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Are there decent non-auto stiletto style knives that are under $100?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Puppadore, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Puppadore


    Jan 18, 2020
    I'm looking for a traditional stiletto style knife, under $100, that is decent in quality.
    NOT the modern looking ones like Cold Steel Ti-Lite.

    Also, needs to be non-auto. I live in California.

    Would anyone know?

    Thanks in advance!

    EDIT: I mean italian style stiletto knives.. like Kissing Crane stuff, but not crap quality like that
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  2. Barman1

    Barman1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 21, 2013
    CRKT Xolotl maybe?
  3. Silent H

    Silent H

    Feb 1, 2018
    I went on Blade HQ and used their filters to find a few. Go to the drop down menu, select "Folding Knives" then in the filters on the side, select "under $100" and three blade shape: Spear point, Dagger, and Bayonet. You can try doing something similar on other sites. I found these two in under 5 minutes. Thy have the "classic" look, but I can't tell you anything about quality.

  4. Puppadore


    Jan 18, 2020
    Yes I've done that before asking here. Could not find any that actually fit what I was looking for.
  5. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    The folding stiletto is my all-time favorite style of folding knife. Unfortunately, there aren't many options, and the "traditional" ones that do exist tend not to be of very high quality.

    By "traditional" I assume you mean lockbacks with guard bolsters.

    Here are a few brands of manual "traditional" style stilettos that I possess, and that are still available -

    Benchmark. Comes in a variety of sizes. I have the 10.75 inch. Nice bayonet-style blade, after reprofiling the edge mine was shaving sharp. The knife just feels good in the hand. But unfortunately the overall construction is flimsy with plenty of blade play. Stamped/hollow brass bolsters. Pinned construction.

    Kriegar. I've only seen one size, 9". They come in a variety of styles based on when they were made. The really old ones (first generation) have flat-ground blades, solid stainless steel bolsters spot-welded to stainless steel liners, all pinned construction, and they came in a variety of handle colors/materials. I have one, it came with lots of blade play, but I fixed that by replacing the pivot pin with a modern screw pivot assembly. I also added a thumbstud that enabled me to flick the knife open. The blade took a shaving-sharp edge.

    The 2nd generation of Kriegar stilettos had bayonet-style blades, hollow/stamped stainless steel bolsters, and stainless steel liners. No spot-welding, only pinned construction. These are more flimsy than the first generation Kriegars. I also replaced the pivot pin on mine. I didn't bother sharpening it. It does have solid lockup though.

    The 3rd generation of Kriegars are basically identical to the 2nd gen. except the bayonet blade has a fuller going down both sides of the blade. And I believe they only come with wood handles. Also flimsy construction.

    Kissing Crane. These used to be made in a variety of sizes. I have a 9" (which I believe is the largest currently available). These have flat-ground blades, hollow/stamped brass bolsters, brass liners, and come in a variety of handles. All pinned construction. The one I have is old (bought in 1986, with the guard bolsters soldered to the liners), and from what I've heard quality has dropped, but I have no firsthand experience with current models. Mine took a shaving-sharp edge. I carried it for several years in my late teens and early twenties using it for many of my daily knife chores.

    Rite Edge. These are my favorite. They only come in 10.75 inches. They feature solid stainless steel bolsters spot-welded to stainless steel liners, flat ground blades that take a shaving-sharp edge, and they only come with wood handles. All-pinned construction. Due to the solid bolsters and spot-welding these knives have a robust and solid feel. I've purchased several of these, and I've customized several, making some one-hand open/close, and converted one into an auto (using a different blade). They tend to have blade-play both forward/back and side-to-side, but because they have solid steel bolsters it's possible to re-peen the stainless steel pivot pin and tighten the pivot up. However, with a slightly loose pivot I'm able to wrist-flick one of my stock Rite Edges open (experiences may vary). The Rite Edge is the least expensive ($7.99) of all the knives I've mentioned, which is surprising because I consider it to be the best of the bunch. Like I said, I've owned several of these, with some being better constructed, and with less blade-play out of the box than others.

    All that being said, my Cold Steel 6" Tilite is by far, both my favorite stiletto, and my favorite folding knife. I resisted buying a Tilite for many years (I started with the 4") because I was a bit of a strict "stiletto traditionalist" (lockback, guard bolsters) but the Tilite series won me over (as did the various torture-test videos there are showing how much stress and abuse they can take).

    Unfortunately my photo posting skills have lapsed, otherwise I would happily show-off my stiletto collection.

    Also, just to mention it in case you didn't know, but it is perfectly legal to own stiletto switchblades of any size in California (I'm a 50 year resident). I own a few, and have ordered several switchblades from out of state with no issues.

    Good luck in your search. Like you, I truly wish there were more high-quality folding stilettos available.

    EDIT: I meant "Rite Edge", not "Right Edge".
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
    Puppadore likes this.
  6. tltt


    May 1, 2008
    Falcon, Italy.

    The Italian made Kissing Krane / Robt Klaas of Germany before Bud K bought them.

    You'll have to look on Ebay for them. There isn't much call for non-autos, so your only choice are old stock or occasional lots brought in by importers if you want an Italian made one.
  7. Puppadore


    Jan 18, 2020
    Thank you very much. I very much appreciate your post. This is the information I was looking for. I do wish there were some decent ones. I am still resistant to Cold Steel Ti Lite because the reason for wanting a stiletto for me is to EDC something that looks traditional. I will most likely buy one from your list and customize for better fit.

    again, thank you for taking your time to reply, it is very helpful!
  8. JPD1998

    JPD1998 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 18, 2004
    I collect stilettos and have been buying them for over 40 years.

    They were never built with the level of precision we see in modern knives, they've been hand assembled for years.
    The best examples I own are the Falcon Branded Italian stilettos , but unfortunately they haven't been made in a few years.
    You can find them , but they're expensive now.

    There's still tons of old stock, Italian made Kissing Krane stilettos and if you look on the big auction site, you'll find them.
    They're a tad under 9" open. Even the ones listed as German made are actually Italian.

    The prices are still reasonable because most assume Kissing Krane is now Chinese made.
    Also don't discount the Chinese made KK's , they're pretty good too, but if you want Italian , just read the ads.

    Italian Made Kissing Krane



    Puppadore likes this.
  9. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    You're quite welcome.

    I just re-learned how to post pics, so why not-

    The first knife in this pic is a mostly stock Rite Edge, but modded with a thumbstud. The next two are heavily modded Rite Edges. All three are one-hand opening. The second knife is modded with a press-lock-release tab for closing with one hand.

    The bottom knife is a "hybrid", the liners and bolsters are from a Rite Edge, and the blade and lock are from a Benchmark. It has coarse g10 handle scales, and an assisted-opening mechanism that I fabricated- when the tab behind the rear guard is pressed it pushes the blade out far enough to make it easy to grab with ones fingers and fully open the knife.

    These are my Kriegars.


    Here's a pic of a stock Benchmark with the "hybrid" from the first pic.


    Here's my old companion from my youth, Kissing Crane. It features one of my very first knife mods- I ground away a section of the handles and liners around the blades nail nick to make it faster and easier to grab the blade and open the knife with two hands.


    And just for the hell of it, here are my two prized stiletto switchblades. Both are my own builds. The top is made using the bolsters and liners from a Rite Edge and an aftermarket blade and spring/lock, the bottom is mostly custom work.

    Puppadore likes this.
  10. insta9ves


    Apr 3, 2007
    Benchmade 917 fact could be a nice modern stiletto.
    Jcsixx01 likes this.

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