Buck Parallex 2-Piece Set

This weekend our special comes from Buck Knives, a repackage of two of their Parallex models in a single convenient kit. If you’re looking for something on the rugged side with a super affordable price point, maybe for a gift, these two knives definitely fit the bill.

Aesthetically speaking these are functionally identical, with skeletonized handles that resemble the Gerber Paraframe, built from titanium coated stainless steel. Obviously the single biggest difference between the two is the size. The larger one has a 2.75″ blade and 4″ handle, while the smaller has a 2.25″ blade with 3.75″ handle. The other major difference is in the blade style. While both are hollow ground drop points, the larger knife features partial serrations, while the smaller just has a plain edge.

When it comes to the handling my personal preference is the larger model, which feels really ergonomic. The index finger indent and curved shape let it fill the hand really well, and there’s a pretty pronounced thumb ramp up at the top. All-in-all it’s a nice secure feeling in the hand. The smaller one doesn’t feel quite as confident in larger hands, but it’s still perfectly manageable. Their slim profile keeps the knives comfortable in the pocket, with the clips enabling a tight, tip-down carry.

Blade deployment on both is handled via the dual thumb studs. It’s not a swift action, and they’re a little difficult to flick out with the thumb, but it’s solid and easy nevertheless. The smaller knife has a slightly more responsive action, making it perfect for a quick middle finger open. The frame locks are a little difficult to disengage, but they at least keep the blades securely locked in place.

Overall, this Buck Parallex two pack offers some great functionality at a pretty unbeatable price, making these knives ideal candidates for a hard-use, utilitarian EDC. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

New Kizer Cutlery Vanguard Models

This week on Spotlight Series we’re going to be looking at the new Vanguard folding knives from Kizer Cutlery. The Vanguard line places emphasis on value, taking some of the best-liked Kizer designs and reproducing them with more affordable materials. The designs are identical and the fit & finish is every bit as nice as their more expensive counterparts, but the Vanguard line repurposes them for everyday carry with prices that you won’t feel bad about using, abusing, or god-forbid losing.

The smallest of our three models, and the only one without a flipper, is the V3 Vigor, the knife that sort of made Kizer’s name in the knife world. It’s a really nicely designed folder that doesn’t have any frills or extras, but excels at what it does do. The dual thumb studs provide great purchase and there’s a quick, confident action that makes deployment clean and simple. The blade is a three inch drop point with a hollow grind, reinforced tip, and a hint of a recurve for great slicing performance.

Despite having a smaller handle, the hand feel is quite nice. The shape has an indent for the index finger and nests comfortably in the palm for some secure, comfortable handling. The handles are smooth G10 scales over sturdy stainless steel liners. Rounding out the features are a lanyard hole large enough to accommodate 550 paracord and a reversible pocket clip, allowing for left or right side, tip-up carry.

Next up is the Kyre flipper, a collaboration between Kizer Cutlery and Czech custom knifemaking team TK Knives, who always strive to balance form with function. The Kyre is a large, vicious-looking knife with a remarkably sturdy build that feels just about perfect in the hand, in either a forward or reverse grip. The deployment action is lightning fast, whether you use the flipper or the large thumb slot. Really snappy and authoritative. The blade is 3.4″ in a drop point with brushed satin finish, and held in place with a sturdy liner lock.

The cool thing about the stainless steel liners on this model is that they’re actually inset into the G10 scales, letting the handle be both sturdy and slender and keeping this one unobtrusive in the pocket despite the large size. This pocket clip is also reversible for ambidextrous tip-up carry.

Our final knife, the Kane flipper, is the largest and heaviest of these three new models. This one is a design from custom knifemaker Matt Degnan, and with the streamlined blade shape and large bolster it really boasts that custom appearance. The handle is large and thick, so it fills the hand nicely and feels like a hard-use tool, despite the more elegant appearance. Liners and bolsters are stainless steel surrounding smooth G10 scales for maximum comfort.

The Kane only has the flipper, no thumb alternatives, but they got the flipper very right. It offers probably the smoothest, easiest deployment of the three, which is no small feat given the competition the others offer. Blade is 3.5″ in a hollow ground drop point, which is brushed satin like the others, and this model also features a liner lock and reversible, tip-up pocket clip.

