Latest Trends Show Cutlery Industry Is Still On Fire
By Pat Covert
The BLADE Show, held every June in Atlanta, is the cutlery world’s best barometer of industry health — and this year’s event was no exception. Attendees last year saw a huge increase in both youth-driven companies and younger consumers alike. In 2016, this trend continued at an accelerated pace, and in an encouraging sign, there was a noticeable uptick in participation from the international community. Follow along as we give you a tour of some of the hot new offerings!
Tactical And EDC Standouts
Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) won the BLADE Show’s Most Innovative Imported Knife award for their Ken Onion Field Strip Homefront folder. Serious looking with a hint of retro cool, the Homefront (8.3 inches overall with a flipper opener) can be taken apart in less than a minute — making cleaning mud and grit a snap. Truly innovative, the Homefront will be a home run among your customers. MSRP is $150.
Böker Plus Knives’ biggest seller in 2015 was the Urban Trapper series of everyday carry (EDC) folders. These modern Brad Zinker designs are nothing short of slick. Soon, there will be a more compact version, the Urban Trapper Mini, with four different frames: Titanium, Cocobolo Wood, Carbon Fiber and G10. The blade length on the Minis will be 2.75 inches, making them ideal for small, everyday carry. The first issue is the Titanium model, with a suggested retail of $99.95.
The Hogue Knives folks were all smiles after winning the 2016 Freedom’s Guardian Award from Knife Rights, the cutlery industry’s equivalent of the NRA. The company’s new X5 series of folders were on display and featured an arched profile, anodized aluminum frame, CPM 154 stainless steel and a slick button lock blade release. Available in a choice of blade styles, the X5’s MSRP ranges from $209.95 to $259.95.
Spyderco’s Pattada, the newest folder in their Ethnic Series, carries on the banner in spades. Long and sleek, the 8.76-inch (open) Pattada has its roots in Sardinian ethnic knives called “resolzas.” Designed by Spyderco owner and founder Sal Glesser, this resolza is modernized with clean lines, G10 handle scales and a top-shelf Böhler-Uddeholm N690Co stainless steel spear point blade. MSRP is $289.95.
The American-Made Knife Of The Year award went to Spartan Blades’ SHF (Spartan Harsey Folder), a handsome blend of sculpted Titanium and S35VN stainless steel. The SHF won’t be available until later in 2016, but the Metis model folder has already hit the shelves. This is a gentleman’s EDC: 6.75 inches in overall length with a sweet upswept S35VN blade and full Titanium frame with integral lock. Every bit as tough as it is stylish, the Metis has an MSRP of $340.
The Zero Tolerance 0456 was released just before the BLADE Show and has already proven to be a hit among end users. Designed by custom knifemaker Dmitry Sinkevich, this 7.7-inch (deployed) 3-D machined, two-tone Titanium frame folder is a bulldog in stylish attire. The blade has a flipper opener with a CTS-204P stainless steel hybrid of clip point and reverse tanto styles. The blade pivot, frame spacers and pocket clip are done up in a striking anodized blue. MSRP is $300.
Designed by SWAT officer Lee Smith, the ESEE Tertiary push knife is based off the company’s wildly popular Izula model. The Izula-style blade is a 2.5-inch clip point of 1095 high carbon steel (an ESEE standard) with a black powder coat. Overall length is 5 inches. Optional handle scales are Izula black G10 units and the knife comes with a black molded plastic sheath with removable clip plate. MSRP is $162 with scales, $130 without.
The Steel Will Gekko folder has been one of their most popular models, so much so that customers begged for a smaller version for a light EDC. Steel Will obliged with the new Gekko Mini Series — sporting handle options in Burgundy Micarta, Green Canvas Micarta and Black G10. Fully extended, the new Minis will check in at 7.87 inches, with 3.5 of that in the blade. MSRP for the Minis is $199.95.
CRKT took home the BLADE Show’s Most Innovative Imported Knife award for
their Ken Onion-designed Homefront folder with Field Strip technology.
