Having a good pocket knife is essential for anybody who works with their hands. Whether it’s your everyday carry (EDC), for hunting, or for some other use, we’ve found all of the pocket knives made in the USA, which we detailed below. We also included some notes on finding the country of origin and other American made shopping tips. Let’s get started.
Complete List of Pocket Knife Brands Made in the USA
Buck Knives has built a solid reputation as a knife manufacturer in the USA, making several great product lines at their factory in Post Falls, Idaho since 1902. The 112BRS Ranger Lockback Folding Knife is a 3-inch steel knife with a clip blade shape. A reliable tool for everyday use and the smaller version of the 110 Hunter is made by Buck Knives. It has a good weight to it, 8.5 ounces – not super heavy, but feels solid in your hand. This knife has a woodgrain handle, made of dymondwood.
At Buck Knives, you can get classic knives, hunting knives, pocket knives, everyday carry knives, cutlery, outdoor knives, fishing knives, limited editing, and web exclusives. There’s also the option to create your own custom knife and also have the knife blade laser engraved with messaging. They are most well-known for their Model 110 Folding Hunter knife, which had a breakthrough folded locking system for its time. Since its creation in 1964, it continues to be their best-selling knife.
The Bear & Son 751 knife is designed to be a quality basic hunting knife. Made in Alabama, it comes with a sheath, has a contouring handle to give you a good grip, and has a very simple design. This specific 751 knife is made for hunters, campers, and fishermen. It’s intended for smaller spaces to help you dress smaller game, fish, and birds. It’s manufactured to cut smoothly and neatly. For bigger game, Bear & Son has several Bowie knives and other varieties made in the USA and can help you get the job done. Just check the steel they use in the model you’re looking at – most of their steel is sourced here, but they have a few knives using Swedish steel that you need to look out for. Their about page details which steel types are sourced here.
Hogue Knives are actually issued to all branches of the U.S. military. They were founded by Guy Hogue in 1968 and are based in Nevada. They are mostly known in the firearms industry – they didn’t get started in knifemaking until 2010. Their Extreme series is a tough tactical knife that is easy to open, has a great cut, and has a reliable grip. Hogue Knives are designed with law enforcement in mind and have many options.
As the name implies, the Benchmade Griptilian is a tough knife to let go of. It has a GFN (Glass Filled Nylon) handle that, for its weight, is made to have strength. 4.8 ounces in weight with a 3.45-inch drop-point style blade. The blade is made of 154CM stainless steel, which helps in not only strength, but rust prevention as well. It’s commented that this knife also holds its edge very well after several uses. Made in Oregon, USA.
Spartan Blades was started by a couple of retired Green Berets and is headquartered outside Fort Bragg, North Carolina. They make a range of fixed-blade and folding knives and have won several awards over the years for their performance and innovative designs. Made with a carbon steel drop point blade, their Damysus fixed blade knife is said to be a great overall tactical knife.
Case is a classic American-made knife manufacturer known for its handcrafted, smaller multi-blade pocket knives. They sell a range of everyday carry knives and sporting and specialty knives. Case can also personalize knives and sells ranges in collaboration with people such as Harley-Davidson, John Deere, and the United States army.
The Amber Bone Stockman Knife comes in 43 different colors and variations. The small size makes it good for a lightweight EDC or as someone’s first starter knife. It comes with three blades: Clip, Sheepfoot, and Spey blades. The blades on this knife are made with Case Tru-Sharp Stainless Steel, which intends to provide good long-term durability and corrosion resistance. Check out our full breakdown on Case Knives.
This company was founded in 1996 by Earnest Emerson, who is a custom knifemaker and actually a great martial artist; he has been inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame. They sell Karambit knives, a special type of blade resembling a claw that is popular with fighters and the military.
Medford is a relatively small-scale operation but is handcrafting all their knives and is even doing all of the heat treatment for their steel in-house, which is pretty rare. They source all their steel from American Metal Xchange based in California and have a lot of options for folding, fixed blade, and automatic knives. They are a bit pricey but offer quality pocket knives that can also be built to your specifications.
After spotting a gap in the market for an easily portable and durable multitool in 1983, Leatherman’s founders set out to create a Pocket Survival Tool. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, they now produce over 50 products.
Their knives are made for hunters, extreme adventurers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Leatherman sells a wide range of pocket knives. Some are simple straight blades, but most are multi-tools with combo blades with several other features. Their Free series has 8-9 tools, including a knife within it. Their pocket knives are designed to be lightweight, portable, and frictionless. Though Leatherman’s tools are made in the USA, not every single part is sourced from U.S. materials, so it may be worth looking out for this when buying from their site.
Operating from the same building they started in in 1910, Utica Cutlery Company has been making pocket knives since the beginning. During WWII, they manufactured bayonets and carbine parts to help support the war effort and received awards for this work.
Now they sell cutlery, picnic sets, and their line of pocket knives, including Lockback, fixed blade, and linear lock knives. Though they continue to manufacture many of their products in-house, over the years, Utica has also begun importing some products. However, their website has a ‘Made in the USA’ menu tab, allowing you to find their products specifically made in the U.S.
DPx Gear partners with lots of great American manufacturers to produce well-designed fixed-blade and folding pocket knives. Check out the Urban, HEST Original, and HEST 6 for some of their most popular American made models. They have some knives in their store that use foreign components, but the US-made ones are very clearly labeled.
Great Eastern Cutlery, or “GEC” as they’re known, has only been manufacturing traditional pocket and hunting knives since 2016. But they use skilled cutlers at their historical site in Pennsylvania, estimating that each knife goes through around 200 hands-on processes before being finished. Their knives are made from 1095 high carbon steel rather than stainless steel, believing that it offerings better edge retention, a higher polish, and more willingness to take a keen edge.
