Introducing The Swiss Army… Tool?

A pile of red Swiss Army knives, probably collected by TSA.

You’ve probably used one for everything from opening packages to stripping wires in a pinch (because you know better than to use your teeth). We’re talking about the blade of the iconic Swiss Army knife. And while there are many different models out there, they all feature at least one knife among their utensils. Until now.

Citing pressure due to the increase in worldwide knife violence, the company announced that they’ll be releasing a new range of tools without blades. Carl Elsner, fourth-generation CEO of Swiss Army knife maker Victorinox, is also concerned about increasing regulations surrounding knives at sporting events and other activities. And he has a point: according to the UN’s Global Study on Homicide 2023 (PDF), 30% of European homicides were committed with some type of sharp object.

In an interview with The Guardian, Elsner spoke of creating more specialized tools, such as one for cyclists, who don’t necessarily need a blade. He also mentioned that Victorinox have a tool specifically for golfers, but we’d like to point out that it features, among other things, a knife.

It’s going to be a long time before people stop assuming that the skinny red thing in your pocket contains a knife, especially at the airport. What TSA agent is going to take the time to check out your tool? They’re going to chuck it in the bucket with the rest of them. Would you consider buying a blade-less multi-tool? Let us know in the comments.

Don’t have much need for a knife? Here’s a bench tool that has it all.

(Main and thumbnail photos via Unsplash)

145 thoughts on “Introducing The Swiss Army… Tool?

  1. Ridiculous, somebody can just use a kitchen knife. I’m glad I live in a country where people have the fundamental human right to keep and bare arms so they can protect themselves from individual threats and from politicians are parties that declare authoritarian mandates.

      1. Serious. The other day I got a cut from a coffee tin that I should have gotten stitches for. It bleed for 3 days, despite super glue and bandages and reopened everytime a bandage came off.

        Why won’t someone ban coffee tins /s

        1. hack a day really should do an article about some of the improvised weapons made in us prisons. if sombody really wants to kill somone they will usually find a way to do it. what are you going to do, regulate rocks and sticks? do you have a license for that cobble?

          1. Don’t even need tools, and compared to many a small ineffectual weapon like these non locking small multi-tool knifes you are probably going to find it easier and safer to use your bare hands. Try regulating that away…

            Obviously in general a weapon is going to be better than no weapon for hurting/killing other people. But ultimately it actually wants to be a weapon that isn’t hugely dangerous to the wielder, possibly even more dangerous to them than the target…

          2. Rule #9: Never go anywhere without a knife. Sadly if you need one one will be provided for you.

            I’d be interested to know if anyone has ever been stabbed or cut by someone else with a Swiss Army knife, yes of course also if anyone has ever been killed.

            At the end of the day after due consideration it’s not my company. They had a good run.

          3. Burroughs: ‘Anybody who can heft a frying pan owns death.’

            Also: ‘Naked Lunch’ is Cronenberg’s most disturbing/best film. Makes ‘Videodrome’ look like ‘Mickey Mouse Club’. Recommended. Not for squeamish. Get a manual typewriter.

            Response from England: ‘We’ll have to regulate frying pans. Ban cast iron assault pans and bug powder.’

          4. I guess they will start to regulate muscle too. Cannot harm if you can barely lift yourself up. Imagine being as free as a Half Life 2 Citadel stalker in the bright and safe future. /s

      2. It’s because this new generation is scared of their own shadow. The tool will become useless once someone gets stabbed with a screwdriver instead of the knife. LoL

    1. Eh, most “bladed articles” confiscated in the Uk aren’t even actual knives, they’re screwdrivers and the like.

      Forget DRM’d hardware. The EU’s right to repair isn’t worth anything when they’re taken away our screwdrivers.

    2. Nah this is a marketing stunt obviously. I lie in Europe – a lot of this stuff is vastly exaggerated by far right politicians – “They took your bulbs”, “They took your vacuums” …. i almost hear them again “They want you defenseless so they can control you” (some of them will add a conspiracy theory, or two – that’s becoming quiet popular again) – FUD an nothing else and this Victorinox thing is either typical modern corporate overreaction or marketing stunt – or bit of both.

