I have been a knife guy from way back and have been ingrained in the knife industry for many years. So, during SHOT Show 2023, I had to get around to the different knife companies and visit with old friends. While making my rounds, I made sure to note some of the best new knives coming for this year. To spare you any further droning on, I won’t drag this out any longer and will get right to the point. Pun intended.
The Best Knives from SHOT Show 2023
TOPS Knives El Pionero
The El Pionero is a design by Ed Calderon for TOPS Knives. Ed has worked in the fields of counter-narcotics, organized crime investigation, and public safety in the northern border region of Mexico for over a decade. Likewise, he has studied the indigenous Mexican criminal culture and is recognized as a preeminent researcher and trainer. For this reason, he has a very unique perspective when it comes to knives and other self-defense-related topics.
The design for the El Pionero comes from an old paring knife. With an overall length of 7.63 inches, the divot at the butt comes from something he learned from his mother. She would add this to her knives so she could use them without looking at them. This also helps for those looking to use the 3.38-inch 1095 high-carbon blade for something other than fruits and vegetables.
For more information, please visit TOPSKnives.com.
Spyderco Military Model C36GPE
The Spyderco Military Model 2 is a fresh take on the iconic original Military Model. The Military Model was designed by co-founder Sal Glesser as the perfect knife for forward-deployed personnel. The Model 2 takes the original design and adds significant design improvements.
Replacing the original liner lock, Spyderco has added its signature Compression Lock mechanism, providing greater strength and safety. Likewise, the 4-inch blade of the Model 2 utilizes premium CPM S30V stainless steel. In addition, where the original was only available in one carry position, the Model 2 is configurable for left- or right-side, tip-up, or tip-down carry.
For more information, please visit Spyderco.com.
CRKT Provoke EDC
CRKT has a reputation for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, and the Provoke exemplifies that. Originally released in 2019, the Provoke was designed by Joe Caswell with a karambit profile. The knife introduced the Kinematic technology to the knife world and proved to be one of CRKTs most innovative designs. Then, in 2022 the Provoke karambit was released in a compact model.
However, not everyone wanted a karambit but really liked the Kinematic technology. It has a very adult fidget spinner appeal. So, at SHOT Show this year, CRKT announced its new Provoke EDC. The EDC features a 2.56-inch drop point design constructed of D2 tool steel. Likewise, the new EDC sports a blue frame while maintaining all the features that made the original so cool.
For more information, please visit CRKT.com.
Ontario Knife Epoch Folder
Ontario Knife has a long history in the knife industry, but its new Epoch folder has a very modern appeal. The Epoch features a 2.4-inch modified sheepsfoot blade with an almost talon-like aesthetic. Constructed of D2 tool steel, the blade remains firmly in lockup via a stainless-steel framelock. Contrasting the dark tone stainless-steel frame on one side is an earthy green G-10 scale on the obverse.
The Epoch folder measures an overall length of 6.65 inches and is configured for right-hand, tip-up-only carry.
For more information, please visit OntarioKnife.com.
Spartan Blades Carnivore Personal Dining Set
Ok, maybe I was hungry when I was writing this, or maybe I just really like cool stuff—especially eating implements. Full disclosure, I also own the Spartan Blades carbon fiber chopsticks. And yes, I use them. They are great at camp. But I digress.
Designed in collaboration with V Nives, the Carnivore Personal Dining Set is a slick little pocket dining solution. Let’s face it, plastic utensils suck. They suck to eat with and suck for the environment. Both the knife and fork feature G-10 handles and unscrew to break down and fit in a pocket-size case, so you can avoid plastic utensils at restaurants, picnics, etc.
The fork is constructed of stainless steel, while the knife features VG-10 construction. Finally, the kit includes two small ceramic rods that attach to the back of the injection molded case to hone your blade.
For more information, please visit SpartanBladesUSA.com.
Spartan Blades Spartan-George Raider Dagger
Spartan Blades is owned and operated by retired Green Beret. So, the company has a reputation of hardcore cutlery for hardcore personnel. Not to mention its penchant for classic military designs, like the Spartan-George Raider Dagger. Designed by prolific knife maker Les George, the dagger pays homage to the legendary Marine Corps Raider Stiletto of WWII.
With an overall length of 12 inches, the Raider Dagger utilizes a full tang SK5 steel construction. Featuring a 7-inch blade, the dagger is designed to be hilt heavy, reducing the risk of dropping it. Durable injection molded handles provide the interface between flesh and the double-edge stiletto blade with a diamond-shaped cross-section. The raider ships with a black plastic injection molded sheath with nylon hanger.
For more information, please visit SpartanBladesUSA.com.
Case Knives Westline
Case Knives is a name that needs no introduction. The company has been around for over 130 years and has perhaps some of the most recognizable pocketknives around. However, as young new knife enthusiasts begin their venture into the knife world, the old-school slip joint is losing ground. For this reason, Case Knives has spent the past few years adding more modern designs to its catalog. The Westline is a great example of the move.
Available in black, red, blue, or silver, the Westline features hard anodized aluminum scales. The 3.4-inch modified drop point blade is constructed of premium S35VN steel for exceptional performance. A first for Case Knives is the spring-assisted opening, sending the blade into full lockup via a liner lock. Additionally, the pocket clip can be configured for right- or left-hand, tip-up-only carry.
For more information, please visit CaseKnives.com.
Templar Knives Excaliber
Ever since Michigan removed the ban on automatic knives, I have been all in. But I am more of an out-the-front kind of guy because they are easier to use one-handed. Fortunately, there is no shortage of OTF makers in the industry, and Templar Knives is making some incredible knives in this category. Specifically, the company introduced its Excalibur line at this year’s SHOT Show, and it is very cool.
The line includes four different models, so there is something for everyone. You can choose from the Money Clip, Small, Slim, or Large. Likewise, the line is available in drop point, dagger, tanto, or serrated blade options. Each knife is constructed of T-6061 aged aluminum and features a black oxide stonewashed powder D2 blade. The knives are built with no hardware to back out, providing easy disassembly/reassembly when cleaning.
For more information, please visit TemplarKnife.com.
Known throughout military and law enforcement communities, Benchmade has a reputation for hard-use, purpose-built knives. Likewise, the company has been making moves into the ultralight category as well, beginning with the Bugout. Now, the aptly named Narrows makes a move into the ultra-thin lightweight category.
Featuring a 3.44-inch blade constructed of Bohler M390, the Narrows measures a full 8.02 inches open. However, the incredibly thin titanium handle material keeps the Narrows at a very lightweight 2.41 ounces. But the milled handle still has twice the breaking force of the Bugout. Once open, the blade remains in lockup via the AXIS lock for rigid security. Additionally, the Narrows is configured for either right- or left-handed, tip-up-only carry.
For more information, please visit Benchmade.com.
Bear Edge Model 61125
Bear Edge is a subsidiary of Bear & Son Cutlery, started in 2016 to provide high-quality knives at an affordable price. Its latest design, the Model 61125, fits this bill with solid construction at a budget-friendly price. However, sleek lines help give this knife a nice curb appeal that would fit well in any attire.
The 61125 features a 3.75-inch bead-finished modified reverse tanto blade constructed of 440 stainless steel. Utilizing a flipper design, the blade rides to full lockup via ball-bearing washers for a smooth ride. Once open, it is held in lockup with a framelock design where it measures a full 7.5 inches. The stainless-steel handles include diamond texturing for additional grip.
For more information, please visit BearAndSonCutlery.com.
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