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Spyderco Cat Folding Knife Discount

Spyderco Cat with blade closedSeptember 25th, 2013 – The Spyderco Cat C129G is a fantastic little EDC folding knife and Amazon currently has it on discount for just $39.32 shipped. That’s a decent discount considering the Cat usually sells for $50+ after shipping and handling is factored in. If you are in need of a small and unobtrusive folding knife the Spyderco Cat is a solid option at this price.

Quick Review of the Spyderco Cat

The Cat is very lightweight (2.5 ounces) thanks to skeletonized liners. The 2.5″ leaf shaped blade is made from 440C stainless steel which should provide good edge retention given Spyderco’s outstanding heat treatment. The Cat’s 440C should be a level up  compared to similar lower end steels such as AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV. Handle material is a somewhat smooth textured G10 that should provide adequate grip. The locking mechanism found on the Spyderco Cat is a Walker liner lock, which is beefy enough to provide a strong and secure lockup. The Spyderco Cat also features pillar construction with a flow through design that will allow for easy cleaning and traditional torx screws hold the knife together, so it can be disassembled quickly if need be. The wire pocket clip featured on the Spyderco Cat is one of the best. It allows for a deeper carry than most standard pocket clips while adding very little weight to the knife. The pocket clip is reversible for left or right handed tip up carry. And of course, blade deployment is handled by the classic round Spyderco opening hole.

Spyderco Cat folding knife with 440C bladeThe Spyderco Cat is available at Amazon (here) for under $40 with free shipping.

Amazon Promotion: Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Sale

September 13th, 2013 – Amazon is currently having a limited time sale on Victorinox Swiss Army Knives. Spend at least $50 on Victorinox Swiss Army Knives at Amazon and $10 will automatically be deducted from your final order total. Amazon often has the cheapest prices on many models of Swiss Army Knives from Victorinox and they provide free shipping on orders of at least $25.

Swiss Amry Knife Sale

Save $10 On Swiss Army Knife Orders of $50 at Amazon.com

If you browse around the knives offered in this promotion you can find quite a few good deals on single Swiss Army Knives above $50 that qualify for the discount. For example: the Victorinox Swiss Army Cigar Knife for $48 shipped, Swisschamp XLT with Transucent Ruby scales for $175 shipped, and a Swisstool Spirit Plus with leather pouch for $100 shipped. This Amazon sale covers many Victorinox Swiss Army Knives (151 total) including many cheaper models in the $10-$20 range if you need additional knives to reach the $50 mark required to receive the discount. This is a time limited promotion, so get your orders in while you can.

Kershaw Skyline Review (Model 1760)

Kershaw Skyline Review

Kershaw Skyline Review: Lightweight and Made in the USA

Kershaw has a large selection of flipper knives in their resume and the Skyline 1760 up for review now happens to be one of the most popular and successful Kershaw flipper knives to date. Why does this folding knife receive such high praise? Well first of, it’s made in the USA and can be found for as little as $35 (the price I paid for mine). Bonus points right there. Second, the Skyline is very lightweight for the blade length, yet robust enough for moderate cutting tasks, so it makes for a fantastic EDC blade. And finally, it features a flipper design without any assisted opening features (many knife enthusiasts are not fans of assisted opening technology, such as Kershaw’s SpeedSafe).

So what are my thoughts and opinions on this high-value, lightweight EDC? Continue reading the BetterPocketKnife.com Kershaw Skyline review below to learn more and get all your questions answered.

Skyline Review: Profile, Dimensions and Weight

The Kershaw Skyline is a fantastic option for EDC, mainly due to being very lightweight (2.3 ounces), yet still providing a decently sized blade (just over 3.1″ and .09″ thick). The handle length (and closed length) is 4.25″. Overall length of the Skyline is 7.3″. Kershaw was able to make the Skyline so light by only including one steel liner (for the lock) inside the G10 handle.

Kershaw Skyline with blade deployed, pocket clip side

Blade Steel, Handle Materials and Pocket Clip

The Skyline features a hollow ground, spear-point blade shape in Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel with a bead blasted finish. This is the first knife I have owned with a 14C28N blade and I’m not a steel expert, but it seems comparable to AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV. This means it’s a low to mid-range stainless steel for lower budget knives with decent edge retention. It is extremely easy to sharpen and takes a very keen edge. The Skyline’s factory edge is in fact very keen and sharp. Some knives may need a little touching up on a whetstone straight out of the box to get a hair shaving edge, but not this one.

The Skyline is made in the USA

Made in the USA

The spear-point is a great blade shape for general use. The blade tip of the Skyline is finer and more delicate than I would like, but it should be good for detailed work and really intricate carving. Extra caution is needed to avoid breakage and of course I would not recommend any sort of prying with the Kershaw Skyline because of the delicate tip. One aspect of the Skyline’s blade I’m not fond of is the bead blasted finish. Not a fan of bead blast in general. Don’t like the way it looks and it tends to hinder the blades ability to resist rust and stains by “opening up” the steel with micro-abrasions introduced during the bead blasting process. I would have much preferred a polished or even stone washed finish, but that is just my own personal preference. However, 14C28N is a stainless steel and the corrosion resistance seems ok, so if you take proper care of your Kershaw Skyline (keep it oiled, store it dry) it should not pose too much of a problem as far as rust is concerned.