      1. It’s not exaggerated if it’s true.

        You can’t buy normal bulbs anymore, can’t buy good vacuum cleaners anymore. I bought my vacuum second hand to replace a new model

        Also, far-right means nothing. Literally far-right is an open economy to make it easier of employers to make money and give good wages to employees. The horror. Less restrictions, a more open society, more freedoms for everyone, less poverty. Weird that anyone is against that.

        1. Yeah, bulbs are better, last longer and no one actually cares outside of people conditioned to believe what the TV tells them. Kudos. But they aren’t 88 cents/4 pack like “back in my day”, right?

    3. Even more so, the paper says that of those European deaths, 70% are family deaths. So I argue kitchen knives should be banned before pocket knives. This is bordering on totalitarian measures! Like a pencil is not a “sharp object”, should we replace all writing implements with crayons?

  2. > What TSA agent is going to take the time to check out your tool?

    There’s a joke here somewhere involving pat-downs at security, but I’ll be damned if I can figure it out. ;)

      1. No joke: After watching many side eyes and badly suppressed smirks from TSA agents I snuck a look at my backscatter image.

        My tool is ‘yellow alert’, scanner shows ‘angle of dangle’, left/right/center.
        No I’m not weirdly turned on by standing in line.

      1. im alaskan, everyone here has a gun rack it seems. ive been hunting, ive see what bullets do to flesh. were very libertarian here.

        also not sure how to peel an apple with a screw driver. i have one that ive sharpened to a fine blade edge (for some project that slips my mind). maybe i can skewer the apple, chuck it up in my drill, and do a turning operation.

  3. I’ve carried a swiss army knife every day since high school. It’s gotten me out of more trouble than MacGyver (my nickname, BTW…) and I will never give that tool up. The nonsense that they should remove the knife blade from the tool makes as much sense as losing the bottle opener/screwdriver or can opener. Shame on Victorinox for even contemplating the idea. I’ll bet Wenger doesn’t make the same mistake.

    1. I don’t object to multitools being made lacking a normal knife blade myself. Sure I get lots of use out of normal blades however there are lots of other ways to do many of these tasks, and people who probably never need the knife blade at all. Decent scissor being able to do most things you’d just use the knife blade for for instance.

      So as long the knife option remains for those folks that really want or need it having a smaller, lighter or simply more specialist multitool option without it is a good thing. I might even get one if they go down the right path of specialisation, or its still useful day to day and now small enough to more easily tuck into the wallet or something.

          1. Yes. Mine is <3 inches in the pocket, anything longer is ok out in the open. Except you can still get dinged with "causing a disturbance" or "assault" charge for a sheathed hunting knife on the hip. And you can't take anything into the post office while sending packages or town hall while doing town hall stuff.

            So legally, I can't actually carry a swiss army knife while doing mundane errands

        1. That seems bonkers for a nation of gun freaks… But as always local law may not seem consistent or sane, but you have to follow it even if you may seek to change it. Makes not sense to me though as it is not like a decent pair of scissors will really make a great weapon (though probably better than the non locking blade typical of most multitool), and a weaponised “scissor” to get around the rules would be rather obvious and likely terrible as scissors…

          In that case what in the line of useful food cutting/package opening tools is allowed in the USA? It seems like even the tin opener and screwdriver on a multitool aught to be banned if scissors are problematic.

        2. So is a pointed stick, a banana and a tiger.

          Anything becomes a weapon when used as such.

          ‘Concealed weapon’ for having scissors in a sewing kit in their car. Not unless they took it out and stabbed someone with them.
          Cops are dumbasses, so the charge my have been reached for, but that’s just going to jail for ‘pissing off cop’. Charge dropped by first shyster to read it. Cop whacked across nose with rolled up newspaper.

    2. They’ve been selling a bladeless tool for over a decade called the jetsetter. I’m glad they are expanding the concept to larger load outs. They’ve also owned Wenger for nearly 20 years.

      1. Lame.. I’ll explain. A non locking blade is less useful to kill then an average screwdriver. A sharp blade can do it all. ..trim a fingernail, cut a rope, twine, thread or so forth. Box knife now that’s a killer tool. Should they go away? Razor scraper got to go too;
        they work too good? Really? Thugs will still have guns and knives. How about you’d?

