puncture upon insertion because it’s thinner at the spine. A drop point has a slightly slower insertion due to its thicker spine near the tip, whereas the clip point lends itself to a quicker stabbing advantage with less parasitic drag during insertion, as well as a faster withdrawal. 

Compared to other knife designs, the clip point has a much narrower and, in some cases, weaker tip on poorly made designs. This blade style has truly evolved through the ages and benefits greatly from advances in steel making. 

Best Clip-Point Knives

Civivi Knives Midwatch

Civivi Knives is a knife manufacturing shop based in China. Their designs are bold, clean, and sometimes indistinguishable from higher-end and even custom blades due to their final fit and finish. The Midwatch is a different and unique take on the karambit design, with a large finger ring at the end of the handle.

The biggest difference is the use of a broad clip-point blade instead of the karambit’s more typical hawksbill blade. It’s intended as a working blade. The Micarta handle is super grippy, and while the overall shape took a bit of getting used to, eventually it became like second nature. It’s recommended to mount the sheath on your belt or gear to access it quickly and smoothly.

PROS:

+ Blade is made from Bohler N690; it’s tough, razor sharp, and rust resistant, with an easily maintainable edge.

+ Sheath is exceptional for retention and equipped with a Civivi-Terzuola clip.

+ Burlap Micarta handle is easy to grip and retain

CONS:

– Karambit rings aren’t for everyone

– On the large size for concealed carry

Cold Steel Range Boss

The Cold Steel Range Boss is a lock-back knife with a classic Bowie-style clip-point blade. It’s slim, thin, and light, making it very easy to carry in your pocket even if you’re wearing dress slacks.

Aesthetically pleasing, it’s reminiscent of a Bowie knife, and despite its size it’s easy to forget you have it on you. Razor sharp out of the box and with a blade about 0.13-inch thick, it’s a performer. This may be the first knife we’ve reviewed made of 4034 steel, typically considered a lower-end European steel used in kitchen knives, but with a 15-percent chromium content, it shouldn’t rust.

PROS:

+ The blade is made from 4034, so it has an easily maintainable edge and will resist rust.

+ The profile is thin and flat, so it carries well despite its size.

+ The Tri-Ad lock is strong, making this a good working knife.

CONS:

– The steel used is 4034; despite its corrosion resistance and edge retention, it’s not considered a very durable steel for hard use. (Our sample has held up well for a year.)

– No lanyard hole

Spyderco Para Military 2

Spyderco’s Para Military series has been one of the company’s best-selling knives since it debuted in 2010. The Para Military 2 is a midsized model, slightly smaller than the original and slightly larger than the shorter Para Military 3.

Available in a variety of handle treatments, this version sports handles of canvas Micarta; therefore it’s not so rough on the edge of the pocket, unlike other materials such as G10. The blade is made of CPM CruWear Tool Steel, which is an air-hardened tool steel.

PROS:

+ CPM CruWear Tool Steel has an easily maintainable edge and will resist rust. Its performance is better than D2 as a rugged working knife.

+ Very small and handy, this knife performed well as a cutter once sharpened properly.

+ Spyderco’s compression lock is in many ways superior to a traditional liner lock, as it relates to placement for safety.

CONS:

– Compression lock isn’t very intuitive for left-handed use

– Scales on this knife will develop a patina over time with daily use. Don’t be surprised if it gets darker over time.

Station IX Number 8 SERE

Station IX produces hard-working knives for serious users. The Number 8 SERE is the company’s eighth design and was developed for use as a SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) knife for the French military.

This is a perfect example of a well-crafted blade with a lot of thought going into the design, from the classic clip point that’s effective at penetration to the keen edge for slicing.

PROS:

+ This knife is very comfortable in the hand, the scales are G10, and the sheath is very friendly for attaching additional pouches and securing to a plate carrier, war belt, or pack.

+ The blade steel is 1095, a high-performing steel prized for ease of sharpening as well as edge retention. 

+ It takes an edge well and seems to maintain it for a longer period than most knives.

CONS:

– 1095 steel has the potential to rust, as it’s not stainless.

– Surprisingly there’s no lanyard hole, a must on outdoor or combat knives like this one.

T. Kell Knives Striker (Red Dawn)

Tim Kell designed this model a few years ago as a compact military fighting knife, but that doesn’t preclude it from being a lightweight model, easy to access and carry.

The clip point is slight, as it could be confused with a drop point. The balance on this blade is incredible, and the grip just fits in the hand very well and feels extremely secure. This sample features Red Dawn-colored G10, but all the scales on T. Kell knives can easily be swapped out for another color of choice. T. Kell knives are designed and built by a Marine Corps veteran. The in-house proprietary heat treat is phenomenal, making these knives combat ready.

PROS:

+ Very light and easy to carry as either a neck knife or clipped to your belt, pack, or gear

+ Fantastic balance and works well in the forward and reverse grip

+ 1095 is a great steel that’s easy to sharpen, takes a ton of abuse, and comes back for more. The nickel boron coating protects the steel from the elements.

CONS:

– Should be made as a full-sized fighting knife

– Handmade and sells out quickly, so availability can be an issue.

Tactile Knives Bexar

Some users absolutely hate slip-joint knives. These are people who grew up with folding knives with strong locking mechanisms — but for centuries, a slip joint was the only way to go if you wanted a folding pocketknife.

It’s suitable for 90 percent of your basic cutting chores and is one of the few knife designs that’s legal in almost every country on earth. But this is definitely not your grandfather’s Case or Barlow knife. The handles are made from grooved titanium and the blade is Magnacut, the hottest knife steel out there right now. The Bexar is 100-percent made in Dallas, Texas. All parts are made in-house with no outsourcing. The clip point is subtle but effective.

PROS:

+ Magnacut is one of the best steels available right now for wear resistance, corrosion resistance, edge retention, and hardness.

+ The knife’s light weight means it can go anywhere, even if you’re wearing gym shorts.

+ Fits in the hand well; the lanyard offers grip extension for more difficult tasks.

CONS:

– Hard to find due to its popularity

– Needs a pocket clip

TOPS Knives El Pionero

A few years back, Ed Calderon of Ed’s Manifesto fame designed a knife based on what’s probably the most common knife design in the world — a paring knife with a slight clip-point blade.

Dubbed El Pionero, this model has a lot of features Calderon has found to be useful on knives throughout his experience. The finger divot is a signature of his that he originally learned from his mother; it’s designed to make it easy to know where the edge is oriented based on where you feel the divot, and it can aid when extracting a knife that has been stabbed into something and may be somewhat stuck. The false edge of the clip point aids in stabbing. The Kydex sheath is low profile and easily customized by the end user to be worn in multiple configurations.

PROS:

+ 1095 is a great steel, easy to sharpen, takes a ton of abuse, and comes back for more 

+ Extremely good balance

+ The handle is shaped nicely with a finger divot near the butt for quick orientation.

CONS:

– 1095 is a carbon steel prone to rusting if not regularly oiled. 

– No lanyard hole

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