I found some excellent new knives from CRKT, SOG, Condor and other companies earlier this year at the SHOT Show. Each year, the SHOT Show is always a whirlwind week, and it’s hard to describe the scale of the show if you’ve never been there. Four days sounds like a long time, but it’s really not enough time to see everything or at least not spend much time in any one spot. With that said, earlier this year, the crew from Knives Illustrated made the rounds, checking in with what was new on the cutlery scene. Here are a few of my top picks from the companies I covered during the show.
Columbia River Knife & Tool always has a deep catalog of new releases, and this year was no exception. Of the company’s many new knives, those that stood out to me were its new USA-made folders and its latest T.J. Schwarz designs.
The Definitive and LCBK folders are from the married designers M.J. and Matthew Lerch. They’re built in conjunction with Hogue Knives at Hogue’s factory here in the United States. These are extremely well-built knives made from premium materials.
The Definitive has a 3.7-inch drop-point blade of 154CM steel, black G10 handles, and a deep-carry pocket clip. It locks up via an ambidextrous Crossbar Lock and only weighs 3 ounces. MSRP for this premium, U.S.-made knife is $215.
The LCBK has a stonewashed 3.4-inch blade of 154CM steel and also uses the Crossbar Lock. The LCBK is even lighter at 2.8 ounces and also has G10 handles and a deep-carry pocket clip. MSRP for the LCBK is $215 as well.
The Dextro and Overland Compact are T.J. Schwartz designs and should make for great EDC knives that will be well within just about anyone’s budget. The Dextro has a 3.18-inch D2 tool steel drop-point blade with a titanium nitride finish. Handles are of black anodized aluminum with subtle green accents. Lock up is via a liner lock. The Dextro snaps open using a flipper on IKBS bearings. It weighs in at 4.8 ounces and a low-profile pocket clip is provided. MSRP is $64.
The Overland Compact is a compact but chubby design that looks like it’ll cut above its weight class. It has a 2.24-inch D2 blade with dual thumb studs that folds into a G10 and stainless steel frame lock handle. The handle scales are green with orange accents for the back spacer and around the pivot screw. All metal components have a black stonewashed finish. Closed length is only 3.19 inches and the weight is 3.10 ounces. A pocket clip is set up for right-hand, tip-up carry. MSRP on the Overland Compact is $59.
Boker is another company that always has a hefty release schedule, and it’s sometimes hard to choose what to highlight. I picked out one of the company’s amazing Damascus folders as well as a practical EDC blade.
The Boker 1969 Z28-Damascus is collaboration with the Italian designer Tommaso Rumici. Boker describes it as “a unique muscle knife” as it combines the character traits of the Camaro Z/28 in form and strength. Not only that, but it’s made from Camaro parts. Parts of the upper A-arm from the Camaro were hand forged by Chad Nichols into an 80-layer tread-pattern Damascus for the drop-point blade of the knife.
The aluminum handle is anodized in “Le Mans Blue,” and it sports a blue anodized thumb stud. The pivot screw is inspired by the rims often used on muscle cars, and the stainless steel clip has echoes of the ’60s chrome-plated door handles. The Camaro comes with a floating display and is handmade in the Boker Manufactory in Solingen, Germany. MSRP is $594.95, but it’s a truly unique piece of cutlery for the gearhead in your life.
For more routine carry, you may want to check out the Boker Plus Epicenter. Designed by Todd Rexford, the Epicenter has a 3.5-inch drop-point blade of D2 tool steel and opens via an ambidextrous thumb hole. It has an attractive blend of yellow liners and black G10 scales with a very comfortable contour. Lockup is by means of a tough back lock, and the Epicenter has a brass-lined lanyard hole and brass-rimmed pivot screw. It has a deep-carry pocket clip and also comes with a nylon pouch. MSRP on the Epicenter is $142.95.
CONDOR TOOL & KNIFE
Condor had a lot of new stuff at the show, but one of the standouts was the Terrachete Machete, which would make a great companion piece to the Terrasaur knife. It has a thermoplastic handle and sheath, and a 14-inch 1075 high-carbon steel blade. The primary edge is convex ground, but there’s a section of Scandi grind near the handle for carving or detail work. Overall length is almost 21 inches from tip to extended pommel. The best part is the price. With a $69.98 MSRP, Condor is going to sell a bunch of these.
