I had been trying to post these individually on Instagram, and I will continue to do so, but Instagram keeps dinging us for “branded content” saying that we are being misleading and posting things that we are being compensated for. This is false. We do not post any sponsored content without labeling it as such.
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New for 2021
The New Knives (etc.) of 2021
By H. Clay Aalders
and Mark D. Zalesky
Looking back, for many of us SHOT Show 2020 was the last milestone of “normalcy” before the pandemic “changed everything.” It is speculated, not without evidence, that the virus was already percolating under the surface at the show and that the infamous “SHOT Show Flu” last year was in fact Covid since some folks were hit extremely hard. Others reported symptoms like loss of taste and smell a full month before that made it into the national news stories.
We at KNIFE Magazine have chronicled Covid’s impact on the knife industry both online and in print, over multiple posts and articles. In fact, our first mention of the virus came one year ago in the April 2020 issue. With three vaccines online less than a year after we barely recognized that this thing might be a problem, it looks like we all might be together by Blade Show… we hope.
So where does that leave the knife industry as we approach the end of the first quarter of 2021? Sales have been reported by many as strong throughout the past year, though shopping patterns have changed somewhat. Some companies are delaying new releases until midyear, others have cut back, while still others are charging ahead with dozens of new offerings no different than any other year.
Connecting with all the production companies without SHOT Show has proven to sometimes be a challenge. You get a sense for which marketing reps at which companies really excel at outreach and whom you know you will be able to rely on for a publication photo or email response at the last minute. Other companies have proven harder to reach.
So our list is a little different this year. There are some new additions, while some other companies were not yet ready to share. The knife industry seems to have weathered the Covid storm, and with a plethora of new offerings across the board, looks to build forward in a better 2021.
www.artisancutlery.net or 669-213-9734
Artisan Cutlery, one of the biggest names in premium Chinese-manufactured knives, has not been content to sit back on its laurels – there are too many upstart brands gunning for them. But for now, Artisan remains at the top of its game and brings six new knives to market at the beginning of 2021.
There are five releases under the Artisan Cutlery label. Leading off is the Arion (MSRP $266.66), which is an S35VN workhorse folder collaboration between Artisan and Cerberus Knives, with a titanium handle and single micarta scale. The Cazador (MSRP N/A), named for a tarantula wasp, is a sleek wharncliffe flipper with a teardrop handle, micarta scales, flipper tab, and a liner lock.
The front flipper Centauri, designed by Ray Laconico, was technically a 2020 release, but because of Covid shutdowns, never took off. They have tweaked it a bit, releasing a more budget oriented version with G10 scales and an S35VN blade.
The final two Artisan branded releases are fixed blades by Dylan Mallery. There is the Silax (MSRP N/A), a scaled up (5” blade) utility oriented knife, and the Hystrix which is a ringed tactical knife, with a useful 4” straight edged blade for the 99% of the time it is being used for more mundane tasks.
Artisan’s spinoff budget brand CJRB has one new release this Spring – The Tigris. ($68.99) The Tigris features Artisan’s proprietary budget powder steel AR-RPM9, a 3.5” blade, and comes with multi-layer G10 scales and custom hardware details for a two-tone aesthetic effect. -HCA
www.benchmade.com or 833-557-2526
Benchmade’s 2021 lineup includes a plethora of updates and expansions to existing models and lines. There are three new members of the Bugout family. The 535-3 (MSRP $300) takes ultralight to the extreme (just 2.02 oz.) by adding carbon fiber scales, while the milled sunburst pattern of the 535BK-4’s ($275) aluminum scales really pops. The 533BK-2 Mini Bugout rounds out the line with Benchmade’s proprietary CF-Elite scales.
The Adamas line sees a steel upgrade from D2 to CPM-CruWear, there is a new 375BK-1 ($275) and the new 273 Mini Adamas ($250) brings a more pocket friendly offering to the family. The 945 Mini Osborne ($205) is now available in the classic green aluminum style, there is a new automatic version of the Fact (4170BK) ($400), and an orange Santoprene handle and CPM-154 blade steel version of the 15500 Meatcrafter ($160).
