The Ultimate Guide To American Made Knives

If You Are Looking For An EDC, Hunting, Survival Or Bushcraft Knife Made in The USA This List Is The Best Place To Start

The US has birthed a lot of great knife companies like Buck, Gerber, and SOG, which have all created iconic American knives, and maintained a certain high reputation as American made. But at some point, all of them have had to cut costs or manage the cost of expansion by manufacturing overseas.

Now days it’s a given that a large knife company will have at least one overseas factory and split their releases along some kind of quality line. In some cases you don’t really have to worry where a knife is made because the company keeps a close eye on quality control. Spyderco, for example, is pretty strict about their products and from what I understand maintain close relationships with both their Seki and Taiwan factories.

American Made Fixed Blade Knives
Three of our favorite American made knives from left to right: the Bradford Guardian 3, the Southern Grind Jackal Pup and the TOPS Backpacker Bowie.

On the other side, there’s a growing number of custom and small batch knife makers who are edging into the production world. Some are choosing to take on that extra work load themselves and expand their personal workshops, while others are making deals with larger manufacturers, either in the US or overseas, in order to mass produce their designs.

So I decided to start compiling a list of all the companies that manufacture in the USA and which designs they keep in the borders.

This guide is in constant flux. I spend a lot of time with the most recent catalogs of most of these companies each year, and try to stay updated as they release new knives, but this has become a massive list that is impossible to keep totally accurate at all times.

There’s also a lot of fluid information around the origin of a knife because companies change things up, or source materials from different countries and then build in another. If nothing else, you can use these lists as a starting reference and I’ll do my best to keep this updated year to year.

If you see a knife on here that doesn’t belong, or don’t see one that does, feel free to let us know in the comments. I appreciate any help that saves me from doing more research. Also, if you’re more of a survivalist type, you might save some time by checking out our American-made Bowie knives blog.

Jump to:

Bark RiverBear and SonBenchmadeBuck Knives | Bradford USA | CamillusCase | Colonial Knife Corp (CKC) | Chris Reeve | Dawson Knives | Diamond Blade Knives/Knives of Alaska | Emerson Knives | Esee KnivesGerber | Hogue Knives | Ka-BarKershaw | Leatherman | Medford Knife | Ontario Knife Company | Pro-Tech Knives | Randall Made Knives  | Southern Grind | SOG | Spartan Blades | Spyderco | Three Rivers Manufacturing | Utica Cutlery/Kutmaster | V Nives | White River Knife & Tool | Winkler Knives

Bark River Knives

Bark River makes all their knives in America, and a lot of their knives are semi-production and semi-handmade.

Factory Location:Escanaba, Michigan
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Fixed-blade hunting and survival

This is a pretty well established outdoor knife brand, despite only existing as a company since 2001. They’re interesting because a lot of their knives are semi-production and semi-handmade. It’s a family-owned business full of really skilled people who pay very close attention to each knife. From what I’ve seen, their base blade stocks go some kind of CNC production but all the polishing, handle shaping, and sharpening is done through hand grinding. As a result, all of their knives tend to run around the $200 mark, but their knives earn that price tag. Bark River fixed-blades are pretty widely considered some of the best you can get. They’re also one of the few companies still making common use of the convex grind.

As far as I can tell, they do everything within the USA. All their materials are sourced from and put together in the states. They’ve expanded they’re original factory several times to make room for new manufacturing departments like sheath making, which just goes to show how dedicated they are to keeping everything close to home.

Bear and Son Cutlery

This is family company that started in the early 90’s, and most of their knives are made in the United States.
Factory Location:Jacksonville, Alabama
US Manufacturing:Most models excluding Bear Edge
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:Traditional EDC and tactical

This is family company that started in the early 90’s. For a while now they’ve been a good source for traditional-style lockback knives. They also make a lot of butterfly, tactical, and one-handed EDCs in a broad range of styles, but I think it’s fair to say that most people associate Bear and Sons with trapper knives.

Since their start they’ve launched some well-themed divisions within their company:

The base Bear and Son Cutlery name covers a lot of ground from traditional lockbacks to butterfly knives to fixed-blade survival knives.

The Bear OPs division is more tactically oriented designs, including butterfly knives, assisted-open knives, and fixed-blade knives.

The Bear Edge division seems to be their budget line, and the only place I’ve seen them use the word “imported”. It mostly consists of EDC folders along with some interesting updates of the trapper design and some stripped down survival fixed blades. This is the only line that has any kind of Chinese manufacturing.

They’re very proud of the fact that every stage of their knife manufacturing takes place in the US. All the washers, scales, steel, screws, and beyond (for most of the their knives) are done in their own factory. I don’t know exactly when they launched their Bear Edge line or the nature of the factory they use for it, but it seems to serve as a good source for hunting knives under the $50 mark.

So short version: despite their pride in American manufacturing, only knives that are Bear and Son Cutlery or Bear OPs are completely US-made. If you see Bear Edge on the knife, it was likely made in China.

Begg Knives

Begg Knives are designed and manufactures in California.
Factory Location:Petaluma, CA
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch and custom
Knife Type:Folding EDC

These are hard knives to get a hold of because Begg Knives is a small artisan operation. The majority of their knives are made to order in their custom shop in California, but you can find the occasional folder pop up on vendors here and there if you’re actively looking. They do a lot of pretty incredible work with Damascus steel.

Begg Knives is pretty much all American from what I can tell. They machine a lot of their own parts and hand finish all their knives. They do seem to have a relationship with some overseas factory, but that’s strictly for the high production chef knives being made under the Mattia Borrati name. You can find out more about that in the Mattia Borrani section.

Benchmade

Benchmade knives that are made in the USA.
Factory Location:Oregon City, OR
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:Folding EDC, some fixed blade survival and kitchen

They are particular about manufacturing only the USA. Anything that has the butterfly on it will be at the very least put together in the states. They used to manufacture a few lines overseas. Their Red Class, meant to be a budget line, was manufactured in China (I think), and at least some of what they made for HK and the NRA were imported. But they’ve cut all those lines out of their catalogs over the last few years, and now they seem to be an exclusively Made-in-the-USA company.

I’ve had trouble finding information on whether or not they still maintain factories overseas, but if they do they only make smaller parts for their products. On the whole, if you buy a new Benchmade, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’re buying American. The main reason I even bothered giving them a spot in the blog is because I’m still kind of waiting for them to announce a new budget line, and I’d like to have this spot ready to update when it happens.

Blue Collar Blades

Blue Collar Blades
Factory Location:Provo, Utah
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch and custom
Knife Type:Kitchen

This is just about as small as a knife company can be and still put out enough product that’s available to the general public.

They focus on making functional, well-built kitchen knives with the philosophy that you don’t need twenty different knives if you have just a couple well-made knives. The founder comes from a background in auto repair and construction, so there is definitely a functional feeling to all their designs. The prices and availability are very much at an artisan level, though.

Currently their selection is small and consists entirely of fixed blades, so it’s safe to say that this entire operation stays entirely within the States.

Brous Knives

The Ripper is a good example of the type of knives made by Brous Blades in the USA.
Factory Location:Blueton, CA
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Folding EDC

They run in a similar “small batch, artisan” vein as a lot of companies on this list, but there are a couple things that make them stand out.

For one, the founder started the company with a lot of experience with CNC equipment under his belt, which means he didn’t start out sweating in the forge so much as focusing on design.

The majority of their designs follow a “functional fantasy” aesthetic that grew from an early interest in biomechanical art, so they might not be for everyone. They also aren’t easy to get in the first place, because Brous runs a small operation. But if you’re looking for something a little different, you should definitely be able to find it in Brous Knive’s line up.

Buck Knives

Buck Knives that were manufactured in the USA.
Factory Location:Post Falls, Idaho
US Manufacturing:Most models in the US
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC, hunting, survival, and some kitchen

Buck is one of the most iconic American knife companies in history, so it was a special kind of disappointment when they started making knives on the cheap in Taiwan back around the birth of the millennium. That was back when they were still based in California, and money was starting to get tight, but even at the height of their economic trouble they never completely stopped manufacturing in the U.S. Which is impressive since they kept it up while literally moving all their equipment to Idaho. They’ve pulled way back on overseas manufacturing in recent years, but still make around 20% of their lines in China.