Blade is not well centered

Blade Centering

Now we get to my biggest disappointment with the Kershaw Skyline. Blade centering. It’s bad, as you can see in the picture to the left. In fact, the blade is almost touching the G10 scale on the non-linered side. Thankfully it isn’t, so functionality is not compromised. Off centered blades are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. They tend to bother me a lot more than they probably should, especially in this case where it makes no difference in the cutting performance or blade deployment of the Kershaw Skyline, but is something to keep in mind if you’re like me and picky about blade centering. By the way, no amount of adjustments I made to the pivot by loosening or tightening made any difference. The blade was always off center and misaligned.

Handle material is a medium texture G10. It provides plenty of grip while not being so abrasive as to tear up your pant or jean pockets within the first week of carrying like some rough textured G10 is capable of doing. The handle is partially open (has about a 2″ plastic or FRN backspacer toward the rear of the handle), so the knife can be cleaned without having to be fully disassembled with a few blast of compressed air. The Skyline was designed with only one steel liner in the handle (for the liner lock) to reduce weight. As a result, this knife is not suited for hard use. The G10 provides enough strength for a medium use EDC knife. However, if you squeeze the scales and apply enough pressure to the handle you will notice a small amount of flex in the G10 on the side without a liner. Nothing too concerning for the expected use of a knife this size and weight that is made for only light to medium cutting task. No prying, puncturing thin metals or batoning should be expected from this folding knife

Pocket clip, knife closed

The pocket clip itself on the Kershaw Skyline is very nice, with a similar design to those found on Kershaw’s Zero Tolerance line of knives. The tension is perfect. Enough to hold securely in a pocket, but not so tightly that removing the knife from a pocket becomes a hassle. However, I was very displeased with how high the Skyline rides in the pocket when configured in the tip up carry configuration (my preferred way of carry). By default, the Skyline comes setup for tip down carry and for this it works fine. I wouldn’t call it a deep carry with the tip down position, but it doesn’t ride nearly as high as the tip up configuration in which roughly a quarter of the Skyline’s handle is exposed. As a result I actually preferred to carry the Kershaw Skyline in the tip down position, something I would usually never do. The Skyline only has mounting holes for right handed tip up or down carry, meaning the pocket clip isn’t ambidextrous.

Detent, Lockup and Blade Deployment

The Skyline has a strong detent. Not as strong as I observed with the Ontario RAT 2, but plenty of detent to avoid any unwanted opening of the knife and to aid in blade deployment by allowing force to build up when using the flipper for easier opening. You won’t have to worry about the Skyline’s blade opening in your pocket for a nasty surprise next time you reach in for some change.

Lock ups near the middle

Closer view of the lockup

Lockup of the liner lock on the Kershaw Skyline is extremely solid. There was absolutely no blade play in either direction, even after I loosened the pivot to improve the performance of blade deployment. It’s neither an early or late lockup, but somewhere in the middle (roughly 50 to 60 percent), which I have no problem with. You can get a better idea of the lockup by viewing the picture to the left. The liner lock is also fairly thick for a knife this light in weight and includes jimping to make the lock easier to disengage. Also keep in mind the Skyline has “thumb studs” that act as blade stops instead of the more traditional stop pin. The steel liner and G10 scales have grooves cut out on each side of the handle for the blade stops to insert and hold the blade in place. This system works just fine in my experience.

I was somewhat displeased with the Skyline blade deployment out of the box. Mainly because it wouldn’t flip successfully half the time unless I gave it a moderately hard wrist flick when using the flipper. Very odd, since all reports indicated the Skyline was a very smooth knife and it features phosphor bronze washers, which I greatly prefer over teflon for durability. Over a weeks worth of use it did loosen up quite a bit, but still required a slight flick of the wrist to open and lockup completely 100% of the time. Time for some tinkering!

The Skylines uses phosphor bronze washers around the pivot

Phosphor Bronze Washers

After allowing it to break in I loosened the pivot as much as I could without introducing any blade play and finally had a very smooth blade deployment. My Skyline now opens very easily and quickly every time without having to add a wrist flick. The flipper works best by using the “button push” method as I like to call it, meaning to push in towards the handle on the very back of the flipper to build up tension and then press down slightly parallel to the handle. The blade flies open using this method, but it also works well just by putting your pointer finger on the end of the flipper and pulling straight back for a slightly slower opening of the knife.

Also keep in mind that the Skyline’s thumb studs primarily function as blade stops and can’t realistically be used to open the knife. They are very small, provide almost no traction and I was unable to deploy the blade by way of the thumb studs. Maybe for some users it will be possible to use the thumb studs, but the flipper is just much more comfortable, convenient and fast.

