Top 10 Best Pocket Knives

When looking for the best pocket knife, make sure you follow these simple yet weird tips or else you might be in for a big shock. Pocket knives can vary greatly in terms of design and, for that reason, you should pick one based on your intended usage. This guide will walk you through what you should look for in a pocket knife as well as the top 10 pocket knives recommended by KnifeUp.

Unlike other reviews online, this review is part personal review as well as part meta-review (we research the web and are reporting what other people are stating about the best pocket knife). The benefit of this to you is that you save time! Read on as I share with you some amazing knives.

Quick Overview : Best Pocket Knives



Spyderco Delica4
  • Steel: VG-10
  • 4-way Clip
  • Skeletonized steel internal liners
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knifeup-table__imageSOG Aegis
  • Steel: AUS8
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
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knifeup-table__imageBenchmade 275BKSN
  • Steel: D2
  • High quality
  • Comfortable
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knifeup-table__imageCase Cutlery Black Trapper
  • Steel: Surgical Steel
  • Jigged black synthetic handle
  • Liner lock
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knifeup-table__imageOntario RAT Model-1
  • Steel: D2
  • High quality
  • Standard edge l Satin Finish
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knifeup-table__imageKershaw Blur
  • Steel: 440A
  • Secure locking system
  • Durable handle
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knifeup-table__imageCold Steel Recon 1
  • Steel: AUS8A
  • Durable
  • Steel blade
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knifeup-table__imageBenchmade 581
  • Steel: M390
  • High quality
  • Versatile
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knifeup-table__imageCRKT M16
  • Steel: AUS4
  • Automated liner safety
  • Glass-Reinforced nylon handles
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knifeup-table__imageBuck/Tops CSAR-T
  • Steel: ATS-34
  • Sturdy
  • Safe non-slip handle
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What to Look for in a Pocket Knife

The best pocket knife for you depends upon what your intended use for the pocket knife is. If you are planning on using it for hunting, you will need a different knife than if you were planning on using it for everyday carry.

This guide will walk you through what you should look for in an all-around great pocket knife that will last you for years in a wide range of tasks. These are pocket knives that you can easily and legally (see what knives are legal in your state) carry in your pocket day in and day out. These knives are great for cutting up thick shipping boxes, slicing apples, or even self-defense.

Brand DOES Matter!

Believe it or not, a knife’s brand really matters. Name brand knives are, on one hand, more expensive than cheap knives but, on the other hand, will give you fewer headaches as well as last longer.

For example, Benchmade allows you to send in any knife of theirs for as long as you own it to the factor for restoration. They will sharpen the blade to the correct angle, adjust all screws, replace worn down parts, and give it a factory shine. Non-name brands do not offer this.

On top of that, name brand knives give you better customer service. If you would like to sharpen a knife to factory condition at home, you can call the manufacturer’s customer service number and ask about the angle the factory uses for a certain model. No only will the representative tell you, he might also give you insights about the knife that you didn’t know before–that was my experience with Cold Steel when I called them.

Some big brands also issue lifetime guarantees with their knives. This makes the $50-$100 investment in a good knife worth it. If you purchased a flea market knife for $20 and, every year, it breaks, after 5 years, you’ve spent $100! By paying a little more upfront at first, you save yourself money in the long run for the best pocket knife.

Great Steel Makes Great Knives

It should be no surprise that a great knife is made of great steel. All the knives reviewed here use top quality steel that will keep its blade over a lot of tough use. If you are interested in what a certain steel’s properties are, use KnifeUp’s search widget on the top right–KnifeUp has an extensive collection of steel guides. KnifeUp also recommends this steel guide.

Don’t Ignore the Handle!

If you are planning on carrying a knife every day, you must get a knife that has a great handle. Cheap plastic handles will hurt your hands and give you blisters after long, heavy use. Some handles will warp or fade colors when exposed to UV light; avoid these if you are outdoors a lot. The knives reviewed here all have high-quality handles and this guide will talk about each one in-depth further on.

