ASK is a series of posts answering questions asked by readers about the operative, survivalist and nomadic lifestyle. Contact us to ask your own.
“I’ve been EDC’ing blades since the beginning and I have a decent collection, but they’re all relatively cheap brands like Gerber and Kershaw. I’ve noticed you only EDC pricey ones, so in your experience, do you believe expensive high-end knives are worth it?”-Nicky R.
New Mexico, USA
If a dedicated knife is essential as a part of your everyday carry and or if your profession / life depends on it, then it is most certainly a yes.
For the sake of this post, we’ll assume the knife is primarily for defense with ulility as a secondary use.
The knife is a very simple tool. Even ball bearing folding knives and out-the-front automatic knives.
A handle and a cutting edge – that’s all a knife is and it’s that simplicity that makes it so useful and effective for its intended purpose; handheld cutting.
But that’s also why knives can be made so cheaply and with extremely varying degrees of quality and craftsmanship – for the same type of knife.
While any tool should be reliable, a tool meant to protect you should be as close to infallible as possible.
Even well known brands such as Kershaw and Gerber uses the lowest cost materials (within reason) through cost-effective mass production processes. The result is affordable knives that will work “okay”.
“Okay” is not good enough when your life may depend on it. The right high-end knife may never fail you.
A cheap fixed knife is often less than half tang and has a poorly attached fragile handle. A high-end fixed knife will almost always be full tang and has handles that integrate to the blade perfectly.
A cheap folding knife has an unrefined pivot system and weak locking mechanism. A high-end folding knife will have a fluid pivot system and an unwavering locking mechanism.
A cheap automatic knife has coarse moving parts that has an unacceptable “firing” success / failure ratio. A high-end automatic knife has precise moving parts that has an acceptable rate.
In all instances, cheap to average knives use inferior hardware through low tolerance manufacturing and is hardly ever crafted by knowledgeable human hands.
Most high-end and all custom knives are handcrafted by professionals throughout the process. While more and more products are best manufactured by machines, the knife is still best made by man.
High-end knives can fetch some insane dollars but you generally get what you pay for. A very personal tool that can perform impeccably for years.
[Featured gear: Centauro Knife by Raidops, Troodon Knife by Microtech and Submariner Watch by Rolex.]
I went from having a drawer full of decent Gerber (lol) and no name brands and now down to a few Boris Blades and a Microtech. The difference is huuuuuge, like you said, you get what you pay for. High end knives for serious users.
A very sharp article (pun intended) 🙂