While the Vanguard series may be offering the more affordable versions of these designs, they’re still manufactured to exacting standards using high quality materials. Each of the blades here is VG10, as opposed to a cheap steel, and yet Kizer has still managed to keep these in the affordable EDC price-range. Add in the fact that each is available with the G10 in either a black or OD green, and this line is offering a nice selection of quality models. To see all six new Vanguard knives, click here. To view our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

Combative Edge Legacy Balisongs


This week on Spotlight Series we’re checking out the Legacy line of USA-made balisongs from Combative Edge. This is a brand new line from Combative Edge and you can’t find these guys too many places, so we’re pretty excited to have them.

In contrast to something like a BRS, the Legacy balis aren’t tailored specifically for high energy flipping. This is the working man’s EDC bali-song, if such a thing can exist. The acid washed S90V stainless steel blades are 4.5″ long, designed for hard use cutting, and can be put through their paces while still retaining a sharp edge. The line features three different blade styles – a bowie, a tanto, and a spear point. The spear point is the coolest looking thanks to its two-tone styling, but the false second edge is sharp enough that you really don’t want to whap yourself with it. Cool as hell, but definitely not advisable for beginners.

Handles are rugged G10 scales over thick titanium liners granting a very sturdy hand feel. The texture of the G10, as well as the size and thickness of the handle make this really comfortable to hold and offer a pretty stellar grip. The lock-up is remarkably solid, more so than a lot of other balisongs I’ve handled, letting it feel secure and stable when you’re using it as a knife. The pivots enable a smooth, fluid movement for some nice opening and closing action. If you know what you’re doing with a bali you can have a lot of fun with one of these.

If you’re looking for a butterfly knife that puts the emphasis on knife and will stand up to hard use and abuse, you can’t go wrong with the Combative Edge Legacy line. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

SOG Micron Tanto Keychain Knife

This time on Steal of the Week we’ve got something a little special for you – emphasis on the “little.” We’re looking at the SOG Micron Tanto keychain knife, a rugged little sucker that’s just about as low-profile as it gets.

If you’ve been on the look-out for the perfect knife for your newborn, look no further as the Micron’s small size makes it a perfect baby’s first knife. In the closed position this knife just under 2″ long, so you could easily stash it in the small pocket of your jeans without any discomfort. Just don’t forget it’s there come laundry day. The Micron is outfitted with a large lanyard hole so you can attach a key-ring or small lanyard and clip the knife to your keys.

Blade deployment is handled using a fingernail nick, because there really isn’t room for much else. It’s a slip-joint lock, so reasonably secure when extended, and to close it down you just apply some pressure, and the blade will lock at the half-stop to make sure you have time to get your fingers out of the way. The blade is a 1.5″ tanto that is fairly sharp out of the box, enabling some solid slicing and stabbing performance.

Handling with knives like this always tends to be a little on the awkward side for me, but SOG has managed to mitigate that with some smart design work. The comfortable shape nests securely in the index and middle fingers, and the jimping on the spine of the blade gives your thumb ample purchase. The handle size also makes this a great knife for outfitting GI JOE with before you send him out into the field.

While the SOG Micron Tanto is not going to replace your pocket knife, it’s a fun gift and actually a functional back-up for those occasions when you can’t have your EDC on you. To learn more about this keychain knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

Spyderco Lil’ Lum & Pattada

This week on Spotlight Series we’re looking at a pair of new Spyderco folders that just came in. When put next to each other our two selections, the Lil’ Lum and the Pattada, could hardly be more different, but they both share Spyderco’s expert craftsmanship and elegant styling.

The late Bob Lum was a custom knifemaker whose specialty lied in adapting classic Asian blade styles into modern knives. One of his most popular collaborations with Spyderco was the Lum Chinese folder, based on the classic Shilin Cutter folding knife. This new model, the Lil’ Lum, brings back that design in a more pocket-size profile than its predecessors. The Lil’ Lum was manufactured in Seki Japan, boasting a VG-10 stainless steel blade and textured G10 handle scales over stainless steel liners. The pocket clip, also stainless steel, is reversible for left or right side tip-up carry.

Despite the diminutive size, the Lil’ Lum offers a really comfortable hand feel thanks to the extremely curved shape of the handle. There’s some nice chamfering along the top of the blade, letting you comfortably rest your thumb anywhere you want, which contributes to a nice overall sense of control. Blade deployment via the Spyderco round hole is as smooth as you’ve come to expect from the brand, but too stiff to flick open with any speed. The blade is 2.38″ inches long with a flat grind and a cutting edge a little under two and a quarter inches. The leaf shape gives you a good bit of belly for some nice cutting power.