Comfort and Ergonomics of the Kershaw Skyline

The Kershaw Skyline has a comfortable and secure grip, despite a complete lack of jimping on the blade. The medium traction G10 handles provide the perfect amount of grip and the handle is long enough to comfortably accommodate a full four finger grip. It has a nice sized finger groove that combines with the flipper when the blade is open to form a safety finger guard that helps keep your hand from slipping forward.  A good sized lanyard hole is also present. There are no hot spots created from the pocket clip and the G10 is rounded for smooth edges that don’t bite into the skin with a tight grip. The Kershaw Skyline is a very pleasing and comfortable knife to hold. It can be used over prolonged periods of time with little agitation.

Skyline comfort and ergonomics

Kershaw Skyline Review Conclusion and Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to like about the Kershaw Skyline. It’s made in America, can be found under $40, is very lightweight, has a flipper design with smooth blade deployment, medium textured G10 for a secure grip that won’t quickly trash a pocket, features phosphor bronze washers for extra durability and smooth opening and closing, a solid liner lock, good ergonomics, quality steel for the price and the factory edge is razor sharp right out of the box. The Kershaw Skyline is a good choice for a lightweight, affordable US produced EDC knife that is unfortunately held back from greatness by a handful of relatively minor quality control issues (blade centering) and design quirks (high riding pocket clip, bead blasted blade finish). Still a solid folding knife that I have no qualms recommending to anyone interested.

BetterPocketKnife.com Rating of the Kershaw Skyline:

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Please share your thoughts or ask questions about the Kershaw Skyline folding knife in the comments section below. Feel free to post a user review if you have experience with this particular knife.

US made folding knife with 14C28N blade steel, G10 handle and flipper deployment.

Ontario RAT Review (Model 2)

The RAT Model 1 folding knife previously released by the Ontario Knife Company is an amazing value for a large and somewhat heavy folding camping/tactical knife, but what about those of us who prefer smaller, compact and lightweight knives for EDC? The RAT Model 2 is Ontario’s answer to that problem in 2013. The RAT 2 features the same design, blade steel, materials and overall construction of the RAT 1, but in a scaled down version that is roughly 20% smaller than the original. How does the RAT 2 compare to its bigger brother? Continue reading our Ontario RAT 2 review below to find out.

RAT 2 Size: Dimensions and Weight

Ontario RAT Review (Model 2)

Ontario RAT Review (Model 2)

The Ontario RAT 2 is noticeably smaller and has a slimmer profile than the RAT Model 1. Open length is 7″ with a 4″ closed length. Blade length is 3″ with a 2.75″ cutting edge and blade thickness of 0.093″. It weighs in around 2.7 ounces, almost half the weight as the Model 1. As light as the Ontario RAT 2 is in comparison to the Model 1, it could have been even lighter. Ontario has included full steel liners which haven’t been skeletonized for further weight reduction. That is a little disappointing, but not completely unexpected for a $30 folding knife. It’s still very lightweight and presents no issue for EDC.

Blade, Handle and Pocket Clip

Ontario has made use of the same materials in the RAT 2 as the previous model. The full flat-ground, drop-point blade is made from AUS-8, a very good value steel (I personally rate it slightly higher than 8Cr13MoV), and has a satin finish (also available in a black blade variant). Ontario has improved the heat treatment as well, resulting in a Rockwell hardness between 57-59. The factory edge on the RAT 2 is very sharp. Had no problem shaving hair with it. Edge retention is extremely good for a value steel and it’s not hard at all to resharpen and restore razor sharpness from a dulled blade. I broke down many boxes, used it to peel fruit, did a moderate amount of wood whittling and after the first week it still had a useable edge. It wasn’t hair popping sharp like when brand new, but could still deal with any light to moderate EDC cutting tasks I threw at it.

Blade centering is very good on the RAT 2

Blade Centering Is Excellent

In addition, the blade is almost perfectly centered, which some folding knives costing double or triple that of the Ontario RAT line sometimes have trouble getting right. One thing to be cautious of with AUS-8 is moisture, which could very easily lead to rust since this steel doesn’t have the greatest corrosion resistance. Make sure your RAT 2 isn’t wet after use and store it in a dry area with reasonably low humidity if possible.

Blade Tip of the Ontario RAT 2

RAT 2 Blade Tip

The Ontario RAT 2 handle has a pillar design with flow through construction. Handle material is black Zytel FRN and it will most likely be available in many other colors at a later date, just like the RAT Model 1 was produced in a large variety of colors. I personally prefer G10, but FRN is a good handle material that is durable, lightweight and inexpensive. The FRN is textured in a way that makes it look a lot like G10 with just a quick glance. Despite the texturing, the RAT 2 handle is very smooth and doesn’t really provide outstanding grip. This will be discussed in more detail further in the review when we get to ergonomics. A full size lanyard hole is also present if you want to run some paracord through the handle.

The pocket clip is four way positional for left or right handed tip up/down carry. It has just the right amount of tension to tightly grip onto a pocket and the smoothness of the FRN means it can be easily removed with minimal damage to your pants or jeans after extended use. In the default tip down configuration out of the box, the knife carries very low in the pocket with only a tiny slither of the knife exposed. In my preferred tip up position, it carries a bit higher, though still relatively low. This will draw more attention to the knife, but also gives a larger area to grasp making it easier to remove the knife from a pocket. The clip is painted black and I can already tell that it will be prone to scratches and eventually begin to wear off like any knife with black painted hardware. Something to consider if that sort of thing bothers you. I don’t mind a knife that shows a little wear and proof of use.

