Red knives arranged into a heart shape

With lots of new products trickling in after their announcement at SHOT Show in January, February was a busy month here at the KnifeCenter. We’ve added hundreds of new items, but here are a few of the most anticipated and best new knives that hit our shelves this month.

LionSteel Thrill

LionSteel Thrill Knife held in hand

The new LionSteel Thrill is an integral slipjoint, which means that both the handle and the backspring are made from a single piece of metal. It’s a time consuming and expensive way to put together a knife, but the payoff is a product that is stronger, more rigid, and cleaner looking, since there’s no need for any fasteners to hold the handle together. 

The 3-inch M390 blade opens and closes with snappy, satisfying action, and a hardened steel backspring plate ensures it stays that way. In a nice nod to traditional slipjoint design, LionSteel also included their retractable clip, so you still get that seamless feel in hand without sacrificing the modern convenience of a pocket clip.

LionSteel Thrill Specs:

  • Blade Length: 3.15″ (80 mm)
  • Cutting Edge: 2.95″ (75 mm)
  • Closed Length: 3.94″ (100 mm)
  • Overall Length: 7.09″ (180 mm)
  • Blade Material: M390 Stainless Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 0.130″ (3.3 mm)
  • Blade Grind: Flat
  • Blade Finish: Satin
  • Handle Material: Solid 6Al4V titanium or aluminum
  • Handle Thickness: 0.55″ (14 mm)
  • Locking Mechanism: Slipjoint
  • Pocket Clip: HWAIL Hidden Clip System (Tip-Up, Right-Carry)
  • Weight: 3.10 oz. (88 g) for titanium or 2.33 oz. (66 g) for aluminum
  • Designer: Michele Pensato
  • Made in Italy

Kershaw Lucha

Kershaw Lucha Balisong held in hand

The new Kershaw Lucha aims to shake up the middle of the balisong market with its well-balanced – literally! – characteristics. Priced at $119.95, it lands squarely between the entry level flippers and the beginning of the high-end stuff. The materials are decent for the price: steel handles, ball bearing pivots, and 14C28N blade steel. Where the Lucha really stands out is in overall design and execution. It’s well-balanced, fluid, and put together exceptionally well. The Lucha is machined to tight tolerances in the same USA manufacturing facility that produces all the best Kershaws, and for the price we think it’s the new balisong to beat.

Kershaw Lucha Specs:

  • Blade Length: 4.6″ (11.7 cm)
  • Closed Length: 5.8″ (15 cm)
  • Overall Length: 10.25″ (26 cm)
  • Blade Material: Sandvik 14C28N Stainless Steel
  • Blade Style: Clip Point
  • Blade Finish: Stonewash
  • Handle Material: Bead Blasted Stainless Steel
  • Locking Mechanism: Latch
  • Pivot Assembly: Dual KVT Ball Bearings
  • Weight: 5.9 oz. (168 g)
  • Made in the USA

Cold Steel SRK-C

Cold Steel SRK-C held in hand

The new Cold Steel SRK-C (for “compact”) scales things back just enough to make a meaningful difference. It’s the same Cold Steel SRK you know and love, just smaller – shrinking from 6 inches of blade down to 5, and from 5mm blade stock down to 4mm blade stock. The reduction in stock thickness is perhaps more significant than the change to blade length, since it changes the cutting geometry quite a bit. The SK-5 carbon steel and flat saber grind mean it’s still plenty strong, but the thinner blade should perform better in slicing cuts. Overall, the SRK-C takes a proven tactical/survival knife design and optimizes it for less extreme tasks – we think it would make an excellent affordable belt knife or companion knife on your next camping trip. 

