by Bob Lesmeister
What were the sharpest products at the 2009 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show? Knives, of course. But you have to realize that there’s no such thing as just a knife anymore. There are tactical knives, military knives, presentation knives, utility knives, hunting knives, skinners…you name it. Where to start?
What better way than with Benchmade (300 Beavercreek Rd., Dept. GWK, Oregon City, OR 97045; phone: 800-800-7427; online: benchmade.com)? The company is producing the Marc Lee “Glory” Knife. Designed by Eddie Killian, this fighting knife is produced in honor of Navy Petty Officer Second Class Marc Alan Lee, the first SEAL killed in the current Iraq war. Distinctive features include grooved notches on the handle and 154CM stainless steel recurve 7.30 inch blade. Overall length is 12.5-inch. A portion of the money gained by sales of this knife will be donated to the Marc Lee Foundation (marcleefoundation.org).
And speaking of fighters, history has shown us that the Spartans were probably the most dedicated in ancient history. Cold Steel (3036-A Seaborg Ave., Dept. GWK, Ventura, CA 93003; phone: 800-255-4716; online: coldsteel.com) must have had them in mind with the introduction of their new Spartan folder designed by Andrew Demko. It’s a mini 4.5-inch blade version of the Kopi blade used by the original Spartans at Thermopylae. The large midriff and recurved edge are distinctive of that style. The blade is hollow ground from Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel and the handle is injected molded out of Grivory polymers. The heavily contoured handle is just as immediately noticeable as the shape of the blade. For every user, the Spartan sports dual pocket clips for right and left-handers. According to Cold Steel, it also features “a thumb plate that can be used to open the knife with one hand as a conventional knife or it can be engaged on the edge of the pocket during the draw stroke to open automatically.”
Sometimes what makes a knife unique is not what you see, but what you don’t see. That’s the case with Columbia River Knife & Tool’s (CRKT18348 SW 126th Pl., Dept. GWK, Tualatin, OR 97062; phone: 503-685-5015; online: crkt.com) Gallagher Glide Lock folder. Designed by Barry Gallagher, the Glide Lock folder series incorporates a patent-pending mechanism hidden in the bolster invented by knifemaker Charles Kain. When you slide the bolster out, it creates a tang to rotate the blade open. When you slide it back the blade is locked open. To close, slide the bolster out and rotate the blade closed with your index finger. Slide the bolster back to lock the Glide Lock closed. The CPL composite material used for the non-metallic parts can resemble exotic woods and stones but it’s nearly indestructible. The 2.87-inch brushed finish blade is constructed of high-carbon AUS 4 stainless steel and ends in a spear point. The liners and bolster are stainless steel. The Glide Lock was named Most Innovative Imported Design of the Year at the 2008 Blade Show. The new Glide Lock 2 offers a 2.88-inch modified drop point blade in satin finish and handle with a swell at the pommel for increased grip. Scales are silver/blue swirled CPL.
While the Glide Lock knife may be considered a “gentleman’s knife,” the StratoFighter Folder by Dark Operations Fighting Knives, LLC (2231 W. Sunset St., Dept. GWK, Springfield, MO 65807; phone: 417-883-9444; online: darkopsknives.com) is quite the opposite, but you may have already guessed that by the name. One of the unique features of the StratoFighter is the proprietary RaptorLok which is a double talon locking system that uses the entire length of the knife to support the opened blade. The knife also uses a cross-bolt locking system called CrisisCross. The pommel end of the knife has an integrated emergency window breaker. The scales are made of T6160 aircraft grade hardened aluminum that is impervious to most destructive elements. Distinctive are the lateral grooves in the scales that provide indexing points for knife-fighters caught in the dark. Also, check out the carbon black titanium CarbonNitride vacuum-deposited finish that actually sheds the powdery sand found in the deserts of the Middle East. The 4.5-inch blade is constructed of proprietary CTV2 steel which is a combination of chromium, cobalt, tungsten, vanadium, and molybdenum in an alloy of surgical grade stainless steel with hardness of 58 on the Rockwell scale.