    3. And you would lose that bet, since they are the same company. This whole thing is a publicity stunt crossed with a diversification move to appeal to people outside of the “I know what EDC stands for” set. They’ll keep offering SAKs as they always have.

  4. Anyone who looks at a 5cm non locking blade and thinks its a dangerous weapon is a moron. A butter knife with some tape around the handle is certainly more deadly.

    Western society has lost its marbles.

      1. Agreed. Modern headlines are like *SUV* rams parade. *knife* stabs school children. And politicians will get up on a podium and say “we have to do something about these… SUVs and knives.” Ugh.

        1. Well, you can’t argue with the fact that they do have a point. Although some solutions are a bit simplistic or miss the point completely. Banning things is one thing, where does it stop as everything can be made into a weapon, but promoting weapons is something else. Making dangerous things more difficult to obtain can be helpful to reduce the potential dangers on the streets.

          For some crazy reason the past few years some groups of young kids in the Netherlands are walking on the streets with a kitchen knife hidden in their pants. These are large, can be purchased easily, too easy perhaps and they are dirt cheap. Fortunately, some shops are no longer selling knifes to youngsters, but the real problem is attitude, status and aggression, how do you regulate that? Why do these kids think they need knifes, this isn’t about protection or the right to bare arms (which we don’t have around here and we can live fine without it).

          1. Last year I bought a “multi-pliers” (tool) at Walmart using the Self Checkout. My purchase was on “hold” until an employee came and checked I was over the age of 16.

    1. Oh, that’s simple. Since they are less and less sharp, you have to use more force to use them so you are more likely to slip and, as such, more likely to inflict an injury to yourself or your wife that was, unexpectedly, close to you and shouting at you. And since your tool isn’t sharp enough, you have to use it multiple time to get the expected cut you were looking for.

      Since this is painful, it’s much better to look for a fork, since they don’t require that much sharpening effort. Once you start to do so, you’re inflicting a discrimination violence to the knifes, and as a matter of fact, you’re increasing the worldwide knife violence…

  5. Huh, the knife from Switzerland (along with countless others, also guns) were fine for centuries in Europe without any need to ban them… Right through just about every kind of socioeconomic strata and strife imaginable. I wonder what else we might be able to learn from this change?

    1. That the only thing preventing the collapse of Victorinox AG is that Chinese manufacturers with vastly, vastly superior (no, really, they are) products haven’t figured out the power of red scales yet.

      1. I’m sure they’re out there, but I have yet to find a Chinese-brand pocketknife or multitool that’s better than those made by Victorinox, Gerber, Leatherman. Links?

        Victorinox makes pretty good products. A bladeless multitool would be fine in many circumstances, especially travel. Often, I might have a small Swiss Army knife in my pocket, and a multitool in my knapsack.

  6. Jaysus people, they didn’t say that they were going to not make ones with blades anymore, just that they were going to make a ‘range of blade fre tools’

    It’s not the end of freedumm!!!!11!!eleventy!!!

    1. Strawman. People aren’t worried that they will be unable to buy a pocket knife, they’re pointing out the problem behind the rising knife violence problem (although you have to be discreet)

  7. Yes bike multi-tools need a knife. It is a big reason I have struck with my Lezyne 20 over the years.
    I have had to cut up bits of roadside rubbish to fix splits and cuts through tyres before.

    That said, there is a need for a design of cutting edge that legitimately doesn’t trigger security. i.e. is not a useful stabbing or slashing tool.

    1. Something like a safety letter opener (see username link), but a less pointy tip and a metal hosing to prevent disassembly.

      P.S. The new comment form is shit. Bitching about “to long URL” an then the back button returns to an error, causing loss of drafted message.

    2. IMO this is a good thing. I like the idea of a Swiss army knife except the knife bit because of social stigma. I do not need a knife in my daily life, at most I open food packets with one and cut the tape on cardboard boxes but I don’t need to do those in public, a kitchen knife at home will do.

      Also the number of people in public who are mentally unstable, drunk, aggressive etc seems high. Do I want those people carrying a weapon, or anything more dangerous than a teaspoon? Heck no. Criminals will be criminals but I’d rather not make it easy for the average disgruntled office worker to be dangerous.

