Hey all, The goofiness of the publishing schedule means that our February issue is already at the printer by the time we go to the SHOT Show in Vegas at the end of January, and the March issue Press Day is shortly after we get back. Far too short to adequately pull this issue together. So we run our SHOT Show review in the April issue, and we are posting it on the free side of the paywall today.From the April 2023 issue:
The knife business is in a constant state of evolution, and never was that more true than in the recent past. But one thing that still remains constant is the annual Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show, still the world’s largest venue for new knife releases. Companies from all over the globe make the annual trip to this massive show in Las Vegas, and in several cases it’s the only opportunity we will have to see them this year. Come along as we report on the most interesting new releases of SHOT Show 2023.
Acta Non Verba
Last year’s show was our first encounter with Czech knife manufacturer Acta Non Verba, who impressed us with their high quality knives of excellent design and materials. These are mostly presented in good old-fashioned black and white, like a silent movie. Action, not words.
Our favorite of the new releases was the M06, a skeletonized push dagger that seems very well thought out. A hexagonal hole accepts the user’s middle finger, allowing for tasks done with an open hand and locking the knife into your hand when closed so it won’t rotate in either direction, a concern with traditional push daggers. The knife has a short straight-edged blade of Elmax steel, which offers more utilitarian potential than most knives of this sort. MSRP is about $120, complete with a well thought-out Kydex sheath.
A compact version of the M311 utility knife was also released, a good design that is well suited for outdoors tasks.
The star of last year’s knives was unquestionably the M500 Anthropoid, a modern full tang take on the classic Fairbairn-Sykes dagger with slightly beefier proportions. This year ANV teased a prototype with much smaller proportions, on the order of a 4.5” blade. If it handles as well as the M500 does, this should be a big hit when it lands – perhaps around Blade Show. –MZ
While the list of premium Chinese knife companies is constantly expanding, Artisan Cutlery was one of the first, and its 2023 lineup shows it remains in the uppermost tier. Under their flagship Artisan line there are two new folders, the Mike Snody designed Xcellerator (MSRP $131) and the Satyr by Cerberus Knives ($266). The latter is a frame lock with a 3.35” S35VN blade and machine textured titanium handle, while the former is a large (3.86” RPM9 blade / 5” closed) micarta handled liner lock with generous finger grooves for the index and pinkie fingers.
There are more models in their budget-friendly CJRB line as well. Ray Laconico designed the EKKO, which is available with micarta, steel, or G10 scales and is based off his custom version. The in-house designed Pyrite ($72) features all steel construction, a 3.11” RPM9 blade, and ceramic bearings. The Riff ($n/a) is an overbuilt chunk of a button lock, with available copper inlaid micarta handles. There were several more prototypes, with names and details in flux, including some more tactical oriented folders set for release later in the year. –HCA
Benchmade Knife Company
We could do a whole piece about how Benchmade has added a blast of color to popular knives like the Bugout, with a plethora of new handle and Cerakote combinations, or how they added CPM MagnaCut to a bunch of model refreshes including a refresh of their push button auto CLA (MSRP $400) or a new premium version of their 15535 Taggedout ($375).
In a tongue-in-cheek nod to the events of the past few years, Benchmade has debuted the new Immunity family of knives consisting of the manual Axis-lock 290 Full Immunity ($300) and 2900 Auto Immunity ($375), which both have 2.49” CPM M4 wharncliffe blades, and the 2950 Partial Auto Immunity with California-legal 1.95” blade ($325).
The bayonet-inspired 185 SOCP Dagger is Greg Thompson’s latest addition to the SOCP (Special Operations Combatives Program) series of defense-oriented fixed blades ($400). The new 748 Narrows is an attractive titanium Axis lock with a 3.44” Bohler M390 blade, which looks like a fantastic canvas for myriad future variants.
There is a new Mini version of the Claymore ($230), carbon fiber Mini Osborn, updated Raghorn caper, and much more. –HCA
You can read the whole thing by clicking the flipbook below:
(note: due to a layout error, TOPS Knives was left out of this article. Their section was written (by me) and will be posted as a standalone feature in the coming week)