Our second knife is an all-new Italian-made model, from Spyderco’s series of knives inspired by popular international styles. This knife, the Pattada, is based on the traditional folding knife of Sardinia, the largest island in the Mediterranean. The long, slender design and distinctive blade shape recall the regional styling while putting a Spyderco twist on it. The G10 handle scales have been 3D machined for a smooth, slick finish. The handle is built over stainless steel liners, and the gentle curve and indent near the back make this extremely comfortable in either a forward or reverse grip. With a 4.77″ length, this is a perfect handle for folks with larger hands.

Action on this one is much snappier than the Lil’ Lum, making it great for a quick middle finger deployment. Blade is manufactured from N690Co stainless steel, coming in just a hair under 4″ and sporting a full flat grind. Like the Lum, this blade is locked in place with a stainless steel liner lock.

Living on opposite ends of the spectrum, these two knives ably demonstrate the wide range of products Spyderco is putting out, and both would be a welcome addition to any knife collection. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

CRKT K.I.S.S.


This weekend our special is the classic K.I.S.S. folding knife by Columbia River Knife & Tool. We all know what the acronym K.I.S.S. usually stands for, but in this case it’s the similar but softer “Keep It Super Simple,” which was the guiding principal behind this stripped down design by the late Ed Halligan.

The K.I.S.S. debuted in 1998 and won the Blade Magazine Imported Knife of the Year award for its groundbreaking construction. The elegant design is literally just two pieces of bead-blasted stainless steel that fit together perfectly to make just about the simplest folding knife possible. In the closed position the blade is sealed against the handle, so despite the knife missing that presentation handle scale there’s no danger of cutting yourself on this model.

Blade deployment is handled using the thumb stud and it’s a surprisingly smooth action. To look at the knife you’d expect a one-handed opening to be on the awkward side, but it’s actually very satisfying. The only downside is that this one is not particularly friendly to lefties. The blade is 2.25″ long in a tanto-inspired shape with a chisel grind on the front and flat on the back, which is what grants you that “seal.” The fit and finish is really nice, with the framelock snapping beautifully into place and keeping the blade securely locked out.

The ultra slim design makes it equally comfortable to clip the knife to the pocket or let it float free. One of the other cool features is that the clip can pull double-duty as a money clip. Finally, the lanyard hole at the butt of the handle can obviously enable the use of a lanyard or let you turn this into a keychain knife.

All-in-all the oft-imitated but never equaled CRKT K.I.S.S. lives up to its name and is an excellent option for a low-profile knife with some extra functionality and a sleek appearance. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

Kershaw Oso Sweet

This time on Steal of the Week we’ve got a Kershaw knife that is frequently called oh so sweet… Because that is actually its name. That’s right, we’re taking a look at the Oso Sweet – a compact, lightweight flipper that offers up an elegant alternative for a basic everyday carry.

Handles are glass-reinforced nylon with… Wait, how did this orange one get in here? Hang on. Okay, handles are glass-reinforced nylon with a “scale” pattern that adds to the knife’s unique aesthetic and provides a pretty solid no-slip grip. The GRN and thin stainless steel liners are what make this such a lightweight model, which is great for limiting hand fatigue and preventing the carry from getting to obtrusive. To that end, the pocket clip lets the knife set nicely in the pocket, making for a comfortable, secure ride. The clip is reversible for right-hand carry only, letting you switch it from tip-down to tip-up.

Handle shape is pretty standard for Kershaw, with a slight hump on the back and a pronounced index finger indent making for some nice ergonomics. You do feel the liner lock a bit on your index finger, but it’s not too noticeable. Typically I find the pocket clip to be something of a hotspot on knives like these, but the unique shape of this one flows really nicely with the palm.

Blade is deployed of course via the flipper, and the Speedsafe assisted mechanism makes for a swift and snappy action that feels really solid. You’re looking at 3.1″ in a nice slender drop point, with a hollow grind and a satin finish. The aforementioned liner lock keeps everything firmly in place when the blade is deployed.

As a no-frills, EDC-style blade the Kershaw Oso Sweet really fills the bill, especially if you’re looking for something with a little bit of unique styling to it. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

TUO Cutlery Black & White Series

This week on Spotlight Series we’re doing something a little different and taking a look at a new line of kitchen knives by TUO Cutlery, from the folks that make Kizer Cutlery. TUO is an acronym for “Technology, Utility, and Originality,” and it’s these attributes that inspire their elegant, ergonomic Black and White series.

