Top 25 Pocket Knives that are Indispensable: #20 Cold Steel Ti-Lite

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In June, we took a survey to learn which pocket knives our readers believe should never be discontinued. Respondents were asked to name as many or as few pocket knife models as they wanted, and no brands or blades were off-limits. 404 respondents named a total of 268 models and the average respondent named 4.1 pocket knives. 24 out of 404 respondents said the Cold Steel Ti-Lite should never be discontinued.

Cold Steel makes its first appearance on the Top 25 list with number 20: the Ti-Lite. Cold Steel has always been interested in the history of edged tools and weapons. They’ve emulated the Kukri, the Skean Dhu, the Okapi, and other iconic knives from around the world. It was only a matter of time before they offered their riff on the classic American switchblade.

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Switchblades are notoriously associated with 1950s and 60s America. Their styling is based off an Italian knife called a stiletto, a fixed blade with a controversial history of its own. Eventually knife makers in Italy began producing automatic folding knives made to look like this traditional thrusting weapon. These knives were widely imported to America, and emulated by stateside manufacturers. The Federal Switchblade Act of 1958 was so named and enacted in response to the perceived prevalence of these knives in youth gang violence.

Cold Steel took these historical issues into consideration when they designed the Ti-Lite. The company enlisted the help of knife maker Phil Bogusewski, who worked with the stiletto pattern in his custom work. Bogusewski, who passed away in 2013, had a close working relationship with Cold Steel Founder and CEO Lynn C. Thompson. Together they created a knife that retains the signature sinuous, streamlined look of a stiletto-style switchblade.

The Ti-Lite opens manually, either via thumbstuds or waved from the pocket with the extended quillion. The lack of an automatic or spring mechanism inside the knife not only makes it legal in more places, but lighter and much easier to maintain as well. The addition of modern stainless steel and a pocket clip bring this classic design into the modern age. According Cold Steel, the Ti-Lite is one of their most popular knives and Thompson himself regularly EDCs the larger version.

Currently, there are six different Ti-Lite models available. Users can choose from a 4-inch or a 6-inch blade, in either AUS-8A or CTS-XHP steel. The XHP models have aluminum scales, while the AUS-8A models have Zy-Ex plastic scales. There is a limited edition Ti-Lite with a DLC-coated XHP blade and G-10 scales available as well.

Visit KnifeNews tomorrow to find out which model is #19 on our list of the Top 25 Pocket Knives that are Indispensable.

Knife featured in image: Cold Steel Limited Edition Ti-Lite

#25 Microtech Ultratech 14/404
#24 Emerson CQC-7 15/404
#23 Victorinox Cadet 18/404
#22 Benchmade Adamas 20/404
#21 Zero Tolerance 0562 21/404
#20 Cold Steel Ti-Lite 24/404
#19 Opinel No. 8 25/404 
#18 Zero Tolerance 0350 28/404
#17 Cold Steel Voyager 30/404
#16 Case Trapper 41/404
#15 Ontario RAT Model 1 43/404
#14 Benchmade Mini Griptilian 53/404
#13 Spyderco Manix 2 54/404
#12 CRKT M16 57/404
#11 Kershaw Skyline 58/404
#10 Kershaw Blur 62/404
#09 Cold Steel Recon 1 63/404
#08 Spyderco Endura 4 70/404
#07 Chris Reeve Knives Large Sebenza 21 75/404
#06 Kershaw Leek 76/404
#05 Benchmade 940 78/404
#04 Spyderco Delica 4 79/404
#03 Benchmade Griptilian 81/404
#02 Buck 110 Folding Hunter 90/404
#01 Spyderco Paramilitary 2 94/404