“Columbia River Knife & Tool always has a deep catalog of new releases…those that stood out to me were its new USA-made folders and its latest T.J. Schwarz designs.”
The other thing that got a lot of attention was the Country Backroads Series from Jason Breeden. The set consists of a knife, machete, and axe. They’re all made from 1075 high-carbon steel and have really nice handles of American hickory and stacked leather. They look good and feel great in the hand. All three come with a nice, high-grade leather sheath as well. The knife has a 5½-inch drop-point blade and a $144.98 MSRP; the Machete a 15.8-inch blade and a $174.98 MSRP; the Axe a 4-inch edge and a $184.98 MSRP.
A buddy of mine suggested that I check out QSP Knives at the show, and I wasn’t disappointed. QSP has a large line of products, from affordable EDC models to some pretty high-end folders, as well as a smattering of fixed blades. I was told that the primary difference in the various models was in material choice, but that build quality was the same on a $50 piece as a $500 piece.
From examining a cross-section of the line, that looked to be true. All had a very high degree of fit and finish. I grabbed a couple of base models for examples because they’re an easy introduction to the QSP line if you aren’t familiar with them but might want to give them a try.
The QS148 is a handy flipper with Micarta handles and a 3-inch Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel tanto blade. It’s fast and comfortable in the hand and locks up solidly with a button lock. It’s offered with blue, gray, or black handles and a reversible pocket clip. MSRP is only $48.50.
The QSP QS145 also uses a Sandvik 14C28N steel and Micarta handles. This one has a 3-inch clip-point blade and locks up with a liner lock. Handle colors are black, brown, and green, and it comes with a titanium pocket clip set up for tip-up right-hand carry. MSRP is again a very reasonable $48.50.
When most folks think Cold Steel they expect something big and impressive, and the company didn’t disappoint. The new Mayhem is a gigantic folder with a wide 6-inch blade of AUS10A stainless steel. It’s over 13 inches when opened and has a handle big enough that you can choke back on it and swing the Mayhem more like a 9- or 10-inch-long blade. Closed, it’s still a pretty massive 7.3 inches, and it weighs in at 13 ounces.
This isn’t a blade you’re going to forget you have on you. It has a black G10 handle and uses the extremely strong ATLAS locking system. The ATLAS has tested as the strongest lock Cold Steel has, and that’s saying something. Despite that, the spine-mounted release is still easy to disengage, and you can flip the Mayhem open and closed with an ease that belies its size. Just watch your fingers. If you need a pocket cutlass, the Mayhem is the blade for you. MSRP is as hefty as the blade itself at $349.99, but you’re getting a heck of a pocket sword for the price.
If something a little smaller is more your speed for EDC, then you might want to look at the Engage. This smallest of the Engage series has a much more modest 2.5-inch clip-point blade of 4116 stainless steel and still uses the ambidextrous ATLAS lock. Handles are of black GFN, and there’s a pocket clip set up for tip-up carry. MSRP on the Engage is only $69.99.
SOG had some interesting pieces this year and a focus on outdoor blades for hiking and camping. Two fixed blades caught my eye: the Ether and the Provider. Both are full-tang designs with removable G10 handle scales and stonewashed finishes, and both come with SOG’s handy Tri-Lobe polymer sheath that can be set up for vertical or horizontal carry.
The Ether has orange handles and a 3.25-inch drop-point blade of S35VN stainless steel. It weighs in at only 2 ounces. It’s light, thin, and handy and would make a great backpacking knife. MSRP is $169.99.
The Provider is a touch bigger with a 3.7-inch drop-point blade of 154CM stainless steel. It has green G10 scales and is a bit heftier than the Ether at 5 ounces. It’s quite handy if you want a slightly bigger and slightly thicker blade. MSRP on the Provider is $159.99. KI
Columbia River Knife & Tool
Condor Tool & Knife
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