Nothing lasts forever.
Every single year, dozens of knife models get discontinued for one reason or another. But just because a knife is discontinued due to low sales or a lack of space in the lineup doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.
In fact, many discontinued knives were well made and beloved by many. Some gems have gone the way of the dodo and we wanted to take a look back at a few of our favorite or most-missed production knives.
I understand most of these are available on the second market for sometimes exorbitant prices, but I’d love to see these knives back in production for more reasonable prices.
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If I had to guess, I’d venture the Benchmade AFCK is the knife people want to bring back the most.
The AFCK (Advanced Folding Combat Knife) was designed by former Navy SEAL Chris Caracci for Benchmade. It featured a visually appealing blade that was optimized for self-defense but worked well for everyday carry. The blade had a Spyderco Round Hole and it used a liner lock. Caracci didn’t care much for the AXIS.
I don’t know all the details but Caracci and Benchmade parted ways and the knife has been talked about for ages. It would become an instant hit if it came back to Benchmade with some quality blade steel. One can wish.
Zknives has some of the history and an in-depth look at the specs here.
Some say the DOG is the best knife CRKT has ever made. I’m not sure about that but it is up there. This is the first of several Hawk production designs on this list. It was a durable knife with an interesting Deadbolt Over Grabstep locking mechanism that worked smoothly.
The good news is that there are custom versions out there and it’s possible the Hawks will make more.
I always say the Hawks are ahead of their time. I think if the knife was released today, it would have a wider audience.
KA-BAR Becker BK15
The KA-BAR BK15 Becker Short Trailing Point is a relatively recent discontinuation. This one along with the BK5 were discontinued (both trailing points). The BK15 had the benefit of being a smaller size and great for all-around outdoor use, including food prep.
The BK2 Becker Companion is a worthy replacement in that it can do everything at a campsite as well, but the small trailing point was just so good.
Benchmade RSK Mk1
Doug Ritter is a man known for many things. More lately he is best known for his work with Knife Rights, but he’s also designed a few excellent knives, including some for CRKT. But one of his most beloved knives was the Benchmade RSK Mk1.
The RSK Mk1 is essentially a customized version of the Mel Pardue Griptilian with a few highly regarded touches by Ritter. The handle is the same as the standard Griptilian, but the blade has a drop point design with a stonewashed finish. It also used some quality blade steels in certain iterations.
Sure, you can still get a regular Griptilian (including the newer premium versions), but the RSK Mk1 still holds that special place in many people’s hearts.
From first glance, the Kershaw Tilt probably looks like a cheap knife with a faux futuristic design. That could not be any further from the truth. When the Tilt was first released back in 2010, it pushed the envelope of design and construction to its limits. It was so hard to make that it was dogged by delays and high prices.
So what made this knife so interesting? It used a composite blade with the first use of Udderholm Vanax 75 stainless steel. It was also the first knife to have caged bearings. Overall it was a well-made and smoothly functioning knife with a unique design.
Anthony Sculimbrene gives a detailed explanation of its greatness at Gear Junkie.
Gerber Paul Knife
We’re going back a further now with the Gerber Paul Knife. Inventor and knifemaker Paul W. Poehlmann created a new lock called the Axial Locking Mechanism in 1976 that functions with the help of gravity. It locks open and closed and requires a push of the button, which also acts like a pivot.
Although Gerber these days is more known for its standard fair, Gerber used to take more risks when Pete Gerber was in charge. After Poehlmann designed about 150 of his new knives (called the Paul knife), Gerber asked him to create some knives for his company. Costs were too high and they were discontinued in 1997. Lone Wolf Knives picked up the Paul knife in 2002 but it was bought and shuttered by Benchmade around 2012.
The cost and difficulty of production likely means this knife won’t be back for a while.
There are tons of different Swiss Army Knife models with various tool compositions. Most people can get exactly what they want. But one of the rarest versions of the knife out there is the Scientist model.
The Scientist was a slim, two-layer Swiss Army Knife with a magnifying glass, large knife blade, Phillips screwdriver, combo tool, corkscrew, mini screwdriver, key ring, toothpick, tweezers, pen, and pin. That’s a ton of tools in only two layers.
The closest thing these days is the larger Explorer, but that one is much thicker. The combo tool is pretty rare nowadays for some reason, as is the magnifying glass. Apparently, not many of these were made and they remain prized among collectors.