A recent-ish update: In early 2018, Buck announced the new Cerakote machine they set up in their Idaho factory. Basically that means you’ll see a lot of wildly colored options om US-made Buck knives. Previously, I would have said that a wide choice in color and designs was a sure sign of Chinese manufacturing, but, for Buck at least, that’s not the case.

Check out our Buck Knife Reviews section to see how these knives perform.

Buck Knives Made in America

FoldersFixed Blade
040 Onset027 Clearwater Fillet
055 The 55035 / 036 Abyss Filet
091 CSAR Responder035 Abyss Fillet
095 CSAR-T101 Hunter
110 Folding Hunter (all variations)102 Woodsman
112 Folding Ranger (all variations)103 Skinner
183 Alpha Crosslock104 Compadre
279 Folding Alpha Hunter105 Pathfinder
283 Nano Bantam108 Compadre Froe
284 Bantam BBW113 Ranger Skinner
285 Bantam BLW118 Personal
286 Bantam BHW119 Special (All variations)
288 Quickfire120 General
289 Fluid124 Frontiersman
290 Rush135 Paklite Caper
293 Inertia136 Paklite Boning Knife
294 Momentum140 Paklite Skinner
301 Stockman141 Paklite Large Skinner
303 Buck Cadet191 / 691 Buck Zipper
340 / 345 Vantage Select192 / 692 Vanguard
341 / 346 Vantage Avid196 Mini Alpha Hunter
342 / 347 Vantage Pro series245 Matt Would Go
363 Rival SS390 Omni Hunter 10PT
364 Rival I392 Omni Hunter 12PT
365 Rival II401 Kalinga
366 Rival III499 Paklite Guthook
395 Folding Omni Hunter 10Pt503 Prince
397 Folding Omni Hunter 12PT536 / 537 Open Season Skinner
417 Budgie538 / 539 Open Season Small Game
418 Vertex541 Open Season Boning Knife
425 Minibuck535 Open Season Moose Skinner
524 Alumni536 Open Season Guthook Skinner
500 Duke543 Open Season Caper
501 Squire616 Buck Ops Boot Knife
505 Knight620 Reaper
550 Selector 2.0650 / 651 / 655 Nighthawk Series
556 / 557 Open Season Folding Skinner656 / 657 Pursuit Large
656 – 661 Folding Pursuit896 Rapidfire
710 Volt898 Impact
722 Spitfire658 Pursuit Small
726 Mini Spitfire684 Bucklite Max II Small
830 Marksman685 Bucklite Max II Large
840 Sprint Select808 Talon
841 Sprint Pro822 Sentry
842 Sprint Ops Pro830 /831 Marksman series
896 RapidFire891 GCK
898 Impact Auto893 GCK
907 Expert Hunter
981 Dagger

Bradford USA

Two different Bradford Knives fixed blades.
Factory Location:Kent, Washington
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small production
Knife Type:Fixed-blade hunting and survival

I think this company’s big claim to fame still lies mostly in the Bradford Guardian 3, but they have a strong line up of survival and fixed-blade EDC knives.

Brad Larkin started this company back in 2012 after the success of the Gatsby steak he designed and sold as a custom knife maker. I don’t think there’s a whole lot more I could say that the Bradford site doesn’t already say except that I’m pretty positive their entire manufacturing process takes place almost entirely in the USA with the exception of some of their material sourcing. But things look good even where their materials are concerned. Most of the steels they use are from Bohler-Uddeholm, and the bulk of their handles are made from Micarta which I’m fairly certain is sourced from the states.

I don’t know where they’re getting their G-10 or carbon fiber scales, but I do know that Larkin had been working in manufacturing before he started his own company, and apparently already had some strong contacts where materials were concerned. Plus they’re still a small company with an as-yet untarnished idealism about quality.

Camillus Knives

Cammillus srill makes a few knives in the United States.
Factory Location:Rocky Mountain, NC
US Manufacturing:Partial
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC, hunting, and survival

Camillus is not the same company it was before 2007, but that’s not to say it isn’t good. It seems to be benefiting from several innovations that come along with being owned by Acme United, namely the titanium bonded materials they use for handles and blades. They don’t, however, make any knives with those innovations in the US. All their American-made knives seem to be hunting and bushcraft designs with 1095 steel, so I’m guessing all their titanium bonding equipment must be overseas in China or Taiwan.

The Camillus site has a section dedicated to all the knives they make in the USA, which you’d think would make this an easy section to fill out. Their USA knives page doesn’t tell us exactly where their USA factory is, though, and that just seems weird to me. After some digging, I did find that Acme United purchased a factory and distribution center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina back in 2016, and since I can’t find any reference to any other USA factories, I’m going to assume that’s where Camillus makes their American-made knives.

So, unless I find something that tells me otherwise, here’s all the knives Camillus makes in the USA, possibly in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Camillus Knives Made in America

8.5 Inch Bushcrafter Fixed Blade
Barbarian
Blaze Spring Assisted Folder
Choker Fixed Blade
CK-9.5 Fixed Blade
Cuda Maxx
DAGR Fixed Blade
Heathen Fixed Blade
SKOL Fixed Blade

Case Knives

The American tradition of owning a Case knife is almost as strong as owning a Buck.
Factory Location:Bradford, PA
US Manufacturing:All models excluding TecX designs
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC, hunting, survival, and kitchen

The American tradition of owning a Case knife is almost as strong as owning a Buck. There are probably still hundreds of the old Case Trappers riding around in the pockets of fishers and hunters around the country. They are not quite the same company they used to be, though. For one, they’re owned by Zippo now. Whether or not that’s a good thing is up for debate between the nerds who collect them, but either way they’re still making knives in their Bradford factory.

There was some confusion a few years ago when they announced they would be making a few knives in China, because of course people worried (including myself) that meant some Case knife models were being outsourced. It turned out they were just starting a new line of more modern/tactical knives called TecX. So instead of listing out a bunch of individual knives, I’m going to take a shortcut and clarify one thing:

All Case knives are still made in the US. TecX knives, however, are all made in China.

Colonial Knife Corp (CKC)

A folding and fixed blade knife from Colonial Knife Corp on a white background.
Factory Location: Various locations including Warwick, RI and Plymouth, MA
US Manufacturing:Partial (exact models unknown)
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:Traditional, EDC, and tactical

Currently the company Colonial Knife Corp is actually under the umbrella of Colonial Cutlery International, which is the name they use to manufacture overseas now. The general line is that everything made under the Colonial Knife Corp name is molded and pieced together in Plymouth, but they have various components manufactured for them offsite. It’s tempting to assume those components are made overseas, but I can’t say that for sure. At the very least, they’re using some American parts and American labor to put the knives together.

For those unfamiliar with the name, the original Colonial Knife Company was a well-reputed knife manufacturer operating out of Rhode Island for the better part of the 20th century. Anyone who collects vintage switchblades might be familiar with the old version of the company, but a few people who have served in the military over that last few years might be more familiar with the reborn Colonial Knife Corp.

It was started by the Paolantonio family in the 1920’s. They had a long, healthy history making knives for the Navy and Air Force during WWII, and became the largest knife manufacturer in the USA in the 60’s. Things started going downhill in the 80’s, though, and the original CKC finally ended in 1998 when the company as it had been known for nearly a hundred years was auctioned off.

It was rekindled by Steve Paolandonio, a descendant of the original founders. Information on this new iteration is difficult to find, but it looks like Steve mostly rebuilt the company name on the backs of cheap imports. Now they have a few military contracts again, making a few different models for both military and police officers, and they do have a US-based factory with some limitations.

Chris Reeve Knives

Two Chris Reeves folding knives with lanyards.