For Safety Reasons, Have A Good Lock

A pocket knife is a folding knife and, for that reason, you must have a good lock on the knife if you are planning on using the knife for heavy-duty purposes. A lock prevents the blade from closing when you are using it and higher quality locks give the knife a firmer feel. Cheap knives use small or flimsy locks that will make the blade wobble after time.

EDC Requires a Good Clip

If you are planning on carrying a knife every day, a good, secure clip is vital. Low-quality clips can damage your pants or break. Poorly designed clips do not secure themselves properly to your pants and, oftentimes, they’ll end up falling out of your pocket. Look for a smooth clip with no sharp edges.

Avoid clips that have a protruding screw, even if the screw is beveled. Try to get a clip that allows the knife to sit deep in your pockets. Some clips can also be too tight and make it hard to remove a knife from your pocket.

My Top 10 Recommendations

Below are the top 10 pocket knives that would be great for almost any use. Their ratings were based on quality, price, and features.

#10 Buck & Tops CSAR-T

Buck Knives and Tops teamed up to produce the CSAR-T. Tops is a famous custom knife maker whose designs are considered one of the best. Buck knives is a large knife manufacturer whose production capabilities allow for this sturdy $85 knife.

The CSAR-T is short for Combat Search and Rescue Tool. Given its purpose, the knife performs exceptionally well.

The knife has an ATS-34 steel blade with a tanto tip. ATS-34 is a high-grade stainless steel. With regards to stainless steel in general, ATS-34 is low in corrosion resistance but, for EDC use, this steel is fine–just don’t go diving with it.

The knife comes with a condor sheath that, for a pocket knife, is rare and worth a good price by itself. The condor sheath fits MOLLE gear for military and law enforcement personnel.

The handle is made of G-10 and has a steel liner. The steel liner gives the knife a very solid feel when open or close. When cutting, the liner makes the knife feel as if it is a fixed blade knife. The liner lock is very thick and solid.

>>Read More Here

34 online reviewers gave this knife 4.5 out of 5 stars and called it “one great knife,” “helluva knife,” and “hulk knife.” KnifeUp highly recommends this knife for mid-range consumers who need a good EDC or heavy-duty knife.

#9 Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) M16

CRKT is an Oregon based knife company whose knives are mostly produced in China and Taiwan. Overseas production allows them to have a much lower price point than other knife manufacturers. The M16 is a $32 knife that was designed for everyday carry.

The knife has a 3 inch AUS4 steel blade with a spear point tip that is coated black to protect against glare. AUS4 is not as good as AUS8 but, given its price, is much better than 440 or other possible steels in this price range.

The knife features CRKT’s AutoLAWK which is not that much more difficult than a traditional liner lock but gives the knife a much more stable feel. The knife’s handle is made of Zytel and lacks a steel liner. The lack of features reduced the M16’s price point but, for the knife was well designed, does not reduce its performance.

>>Read More Here

45 online reviewers stated that the knife was 4.5 out of 5 stars. Comments such as “great product,” “great knife,” and “great, light-weight utility knife,” were common. KnifeUp recommends this knife if you are someone who is worried that you’ll lose a knife. At this price, the knife performs well and, if you happen to lose it, it is no big deal.

#8 Benchmade 581

The 581 is the Mercedes of knives. This knife, priced at $200, features M390 Super Steel, a G10, and Aluminum handle, as well as Benchmade’s patented AXIS assist lock. KnifeUp would rate this knife higher but, for the price is very high, it is not practical for all readers.

The two-toned, aluminum and G10 handle gives the knife a very shiny and smooth look when closed or open. The knife weighs 3.2 ounces and opens in a split second. The AXIS assist has a safety lock that can lock the knife in the open or closed position. Safeties are common on super dangerous items such as guns but, given how the AXIS lock is, it is fitting.

The knife is very well built and, when you hold it, it is easy to see that the knife has a huge amount of harmony in design, production, and use.

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The clip is reversible and compliments the handle nicely. The knife’s M390 tool steel is extremely tough, giving the knife a super sharp edge as well as its high price tag.

tactical pen

#7 Cold Steel Recon 1

Cold Steel, a California based knife maker, was formed in 1980 and offers a wide variety of good knives, machetes, and martial arts equipment at reasonable prices. Cold Steel also has bi-annual factory second sales on their products.

