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  #1  
Old 02-21-2021, 10:36 AM
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Default Quality folding knife recommendations?

Though I carry a gerber folding pocket knife every day (as a utility tool), I admit to not knowing much about knives. When I took my concealed carry class the instructor recommended getting a "quality knife", like benchmade, but I couldn't justify the price.

Now, many years later, and seeing how some knives lose their edge quickly while others aren't as durable, I would like to know 'what determines a quality knife? Which maintain their sharpness the best, and - not anticipating needing it as a fighting tool...which do you recommend?
Price has become much less a factor for me.
Thanks everyone!
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:15 AM
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Buck 110, the pioneer and still the yardstick all other folders are measured by. It has a proven track record as well as an excellent warranty. You could spend a lot more, but why?
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:19 AM
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Just my opinion, and that is worth just what you paid for it (nothing). I recommend the following brands, Benchmade, Benchmade and Benchmade. They are made in the USA, are razor sharp right out of the box, tend to stay sharp, and the manufacturer will re-sharpen, oil and adjust them to new condition for free.
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:23 AM
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I carry the counter-part to the Buck 110 made in USA by Schrade, Uncle Henry and Old Timer....the LB7.

Randy
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:24 AM
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Zero Tolerance Hinderer 0566. Titanium. You will never need another knife.
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:25 AM
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If your gerber does everything you need it to, holds an edge, and can be resharpened to a good edge, then what makes it a non-quality knife?

Back to your question, what makes a "quality" knife quality? I'd say start by saying suitability to to the desired task. If the knife isn't getting you the results you need, it doesn't matter how many features and wunder metal the engineers and sales guys can cram into it. Always start with what you need it to do and the features you actually need it to have.

More towards the answer I think you are looking for, the spyderco endura and delica are "quality" knives that can be had for under $100. They are good quality steel, decent grips over a metal liner and a solid lock. I like the liners because they strengthen the knife handle. A solid lock, positive lock is important because you don't want the blade to close on your fingers. I've seen locks on cheaper folders unlock when griped. The spyderedge serrations can be difficult for a beginner to sharpen. They can be put into operation with one hand and can be clipped to a pocket or inside a waist band. The last two could be relevant for defense, imagine trying to defeat a gun grab. Your strong hand will most likely be on the grip or trying to retain your gun, so you can't use both hands to open your knife. Buck, Gerber, ZT, Camilus, etc. all make similar knives. Benchmade makes a great knife, but they aren't the only game in town anymore.

Last edited by cd228; 02-23-2021 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:31 AM
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Buck 110 or any of their models.... here: Factory Exclusive Buck Knives

I know nothing about knives, but I do know that you will be overwhelmed with technical, and price/performance, info. Personally, I would take the easy way out of your purchase question; buy TWO Buck knives for the price of one of the "up town" brands. Keep one in your desk drawer in the event that the first one breaks before you do. Then, just open the drawer and put the brand new replacement in your pocket for the next 50 years :-))) Oh, yeah, buy a 'plain vanilla' electric knife sharpener and keep it in your workshop. One more thought: I don't recommend bringing a knife to a gun fight... :-)

As always IMHO,
J.

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Old 02-21-2021, 11:45 AM
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Buck 110. Mine's 37 years old .


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Old 02-21-2021, 11:46 AM
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Gerber made some great knives and still makes some good ones today. Which Gerber do you have?

Youíre going to receive countless suggestions. Todayís market is flush with really good production, semi-custom and custom manufacturers. Material, fit, finish, design and the reputation of the maker all come into play when determining the value of a knife. You can spend under $30 for a carbon steel Opinel and you can spend around $2000 for a Marfione custom. Both will do a fine job of cutting.

I see youíre a fellow Michigander, which means you can now legally carry certain automatic knives (switchblades). Benchmade, Spyderco, ProTech, Microtech, Rat Worx, Gerber and Kershaw all make quality autos in various price ranges. My EDC is a Benchmade CLA, which has a 154CM blade and a G10 handle. Itís tough to beat for around $200.