Factory Location: Boise, Idaho

Factory Location:Boise, ID
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:High-end EDC

It feels silly to talk about Chrise Reeve knives like anyone reading this wouldn’t know about them offhand anyway, but here it goes.

Chris Reeve started out making and selling knives in South Africa. He was doing some business with an LA-based company but decided to expand into the US market by getting a table at the New York Custom Knife Show where he blew a bunch of minds. Long story short, he and his wife are the reason so many of us are now dropping hundreds of dollars on frame lock knives with Crucible powder steel.

They’re still a small company, though, operating out of Boise with a crew of about 40 people. They pretty much embody the principle of quality over quantity, so there’s no funky business with extra overseas factories. They’re pumping all of these things out of Idaho.

Dawson Knives

Three American Made Dawson Knives tilted at an angle.
Factory Location:Prescott Valley, AZ
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Fixed-blade outdoor and tactical

Starting in 1973 by Barry Dawson, this company has continued to be a family tradition since its beginning. They make a wide range of fixed blades. It looks like anything from neck knives to katanas, and most of their work has kind of a wild, curving aesthetic. Most of their process still involves a lot of hand grinding and meticulous quality control, and even after their recent growth they’re a comparatively small company so it’s possible we’ll see a little bit of variation between individual knives and it’s probably reasonable to expect a lot of models to be sold out a lot as they learn to keep up with their growing popularity. But it seems that the overall quality of their stuff is meticulously good.

They claim that they do everything in house and that all their materials are sourced from the states. I haven’t seen anything to indicate otherwise. They’re big fans of CPM-3V , 80CrV2, and 52100, all of which are steels developed and sold by US-based companies.

Demko Knives

Factory Location:Wampum, PA
US Manufacturing:Only custom models (for now)
Production Level:Custom and large production
Knife Type:Hard-use EDC

John and Andrew Demko are responsible for a lot of incredible Cold Steel knives and lock designs, so it was kind of a big deal when they decided to start releasing their own production knives. They launched with the AD 20.5, which is fantastic but made in Taiwan.

They do have an American factory where they’re mostly fulfilling custom orders, and they often get pretty active on social media with pictures of the manufacturing process from that particular shop. But while they’re a company with a huge amount of clout and innovation, they’re still a new company navigating new-company problems. There are probably still a few more years of the norm being that most of their available models are imported, but Andrew Demko said he was planning on expanding both his in-house and Taiwan-made knives in the future. Fingers crossed.In the meantime, whatever Taiwan factory they’re using right now is doing great work. I highly recommend following them on Instagram for teasing posts about knives you can’t buy yet.

Dexter Russell

Dexter Russel American Made Cutlery
Factory Location:Southbridge, MA
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:Kitchen

The bulk of Dexter Russell stuff sits firmly in the budget kitchen cutlery category, which is a rare thing for a company that does as much in the states as they do. I had assumed initially that most of their production was overseas, but it turns out they get most if not all of their steel from an American company, and finish everything in their Massachusetts factory.

The only elements I’m not sure about are their blocks and their polypropylene handles. They have little to say about how they source that material, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt considering how consistent they are with everything.

Dexter Russell has a pretty extensive history going back to 1818 when it started as the Harrington Cutlery Company, then went through two more iterations before becoming Dexter Russell in 2001. For the bulk of their history, they made various kinds of tools and blades for frontier settlers, but now they’re the largest American based manufacturer of kitchen cutlery.

Recently I’ve seen a few of their Japanese style knives listed as made in Japan, but those same knives get listed as made in America in most vendors, so I’m inclined to say that’s a misunderstanding on the part of whoever is writing product descriptions for some companies.

Currently they make six different lines of knives: V-L, SANI-SAFE, Dexter 360, SOFGRIP, Traditional, and DuoGlide. All of them are made in the USA.

Diamond Blade Knives / Knives of Alaska

The Alaskan made knives are great quality, but hard to find.
Factory Location:Deniston, TX
US Manufacturing:Most models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:folding and fixed blade EDC, hunting, and survival

This is an odd company (or set of companies). Knives of Alska was founded by Charles Allen, an Alaskan wilderness guide and Texan biologist.

This man apparently came up with a new way of forging knives called “friction folding” which essentially involves an immense amount of pressure applied in a stirring motion along what will become the edge of the knife. It was inspired by the way submarine hulls are welded together. The result is immensely hard knives, supposedly getting edges up to 70 HRC while the rest of the blade usually sits at a lower tool-steel level of hardness. This process is done under the Diamond Blade Knives company name.

Field & Stream has given them a bit of attention if you want to read some good reviews, but they aren’t widely distributed. They don’t seem to have a huge operation as of this writing, so getting one of their knives might take a while, but it seems like anyone who’s gotten one will tell you ecstatically that it’s worth it.

I haven’t gotten around to checking their full catalog, but it looks like the majority of their knives are made in teh states.

DPx Gear

Factory Location:San Diego, CA
US Manufacturing:Partial
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:EDC and survival

DPx knives, by the company’s own words, “are designed for brutal use, where there is no room for failure”. I would describe them more as the hard-use Chris Reeves.

They launched themselves with a Kickstarter back in 2010 with the HEST, designed by founder Robert Young Pelton. It’s possible that name is familiar to you. If not, it’s worth getting to know his work, but for purposes of this list, you only need to know that he’s a person who has lived through a lot more death-defying experiences than most.

Most of the DPx Gear designs definitely have a feeling of life-saving efficiency, but a lot of them also have a bottle-opening feature, so there’s also a sense that everything you could possibly need has been thought of.

It looks like they make their knives in both the US and Italy. Early on in the company’s life, they were pretty insistent about sourcing everything entirely within the US, but that was in partnership with Southern Grind. I don’t know what that sourcing looks like now that Southern Grind is rebuilding under a new owner. Meanwhile, it looks like Lionsteel is handling all the Italian side of DPx Gear’s manufacturing, but I’m not sure what determines what gets made where. I’ve done my best to list out the American-born models.

DPx Knives Made in America

HEST Original (inc. Black, Desert Tan)
HEST/F Urban Ti (inc. MR DP Edition, Mr DP Black, Black Flag, Hammertone, American)
HEST/F Urban G-10 (inc. Milspec, OD Green, Triple Black)
HEAT Hiker (inc. Black, Stonewash, Sandblasted, 1095 OD Green, 1095 Desert Tan, 1095 Black)

Emerson Knives

The philosophy of Emerson Knives is mostly tactical in nature, and they are made in Los Angeles, CA.
Factory Location:Los Angeles, CA
US Manufacturing:All models (as long as it’s from Emerson)
Production Level:Small batch and custom
Knife Type:EDC, tactical, and some kitchen

The Emerson name gets around a lot these days, especially under the Kershaw brand. The Emerson CQC-7 broke the wave on folding tactical knives, and the Emerson factory has kept up a good pace of designing since then.

The philosophy of Emerson Knives is mostly tactical in nature. Earnest Emerson is an avid martial artist who’s been inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame and has taught classes to various military and law enforcement.

Every Emerson-made knife I’ve seen personally has been made in the USA, and it’s hard to find anything with his signature that wasn’t. The only knives made under this company’s name that came from overseas seem to be some kind of multi-tool like the multitasker EDC-1 and 2. It looks like all those overseas designs have been discontinued, though, so it’s safe to say that every Emerson knife is a USA-made knife.

For better or worse, true Emerson knives are only being sold through Emerson’s site directly, although a few vendors might still have a stock of them to unload here and there. You can find plenty of Emerson designs everywhere, like the long CQC line that Kershaw has, but those are very much not made in the states.

Esee Knives

These fixed blae and folding knives from Esee were made in the USA.

Factory Location:Idaho Falls, ID
US Manufacturing:Most models
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC and survival

On the whole, Esee only manufactures Esee knives in America. More specifically they have their designs made by their partnered factory Rowen Manufacturing, which is based in Idaho Falls, Idaho. I suspect the Esee team is too busy running out into the jungle and coming up with new designs to deal with running their own factory, and that’s also probably why all their designs hit it out of the park for survival.