Based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Microtech Knives has been manufacturing tactical and utilitarian blades since 1994. They aim to continue pushing the boundaries of knife manufacturing and design to continuously innovate better products.
They use a range of different steel to make their knives, including American-made Carpenter CTS 204P, though some materials aren’t labeled as being American-made, which suggests they’re not, so look out for this. Their knife range includes OTF (out-of-the-front) knives, folding knives, and fixed blades. Microtech Knives also has a Service Personnel Program, offering knives at a heavily discounted price and backed by a Lifetime Limited Warranty for the United States armed forces and first responders.
Christensen Knives is a knifemaker based in Hawaii that has lots of really unique, handmade pocket knives. They get some of their steel from US suppliers (although shipping is costly out to Hawaii), and they have a ton of style options to choose from.
Mike’s YouTube Video on American-Made Pocket Knives
How to Find Pocket Knives Made in the USA
A pocket knife is a very versatile tool and an excellent gift for outdoor enthusiasts, do-it-yourselfers, and just about anyone who likes to be prepared. Many styles of pocket knives are available on the market, but if you are looking for a quality knife that will last years, you should purchase one made in the USA. Unfortunately, it can be tricky to find a pocket knife made in America, and you’ll need to know some tricks of the trade to find them. So in this section, we have compiled a helpful guide with tips that will help you find a pocket knife that’s both high quality and made in the USA.
But first, let’s see what made in the USA actually means.
What Does “Made in the USA” Mean?
For a product to be labeled “made in the USA,” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that the manufacturer or final assembler comply with an “all or virtually all” standard.
The “all or virtually all” standard is met when:
- All significant parts and processing that go into the product are of U.S. origin.
- The product does not contain foreign content.
The FTC also states that a “made in USA” claim can’t be made if the product is “substantially transformed” into a new product outside the United States. To learn more about this, check out our detailed labeling guide.
To find pocket knives made in the USA, you should first research the materials used. Pocket knives are made of two parts: the blade and the handle.
The blade is typically made of some sort of steel. The most popular types of steel used in a pocket knife are stainless, tool, and carbon.
Stainless steel is the most common material used in pocket knives – for both the blade and the handle. The world’s leading supplier of stainless steel is China, which produces 60% of the world’s stainless steel. However, the USA still produces some of this material, ranking fifth in the world.
American stainless steel is typically sourced from Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Virginia and is considered three times stronger than steel imported from China. In addition, many small-scale stainless steel manufacturers in the United States specialize in higher-quality grades of stainless steel. So if you’re looking for quality stainless steel, American-made is the way to go.
Tool steel is a type of carbon steel characterized by a high carbon content (usually 1% to 2.5%), making it strong and tough.
Most tool steel is imported, with China being the leading supplier. However, it is also produced in small quantities in the United States. So make sure that the knife you choose uses American-made tool steel.
Most carbon steel is imported from China, as with stainless steel and tool steel. American-made carbon steel is more difficult to find than its Chinese counterparts, but it is still possible. So, be sure to research the source of the carbon steel used to ensure it’s sourced from the United States.
The most common handle materials used in pocket knives are aluminum, stainless steel (already covered above), and wood.
Aluminum is a very popular choice for the handle of pocket knives. It is lightweight and has a sleek look that is attractive to many. China is also the biggest producer of aluminum. While the US does produce its own aluminum, it is on a much smaller scale, barely landing in the top 10 countries.
Wood is a popular choice for those looking for a more traditional look. Although it is porous, wood is a non-slip material, making it a perfect handle material. Thankfully, finding American-made wood is relatively easy. The USA ranks highly in wood production worldwide, ranking second after only China.
The labels on the product can also help determine whether or not a specific pocket knife is made in the USA. Title 19 Chapter 4 Section 1304 of the US Code states that all imported goods must be labeled as such on the item or the packaging. This legislation helps us to find American-made pocket knives. Specifically, you should be looking for the “made in the USA” label, which is protected by the FTC.
However, unfortunately, the FTC doesn’t necessarily do the best job in policing the usage of this label, so it is worth doing the extra research to ensure the product is genuinely American-made.
You should also pay particular attention to the wording. Some companies will try to trick you by labeling their products with similar phrases like:
- assembled in the USA
- designed in the USA
- made in the USA with imported parts
- made in America
These phrases are meant to look like the product is made in the USA, but they signify otherwise.
Don’t be fooled by a sticker of an American flag on the label, either. The FTC does not regulate it, so companies can use it as they please.
In addition to checking the label, there are a few other things to ensure you’re buying a pocket knife made in the USA.
Check the Manufacturer’s Website
If a pocket knife is genuinely made in the USA, manufacturers will not hide this fact. It is a huge selling point, so this information should be displayed on their “About Us” or the product page. Unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to list the country of origin of their products on any online materials, so the silence speaks volumes here.
You can also check their social media platforms to see if the company has mentioned anything about the origins of their knives.
Call or Email the Company
You can always call or email the company directly if you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the manufacturer’s website. They should be able to tell you where the knife is made and if it meets the standards to be considered “made in the USA.”
Pocket Knives Not Made in the USA
Here are some of the major brands we found that are not made in the USA. Shoot us a note if there are any other notable brands you’d like to add to the list.
- Most Gerber Gear knives (only 21.8% made here)
- Most Spyderco knives, only some made in the U.S.
- Most Kershaw knives – made in China
- Columbia River Knife and Tool Company – they use a lot of international steel
- Boker Manufactory – German company
- Cold Steel Knife and Tool – only 6 of the 19 types of steel they use are sourced locally
- Blue Ridge Knives – distributor, a lot sourced from Taiwan and other Asian countries
- SOG Knives – say they are “born and based in the USA” to hide the fact that most of their knives are made in China and Japan