Cold Steel Hold Out
The entire Hold Out series was discontinued for 2017. This was a surprising elimination, considering Cold Steel President Lynn Thompson has consistently carried a Hold Out (along with a few others). Here is Thompson talking about the Hold Out series:
He called it the best 3-inch blade you could buy in the world. I’m not too sure about that, but it was darn good. The Hold Out III has a 3-inh CTS-XHP spear point blade and G-10 handles. The II was larger with a 4-inch blade, and the I featured the largest 6-inch blade. All of them had a Demko Tri-Ad Lock.
There have been a few new additions that rival the Hold Out, but I still think they pale in comparison.
Zero Tolerance ZT 0500 MUDD
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Our second Hawk knife on the list is the ZT MUDD. The MUDD stands for Multi-Utility Dirt Defiant) knife because the internal lock mechanism is enclosed and protected from the elements. No matter how dirty you get this thing, it’ll keep working. The original version was their first knife to feature the Hawk Lock.
The problem with the knife is that it doesn’t look entirely conventional, so it may turn people off. But don’t question its functionality. It has larger thumb studs for easy access with gloves, a long 3.625-inch 154CM steel blade.
The MUDD is available as a midtech and the Hawks are even making an auto version of the knife, so the MUDD isn’t lost to the ages.
At first glance, the Skirmish is an odd-looking knife that looks a bit gaudy. It has four round holes near where the thumb studs should be (like a Spyderco), holes near where the lanyard hole should be (though they’re not intended for a lanyard), and divots throughout the handle.
The handle is titanium, the blade is S30V, and this thing is a tank. You still see people looking around the web for this one. One version featured anodized green handles with anodized accents from gold to blue.
Many would be happy if this guy came back for another run.
I didn’t put many Spyderco models on this list because Spyderco frequently brings back its knives in Sprint Runs. However, I feel like the Spyderco Superhawk was an underrated EDC.
The SuperHawk had a hawkbill blade made from VG-10 steel, a Compression Lock, carbon fiber scales, and an ergonomic design. The knife reminded me of the Civilian (or Matriarch) except it could be used for so much more.
The smaller Tasman is still available but it is definitely not the same. Expect this to come back on many Sprint Runs in the future.
The Kershaw RAM is another Hawk design. I’m not just packing this list with Hawk knives for no reason though. I still hear people talking about the smoothness and impressiveness of the knife
The highlight of the knife is the Hawk lock, the same one used in the MUDD. This time it functions with a slider on the handle to keep the hands away from the closing blade. The great thing about the lock is that it helps facilitate opening and closing. This creates a smooth action.
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With a 3.125-inch 14C28N steel blade and G-10 handles, it was hard to find a fault with this knife. Kershaw does make a Hawk Lock knife right now called the Induction.
Spyderco Caly 3
Ask any knife user to list their most-missed discontinued Spyderco and the Caly 3 will end up on most of them.
The Calypso series is quite beloved by many people because of their great design and functionality. The Calypso Jr. is another oft-requested knife. The Caly 3 had a 3-inch leaf-shaped blade with a back lock mechanism. It is arguably more versatile than the Delica, and that knife isn’t going anywhere.
There is currently a Caly 3.5, but it has a longer design. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Caly 4 or at least some more Caly 3 Sprint Runs in the near future.
CRKT RSK Mk5
Yes, there is a second RSK to make this list; this time from CRKT. Doug Ritter designed a survival knife small enough to put into a tin (along with a few other essential items). The RSK Mk5 was tiny with a 1.75-inch blade and a skeletonized handle. It used a lanyard to help extend the handle.
This is a relatively recent discontinuation and was a Badass Knife of the Week not long ago. I’m not sure why this knife got the axe, but it was and remains a good neck knife or knife to keep in your kit for emergencies.
Kershaw 1050 Folding Field Knife
I’m going way back with this one. If you picture the quintessential Kershaw knife, you’ll likely think of the Leek or Blur or other tactical knife. But when Pete Kershaw first started the company in the 1970s, it featured more traditional folders and fixed blades. Among the first was the Kershaw 1050 Folding Field Knife.
This knife was produced for decades and was a tank of a knife. It had a 3.4-inch blade made from AUS8 steel, a nail nick for opening, a lockback mechanism, brass and phenolic handles. On top of everything, it looked simply amazing.
Kershaw brought this knife back for a little while but the original is too good to forget.
Because this list could have been way longer, I thought I’d add some honorable mentions: Kershaw ET (yes, another Hawk knife), Victorinox Pocket Pal, Benchmade Aphid, ZT 0560, Benchmade 710, Buck 532, Ontario SP51, Kershaw Tyrade, Benchmade 707 Sequel.