Finally, there is the all new 9070SBK Claymore auto ($230). It has grivory scales, a push-button action, and features Benchmade’s first use of CPM-D2 steel. -HCA
www.bokerusa.com or 800-835-6433
Over the past few years, Boker has had a big hit with knives that incorporate steel recovered from historic WWII battleships and tanks into their beautiful damascus blades. These limited edition knives are pricey, but present a unique package. Where else can you get something useful that is both completely modern and historically significant, that you can carry in your pocket and show off to your friends? Last year, the Boker USA staff located parts from U.S. M4 Sherman tanks at the Americans in Wartime Museum in Bristow, Virginia (www.nmaw.org) and had Chad Nichols Damascus create a custom ladder-pattern damascus steel just for this project. The finished knife, handmade in Solingen, has a titanium frame lock, jute Micarta handle in “camouflage” colors, and a 3.03” long blade that opens via thumb stud. (MSRP $479)
Traditionalists will enjoy – or at least find novel – some new Boker Germany barlows that have dispensed with metal bolsters and liners and replaced them with integral bolster-liners of micarta. Very cool and modern looking as well as extremely lightweight, the Boker Barlow Integrals come with a single clip blade and three different handle materials, one in damascus steel ($169.95-$359.00).
The annual barrage of innovative Boker Plus knives is led this year by the Kwaiken Air, a slimmed down version of the incredibly popular Kwaikens (MSRPs $89.95-119.95). At just $79.95 the made-in-USA (by Pro-Tech) Boker Plus USB OTF auto is California legal with a 1.77” blade, a surefire hit. And finally, there are two sizes of Boker Plus Balisongs with actual cutting blades, made possible because they’re made-in-USA. Of good quality and with MSRPs of $99.95 to $114.95, there’s no question that these are going to ‘fly’ off the shelves. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)
Of course there are many more new releases… just not enough space in which to cover them. A quick visit to the Boker website will fill you in. -MZ
browning.com or 800-333-3288
The releases I am personally most excited about this year are the two Guide Series knives from Browning, the Skinner and the Folder. I’ll admit that I’m a little biased this time. It’s not often that one gets to have some input on a production knife, but when we met with Craig Wilson, the Product Manager for Browning knives, at last year’s SHOT Show he was looking for a new designer to work with. It took a bit, but then I thought – how about Wes Hibben, the son of Cutlery Hall-of-Famer Gil Hibben, who designed the original Browning knives for the company’s 1969 catalog? Here we are a year later and Wes’s two Guide Series knives are in the catalog, continuing the family legacy with the fabled gunmaker.
Designed by the Alaska-based Wes, both the Skinner and the Folder feature dark tan canvas micarta scales with highly polished stainless steel fittings and blades of Sandvik 14C28N stainless. The Folder is a lockback with a fuller and thumbstud on its 33/8” drop point blade and a tip-up pocket clip and full bolsters on its handle (MSRP $149.99). The full tang Skinner has a “Nessmuk”-like 35/8” semi-skinner blade with a classic single finger groove handle (MSRP $189.99). Both are nicely contoured and share an expected delivery date of September 1.
Among the wide assortment of other offerings is the Hunter series of seven knives with two-tone jigged hardwood handle scales highlighted with Browning-logo brass inlays, and 440C stainless blades that have a dark black oxide stonewashed finish. As you’d expect, these are all knives with hunting applications – two folders and five fixed blades (MSRP $59.99-$99.99). -MZ
buckknives.com or 800-326-2825
The 2021 offerings from Post Falls, Idaho’s Buck Knives run the gamut from upgrades to some classic patterns to a modern bolster-lock automatic.
On the traditional front are the Pro 100 Series models, which take timeless Buck Knife designs – the 102 Woodsman, 103 Skinner, 105 Pathfinder, 119 Special, and 120 General and gives them an upgrade to modern S35VN steel and adds an olive drab polished micarta handle. MSRP’s for the Pro 100 Series will range from $160-$250.
Moving into modern folder designs, there are three new USA-made models. Joining the Paradigm Series are the assisted open 590, and the automatic 591 Paradigm Shift. Both feature S35VN blades and a reintroduction of Buck’s Shift bolster-lock system. They retail for $225 and $250 respectively. The final new domestic folder is the 417 Budgie. This compact EDC retails for $100 and features a 2” S35VN blade, a textured frame lock, and choice of black or natural G10.