They do license out designs to other companies sometimes, though, and those companies might manufacture overseas. Basically what that means is a knife might have the Esee stamp on it because it’s their design, but all the manufacturing, advertising, and warranty issues are handled by a separate company. So it’s actually easier to just list all Esee knives that aren’t made in America, which is actually only two made by Blue Ridge Knives in Taiwan.

If you want to learn a bit more about specific Esse knives, check out our Esee Knife Reviews.

“Esee knives” not made in America (The rest are made in the States).

Avispa
Churp
Darien Machete
Expat Machete
Zancudo

Guardian Tactical Knives

Factory Location:Escanaba, Michigan
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Fixed-blade hunting and survival

This Pennsylvania-based company is run by Andy Buerk, who’s a pretty prolific knife designer and engineer, and Brian Mercer, who’s a CNC machinist that used to be with Microtech. They talk about their machining standards with a lot of pride, and by most accounts the ergos and action on their designs are fantastic.

They’ve been around since 2012 and still a little bit under the radar, possibly because they have an aesthetic that a lot of people compare to Microtech, but a lot of their work looks pretty original to me.

Original or not, though, they keep the majority of their manufacturing within the states. It looks like they even source a lot of their blade and handle materials from the states.

Gerber

Gerber Gear fixed blade and folding knives made in the USA.
Factory Location:Portland, OR
US Manufacturing:Partial
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC, survival, and hunting

With Gerber you can usually tell where a knife is made just by checking the steel (aside from looking at the Made in USA stamp, I mean). Generally, if a Gerber knife has a Cr steel like 5Cr15MoV, then it was made in China. If it’s 420HC or (more rarely) S30V or 154CM, there’s a good chance they made it in the states. One clear way to determine where a Gerber is made is to see if it’s under their Reserve line is American made with a certain emphasis on quality. Also everything available to change in their custom shop is a US-Made model.

There are a couple instances of the Chinese Cr blades getting shipped to America and then put together here, but from what I can tell that only happens with a couple models. Now settle in, because Gerber makes a lot of knives, and maybe about half of the products in the new catalog are made here.

Check out our Gerber Knife Reviews section to learn more a about specific Gerber knives.

Gerber Knives Made in America

06 AutomaticLegend MP800
06 Combat FolderLMF II
39 SeriesLST (Lightweight, Strong, Tough)
Applegate-Fairbairn Covert (and the Mini, Auto, and Combat versions)Mark II
Auto 10th Anniversary editionMini Covert Auto
Cable DawgMP400 Compact Sport
Center-DriveMP600 Series ( Basic, Carbide, Scout, D.E.T., ST)
Combat Fixed BladeMP1 Series (MP1-AR Weapons, MRO)
CommuterMulti-tool
Covert Auto (and Mini version)Multi-Plier
Crew Served Weapons ToolPrinciple
Crisis Hook KnifeOrder
DecreePrinciple
DieselPropel Auto
Dual Multifunction AutomaticProdigy
EdictRiver Shorty
eFECT 1 & 2Safety Autohook
Emerson Alliance AutomaticSedulo
EmpowerShark Belly
E-Z OutSilver Trident
FastballStrap Cutter
Gator Series (1, 2, Gatormate, and Gator Premium)Strongarm
Gator FixedTerracraft
Ghoststrike Fixed BladeUS1
Ghoststrike Punch KnifeUS-Assist
Guardian Backup

GT Knives

Factory Location:Fountain Hills, AZ
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Folding EDC

GT Knives makes a lot of different kinds of models, but they offer a lot of variation on the models they make in a refreshingly elegant way. There are only so many different blade shapes and opening styles they offer under each design, but you can get a drop point, tanto, automatic, or flipper version of almost everything they make.

Their stuff is mostly done through CNC machines in their Arizona factory. I’m not sure where all they’re sourcing materials from, but they are fond of using ATS-34, which is a Japanese steel made by Hitachi. Other than that, it looks like all the hard work is done in the States.

GTI

Factory Location:Wade, NC
US Manufacturing:Custom work in US / various production partnerships
Production Level:US custom
Knife Type:Hard-use EDC

You’re likely to see the GTI name slapped on a few knives out in the wild, because there are a few larger companies that like to bring founder Justin Gingrich in for help or for whole designs. Kizer, 5.11 Tactical, and White River all put out GTI branded knives at one point.

There are a few knives that are purely in GTI territory, though, the most famous probably being the GTI Delta Lock folder.

He’s using a lot of CTS-BD1N steel and titanium in his stuff, so for anything that’s just built under the GTI name should be completely American made.

Heretic

Factory Location:Sebastian, FL
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:OTF

This is a husband-and-wife-run business that works in small batches from their Florida workshop. They offer an impressive amount of autos and OTF knives for a company their size, but that shouldn’t be so surprising after you realize that the last name of the couple running this company is Marfione.

Heretic is, more or less, the child of Microtech and Marfione Custom (one of an increasing number, it seems), and they work entirely within the US in a similar way to their family companies.

Hinderer

Hinderer Full Track folding knife on a wood table.
Factory Location:Shreve, OH
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Custom and small batch
Knife Type:Hard-use tactical folders

The Rick Hinderer name is one of many that’s synonymous with “tactical gear”. The difference with Hinderer Knives is that many of the early designs were inspired by Hinderer’s experience as a first responder and fire fighter. Very often, “tactical knives” with this company is more broadly (and more appropriately) interpreted as emergency knives. In that sense it’s also a good source for high quality hard use knives.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the company in this context, though. Hinderer famously started out making showpiece knives in a little turkey coop, switched to making tactical knives as he went along, then dropped the XM-18 on the industry and took off like a rocket. Through all of that, Hinderer Knives has made, and continues to make, everything in the States.

Hoback

Factory Location:Idaho
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Fixed-blade survival and EDC

The founder of this company, Jake Hoback, has a long history in manufacturing and generally making neat things out of nothing. He started this company well over a decade ago, and has since come up with a lot of internal innovations for folding knives. His designs pretty clearly show there’s an engineer’s mind behind them.

I can’t find any indication that he’s having any knives made overseas, although I’ve seen a few overseas companies selling collaboration designs. The company does sell a lot periphery merchandise like shirts and leather pouches that are likely outsourced (although they could still be outsourced in the States). The knives, at least, are all home made.

Hogue Knives

Two fixed blade Hogue knives and two folding Hogue knives on a white background with the Hogue logo in the bottom left corner.
Factory Location: Paso Robles, CA and Henderson, NV
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:Hard-use and tactical folder

Gun owners with custom pistol grips should already be familiar with this name, and with the two other companies partnered with the name: SIG Sauer, and Heckler and Koch.

Hogue has been around since the 60’s, but their venture into the knife world didn’t start until around 2010 when they partnered with custom knife designer Allen Elishewitz. Through all their brands, the company specializes in making tough tactical blades, usually with military and law enforcement in mind.

I can’t find any knives under any of these brands that are made overseas, so it looks like all three names are a signal of US manufacturing in their California and Nevada facilities, however they do outsource their MOLLE straps to Mexico and some of their heat treating is done by a third party in California. Other than that, they do almost everything in house, creating the components in California and assembling in Nevada.

Ka-Bar / Becker Knife & Tool

Three different Ka-Bar Becker are made in the USA on a white background.
Factory Location:Olean, NY
US Manufacturing:Partial
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC, survival, tactical, and hunting

The Ka-Bar Mark II has a similar iconic status in America to the Buck 110 and Bowie knife. It enjoys a long history in war and hunting and a beautifully simple design that gets copied endlessly. Most of the time when you say “Kabar” people assume you’re talking about the Mark II. They have a pretty interesting history where the manufacturing of the knife and the name branding actually precede the company as we know it today by several decades.

Their own journey with importing knives started back in the sixties when it ceased to be a family-owned business. It traded hands between several different corporations that started manufacturing overseas and taking advantage of the Ka-Bar name. It was partially saved from that fate by a few ardent collectors of original Ka-Bar knives, and then completely saved when Cutco purchased it in the 90’s. Since then they’ve pretty much always been manufactured at least in part in the US.

