Getting back in after 15 years... what should I get??

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by BJ987, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. BJ987


    Jul 21, 2020
    So, my SOG Flash died after being my EDC for 15 years or so, and I was left with a beat-up Kershaw Crown. Decided it was time to get a new knife. Found out I could finally get an "Emerson" and that Amazon actually sold mid/high-end knives now. A week later, I have a Kershaw Emerson CQC-8k, CQC-9k, and a Cold Steel Recon 1. Not sure if I'm really digging the CQC-9k or even the CQC-8k, so I got a CQC-4KXL(D2) and Civivi Baklash on the way. Plan to see what I like the most and return a few.

    I'm mostly interested in best budget EDC/tactical folders (if that wasn't already apparent from my recent shopping spree). The Recon 1 was over my budget (trying to stay around $50) but after it kept popping up in my research I impulse bought it and really digging it so far. I almost pulled the trigger on a Kershaw Blur but I hate that the blade length is only 3.375 in. I feel like 3.5 in is the minimum length for me.

    I also realized I should probably get a sharpener of some kind. I had some stones and some Spyderco? v sharpener thing that I lost years ago.

    What should I get?? What am I missing? Am I doing ok so far or am I looking at the wrong lists on the internet?
  2. Chronovore

    Chronovore Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Welcome back. I'm a "budget" guy too. There has been a real Renaissance in Chinese budget knives in the last few years. Civivi is probably the best example. It's the budget line of WE knives. Just wait until you get your Baklash and you'll see what I mean.

    Spend some time working that ball-bearing action. If you disassemble the knife, check out the clean internals and precision machining. Do some cutting and enjoy how thin it is behind the edge. Compare the edge retention with some of the budget steels you might have been used to from years back. Between the right geometry and a decent heat treatment, Civivi really gets the most out of their 9Cr18Mov. It's a real gem and it costs less than fifty bucks. You picked a good time to get back in. :)
  3. GAGL


    Jan 1, 2016
    Have you looked at the Cold Steel American Lawman?

    I think its one of the best folders out has a strong tip and cuts very well.I got one of the older versions with CTS XHP steel and hollow grind.they're still out there...

    Good luck on your quest!
  4. BJ987


    Jul 21, 2020
    Yes, I actually compared it to the Recon 1 before deciding to ultimately go with the Recon 1. I think what initially turned me off of the Lawman was the huge secondary choil? (sorry newb here). I feel like in a self-defense situation I might unintentionally grip it with fingers in both choils, which would be very bad if I ended up having to thrust with it. That and basically getting more knife for the money (IMO) made me go with the Recon 1. Thanks though, I might consider it in the future. Right now, I'm trying to explore a good option from all of the good brands with knives in my budget (around $50).
    jux t likes this.
  5. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    :) Hard to go wrong with the Cold Steel Recon 1 , IMO .

    Very strong and reliable Tri-ad lock , great ergonomics and a good quality steel and HT for the price .

    There are lots of other Cold Steel folders . American Lawman , Ultimate Hunter and the AD-10 for a bit more $$$ .

    Many others , depending on what you like / need .
    anthonycastorena2014 likes this.
  6. 000Robert

    000Robert Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Mar 28, 2020
    As many as you can afford...LOL!
    anthonycastorena2014 likes this.
  7. BJ987


    Jul 21, 2020
    I realized that when I looked around and saw a new respect for Chinese-made knives I definitely don't remember seeing years ago. When I was like 18, I saved up for months just to get a Benchmade Griptillian (one of the good ones I've lost in the past 15 years), because I was convinced back then I had to spend at least $100 to get something worth the money. The Civivi buy was an impulse buy too (I usually research for at least a week). When I first saw them on Amazon I actually thought they were a crap line exclusive to Amazon or something. Then I saw them mentioned around the web and learned that I needed to try one. I'm excited!

    At the same time I'm actually a little worried because I think I'll enjoy the smooth action so much that I'll neglect my Recon 1 and especially these Kershaw Emersons. Man, I don't know if I got some lemons or what but I literally have a bruised thumb from trying to break them in. Idk if it's the detent or if they are just bad with the manual opening but if I leave it alone for a day I have to use two fingers (thumb and middle finger) at the same time on the thumb disc to disengage the detent. And it's not like it swings free after that either, still requires some wrist-flick action to get it to fully deploy.

