The tiny knife trend is ending. The trend, not the blades themselves; those have proven their staying power, and no longer should they be seen as an impermanent development doomed to future mediocrity. Small knives, when done well, succeed at being more pocketable (and sometimes keychain-friendly) without sacrificing utility. Knifemakers are becoming increasingly adept at striking this balance, and this week at SHOT Show — the annual trade show for the shooting, hunting and firearms industry (SHOT stands for “Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade”) — they showed off how they’ll do it in 2019.
Zero Tolerance 0022
With a 1.8-inch blade, the 0022 is Zero Tolerance’s smallest pocket knife ever. Its size is in no way representative of its quality though — the 0022’s modified trailing point blade (a trailing point is characterized by a spine that curves upward toward the tip) is made of stonewashed CPM 20CV steel and opens with a flipper tab and a ball bearing pivot. Its handle is made with carbon fiber and titanium scales and has an integrated framelock. All of these features are typical of high-end knives and show that the 0022 isn’t merely a gimmicky addition to its collection. The 0022 will retail for $250.
Kershaw Launch 10
The Launch 10, which Kershaw has nicknamed “The Claw,” is a folding knife with a 1.9-inch hawkbill blade. That shape — and its tough, edge-retaining CPM 154 steel — aid the Launch 10 in accomplishing the simple daily tasks that it’s designed for, like opening boxes and cutting cords. It also has an automatic, button-activated opening mechanism. This little knife is for those who need a blade regularly throughout the day, and as such it’s small enough to sit quietly in-pocket. The Launch 10 will cost $150.
Kershaw didn’t stop at just one small knife for 2019 — at 1.75 inches, the Antic’s blade is even shorter than the Launch 10. This knife features a stout drop-point blade that opens manually with a thumb stud and stays open with a frame lock. The standout feature here is a large, karambit-style ring at the butt end of the knife. Not only does this ring allow for improved ergonomic grip on the smaller handle but it also has a flat end that can act as a scraper, flathead driver and bottle opener. The Antic is the more affordable of Kershaw’s new small knives — it will cost just $30.
Benchmade 380 Aller
Rather than acting as a shrunken version of a normal-sized knife, Benchmade’s 380 Aller is a unique design that combines knife with money clip. Benchmade worked with French designers Patrick Famin and Eric Demongivert to optimize the design for travel — the 1.6-inch Wharncliffe blade meets the legal limit for knives in most locations, as does its manual opening mechanism. The 380 Aller also includes a removable and reversible pocket clip that doubles as a money clip, as well as a pry tool that can open bottles