This year’s new knives include several that I must have. It’s a never-ending problem. I tell myself I’m well served and completely happy with the knives I have already. And then I see the new models being released. It’s not a matter of needing them as much as it is wanting them.
Actually, I would be prefer to stick with a few select favorites, imbuing them with more memories, which adds considerably to the personal value I place on them. But, enthusiasm often overrides prudence. So, when I took a look at some of the models offered, I couldn’t help but add them to my wish list. For this article, I settled on five companies to highlight.
NEW KNIVES FROM SPYDERCO
Enuff 2 K390. I regularly carry a Spyderco Enuff with leaf-shaped blade either in a left-side pocket or on the left on my belt. Designed by company co-founder Sal Glesser, the Spyderco Enuff series was a collection of three compact, utilitarian, fixed-blade knives. While I’ve always found the Enuff to be enough, apparently there were some requests to make a “More Than” Enuff. Enter Spyderco’s new Enuff 2.
The original Enuff was 6.75 inches overall. The steel was 0.157-inch thick with a cutting edge of 2.54 inches. The Enuff 2 is longer and leaner than its first-generation predecessors. It measures 7.98 inches overall, and its 0.118-inch thick blade has a cutting edge of 3.72 inches with a full flat grind. Spyderco has upgraded the steel on the design, too, and is offering this model in Böhler-Uddeholm K390 Microclean, a state-of-the-art particle metallurgy tool steel.
This full-tang knife is flanked by tough fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) scales injection molded with Spyderco’s signature Bi-Directional Texture pattern and rendered in the distinctive blue color of their elite K390 family of knives. The MSRP for the Enuff 2 is $240.
Lil’ Temperance Lightweight K390. Spyderco’s Lil’ Temperance Lightweight is getting an upgrade to K390 Microclean steel, too, in what represents the latest chapter in the 20-year evolutionary process of this little powerhouse. Originally conceived by Glesser as a personal-defense tool, it has evolved to become an exceptionally stout, full-service folding knife capable of tackling the toughest cutting chores.
The 2.92-inch blade (with 2.82-inch cutting edge) of the Lil’ Temperance Lightweight K390 is full-flat ground from 0.157-inch stock and features an extremely keen plain cutting edge. It is paired with a handle built with skeletonized stainless steel liners that form the foundation of the knife’s high-strength Compression Lock mechanism. The liners are nested within injection-molded FRN blue scales. It comes with a pocket clip with the option of four mounting positions. The MSRP is $310.
Military Model 2. Spyderco’s original Military Model is one of the most iconic and widely recognized folding knives ever produced. Designed by Glesser as the perfect knife for forward-deployed military personnel, it has proudly served discerning end-users worldwide for more than 25 years. The eagerly anticipated Military 2 builds on that hard-earned reputation while incorporating several significant design improvements. Instead of the original design’s liner lock, the Military 2’s full-flat-ground CPM S30V blade measures 4 inches long with a 3.65-inch cutting edge and is supported by Spyderco’s signature Compression Lock mechanism.
The stainless steel liners that form the foundation of the lock are larger, giving the knife increased structural strength and providing a solid anchor for its four-position pocket clip. Faithful to the original design, the handle’s skeletonized liners are nested within peel-ply-textured G10 scales to maintain a slim, pocket friendly profile. The MSRP is $280.
Stok Bowie and Drop Point. Spyderco’s new Stok knives, designed by Sjoerd Stok, come with either a Bowie or drop-point blade. These models are intended as everyday carry utility knives with the simplicity of fixed blades.
Both of these full-tang knives are crafted from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. Each measures 6.45 inches overall with a 2.95-inch blade. Olive drab peel-ply-textured G10 handle scales provide a secure grip. Each Stok model comes with a molded, snap-fit Boltaron sheath with a G-Clip attachment. The MSRP for either is $100.
Counter Critter. Considering all of the Spyderco knives I own, one that I use almost daily is the Counter Puppy, a small, utilitarian kitchen knife. It features an injection-molded handle shaped with stylized little puppy legs that allow it to stand upright on a counter or tabletop. Spyderco’s new Counter Critters feature the same concept, but are 20% larger. Each measures 8.39 inches overall with a 3.95-inch blade of 7Cr17 stainless steel. They come in a choice of plain or serrated blades. They are available in a choice of blue or purple. The MSRP is $45.
W.R. CASE AND SONS
I haven’t counted lately, but I probably own more Case knives than any other brand. Most are slip-joint models with jigged bone scales. But the company began to offer more modern designs last year with the introduction of the Marilla and Kinzua, both one-handed flipper models with locking blades and a wider, more tactical capability range.
Westline. Case continued on that path this year with the release of the Westline. The Westline is the first modern EDC knife Case has offered that also incorporates a spring-assisted opening mechanism. (Case’s previous assisted-openers were in the more traditional Mid-Folding Hunter and Trapperlock models with the company’s Kickstart system.)
The Westline features a wide, drop-point blade that offers plenty of belly and tapers down to a good point with the help of a swedge on the spine. The steel is S35VN with a stonewashed finish. The curvy handle with aluminum scales has a nice downslope to it. It feels very good in the hand. Handle colors include red, black, blue, and silver initially. Dual thumb studs allows for one-handed opening with either hand. The steel pocket clip is reversible for tip-up carry. And, of course, it’s made in the USA in the company’s Bradford, Pennsylvania, facility.