There are also five new budget oriented EDC imported folders, ranging in MSRP from $30-54. Most notable among these is the 252 Trunk, a cleaver style flipper with G10 handles. -HCA
casiberia.com or 800-635-9366
Sale Creek, Tennessee’s CAS Iberia has for many years imported an eclectic assortment of knives, swords and such that are of interest to knife users and collectors alike – often unusual blades that would otherwise be very difficult to obtain. Among the brands CAS handles that are familiar to knife lovers are: Casström (Sweden), Kizlyar Supreme (Russia), Citadel (Cambodia) and Paul Chen / Hanwei Forge (China). One of their newer lines is an in-house brand they call APOC Survival Tools, which are mostly swords and big fighting knives, but the latest release is deceptively small. The Double Mukk is a tactical, full tang interpretation of Nessmuk’s famous double bit axe, complete with his preferred duo-grind: one flat ground edge for carving and other fine work while the other offers a heavy convex grind for limbing and splitting. Made of 9260 high carbon spring steel, it measures 12” long and each edge is about 3”. Total weight is about 1.25 pounds. MSRP: $99.
The higher end of CAS’s product lines is represented by the new Baika Tanto ($750), hand forged by Chinese manufacturer Dragon King Forge and a companion piece for the $1,259 Tatsumaki Katana. These aren’t your everyday historically inspired swords – the blades are of san mai layered construction with the appearance of a well defined water quenched hamon, but are made of a high quality modern stainless steel, carefully heat treated. The hilts are covered in genuine rayskin and the complete package beautifully executed in every way.First rate stuff, suitable for use or just for those who admire fine workmanship and the elegant beauty of Japanese-style swords. -MZ
W.R. Case & Sons
caseknives.com or 888-442-1932
Case has always had its finger on the pulse of traditional knife collectors, and in recent years the Bradford, Pennsylvania based company has been developing more products that would have been out of their comfort zone just a few years ago. Examples of this include really well-made flipper folders and tactical style fixed blades using high-tech materials, such as the Case X Winkler Kyle Lamb Hunter that was released last year.
With no SHOT Show at which to highlight all of the year’s new releases, Case is choosing to hold back some announcements until later in the year. However, several releases have already been announced. One that caught our eye was the latest traditional Case pattern to be released from the ‘vault,’ the Copperhead (xx49 pattern). Measuring 37/8” closed, this slipjoint with its distinctive large bolster at the pivot end has been a part of Case’s lineup for over 100 years. Now it’s out of the vault, available in stainless or high carbon chrome-vanadium steel, in many different handles and in three blade combinations: traditional 2-blade clip and pen, 2-blade wharncliffe and pen, and a single blade version with the clip point. MSRPs start at $59.99.
Another interesting release from Case is the Woodchuck collection of executive lockbacks with stainless steel frames and an overlaid, laser-marked emblem made from genuine cedar wood. Woodchuck USA provides these emblems, a company driven by reforestation efforts and responsible environmental citizenship. With the “Buy One. Plant One.” program, “consumers who purchase from this collection… will be provided with a unique code that can be entered on Case’s website… to support the planting of a fresh seedling in the USA. This action allows each consumer to experience the impact of their purchase in a personal way.” Available in five different designs, MSRP is $60.99.
Delivery of both is anticipated before you read these words. -MZ
Chris Reeve Knives
chrisreeve.com or 208-375-0367
CRK has launched a next-generation version of their popular Mnandi for 2021. Built on the same great design as the original, the upgraded Mnandi is easier to open with a new through-hole nail nick and a combination of ultra-fine bead blasting and satin polished finishes. Available handle materials are box elder burl (a beautiful choice for this pattern), macassar ebony, and ancient bog oak (MSRP $400-450).
In other news the Mnandi and the rest of the Reeve line is being switched over from premium CPM S35VN to even better CPM S45VN, a particle metallurgy steel Chris Reeve Knives has had a hand in developing with its manufacturer, Crucible Steel. -MZ
Columbia River Knife and Tool
www.crkt.com or 800-891-3100
As usual, CRKT kicks off 2021 vying for the title of “Most New Releases.” With a stable of designers numbering well into double-figures, the breadth of 2021’s new and updated CRKT models is extensive to say the least.
