What Swiss Army Knife Did MacGyver Use?

The Swiss army knife, also known as the little red knife, was made famous by the original MacGyver. This knife was first introduced in the times of World War 2 but gained recognition after MacGyver used it. he has showcased the knife to be a hit doing several tricks with it during tricky combat situations. These knives were purchased by the American soldier as a souvenir after the war. The soldiers pronounced it as a Swiss army knife as they found it difficult to pronounce the original German name.

Now you might be wondering what Swiss knife did MacGyver use in the original series. There are more than hundreds of pocketknives available from Victorinox so to recognize the one MacGyver used is difficult. The answer to this is he used almost all the knives in several of his episodes. He used it while climbing, as a fisherman, as a spartan and in many more situations. Apart from the brand Victorinox MacGyver also switches to Wegner. Among all these knives the most used by MacGyver was the Tinker from Victorinox.

The Tinker is an amazing pocketknife introduced by Victorinox. It comes equipped with 12 functions and weighs just 62 grams which is remarkable. Using this tool, you can easily make your way out through any situation. The tools that are present are two different blades, three screwdrivers, a can opener, a toothpick, tweezers, a bottle opener, a reamer, wire strippers and all of these comes attached to a key ring. My trusty Tinker is shown above and I’m not going to lie, my inspiration for purchasing was Mac!

What is MacGyverism?

If you were wondering what pocketknife MacGyver used, then you must also be looking forward to the word MacGyversism. MacGyver and the Swiss army knife together termed the word MacGyverism. This name was used in the original series wherein MacGyver showcased the plethora of usability available from these knives. The Swiss army knife is equipped with screwdrivers, knives, bells and whistles, and many more making it the perfect pocket tool.

MacGyver in the original series showed that regardless of which Swiss army knife you use using a little bit of your brain you can solve any problems that come your way. The unique design of the Swiss army knife from Victorinox is a marvelous piece of craftsmanship. The designs framed in these knives are excellent for usability making it the best pocketknife. The pocketknives are designed in such a manner that they can do almost anything.

The Story Behind Swiss Army Knives

You will be amazed to know that the first Swiss knives date back to the 1890s which is much earlier than World War 2. The first Swiss knife that was introduced in the early 1890s had a reamer, blade, screwdriver and can opener.

Karl Elsner was the man behind this fascinating pocket tool. He opened a knife cutler shop in Switzerland in 1890 along with his mother Victoria. Karl Elsner is one of the few innovators at that time. He is also membered for the spring mechanism introduced in these pocketknives that could attach tools to both the end.

Many believe Karl Elsner is the original MacGyver that many are talking about. The models that were introduced in the year 1908, 1961 and 1951 became more and more innovative each year. The grip, the quality of stainless steel and varying blades were introduced with new releases giving it immense popularity.

Victorinox was not the only brand that manufactured Swiss army knives in the later stages as the Government of Switzerland had contracted with Thomas Wegner to manufacture the same. This brought competition in the Swiss army knives arena. You might have noticed MacGyver using the Wegner Swiss army knives in many of his series. Though a lot of the design, functionalities and tools are similar the logo differs from one another. Victorinox later acquired Wegner.

What Swiss Army Knives Did MacGyver Actually Use?

If you are a kid of the 80s like Mr. Everyday Carry then you would love MacGyver but for many others, MacGyver is the person behind the popularity of the Swiss army knives globally. The MacGyver show is a story about a physically trained think tank agent which is known as the Phoenix Foundation. In this show, MacGyver showcases the various utilities that are possible with the Swiss army knife. MacGyver in this series used his knowledge, training skills, physics, and engineering to solve problems that came his way using the pocketknife.

The 1985 series MacGyver is seen using his mullet and a Swiss army knife that grew immensely popular. In the original series, MacGyver is seen using the Huntsman, 111 mm, Tourist, Hiker, Wenger Classic 11, Executive, Fisherman and many more. Among all these, the most common one used by him was the Tinker Standard.

MacGyver in his series used these Swiss army knives for any activity that he was doing. During the entire phase of the show, he is been seen using various types of Swiss army knives doing various activities some of which are mentioned below:

  • He used the knives to open the lock so that he could get past the door.
  • He is seen using the knife to unscrew panels in the original series.
  • He practically uses the knives for every situation combined with a little bit of brainwork and his military training.

The main objective was to show that the Swiss army knives that MacGyver used had every tool required to combat a situation. Most of the knives used by MacGyver were from Victorinox but later he is also been seen using Wenger Swiss army knives.

If you carefully notice you can ascertain the very different types of knives used by him throughout his career. The episode was liked and one of the most popular during the early 80s. MacGyver is believed to be the man behind the Swiss army knife as he is been seen doing almost all the activities using the knife.


Swiss army knives used by MacGyver gained immense recognition in the early 80s and is still popular now. Both Victorinox and Wenger are two proud owners of Swiss army knives that were used by MacGyver in his original series. Be sure to check out my other post where I discuss the full history of the legendary SAK in Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Swiss Army Knife.