  8. I have lost several nice Leatherman Squirts at airports. I have one that had the knife tip snapped off, so I ground off the rest of the blade and take it prominently in my carryon instead of my good one that stays home. The pliers, wire strippers, screw drivers and scissors cause no problems and are very handy on trips.

    1. lots of real jobs need knives. bureaucrats dont and so they go on a power trip to try and make them illegal.

      i built a tool rack in my workshop and it has every tool i have, except the utility knife that never seems to leave the workbench because i seem to use it for everything. i printed a holder for it and i think i put the blade in there once, to test the holder.

  9. I have a Swiss army knife that I have cut the knife blade off of just for traveling. Take it through the TSA all the time. Every time I hand it to an agent, they look like they just stopped the next big terrorist attack. When I burst their bubble that there is no blade, they are so sad. I have to hand it to them otherwise they will just throw it in the “bin” and it’s impossible to get it back.

  10. It sucks that this needs to happen but oh well for EU people it’s a good product. Currently I have to remove blades from my leatherman in case I get asked to empty my pockets for the cops.

    For Americans here in some countries if you get caught carrying a knife it’s the same crime as carrying a weapon. You get a lot of fines and there is a risk of jail time. And of course depending on your job you will lose it because now you are a dangerous criminal for carraying a weapon in public -> comparable to fellony offence.

      1. If existing gun laws were justly enforced, there would be little need for politicians to pass more laws each time a crime is committed with one.
        But it makes sheeple think something is being done.

        1. Politicians who get things done won’t be re-elected on the same points over and over, so a successful and long political career depends on doing nothing and always denying failure or passing blame – saying next time we’ll get it done.

          That’s also why the most successful politicians promise things that seem plausible and very desirable, but what cannot ever be attained in the real world. For the voting public, the mere promise of the thing eclipses the foreseeable fact that you won’t actually have it – since there’s always “hope”.

  11. Ok so “30% of European homicides were committed with some type of sharp object” but how many of those, or indeed non-fatal stabbings, were a Swiss Army Knife blade?

  12. So, I’ve never found the knives in a multi tool or SAK to be useful. Having a MT that has pliers and some common drivers is useful, but if I need a knife it’s going to be a proper knife.

    With that said, taking the knife out because of concerns about knife violence is ridiculous.

    1. I have a Leatherman (Curl) where I replaced the knife with a washer. This is the second time I’ve done this. I can’t take it through airport security sure, but there are a lot of other places like universities that have specific knife policies. This way I can choose to add a Spyderco if I want a blade or not if I just want the other tools.

      Leatherman actually sells a model with no knife.

      Making it about violence is pure spectacle though

  13. > What TSA agent is going to take the time to check out your tool? They’re going to chuck it in the bucket with the rest of them.

    Isn’t the blade on the most popular Victorinox model exactly 6cm long, which is supposed to be allowed in carry-on luggage? Still though, I’m not risking a fight over a pocket knife during security check when going on vacation with my family, so I put it in checked luggage, but keep the smaller Classic SD in my backpack.

  14. We are waiting for innovation and not cosigning to the stone age

    No normal person would buy a pocket knife without a knife. the first pocket knives in the Roman army (yes yes yes, Julius Caesar, etc.) included a knife and sometimes cutlery.

  15. “30% of European homicides were committed with some type of sharp object.”

    The bigger question is what culture or group is mostly likely to engage in this behavior. I’m guessing it is not on average, the native or historical heritage population of these countries in question.

    1. That would come under “profiling” and the cops get beaten on by politicians for doing that.
      I would just LOVE to know how many 50yo classic vehicle owning engineers stab people with their Leatherman/SAK…

  16. “Citing pressure due to the increase in worldwide knife violence, the company announced that they’ll be releasing a new range of tools without blades.”

    In the US, automobile accidents, not Swiss Army knives, are the leading cause of deaths between ages 1 and 54. What we need is for governments to “pressure” car markers to offer a range of vehicles with no engine and no wheels. This progressive thinking would eliminate traffic accidents, save the owner thousands in insurance, and put a dent in CO2 emissions to boot!

    1. There have been a number of instances in the US with SUVs and other vehicles used to assault people, but so far no one has proposed your very progressive idea to resolve this problem.

