Sharpen Your Knife Sales

Knife Market
Remains Hot With
Aggressive Designs.

Knives are a hot ticket in the marketplace, with this segment of the industry reflecting a lot of excitement and profit potential. This was the general perception at the 2013 Blade Show held in Atlanta, Ga., May 31-June 2. Cutlery manufacturers typically launch a slew of new products at this event and this year’s crop of factory knives showed a broad range of new designs — something for every budget.

Southern Grind’s Bad Monkey is attracting a growing following.

W.R. Case & Sons’ Wes Hardin holds the new Carhartt by Case
catalog along with the earth brown G10 BackPocket knife.

Abundance Of Folders

The folding knife continues to be the major focus of the cutlery market — primarily in the “tactical” genre. 5.11 Tactical Gear is now several years into their knife program and it continues to boom. The small LDE (Last Ditch Effort) Tanto Folder caught our eye. This little bulldog is one of an expanding group of folders based on the same FRN (injection-molded) handle platform and is very economical. Visit

Hallmark Cutlery continues to be one of the value leaders in the tactical arena. The Dreadnaught, with its aggressive rhino-like blade and stout G10 handle, is a large-size folder at a very affordable price point. The entire Bad Blood line is similarly priced and will appeal to both the youth market and seasoned tactical user. Visit

A sleek, new design introduced at the show was the Ken Onion-designed CRKT Swindle gent’s folder. This midsize folder exudes class, from its strong lines to the unique hinged pocket clip on its base. The Swindle’s blade swings out via a flipper (located on the backside of the handle) and an IKBS ball bearing pivot. Visit

W. R. Case & Sons has teamed up with Carhartt to release a line of hard-duty folders in a variety of traditional patterns. Handle options in the Carhartt series include molasses bone, synthetic stag, and earth brown G10 composite. Visit

Retired police officer and trainer Brian Hoffner’s American Tactical Apparel has developed a group of knives able to be rapidly accessed and indexed as part of a training system that can be easily taught to law enforcement and civilian users. There are two “live” folders in the lineup (a plain edge and partially serrated version) and a training knife for instruction. Visit

A.G. Russell, an advocate of carrying small knives, designed the Skorpions to suit his needs — two trim, lightweight folders built strong enough to do some beefy cutting. Available in two blade sizes (3 and 3.45 inches) these “featherlite” folders feature sturdy frame-locks on lightened handle rails. Visit

Kershaw’s popular Cryo is getting a big brother. The Cryo II is 20-percent larger but retains the overall look and feel of the original. The Cryo II features a matte-gray titanium carbo-nitride coated stainless steel frame, drop-point blade, flipper activated SpeedSafe opening mechanism and frame-lock with lockbar stabilizer. Visit

Cold Steel’s new Indo/Persian-inspired Talwar folder has more curves than a Himalayan switchback. The knife’s upswept blade complements a wicked handle with G10 scales. Cold Steel offers the Talwar in two blade lengths — a small 4-inch model and larger 5.5-inch one. Visit

Benchmade has jumped aboard the flipper train. The company’s new midsize 300 AXIS Flipper folder features “treaded” brown and tan G10 handle scales and a drop-point blade — which is engaged by an easy-access flipper or ambidextrous thumb studs. This folder locks up with Benchmade’s sturdy AXIS lock. Visit

Zac Brown’s Georgia-based Southern Grind continues to cultivate a popular following, and their American-made Bad Monkey folders are scorching hot. Large 5.25-inch carbon fiber frames and a choice of drop-point and tanto blade are the basis of the line. Further blade options include black or tumbled satin finishes and plain or serrated edges. Visit

The Mil-Tac MTF-3 and MTF-4 Tanto are the third generation of the company’s Military Tactical Folder series. Mil-Tac knives are known for offering more tech for the buck. Exquisite three-dimensional machined G10 handles have a grippy pattern and in-between you’ll find a sturdy liner-lock mechanism. Visit

The Hogue EX-04 (Left) and the CRKT Swindle (Right) are two
of many diverse tactical folders on the market.

Fixed-blade knives are still an important segment of the cutlery market.
At top is Buck Knives Ron Hood Thug model, at bottom Spartan Blades slick Phrike design.

Fixed-Blade Alternative

Fixed blades or “straight knives” may not dominate the market like they used to, but there are still plenty of quality options to choose from.

Boker offers an aggressive new Colubris midsize fixed-blade design. The knife’s modified Wharncliffe blade features a bold look and the handle, with its fine, milled logo patterns, gives the Colubris an upscale look without the price tag. Visit for more details.

TOPS Knives introduces new products throughout the year and one of their newest is the Mini Scandi featuring the popular “Scandi Grind” popularized by the Bushcraft movement. The tan-handled Mini Scandi is just over 6 inches in length and comes with a Kydex sheath — able to be worn around the neck or dangling from a carabineer attached to a belt loop. Visit

The Thug, recently introduced by Buck Knives, represents the third offering of the Ron Hood fixed-blade line, following in the steps of the Hoodlum and the Punk. At 13 inches in length, the Thug splits the difference between its siblings. But like its predecessors, this fixed-blade features an easy-to-sharpen black powder-coated 1095 carbon steel blade and black linen Micarta handles. Visit

Mike McCourt of 5.11 Tactical Gear proudly shows off one of the
company’s new creations: the small but aggressive LDE Tanto Folder.

Adventurer Robert Young Pelton displays the new Aculus folder from DPx Gear.
This upscale gent’s folder is the result of a collaborative effort with LionSteel.

Advanced And Upscale Offerings

What would a Blade Show be without the latest innovations? This usually means lots of titanium, cutting-edge steels, svelte designs and cool grips.

The Hogue/Allen Elishewitz connection continues to thrive in the form of the new EX-04 tactical folder. Their most curvaceous folder to date, the EX-04 features two blade options — drop-point and modified Wharncliffe — plus handle choices in an array of Hogue’s patented G-Mascus. Two EX-04 models are available. Visit

Spyderco recently introduced its first flipper design: the Spyderco Southard. Designed by Colorado custom knifemaker Brad Southard, this flipper has a titanium frame-lock with an over-travel stop for the leaf spring. It also features a nicely finished earth brown G10 front scale, a graceful deep-ground stonewashed finished clip point blade. For more information, visit

DPx Gear stepped out of their usual hard-use knife groove to produce the Aculus gent’s folder, a collaborative effort with LionSteel of Italy. The Aculus’ sleek frame is meticulously machined from one solid piece of aircraft-grade titanium alloy. The blade features premium ELMAX steel and engages via a rhomboid-shaped slot. A slim pocket clip keeps the knife at the ready when carried. Visit

Just a few years ago, Spartan Blades burst onto the scene with a fresh look in tactical knives, and the Phrike fixed-blade continues that vision. This midsized clip-point features slick styling, premium S35VN steel and thin G10 handle insets to keep the knife slim and easy to conceal. Visit

As you can see, there are a lot of edges here to pique the interest of your customers. With so many variations and price points available, you can tailor your steel to suit a wide range of budgets, age groups and functions. And the best news is: 2014 new products are just around the corner.
Story And Photos By Pat Covert

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