The biggest new development from CRKT is the introduction of Ken Onion’s Field Strip II system, which simplifies the disassembly/assembly process significantly. Jesper Voxnaes’ Cottidae ($89.99) joins Onion’s Bona Fide ($99.99) in debuting the new system.
The Septimo Multi-tool ($59.99) is the latest addition to the Forged By War® series. Among the many features of this Jeremy Valdez designed tool are an adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, and a 2.86” 8Cr13MoV blade.
Alan Folts contributes the Ritual ($125), a large (4.37” blade) Persian style swept blade, as well as blackout and Chuthulu blue versions of his popular Minimalist Neck Knife.
There are three new versions (Desert Sand, Zap (chartreuse), Orange) of the Joe Caswell designed Provoke, utilizing FRN scales and 1.4116 steel to bring the MSRP down to $99. The award-winning Richard Rodgers’ CEO adds a flipper version ($39.99) and a textured GRN “Bamboo” version ($54.99). Jesper Voxneas’ Pilar III increases the blade length to 2.97” and adds the option of a D2 blade. The Liong Mah Lanny has been updated, adding an assisted opening spring and IKBS bearing system. -HCA
Condor Tool and Knife
The range of new models from El Salvador’s Condor Tool and Knife reflects the varied and diverse backgrounds and interests of Lead Designer Joe Flowers, as well as those of Condor’s ever expanding stable of designers. Among Joe’s several designs are the Sigrun and the Gryphus. The Sigrun is a 5.63” bushcrafting blade, inspired loosely by the Viking seax. The Gryphus ($134.98) is a 6.74” exaggerated bowie design. Both are made from 1095 steel, and feature full striking (or “smashing” according to Joe) pommels, and Kydex sheaths.
There are four Jason Breeden designs forming the Mountain Pass Series – Camp Knife ($129.98), Surveyor’s Knife ($109.98), Machete ($99.98) and Axe ($104.98). California maker Julio Diez’s contributions include the Lobo Machete ($159.98), Bush Slicer Sidekick ($119.98), and the diminutive Tortuga Neck Knife ($54.98). There is a Belgian Bowie ($124.98) and Credo knife ($84.98) designed by Tony Lennartz, as well as offerings by Walter Matthews, Juan Cagampang, and several of Condor’s in-house designs. Among the latter is the Cadejo Drop Point Folder, an EDC back-lock design made with Sandvik 14C28N and polypropylene scales ($79.98) -HCA
gerbergear.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland, Oregon based Gerber Gear is expanding both their hunting and everyday-carry (EDC) roster of offerings for 2021. The new Downwind Series of hunting knives come standard with machined multilayer G10 scales, 7Cr17MoV blades, and vintage looking waxed canvas sheaths. There is a 4.25” Drop Point (MSRP $39.99), a 3.19” Caper ($34.99) and Gerber’s modern take on a traditional Alaskan Ulu skinner ($49.99).
On the EDC front, there are four new knives, and four new bladed multitools. The Affinity is the dressiest of the lot, with copper ($45.99) or aluminum scales ($34.99). The Fuse ($29.99) has a slim profile and an electroformed textured plate inserted in the handle for grip and contrasting aesthetic. The Hyperflip ($59.99) is a burly, G10/D2 workhorse, and the Zilch ($19.99) is an ultralight EDC geared towards those who wish to maximize their minimalism.
There are also two new bladed multitools for those who don’t need a burly, plier-based model for their everyday life. The Armbar Slim ($30) is available in Cut model with a usefully large pair of scissors, and the Drive model with a 1/4” drive bit socket. The Lockdown ($47) comes in a Pry model, and the Drive comes with a 1/4” drive socket. In addition to their liner lock blades, there is a second blade – a replaceable Exacto #8 for fine detail work, standard on both models. -HCA
KA-BAR Knives Inc.
www.kabar.com or 800-282-0130
Olean, New York’s KA-BAR generated considerable buzz last year when they announced the release of their USSF Collection. While not officially licensed by the United States Space Force, KA-BAR holds the trademark for “USSF” for use on knives, and they have added a new model of their TDI, the TDI Astro (MSRP $56.90), to the series, with a blue Zytel handle and a 2.313” AUS-8A steel blade.