Ka-Bar has owned Becker Knife & Tool since 2007, when the company that had been manufacturing for them went bankrupt. They’ve been collaborating ever since and I believe knives from both companies share factories.

Ka-Bar and BK&T work independently from Cutco for the most part, but as I understand it, any Ka-Bar or Becker knife made in America is made in the Cutco factory in Olean, New York. They also all seem to be fixed blade, which actually gives us a pretty convenient reference point. If it’s a folder, it was probably made in China or Taiwan.

Update: Ka Bar has recently made a similar partnership with Spartan Blades (now under the Pineland Cutlery Inc name), and are now making the Silver Grade knives for Spartan Blades in their New York factory.

USMC Style Ka-Bar knivesBecker Knife & Tool knivesOther Tactical and Survival
Full Size Ka-Bar, Black (straight and serrated edges)Becker TukoAdventure Potbelly
Full Size Ka Bar Foliage Green (straight and serrated edges)Becker CompanionAdventure Gamestalker
Ka-Bar 120th Anniversary U.S. Army EditionBecker Tac ToolAdventure Parangatang
Ka-Bar 120th Anniversary USMC EditionBecker Combat UtilityAdventure Wharnstalker
Ka-Bar 120th Anniversary US Navy EditionBecker Combat BowieBig Brother, Kraton G
Ka-Bar 120th Anniversary Dog’s Head EditionBecker CrewmanBig Brother, leather
Ka-Bar Neck KnifeBecker Kephart Fixed Blade (BK62)Combat Kukri
Mark I, leather handle (straight and serrated edges)Becker NeckerD2 Extreme
Mark I, Kraton G handle (straight and serrated edges)Becker RemoraDog’s Head Utility Knife
Short Ka-Bar (straight and serrated edges)Becker EskabarEk Commando Presentation Knife
USMC Ka-Bar (all blade types and presentation grade)Short Becker Drop PointEk Model 4
U.S. Army Ka-Bar (straight and serrated edges)Becker/Reinhardt KukriEk Model 5
U.S. Navy Ka-BarE.W. Stone Knife
USMC Short Ka-BarFighter
USA Short Ka-BarJarosz Choppa
USSF Space BarJarosz Deluxe Hunter
Jarosz Globetrotter
Jarosz Turok
KA-Fillet 6”
KA-Fillet 9”
Short Tanto (straight and serrated edges)
Snody Boss
Snody Big Boss
Snody Snake Charmer
TDI/Hinderer Hinderance
Thunderhorse Thrower
Zombie “Zombro”

Kershaw

Kershaw knives that were manufactured in the USA.

Factory Location: Tualatin, Oregon

Factory Location:Tualatin, OR
US Manufacturing:Partial
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:Folding EDC

So here’s a fun fact: Kershaw is basically the budget line for Zero Tolerance now. Which is weird since Kershaw has been around since the 70’s and the parent company Kai USA didn’t open the Zero Tolerance factory until 2006, but here we are. While Kai makes everything for Zero Tolerance exclusively in America, they spread some of the Kershaw manufacturing around between Japan, China, and Taiwan. Otherwise, Kershaw pumps their stuff out more or less alongside Zero Tolerance blades in Oregon.

Kershaw Knives Made in America

BareknuckleLeek
BlurLink
CamberLucha
ChiveLucha Trainer
Diskin HunterRandom Leek
DividendScallion
KnockoutShallot
Launch (1 through 13)Skyline

Lamson

A Lamson knife set and individual knives on a white background.
Factory Location:Westfield, MA
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small production
Knife Type:Kitchen

This might be the oldest knife company you never heard of. Actually, the oldest in America if their About page is to be believed, but I think Dexter Russell might take issue with that claim.

Regardless, Lamson is a solid US-based company. They took a bit of a hit around 2014 when they moved their factory location from Shelburne Falls to Westfield, but they seem to have come back stronger from that with a more efficient operation.

It looks like they do all the grinding, pinning, and sharpening in their MA factory, but they use a lot of German steel, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were sourcing their acrylic and G-10 handles from overseas as well. The important stuff is done in Massachusetts, though.

We have done some in-house testing on Lamson knives, and we were pretty impressed with the quality and performance. We liked them enough to add their Premier Forged set to our Best High End Kitchen Knife Sets article.

If you think you may want to buy one of their chef knives check out our review of the 8 inch Lamson Premier Forged chef knife.

Leatherman

Two Leatherman multitools in the fanned position on a white background.
Factory Location:Portland, OR
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:Multi-tool

This company is pretty well known as the name behind the pliers-based multitool. They’re so established in that area that even when another company like Gerber makes a multi-tool with pliers, our instinct is to call it a Leatherman.

They started out doing things in Portland, and amazingly they’ve managed to keep their business there since 1983, making their tools in their factory then taking them up into the Cascade Mountains to test them.

This is one of those household names you generally expect to have expanded to make some kind of budget line made in China, but Leatherman has stayed pretty true to form. They’ve been doing everything in Oregon since they started, and now their factory is probably one of the biggest technical marvels in the US knife world.

Mattia Borrani

Factory Location:Petaluma, CA
US Manufacturing:Custom and small batch in US
Production Level:Custom, but large production overseas
Knife Type:Kitchen

Any regular production knives you can get from Mattia Borrani are actually imported, but they do all their custom work in their California shop, which happens to be the shop for Begg Knives. They launched this part of their company with a bowie chef knife that I like very much, but most versions of it that you can get easily are made overseas. I’m not sure what country they’re outsourcing to, much less whose factory, but my experience with their imported knife is very positive.

They do make chef knives in their Petaluma shop, but those are a lot more expensive and a lot more scarce unless you’re ordering a custom piece direct from the shop. This is still a fairly new company, though. I expect they’ll be expanding both their overseas and in-house manufacturing down the road based on the success of what they’ve put out so far.

Medford Knife

Four Medford folding and fixed blade knives on a white background.
Factory Location:Phoenix, AZ
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Hard-use edc and tactical

According to Medford’s About page, the founder, Greg Medford, is “dedicated to hand crafting and small manufacturing as a part of the new small factory industrial rebirth of America.”

A quick look at their prolific YouTube channel proves the truth of those words. This company does everything in house, including heat treatment of their steels, which is pretty rare for an operation this small. They also source all their steel from American Metal Xchange, which is based in California.

So, USA through and through. It looks like they even make their own Kydex sheaths. There’s nothing I can find that’s outsourced outside the country.

Microtech

Three Microtech knives on a white background.
Factory Location:Bradford, PA
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small production
Knife Type:OTF tactical

If you’ve seen an action movie involving any kind of character wearing a suit made since 2010, you’ve probably seen a Microtech. For better or worse, they’ve become the de facto “urban tactical” company for most of the American population.

They’re very vocal about being a company with exacting standards that “utilizes exclusively American-Made manufacturing, materials, and labor”. They do almost all the manufacturing in house and source all of their materials within the U.S., as per their Legacy page (Although I can’t help but notice how many of their knives are sporting Bohler M390, which is sort of an Austrian/Swedish developed steel, but they can be given some leeway for the sake of using a good steel).

As of now, I can’t find anything to indicate they do any manufacturing overseas, so Microtech is effectively a fully American-based manufacturer. All their knives are made in the U.S.

Ontario Knife Company

OKC fixed blade knives on a white background.
Factory Location:Franklinville, NY
US Manufacturing:Most fixed-blade models made in USA
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC, hunting, survival, and some kitchen

This is probably one of the oldest companies on this list (that “1889” number you always see tastefully plastered next to their name is the date the company was founded), but it has a surprisingly simple history.

As per OKC’s website, their history is “shrouded in mystery” but basically consisted of three guys with a grindstone and a pushcart selling knives around Ontario County in New York in the 1890’s. They expanded quickly, incorporated under the same name around the turn of the century, and set up shop in a larger building out of which they are still operating. To add to their long tradition, OKC came out with the Old Hickory line in 1924 and have consistently pumped out variations of that line ever since. They’ve added and subtracted from that line up over the years (lately mostly added), but the Old Hickories you can get today aren’t all that different from what people were getting in the 1920’s.

