I have carried good quality folding knives since 2002. I was issued a Benchmade Auto Stryker when I deployed to the Middle East. If you are in the military make friends with supply guys. My knife if the most important implement I carry every day. Over that last 14 years I have narrowed and focused my expectations of a high quality knife. The cost is not what I focused on. The Benchmade knives I have are twice the cost of my current favorite, the Fox DART.
In 2002 when I was given my first Benchmade I had never seen anything like it. This is a switch blade with a look that was not mainstream at the time. Out of the box the springs in this knife are heavy. The first time I activated the knife it flew directly out of my hands into the dirt. When the action is clean and lubricated this is an exceptional knife. I work in conditions that I can’t keep the knife that clean.
As the knife gets dirty the knife begins to malfunction. As the knife gets dirty it fails to fully open. With proper maintenance this would be a fantastic knife. Another drawbacks about the knife is local laws. Depending on where you live this may be illegal. My first version of of the Benchmade Auto Stryker I carried for about seven years. I received my second Benchmade as a gift and I carried that one for about three years. Ultimately I stopped caring it because The reliability was not 100% and I’m not sure lawfully I was allowed to carry it.
I begin to look on the Internet for knives that were functional, sturdy, and reliable. As I’ve said before I’m not looking for super expensive knives I am looking for knives that fill the demands I have for them. CRKT knives began to appeal to me. The first one I ordered was the M16. It was smaller than I expected. The blade was a spear point. It did not seem like it would stand up to the type of job that I would do with it. It was still a very nice knife. I just needed something a little bigger.
I gave that knife to a friend. After that I looked further into CRKT knives and found the M21 and ordered it. This version came with the autolock. The autolock essentially makes the knife rigid like a fixed blade knife. The shape of the blade I like quite a bit as well. The only thing I didn’t like about the knife was I wish it was a little bit larger. They do make a larger version of this knife I just have not purchased it yet.
I carried both the Benchmade and the CRKT until the point I started taking martial arts. I was introduced to a karambit and from that point on all other knives were obsolete. My first karambit was a Fox 598. I love the knife feel great in hand and it was easy to use. There is a learning curve on how to use it without cutting yourself. I would encourage anybody who decides to use a karambit to also buy a trainer.
The Fox 598 was easily to feel comfortable with. It flies out of the pocket and is immediately ready to work. Mechanically if is not relying on springs to open so the knife can be dirty and still function. It is sturdy and the steel keeps an edge decently well. There was however a very serious draw back about this particular karambit. When it was folded and placed in your pocket it takes up a lot of space.
This was a big deal for me. Everything I carry I like small. Every time you reached into your pocket you had to remove the knife first because of its size. I even ground the profile of the blade to narrow its foot print. It did not make enough difference in its size. All I really did was mess up a really cool knife. Because of the failed modification I no longer carry that knife. Now it sits on a shelf in my house in the event a bad guy breaks in and that the closet item to me.
I had that knife for more then a year when I found the FOX DART. Instantly I knew I needed one. That knife reflected all the features that I now find important. It had the signature ring of a karambit that alllows the operators to open the knife faster than anything else I have ever carried. The wave feature that deploys the blade is more aggressive which allows the knife to operate flawlessly every time. Most importantly in a everyday carry knife is the size. The DART is significantly more narrow than the 598.
I now carry that knife on me exclusively. If or when this knife ever breaks I will purchase it again. The only way I would migrate to a different knife is that product would have to display features that I don’t know exist. It works well for utility purposes and the real use of a pocket knife and its ideal as a defensive tool. You don’t have to stab with it. You can use it as a blunt instrument also.
I hope you found the information in this article or video helpful in making your division on a EDC knife. There are other incredible knives out there. The Benchmade Infedel is pretty rad. Sign up with your email to receive articles highlighting ordinary problems and my solutions. I would love to hear your comments. Thanks for reading.