What do the Parts on a Swiss Army Knife do?

What do the Parts on a Swiss Army Knife do?
"Swiss Army knife" has become synonymous with a jack of all trades, a tool or person that can adapt to just about any situation. The actual Swiss Army knives, however, are real multi-tools with a number of handy components. Some of these parts are standard to almost all Swiss Army knives, including the military version, while others are somewhat more exotic and are specialist or novelty knives.


While the term "Swiss Army knife" has become a common term for any pocket knife equipped with multiple tools, it is also a brand name. The trademark is owned by Victorinox of Switzerland, and real Swiss Army knives are made by both the parent company and its subsidiary, Wegner. Knives made by these companies are actually used by the Swiss Army. The current military model is the Soldatenmesser 08.


The Soldatenmesser 08, as well almost all other models of Swiss Army knives, come with screwdriver heads. The normal combination is to have a standard head screwdriver part, and then to include a fitting on the end of the can opener part that can be used to turn Phillips-head screws in a pinch. The Soldatenmesser 08 also has a dedicated Phillips-head screwdriver on the back side of the knife.

Can and Bottle Opener

The other function of the two screwdriver parts is to open cans and bottles. The normal arrangement is for the standard head screwdriver to have a bottle opener with a notch along its inside length. The can opener part has a notch, which is used to lock the can opener's base into position on the outside of a can rim. This allows the opener blade to be pushed forward with leverage, opening a small tear in the can. Making many such cuts around the rim of the can eventually opens it.


Another feature of both the Soldatenmesser 08, as well as some of the bigger Swiss Army knife models, is a saw blade. This is a light, saw-toothed part that can be used for light sawing work.


The Soldatenmesser 08 has a partly serrated knife blade with a loop along the backside, allowing for easier drawing of the blade from within the pocket knife. It is more normal for Swiss Army knife blades and other parts to have small fingernail slits to make drawing the parts easier, and all the other Soldatenmesser 08 features do have those slits. Some models of Swiss Army knife, however, will have the pulling loop on heavier blades. The Soldatenmesser 08 also has a small blade folded into the back part of the knife handle, which is for wire stripping.

Other Parts

The Swiss Army knife models that are sold to consumers can have a lot of parts that have never been used in any military version of the knife. These parts include pliers, scissors, magnifying glasses, files and corkscrews.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

The Latest from the Trails.com Community

This is a agreeable & interesting State Park & hike. The ocean has flooded a clef along the San Andreas Fault to...
I was a little confused where to park but once we found the trail next to the covered bridge, it was so beautiful...
Nice, pleasurable ride. Many birds and iguanas to see.