    I know the Baklash is more suited as an EDC. I wish there were some budget priced more tactical options from Civivi. BTW, I'm also a fidgeter so I definitely like to play with my knives when I'm working or whatever. Right now the Emersons are not even an option. And the Recon 1 is too big and rough to fidget with. The Tri-Ad lock certainly doesn't help with the fidget factor either.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
  8. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    If you have a concern for SD , Cold Steel has many very good folders for this application .

    Many come with a wave opening option . Fastest way to open a knife , with some practice .

    Gonna cost a bit more than $50 , but well worth it for a knife you can absolutely depend on for SD / emergency use .

  9. Dadpool

    Dadpool Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2015
    Welcome back! Just thinking about being out of the game for 15 years and seeing all the cool new knives and mechanisms has my head swimming. :D

    I agree that Cold Steel is going to be a great path given your interests and budget. A few other suggestions in that vein:
    • SR1 Lite in 4" tanto or clip should be about $60
    • Large Voyagers in a variety of 4" blade styles should be about $60
    • Rajah III is 3.5" and about $65
    • Code 4 is 3.6" in a few different blade styles and can be found for ~$80
    • A specific retailer I can't mention currently has the 4-Max Scout (4" monster) for $83 and the Air Lite (3.5") for $63, which is a steal for both knives
    I love CS knives and have been quite happy with the ones I own that are on the budget-friendly end of the spectrum.
  10. NorthernSouthpaw

    NorthernSouthpaw Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 27, 2014
    Well, first thing you should do is avoid buying knives on Amazon. Go to a more trusted and informed seller like Blade HQ, or Knife Center. You will get much more helpful information and the assurance that you are buying authentic goods.

    I don't know why you want something so big when you've been fine with a 2.5" Flash for 15 years. Unless you had a Flash II which is 3.5"
    But here is a list of knife brands & some models in your price point for you to check out. It seemed like you prefer thumb openers. So I tries to stick with those, but i stuck a few flippers in just in case.

    Spyderco- Tenacious, Resilience
    Byrd- Cara Cara 2 (with or without Emerson Wave), Raven 2
    Steel Will- Resident, Cutjack, Modus
    CJRB- Feldspar, Centros,
    Kizer- Begleiter, Domin, Sovereign
    CIVIVI, Dogma, Shredder, Vexer
    Ontario- Utilitac II, RAT 1

    Start with those and you should be able to navigate your way from there.
    Have fun, and watch out for the rabbit hole!! Once you fall down that you'll be buying $2000 customs in no time.;)
  11. BJ987


    Jul 21, 2020
    My head is swimming, actually, was spinning when I realized how much more accessible decent knives are now. Only way I can justify buying three (four?) knives in a week to myself, lol. Thanks for the suggestions. Are those all CS knives? I'll definitely look into them. I should mention I prefer a slightly more neutral grip than some of the more super aggressive ones. I definitely appreciate and understand ergonomics, but I don't like when the handle shape "forces" you to hold it one way. My preference most likely stems from a little background in Eskrima (or "Kali"), where I learned to favor the "Pikal" grip. It's basically reverse grip with the blade facing you.

    Also, I always wanted a tanto. The CQC-8k is my first. Haven't used it for anything but opening some boxes, but after more reading around I realized tantos might actually not be the best SD/tactical blade shape as was touted 15-20 years ago.
    DocJD and Dadpool like this.
  12. Dadpool

    Dadpool Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2015
    Yep, all of my recommendations were Cold Steel knives. Of them, only the Voyager has anything approaching a "forced" grip (depending on your hand size). The others are all pretty neutral.
    DangerZone98 likes this.
  13. BJ987


    Jul 21, 2020
    Sorry, I definitely had a Flash II. 3.5" is definitely a sweet spot for me. I just never had anything bigger, so when I saw the Recon 1 (4 inch, S35VN (S30V was the "best" steel before my 15 year hiatus), reliable lock-up, ergos, and all the good reviews for under $100), I felt like I was treating myself. I remember buying from Knifecenter years ago. I only bought from the postings on Amazon that had reviews from people I could tell weren't idiots and knew knives. That and the return policy and some price differences I noticed. For instance the Kershaw Blur w/blackwash blade right now is $20 cheaper on AMZN than Knifecenter.

