on February 10, 2010
First off, this knife has often been referred to as a "better version" of Kabar's "Dozier Folding Hunter". That is half-right I suppose - it is definitely BETTER But it is NOT a "VERSION" of the Folding Hunter, it is a completely different knife.
THAT knife, by the way, seems to be an excellent value, featuring AUS 8 steel at street prices of $25-$35 dollars delivered. But despite both knives being designed by Bob Dozier they are completely different knives. The only real similarity is that the blade is about the same length.
THAT knife is a lock back design, THIS one has a liner lock.
THAT knife uses Aus 8 steel (good stuff) but THIS one uses premium D2 tool steel!
THAT knife has a molded "Zytel" handle, THIS one's handle is an open framed design of hard anodized aluminum.
THAT knife has a drop point blade shape, this one has a hybrid blade, melding drop point & spear point styles.
THAT knife offers SUPERB VALUE, THIS one is a SUPERB KNIFE with the feel of a custom built model.
I have to say that the blade on this knife is one of the best pure cutters that I own; noticeably better than some. Maybe it is THE best cutter among my folding knives. Most of my others are flat grind or saber grind designs with an edge bevel of about 18 degrees. This one features a MILD hollow grind, with a 15 degree edge bevel. Blade length is 3", of which 2 3/4" is sharpened. The quality of the D2 steel is superb and holds its edge incredibly well. Holding that 15 degree edge bevel might not be doable with lesser steel.
If you have concerns about the hard-anodized ALUMINUM handles you will be interested in this: Shortly after buying this knife, I pulled it from my pocket and was dismayed to see that it had marks all over it. My initial thought was that the aluminum handles had been scratched up by my keys. But not so! The markings rubbed right of with my thumb. The keys were of a softer metal and had been eroding against the handles on this knife.
No one should be put off by the fact this is a liner lock design, either. People are more accustomed to lock-back designs and some have complained that this style of lock is harder to close than a lock-back. They are entitled to their opinion. But IF the cross-locks are harder to close, it isn't by much, and there is good reason for it. The cross locking mechanism is mechanically stronger. Period. Custom knife makers - Bob Dozier being one of them - often employ liner-lock or cross lock (same principle) designs, especially on their more expensive knives.
Apparently, this knife is becoming harder to find. When I bought mine, they were retailing at around $100.00 and I got a deal for around $60.00. This knife would have been a good deal paying the full price.
on January 5, 2009
This knife is available in the regular steel (AUS8) for around $20 or this model with D2 steel (a premium steel) for less than $50 though many are charging $60-$100 for it as I type.
I own the regular model and for the price I don't think it can be beaten. $20 for AUS8 steel and a quality made knife (these are imported, but it appears QC is good). This is not the *best* (however one judges that) folding knife, it is simply an outstanding value for what you get. It compares with knives like the classic Buck Hunter 110 which is twice the price.
The D2 steel version is a steal (like the pun? :) at $50 or less. As I said previously D2 is a premium grade knife steel. It holds a razor sharp edge for a long time before requiring a touch up. Many knives using premium steels like D2, SV30 and CPM 154 are upwards of $100.
One feature some won't like on the D2 steel version to lock the blade in place (or more accurately to release the blade from it's locked open position) is the liner lock. Having used other locking blade types the liner lock isn't the smoothest or easiest to work with, but with a little practice one handed opening and closing isn't difficult at all. Out of the box my knife did not lock open. Major problem, but easy fix. Open the knife, use screwdriver (flat point) to pry liner lock into position and then whack spine against wood to seat liner lock. Easy fix, but better QC would not require this (though it is a common issue regardless of manufacturer with liner locks).
If this knife were being compared against some other knives which have different locking mechanisms I would probably give it 4 stars, but when I am comparing within a price range I give all the Dozier designed Kabar folders an easy 5 stars. You just can't get the same value in another knife maker unless you get really lucky.
I am very happy with this knife.
1. Inexpensive for what you get
2. D2 steel
1. Liner lock may require adjustment (see above)
2. No belt clip if you want one.