A “nice” pocket is something I always wanted but never really bought myself. Sure I have bought a lot of knives over the years but they were all on the low end of the cost scale. Some of those cheap ones have been good ones. I have been carrying the same old Gerber para-frame for about six years now and it was used when I got it. It has been a very good knife and has served me well. It is still a solid tool and it locks up tight and straight and keeps a decent edge. There is also the advantage of not having to worry too much about using it for rough, possibly damage inflecting duty. I guess have just reached the point in my life where I feel I can finally treat myself to a “nice” everyday carry knife, but what to buy? Thus began my quest for the ultimate EDC folding knife.
|Top Gerber Paraframe Bottom: Benchmade - Griptilian 551 Knife|
As a youth back in the 90’s I bought a lot of the knife magazines and always lusted after the high end brands. Still I couldn’t bring myself to spend $100 plus on a knife. A lot of the manufacturers that were on the “high end” back then are the same ones churning out the mass produced unbelievably low priced knives found at Walmart and other bargain retailers. A lot of them seem to have sold out their brands in the name of profit. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure a lot of them are good knives but the names do not command the respect the way they used to. Most still make their high price knives in the USA and contract out the diluted lower end models out to China. SOG is one that comes to mind because I remember them being way out of my price range but super high quality back then. Now you can pick one up for twenty bucks a Wally World.
Over the past month or so I have done a lot of research and listened to a lot of opinions and preferences. Two of the brands that rose to the top consistently were Benchmade and Spyderco. Also both these companies seemed to have maintained their good names quite respectively. Kershaw also had some really nice highly reviewed models in their massive lineup. There were also some new manufacturers such as Ontario knives and Zero Tolerance that are giving the establishment a run for their money. I would probably fall in love with Spyderco if I ever tried one but there’s something about the thumb hole look that I never liked from a purely aesthetic opinion. Also there are so many cheap imitations of Spydercos out there I think it has skewed my intuitive opinion of them. People who like Spyderco REALLY like Spyderco, they almost have a cult following. It reminds me of the some way people are so devoted to Apple products. I always thought the obsessively single brand minded Apple users were nuts until I actually owned an Apple product and wondered why I hadn't drank that Kool-Aid long ago! Anyway I am still not feeling that warm and fuzzy for the king of thumb-holes yet.
After all was said and done I finally narrowed it down to one knife that seemed to be the either number one or close to it on most knife guys lists of EDC favorites, the Benchmade Griptilian. I also liked the lifetime free sharpening and cleaning service offered on all Benchmade products since I had never mastered that art. I wanted something close to the size of my old Gerber so the full size Griptilian model fit the bill. At $102.00 it was not the highest price range but still seemed to compete or defeat most of the two to three hundred dollar models. The only contention I saw for some people was the glass-filled nylon grips. For me Glock had long ago dispelled any aversion I might have had to "plastic" parts. Even before that my Remington Nylon 66 had been as tough or better than any of my wood stocked guns and was less likely to crack like the wood ones had a tendency to do.
I ordered the Griptilian from Amazon and while the knife shopping bug had bit me I decided to try a couple of the close contenders that were significantly lower in price and would make good benchmark comparisons to the Griptilian. I Ordered the Kershaw 1830 OSO Sweet Pocket Knife ($17.27) and the Ontario 8848 RAT Folding Knife ($27.03). Both of these had gotten stellar reviews as well. Thus far all of these are really solid knives with a quality feel and action. I think the Benchmade may be the sharpest out of the box of the three but all came really sharp. I also think size and weight wise the Benchmade beats out the other three for me but only marginally so. The benchmde came in a nice box with a little velvet storage bag. The Ontario had a box as well and the Kershaw came in a clear plastic "blister" pack. As far as use, edge retention, etc. I will keep an update on here as time goes on and I have a chance to carry all three.
Below are some pictures for visual and size comparison.
|Top: Kershaw 1830 OSO Sweet, Middle: Benchmade - Griptilian 551 Knife Drop-Point, Bottom: The Ontario 8848 RAT|
|Top: Kershaw 1830 OSO Sweet, Middle: Benchmade - Griptilian 551 Knife Drop-Point Bottom: The Ontario 8848 RAT|
|Top: Kershaw 1830 OSO Sweet, Middle: Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife - Drop-Point, Bottom: The Ontario 8848 RAT|
|Left: The Ontario 8848 RAT, Middle: Benchmade - Griptilian 551 Knife/ Drop-Point, Right: Kershaw 1830 OSO Sweet|