A few years back, the zombie craze took the knife world by storm. No company upped the zombie killer game better than KA-BAR.
Although the fad has mostly died out, one knife from the KA-BAR Zombie Killer collection remains a fan favorite — the KA-BAR Swabbie.
The Swabbie is a long fixed blade that’s based off the curved short sword known as the scimitar. The blade stretches 12.5 inches and is made of 1095 Cro-Van steel, a popular steel among KA-BAR fixed blades. The scimitar blade shape is surprisingly versatile with a deep slicing belly and a piercing point.
Making a knife is hard. There are so many things to take into consideration — from design to materials.
Criticizing a knife is easy. There are so many little things to nitpick about the design.
While I understand knife designers will likely cringe and complain about this complaint thread from some blogboy, someone’s got to do the dirty work. These aren’t design flaws that completely ruin a knife (well, for normal people anyway), but they can be pretty annoying design decisions or failures.
Here are 10 design nitpicks that I personally find annoying. Let us know your additions in the comments.
Incomplete Sharpening Choil
A choil is that little space between the handle and the edge of the blade. It is typically unsharpened and usually designed to put a finger in to choke up on the blade for more control. However, it can often serve another function as a sharpening choil.
This allows the knife user to sharpen the blade completely with their desired sharpener. For some reason, there are a number of edges that abruptly stop before it gets to the choil. That means there’s an unnecessary unsharpened portion of the edge before getting to the unsharpened portion of the choil.
Nitpicky? Yes. Annoying? Also, yes.
Thumb Stud in Blade Path
The thumb stud is a tried-and-true method for opening a knife. While there have been a number of advances in opening (just check out our popular post on knives with unique opening mechanisms), the thumb stud remains a favorite.
KA-BAR is a legendary brand that’s been making knives under different names for a century. While the KA-BAR knife is the most well-known model from the company, the Olean-based company makes a diverse group of knife designs.
Teaming up with some of the best knife-making minds out there, such as Ethan Becker, Rick Hinderer, and Bob Dozier, shows this brand is committed to quality designs.
Here are the 10 best KA-BAR knives right now.
KA-BAR USMC Fighting Knife
Let’s start with the icon — the original KA-BAR. I won’t go too deep into the history of KA-BAR (because I’ve already done that) but a few companies actually made the KA-BAR knife. However, the knives that were made by what is now KA-BAR were always considered the best. Even all these years later, the fighting knife remains a favorite among civilians and military personnel alike.
I could have easily made this list nothing but KA-BAR utility knives, but I thought the classic USMC could also stand in for the dozens of other iterations, such as the Kraton models, tanto models, and smaller versions.
You can pretty much find the perfect KA-BAR for you.
KA-BAR BK2 Becker Campanion
Just as I could have made list of only the fighting knives, I could also make this list nothing but models from the KA-BAR Becker line. Ethan Becker is a knife-designing savant and his line of Beckers at KA-BAR proves it. Few are as great and versatile as the BK2 Becker Campanion.
The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is widely hailed as one of the best pocket knives ever made. For a long time, knife nuts demanded a smaller version of the iconic knife. Sal and Eric Glesser finally answered with the Para 3.
The Para 3 uses the same basic design of the PM2 but distills its essence into a smaller package. With a blade at just under 3 inches, the Para 3 uses the same shape and S30V blade as the original PM2.
The day of reckoning is here for a number of Spyderco models.
Kristi Hunter of Spyderco has released the annual list of Spyderco knives that did not make the cut. If you’re curious why these specific knives were discontinued, I refer you to my article on why knives are discontinued.
You can find the full list at the end, but here are some of the models we’ll miss the most
Spyderco Sage 2
The discontinuation of the Sage 2 is probably the biggest surprise on this list. Although the knife has been around for a while, the Sage 2 is pretty beloved. What I enjoy about the Sage series is that each comes in a different lock with the 2 using the Reeve Integral Lock. It looks like we’re down to the Sage 1 with a liner lock and the Sage 5 with a Compression Lock.
If you don’t have one yet, you should get one now.
Spyderco ATR 2
This is another shocker simply because it hasn’t been on the market for very long. The ATR 2 marked the return of a much requested knife. The original ATR had an integral Compression lock. However, the new one didn’t have the integral Compression lock and many were saying the knife didn’t live up to expectations.
Fake knives are a big concern. If you buy from eBay or some less than stellar sites like Alibaba, there’s a fair chance that the knife you get is a fake.
But, if you were to buy a knife from a site like Amazon, it has to be real, right? Not exactly.