The bulk of their knives are made in their Franklinville factory, however it seems like they do maintain factories in China and Taiwan, and have even done a few collaborations with Italian makers. I’ve noticed they make a lot of their sheaths and accessories in China along with a handful of folding designs, so it’s possible that even when an OKC knife is made in the US it has some Chinese hardware. But I’ve also noticed a clear line between their designs where all the fixed blades are made in the US and all the folders are from overseas, so there’s only so much hardware to overlap.

We have a few in-depth reviews of OKC knives on Ontario Knife Company Brand page. They are probably worth the read if you think you may want to buy a knife from this American made company.

OKC Knives Made in America

18” Machete lineHeavy Duty machete
498 Combat KnifeHiking knife
499 Survival KnifeHunt Plus line
AdirondackIndustrial and Agricultural series
ADK High Peaks HunterKukri Knife
ADK Keene Valley HunterM11 EOD
Agilite seriesMark III Trench Knife
ASEK Survival Knife SystemMOD Mark 3 Dive Knife
Blackbird ML5Old Hickory line
Camper macheteRAT 3
CerberusRAT 5
Chimera FighterRAT 7
Chromatics seriesRTAK II
CT1Spec Plus line
CT2TAK 1
CT5TAK 2

Pena Knives

Factory Location:Laredo, TX
US Manufacturing:US Custom
Production Level:Custom w/ large production partners
Knife Type:Traditional folders

Enrique Pena is a custom knifemaker with old school sensibilities. He’s well known for making slip joint designs like swaybacks and trappers. He’s also pretty famously a custom designer, which makes his listing here tricky since I’ve been trying to keep it loosely to production knife makers.The thing is, Pena does make a series of production knives under the X-series name, but those are made in the Reate factory in China. I’m mostly adding this listing for the sake of clearing up confusion: Enrique Pena is absolutely a US-based knifemaker, but if you’re getting an X-Series Pena knife, it’s a Chinese model of his design.

Pro-Tech Knives

Two American made Pro-Tech folding knives in the open position.
Factory Location:Artesia, CA
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small production
Knife Type:EDC autos

Founded in 1999 by Dave Wattenberg, Pro-Tech is best known for automatic knives. Wattenberg’s first model was a California-legal 2-inch auto called the Runt which launched the Pro-Tech name toward what it is today. To make the whole thing just a little more of an outlier, Wattenberg was also a middle school teacher when he started making these knives. So he’d teach during the week, make knives on the weekend, and then in the summer he would drive around the country selling them off.

Pro-Tech does everything in house. They make everything that’s practical for them to make themselves, since Wattenberg apparently ran into a lot of supply chain problems when he started out and was still outsourcing all his materials. So now every thing by Pro-Tech is designed, billeted, stamped, carved, and pieced together in California.

Randall Made Knives

Two fixed blade Randal Made Knives.
Factory Location:Orlando, FL
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Custom and small batch
Knife Type:Fixed blade survival and tactial

I’m hesitant to add this company to the list because, even though Randall Made Knives are iconic and blooded in US history, they are hand made, expensive, and can be difficult to find.

But they’re also worth knowing about, if you don’t already.

The company was founded by Bo Randall in 1939, which gave him just enough time to develop his craft enough that he made something that became heavily relied on by soldiers during WWII. The company boomed after legends of his knives spread through the ranks and he was flooded by letters with personal requests to buy his knives. That set the pattern for Randall Made Knives. Their history is full of desperate professionals coming to their shop to ask them to make a special design for their job, including NASA, soldiers slotted for Vietnam, and Alaskan bush pilots.

Through the decades, this has remained a family business. Randalls still run the shop in Florida, passing the craft down to each generation, and all of their knives are still very much made by hand in the US.

Southern Grind

Four Southern Grind knives on a white bacjground.

Factory Location: Peachtree, Georgia

Factory Location:Peachtree, GA
US Manufacturing:All models (for now)
Production Level:Small production
Knife Type:EDC and outdoor

The Southern Grind name should bring up images of the Spider Monkey and Bad Monkey folders. They make some decent modern-style folders that usually sell at a premium, which isn’t to say that don’t make some interesting fixed blade knives, and there’s certainly something to be said for some of the carry systems on their sheaths. When Zack Brown started the company he had the idea to make rugged knives with state-of-the-art materials, so you’ll see a lot of titanium, carbon fiber, and new CPM steels on their designs.

This company was recently bought by Diamondback Firearms (not to be confused with Diamond Blade Knives). As far as I can tell, the switch in ownership hasn’t turned into a change in location. I think they’re still using the Georgia factory. It looks like all their materials are staying top notch, and while I don’t know exactly what direction the company is headed, I haven’t caught wind of any new designs coming out from an overseas factory.

SOG

SOG fied blade and folding knives that are mae in the USA.
Factory Location:Coopersville, MI and Lynnwood, WA
US Manufacturing:Partial
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC, hunting, tactical, and multitool

SOG makes most of their knives in China, Taiwan, and Seki, Japan, and mostly focus on more urban tactical designs. They did start pushing hunting and survival designs back in 2014, but they’re still known better for their assisted open and multi-tools than anything.

Over the last couple years they’ve released a handful of knife designs made in their two factory locations in the States with a promise to release more eventually. They put a premium on all of them. I don’t think any run below $150, probably because they’re all sporting S30V or S35V steel, so they seem to be pushing the idea of high quality domestic manufacturing. They didn’t roll out any new designs in the 2018 catalog, so maybe they’re still feeling out the waters with this thing. Either way, we’ll keep an eye out.

Right now, a general rule you can follow is that if a SOG knife is sporting S30V steel, it was put together in their American factories. With something like AUS8 or VG-10 you’re probably looking at Taiwan or Japan, and of course any variation of 8Cr13MoV steel is very likely from China. There are some exceptions to that rule like the Zoom, which has an S30V version made in Taiwan, but the steel still serves as a helpful reference point.

SOG Knives Made in America

BannerSeal XR Flipper
Mini SOG-TAC AutoSpec Elite I
PentagonSpec Elite II
Pentagon OTFStrat Ops Auto
PillarTac Ops Auto
Power AssistTech Bowie
Power LockTwitch II
Seal FX

Spartan Blades

Three Spartan Blades fixed blade knives at an angle. This American company was started in a mule barn in 2008.
Factory Location:Southern Pines, NC
US Manufacturing:Most models
Production Level:Small batch w/ large production partner
Knife Type:Hard-use EDC, tactical, and survival

Spartan Blades was started by a pair of retired Green Berets working out of a mule barn back in 2008. As they’ve grown they’ve kept that production to pretty much the same area. They opened a larger factory in Southern Pines in 2014 and continued their rise, although they always seem to insist on prioritizing quality over quantity, which tends to put their knives on the pricey side of the industry.

Now, though, they’ve started a new umbrella company called Pineland Cutlery Inc. which partnered with Ka Bar to release three new series of knives: Elite, Pro, and Field (or Gold, Silver, and Bronze). These provide designs in a wider range of prices in order to make their knives more accessible. According to the owners, the Gold Series Spartan knives will still be made in the same North Carolina factory, the Silver will be made in New York by Ka Bar, and the Bronze series will be made overseas. There isn’t much information on where exactly overseas the Bronze series is being made, but the partnership with Ka Bar would suggest they’re using the same places based in China and Taiwan.

Currently there is only a small range of knives with the Spartan Blades name made outside the US. It mostly follows an easy line of “fixed blades are from the States; folders are from Taiwan” with a few exceptions.