Returning to Earth, KA-BAR has added an Ethan Becker designed liner lock folding knife to their lineup. The BK40 ($53.81) has a 3.559” drop point AUS-8A blade, black reinforced nylon scales, thumb studs, and a four position pocket clip.
KA-BAR is releasing two new knives on the fixed blade side. First, there is another TDI (Tactical Defense Institute) tactical knife, the TDI Ladyfinger ($46.78). This last-ditch tactical knife has the same distinctive bend to it as the original TDI, though the handle is a gentle arch as opposed to the more angular original. The IFB Trail Point ($50.53), as the name suggests, features a sweeping 6.118” 8Cr13MoV trailing point blade with G10 handle scales and a hard plastic, MOLLE-compatible sheath to round out the package.
KAI-USA (Zero Tolerance/Kershaw)
www.kaiusa.com or 800-325-2891
Zero Tolerance brings three new premium knife models to the table for 2021. The 0990 (MSRP $275) is based on their earlier 0999 model, but in a much larger production run and a more affordable price. The 0762 ($400) pulls out all the stops with its CPM-20CV blade, sub-frame lock, carbon fiber handle with cutouts, and ZT’s Tuned Detent System (TDS™) providing ultra crisp action. Finally, the 0380 ($400) is getting ZT’s signature BlackWash™ tiger-striped blade finish.
ZT’s sister brand Kershaw continues to release a multitude of everyday-oriented models each year, and 2021 is no exception. There are too many to list them all, but certainly the most noticeable is the massive 5.5” bladed, Spanish Navaja inspired, 2077 Strata XL ($119.99) and its hardly petite sibling the 4.5” bladed 2076 Strata (MSRP $99.99). These knives exhibit the curved taper that is typical of the style, while the D2 blade has a sweeping clip point. The 3455 Bracket cleaver ($64.99) is a scaled up version of the Kershaw Static which adds a G10 front scale and a steel pivot plate. The contrasting FRN and bronze PVD overlays of the 2095 Endgame ($99.99) give the knife a modern and more premium aesthetic. The 5500 Collateral ($79.99) and 5505 Turismo are a pair of SpeedSafe assisted opening flippers with 3.4” and 2.9” D2 blades respectively. Among the more unique offerings are the push-button manual sliding OTF 1190 Kapsule ($49.99) designed by Jens Ansø and the non-steel, polymer constructed 1398 Project ATOM Arise dagger point boot knife ($15.99). -HCA
Kizer Cutlery was one of the first Chinese knife companies to truly earn the “premium” label. They have historically dealt primarily with American designers, though a greater portion of their lineup continues to be designed by their in-house team. The duo of Azo Mai and Yeu Dong, heads of Kizer’s R&D, team up for the Catshark (MSRP $112), a diminutive (1.9” blade) non-locking flipper designed for restrictive urban environments.
Azo shows off his significant design range in this year’s roster. Among the other knives Azo has a hand in are the Mini Bay ($N/A), a colorful lightweight front flipper, and the slightly menacing tactical compound tanto bladed Lan ($N/A)
Sheepdog designer Chris Conaway is back with the Deviant ($159), an attractive two-tone sheepsfoot liner lock with either ivory G10 bolsters with black micarta scales, or copper bolsters with green micarta scales.