We have had a lot of complaints about the way Amazon does business over the years. For example, earlier this year, we wrote about how the massive online store restricts the sale of legal knives to some people. Back in 2013, we also wrote about how sites like Amazon have a leg up selling knives against smaller businesses such as ours thanks to Google.
But, one of our biggest complaints with Amazon has been the fact that they are plagued with counterfeits. Now, a recent story reveals that Amazon not only sells counterfeits frequently but benefits when fakes are sold and does little to rectify the problem.
Amazon ‘Thrives’ from Fakes
An article in the Los Angeles Times reported on fake products, including fake charging cables, and how they’ve affected legitimate businesses.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Not only has the platform avoided any serious backlash for allowing the sale of fake goods, it’s actually thrived from it, say more than two dozen brand owners, e-commerce consultants, attorneys, investigators and public policy experts.
Counterfeiters help pressure brands to sell their wares on the site. Companies that avoid Amazon risk letting counterfeiters determine how their goods appear to customers on the most influential e-commerce site — ceding control, for instance, of which pictures are used to promote a product and which colors and sizes are offered.
The spread of cheaper knockoffs can also put pressure on authentic sellers and brands to lower their prices, helping Amazon win more customers.
The company has resisted calls to do more to police its site and address claims by businesses that they are losing millions in lost sales and reputational harm, according to experts.
One of the biggest culprits is the third-party sellers on Amazon. When you buy something off Amazon, a third-party seller will often fulfill the orders, but they may be selling fakes. Even when Amazon itself fulfills the order, the products in their inventory may be fake without them knowing about it.
The Badass Knife of the Week is a simplified fixed blade with a wicked design that you can carry securely around your neck.
Modeled after the claws of big cats in Southeast Asia, the Schrade SCH111 is as ferocious as it sounds. This karambit-styled knife is designed by Joshua Waggoner and features a 2.97-inch blade made from 9Cr18MoV stainless steel with a hawkbill curve.
The skeletonized handle not only reduces the overall weight of the knife, which comes in at a little more than 3 ounces, but it also offers versatility to the user.
I love cleaning around the house. Maybe that makes me a bit odd, but it provides much needed time to unwind, zone out, reflect on your life, or listen to great knife podcasts.
What’s even better than cleaning the house is cleaning a pocket knife.
But how do you actually do a good job cleaning a knife?
I made sure not to clean my Spyderco Tenacious (which I use constantly around the house) for a while so I could write this post for you.
To Disassemble a Knife or Not
The first thing you have to consider is whether to fully disassemble the knife or simply clean the blade and take care of the pivot from the outside.
Here are some thoughts on that. If you want to do a thorough job or you haven’t cleaned the inside for a while, you should take the whole thing apart. Depending on the knife, it won’t take up too much time and gets the knife back to tip-top condition.
However, if you’ve cleaned the inside recently or feel only the blade is dirty, you can skip the disassembly.
Cleaning the Blade
There are many different ways to go about cleaning a blade. Most knife enthusiasts have their own recipes or preferences.
The first annual BLADE Show West — an offshoot of the biggest knife gathering in the world — was a success.
People flocked to the Oregon Convention Center to see some of the top knife makers and manufacturers display their knives.
The West Coast version of BLADE Show was similar to the original (see the other 2018 winners here) in that it offers a few awards to the worthy knives out there. There were different categories, of course.
Here’s a rundown of the custom and factory knife awards winners at the 2018 BLADE Show West. First up are the factory awards followed by the custom awards.
Factory Best in Show & Best Folding Knife: WE Knife 704DS
For factory knives, WE Knife took home the awards of Best in Show and Best Folding Knife with its WE Knife 704DS.
This knife from the Chinese company features a 3.6-inch Damasteel blade with a flipper and a carbon fiber/bronze anodized titanium liners. This is just a gorgeous knife through and through.
Best Factory Fixed Blade Knife: Bradford Guardian 4.5
The Bradford Guardian 4.5 won the best fixed blade knife with its 4-inch 3V blade and Micarta scales. It’s a simple design with carefully considered design aspects.
Best Factory EDC Knife: WESN Microblade
The WESN Microblade started as a Kickstarter project and ended with a Best EDC Knife award. It has a small 1.5-inch blade and titanium handle. It’s tiny in the hand but easy to carry.
Best Factory EDC Non-Knife: CRKT Williams Tactical Key
There are tons of key tools out there, including the famous key knives from SOG. But the CRKT Williams Tactical Key has an eye on self-defense purposes. The key is there for last-ditch situations or when you need a Philips screwdriver.
No one has swagger like our Badass Knife of the Week.
All right, all right, despite the admittedly silly name, the Gerber Swagger is a slim and stylish everyday carry option that’s inexpensive but gets the job done.