Parts of a Pocket Knife

Have you ever been on a date and realize you have nothing to talk about? Well you’ve found the right place, wow your future dates with your extensive knowledge about the parts of a pocket knife.

Seriously though, if you’re taking dating advice from this website then you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. However, what you can take away is some important knowledge about pocket knives.

Knives come in all sorts of sizes and shapes with a variety of different features. It can be difficult to understand everything initially, but you’ve come to the right place. I will take you through the basic knife structure and as you follow along we will build onto that knowledge and add more and more information.

Get your thinking hats ready because we are about to learn some knife anatomy. I will take you through the following two points. Not sure about you guys, but most of the time I get sleepy if there is too much writing, so a lot of pictures will be involved with this one.

  1. Beginner’s introduction: Pocket knife anatomy 101
  2. Special features of a pocket knife – an interesting story book

Beginner’s Introduction: Pocket knife anatomy 101

The knife in the photo above is a very basic one. This is a folding knife with a clip point blade design. I will go through the different parts of the knife from front (point) to back (butt).

A pocket knife with various parts labelled to show readers what terms are used to describe different structures.


  • The stabby end, the sharp pointy ending of the knife.
  • The design of the point often reflects the ability of the penetrating power of the blade.
  • A knife with a really sharp point may have less material on the point and less durability.


  • The curved cutting edge of the knife.
  • It is very useful for slicing purposes. A large belly is important for knives intended to be used for skinning.

Primary edge/Bevel

  • The cutting edge of the knife.
  • Bevels come in different types of grinds for different functions. Keep this in mind when purchasing your knife.


  • The back of the knife blade.
  • This is dull (not sharp). You can place your hand here to give you more control over the knife. Don’t confuse this with the bevel.
  • Many special designs can be found in the spine, they can be found below.


  • A notch found at the end of the bevel.
  • The purpose of the choil is related to its size. A larger choil allows the finger to grip it and gives the user more control, a smaller choil is mainly used to signify the end of the bevel and protects the ricasso or handle from being damaged during sharpening.


  • The area between the bevel and handle, it is unsharpened.
  • There are many reasonings to why the ricasso is present, some suggests that it is for styling and looks while others suggest it is important in the knife making process.

Front Quillon

  • The protrusion on the front of the handle, its primary purpose is to prevent your hand from sliding forward and onto the sharp blade.
  • Quillons differ in shape and design, for some knives it is a simple protrusion, for others it can be a complete guard.

Tang (not visible on this knife)

  • The extension of the knife blade into the handle. It can extend the whole length of the handle (full tang) or less.
  • The tang is generally shorter on folding knives.
  • Its length can affect how strong the blade is under pressure.


  • The material that makes up the handle, it is usually made of two separate pieces of material that sandwich the tang.

Rear Quillon

  • The front quillon, but rear.
  • It prevents your hand from slipping off the handle during use.

Lanyard hole

  • It is as the name sounds, slip some brightly colored paracord through it and strap it to your wrist. Never lose your knife again.
  • Questionable ability to reduce the weight of the knife.


  • The back end of the knife, some modifications can be found here, such as a glass breaker.

Special features of a pocket knife – an interesting story book

Now that we are familiar with some basic anatomy of a pocket knife, I will introduce everyone to some more fancy features.

Finger grooveA knife with its finger groove highlighted by a red circle.

  • A large sized choil, it allows your finger to sit inside comfortably without being cut.
  • Provides more control of your knife.






  • Found in some folding knives.A foldable pocket knife with its flipper highlighted by a red circle
  • A protrusion of the blade, in the closed position it will protrude from the handle. This gives you a point to push the blade to assist with opening.


Glass breakerThe handle of a pocket knife that has a red circle highlighting a glass breaker.

  • Found at the butt of the knife, it is a metallic protrusion.
  • Gives you a hard point to break glass in a pinch.




Gut hook

  • A feature of hunting knives for skinning game.A knife blade with the gut hook highlighted by a red circle
  • It is a modified spine with a cutting edge, it allows you to extend a cut in the skin without damaging the underlying muscles.




A knife with its thumb rise and jimping highlighted by a red circle.

  • This is found on the spine of some knives.
  • It can be decorative or it may provide additional grip for better control of the knife.

Thumb rise/ramp

  • Found on the spine
  • It is an elevation of the spine that you can place your thumb. It is often jimped or filled for better grip.

Nail mark

A red circle highlighting the nail groove on the blade of a pocket knife.

  • A feature commonly found on folding knives, it gives you a point to pull the blade out.

Seat belt cutter

A circle highlighting the seat belt cutter found on the handle of a knife.

  • Found on the handle of some knives.
  • Not just designed for seat belts, it can cut line as well.


A knife blade with its serrations highlighted by a red circle.

  • Another type of cutting surface, it is better with tough or hard materials (e.g. wood).



Thumb stud

A red circle highlighting the thumb stud on the blade of a pocket knife

  • Found on folding knives, it gives you a leverage point to push the blade out.




Summary – ending the lesson

Well, it’s not really a summary more of a goodbye. Thanks for taking your time to read this article, you have all been great students. Hopefully this gave you a better idea of the anatomy of the knife and you were all able to learn something.

Please feel free to have a wonder around the website and take a look at other guides and knife reviews.

Let me know down below if you need help, and I will answer you as soon as humanly possible.

All the best,


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