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Old 02-21-2021, 11:51 AM
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Carbine steel is harder, holds a edge longer and is easier to sharpen than stainless and is my preferred blade. I like USA made Case knives myself. Bear and Son's also makes a nice USA made knife.
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:54 AM
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Default EDC Knife

I have two Buck model 290's knives that I am pleased with. They have a blade that is under 3 inches in length, and a lock on the plade to keep it from opening in your pocket, but also can be opened with one hand. In my opinion the Buck 112 is also a very nice knife.
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:54 AM
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Lots of decent production knives mentioned above.

I have a very modest collection of customs and semi-customs. Ernie Emerson, Tom Mayo, Rick Hinderer, Chris Reeves, Brian Fellhoelter, etc., but my everyday carry is a basic little Opinel #8.

If I lose it, I sets me back $12. Easy to keep razor sharp, carries super light when I'm in dress pants for work, and doesn't scare folks when I pull it out to cut something.

Have had this one for a few years now
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Old 02-21-2021, 12:07 PM
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Benchmade makes nice knives...........my EDC is a 2.9" Northfork with wood scales IIRC about $150 ...... very untacticooool looking.

For weekends and folding "hard use" knife I've settled on the Kershaw Blur at about $65 3.4" drop point blade, assisted opening for when the other hand is occupied..... not to expensive to loose or beat up
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Old 02-21-2021, 12:32 PM
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You must know what you want in a knife: blade material, assisted opening,
blade shape (tanto), length of blade, US made, ect.
There are several good knife companies today.
Check out Blade HQ or Knifecenter. I think most knife people have a large
collection, and will select one for each days task, or occasion.
I prefer SOG, tanto, speed safe, 3", US made myself EDC.
Maybe William Henry for that special night. Lot to chose from today.
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:02 PM
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First off, Gerber makes good quality knives. If the one you have meets your needs/wants, it should be a fine choice.

But since variety is the spice of life...

I'm a fan of Spyderco knives. I've got three Delicas, one shortened to 2.5". The Endura is also a good choice if you want a little longer blade. They're light, slim, easy to open and close with one hand, and they can be set up for either left or right hand pocket carry, tip-up or tip-down. I like the VG10 blades, holds an edge but also easy to sharpen. They make a variety of other folding knife options, too. For less expensive options, there's the Tenacious or Persistence.

Kershaw has a solid reputation for producing a lot of knife for the money. Been thinking about getting one of their Kershaw/Emerson knives, as I like Emerson folders (used to have 3 of them).

CRKT has some solid choices for the money.

If you can get an auto knife, I've become a big fan of the Boker Plus Strike. It's been my EDC knife for over a month now. It's typically about half the price of a Delica. Boker makes some good regular folders, too.

And, of course, Benchmade makes some excellent offerings and has a solid reputation for customer service. I had one where the Axis lock spring broke. I sent it to them and they not only replaced the spring, they cleaned and sharpened it, no charge.

I don't carry a folder for self defense, but these knives are good for EDC purposes while also being able to fill a defensive role if necessary.

As has been said, you're going to get a lot of different answers from members, likely none of them bad choices. You'll have to figure out what style, features, etc. you want, and what budget you want to work within, and go from there.

Last edited by ContinentalOp; 02-21-2021 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protected One View Post
Though I carry a gerber folding pocket knife every day (as a utility tool), I admit to not knowing much about knives. When I took my concealed carry class the instructor recommended getting a "quality knife", like benchmade, but I couldn't justify the price.

Now, many years later, and seeing how some knives lose their edge quickly while others aren't as durable, I would like to know 'what determines a quality knife? Which maintain their sharpness the best, and - not anticipating needing it as a fighting tool...which do you recommend?
Price has become much less a factor for me.
Thanks everyone!
The one I carry most and would recommend most is a Spyderco Yojimbo 2 you can get it in a black blade now also for a folder. If you live where you can carry a small fixed blade its fixed blade twin the Spyderco Ronin 2 is my favorite. Both these knives were designed by Michael Janich a knife fighting expert who founded Martial Blade Concepts (MBC) and Counter-Blade Concepts (CBC). For a full sized fixed blade I love my Cold Steel Master Tanto. It works as a slasher, piercer, and holds a razor edge. My backup folder is a Black Talon 2.


