2020 was a terrible, terrible year. But in the knife world, things were pretty okay, especially if you weren’t a custom maker or used shows to get knives.
For the production world, things were very good. Benchmade got small both at the beginning and end of the year with the Mini Bugout and the Mini 940 aka the 945 respectively. That is a pretty sweet way to start and finish. Spyderco got really slow with new models but continued to pump out sprint runs. Meh. SOG dropped its Big Box knives in favor of higher end designs and they were decent, but not earth shattering (unlike their 2021 models which are ferociously good). Reate continued to make nice handles for their brand and great knives for others. No brand, however, outpaced Civiv/WE both in terms of great releases and in terms of sheer volume. WE is a real player. It matches any production brand in terms of quality and fit and finish. If they were ever to go back and tweak models, they would have a stellar core for an evergreen line up. And their spec work is equally good. They are what the snobs of the IKC think Reate is. And while they might be a smidge off Reate’s end product in terms of polish, it is only a smidge. And their knives cut, which is good because that’s what knives are supposed to do. WE’s offers are so plentiful that they probably had more new models than Kershaw, Spyderco, and Benchmade combined. Speaking of Kershaw, what has happened? A heap of D2 added to the line up makes them finally on par with the dozen or so amorphous Amazon/Bang Good brands. If you appreciate knives there is literally no reason to buy a Kershaw, especially now that their Sprint Run program has slowed to a standstill. The CRJBs of the world make better stuff for the money and a dozen or so brands make better stuff in the mid-tier. And ZT, well, I have left the latern on hoping they would come back to reality for a few years now and I have been rewarded with nothing. I’ll leave it on for one more year, but the flame is guttering at this point. Cold Steel was sold to a faceless conglomerate, which never bodes well. Their first new releases after the buyout were 8Cr fixed blades, not a good sign. I hope this was a blip and not a portent. CRKT continues to carve out a niche as the only company that has two distinct lines of identical knives—the cheap ones and the ones people want. Its almost like they are making counterfeits of their own stuff. But the good stuff from CRKT is QUITE good, so I don’t care. Gerber also returned from the grave with two excellent knives, the Terracraft and the Sedulo. I can honestly say I am excited to see what Gerber does in 2021. A smallish folder would be quite sweet. Fortunes change quick in the production knife world. Cold Steel was a secret darling of the IKC and now its making 8CR knives. Meanwhile Gerber is producing top shelf stuff at good prices. I feel a Ferris Bueller quote coming on.
Not your average listicle. A good read.View Linked Article