Detent, Lockup and Blade Deployment

The first thing I noticed about the RAT 2 was the detent. It is very strong. Maybe a little too strong in my own opinion, but many will like this as there is virtually no chance of the knife accidentally opening in your pocket, so it should be very safe to EDC. I tried as hard as I could to fling open the blade with just downward force, but it wouldn’t budge even a millimeter.

Lockup

Solid Lockup, Close To The Middle (45%)

The Ontario RAT 2 employs a liner locking system. The steel liner lock, just like the rest of the RAT 2, has also been scaled down from the RAT Model 1. It’s thinner, but perfectly acceptable for a moderate use EDC knife. The lockup isn’t exactly early, but it’s not late either. Somewhere in between, right around 45%, which I actually prefer to an extremely early lockup. In my experience, knives with a really early lockup seem more likely to have the lock fail when pressure is applied to the spine of the blade. The blade is very secure with absolutely no blade play in either direction and there is still plenty of room left in the lock travel for the RAT 2 to have a long life of solid lockup.

The Ontario RAT 2 includes dual ambidextrous thumb studs for blade deployment. The design and shape of the thumb studs is the one area where Ontario made some minor changes from the original RAT. They are large and have a sort of tapered, step down pattern milled in to provide extra grip. And the extra grip is welcomed, as the strong detent does require a bit more force than I am accustomed to when flipping a knife. The RAT 2 can be flipped though, and once you provide enough force on the thumb stud to overcome that beefy detent the blade flys open really smoothly thanks to the phosphor bronze bushings. My RAT 2 has broken in and really smoothed up nicely after flipping it a couple hundred times. I’ve also gotten used to the extra strong detent to the point I no longer even notice it.

Pocket Clip

The pivot of the Ontario RAT 2 is adjustable, so if you do receive a knife with a stiff blade that doesn’t open as smoothly as you would like or one that is too loose with some blade play, you have the option of loosening or tightening the pivot yourself until finding the perfect balance. But from all the reports I have read from other RAT 2 owners and my from own experience with the knife I highly doubt you will have any such issues.

Comfort and Ergonomics of the RAT 2

This is one area where the original RAT 1 may top the newer RAT 2, at least if you have larger than normal hands. It’s a small knife. My hands are on the smaller side, so I have no problems fitting all four fingers on the knife handle for a secure and comfortable grip. But if you have large or chubby hands this may present a problem and the RAT 1 might be a better option for you.

Ontario RAT 2 with Blade Deployed

As I mentioned earlier, the RAT 2 FRN handles have a very smooth texture that leaves a lot to be desired as far as grip is concerned. However, the shape of the handle and excellent jimping along the thumb ramp on the spine of the knife really mitigates this issue. It has a decent sized finger groove that will prevent your hand from slipping forward and the jimping, though somewhat minimal, is very aggressive and bites into your finger enough that slippage is not a big concern.

Final Thoughts On The Ontario RAT Model 2

I can’t really find anything overly negative to gripe about with the Ontario RAT 2. If you really want me to nit pick, the detent may be a bit too strong and the handles are a little smoother than I would like, but no major or glaring problems to report. Lockup is perfectly secure with no blade play, the blade is sharp and almost perfectly centered, it holds an edge very well for a knife in this price range and best of all it’s more compact and lightweight than the first Ontario RAT 1 for a more comfortable EDC experience. A true “pocket” knife. The RAT 2 is also a great value. I would put it on par with Spyderco’s Tenacious line of knives as far as bang for the buck goes. Definitely a great folding knife for any EDC collection.

BetterPocketKnife.com Rating:

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Ontario RAT 2 Closed

Kershaw Leek Review (Model 1660)

Kershaw Leek Review at BetterPocketKnife.com

Kershaw Leek Review: Elegant gentleman’s knife for EDC

For knife enthusiasts, one blade that will certainly cause quite a stir is the Kershaw Leek. Why did this knife create such hype? For one thing, the Leek is one of the many prized creations of the award-winning custom knife maker Ken Onion. Other reasons why the Kershaw Leek is so popular is because of its usability and the materials used to create this knife which make it a very popular option for a light use gentleman’s EDC knife. Continue reading our Kershaw Leek review below to find out what we liked and didn’t like about this knife.

Kershaw Leek Review: Blade Steel

The blade steel used in this Leek up for review now (model 1660) is Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel, a  common steel among many of Kershaws more budget oriented knives. It has what I would call a modified wharncliffe blade shape with a length of approximately 3 inches. As for the handle, Kershaw decided to use a 410 stainless steel material for the 4-inch handle. The Kershaw Leek folding knife is also relatively heavy for its size and slim profile, the entire knife weighing about 3.2 ounces. If that is too heavy for you Kershaw also sells a aluminium handle version which weighs almost a full ounce less than the steel version at only 2.4 ounces. Note that the aluminium model uses a liner lock instead of a frame lock.