More Kinzua models. I mentioned the Kinzua earlier. This year, Case is offering new deco-design handles and blades to this collection. Each of these new handle designs features uniquely themed artwork that’s amped up with high-tech durable finishes such as Cerakote and Diamond-Like Carbon coatings (DLC). The Kinzua blade is made with S35VN steel in either a tanto or spear configuration.
Congress is in session. Each year, Case takes a particular knife pattern out of its vault and reintroduces it for the calendar year with a variety of handle variations. This year, the small congress was the chosen pattern with an initial collection that offers 21 unique handle options. The small congress (’68 pattern) is a four-blade slip-joint folding knife with sheepsfoot, spear, pen, and coping blades made of mirror polished steel, with French nail nicks for easy opening. Two-bladed models are available, too, with opposing sheepsfoot and pen blades. Each measures 3 1/8 inches closed.
Vintage bone ladder Damascus. If you’re looking for something classy while still being practical, check out Case’s folders with bone handles and ladder-patterned carbon Damascus blades. Patterns include the trapper, Sodbuster Jr., small swell-center jack, muskrat, seahorse whittler, saddlehorn, mini trapper, and peanut.
“Spartan Blades are borne of a combat mindset. This year… will mark the debut of the Spartan Harsey Fighter and the Spartan Harsey Nessmuk.”
Fixed blades. Case also has a new series of hardwood-composite-handled fixed blades. Each features a 4.45-inch satin-finished 420HC stainless steel drop-point blade. Several hardwood handle color shade options are available. A sturdy leather sheath is included.
SOCP stands for Special Operations Combatives Program, and the new Benchmade SOCP models are built for the battlefield. This fixed blade with 7.11-inch blade of CPM-3V steel was designed in conjunction with Greg Thompson specifically with special operations personnel in mind. Also, Benchmade is offering a steel SOCP trainer with similar weight and feel of the edged version for those practicing their martial arts skills.
Benchmade has introduced two new models for those living in communities that restrict the length of certain types of knives. The Full Immunity is a manual opener with a sub-2.5-inch blade. The OM is a micro out-the-front auto with a blade of just 2.48 inches.
“The Westline is the first modern EDC knife Case has offered that also incorporates a spring-assisted opening mechanism.”
The Benchmade 748 Narrows is a thin, lightweight knife that measures just 0.28-inch thick. With its titanium handle, it weighs just 2.41 ounces.
Among new Benchmade fixed blades is the revamped Altitude minimalist fixed blade geared toward backcountry hunters who insist on ultralight gear. The updated Raghorn is a fixed-blade hunting knife that can handle even the largest field-dressing chores. The Flyway is a lightweight upland game and waterfowl knife that now comes with O.D. green G10 scales and orange accents.
Benchmade also has added models to its popular Bugout, Shootout, and Claymore families of knives.
BEAR & SON
Bear & Son Cutlery adds lots of new blades to its lineup every year. I continue to be impressed with this Jacksonville, Alabama, company that turns out quality USA-made knives that regular folks can afford. The models in its Bear Edge and Bear Ops lines are especially nice.
If you want something simple and classic, you might opt for the 150L Pattern Locking Cowhand. New models are available with rosewood, yellow Delrin, and Stag Bone. Any of the 37L Pattern Locking Farmhand with clip models would serve you well, too. These slim little locking folders are available in several handle colors. If you want a lock-blade knife with a traditional look, you should check out the Locking Cowhand. The 4½-inch Zytel Sideliner (78 Pattern) is a modern flipper with a 3.25-inch blade of 440 stainless steel that weighs just 2.9 ounces.
Among the new knives in the company’s Bear Edge line is the Model 61125. This flipper features a 3.25-inch drop-point hollow-ground blade of 440 stainless steel that opens easily on ball-bearing washers. The handle is trouble-free stainless steel that also incorporates the dependable frame lock. The included pocket clip is reversible. The MSRP is $69.99.
In the company’s Bear Ops line, the Bold Action V auto looks to be a winner with its D2 blade and G10 handle. The sleek G21 (21 Pattern) is a manual flipper made of D2 steel that I’m anxious to try.
Bear & Son probably offers more balisongs (butterfly knives) than any other maker in the U.S. Among the company’s many new offerings in this category are the superhero-themed 4-inch and 5-inch Widow Series with red blades overlayed with a spider web pattern.
Spartan Blades are borne of a combat mindset. This year, the company is continuing its collaborative efforts with top knife designer William W. Harsey Jr. Following the company’s previous releases of Harsey designs, this year will mark the debut of the Spartan Harsey Fighter and the Spartan Harsey Nessmuk.
The Fighter measures 11.5 inches overall with a 6.125-inch blade of 0.195-inch-thick 1095 Cro-Van steel. Its spearpoint blade features a flat grind and black powdercoat finish. The knife is fitted with contoured black injection-molded handle scales. Included is an injection-molded sheath with active retention thumb lever.
According to Curtis V. Iovito, president of Spartan Blades, “The intent of this knife was to combine the blade of a U.S. military combat/utility knife and the contoured handle that has become a hallmark of Mr. Harsey’s designs.”
The Nessmuk is Harsey’s interpretation of the famous bushcraft knife carried on many outdoor adventures by George Washington Sears, who wrote under the pen name of Nessmuk for Forest and Stream magazine in the late 1800s. The Nessmuk measures 10 inches overall with a 5.125-inch blade of 0.1875-inch-thick 1095 Cro-Van steel with a black powdercoat finish.
Both of these new knives are manufactured in Olean, New York, in collaboration with KA-BAR Knives. KI
W.R. Case & Sons
Bear & Son
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