Spartan Blades Knives Made Overseas

George Astor Liner Lock
Talos Liner Lock
Ronin Shoto Liner Lock
Enyo Fixed Blade

Spyderco

The Spyderco knife models that were manufatured in America.
Factory Location:Golden, CO
US Manufacturing:Partial
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC, tactical, and some kitchen

Spyderco actually started out making knife sharpeners (and they’re still making some of the best sharpeners you can get these days). They’ve been making folding knives since the 80s, and were actually one of the first companies to experiment with one-handed open pocket carries. They had their first folder, the Worker, made in Japan, but now most of the blades for Spyderco knives are made and shaped in the Golden, Colorado factory because they’re really particular about how the blade should look and cut. And since they almost always use very hard, premium steels (usually something like VG-10 or S30V), they have to laser cut all their blades rather than stamp them, which requires fairly specialized equipment that is both expensive to buy and train for.

That being said, Spyderco’s other factories in Seki, Japan and Taichung, Taiwan are not in use for cost reasons. Spyderco is too obsessed with performance to make such a drastic economic decision. They make stuff overseas partly because they needed to spread the workload around, and the blades they’re making over there are still top notch.

Spyderco Knives Made in the US

Autonomy 2P’Kal Trainer
Lil’ NativePygmy Warrior
Manix 2Respect
Manix 2 LightweightShaman
Manix 2 XLSiren
Military ModelThe Foundry
Mule Team parts (handle and sheath)UK Penknife
Native 5UK Penknife Lightweight
Native 5 SaltWaterway
Native ChiefWolfspyder
Native LightweightYojimbo 2
Paramilitary 2Yojimbo 2 Trainer
Para 3Yojumbo
P’KalZ-Cut

Tactile Knife Company

Factory Location:Garland, TX
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:EDC and kitchen

This is the knife-centric brain child of pen maker Tactile Turn. They’ve been slowly growing their knife line up through Kickstarter campaigns, so the availability on their models is usually nonexistent. The owners of the Tactile Knife Company are no strangers to mass production, though, so it’s only a matter of time before their knives are as available as their pens.

Not only do they manufacture all their products in the US, they make it a point to make as many of the parts involved as possible in their shop. They claim to only have two outside sources that they purchase raw materials and ball bearings from, but beyond that they work entirely within their own walls in Texas.

Three Rivers Manufacturing (TRM)

Two different American made TRM knives.
Factory Location:Three Rivers, MA
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Hunting and survival

Some people in the industry might already be familiar with the TRM founders, Marianne and Les Halpern. They’ve been making custom parts and knife designs for people and other knife companies since 1997, and continue to do so under the name Halpern Titanium. They keep their client list pretty close to their chest, but at least one well known partnership is Spyderoco, who outsourced manufacturing of G10 handles for a few designs to them. The Halperns decided to make knives under their own label around 2016, and have been working hard to expand that label ever since.

Three Rivers Manufacturing is still small. They don’t have a lot of distributors besides BladeHQ and their own site, and it’s common to see all their models sold out. But their businesses as a whole have been on a steady incline for a while now so distribution is likely to increase soon enough. You can also be pretty sure that pretty much every step of their manufacturing happens in the USA since, most of the time, they’re the people other companies outsource parts and material manufacturing to.

Toor Knives

Factory Location:San Diego, CA
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Hard-use EDC

Toor Knives holds to the ambition of always making “hard use knives in the USA at an affordable price”. Not only that, the majority of the company’s 30 employees are (like Connor Toor) veterans, and they’re very careful about getting manufacturing materials from eco-friendly sources while collecting and recycling metal shavings from their process. It’s possible there are other companies going to similar sustainable lengths as Toor, but Toor certainly seems to be the most transparent about it.

The “affordable” part of Toors mission to offer hard use knives made in the USA is… debatable at best. Their price tag averages around $250, but they do have a great catalogue of knives that are all made in America. They seem to be a great source for high-end survival and tactical designs.

TOPS Knives

The TOPS Backpacker Bowie and TOPS 3-Pointer outdoors.
Factory Location:Idaho Falls, ID
US Manufacturing:All models (usually)
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:Survival, hunting, and tactical

Born in 1998, TOPS Knives is a fairly new company compared to a few others on this list. They’ve since built a solid reputation as a reliable source for good tactical and outdoor knives by finding various designers with backgrounds in military, law enforcement, martial arts, and survival to come up with purpose-built concepts.

In part because of that strategy, TOPS might be the most prolific manufacturer of outdoor and tactical knives in America right now. If not in terms of raw numbers of product shipped, but certainly by how many different designs they put out every year. According to their own blog, TOPS has over 250 models, but maintains fewer than 50 employees which makes them a relatively small company. It looks like they manage to do everything in house in their factory, though, from cutting bar stocks of steel down to form to milling out G-10 scales and doing final fit and finish.

It’s actually a little tricky to say outright that they make everything in the states, because they do a lot of collaborations and I see them put out one-off models from factories around the world. For example they make a couple training knives out of a Chinese factory. I haven’t seen anything else come out of that factory from them, so I assume it just has to do with not having the machines for molding polymer in their US factory.

Aside from that, the only current knives with the TOPS name outside the states are their fairly recent collaborations with Fox Knives: The Magnums, the Thunder Hawk,  and the Mini Scandi Folder are all made in Italy.

It’s possible there are more. TOPS and Fox are both frustrating to find manufacturing data on, but it looks like all the Italian made knives have Bohler steel, so if you see that on a TOPS, that’s your first clue it isn’t USA-made.

Utica Cutlery/Kutmaster

Three different Utica knives on a white background.
Factory Location:Utica, NY
US Manufacturing:Partial
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC and tactical

This was one of many cutlery companies that started in the early 1900’s and got kicking on knives during WWII. Utica Cutlery in particular was making bayonets for the Army. They expanded far beyond cutlery over the following decades, though, and now they’re an umbrella company several other names like Walco and KutMaster, which is the branch that makes all their outdoor-related knives.

A big company like this is pretty much guaranteed to be dealing all around the world. They do a lot of overseas manufacturing, but they still have a pretty decent selection of Made in the USA products.

Utica Cutlery /  KutMaster knives made in the USA

Cheyenne IRidge Blade
Cheyenne IIStealth I
Classic Slayer IStealth II
Classic Slayer IIStealth III (models D52-1 through D52-4 and D52-6)
Classic Slayer IIIStealth IV (models D53-1 through D53-4)
Fishing MinitoolStealth V (models D54-1, D54-2, D54-5, and D54-6
Horizon BladeStealth VI (models D55-1 through D55-6)
MinimasterStealth VII
MultimasterStealth QD
Original IWoodsman
Original II

V Nives

Three different V Nives pocketknives that were made in America.
Factory Location:Puyallup, WA
US Manufacturing:Partial (exact models unknown)
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:EDC and tactical

This is a fresh company out of Washington that started selling production knives on a mass scale around 2017 (you can see part of their origin story in the Fox Knives USA part of this blog). They run with the line that V Nives are made “in America and other places on planet earth”, so they’re pretty open about manufacturing in a few different countries. They do a lot of collaborations, and when Mike Vellekamp started the company, he opened with a huge product line hitting just about every price bracket in a way that he probably wouldn’t have been able to achieve without making use of larger factories already in place around the world. He claims that he’s modeling his company closely on the Spyderco structure (something he’d know pretty well since he worked for them for 12 years), which makes use of carefully vetted factories in both Taiwan and Japan.

It looks like V Nives maintains factories in the US, Taiwan, and China, but it’s been difficult to pin down exactly which models are made where. I’ll update this section if I ever find a good source on that kind of information.

White River Knife & Tool

White River Knives are made in the USA. Two fixed blades are shown here.
Factory Location:Fremont, MI
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Hunting and survival

This is a small family owned company. They make everything in their Fremont factory in Michigan, and almost everything they use to make the knives is sourced from the States. The Cammenga family who founded White River Knife & Tool named it after Michigan’s White River, which flows through part of their property.

They’ve spent a lot of time hunting, fishing, kayaking, and generally being outdoors-y on that river, and they like to make knives to reflect that. They have a pretty impressive selection of fixed-blade bushcraft knives from thin fillet knives to their bulky survival Firestarter series. What makes them stand out from other survival-oriented companies like ESEE is their emphasis on making the knives look good. These are the kinds of knives that tend to draw your eye from across the room, and pretty much always feel great in hand because of the amount of hand crafting detail that goes into making them. In that sense they’re a lot like Bark River Knives.