Kershaw has a long list of excellent knives but the Leek series is one group that includes the most popular and highly reviewed US made knives from Kershaw. Since the Kershaw Leek Folding Knife is a creation of Ken Onion, you can expect this knife to include Ken Onion’s signature design, which is the SpeedSafe ambidextrous assisted opening system. The Speedsafe system allows the user to easily open the knife with either their right or left hand. Another feature that can be found in the Kershaw Leek folding knife is the bead-blasted stainless steel handle which gives the Leek a striking and elegant appearance. Kershaw has also released a version of the Leek with a black tungsten DLC-coated blade (Sandvik 13C26) and handle (along with many other color options) that enhances the overall performance and rust resistance of the knife while also giving that particular black Leek a non-reflective surface for a more tactical look. The moment the Leek was introduced, many knife enthusiasts were quick to try out this new masterpiece. This knife has gotten a mixture of reviews and like all blades it has its own pros and cons, which you will read below in our Kershaw Leek review.

The Positive Side of the Kershaw Leek Folding Knife

Affordable – For a folding knife of this quality and feature set, the Kershaw Leek is sold for roughly $40. When compared to other knives with similar performance, weight, features and a high quality fit and finish, the Kershaw Leek is definitely a lot cheaper.

The Leek has a Sandvik 14C28N blade and 410 stainless steel handle.Sharp Blade – This version of the Leek features a 14C28N steel blade. It is capable of very sharp edge, is easy to sharpen, has decent corrosion resistance, good edge retention and high hardness (14C28N can range from 55-62 HRC).

Opens in Two Ways – When it comes to blade deployment on the Leek, you will have two options to choose from. You can either open it using the blade protrusion (flipper) or the thumb studs. Using the thumb studs will allow you to open your Kershaw Leek folding knife at the pace that you want (either slow or fast) but the blade flipper will give you the opportunity to open your Leek at an amazingly fast speed. It is one of the fastest deploying non-automatic blades I have ever used.

Fast and Easy To Open – Even though the Leek opens at a fast speed, it is actually very easy and safe to use despite the fact that this folding knife includes a spring assisted opening system.

Plastic Safety Lock – The safety lock that you will find built into the handle is made out of plastic. Because of the plastic safety lock, you will avoid chipping the blade even if you close the knife with the lock still engaged.

Tight Frame Lock – When the Leek’s blade is deployed, you can be sure that it will stay safely in place because the lockup of the steel frame lock is fairly early and really sturdy, tightly securing the blade in place. No blade play to speak of.

SpeedSafe System – One feature of the Kershaw Leek collection that sets it apart from all the other knives in the market is its SpeedSafe knife-opening system. This system allows Kershaw Leek users to open their knives by merely applying pressure to the blade protrusion or thumb stud. The SpeedSafe system also includes a torsion bar that prevents gravity from slowly opening the knife.

Jimping – The Leek has jimping on the spine and choil area of the blade. It isn’t very aggressive, but does provide good enough grip for the light cutting tasks which this knife is designed to undertake.

The Negative Side of the Kershaw Leek Folding Knife

A Little Slippery – The Kershaw Leek’s smooth stainless steel handle doesn’t provide as firm of a grip as something like G10 or FRN. It can be a little slippery; especially if you’re using the knife while working in a wet or oily situation.

View of Pocket CLipThin Blade – Compared to the majority of other blades of other high quality knives, the Kershaw Leek has a thinner blade. To avoid chipping or breaking the blade, users will have to refrain from using the Leek knife to pry things open. The Leek’s tip has very little steel and seems like it will be very fragile for anything other than light use.

Pocket Clip – The Leek pocket clip is not ambidextrous, meaning it can only be carried in right handed tip up/down carry. In the tip down position, it carries really low in the pocket with only a small tip of the knife visible. However, it sits a little higher in the pocket when carried in the tip up position.

Safety Lock Problems – Some owners of the Kershaw Leek have experienced knives that have a faulty or loose safety lock. Fortunately the loose safety lock issue can be easily fixed with a little tightening of a torx screw. It can also be completely removed for those who do not need a safety lock. The safety can be easily removed without disassembling the knife. Note that if carrying in the tip down orientation removing the safety lock may result in the blade accidentally opening in your pocket.

The SpeedSafe System Issue – While the Kershaw Leek Folding Knife may open as quickly as a switchblade, the two actually operate in very different methods. Kershaw Leek knives that include the SpeedSafe system will not open by using gravity alone or with the touch of a button. Those who are using the Kershaw Leek must overcome the resistance of the torsion bar manually. This is where the problem comes in. Not every state in the United States has legalized the use of this type of system. This is the reason why some knife retailers will refuse to ship the Kershaw Leek and similar knives to certain zip codes in the country. Although the Kershaw Leek folding knife with SpeedSafe is very safe and easy to use, it is still up to you to do some background information research and check regarding the legalities of using the SpeedSafe system in your area.

Kershaw Leek Model 1660

Final Conclusion On The Kershaw Leek Folding Knife

The Leek is a great light use gentleman’s EDC knife with a non-threatening appearance and very thin profile. All Leeks are American made and they come in a large variety of materials and blade shapes so you will have no problems finding a Leek that fits your style. Kershaw produces Leek’s with partially serrated blades, tanto and a plain edge. Handle materials include G10, aluminium (in many colors) 410 stainless steel, and titanium along with a few limited runs. Blade steels used for the various Leek models include 440C, S30V, 13C26, 14C28N, ZDP-189 and even a Leek with composite blade made from two steels (14C28N and D2).