There are also new knives by Justin Lundquist, Matthew Christiansen, and the skeletonized Eddie Diaz Shark Tooth looks surprisingly functional for such a whimsical design. -HCA
lansky.com or 800-825-2675
For 2021, Lansky has released a budget-priced set of three tools to keep your blades clean and sharp on the go. The C-Clip Combo is based around a pocket sized version of the “crock stick” style angled rod sharpener with 1000 grit ceramic rods and a built-in clip so it’ll stay where it’s put. It is accompanied by a key-ring sized ceramic draw-through sharpener for quick touch ups on the go, and an abrasive rubber Eraser Block that will clean clogged up ceramic rods in a jiffy, remove rust spots and stains, and countless other uses. The trio carries an MSRP of just $18.99. -MZ
Medford Knife & Tool
medfordknife.com or 623-249-4506
A leader in betcha-can’t-break-this tactical knives, the Phoenix, Arizona-based company likes their knives overbuilt yet exactingly made. New for 2021 are the Smooth Criminal™ Auto and the DEEP™ fixed blade, as well as the M48 – in homage to the M48 Patton main battle tank and its four-man crew. A flipper opening, titanium frame lock with a distinctive track tread design on the aluminum front scale, it features a 3.9” long, pointy drop point blade of CPM S35VN steel. MKT’s release information calls attention to the Magnus Edged™ tip, which they describe as a “radical geometric false edge” that “leaves a sneaky thickness of the blade just where the tip tends to break on slender knives.” It definitely looks cool! (MSRP: $500)
We weren’t able to handle one, but I look forward to getting my paws on the Air Jack™, a lightweight G10 handled slipjoint that checks in at just 1.9 ounces. The 3.1” slightly drop point blade of CPM S35VN steel has a deeply milled nail nick running almost the entire length of the blade on both sides, giving it a distinctive look. Available with black, OD green or coyote G-10 scales, the $325.00 Air Jack™ looks like the Medford for those of us who lead such sedentary lives that most days bring forth no cutting tasks more intimidating than a cardboard box. -MZ
Ontario Knife Co.
ontarioknife.com or 800-222-5233
Among the world’s oldest existing knife manufacturers at 132 years and counting, Ontario continues to manufacture at its Franklinville, New York factory as well as import a variety of knives from overseas. With nine new releases this year there’s plenty to choose from. From their stalwart RAT series comes a fixed blade called the TAK 2®, with 4.2” long blade of 1075 high carbon steel with a phosphate coating for rust prevention and attractive, warm looking scales of stabilized hardwood. This is an attractive hunting or general purpose outdoors knife with a solid leather sheath, made in America, with an MSRP of $89.95. Not bad.
On the other end of the spectrum are the Navigator (liner lock) and Traveler (slipjoint) models, very cheap (MSRP $14.95!) but well designed Taiwanese imports with stainless blades and plastic handles.
Finally, there are also three new USA-made Old Hickory knives in outdoor designs with carbon steel blades, and a new version of the imported Wraith EDC folder in an “Ice Series” with ‘frosty’ clear plastic scales that offer a peek at the working parts. -MZ
Placentia, California’s Pro-Tech Knives do not tie themselves to a SHOT Show or beginning of the year release schedule. There are always knives in development, and currently in the works are a pair of Les George-designed knives including an updated version of his Rockeye Auto (MSRP $300) and a new SBR Fixed Blade.
The Rockeye was Les’s first production company collaboration, and is based off his custom by the same name. It has been one of Pro-Tech’s most popular models, and its 3.4” drop point blade is being given a refresh to premium S35VN steel. Black or blue aluminum handled versions with stonewashed blades will begin to ship roughly concurrent with the arrival of this magazine, though there are plans to continue the refresh across other handle versions and finishes as well.
It should come as little surprise that the SBR series of blades has a similar look to the Rockeye, since SBR stands for “Short Bladed Rockeye.” Now the SBR is being given a fixed blade version just like its big brother, only in a more compact package (2.75” blade/6.5” OAL). 3D contoured micarta scales sit atop a full tang of S35VN steel, and leather or Kydex sheath options will be available. No MSRP for the Pro-Tech SBR Fixed Blade has been announced, but they are expected to arrive towards the end of the second quarter of 2021. -HCA
www.qspknife.com or email@example.com
QSP stands for Quality, Service, Price. It could just as well stand for Quietly Seeking Prominence. Though a relative newcomer on the scene, their offerings, both premium and more budget oriented, show an attention to detail that is garnering attention and respect from industry veterans.
They have three new releases for 2021. The Legatus ($279.95), designed by Dutch Knife Works, is loaded with premium features like custom pivot hardware, titanium frame, and G10 and carbon fiber inlays. The 3.375” blade is of Böhler M390, flipping open on ceramic ball bearings.
