Latest Movements In Tactical, Hunting & EDC Knives
By Pat Covert
The 2018 edition of the annual BLADE Show held June 1–3 in Atlanta, saw a major upgrade from one hall for the manufacturers and vendors to two. A record 950 vendors and 10,000 attendees made this the biggest BLADE Show ever — a great sign for the health of the industry. There were burgeoning lines of cutlery enthusiasts each day, anxiously waiting to soak in all the latest factory and custom cutlery and accessories. The manufacturers always roll out new models at the BLADE Show, and this year they were there in abundance. Let’s cut to the case.
The Tactical Train
The tactical train keeps rolling, still making up the largest percentage of knives sold in the cutlery market. This category has diversified greatly over the years, making it a bonanza for any user to find their niche.
Hogue Knives expanded its SIG SAUER EX-A04 and EX-A05 line of automatics with attractive finishes to complement your customer’s favorite SIG handgun. The new options include gray and Flat Dark Earth PVD blade finishes with matching SIG SAUER medallions inset on the handle. MSRP for the upgraded EX-A04 is $279.95, the EX-A05 is $269.95.
W.R. Case & Sons’ Winkler Recurve Utility No. 6 is one of the beastliest fixed blades we’ve run across and is a radical departure from Granddad’s Case pocketknife. The Recurve No. 6 — 9.5 inches overall and weighing in at 11.8 oz. — is the second knife in Case’s American Heroes series. Sporting a thick, 0.26-inch duty driven 80CrV2 recurved blade and grippy canvas Micarta scales, the Recurve No. 6 is a mauler. $395.95 MSRP.
Pro-Tech Knives has been making automatics since 1999, and with restrictions being lifted all over the U.S., business is booming. We like the Godson 700, a 7.56-inch tribute to the Italian stiletto and one of Pro-Tech’s earliest designs. Cloaked in a handsome gray aluminum frame with black G10 scales and housing a 3.15-inch 154CM stainless steel dagger-style blade, the Godson 700 is ready made for self-defense. MSRP is $260.
Jake Hoback, owner and knifemaker at Hoback Knives, has become a hot ticket among tactical folder users the past few years. His A8 Slimline folder, with its upswept 3.25-inch Tanto-style blade and lightened titanium integral lock frame, exemplifies his fine work. The A8 Slimline is 7.796 inches overall and weighs in at a scant 4.7 oz., perfect for everyday carry. MSRP is $595.
Hogue EX-F01 SIG Fixed Drop-Point
The Great Outdoors
With the pressure off from the former administration’s penchant for gun control measures, firearm and knife users have started enjoying the great outdoors more. Survival shows are still hot and the Bushcraft movement has matured, making options in survival and sporting knives better than ever.
Battlehorse Knives is well known for making fine bushcraft fixed blades but they’ve added their first ever, uniquely cool pocketknife. The non-locking FULT friction folder is an old-school design, and a rattail tang holds the blade in place by thumb pressure. The FULT is 6.3 inches overall with a 2.25-inch 440-C stainless steel blade and gray G10 handle. The FULT comes with its own wet-formed leather pocket slip. MSRP is $135.
Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) launched their first Field Strip folding knife in 2016 and this line has turned into a monster since. Designed by noted knifemaker/innovator Ken Onion, these knives can be disassembled, cleaned and reassembled in less than a minute. The Homefront was the first model; now there are eight to choose from in both outdoor and tactical designs. Prices are easy on your customer’s wallet, ranging from $80 to $150 MSRP.
The big news at TOPS Knives is the addition of an all-new culinary line. If the prototypes we saw at the show are any indication, this group of rugged outdoor knives are sure to be a hit. First out will be a chef knife, a paring knife set and a cleaver. Look for a full feature on these knives in American Handgunner in early 2019.
Hunters will appreciate the Outdoor Edge Razor-Pro dual-blade folder featuring their replaceable razor edge drop-point blade alongside one for gutting. Rather than worry about field sharpening your main blade, a razor sharp replacement blade can be swapped out in mere seconds. The Outdoor Edge Razor-Pro comes with a Mossy Oak nylon belt sheath and six replacements blades. MSRP is $74.95.
Spyderco Smock C240CFP
Everyday Carry Plus
Everyday carries are for those who need a knife for daily chores without full emphasis on self-defense, but still have an able edge should the need arise. These pocketable tools are a great category for secondary sales.
Chris Reeve Knives has taken the slip joint, or non-locking folder, to another new level with the new upscale Impinda model. Designed by noted knifemaker Bill Harsey, this titanium frame folder is 7.144 inches overall and weighs a scant 3.38 oz. The innovation lies in the blade’s patented cam action, which varies pressure at each stage of deployment. Truly unique! MSRP is $450.
Benchmade Knives’ wildly popular mPR (Micro Pocket Rocket) now has a smaller sibling. The mPR is only 4.83 inches fully deployed but it’s built like a tank. This model par excellence features a stonewashed 20CV stainless steel blade (a tad under 2 inches) mated with a 2.84-inch titanium frame with a slick blue anodized pocket clip, pivot and back spacers. Compact, clandestine and ready to roll via a slick flipper action. MSRP is $400.
DPx Gear has a hit with its new Urban line of small EDC folders. The DPx HEST/F Urban Ti is a modern folder featuring a top-shelf titanium handle with a premium CPM S35VN blade. DPx Gear loads their folders with features and the Urban is no exception with goodies like a cap lifter, hex drive, wire stripper and glass breaker. First class all the way. MSRP is $375.
The hit of the show in traditional folders was the new A.G. Russell Wharncliffe Lockback. Based on a century-old design, this pocketknife features a beautifully tapered frame, large duty driven 3.25-inch Wharncliffe blade, stainless steel bolsters, timeless brown jigged bone scales and a thoroughly modern lockback mechanism. (Other handle options are available.) MSRP is $79.95.
Kershaw Knives’ Faultline is a versatile EDC equally at home or in the office or shop as it is in the great outdoors. At 4-inches closed it’s an easy carry, and the Faultline’s deep bellied 3-inch clip-point blade can wear a lot of hats. The blade rolls out like silk via the company’s patented KVT ball bearing pivot and a liner-lock mechanism keeps it secured. The handle is handsome Olive Drab nylon with black rubber inserts. MSRP is $39.99.
SOG Knives became a leader in multi-tools during the Middle East conflicts with their rugged and innovative PowerLock and PowerAssist series. Now there are pint-size versions for EDC pocket carry. We like the PowerLitre, a small multi-tool that fits in the palm of your hand with a full accompaniment of functions — 17 in all — just like those you’ll find on their big boy multis. MSRP is $67.
Save The Date
Further illustrating growth in the cutlery market, BLADE announced an additional event to the calendar: BLADE Show West, in Portland, Ore., Oct. 5–7. The 2019 BLADE Show will return to Atlanta, June 7–9. Visit www.bladeshow.com, www.bladeshowwest.com
Benchmade Marketing Director Derrick Lau shows off the new mPR Micro Pocket Rocket — a small EDC knife “built like a tank.”