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Rediscovering pointy, slicey things

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Spats McGee, May 29, 2019.

  1. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    I'll start with the TLDR version: I wanted a new knife, overthought it, and found one I like.

    I still remember my first pocket knife. My dad gave me and my brother identical Buck knives when I was about 9. I didn't know the model, but I suspect it was a Buck Lancer. I remember the secondary blade being shaped a little differently, but really could not swear that it was. It's been 40 years since I got that knife, and 15+ since I've seen it. I have no idea what happened to it. I carried that knife for a few years, moved on to a Gerber, the likes of which I was unable to find on the net, but it was a wood-handled drop-point lockback. Nice little knife and I still have that one. I picked up a few more knives along the way, and eventually moved on to a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, probably the one now (and maybe back then) known as the Spartan. I probably carried it longer than any other knife, but life circumstances eventually got in the way of carrying a knife somewhere in my mid- or late-20s, and I quit doing it altogether.

    Now, I've had a few "dangit-I-wish-I-had-a-knife" moments, but there haven't been a ton of them. That said, a few months back, I decided that I've missed carrying a knife. I dug out all of my pocket knives that I could find, and it looks like I have a whole bunch of sharpening that needs to be done. I also decided to take a look at what's available because Internet shopping for a knife these days is worlds different from gun show shopping for them in the 1980s.

    I decided that I wanted:
    • Something made in the USA, if feasible. I could go with a few other countries, but I was going to try to find something American made.
    • One-handed, manual opening. That keeps me from running afoul of any automatic knife / switchblade laws. Being able to open it one handed definitely seemed preferable from a self-defense perspective, something I didn't consider in my teens.
    • Lightweight. I don't need another half pound of steel dragging my pants down.
    • Smooth edge. I seriously considered a serrated edge, but I can't sharpen one of those myself. I don't have the tools. I do have a Washita stone, though. I'm rusty at sharpening knives, forgive the pun, but I do have some recollection as to how that's done.
    So, off I went to find myself a new knife, but first, I had to learn some stuff. I found some articles on steels. Most of that is still a mystery to me, but I'm a little better off than I was. Same with different edge grinds, blade points, etc. I still have quite a bit of learning to do, but I'm better off than I was three months ago.

    I thought I had what I wanted in a Kershaw Volt SS. As soon as I got it, though, I noticed the blade was stamped "China." That was disappointing and I hadn't noticed that in the product description. It seemed large and heavy (at 4.3 oz), and I didn't really care for the way it opened. Still, it will do the trick in a pinch, so I clipped it to my range bag. It'll work for that.

    I decided that maybe I needed to suck it up and spend a little more than I had on the Kershaw. I called a buddy of mine who's a big fan of knives and he recommended Spartan Blades. Wow! Those are great-looking knives, . . . . but if I spent $300+ on a knife, I'd need it to build my lean-to in the back yard after Mrs. McGee found out. Sorry, I just don't have that kind of cheese to drop on a knife. I decided that I could probably go $100 or maybe $150, but only if I was getting a really great deal. So I hit the Benchmade & Spyderco sites. After much reading, and a fair amount of time comparing different knives, I settled on the Spyderco Native 5 FRN Black. I got it last week and I am really pleased with this knife! I paid less than $100, and it ticks off all of the boxes. It's made in the USA. It opens easily with one hand. It's very light at 2.5 oz. It has the smooth edge. As far as I can tell, it's decent steel (CPM S30V). One of the things I've found really amusing in my old law-dork way is that Arkansas has a law called "Carrying a Weapon," which deals in part with knives. However, it defines a 'knife' as having a blade "three inches (3") or longer." My Native has a blade of 2.95 inches. Thus, for purposes of that statute, my knife is not a knife!

    I've re-discovered that I like pointy, slicey things.
     
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  2. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    I read the whole thing, itching to recommend the Native, alas you got there without me!

    Good choice.
     
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  3. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    Thanks, doc. Sure enough, about 3 days after it arrived, I spotted another for sale, alleged to be in excellent condition. So I’m buying a second one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  4. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    CPM-S30V is a good steel. The Native is a nice knife. I got my wife one awhile back and she has been very happy with it.

    Spyderco makes (or has made) a variety of Natives, the very basic model has a riveted blade pivot--or at least used to--I haven't looked at them in a few years. I would avoid that as it can't be tightened up as the knife wears over time.

    The ones with screws are, IMO, a little better made and offer some opportunity for user servicing over the years.
     
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  5. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Always good to have a backup. If you need a basically rust proof knife to sweat on all summer, take a look at the $121 (MAP) Salt version of the Native 5 LW with LC200N blade.

    All Natives are screw together construction now. Only the G10 handle with S110V blade has retained the steel liners. All other versions are liner-less and have thread inserts. That's a vast improvement over the one I had so many problems with several years ago.
     
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  6. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    I'll do that. My Google search turned up that one for $65, but I was able to resist buying it. :D
     
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    There are some very good knives out there and I have way more than I need. Several nice Buck, Benchmade, Kershaw, Zero Tolerance and Spyderco knives. But it seems that one of the Spyderco's is what spends the most time in my pocket. I have one of the original Natives that I think I paid about $35 for at Walmart years ago. I have no complaints about it, but the newer version is better.

    And if made in China isn't too much of a turnoff there are some very good Chinese made Spydercos and Kershaws out there that can be had for $50 and often under $30.
     
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  8. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    Made in China isn't an absolute bar and it isn't enough to get me to return my Kershaw Volt SS, but it would have been enough to prevent me from buying it originally. As I've gotten older, "Made in America" has gotten more important to me.
     