The Bison ($79.88) is an all around fixed blade camp and field knife. Made from D2 steel, the full tang Bison has a 4.5” clip point blade and micarta scales. The included Kydex sheath can be mounted either vertically or horizontally.
Their final knife is geared towards the more budget minded EDC crowd. The Leopard ($48.88), is a sleek 14C28N Sandvik steel spear point liner lock. It is available in three handle options, black G10 with carbon fiber inlay, or black or olive linen micarta. -HCA
Studies and Observations Group (SOG Knives)
www.sogknives.com or 425-771-6230
Studies and Observations Group is better known to most of our readers as SOG. SOG Knives is leading off the year with redesigns of their popular Terminus XR and Kiku XR models. Responding to user feedback, they have replaced the pocket clips and made an all-around effort to lighten the knives. By utilizing G10 and carbon fiber liners, they have reduced the weight of the Terminus XR LTE (MSRP $139.95) to 2.2 oz (-25%) and brought the Kiku XR LTE ($249.95) down to 4.1 oz. (almost a 30% reduction). The Terminus also gets a steel upgrade from D2 to S35VN.
Beginning in July, SOG is releasing a “wholesale redesign of (their) most popular automatic knife” the SOC-TAC. The SOG-TAC AU family of knives features retextured handles, an intuitive single motion safety/opening /locking mechanism, and an upgrade in steel to D2-Cryo. There are three models which range in MSRP from 138.95 to $166.95 depending on model selected (California Special (1.96” blade), Compact (2.94”) or full size (3.43” blade), and plain or serrated drop point or tanto blade configurations.
July will also see the release of SOG’s first Out-the-Front Automatic, the Pentagon OTF ($389.95), and a pair of double-edged fixed blades. The Pentagon XF (4.77” blade) and the Pentagon FX Covert (3.41”) range from $166.95 to $221.95 depending on blade finish selected. -HCA
spartanbladesusa.com or 910-757-0035
Spartan’s popular Spartan-Harsey Folder (SHF) has for a few years now served as a canvas for the company’s annual special edition versions, which feature highly detailed engraving and anodization that elevates these superbly engineered and manufactured knives to works of art. Underneath it all is the same SHF that won the 2016 Blade Show “American Made Knife of the Year” Award, fabricated completely from 6AL-4V titanium except for the pivot, stop pin and blade. The frame lock handle is specifically designed for comfort and confidence in grip and has a reversible pocket clip; the 4” slightly drop point blade has dual thumb studs and is ground from CPM S45VN stainless.
Made just outside of Fort Bragg, North Carolina like all Spartan knives, the four SHF 2021 Special Editions are deeply engraved with designs entitled “God & Country”, “Spartan Babe”, “Watch Works”, and “Fir Tree”. The patriotic “God & Country” has multicolor-anodized engraving of an American bald eagle and shield, and a riband with the words “God and Country”; “Spartan Babe”, designed by Andrew Bawidamann, features a warrior girl in the style of the nose art placed on combat airplanes of WWII, again with multicolor anodizing. The colorful “Watch Works” (my personal favorite) sports deep engraved watch internals that represent the passage of time, while the Harsey-on-Harsey “Fir Tree” features Bill Harsey’s own artwork of a Douglas fir, the engraved design anodized and the surface given a bright brushed finish for a really classy monochromatic look. No wait, maybe I like this one best… anyway, MSRPs won’t be cheap (the basic SHF starts at $460), but we are talking about the top shelf in low production folders here. -MZ
www.spyderco.com or 800-525-7770
For the past several years Spyderco has eschewed announcing their entire yearly lineup of new knives, opting instead to break the year up into a series of roughly quarterly “Reveal Books.” Spyderco Reveal 7 dropped on the same day the SHOT Show was scheduled to start, and illustrates the company’s love of pushing the envelope of steel performance.
Several knives have been upgraded to K390 steel, so denoted by their distinctive blue FRN handles. These include the wharncliffe versions of the Delica 4 (MSRP $165) and Dragonfly 2 ($145), a plain edged Stretch 2 ($200) and the Endela ($188), Delica 4 ($165), and Endura ($190) with SpyderEdge serrations.