Spyderco: Yojimbo 2 - Black Blade


Ronin 2

For a full sized knife I love my Cold Steel Master Tanto



My backup folder is a Cold Steel Black Talon 2 with a "Wave" feature open

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Old 02-21-2021, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protected One View Post
Though I carry a gerber folding pocket knife every day (as a utility tool), I admit to not knowing much about knives. When I took my concealed carry class the instructor recommended getting a "quality knife", like benchmade, but I couldn't justify the price.

Now, many years later, and seeing how some knives lose their edge quickly while others aren't as durable, I would like to know 'what determines a quality knife? Which maintain their sharpness the best, and - not anticipating needing it as a fighting tool...which do you recommend?
Price has become much less a factor for me.
Thanks everyone!
First of all IMO what determines a quality knife is USA made. Not made somewhere else by a USA company. One of the saddest stories is Schrade going out of business in their 100th year. They had 3 generations working there at the same time. Schrade now is Taylor Cutlery out of TN. Made in China, like S& W junk. Also made by Taylor cutlery.

Now that I am past that, a folder has to be locking IMO. For folders I go on Ebay and find SP2 Schrade lockbacks. If you know how to sharpen, they will shave your arm. Benchmade and Kershaw also make some folders that will take a razor edge. Personally I could never get a Buck knife to maintain an edge. Gave all of mine away

So for me folding is Vintage Schrade USA lockbacks, also Kershaw, Switchblades are Microtech , Benchmade and Piranha. Fixed blades are standard USN issue Ka-Bar fighting knife.

Sorry for the rant
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:48 PM
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I bought a Buck 110 in the late 1960ís and used it for years until I discovered the Gerber Sportsman II.

The Buck was generally a good knife: solidly built with a lock. The drawbacks are that: 1) the heavy, stainless stock blade is difficult to sharpen and, 2) itís thick and over bulky for pocket carry.

The Gerber Sportsman II stainless blade is much easier to hone and itís about 1/3 thinner than the Buck.

For a very short time, Gerber offered the Sportsman II with what they called a ĎV Steelí blade: a hollow ground, carbon steel blade. The V Steel version is very difficult to locate but the very best lock back knife Iíve ever seen.

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Old 02-21-2021, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narragansett View Post

So for me folding is Vintage Schrade USA lockbacks, also Kershaw, Switchblades are Microtech , Benchmade and Piranha. Fixed blades are standard USN issue Ka-Bar fighting knife.

Sorry for the rant
As an aside..... the short 5" K-Bar fighting knife is a nice utility length blade, I also like their MkI 5" USN Deck knife; a little less tacticooool.

I do have a couple of the D2 Extreme Duty knives for Zombies!!!!
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:19 PM
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Protected One,

I can't recommend a knife without knowing at least the general type that you like. Maybe you assumed we'd recommend a modern one hand opening single blade but those are not every one's cup of tea. I seldom even carry a knife with blade lock. Multiple blade shapes benefit me more than blade locks do. Locks are a little uncommon on multi blade knives. Used as a utility tool locks are frivolous but if you prefer a lock say so.

The one thing I did get out of your question is you prioritize edge retention. That makes the question which blade steels stay sharp longer. Blade steels with as high a carbon to iron content as milling machine cutters have great edge retention at the price of being harder to sharpen and if they're thin enough to be good slicers they snap when the ignorant use them for pry bars. There's no magic steel.

Please give me a little more to work with.

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Old 02-21-2021, 02:29 PM
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I have carried this Kershaw Leek since 2006, and couldn't be happier with it. It has met every need I have had for 15 years. It's solid, opens quick as a auto knife, open/close one handed, takes a great edge, and holds it. What more do you want, and it only set me back $45, believe the MSRP is $70, but can be found a lot of places for less.

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Old 02-21-2021, 02:30 PM
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Lost my reply, donít want to start over Short answer: Benchmade or Spyderco. My preference is Benchmade for the axis lock and the excellent warranty.

My experiences with the once-excellent Gerber have put me off the brand for good. They say they are making some decent knives again, but I am done with them.

That said, I no longer carry modern one-handed openers very often. My usual carry is an Opinel No.6, a Swiss army knife and an Okapi Biltong: two slipjoints and a locking (sort of) friction folder.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:31 PM
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Benchmade's Axis lock is the safest on the market.
I have had hands on hundreds of folders and a Benchmade with the Axis mechanism is my choice. I prefer a plain finish vs. coated because it is more limber and less sticky when opening or closing.
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:00 PM
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You obsolutely can't go wrong with a good old fashioned Buck 110.