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  9. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I understand completely.

    And while I PREFER my knives, and guns to have "Made in USA" stamped on them there is no denying that some of the foreign made stuff is VERY good today. At one time "Made in China" meant sub par. But there are some coming out of China now selling for $20-$30 that come VERY close to the build quality of a $200 Benchmade, Spyderco, or Zero Tolerance. They may use 440C steel vs S30V , but 440C isn't a bad steel and the construction is every bit as good for someone wanting a knock around knife. And Spyderco makes some very good knives in Japan and Taiwan. In fact the Taiwan knives are their highest quality knives. Some in the $300-$400 range

    I have a few of those cheap knives and use them for working around in the yard or when riding the ATV where if they get lost or broken it is only a $25 knife. I save the more expensive ones for other occasions.
     
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  10. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    The only drawback of properly heat treated 440c is, it usuAlly needs frequent sharpening.

    For inexpensive steel I prefer 8CR14 MOV
     
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  11. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    I was itching to recommend a Para 3 myself, but the Native is a fine knife. Spyderco is in most ways my favorite knife company.
     
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  12. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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  13. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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  14. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    See Knife Rights for where they're now legal
     
  15. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    I have some opinions on knife origins.

    I tend to prefer "Made In USA" but I've found over time that I like:
    My German knives made in Germany,
    My Swedish knives made in Sweden,
    My Finnish knives made in Finland,
    My New Zealand knives made in New Zealand,
    . . .
    And my American knives made in America.

    There are German knives made in South America, been building them there for decades. I'm okay with this.

    Taiwan has a city that does outstanding work on bicycles and knives.

    Japan has long been one of the homes of quality knives.

    China is finally developing its own brands and doing it with quality builds. And I'm okay with that.

    However I still tend too be wary of Chinese builds of American brands.

    Pakistan is trying, but they still have to hide their origins of they want to sell in the US. I will not knowingly buy a knife made in Pakistan.
     
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  16. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I carried a LW Native for over 10 years. I eventually replaced it with a LW Manix 2 most of the time.

    John
     
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  17. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    Sooo . . . . good news, bad news. I like the Native 5. Light weight, positive action, fits my hand decently, if not great. It's surprising how much one can learn about these things in just a couple of weeks. With all of that said, I don't like the way it rides in my pocket. I'm in suits most days, so I don't clip it to my pocket. Even on 'casual days,' I'm in khakis. (You never know when you'll get the 'be in court in 15 minutes' call.) The only time I would use the clip is on the weekend. I wound up buying 2 Native 5s, so I'm going to sell one and use the funds towards a Benchmade Mini-Freek. I got to handle one today, and (with the store owner's permission) put it in my pocket to see how it felt. My other Native will stay here for other duties, I guess.
     
  18. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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    I went around with this a year ago and settled on:

    KIZER Knives Ki5466A1 Tactical Folding Knife Outdoor Hunting Rescue Tool,EDC Pocket - Survival Camping Knife, CPM-S35VN Stainless Steel - Titanium Handle. This knife has s decent strong spine and frame lock, beautifully made with great materials and a deep belly for skinning / carving. Opens easily, durable, low maintenance.

    20190612_215528.jpg 20190612_215635 (1).jpg

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B076GXMLKF/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     

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    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  19. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    The journey continues. After just a couple of weeks of carrying the Native 5, I decided it's just a little big for my EDC. Don't get me wrong. It's a nice knife with plenty of good qualities. It's very light, has good steel (I think), seems well constructed, and it handles well. I like it and want to keep one of the two I bought for weekends. But M-F, I'm a guy in a suit. I don't use the clip, it's just a smidge too big for my pocket, and I wanted something a bit slimmer and more discreet. That's why I'd settled on the Mini Freek.

    As is my habit when I sell something, I texted a bunch of people that I thought might be interested, and sent out pictures. Sure enough, there's always that one guy that asks, "Interested in a trade?" Apparently, 'that guy' knows my weakness. I love to haggle and trade. So, I gotta find out what he's got, right? He's got a Benchmade Sequel in excellent condition. I find his knife interesting, and he's a guy that I know maintains all of his gear properly. So I was interested . . . . We met yesterday and, as it turns out, he was willing to trade me straight across the board. The Sequel is slimmer, very comparable in weight and blade length, has a 154CM steel blade and an Axis lock. (It's surprising what a difference just a few mm difference in dimension makes, because this thing disappears in my pocket in ways that the Native never did.) The thumb stud feels slightly cramped to the handle, but if one pulls the lock studs back, a slight flick of the wrist opens it very easily.

    Long story short: I may still get a Mini Freek at some point, but I gotta be honest. I'm diggin' this Sequel!
    Benchmade & Spyderco 001.jpg Benchmade Sequel 001.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  20. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    The Native 5 was an excellent choice. I have it with G-10 handles.

    China has come a long way in the knife manufacturing area. There are some excellent knives being made in China now. Some are quite expensive at least to me.
     
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  21. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    If you like that Benchmade you should look into the 940 or 943. They have a thinner profile and come the closest to an Axis locking version of a “gentleman’s knife” as I have found. That’s what I used to carry in the office.
     
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  22. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    If they hadn't discontinued it the Kershaw Drone would be an excellent choice. Roughly $30 used if you can find one.
     
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  23. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    The Freaks are ripoffs of Knife Rights Director Doug Ritters knife BM used to make for him. :mad:

    If for no other reason BM can rot for letting politics motivate them to screw Doug.
     
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