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