It’s hard to find a blade that isn’t a tactical knife at Emerson Knives Inc. (PO Box 4180, Dept. GWK, Torrance, CA 90510; phone: 310-212-7455, online: emersonknives.com). One of their more popular models is the PUK or Police Utility Knife. But don’t let the word “police” fool you. It’s a hardy black 3.60-inch fixed blade (57-59 RC) that can be used for a variety of nasty jobs. It also features a deep guard and positive thumb ramp designed to provide a safety grip for the knife. It is also now available with Emerson’s own Dragon’s Teeth serrations. The sheath with belt clip is constructed of molded Kydex.
Anyone around in the 1960s and ’70s will remember the famous commercial where a guy dressed in karate garb uses the Ginsu knife to cut through a tin can then slices a tomato paper thin. The future, however, has done wonders for Ginsu. Ginsu Outdoors (118 East Douglas Rd., Dept. GWK, Walnut Ridge, AR 72476; phone: 800-982-5233; online: ginsuoutdoors.com) is now producing some remarkable hunting fixed blades and folders. One such is the clip point hunting folder constructed of forged Japanese stainless steel Damascus. This is real Damascus with 33 layers of high carbon stainless steels combined with low carbon stainless steels. The layers are then hot rolled and hammered to give that distinctive Damascus look. The core of the blade is made of high carbon, super hard Japanese VG-1 stainless steel. The VG-1 stainless steel core is overlaid in the forming process with alternating layers of Japanese high carbon 420 and low carbon 430 stainless steels.
Most people will tell you a knife is not just a knife but a tool. Well, nowadays a knife can truly be a tool or a tool can do double duty as a knife. A perfect example is Ka-Bar’s (200 Homer St., Dept. GWK, Olean, NY 14760; phone: 800-282-0130; online: kabar.com) K2 Rescue Kit. The Rescue Kit includes a fully serrated rescue blade with bright orange aluminum handle scales and nine drill bits. It all comes packed in a handy carrying case. The knife features a 3.5 inch hollow ground blade. Overall the knife measures 8 inches.
It might be called a “blur,” but the Rescue Blur from Kershaw (18600 SW Teton Ave., Dept. GWK, Tualatin, OR 97062; phone: 503- 682-1966; online: kershawknives.com) is anything but. The Rescue Blur features a Sandvik 13C26 stainless steel blade and its rounded-tip blade makes for safer cutting in close or dangerous situations. Blurs use Kershaw’s SpeedSafe that allows for quick one-handed opening. The anodized aluminum handles are durable and lightweight. For extra traction and a secure grip, the handles are outfitted with Trac-Tec inserts which are non-slip in both dry and wet conditions. And as expected, it also includes a carbide glass-breaker tip
Real guys drive trucks and heavy equipment. So, why wouldn’t real guys go after KutMaster’s (820 Noyes St., Dept. GWK, Utica, NY 13503; phone: 800-888-4223; online: kutmaster.com) CAT series knives? The CAT Hi-Tech Rosewood Linerlock should be a favorite. The Caterpillar® hi-tech liner lock knife is 4.5 inch closed, with a 3.5-inch400 grade stainless steel blade that is hand-honed. A portion of the blade is serrated and there’s a thumb stud on the blade for one-hand opening.
Cowboy shooting events are bigger than ever without showing signs of slowing down and the sales of single-action handguns, coach style shotguns and lever action rifles are better than ever. The popularity of this sport has also spilled over into accessories. One such accessory is the Cowboy Knife from Marble’s (420 Industrial Pk., Dept. GWK, Gladstone, MI 49837; phone: 906-428-3710; online: marblescutlery.com). It has the flavor of the Old West with its natural smooth bone, brass-pinned handle. The authentic 4.75-inch straight spine high carbon chrome vanadium steel blade has a Rockwell of 58C. Add to that a full brass guard. The Cowboy Sheath is specially designed and is constructed of oiled basket weave leather that features a brass stud belt guard.