The Recon 1 is a tactically designed knife that has an AUS-8A Teflon coated blade to prevent glare, reduce friction, and look tough. The blade has a clip point which makes it great for stabbing. AUS-8A is a high-quality Japanese steel that is much better than other steels in this price range. The 4-inch long blade gives you plenty of room for slicing, dicing, and all other cutting needs. The knife has a thumb stub that opens the blade with ease. The stud is adjustable.

The knife has a locking lever that is super tough and sturdy. Once you purchase the knife, the lock will be tough but, after time, the lock will break-in. The lock makes the knife feel very secure.

The handle lacks a steel liner but, given that it is made of G-10, the handle is not flimsy and compliments the lock very well. The G-10 handle is very sticky.

However, the G-10 handle is not smooth behind the clip and this reduces the knife’s ability to be drawn out of one’s pocket. The clip is adjustable and rides low in one’s pocket. The fact that the knife sticks to one’s pocket is a major downside to this knife.

>>Read More Here

103 reviewers online gave this knife 4.5 out of 5 stars. Their reviews stated that the knife was “sturdy, solid and very sharp,” “blade is beyond razor-sharp,” and “almost perfect.” KnifeUp recommends this knife for occasional utility use.

#6 Kershaw Blur

Kershaw, an Oregon based knife company, has been around since 1974. The company produces pocket knives, sporting knives, and kitchen knives. The company has a second brand, Zero Tolerance, that produces high-end knives as well.

The Blur is a popular line of knives that open in a blur. It features a thumb stud that, once you master it, can open the knife as fast as a switchblade. This is not an automatic knife however, it is just a very well designed knife by Ken Onion.

The blade is made of 440A, a so-so metal. The metal is not the greatest but, at $53, it is adequate. Online reviewers stated that the knife comes razor sharp. An advantage to 440A is that it sharpens easily if you need to sharpen it at home. Other, harder steels sometimes require professional sharpening.

The handle is made of aluminum with Trac-Tec inserts. These inserts feel like silicon and give the handle a very sticky feel. For the price, the handle is adequate as well.

The clip is adjustable for tip up or down carry. However, the clip is tight in my opinion and I would not recommend this knife for tactical use.

>>Read More Here

241 online reviewers stated that this knife was 4.5 stars out of 5. KnifeUp views that, for the price, the Blur is a great budget folding knife. It does the job well given its limitations.

#5 Ontario Knife Co. RAT Model 1 (D2 Steel)

Ontario is a prominent knife manufacturer that produces lots of military knives. Ontario was contracted for many famous military knives such as M7 bayonet, M1942 machete, and USAF survival knife. Given that, their knives are all well designed and built for the hardest uses.

The Rat Model 1 is one of the very sturdiest pocket knives I have ever tested.  Its Nylon-6 handle is adequate though uninspiring.  The overall look and feel of the knife is not overly aggressive or flashy.  There are better-looking knives out there, but for the D2 steel at this price point, along with the stellar quality of one of the world’s best knife makers, makes this one of our top pics.  For more details on the Rat-1, please check out our full review HERE!

>>Read More Here

#4 Case Cutlery Black Trapper

Case Cutlery, full name W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery, is based in New York State and mainly produces traditional pocket knives and penknives. These knives look and feel like classic pocket knives and are not suited for heavy-duty use.

The knife is small (4.1 inches long) and light (4.8oz). The blade uses surgical steel and is razor-sharp. The blade opens easily with one hand and features a liner lock. The knife’s handle is made of a tough synthetic material that feels sturdy. The clip holds the knife securely in your pocket but, unlike other knives featured here, is not reversible.

>>Read More Here

This knife is good if you want a classic looking knife that is ultra-sharp for small, light tasks such as cutting an apple and opening a letter. The knife’s handle and design does not lend itself to tough uses. For $95, the knife is expensive but, given the brand, it is moderate.

