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How to Buy Knives and Multitools from the TSA

Forgetful travelers and would-be smugglers lose. You win.

tsa displays unusual array of weapons and prohibited items seized at jfk airport
John MooreGetty Images

In 2015, the TSA intercepted 22,044 “dangerous items” in airport security screenings across the U.S. The most outlandish items are documented on the TSA’s Instagram account: live flash-bang grenades, swords, five-bladed floggers, Batman throwing stars, replica suicide vests, Orcish blades, and whatever the hell this thing is. Most of the confiscated items never again see the light of day. But what about the smaller, less absurdly illegal stuff?

GovDeals is an online marketplace, a bit like Craigslist or eBay, where retired U.S. government assets and seized civilian property are auctioned off to the public. There are hundreds of categories to peruse; the ‘Confiscated/Forfeited/Personal Property‘ category is a particularly rich gold mine of seized knives and multi-tools. Some are sold as individual pieces, others come in bulk. The starting bids are exceptionally low, and final offers will likely match that of eBay’s, if not significantly less. The TSA, after all, has “dangerous items” pouring out of their ears, and they’d like to get rid of them.

If you're interested in picking up some multi-tools and knives on the cheap, however, buyer beware: the items on GovDeals are sold in bulk. For instance, if you're shopping for a used Leatherman, bids for a 12-pound box of assorted multi-tools has a current bidding of $655 bucks. If you're planning on gifting Leathermans to everyone for Christmas this year, or you'd like to have a 12-pound box laying around just in case, this is a solid deal. However, if you're not looking for 10+ multi-tools, you may just want to stick with buying one at a time.

If Leatherman in particular, or multi-tools in general, aren't your jam, don't worry: there are plenty of utilitarian pocket knives on the market, ready to be added to your cart.

Leatherman Free P4

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