Best small, stainless pocket knife

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by mudguard, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. mudguard


    Aug 2, 2013
    I love my large pocket knives.. and also the peanut and butterbean style knives. However I am interested in finding out which small pocket knife would you suggest 3" or less, preferably with fairly rust resistant steel or even stainless. As much as I like carbon steel I find thinking about taking care of it often is distracting. What do you all think?
  2. scattershot


    May 31, 2007
    You like the peanut, why not one of those?
  3. dog boy

    dog boy

    Jul 15, 2013
    I have a Queen #2 that is 3 1/4 inches closed, in D2, which is almost stainless and is my favorite steel. It's a 2 blade serpentine Jack. I have it in carved stag bone but am looking for it in Curly Zebra so I can alternate.
  4. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    I have both Case's SS Peanut and SS Baby Butterbean. Either will serve you well. Just get the one with your main blade preference (Peanut for clip and Baby Butterbean for spear).
  5. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    I'm a recovering carbon steel snob and have to admit that Opinel's Sandvik 12C27 is going a long way to making me a convert to stainless. So long as we're talking about fine grained steels here (and not things like D2 or 440C), I find Opinel's Inox to perform like a good carbon steel (considering Schrade USA's as good).

    The trick with stainless is that heat treat really matters, and heat treat is done differently by different knife makers. So you can't just say 440A is bad or 440C is good. You really need to know which company you're talking about. Add to this that different base steels do have different feels to them. And lastly, most knife makers use only 1 or 2 types of stainless.

    What this means is that "best small, stainless pocket knife" means that you need to look for the intersection of blade material (and grind) and frame pattern that you like. I love Opinels and really like their version of Sandvik 12C27, so I'm a happy camper. But, Opinels aren't for every body.

    I really dislike Buck's 420J2 and their hollow grinds. I wouldn't get a Buck slip joint for this reason. I do like their 420HC a lot though (but still don't like the hollow grind).

    I don't like Case's SS as much as either Opinel's Sanvik or Buck's 420HC and find it a bit hard to hone due to wire edges. But it isn't utterly horrible.

    I like Schrade USA (old ones, not the current ones) 440A "Schrade +". But, you may encounter problems with Swinden key construction on them.

    I like 440C in general but it can be a pain to sharpen. I prefer Sandvik 12C27 for the finer grain, but that's a whim. Definitely different flavored steels. GEC uses 440C.
  6. secte


    Feb 28, 2013
    Not sure if it qualifies as a traditional or not, but Spyderco Cricket is awesome. Or a Victorinox Bantam, I'm not able to feel it when I have it in the same pocket as my wallet.
  7. bdev


    Feb 8, 2013
    Consider the Case Mini Copperhead.
    Wharncliffe and pen blades.

  8. okbohn


    May 26, 2006
    I love my Northwoods Mini-Moose in ATS-34. It cuts like a laser. Don't even know it is in your pocket.

  9. Henry44


    Nov 6, 2007
    I would suggest the Buck 309 "Companion". I can find no fault,and i carry it "ALWAYS" since about 1977. 3" long,very thin,very strong for it's size. I is a lot of knife, for a reasonable price. I prefer the pre-1986, for mostly aesthetic reasons. They have a swedge and long pull on the main blade. Oh, and it is stainless. regards Henry
  10. BenLong1018


    Apr 12, 2012
    Anything from Victorinox is excellent.
  11. James Y

    James Y

    Feb 18, 1999
    My favorite 'small' pocketknife is my black Victorinox Executive. Been carrying and using it for many years, and it's one of the handiest small pocketknives around.

    I also just got a Case yellow peanut with SS blades.

    I've been thinking about another Case, a mini-copperhead with the wharncliffe and pen blades.

  12. TriviaMonster


    Jan 2, 2012
    I have a Case Mini Copperhead in Blue Bone. Mine is a great example of what Case can do. But the SS blades are a little soft. The edges start to roll after just a few uses but can be steeled back to sharp with ease.
  13. burnside


    May 30, 2012
    I would recommend a Victorinox Alox Cadet, an Opinel No.6, or one of the smaller Buck pocket folders such as the 309, 310, or 305. AG Russell probably has some fine stainless selections as well. Also, check out Queen, Northwoods, and Schatt & Morgan for their higher end stainless steels such as ATS-34 and D2. Although more of a high carbon steel, D2 can still be kept looking relatively stainless with little upkeep based on my research.

    I edc the Vic Alox Cadet that can be seen in my avatar.
  14. Beaver


    Nov 24, 1999
    That Northwoods mini moose is a very nice pattern. Nice lines on the turkish clip blade, and a very good steel.
  15. Liberando

    Liberando Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2010
    Concur with Henry44, you can't go wrong with a Buck 309. I have one from '85 and it's a darn good knife. I also have a few Case small stockman knives, they are good knives too.
  16. 1066vik

    1066vik Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    That Northwoods is beautiful!
  17. whetrock


    Nov 13, 2010
    The Buck 309 is a real winner. As is the Alox, Victorinox Secretary. A nifty little pen knife, that is very much so overlooked.

  18. dogstar


    Jan 23, 2011
    Another vote for 309. You can find them with other scales/bolsters, like rosewood/brass, cherrywood/Nickel silver, and the discontinued charcoal dymondwood/NS and Yellow delrin/NS can still be found. Vic classic is always with me as well.
  19. zippofan


    Nov 12, 2011
    I'll ditto the Northwoods Mini-Moose, one of my all time smaller favorites:


    I also really like the 3" Boker 240 pen knife in stainless:


    It's comparable in size to a Case mini-Copperhead. Boker makes a smaller model too which I like though it's at 2 3/4". Mine is carbon, not sure about stainless in that model.

    I also picked up an older Solingen Puma Bantam, which I believe they used 440A then, not sure what the current steel is. The Bantam is 3.5" but carries easily in my work khakis.
  20. Toddwalla


    May 27, 2012
    I whole heartily agree with this statement. I like the 309, but the vic secretary is a definitely overlooked penknife. It is reminiscent of what penknives used to be and is impossibly thin for having two razor sharp quite literally disappears in the pocket and is unoticeable in any pocket. Plus for the price, you can't not have one in your collection.

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