What exactly is tip up or tip down carry and why does it matter? Kershaw Knives, explains in a blog post from 2012: “Tip up carry means that, when the folder is closed and carried in the pocket, the tip of the knife blade points upwards. Tip down carry is the opposite.” Many knives offer both options which can be changed from one configuration to the other by removing and re-positioning the pocket clip – attach it on the pivot end of the handle for tip down, and the tail end for tip up.
According our readers, a significant majority prefer tip up carry, a minority prefer tip down, and the remainder either don’t care or prefer no pocket clip at all.
What do knives from Chris Reeve and Mick Strider have in common? They only come tip up. “Some say that if you open your knife using a thumbstud, hole, or the traditional two-handed technique, then tip-up might work better for you,” says Kershaw. Self defense expert and Spyderco designer Michael Janich agrees, explaining that “In the tip up position, the knife is oriented so it can be grasped with almost a complete grip while still in the pocket by simply digging deep with the thumb before withdrawing the knife.”
But, Janich says that tip up carry isn’t always ideal: “Very large knives and knives with clips that position the knife so that it’s difficult to grip well while still in the pocket can easily foil the advantages of tip-up carry. Such knives often work better when carried tip down, so, upon drawing, your hand is positioned close to the pivot-pin end of the handle where it can initiate the opening.”