Spyderco has also added to their slipjoint offerings. The UK Pen Knife now has a Salt version ($127), with LC200N ultra-stainless steel. A Slipit version of the Lil’ Native ($180) has been added to that family. And additionally, the slipjoint Roadie ($80) sees two new color options, brown and olive to bring the total number of options to seven.
A new version of the Paramilitary 2 boasts CPM Cru-Wear steel and brown micarta scales. This season’s Sprint Run is a rekindle of the Howard Viele Phoenix ($400). Finally, a pair of pink FRN handled S30V Dragonfly 2s, and an all black version of Michael Janich’s Yojumbo ($285) rounds out the first Spyderco 2021 Reveal. -HCA
www.topsknives.com or 208-542-0113
No SHOT Show meant no TOPS Knives booth loaded with new knives and even pre-production prototypes to share. Company founder Mike Fuller passed away in November, and the company is carrying on under the leadership of President Leo Espinoza and General Manager Craig Powell, who have been in those roles since Mike retired in 2015.
They have released four new models so far in 2021, and will continue to release more throughout the year as production runs finish and the knives are ready to ship.
The Brush Wolf (MSRP $230) is one of those above mentioned prototypes from the 2020 SHOT Show. It is a Nessmuk inspired collaboration with Houghton Era Outdoors, boasting a substantial 6.5 inches of cutting edge.
The Bestia ($300) is Leo Espinoza’s blending of TOPS’ El Chete and a kukri, in his quest to create the ultimate chopper. With a 1/4” thick, 13” long 1095 blade and weighing in at 31.5 ounces, he may have have done so. -HCA
Rounding out the releases to date are TOPS’ first Filet Knife ($215), which features their SureTouch rubber laminated G10 scales, and Leo adds another axe, the High Impact ($360) to the line. -HCA
WE Knife Co.
www.weknife.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
WE Knife Company has announced half of their 2021 lineup of new knives, with another big reveal planned for the middle of this year. Leading off are a pair of Justin Lundquist designs. The OSS Dagger (MSRP $105) while just 4.3” in overall length features an integrated construction where the G10 and steel are almost “lap-jointed”, flush on both sides, with the steel tang and blade exposed on one side and the G10 making up the opposite side of the handle. The Eidolon ($N/A) has an integral G10 handle with single inset liner. It is available with a false-edge dagger grind or a drop point.
The Esprit ($N/A) by Ray Laconico and the Matthew Christianson designed Thug ($N/A) are both titanium frame locks which are available with an optional marbled carbon fiber scale. The former is a 3.25” flat ground drop point, the latter a compound ground tanto. Brad Zinker rounds out the offerings with the Miscreant 3.0, ($199) which shrinks the original down to, as one might expect – a 3” blade.
Civivi, WE’s more budget oriented line features the Ki-V (pronounced “Kee-Vee”) which is Ostap Hel’s take on a 3” OAL front flipping kiridashi, Brad Zinker’s ultralight (1.94 oz.) carbon fiber and 3” Nitro-V bladed gentleman’s EDC, and several in-house designs including two fixed blade Elementums ($N/A), one with contoured, polished G10 and mosaic pins, and the other a blacked out stonewash with textured G10. -HCA
White River Knives
whiteriverknives.com or 800-353-7343
The newest release from Fremont, Michigan’s White River Knives is the Exodus 4, a further refinement of their popular Exodus 3. This comfortable and compact knife is expertly designed for bushcraft, dressing game, food prep, and most common tasks. With a blade of high end CPM S35VN steel and a molded Kydex sheath, the no-nonsense Exodus 4 excels in camp or kitchen, or as an EDC belt knife. ($N/A)
In addition to its own brands, White River has carved out a niche in OEM manufacturing for other companies –something that keeps them very busy. Now, they’re doing collaborations too! As covered in the January edition’s cover story on knifemaker/designer Todd Begg, the “War Junkie” line is being produced by White River and the first three designs are available in very limited quantities. These are the Recondo, Dagger and All Terrain models, conveniently pictured together on p.6 of the January issue. MSRPs on the War Junkies are $400 and up. -MZ