    I've never had a flipper before, and I'm interested to try one when I get my Baklash. The only reason I prefer thumb stud right now is I feel like in a SD/emergency situation, it would be more natural (more gross motor movement) to deploy than flipping a tab on the opposite side.

    I definitely came across the Ontario RAT 1 in my research so far. Only reason I haven't snatched one up yet is I think it's right on the line for me between EDC/tactical leaning more toward the EDC side. This is of course IMHO only and just from viewing pics and videos of it. I basically want to only spend money on decent knives that can do some light work (cutting open boxes, opening packages, etc.) and that I can EDC and know that if it came down to a SD situation, I wouldn't end up regretting having "that" knife in my pocket over something like the CQC-4XL spearpoint. I know i'm being highly subjective and probably opening myself up for some criticism, but it is welcome.

    Thanks for the lists guys! I'm checking out everything and appreciate the love so far! I missed this forum!
    DangerZone98 likes this.
  14. DangerZone98


    Dec 7, 2019
    If the Recon 1 exceeds the budget allocation, then I suggest the Cold Steel Voyager Large or Medium. It’s not as refined as a ZT or CRK definitely, but it’s a tough user knife that’ll give you years of service with proper maintenance. For $50-$60-ish, you get Aus10a and Grivex hard plastic scales. Not a bad deal, IMHO. Happy hunting, and welcome to BF.
    whp and BJ987 like this.
  15. Chronovore

    Chronovore Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    I'm really excited for you, @BJ987 . I remember my first Civivi. Right now, I have a wood-handled version of the Baklash in my EDC rotation.

    Kizer is another company worth checking out. Their Mini Domin currently occupies the "small" spot on my EDC rotation. It's a thumb stud knife but flicks out nicely. It has a thin slicey blade made of N690, which is a decent stainless for the $55 price tag. I'm also fond of Bestech but it's been a humid summer and their $50ish knives are all D2.

    As far as SD, you might consider a fixed blade. Even well-built tactical folders are still folders. Defensive situations can be quick, chaotic, and messy. Having to get out and successfully deploy a folder, get a proper grip, and use it with effective force trusting that the lock will hold up is a lot of fluff in the flowchart between you and effective defense. (Guns tend to be the most effective SD option but that's another discussion.) A fixed blade with a decent sheath cuts out a lot of that fluff. The right fixed blade can also work for regular EDC needs.

    For instance, check out the Real Steel Receptor. It's amazingly comfortable in hand, a joy to use for regular cutting, and has a great sheath that fits a Tek-Lok. It's well-balanced being small enough to conceal but big enough to use for SD. It's also right around $50. ;)
  16. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    If budget is a factor, ontario rat 1 is the knife you should look at. It will satisfy your requirements.

    Real steel and steel will are two other companies to check out. They have budget friendly knives that are good for their price.
    bigsurbob likes this.
  17. MacLaren1

    MacLaren1 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 15, 2014
    I think that a Spyderco SharpMaker is a must have and well worth the money imo.
    As far as knives go, there's a lot of good recommendations already.
    Good luck :)
    Lee D, Pomsbz and DangerZone98 like this.
  18. Ron Sabbagh

    Ron Sabbagh Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 15, 1999
    first off I'd recommend avoiding Emerson knives:poop:

    Then I'd suggest good ol' Spyderco knives (still quality after all these years) and to also consider the Italians (Lionsteel and Viper) who offer terrific knives at budget prices

    as mentioned, Cold Steel is also a great option
    Evan Mattherson and DangerZone98 like this.
  19. abcdef


    Oct 28, 2005
    Use this time to do a lot of research. 15 years is like 105 years in knife time.
    Stay focused on all the new trends. Balls, flippers, super steels, and so on.
    And welcome back.
    BJ987 likes this.
  20. gazz98

    gazz98 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Welcome to the forums.

    Don't hesitate to buy a Rat 1. I'd recommend the D2 over the AUS 8. The D2 steel is still around $40. It's a great knife.

    The Ruike P801 in 14C28 steel at $30 is another great budget knife with good steel for the price point.
    sabre cat likes this.

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