LionSteel KUR Flipper

This week on Spotlight Series we’re taking a look at LionSteel’s new KUR line of flippers. This Michele Pensato design has awesome ergonomics, a sleek appearance, and even manages to offer up a surprise or two.

Looking at the knife, the design is very similar to last year’s TRE flipper series. The KUR is quite a bit larger, with an overall length of 8.27″ as opposed to the TRE’s 6.89″. The KUR’s beefy frame makes it feel very substantial in the hand, and the overall shape of the handle lends it outstanding ergonomics. The index finger milling on the presentation scale is an especially nice touch. There’s also some pretty rugged jimping up on top that lets you really lock your thumb in.

Deployment is managed using the flipper, and the IKBS ball-bearing system gives it a pleasantly snappy action. The flipper isn’t ultra responsive, so you need to press down with some authority to get the action you want. It’s definitely satisfying, and leaves little danger of accidental deployment. The blade is a drop point manufactured from Sleipner stainless steel, coming in at 3.43″. LionSteel is always good about making their liner locks nice and sturdy, and the KUR is certainly no exception.

For the aesthetically-minded among us, there are a lot of great style options to choose from in this line. Most of the models feature a stonewash blade finish, but there are two that have a tactical black stonewash finish, available with either black or brown G10 handles. The stonewash blade finishes come with black, orange, or OD green G10 scales, as well as two aluminum handle variations. The first is a basic black, and the second also appears to be black at first blush. But what you’re looking at is metamorphosis aluminum, which features a special heat-sensitive coating. Under normal room temperatures it’s a black handle, but once it hits over 73 degrees Fahrenheit it starts to change to a bright camouflage pattern. I’m not sure if there are any practical applications to this, but it’s an undeniably cool feature and the first of its kind.

All-in-all, the KUR series was manufactured with LionSteel’s unparalleled Italian craftsmanship, and they’ve augmented an already great design by offering up a staggering amount of variety, including an innovative new handle technology. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

Kershaw Thistle

This weekend our special is the Kershaw Thistle, a robust EDC folder with a twist. This knife is highly affordable, highly ergonomic, and highly creative, so let’s see what it is that makes it so different.

Contrary to what your suspicions may be, the button is not for automatic deployment. This is strictly a manual opener, with the dual thumb studs providing an easy, responsive deployment using either the thumb or middle finger. It’s not a mindblowing action but it’s satisfying and quick. With the blade extended our big weird button now comes into play.

The blade is held in place with a liner lock, but you don’t deactivate it in the typical way. If you look in the handle here, a press of the button disengages the liner lock for you and lets the blade close down. This will take a little getting used to, I know the first few times I went to close the knife I instinctively reached over for the liner lock and was momentarily confused. You’ll also want to note that once you move the blade a little you can let go of the button. If you try to hold it continuously the other liner will actually block the blade and you won’t be able to close it down. It’s a different system, but once you wrap your head around it it’s pretty intuitive.

Beyond the exciting button situation, the Thistle is a really solid all-around knife. The handle is Zytel with the Kershaw K textured over it to enhance grip. It’s got an ergonomic shape that feels just about perfect in the hand and provides you with great leverage and a nice cutting angle. Pair that with the monster belly on the 3.25″ drop point blade and the Thistle delivers some terrific slicing performance. Another nice thing about this knife is that if you can get used to the push-button lock the whole package is very lefty friendly, thanks to the aforementioned dual thumb studs and a reversible, tip-up pocket clip.

All-in-all, the Kershaw Thistle is about as affordable as EDCs can get without sacrificing on functionality and performance, and the unique locking mechanism is just icing on the cake. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

Cold Steel Ti-Lite

This weekend our special is another unique product from the outside-the-box thinkers over at Cold Steel knives. Designed to evoke the classic switchblades of the 1950s, the Ti-Lite quickly became a Cold Steel favorite, but was unattainable to many due to its higher price point. Cold Steel rectified that situation with the 26SP, a smaller, affordable variation of the design.

The thing I love the most about this knife is how much versatility you have when it comes to how you choose to open it. The most obvious is the thumb stud, which grants you a super swift, snappy action. That’s probably going to be the preferred method for most users. The secondary action is to snag the backside of the double finger guard on your pants during a pocket draw for a quick wave-style opening.

If you want to get really crazy, you can also use the finger guard with your thumb like a front flipper, or snag the jimping on the finger side of the guard and use it like a regular flipper. This staggering variety of deployment methods make the Ti-Lite a lot of fun to open. The one detractor I can see on this model is the liner lock, which is a little difficult to disengage due to its stiff lock-up and smooth finish, but that’s preferable to the alternative of a loose, unsafe lock.

Handling is pretty comfortable, considering the straight shape of the handle. It’s a good size and a nice width, so it feels substantial in the hand, and grants you some excellent dexterity in either your forward or reverse grips. Handle scales are a glass-reinforced Zy-Ex, which is durable and impact resistant and its use was one of the ways Cold Steel was able to get these to their affordable price point. The scales are built over some sturdy stainless steel liners, so this is an all-around solid knife, with a nice 4″ spear point blade that comes razor sharp out of the box.

Overall, the Cold Steel Ti-Lite is a fun, functional folder that makes a great alternative for folks who would love to have a switchblade but also need a knife that’s not illegal to carry. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

KnifeCenter Exclusive Benchmade Nakamura

This week on Spotlight Series we have a very special KnifeCenter exclusive that we’re super excited to be able to bring to you. When it comes to Benchmade gentlemen’s folders the Nakamura is one of the very best, and the elegant knife just got even more sophisticated with the addition of gorgeous wooden handle scales.

As far as its overall size and shape, this version is the same as the other varieties of Nakamura that have come before. But as far as I’m concerned, the wooden handle scales really take the aesthetics to another level, with the darker finish on the wood nicely offsetting the lighter stonewash finish of the blade. The cherry on top is the slick orange pivot accent, which matches the barrel spacers, making this an all-around eye-popping piece.

Fortunately this knife is much more than just eye candy. The deployment action is just as smooth and responsive as is typical for Benchmade, with the ambidextrous thumb studs making for some snappy action using either the thumb or middle finger. Blade is a 3.08″ in a drop point shape, manufactured from M390 stainless steel. The M390 is going to be good for edge retention and corrosion resistance, so you’re going to get some solid use out of this knife. Blade is held in place with Benchmade’s trademark AXIS lock, which also gives you another method to snap the blade out quickly.

Handle is the same shape as previous Nakamura models, but the smooth, contoured wood gives it pretty much an all-new hand feel. The already ergonomic shape feels really comfortable to hold, and the four finger indents give you that sense of control you want. Add in a reversible, tip-up pocket clip and this is a great all-around package.

Overall, Benchmade is without question one of the best in the business, the Nakamura is a terrific design, and this wooden variation may be the most elegant version yet. To learn more about this exclusive, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit KnifeCenter.com

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