#3 Benchmade 275BKSN

Benchmade, a high end knife manufacturer from Oregon, produces great knives as well as balisongs. Benchmade also has a patent on its AXIS lock technology which makes folding knives feel just like fixed blade knives with regards to sturdiness. The Sibert uses the AXIS lock. The Sibert is apart of the ADAMAS line of knives that were military designed and inspired. Part of the proceeds also go to injured veterans.

One of the first things you’ll realize when you hold the Sibert is that it is heavy! Weighing 12 ounces, it is a tank and, given its military design, is fitting. This knife is for super heavy duty users and military personnel only. The weight makes it too heavy to be an EDC in my book.

The blade is razor sharp and made of D2 tool steel. D2 is a veryhigh-qualityy steel that has high wear resistance. It’ll stay sharp forever and is only used on the best knives. The blade features a small blood groove and a well positioned thumb stud. The drop point and AXIS lock makes the knife feel very tough and uniformed. Given its heavy duty purpose, the blade performs exceptionally well.

The handle has three holes that gives the knife a very sturdy hold. The handle is made of G-10, a very sturdy and light material. The blade flips open easily out the handle and one is able to open the knife with one hand easily. The knife has no lock to keep the blade close however but, at this weight, I don’t expect it opening by itself on accident.

>>Read More Here

Online reviewers stated that the knife is “perfect,” “could replace dog as man’s best friend,” and is a “folder that can work like a fixed blade.” KnifeUp agrees and, if you are a in need of a heavy duty knife, the 275BKSN is the knife for you. At $144, the knife is well priced.

#2 Aegis by SOG

SOG is a reputable US knife maker who has been producing quality knives designed for military, law enforcement, and outdoor use since 1986. The company’s first knife was a redesign of the SOG Knife, a knife used by special forces soldiers in Vietnam. Today, the majority of their products are designed with heavy-duty use in mind and the Aegis is no exception.

The Aegis features a digital camo printed Zytel handle that resembles a mixture of the Army’s Multi-Cam uniform and its ACU uniform. Zytel is a mixture of nylon and fiberglass which gives the handle a very secure and durable feel. Some reviewers online stated that the handle is plastic but they are incorrect, it is Zytel, a much sturdier material.

The handle features a super-low riding clip that allows the knife to be seated very, very low in one’s pants pocket. This is great for military members during marches and field exercises where losing a knife is a big ordeal. The clip is reversible for lefties.

The blade, made of AUS-8, is a great all-around steel. AUS-8 is a Japanese made medium carbon steel that is high in chromium. The carbon content gives the steel extra hardness while the chromium gives it rust resistance. The blade comes razor sharp right out of the box and is partially serrated. The serrated edge is great for cutting rope and other natural materials.

The Aegis uses SOG Assisted Technology (SAT) to give users a very fast opening with one hand. Along with the pointy tip and guard, the Aegis is able to be used in self-defense situations if needed. The spring-assisted opening also features a safety that prevents the knife from opening by accident.

>>Read More Here

The Aegis received 4.5 stars on online reviews and was stated to be “well crafted,” “a good everyday carry knife,” and “one of the best pocket knives I have owned.” Given its price of $65, the Aegis is a great tool for anyone who is in law enforcement, military, or any other heavy-duty users. The Aegis can be a great survival knife as well given its rugged features.

#1 Delica4 by Spyderco

Spyderco, a company based out of Golden, Colorado (where Coors is brewed), has been around since 1976. The company is focused on innovating and creating better knife technology and, because of that, the president, Sal Glesser, was placed in the Blade Magazine Hall of Fame. Spyderco specializes in folding knives.

The Delica4, the fourth installment of the Delica series, is one of Spyderco’s most popular and best-selling knives.  The knife is ultra-lightweight at 2.5oz and perfect for EDC. Other, more heavy-duty knives, can handle harder tasks but the Delica4’s VG-10 steel allows it to withstand harsh work if needed.

The Delica4 features Spyderco’s signature “Spyder Hole.” The Spyder Hole allows one to open the knife fast with one’s thumb even when wearing gloves. It is much more ergonomic than a thumb stud and will not irritate your thumb after prolonged use.