If you want something more versatile, then get a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:06 PM
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Nothing at all wrong with the quality of the Gerber that you already have.
My personal favorite for a folder is a Puma Prince. Shown below left.

The Piranha, shown second from left, was razor sharp when it
came, and it is still razor sharp.

The Ultimate 1911 Model Knife, shown 3rd from left, I have only
had about a year or so, but it's growing on me.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:01 PM
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Just my opinion, and that is worth just what you paid for it (nothing). I recommend the following brands, Benchmade, Benchmade and Benchmade. They are made in the USA, are razor sharp right out of the box, tend to stay sharp, and the manufacturer will re-sharpen, oil and adjust them to new condition for free.
Any particular model?
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
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Protected One,

I can't recommend a knife without knowing at least the general type that you like. Maybe you assumed we'd recommend a modern one hand opening single blade but those are not every one's cup of tea. I seldom even carry a knife with blade lock. Multiple blade shapes benefit me more than blade locks do. Locks are a little uncommon on multi blade knives. Used as a utility tool locks are frivolous but if you prefer a lock say so.

The one thing I did get out of your question is you prioritize edge retention. That makes the question which blade steels stay sharp longer. Blade steels with as high a carbon to iron content as milling machine cutters have great edge retention at the price of being harder to sharpen and if they're thin enough to be good slicers they snap when the ignorant use them for pry bars. There's no magic steel.

Please give me a little more to work with.
I've grown accustomed to the assisted opening feature and would hate to lose that. Primarily, the knife is used for random cutting: packages, twine, zip-ties, etc. Never as a pry tool (that's not safe IMHO).

Things I have already eliminated?: Karambit knives, and Spyderco (I tried a friends and could not get use to opening with the hole). Nothing against the brand.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:25 PM
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3 words for you: steel, steel, steel. I like S30V and 154CM. My regular carry knife is a Gerber Covert Auto, made in the USA of S30V steel.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:40 PM
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For a traditional buck .112. For a modern a Benchmade Griptilian.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:49 PM
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Some years ago I bought a pair of Gerber 70th anniversary folding knives. The package extolled the virtues of the American company, which made me buy it. When I got home and examined the package, I found it was made in China. Looks like now the vast majority of their products are chinacrap.

No more gerbers for me.

BTW, I admit that I probably abused the stupid thing, but one of the blades eventually cracked in half.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:51 PM
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So many options I got em all Kershaw,spyderco,benchmade,cold steel,buck,victronox,etc good luck tons of great choices it’s a addictive thing just like guns.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:05 PM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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Case XX.........Been around 100 years.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protected One View Post
Any particular model?
If 03gringo doesn't mind me chiming in on Benchmade...

The Griptillian or Mini-Griptillian, depending on what blade length you like, is a pretty good all-around folder. I had a Mini-Presidio, which was a good knife, but the handles just didn't feel right for me, so I sold it.

For assisted opening, the Barrage or Mini-Barrage look good to me, though I have to admit I don't have any hands-on experience with them.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:33 PM
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I like Benchmade products the 705 (black) provided twenty plus years of excellent service recently replaced it with a ďmini bugoutĒ a great little knife that weighs about half as much as the 705.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:55 PM
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Gerber Covert Auto. Been carrying one for almost 10 years now at work. Cuts nooses, evidence tape and everything in between!
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Old 02-21-2021, 10:14 PM
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I carried a 6 inch Ka-Bar knife for deer hunting that my dad gave me. I had a Buck sharpening kit so I proceeded to sharpen it. It took me half a day, but the quality of the steel was such that it held the edge for a long time.

There is an interesting additional story about this knife. Pop was pretty good friends with the owner of a local independent hardward store. One day Pop is in the store and the owner showed Pop three or four of the big Ka-Bar knives. The owner told Pop that the knives had gotten wet and that caused the finish on them to be spotted to the point that they could not be sold as new. The owner offered them to Pop for $5 apiece (something like 30 years ago). Pop looked at the knives and recalled that he used to carry knives that looked worse, so he bought them all. Pop gave one of them to me, and I'll never let go of it.
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Old 02-21-2021, 10:22 PM
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I have carried a number of folders over the years: Buck, Gerber, Kershaw, CRKT, Honey Badger, and others. All have ben serviceable, and most have been a good value for the money.