BetterPocketKnife.com Rating:

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Victorinox SwissChamp Review – Best Swiss Army Knife?

There are many things in life we consider a memorable part of our childhood that we bring with us until adulthood. The very first time we encountered such things, they never left our consciousness and they have remained with us for the rest of our lives. One of these things is the Swiss Army Knife; the little red tool of seemingly limitless potential.

SwissChamp: Review of the Best Swiss Army KnifeAs youngsters, you might have been in awe with this little gadget that seemed to have so many things attached to it that it seemed limitless. Your father had one, and so did your uncle and virtually every adult male that you grew up with. Along the years, they made the perfect and most functional gifts that you could give to a male loved one. The red Swiss Army Knife with the iconic Victorinox logo is an icon that has served many generations in the past hundred years, making it part of every person’s life.

The standard Victorinox Swiss Army Knife is a small and lightweight gadget that was first introduced in the 1980’s. Revisions have been made throughout the years but only slight modifications have been done, staying true to its original features that have been loved by many generations. It is light enough to keep in your pocket, making it a handy tool wherever and whenever you need it. You can bring it virtually anywhere — to camping, hiking, fishing, trekking, absolutely anywhere your feet may take you. It is not only a handy tool for your outdoor adventures, you can even use it for your home — it’s like an entire toolbox rolled into one little palm-sized pocket knife. Whether you need it to shape a wooden spear to catch fish, or make fire with the magnifying glass, or even for self-grooming during those days in the outdoors, this palm-sized invention has got you all covered.

Victorinox Brand Background

Victorinox is a trusted worldwide brand that started in 1884, when Swiss pioneer Karl Elsener opened a cutlery workshop. He had the innovative and revolutionary idea of creating a compact and durable knife that had other functions in just one single tool, thus the original Swiss Army Knife. Since then, the company has expanded to pocket, household, and professional knives, timepieces, travel gear, and even fragrances and clothing. It has established itself as an international lifestyle brand that caters to the active lifestyle.

Overview of the Victorinox SwissChamp Swiss Army Knife

The SwissChamp is a 32 function knife that consists of 64 individual pieces formed into 8 layers. It contains a large blade, small blade, scissors, pliers (with wire cutter), metal file with saw, wood saw, can/bottle opener, magnifying glass, screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick, removable pen, multipurpose hook, fish scaler, a nail cleaner, and other essential tools. The possibilities are endless. It comes in two colors, black and red, with the latter being a more popular and more recognizable color.

SwissChamp Closed

The SwissChamp measures roughly 3.58 inches in length, with a width of just over 1 inch and weighs in around 7 ounces. Yeah, that’s beefy for a Swiss Army Knife, but the tradeoff of having such a plethora of tools is worth it. It certainly will not be an EDC knife and I suggest using a belt sheath if 7 ounces is more than you are comfortable carrying in a pocket. Handle material is the traditional polished cellidor scales. The various blades and tools are stainless steel, with blades that are laser sharpened to an edge fine enough to easily whittle wood. The engineering that goes into the SwissChamp is exceptional. The tolerances are very tight and everything just fits together so perfectly, which isn’t an easy thing to accomplish when creating a knife with 32 individual tools, blades and other implements.

Victorinox knives are some of the more durable, tough little blades on the market. The SwissChamp is no exception. They can actually last an entire lifetime, and even beyond. You will likely hand down your most trusted Swiss Army Knife to your children so they can enjoy the same benefits that it has given you throughout the years. There’s also a lifetime warranty on all manufacturing damages, so you can easily have them fixed should the need arise.

The Many Functions of the Victorinox SwissChamp

There are so many functions the SwissChamp offers that it’s almost impossible to enumerate all of them. Aside from its obvious use for outdoor activities like camping, fishing, and even hunting, it can also be used for many other purposes.

Personal grooming, for example, can be done with the scissors, the toothpick, tweezers, and the file. When you have these tools individually, they often get lost in your drawer, and you simply can’t bring them around with you. Having them all in one single device makes the SwissChamp not only a necessary tool for survival, it can actually make you look presentable too. And some of us really need help with that!

Final Thoughts On The Victorinox SwissChamp

With more than a hundred years in the industry, the Victorinox brand and their Swiss Army Knives have had many imitators, but not one other brand has come close to the Swiss army knife in terms of durability and function. For me, the Victorinox line of Swiss Army Knives has and always will be the only choice for a solid, reliable and feature packed multi-tool. In my opinon, the SwissChamp is the best of them all. It may be a little too big and chunky for some (it’s certainly not an ideal EDC knife) and the pliers are not quite up to par of a Leathermen’s, but just give it a try and I think you’ll learn to love it as much as I do.

