KNIFE Magazine’s KNIFE NEWS – November 2023 Edition

How about that? It is November 14th, and I am posting the November 2023 Knife News column on time. A day early in fact. We strive to exceed expectations.

If you are already a Premium Online Member, you could have read this online already.

The rest of you, please enjoy…


Cold Steel releases a Competition Cutter for the Masses

We don’t often run Knife News pieces with the same company in consecutive months, but Cold Steel has been busy of late. Joining the folding Mayhem and the American-made Republic fixed-blade in their 2023 lineup of new knives, is a BladeSports legal competition chopper, crafted in collaboration with Josh Balay. Better known as Jimislash to his more than 20k YouTube followers, Jimi is a BladeSports competitor and long time Cold Steel Brand Ambassador. Cold Steel has been knocking the design around for a while, and it is now available on the Cold Steel website ( and major knife retailers .

Cold Steel is not the first company to market a production competition chopper, that honor goes to the long-discontinued Benchmade 171, but BladeSports fans have been clamoring for a more affordable option for a long time. Most competitors are either knife makers themselves, or have significant sponsorship as a custom competition chopper can cost well north of $1000. The Taiwanese-made Cold Steel Competition Chopper retails for a relatively affordable $599.99, and is limited to 1000 individually serialized pieces.

The Cold Steel Jimislash Competition Chopper matches the maximum BladeSports parameters of a 10” blade and 15” OAL. Made from CPM-3V steel with synthetic Kray-Ex scales, it tips the scales at 28.3 ounces. It comes with a competition-preferred forward lanyard hole, and a durable leather sheath.

For more information on Cold Steel or its parent company GSM Outdoors, email To find out more about BladeSports International, visit


Karbon Knives releases 3rd Ken Onion design

As if Ken Onion is not busy enough designing knives for companies like CRKT and making custom knives in his own shop, in 2022 he helped launch a side project called Karbon Knives. Unlike his typical modus operandi, where Ken designs a knife and leaves the details of production to the company he is collaborating with, with Karbon he finds himself overseeing the management of the entire project. Ken describes it as “a bit of a personal sandbox for my designs.”

Karbon has recently released their third knife, the Beatnik. “I wanted to design a very robust and stout folder that was suitable for a multitude of uses,” Ken said. “The design is meant to be subdued and non-threatening in its appearance but very snappy and functional.”

The Beatnik is available in two variations. The base model retails for $164.95 and comes with a satin-finished14C28 Sandvik blade and aluminum handles. There is also a titanium handled CPM20V version for $299.95. Blade length for both is 3.25”. Ken calls the lock a “flange lock”, which he describes as a hybrid of a frame and liner lock, and is stronger and less prone to deformation under load.

More information on Karbon Knives can be found by visiting They are distributed by Blue Ridge Knives, and are available at a wide variety of retailers, online and off.


Made-in-USA Wells Flipper from James Brand

Not all KNIFE Magazine readers may be familiar with The James Brand, as their marketing typically is geared less towards traditional knife industry outlets and more towards high-end lifestyle blogs and similar publications. Their minimalist aesthetic has resonated among a more urban, younger, professional crowd, and they have developed a devoted following.

Founded in 2012 in Portland, Oregon, The James Brand is now headquartered in Carlsbad, California. Many James Brand knives are imported, but they have produced several designs in the US through various industry partners starting with the Clovis in 2019.

Their 5th Made in the USA release likewise has an archaeologically inspired name, The Wells is named after a projectile point discovered in Cherokee County, Texas. The Wells is The James Brand’s first true flipper design, with a 2.875” MagnaCut blade. Caged stainless bearings and a button lock are nestled within aerospace aluminum handles. A deep-carry wire pocket clip (right hand only) continues the minimalist look and feel.

Retail price for The James Brand Wells is $425. It is available through their website or through their network of brick and mortar dealers and select online retailers (which can be found at their website as well).


Toor Knives introduces Darter Tanto

In the years since Connor Toor started forging knives in his backyard, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, making knives in his hometown of San Diego, California. Their latest release is a variation on their popular 2020 collaboration with Haley Strategic Partners, a tanto version of the Toor Darter.

“The Darter Tanto is a natural evolution of the original Standard variant, which was our first collaborative product with Haley, and provides operators with another mission ready option for their kits” said Connor Toor, CEO of Toor Knives,

According to Travis Haley, CEO of Haley Strategic Partners, “This next variation, The Darter Tanto, achieves our goal of continuing to work with the Toor team to develop premium, made in America, blades for combat and personal defense applications”.

The most notable design feature of both the Darter Tanto and its original sibling are the reverse serrations on the blade’s spine, which are useful for cutting heavy materials in either a defensive or more everyday capacity. The grey or black G10 handle features a distinctive dragonfly wing texture which is a Haley hallmark. The knife is made from CPM S35VN, comes with a Kydex sheath and UltiClip hardware, and retails for $350.

The Toor Darter Tanto is available directly through the Toor and Haley Strategic Partners websites respectively: and