If you are pocket knife fanatic, one thing you need to get right is safety. In this post, I have outlined the top six knife safety tips to assist you to stay safe when using a pocket knife. From creating a safe working area to passing the knife safely, the post has everything you need on how to use a pocket knife safely. No matter what you want to do with your knife, safety comes first!

How to Use a Pocket Knife Safely

If you are going out camping, hunting, or hiking, a pocket knife is no doubt among the crucial tools to carry. I never leave mine even when making a stroll in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon. You can use the knife in many ways. From making other wooden tools to slicing ropes, it will come in handy. However, there is one thing that you need to know: though a pocket knife is small, it is still potentially dangerous.

If you use the knife incorrectly, it can cause injury and even death. This is why you need to handle it with caution and respect. In this post, I will share with you six tips on how to use a pocket knife to help you avoid getting hurt and get higher value from it.

Establishing a Safe Circle around You when Using a Knife

When you want to use a knife, it is important to establish a safe working circle. This means ample area around you where no one should come close to avoid hurting others. But how do you do this? Here is one of the methods I find easy yet highly effective.

Spread out your both hands to form an imaginary diameter to a circle. That is your safe working room. Even if the knife slips from your hand, people outside the safe circle will not be hurt.

After establishing a safe area, make sure to always use the dominant hand to hold the knife. This guarantees you of a firmer grip for better and faster results.

Opening and Closing the Pocket Knife Carefully

This is another crucial tip on how to use a pocket knife safely. Today, most pocket knives come with foldable blades for safe handling. But I can confirm that opening and closing the blade can be equally dangerous unless you do it correctly. Here is how to do it right:

  • First, you should grab the knife using the non-dominant hand.
  • Using the thumb of the dominant hand, pull the blade out. Make sure to hold it firmly so that it does not flip back!
  • Then, hold the thick part of the blade and pull it out of the case completely.
  • Finally, lock the blade ready for use top avoid snapping back when cutting

To close the blade safely, you need to follow the above process in reverse. This means gripping the knife with the non-dominant hand and using the other to hold it back. Finally, lock it in place.

Passing the Knife Carefully: Handle First!

When using a pocket knife, you cannot be completely safe without knowing how to pass it to other people. If you do it incorrectly, there is a danger of injuring yourself and others.

To pass a knife correctly, the simplest way is closing it down first. However, there are instances when you need to hand it over when still open. Here is the safe way to do it.

  • You should hold the knife by the blade ensuring the cutting edge is facing down and away from the receiver.
  • The person who is receiving the knife should take it by the handle. Once the receiver has the handle firmly, he/she should confirm so that you can let go off the blade.

Never Try Catching a Knife

When you are using a pocket knife, it is important to have it firmly in your dominant hand. This helps you to have greater control on your slicing force. But the knife can still slip off. I have had my knife slip from my hand because of distraction. It can also slip if you encounter a section that is tougher than the rest of the material.

When the knife slips from the hand, you should not try to catch it. This is because you could grab the sharp cutting edge and hurt yourself. The best thing is letting the knife get to the ground first before picking it up.

Cutting away from Yourself

If you are new to pocket knives, the temptation to use the blade towards yourself can be irresistible. While it looks easy, the chances of hurting yourself are very high. If the knife misses or slips away, the force you were exerting on it would be directed towards your body. But you can avoid this. I made this mistake too and almost lost my fingers!

When cutting with a pocket knife, make sure to hold it firmly in your dominant hand and make clean cuts. Also, ensure to concentrate on the job in order to vary the cutting force based on the hardness of the item being cut. I consider this tip on how to use a pocket knife safely very important because in the event of a slip, the knife will not harm you.

Want to practice cutting with a pocket knife? JM Ski, a renowned scout leader, recommends that you make a fake pocketknife for practice.

Using the Knife for the Right Job

Though this safety tip might sound obvious, you will be surprised by the large number of people who get hurt for using their knives for wrong jobs. In most of the cases, people pull out their knives as openers or screwdrivers. This compromises the knife design and raises the danger of getting hurt. Using the knife for the wrong task also lowers its lifespan.

Maintaining the Knife in Good Condition

This list of knife safety tips cannot be complete without including proper maintenance. I have established that when you maintain a knife in top condition, it is safer and more useful. One of these safety practices is sharpening. If the knife is dull, you will require a lot of force when cutting through. This increases the risk of the knife slipping away and hurting you or others.

  • You should sharpen the knife regularly to maintain a sharp edge. Consider sharpening it every 1-2 weeks or when it loses its edge.
  • Clean the knife and dry it properly to remove dirt, blood, and debris.
  • Lubricate the blade to prevent corrosion. This should be done before storage.
  • When the knife becomes wobbly, consider repairing or buying a new one.


A pocket knife is one of the invaluable tools that you should have. To get a higher value from the knife, it is important to use it correctly. Through the above knife safety tips, I have demonstrated how you can use the knife without harming yourself or those near you.

No matter the task you are working on using a pocket knife: Safety comes first!

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