Winkler Knives

Two Winkler knives with different handle scales.
Factory Location:Boone, NC
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Small batch
Knife Type:Tactical and survival

This is a small-batch operation with a tactical-oriented run of designs. It was founded by Daniel Winkler, who’s been a bladesmith since 1988 and was accredited as a Master Bladesmith in 1993. He started Winkler Knives in response to requests for “specialized breaching tools”, according to their About page.

Much of their process involves hand finishing, although they do make use of some CNC machines for cutting pieces. You can usually expect to pay in the range of $300 for a Winkler knife, and don’t expect two copies of the same model to be quite the same, which means that even their sheaths will vary knife to knife since they mold them all specifically to each copy.

They’re particular about the materials they use, and it looks like many of the steels, at least, that they use are sourced from the USA. All manufacturing of the knives and their parts is definitely done in the States, though.

Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance knives are owned by Kai USA and made in America.
Factory Location:Tualatin, OR
US Manufacturing:All models
Production Level:Large production
Knife Type:Folding EDC

You won’t learn much here that you didn’t by reading the Kershaw entry farther up, but people keep giving us sass for not having a ZT section, so here you go you go, you damn vultures:

Zero Tolerance is the high end EDC knife brand under Kai Group which is the Japanese company that also owns Kershaw and Shun Cutlery. ZT knives go through pretty much the same factory process as any Kershaw knife that’s made in Kai’s Oregon factory, except the materials are better on the whole.

I’ve seen a few blips in their history here and there from knives that might have been made in Japan or China, but whatever they played around with in the past, it seems like Zero Tolerance is meant to stay firmly as a US-based operation, which makes sense. If Kai really wants to put out a knife with lower factory costs or materials they generally put it under the Kershaw name.

Zieba knives

Factory Location:Saddle Brook, NJ
US Manufacturing:US custom and small batch
Production Level:Custom w/ large production partner
Knife Type:EDC

Michael Zieba leans heavily toward the art and philosophy side of knife making. His site bio reads more like an introduction to a self help book than a life story. But he does make pretty fantastic knives in a wide range of styles from folding EDC to chef knives.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard (and expensive) to get one of his American-made knives. He has a workshop in Saddle Brook, NJ, but he is a custom maker at art.

However, he signed a deal with Maniago Knife Makers in 2020 to manufacture his Flame design. Anytime you see a Zieba knife actually in stock somewhere, it’s probably the Flame, and it was probably made in Italy.

You might still see the occasional US-made model pop up with vendors here and there, but those are knives coming out of his custom shop, and he is not known for rushing himself through production.


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Andrew has been a commercial writer for about a decade. He escaped from a life of writing mundane product descriptions by running away to the woods and teaching himself how to bake and chop stuff up in the kitchen. He has a background in landscaping, Filipino martial arts, and drinking whiskey.

27 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To American Made Knives”

  1. Good choice ‘n stuff, but I think you missed out on one of the major USA made knife brands: Ka Bar. I’ll be honest, I’m Canadian but I love made in US because it’s gonna be great! A Ka Bar is a better choice for a survival knife than a SOG, hands down. Better steel, heat treatment, and ergonomics. I love Spyderco knives, and for a folding EDC knife I think the PM2 is the best choice. Just saying, not trying to be bigoted. Keep it up ‘Merica

    Reply
  2. Holy crap, I forgot Ka Bar. I knew I was missing something.

    I agree, Lone Wolf. Ka Bar is better than SOG by a large margin, and I like the look of their designs a lot better. I have to give SOG props for their ingenuity though. They make some neat looking stuff, and I have high hopes for new releases from their American made line.

    I’ll update this blog with Ka Bar info as soon as I have the time. Thanks for the suggestion, Wolf.

    Reply
      • It’s funny you’d ask, because we actually wrote a blog about the best brands for tactical knives. We talk a bit about rescue knives in there.
        But it really depends on what kind of “rescuing” you mean.
        If you’re thinking of some kind of wilderness situation, it’s hard to beat Esee or TOPS Knives (especially the BOB);
        The Spyderco Waterway handles rope really well, and could probably cut a seat belt if you needed it to;
        The Ka Bar TDI Hinderance carries easy and takes a sharp enough edge that it would do pretty well with first aid kit materials (I mean the TDI Hinderance specifically, because the base TDI knife is made in Taiwan);
        There’s also the Gerber StrongArm, which also has softer steel that can take an edge, a nice rubber handle, and a striking pommel that could probably break a window.
        Of all those companies, though, Ka Bar/Becker Knife and Tool probably make the most rescue-style knives within the states that I would actually rely on. You’ll probably find the widest selection of decent rescue knives with them.

        Reply
    • That’s true. For some reason I thought they had shifted to China, but a quick search shows they’re pretty much all US made now. Thanks, Doug. I’ll put Case knives in here as soon as I have the time.

      Reply
  3. Bark River in my opinion has the best quality fixed blade knife mfg made in Michigan USA they use some of the best quality steel, handle materials on the market with a fit and finish anyone would be proud to have in there wheelhouse with price points to fit any budget

    Reply
    • We’re in the middle of updating the list right now, so it’ll be getting much much longer here soon. But I also have a vague criteria of only listing companies that do mass manufacturing on a certain scale, so there are some custom shops that probably won’t show up here.

      Reply
  4. All knives are not equal while most are made for a certain task these days and shopping is risky on the interweb. I recently bought at a gun show the Spyderco Tenacious pocket knife I did not have my glasses with me. That said the blade has China in print on it so does the box I decided to keep the knife has it feels perfect in the hand & once I got it home on the bench it took a nice edge. The Tenacious is a little heavy EDC but for the money I intend to give it a work out and see what happens. To this day collecting knives from as far back as 1930 my favorite is a inexpensive Gerber folder the EZ Skeleton Out made in America. I have carried this blade for EDC 14 years and it has never let me down. American made knives are harder to find in chain stores and now even local hardware stores seem to have Made in China on most of the inventory for sale.
    Take a good look at local venues when you see made in America step up it might be old have some wear and need a little love, you will be glad you did.

    Reply
  5. Wow, you didn’t even get close to the best brands in this article. I can take Hogue, but the rest of the list is junk. Randall Made Knives and Chris Reeve Knives are far better quality and hold their value even after use when well taken care of.

    Reply
    • Hi Bryan,
      We appreciate you swinging the shadow of your massive knife opinion over us. Your overcompensating generosity has made us rethink not only the contents of our pants, but our understanding of the point of this article in the first place. We’d just like to thank you for enlightening us about two whole other US companies and congratulate you for winning at knives.

      Reply
  6. Any reason Ontario Knife Company is missing from the list? They have made many fine USA made military and outdoor knives for many years (e.g. Spec Plus, 499 Air Force Survival, ASEK Survival, and fixed blade RAT models).

    Reply
  7. Tops?

    Their Tom Brown Tracker, is a must have for serious outdoors-men/women. I believe all of their knives are USA made.

    Reply
  8. Great list. Love your work, Andrew. I’m from Australia and was only looking for something not made in China and it seems that only Americans are proud enough to list their wares in this way. Made in the USA it is!

    Reply
    • I don’t know if we’re the only proud ones, but we’re definitely the loudest. Every time someone buys an American made Bowie knife here we have to set off fireworks and shoot a minimum of one (1) shotgun blast straight up into the air.
      Anyway, thanks for reading Heath.

      Reply
  9. Andrew,
    Nice job. I have saved “Nothing But Knives”.
    Greg Wall Knives – ?
    Morseth – ?
    Thanx for your efforts.
    .steve,

    Reply
    • Hey Steve,
      Greg Wall makes some great stuff, but he’s still a little too much on the custom side to include in this list.
      Morseth knives are great, but they’re technically just AG Russell knives now. I should mention that in the Russell entry, though. Thanks for the heads up.

      Reply

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