Cold Steel SRK-C Specs:

  • Blade Length: 5.0″
  • Blade Thickness: 4.0 mm
  • Overall Length: 9.50″
  • Steel: SK-5 Carbon Steel with Black Tuff-Ex Finish
  • Weight: 5.1 oz.
  • Handle: 4.50″ Long. Kray-Ex
  • Sheath: Secure-Ex
  • Made in Taiwan

ESEE Fixed Blades With Contoured Handles

ESEE-5 and ESEE-6 variants

We’ve already gone over the 2020 ESEE upgrades here in-depth on the blog, but we couldn’t leave them off this list. ESEE rolled out new 3D-machined contoured handles across their entire line of classic fixed blades, from the everyday carry friendly ESEE-3 up through the survival sized ESEE-6. Now, for just a few dollars more over the standard slab-sided handles, you can get Micarta or G10 scales that enhance the long-term comfort and grip of your ESEE knife. And what’s more, they still fit the same excellent ESEE sheaths! The blades themselves are unchanged, with one notable exception: the ESEE-3 is also available with a stainless S35VN blade. ESEE’s 1095 carbon steel blades have a bulletproof reputation for strength and reliability, so we’re excited to see what they can do with S35VN steel as well.


CIVIVI Chronic

CIVIVI Chronic knife held in hand

The new Civivi Chronic stands out from the rest of their catalog for its ultra-slim build. These long, lean, lightweight folders have been popular lately – known as “executive knives,” they can slip into slacks or even a shirt pocket comfortably, but we could see the Chronic working well for just about anyone. It’s available in a number of configurations, from colorful G10 versions with 9Cr18MoV blade steel, to classy ones with carbon fiber and Damascus. Civivi is making some of the best value folding knives on the market right now, and the Chronic is easy to recommend.

CIVIVI Chronic Specs:

  • Blade Length: 3.22″
  • Closed Length: 4.10″
  • Overall Length: 7.32″
  • Blade Material: 9Cr18MoV Stainless Steel or Stainless Damascus
  • Blade Thickness: 0.12″
  • Blade Grind: Hollow
  • Handle Material: G10 or G10/Carbon Fiber Laminate
  • Handle Thickness: 0.47″
  • Locking Mechanism: Liner
  • Pivot Assembly: Caged Steel Ball Bearing
  • Pocket Clip: Stainless Steel (Tip-Up, Right/Left Carry)
  • Weight: 2.50 oz.
  • Made in China

Zero Tolerance 0308

Zero Tolerance 0308 open on blue background

The ZT0308 landed at the KnifeCenter this month with a resounding THUMP. This beautiful brute of a knife reminds us of the original 03XX-series designs that cemented ZT’s reputation for overbuilt, American-made excellence in the first place. The 3.75” 20CV blade is thick, yet broad enough to offer plenty of shearing potential. The titanium/G10 handle features an all-over milled pattern inspired by the ZT0300; grippy yet not sharp enough to wear out your pockets. Unlike the ZT designs of yore, the new 0308 is manual, rather than assisted-opening. The KVT ball bearings and manual flipper crack the blade open with authority.

ZT0308 Specs:

  • Blade Length: 3.75″ (9.5 cm)
  • Closed Length: 5.2″ (13.2 cm)
  • Overall Length: 8.9″ (24.1 cm)
  • Blade Material: CPM-20CV Stainless Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 0.156″ (3.96 mm)
  • Blade Finish: Stonewash
  • Handle Material: Coyote Tan G10, Bead Blasted Titanium Lock Side
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Pivot Assembly: KVT Ball Bearing System
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up, Right/Left Carry
  • Weight: 6.9 oz. (195.6 g)
  • Made in the USA

Benchmade Presidio II

Benchmade Presidio II knife, open

At just $131.75, the new Presidio II is actually less expensive than the old Presidio II model. That alone would be worth celebrating, but thanks to CF-Elite plastic scales it’s also lighter, weighing in at just under 5 ounces. The S30V blade is 3.7 inches long, secured with Benchmade’s trusty AXIS lock. The Presidio line has always felt like the Griptilian’s tougher brother – the handle has a more aggressive guard to protect your fingers from the edge in a thrust, the full steel liners add some extra strength, and the spear point blade shape is more dagger-like. 

Benchmade Presidio II Specs:

  • Blade Length: 3.72″ (9.45 cm)
  • Blade Thickness: 0.124″ (3.15 mm)
  • Handle Thickness: 0.63″ (16.00 mm)
  • Overall Length: 8.72″ (22.15 cm)
  • Closed Length: 5.00″ (12.70 cm)
  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 4.97 oz. (140.90 g)
  • Pocket Clip: Deep Carry (Tip-Up, Right/Left Carry)
  • Lock Mechanism: AXIS Lock
  • Made in the USA

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