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Thoughts on Kizer?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by htmn2054, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. htmn2054


    Jul 25, 2018
    Before you misunderstand my purpose for this post, please do not think that I am a hater of Chinese knife companies. I really enjoy the knives that I have from Ruike and Real Steel, so the fact that Kizer is a Chinese company plays no part in this post.

    Over the last two years I purchased the Kizer Beglaiter (probably spelled wrong, lol) and the Bantam, with very underwhelming results. The Beglaiter is in their Vanguard series around the $50 price and the Bantam was I think about $120. The Beglaiter was ok I suppose, but I really had to break it in to get it to the "ok" point, way more than other budget knives I own. The Bantam was a complete disappointment to me. For a knife costing more than $100, the action was horrible and the design of the flipper left a lot to be desired.

    I've had these issues with Kizer, yet almost every knife reviewer I watch on YouTube really likes them. I'm just curious what the BF community thinks of Kizer and whether it is worth investing in something from their catalog again? I'm especially interested in hearing the opinions of those who have blades from their mid-range and higher end. Wondering if I would have to go to their knives around the $200 range to get a decent knife.
  2. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    I can’t speak for all of them, but in my experience with the samples I’ve handled...

    ...detents have been inconsistent, though in an acceptable range.

    ...designs haven’t been busy or especially ambitious. They’ve tended to be straightforward and well executed.

    ...fit & finish has been underrated, as most people seem to associate busy or ambitious design with “good” fit & finish.

    ...their S35VN has been run very well.

    All in all, I think you have a higher chance of getting a bad sample from Kizer than you do of getting a bad sample from Bestech, WE, or Reate. However, the majority will be good samples, and they will be great knives.

    Edited to add: I’m also a YouTube reviewer - Banter 247
    Night Rider, W. Anderson and Lapedog like this.
  3. htmn2054


    Jul 25, 2018

    Thank you for the reply! Maybe I did get some bad samples, part of the reason I wanted to post this out there. See if others had the same experiences I did.
  4. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    Happy to have offered feedback. I’ll say this, as well:

    I don’t buy into brands as a whole. I weigh each design on its own merit. It is possible to have bad experiences because of brand (build quality, execution, customer service, etc) or bad experiences because of design (flipper tab shape, ergonomics, blade shape, etc).

    It would be a trap, for example, to judge WE (consistent, high level work) based on the Stixx (Willumsen design), or to judge TJ Schwarz design based on the QC issues at the launch of the Perpetua (built by Millit).
    W. Anderson and htmn2054 like this.
  5. AF

    AF Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    My experience has been that they're hit or miss. But I think they're improving. If they make the Gemini as a liner lock with cf scales, I'll buy one.
    Compared to Reate and WE, they are a distant third in my opinion.
    ronin.graves and htmn2054 like this.
  6. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    They better have s35vn down!

    Good knives, their designs lack abit of inspiration in my eyes. Usually put out a quality product though.

    Isham designs is probably their maximum risk.
    W. Anderson, htmn2054 and RBid like this.
  7. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    A lot of their early success came from Laconico, Lundquist, Vagnino, and Cucchiara designs, which tended to emphasize clean lines and minimalism. I think that was a great choice while building a name for the brand, but I think they stayed in that lane a little too long. I’m not saying I think they should have stopped offering things like that, but that they could have added some riskier designs earlier on. You’re right on the money about Isham’s designs being far and away the riskiest they’ve put out. I’d say those have also been their most ambitious with regard to showing off their capabilities.

    We still haven’t seen Kizer take on something as challenging as executing a Begg design, which we’ve seen Reate and WE deliver on in impressive fashion. Doing something with elaborate inlays, milling, and finish on one design would be informative. Unnecessary, of course, but interesting.

    I think we’re on the same page with all of that, if I’m tracking you right.
  8. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    Yep this is the most honest conversation I have ever seen about kizer.

    They make nice clean knives but too much of their line has begun to look the same. Beadblast ti s35vn.

    They are good in that they are letting many up and coming designers get some exposure.
    htmn2054 and RBid like this.
  9. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    I only have Feist(s) and was impressed by how well it is constructed.
    Also, I admired the way they responded to the community and improved the knife.

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  10. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    I think Kizer has good public relations. They seem to be run by people who honestly are knife guys themselves.
    Deinos, htmn2054 and miso2 like this.
  11. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    I really wish they’d done some CF overlays on the Velox 2, and had gone with a Javelin instead of a Lancer for the LV knife. I have a hunch the recurve on the Lancer cost some sales by turning off reviewers. The blue and gold ano was gorgeous on that.

    Mike Vagnino is criminally underrated. My gut is that part of that was the safe execution of the Kizer pieces (excluding the overtly awesome Zip Slip). I hope to see him get something out with MBK, Reate, or WE in the future.
    htmn2054 likes this.
  12. htmn2054


    Jul 25, 2018

    I am enjoying this conversation, thank you guys for all the good talking points so far!
    Deinos and RBid like this.
  13. TheEdge01


    Apr 3, 2015
    I’ve owned a couple and they seem to be decent knives.
    Lapedog likes this.
  14. K.O.D.

    K.O.D. Sanity Not Included Platinum Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    This one is phenomenal.


    After 7 months in storage it was the only one of my ten folders that didn't need lube. , Well modern folders.
    Lapedog likes this.
  15. bachman44

    bachman44 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    I have a few and very much enjoy most of them. Quality has been good. Action, detent, centering all very acceptable. They aren't the most exciting. But, some designs stick out to me. The Sheepdog and the Critical are a couple of my all time favorite knives. I wish Kizer would get out of their comfort zone a bit though.
    rje58 and Lapedog like this.
  16. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I only own one Kizer. It is one of the VG-10 Vanguard series (Dukes). It's an okay knife. Works fine. Edge is well done. I didn't expect a lot with something below $100 and it is as good as I expected. Yes, I would buy another one....
    RBid likes this.
  17. jill jackson

    jill jackson

    Sep 5, 2006
    I decided to test my Kizer Duke with spine whacks and it didn't give at all. Remained solid and I was rather impressed.
    RBid likes this.
  18. W. Anderson

    W. Anderson Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 22, 2016
    I handled a Kizer Splinter back in 2017 I think? It was pretty slick but I never pulled the trigger. These eastern knives feel like they are missing something, to me.
  19. Psy223


    Dec 17, 2018
    I currently own one Kizer,(a corto), and I like it a lot. From my limited collection it is my “best” knife by every objective measure of quality, performance. The titanium,frame lock, s35vn, recipe works for me, but I see why some might feel like it’s playing it safe.
    I think the amount of time knives are available on the exchange says something about the way they are perceived. Kizers don’t hang around very long.
  20. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    FWIW, the references to homogeneous design and playing it safe are mostly about the extreme similarities between finishes between models like the Gemini, Flashbang, Velox 2, Feist, etc. The Corto is definitely a stand out in that family.

    I say this as a person who looooooves the Gemini and Ursa Minor.
    Lapedog and Psy223 like this.

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