Just last year I purchased a fixed blade Bark River. A bit pricey, but excellent quality. At Christmas time I treated myself to a Benchmade folder. Another home run. Wow. Both the Bark River and the Benchmade leave others in the dust.

Bark River alongside a Buck and a Kabar. No comparison:

The Benchmade:
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:52 PM
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I rotate between these. Booker auto Kalishnikov, Kershaw Leek, Kershaw Emerson CQC 6 wave opener. The auto is fun to open, so is the Wave when you get it down...but for sheer sharpness, the Leek blows them both away.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:05 AM
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I prefer G-10 scales, they are strong, don't corrode, show scratches and feel good. Aluminum? No. Rubbery or plasticky? Yuck.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protected One View Post
I've grown accustomed to the assisted opening feature and would hate to lose that. Primarily, the knife is used for random cutting: packages, twine, zip-ties, etc. Never as a pry tool (that's not safe IMHO).

Things I have already eliminated?: Karambit knives, and Spyderco (I tried a friends and could not get use to opening with the hole). Nothing against the brand.
My favorite Benchmade (of the ones I own, not the ones Iíd like to own) is the Mini Barrage. Assisted, if that is what you want. For a number of years it was my favorite knife. A lot of people who consider themselves cognoscenti disfavor assisted blades (perhaps giving a free pass to the assisted Kershaw Leek, because it is an acknowledged classic). An assisted blade wonít drop shut; you have to use two hands, or your pant leg. Around here, though, the Mini Barrage is quite popular, perhaps more so than the Grip.

Truth be told, though, the assist is not really necessary. A well-adjusted axis knife opens just as fast and easily without the assist.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:19 AM
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Carrying this one for over 4 years now.
Regards, Ray
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:24 AM
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Buck Vantage
Holds an edge, strong liner lock, can be had in the 30 dollar range and pocket clip lets it ride almost out of sight. Made in USA.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:47 AM
Muss Muggins Muss Muggins is offline
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I carry Benchmade knives daily. I own several other brands, including Emerson, Spyderco, Buck, Gerber, etc., but I always go back to Benchmade. Right now, I'm carrying a Benchmade Lerch Impel auto with a 1.98" blade in my right pocket, and a Benchmade Osborne 9400 first production auto clipped in the left pocket.

Carry knives are very individual, kinda like holsters. Willing to bet everyone posting has the big drawer(s) o' knives right next to the holster boxes
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:08 AM
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At the moment my box of knives still fits in my holster drawer.

Great thread.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
Willing to bet everyone posting has the big drawer(s) o' knives right next to the holster boxes
Funny you mention that. My knives are kinda scattered around in different boxes and I've been thinking about getting some kind of case or roll bag to keep them all together.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:30 AM
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OP, "what determines a quality knife"?
The short answer is the steel used to make the blade. The higher quality the steel the better the edge retention, corrosion resistance and wear resistance.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:58 AM
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I carried Buck 501s for over 20 years. After I lost the last one I went through a few different brands until I found a Browning folder made by Mcusta. It's a keeper, the blade holds an edge better than any other stainless steel I've seen. It's also light and strong.

Browning no longer sells the Mcusta made knives, so when I do need another pocket knife, I'll be shopping for one directly from Mcusta.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray View Post
Carrying this one for over 4 years now.
Regards, Ray
I thought that knife was pretty cool when I first bought it. I liked the heft and the feel of the G10 scales. As a flipper, it was a pretty good fidget toy.

After a while, though, the appeal wore thin. It was bigger than I like to carry, and the public at large (I wonít call them sheeple) did not react well to it. The Veff serrations worked pretty well until I relied on them to get into a coconut. The time it took to straighten them told me that was my last coconut.

The M21 became one of two knives a junkie relative selected to steal and pawn for drug money. The other was a Mini Barrage. I would really like him to replace the Benchmade, but Iím not holding my breath.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:42 PM
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Look at SOG
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:10 PM
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No mention of one of my favorites....the Kershaw 1050 folding knife, usually is my main hunting knife instead of daily pocket carry.

Not a cheap knife....made in KAI Japan and holds an edge forever!

Randy
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