  17. i carry the smallest (?) swiss army knife…a blade (less than 2 inches), a pointy nail file, and scissors. and tweezers! out of 4 tools, i probably use the blade 3rd most often. but i definitely would not buy one without it. my bike-specific multi-tool has a blade in it, and i don’t use it often but it’s definitely better to have it than not. the idea that there’s no bike maintenance tasks that might need a blade is crazy. i’m not having fantasies of like butchering an animal to survive but my bike tool kit is basic road side survival. a lot of things can happen.

    the thing about sporting events seems like it’s not really solving a problem. there is a problem — i’ve had to leave my knife in a bush outside. but the thing is, i think if i left it in my pocket, it’s so small, the metal detector wouldn’t’ve triggered on it. so the question is really just the metal detector, not the blade. if i have a big multi-tool that triggers the metal detector, it’s gonna be too much of a hassle to bring. even if they eventually let me through after i open it up to show none of the parts are a blade. so when i’m going to the game, i leave my pocket knife and phone at home and just take the key for my bike lock. i don’t even take it out of my pocket, because one brass key doesn’t trigger the metal detector.

    it reminds me i wish… when i’m shopping for ‘opera glasses’, the ad copy would say if there’s any metal in there. because i don’t really want to bring a viewing aid to the game if it’s gonna slow me down going through security.

  18. Always carry my small Leatherman. The knife is probably the most useful tool there. Just as with guns, knifes are just a tool. But we have a segment of our population that doesn’t understand that. They’d rather be in a while room with no corners and no sharp objects laying around :rolleyes: . Sad, and now we have a corporation buying into that group of people ideas.

    Also sad, that some think we shouldn’t be able to defend ourselves and need to stay ‘disarmed’. As with ANY of these situations that come up, when seconds count, police are minutes/hours away (more so now with all the defund police garage going on).

  19. I might pick one up for carrying into “secure” areas where blades aren’t allowed, but far too many of those places also prohibit tools. As far as the percentage of any sort of criminal tool, it’s the intent that matters to me. It’s the old Archie Bunker line: “would be feel better if they had been pushed out of windas?”

  20. Governments aroind the world are going nuts because they themselves are nut jobs. It is not the Swiss army knife, or the Beretta pistol, or the M16 that kills a human being. It is a criminal human being that will use anything at his or her disposal to harm or kill another person. Focus on the criminal, not tools we require for everyday living. Take the criminals out, not our tools. If I cannot buy a Swiss army “knife” with a blade, then I see no purpose for owning such a device. All hominids including Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalis made blades from rocks and flint, then metals because we need sharp objects for life. Or are we going to peel carrots using a tame rabbits?

  21. Granted, it has been decades since I owned a swiss army knife/tool, but to my knowledge they do not have a locking blade. On mine I would have probably folded the blade over my fingers before it ever came into contact with another person. I would be way more terrified of being stabbed with an icicle!

  22. “…all feature at least one knife… Until now”
    FALSE Victorinox Jetster series in 2012
    Hackaday a website with a sculls as a logo and “devoted” to archive the best hacks, mods and DIY proyects, allow Kristina Panos to editorialize “And he has a point” and sites the globalist UN propaganda to imply SAK are responsible for homicides with “sharp objects” in a proportion that is significant. Kristina Panos, SHAME!
    If Victorinox finally desides to make more SAK without a blade, good, I probably buy one… Ok, probably more than one, but for Hackaday to blame any and every knife, SAK, Letherman, (insert you EDC tool), carrying person as contributors to homicide. Hackaday SHAME!

    1. You take the “And he has a point” quote totally out of context.
      “Carl Elsner, fourth-generation CEO of Swiss Army knife maker Victorinox, is also concerned about increasing regulations surrounding knives at sporting events and other activities. And he has a point:”
      That is a continuation of the thought from the previous sentence, he is worried about increasing regulations. He has a point because there probably will be tighter regulations due to the kind of statistics cited in the UN pamphlet.

  23. Did anyone read they are just going to make tools that people want? It didn’t say they were getting rid of knife blades entirely. At all. You shouldn’t have a knife if your reading comprehension is so low you can’t understand this.

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