The clip is a 4-way clip that allows you to position it in many different ways, giving you ultimate comfort when carrying this knife. The clip is smooth, sturdy, and yet springy. It can securely attach itself to your pants and, yet, still allow you to quickly remove the knife in a second. The clip has three screws that prevent it from sliding. Knives whose clip is secured by two or one screws will not be as stable as the Delica4.

The Delica4’s handle is made of Spyderco’s classic Bi-Directional Texturing that is featured on a lot of their knives. The texturing gives you grip in a very comfortable and ergonomic manner. The handle has steel liners that add a feeling of stability to the knife when you use it. The handle also has a pivot screw that allows you to adjust the screw if the blade becomes loose.

The Delica4 uses a David Boye Dent lock and this lock is a very, very good lock. Even under a super firm grip, the lock still holds. You can trust this lock even under the most demanding tasks.

>>Read More Here

Reviewers have rated this knife 4.5 stars, stating that it is the “perfect EDC” as well as “best EDC [knife] available for the price.” Given its super low price of $58, KnifeUp agrees and recommends this knife as the top knife for anyone who needs an all-around good knife for day to day use.

And One Last Thing

If you’re looking for a self-defense knife (which is why you may be here), I would strongly suggest this option for a MUCH lower price point… LIKE FREE!.  It doesn’t skin a deer that well, but it does do something else VERY WELL!

self defence pen

To See it, Click Here!


Within this article, we reviewed what you should look for in the best pocket knife as well as 10 great knives on the market today. Based on your needs, the ordering might or might not be accurate for you. Take our guidelines into consideration when you are buying a knife. If you have any recommendations, leave them in the comment box below.




  1. The Spyderco Delica series is a knife that maxes out the qualities of an every day carry knife. They are light weight and do not cause any problems in the pocket. The lock up is solid and the carry clip is light, simple and effective. It is a few dollar more than the average man or woman wants to spend but it is one of those sub-$100 knives that is much tougher than its light weight and construction, at first blush, might appear to be. It is not overly aggressive and is slicey enough to make short work of both meal preparation and meal eating. The tip is robust and won’t break under most uses. No hot spots in the handle. I’m not overly fond of the release, but the lock it provides is solid and blade will not come closed on the hand during the toughest use. Less costly than benchmade. Has a great forum for owners to get information about the knife. I have a few of them and the Delica 2 is a great all-rounder.

  2. I carry a folding Buck knife that I bought 17 years ago. The blade is removable very easily and I have a replacement saw blade that can be carried in the sheath.

    I also carry a Western Cutlery knife that I bought from my brother for $10 over 20 years ago (Model W84). They still make them and I think they sell for about $25. It has a 4 1/4″ full tang carbon steel blade and for the money is one of the best blades I have ever bought. It is a great trail, utility, cooking knife and becasue it is carbon steel it takes and holds an edge easily. When I got it the blade was in bad shape from abuse. A few hours with a stone and it was back in business. If I could only have one blade for all my knife uses this would be the one. Nice configuration, light, solid, and sharp, it handles anything I could need from a knife. It is NOT a combat knife, although I suppose in a pinch it would be better than nothing. I have carried K Bars backpacking and they never got used (blade was too long for my uses). I suppose in a SHTF situation I would also carry my K Bar. No bells, whistles, or chrome plated mud flaps, but is up to the task and gets the job done.

  3. Can anyone suggest a folding & locking knife that would be good cutting food? Most restaurants do not have good knives and being a false teeth wearer I need a good knife in my purse. Yes I am from Arkansas.

  4. After this article I find myself lost. I want to buy my first pocket knife but I still haven’t decided. What do I choose???

    1. Really depends on what you’re looking for. Assuming you’re a guy who wants an all-around good utility knife in your pocket, that won’t break the bank, I have a couple suggestions. I just visited the Ontario Knife Company in NY, and was impressed with 2 knives in particular that you might like for your pocket. One is the Utiliac (see it at: or the Carter Trinity (see it at: Both are great, but the Trinity takes up less space in your pocket and you can hardly tell it’s there – but it looks very cool when open!