To go for the low-hanging fruit first, the series is called Black and White for the variety of handle styles available. You can get these knives in either black or white, and both colors have two distinct flavors. Each color has a matte or mirror finish option, so there are four different handle styles to choose from. Aside from the handle finish, materials and construction are identical across all versions of the knives.

The handles are manufactured from a smooth resin that feels really nice in the hand. The unusual handle shape is reminiscent of the Chroma Cutlery F.A. Porsche knives, and offers a similarly ergonomic user experience. Besides being extremely comfortable, the shape makes it really easy to manipulate these knives and turn them around in your hand, granting you a lot of dexterity with your preparation.

Blades are all full-tang, and various sizes depending on the knife’s intended purpose. The line offers the standard range, featuring a 3.5″ paring knife, a 5″ utility knife, a six inch Santoku, an 8″ chef’s knife, an 8″ bread knife, and a 12″ slicing knife, each available separately. All have been drop forged from 440 stainless steel and feature a 15 degree cutting angle to retain their sharp edge.

The sleek styling, ergonomic handling, and wide variety of options all combine to make the Black and White line an enticing run of kitchen knives from TUO Cutlery. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

CRKT Wasp

This weekend our special is a little blast from the past – the Wasp folder from Columbia River Knife & Tool. The Wasp is a production adaptation of knifemaker Howard Viele’s classic Vasp, and as an entry-level knife represents a comfortable mix of easy functionality and elegant artistry.

Wasp is an accurate name for this one given the rather unique shape of the handle, which resembles the abdomen of the fierce insect. The handle is comprised of a pair of thick stainless steel liners, over which sit some pretty groovy blue and black G10 scales. This gives the knife a distinct aesthetic, without having to sacrifice on ergonomics. There’s a good hand feel to this model, with the shape flowing well with the palm and fingers, and there’s a subtle index finger indent and thumb ramp, granting fine control.

The blade is deployed using the removable thumb-stud, which has a rubber tip for extra purchase. The positioning of the stud makes it a little difficult to reliably flick the blade out quickly, but it offers a very smooth slower deployment. The blade is a 3″ drop point with a hollow grind, easily identifiable as a Viele by the three holes along the top edge. Both the blade and the stainless steel liners have a clean bead blast finish, which I always enjoy. The blade is held in place by a liner lock, and when it’s closed down you’ll note that there’s actually pretty nice centering on this model.

The final feature worth mentioning here is the pocket clip, which is ultra slender and low profile. It’s a really comfortable carry, the only thing I’m not super fond of is how much the knife sticks out above the pocket line – though that does make it really easy to draw quickly.

All-in-all, the Wasp is a really nice collaboration between Viele and CRKT, and the current pricing makes it a dynamite EDC for people who want something with a little classic flair. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

SWIZA Swiss Pocket Knife Multi-Tools

This week on Spotlight Series we’re taking a look at a new line of Swiss Knives from SWIZA. SWIZA is a Swiss company that has been manufacturing watches and luggage for over one hundred years, but this is the first time they’ve dipped a toe into the knife market. For being their first time out this is a really solid knife, representing one of the first radical reinventions of the Swiss-style Knife in some time.

What most differentiates this from something like say a Victorinox is the handle. It’s got a subtle, ergonomic curve and soft-grip rubber handle scales that make for a really comfortable hold when you’re using the knife. The knife is really easy to draw using the thumb hole, and it’s very nearly 3″ long, so this is all in all a nice blade for your everyday cutting tasks. The other cool feature with regard to the knife is that it’s actually got a liner lock to keep it in place, which you deactivate by pressing in on the Swiss Cross.

There are four different versions of this model available, each with a different tool-set. As a base, all four of them include the knife, as well as an awl or punch, and a pair of stainless steel tweezers. You can get this base model with your choice of corkscrew or Philips head screwdriver on the back. The next one up throws in a can opener and bottle opener, and again you can choose whether you want one with a corkscrew or screwdriver. The tools have a hole rather than the fingernail nick, making it easy to draw them without hurting your fingers.

Each one of these different tool configurations is available in red, white, blue, or black, so there are sixteen distinct options available. With this level of customization and a really solid feature set, the SWIZA Swiss Knives are great multi-tools, and SWIZA is definitely going to be a brand to watch in the future. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com