Well known knife sharpening company Lansky has a pair of knives that they market as being "world legal". This is a pretty big statement considering how many different laws there are to abide by. These knives have sub 3 inch blades and have no locking mechanism. This requirement alone according to advertising makes it safe to carry in most areas of the world. On top of being legal they are quite affordable and sport a more modern look compared to other non locking knives.
There are two versions of the World Legal knife; the original and the new Madrock. Both knives are a collaboration with Danish knife maker Mikkel Willumsen. The knives both have a modern tactical appearance and have the designers styling very similar to his custom work. The older and original WL knife comes with a 2.75 inch blade of 9Cr18Mov stainless steel with sort of a hook beak to it. The blade profile is rather thick and is very similar to the Spyderco Dodo.
The handle has full stainless liners and is covered with black nylon scales. The scales are very grippy and add to the tactical appearance of a blade that is meant to be very friendly with law enforcement. The rear of the handle has a nice lanyard hole and looks like it could be used to give someone a nice goose egg. The knife comes with a four way ambidextrous pocket clip that carries either side tip down and tip up. The clip allows the knife to ride comfortably in the pocket and it makes retrieval faster than other traditional slip-joint knives. For such a small blade this thing is quite heavy with a weight of 5.4 oz. That's incredibly heavy and it makes the knife quite noticeable even with the clip.
The Madrock takes a lot of the design elements from the original and incorporates some improvements. The knife is much lighter and is even slimmed down some compared to overweight brother. The blade is the same 9Cr18Mov steel with a 2.75 inch length but has a different profile. The Madrock features a hawkbill style blade that has a cutting surface that is curved inwards. This blade style is very utilitarian and works well for cutting rope, carpet and other items. The cutting edge is neat because it seems to draw items your cutting into edge and makes cutting effortless. This blade style is however kind of menacing in appearance and could be seen as defensive like a Kerambit.
The handle has two tone nylon scales and it feels to me like the orange section appears to be more tactile. The new handle shape for Madrock allows me to choke up on the blade. Choking up allows for greater control of the blade durring cutting. The pocket clip is even different on the Madrock. This time around its tip up only and you still have the option for right or left hand carry.
Between blade thickness, ergonomics and weight there are a few noticeable differences between the two. One commonality between them is the locking mechanism or shall I say a lack thereof. Both knives use a slip-joint system to keep the blades open or closed. With this system there is a stainless steel spring in the back of the handle. This spring keeps constant pressure on the blade to keep it from opening accidentally or closing on your fingers with used properly. Both World Legal knives have an extremely strong spring and make opening and closing the knives close to being dangerous. It takes a great deal of effort to open or close them and there is the potential for an accident. The beauty of this system is it rides that thin line of what is considered to be locking. It is very unlikely that you will accidentally close these knives without any intention on your part.
So there you have it; are these World Legal knives really legal in most parts of the world? I am not sure but be sure to check local laws to make sure your ok to carry one. What can be certain though is you get some really robust blades at a very affordable price point. I could certainly see these being used, abused and replaced. If your looking for a budget blade that's different and perhaps legal where you live the World Legal knives are something to consider.