      The knives in this review are really excellent, but some are quite pricey and carry some weight to them (which some people really like). I love weight in the handle for use, but lightness and portability in my pocket trump the satisfying “weighty” feel in the handle.

  5. The Benchmade 275BKSN Adamas weighs 7.7oz, not 12oz. It’s still pretty hefty for EDC, but it’s the next best thing to a fixed blade knife.

  6. I have a CRKT onion ripple that I love and carry every day, along with a Leatherman. I typically go for flippers because I’m left-handed. Some knives, like the CRKT Moxie, are designed almost exclusively for right handed knife users. I don’t have a Benchmade because I’m not sure how I feel about the Axis lock. Anyone who has Benchmades and want to weigh in on them would be appreciated.

  7. Can someone explain the difference between pocket knives and folding knives to me?

    1. A pocket knife is a subset of folding knives which fit into a pocket. Some folding knives may not fit into a pocket, and need to be carried in an external pouch.

  8. Ha! I have a CSAR-T, and it rocks. The lock stuck at first until it folded and near cut off my thumb while trying to close it but it now works flawlessly. My dad calls it “The crowbar” but I call it “Mr. Stabby” after the thumb incident. My only regret is that catsup or tomato soup would have been less pain full, why did it need blood?

  9. I carry a Gerber Rex Applegate
    ATS-34! I’ve had the Very High Quality Pocket knife since “03”, and it has very hard Stee, Clip Pont with a little Ceration for heavy utility use, great Pocket Clip, Zytel Handle (Very Strong, Lite weight Hybrid Material), 3 5/8″ Blade. I use it for Utility needs, and back up for Self Defence when EHC(Emty Hand Combat) doesn’t Suffice. $109.00 Made in USA!
    Gerber Knives are highly under rated!

  10. i have a cold steel recon 1 very nice knife best knife ive ever had great for amazon price sharp as hell cold steel does live up to the potential of worlds strongest sharpest knifes this really is a strong sharp edc u wont regret

  11. #4 Case Trapper sure does look like a Whittler. I think they were describing the Trapperlock w/belt clip which isn’t pictured.

  12. there some good knifes there
    but the only decent one imo, is that Benchmade ADAMAS.
    1. us made.
    2.VERY STRONG lock. (prooven!)
    3. D2 decent.
    4. design & shape looks very tempting.

    i may have to buy it at some point add to my collection
    it’s first benchmade& axis lock. 🙂

    p.s don’t waist your time on zytel handle spyderco
    they are rubbish.

    1. 5. too heavy for most people to carry clipped to a pocket.

    2. You’re an idiot ! Spyderco is the best pocket knife…….PERIOD !

  13. I agree with the other Matt, the Kershaw Blur with the S30V blade is tops here in my book. It’s my EDC and I would recommend it over the standard 440A blade, for not much more $$.

  14. I’d like to say the Kershaw Blur (#6) is also available in S30V steel, which is obviously a better blade material. This to me put this knife over the top, I carry mine everyday. Its available on amazon for like $65ish, so not much more money than the 440a version.

  15. Benchmades, Case and Spyderco were the only knives that really should have been on the list. Kershaw and CRKW should never make a top 10 list. The rest were pure rubbish and gimmicky. Microtech, American Kami, Al Mar and Kingdom Armory are proper blades that should make top 10 list.

  16. I’ve got the Colombia River CRKT M16-13Z and it’s a good knife and all but nothing compared to the two below.

    I have also got the Buck Vantage Pro S30V and LOVE it. Super sharp. Easy in and out of pockets. Fits well in your hands, and easy one hand operation.

    I also have the Spyderco Pacific Salt Black Blade C91BBK H1 and love it as well. Easy operation to open, trickier (cause it likes to grab your jeans) to get in your pocket due to the textured grips, but has a very nice sharp blade that will never rust.

    Check out those two as well as they do make great EDC blades.

  17. Check out the Buck Vantage Pro with S30V blade for ~$70 on Amazon. Nice EDC.

  18. The opinel No8 is on my taste! I will buy it at $8.45 from amazon.

  19. Great review on the best pocket knife. I personally own the No8 and for the price you cannot get much better its a top knife!

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