If you are more of a city kind of guy than a cowboy, you may prefer the Elite Folder knives from Mcusta Knives USA (PO Box 22901, Dept. GWK, Portland, OR 97269; phone: 877-714-5487; online: mcustausa.com). These spiffy knives feature a thumb hole in the blade for easy opening. They use a locking liner for a secure lock and are available with a variety of exotic handle materials. One of the most popular is the quince burl. The blades are VG-10 stainless steel but they also offer 33 layer Damascus steel forged with a VG-10 core. To make opening super slick, they use a Teflon® washer system. The MC-12 series comes with a pocket clip that is reversible and is designed to allow the knife to be carried low in the pocket. The MC-13 series does not have a clip but comes with a pouch.
Point Blank (PO Box 5558, Dept. GWK, Lakeland, FL 33807; phone: 954-304-5948; online: pbcutlery.com) is branching out from body armor and tactical accessories into the tactical knife business. These tactical folders and fixed blade models feature N690 stainless steel blades. Both styles feature ergonomically designed G10 textured handles composed of several layers of fiberglass that are bonded together for hardness and durability. The folders offer both a right and left hand access button for fast opening. The pocket clip on the folders is detachable and the fixed blade models come with a sheath constructed of 500 denier ballistic nylon, which is the same material Point Blank uses for the outer shell of its protective vests.
A very interesting knife, if not truly innovative, is the Seber Design Group (2348 Cades Way, Dept. GWK, Vista, CA 92081; phone: 760-727-5555; online: seberdesigngroup.com) ratcheting knife. It is available in four styles: drop-point; utility; tanto, and tactical. Each model incorporates the company’s Rotation-Loc system that locks the blade at any angle as it ratchets from closed position to fully open. A special button on the bolster is used for opening, closing and locking the blade. So, when the blade is ratcheted to say a 40 degree angle, you can lock it tight so that it stays in that position safely. The tanto, utility, and drop-point feature scales of G10 while the tactical version (pictured here) has an anodized aluminum handle. All models have blades of BCR13MOV stainless steel with a Rockwell of 58-60. The tactical weighs a mere 6 ounces while the others weigh around 7 ounces.
Nothing beats the real thing and Silver Stag (328 Martin St., Dept. GWK,
Blaine, WA 98230; phone: 888-233-7824;online: silverstagknives.com) offers some very attractive stag handle knives for the user as well as the collector. The company offers 50 different designs and can do special orders for individuals or groups/associations by engraving logos or names on their blades. One thing the company can do that may be of special interest to hunters is use a customer’s own antlers for a knife. Company partner Brad Smith mentioned something at the SHOT Show that I thought was a pretty good service. They can take an antler from a young hunter’s first harvest and produce a stag handle on a knife with it. The Crown series offers blades of 440C stainless steel with a 52-54 Rockwell. The Damascus series uses 1095 and 15N20 high carbon steel and from 150 to 300 layers are hammered to produce exceptional Damascus designs. The Tool Steel series knives are constructed of 1095 high carbon tool steel that is especially hardy. The Slab series uses 1048 high carbon tool steel. One thing about using natural stag is that no two knives are alike.
Lone Wolf Knives (9373 SW Barber St., Suite A, Dept. GWK, Wilsonville OR 97070; phone: 503-431-6777; online: lonewolfknives.com) has a full array of knives and they all are top notch. The Diablo-DA double-action automatic features a hidden scale release firing mechanism that is designed into the handle. It’s an automatic knife without the button. When you slide the left scale to the right towards the top of the knife, it actuates the opening mechanism. The knife can also be opened manually as an ordinary pocket knife. The 3.5-inch black titanium coated blade is made from CPM-S30V steel and heat treated to a Rockwell 60-61. The contoured scales are AAA grade exotic marble cocobolo
You never know when you’re going to need a knife, a compass, a flashlight, fire starter, a magnifying glass, etc. Now, you can have all that and more in one credit card size package. Tool Logic (2290 Eastman Ave. Suite 109, Dept. GWK, Ventura, CA 93003; phone: 800-483-8422; online: toollogic.com) has just introduced its Survival Card that is packed with survival gear including: a serrated fixed blade knife of AUS 8A stainless steel, magnesium alloy fire starter, signal whistle, tweezers, toothpick, and lanyard hole. You also have the option of a Survival Card with a red LED flashlight or an 8X power lens and compass. The whole collection is packed in a package that is not much bigger than a credit card.