It can be disassembled in less than a minute for cleaning.
Silver Stag Deep Valley Elk Stick
Hunting and survival-type knives continue to be an in-demand trend among knifemakers, and several new introductions caught the eye of BLADE Show attendees.
Benchmade’s new Crooked River AXIS Lock, part of their HUNT Series of fixed-blades and folders, may be the best-looking hunting folder ever produced. Seriously. The 5.3-inch handle is a sweet combination of grey anodized bolsters with Dymondwood scales, further accented with an orange pivot collar and back spacer. A 4-inch stonewashed clip point of CPM-S30V stainless steel does the cutting chores. MSRP is $210.
Designed by popular outdoorsman Brian Griffin, Schrade’s new SCHF42 Frontier fixed-blade is as hot as a cap pistol. At 9.95 inches overall with a 5.12-inch 1095 high carbon steel drop-point blade, the SCH42 can handle a myriad of field chores. Buyers have a choice of black or brown Grivory handle scales. MSRP is a very affordable $75.56, which also includes a leather sheath.
Habilis Bushtools, a favorite of the bushcraft set, continues to grow its line of survival and camp knives. The new Companion model, a compact 6.35-inch fixed-blade with an upswept 3-inch clip-point blade, attracted interest. The full-tang design features 1095 high carbon steel and a comfortable bag handle of orange/black layered G10 composite. The Companion is priced at an affordable MSRP of $99, perfect for the younger crowd.
Battle Horse Knives’ new Bushman, a super-sized version of their popular Bushcrafter model, is a beast. At 10.75 inches overall — 5.25 inches in the blade — the Bushman is made for heavy-duty camp chores. This handful of a fixer features easy-to-sharpen O1 tool steel and Micarta handles. Battle Horse offers three blade grinds: Scandi, Saber and Full Bevel. Its MSRP is $250, which includes a beefy leather sheath.
Smith & Sons Knife Company is a family business, founded in 2011. The Ultralite is a 7-inch overall fixer with a 3.7-inch deep-bellied drop-point blade designed for skinning game and light camp chores. The compact Ultralite features D2 blade steel, Micarta handle scales and a horizontal leather sheath. MSRP is $215.
TOPS Knives has moved onto the production phase of the new B.O.B. Fieldcraft folder after two years of prototyping and testing. This folding version of their popular B.O.B fixed-blade has virtually the same lines and, according to Marketing Director Craig Powell, the blade can be used for batoning — a testament of its strength. Overall length is 9.75 inches and the 1095 high carbon steel modified Scandi blade is 4.38 inches. MSRP for the B.O.B. Fieldcraft folder is $250.
Gerber 06 Auto
Bear & Son B-400-LD
Jim Bruhns president of Hogue Knives, proudly displays the 2016 Freedom’s Guardian
Award trophy from Knife Rights — the cutlery industry’s equivalent of the NRA.
Save The Date
BLADE Show 2017 will once again be held at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, running June 2–4. Visit www.bladeshow.com for more information.
SB Tactical Ramps Up OEM Efforts
Continuing the company’s aggressive rebranding campaign and product portfolio effort, SB Tactical has announced new OEM partnerships with IWI US, KRISS USA and CAA USA.
“The evolution of our brand and products showcases our commitment to growth and innovation. This is an exciting time for SB Tactical; we look forward to forging strategic relationships with new partners and fans of the PDW Pistol community,” said Amy Pevear, SB Tactical VP of marketing.
IWI’s UZI Pro and Galil Ace firearms will be equipped with SB Tactical’s UZI PSB (Pistol Stabilizing Brace) and Galil PSB, while KRISS USA’s Vector SDP pistols feature Vector PSB braces in both black and FDE. CAA is now shipping the Non-NFA RONI featuring a SB Tactical PSB.
SB Tactical also has existing partnerships with SIG SAUER, Century Arms, LWRCI, Zenith Firearms and Maxim Defense.