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Boker Epicenter Review – Titanium Scales, VG-10 Blade

Boker Epicenter with Blade ClosedThe Boker Plus Epicenter is a cutting edge knife. It’s one of the finest value knives ever to be produced by Boker. The premium features and design are what separate it from the crowd. Innovation is an area where Boker shines brighter than the sun. The engineering that went into this knife is a testament to their commitment to being better than the competition. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, or maybe just its origins, Boker is a commercial manufacturer of pocket knives, fixed blade knives, kitchen knives, knife blocks, knife sets, straight razors, and even swords. This is a company that knows everything there is to know about knives. It’s no wonder they are world famous. Their passion and enthusiasm for producing the highest quality knives is second to none.

Boker is headquartered in Solingen, Germany, but it has a U.S. location in Lakewood, Colorado. This is the home of Boker U.S. where their knives are produced for customers in the United States. Our focus with this review will be on the Boker Plus Epicenter, which has a price point of between $105.00 and $150.00 depending on where you shop. The Epicenter is from the Boker Plus line, which are China produced knives. Despite that, it’s a gorgeous knife with a premium blade. This particular knife was designed by Todd Rexford. He’s young in age, but already has some big accomplishments to his name (including this knife). His home is in beautiful Colorado where he undoubtedly gets some of his inspiration for these brilliant knife designs. In the world of knife design, Todd is one of the best and possesses a tremendous amount of talent.

Size: Dimensions and Weight

The overall length of the Boker Plus Epicenter is 8.31 inches. This is the length when the knife is open (not folded). When the knife is closed (folded) the length is reduced to 4.81 inches. The length of the blade is 3.62 inches. The weight of the knife is 6.80 ounces. Maybe a tad heavier than you would expect for a titanium knife of this size, but that’s because it is very solidly built with a thick blade and beefy handle. What you would expect from a knife of this caliber. Titanium scales that are 5mm thick are also a component of the design. This is massive for a knife of this price. It’s not something you see every day, but it’s a premium feature you will come to appreciate. The weight and dimensions were carefully thought out before the design went to production. This isn’t one of those cases where you’ll get it home, only to realize that it’s too big or small.

Blade, Handle and Pocket Clip Construction

The blade on the Epicenter is manufactured from one of my all time favorite stainless steels, VG-10. It is extremely resistant to rust, hair splitting sharp and the edge retention is fantastic. Not to mention when the time does come and your Epicenter needs to be sharpened it will be much easier to get a fine edge than some of the other premium steels. The beauty of this blade is that it features a modified satin drop point design with a flat grind. This gives the blade a nice glossy surface (though it’s a finger print magnet) with added thickness to make it stronger. If there’s one thing we all want in a knife, its maximum strength and durability. Without that, it will struggle to get the job done. It will probably end up breaking under the pressure. This isn’t something you’ll have to worry about with the Boker Plus Epicenter.

Closeup Shot of VG-10 Stainless Steel BladeSomething worth mentioning is the blade is ever so slightly off center, but it isn’t a big deal. It still has plenty of room on either side so that it does not come into contact with the titanium scales, so I’m fine with it. Just a small nitpick.

The design also includes bi-directional finger grooves, a large thumb stud on each side of the blade, and finger grooves on the pocket clip. It has a non-tubed lanyard hole, always a welcome feature, and the hole will easily accept 550 paracord.

Even if you have a number of knives in your collection, you’ll be impressed with the ability of this knife to slice. It could easily become your new “go to” knife for that reason. The handle of the Epicenter is made from titanium. We aren’t talking a little bit of titanium either. This isn’t one of those knives that gives you only a taste of premium metal. It comes with a full titanium handle. More specifically, its 3D machined titanium. The strength and appearance of the handle is phenomenal. The pocket clip is also manufactured from titanium. Because of that, you won’t have to worry about it breaking or bending under normal circumstances. The clip on this knife is meant to be used and abused.

Detent, Lockup and Blade Deployment

The Epicenter has very strong detent. Almost too strong was my first thought, but it seems to have loosened up with use and now it feels perfect. Despite the polished (and overly smooth) thumb studs, it opens smoothly with relative ease. The blade holds in place well. You want have to worry about it jarring open while in your pocket. Due to the size and strong detent, it’s fairly difficult to quickly “flip” open like you may be accustomed to with similar knives of this category.

The locking system is a very sturdy titanium frame lock that feels very secure and locks up nicely. It’s very thick and locks up early (around 25-30%). Absolutely no blade play, either up and down or side to side.

The dual thumb studs on the knife are decent. You can get to them easily whenever you need to. The only issue with them is that they’re somewhat slippery. Due to the polished metal, your thumb will slide right off the side. Over time though, and with enough use, you’ll get used to it. The key is to press hard and dig into the base of the stud with your thumb to deploy the blade. On the left side, you don’t have this problem. There is a visible screw in the middle of the thumb stud on this side. You will find that the screw gives you some extra grip. Your finger is able to grip onto the grooves in the screw for easier deployment. The thumb studs can also be removed. Why? I don’t know. Maybe for legal reasons if you live in a location that doesn’t allow one-handed blade deployment. A neat feature nonetheless.

Comfort and Ergonomics

The Boker Plus Epicenter was designed extremely well, and this can be felt from the moment you first pick it up. You will find that it’s ergonomic and very comfortable in hand. Once you see (and feel) it for yourself, you’ll probably go to their website in order to find more knives by this designer. It really is that good. Their does seem to be one minor issue people have reported with the handle in the early, first generation models. The locking and non-locking side of the handle don’t match up for some people. From what we’ve seen, this is probably an issue that is limited to certain production runs. There is simply no telling how many knives this issue affects, but if you buy one new that was recently manufactured and doesn’t have CHINA printed on the blade, you most likely have one of the newer production runs and should have no worries. Even so, it’s a minor issue that doesn’t diminish the quality of the knife for most people. We are mentioning it so that you’re aware. If the knife you receive has this minor issue, you’ll know what we are talking about. The blade is razor sharp and it feels really good in your hands. Just a fantastically built and designed knife. When you weigh this against one small flaw (if you even have the issue), you’ll more than likely keep the knife.

On the back of the blade you will find some jimping with the purpose of preventing your finger from slipping up or down on the knife. The only downside to this knives jimping is that the grooves are almost perfectly flush with the handle scales (maybe even lower). When you have your thumb on the back of the knife, you can feel it, but just barely and it doesn’t give you a ton of grip. Not that functional. Still, I guess it’s better than no jimping at all.

The Epicenter’s titanium pocket clip has finger grooves and is hard cut. When you have the knife clipped to your pocket, and go to remove it, you’ll have no problems doing so. Your finger will grip to the clip. The pocket clip is also reversible for tip up or down carry. Unfortunately, there are no screw holes on the opposite side for left handed carry, only right handed tip up or tip down. A real shame for all you lefties. The clip also allows it to ride relatively deep in the pocket while still allowing a large enough portion exposed for a solid grip and easy removal from a pocket.

Boker Epicenter Review: Titanium Scales, VG-10 Blade

Final Thoughts On The Boker Epicenter

The Boker Plus Epicenter is one of the best knives on the market in this price range. Around $100 for a full titanium handle, VG-10 blade and titanium frame lock is a bargain. If you’re looking for a great knife, it’s very possible that your search ends here. That being said, it is obviously not perfect, which this review demonstrates. Even with a few minor issues, it’s still a wonderful folder and one of my personal favorites. There is also confirmation that new production runs have fixed (or at least greatly reduced) the issues we mentioned with handle scale misalignment. This isn’t the lightest knife, but it’s also not the heaviest by far. It may be too weighty for EDC depending on your preferences. Still, you’ll be pleased with the strength and tightness of the titanium pocket clip if are comfortable EDC’ing a knife of this magnitude.

The spacers on the back of the Epicenter from the flow-through design are also really nice. They are more decorative than traditional stand offs and give a really sleek appearance. More knives should have these spacers. You’ll see what I mean if you ever experience the Epicenter first hand. One important consideration is whether your right or left handed. It’s not designed for left handed carry. If you’re not right handed, then you may want pass.  The pivot is also adjustable, which makes it extremely easy to get the optimal smoothness. And don’t worry about screwing up the smoothness of blade deployment. No matter how tight you make the pivot, the blade will still open and close smoothly with relative ease. I can almost guarantee you will fall in love with the Boker Epicenter if you decide to add it to your collection. It’s well built and uses top of the line materials. Furthermore, it comes at a great value considering the high build quality, low price and overall premium fit and finish.

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Gerber E.A.B. Lite Review (EDC Utility Knife)

Gerber E.A.B. Utility knife in closed positionUtility knives might seem a little ordinary and boring when compared to folding and survival knives, but they are in fact the most useful ones for regular, every day tasks that require a sharp blade. Gerber has been offering quality utility knives to its customers for many years, and the Gerber 31-000345 E.A.B. Lite folding EDC utility knife is one of the latest additions to their collection and our current blade up for review.

If you love carrying a knife with you and have been considering getting hold of one of these beauties, there are a few things you might want to consider before investing your money (though for only $10 the E.A.B Lite cost, it’s no big risk). In order to ensure your getting a good utility knife, we have outlined some valuable information below. Continue Reading »

Spyderco Sage Review (Carbon Fiber)

Spyderco Sage in the closed position

In this review, we’ll be covering the original Spyderco Sage with carbon fiber handle scales (laminate over G-10). This EDC knife represents Spyderco’s 30 year pledge to continuously craft knives and to improve upon their work, honing their skills over the decades. This blade comes standard with a twill-woven carbon fiber handle that fits both right and left hands for a comfort fit and added functionality. The ridges of this knife run deep to provide a better non-slip grip while cutting with the EDC knife’s extra sharp steel (S30V) blade.

One of the most interesting details about the Sage is its “cutting edge” liner lock folding system. This locking system was designed by knife maker Michael Walker, and is employed by all Spyderco knives of the Sage series. The Sage brings a great feel, distinguished look, and exceptional cutting abilities together in this very affordable unit. Spyderco also prides itself on generosity by giving back to the people who support them. This extremely durable and comfortable knife is currently available for just under $110, and according to Spyderco, five percent of all Sage series sales will be donated to the National Alzheimer Association located in Denver, Colorado. Continue Reading »

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