Although we ship worldwide and are thrilled to have great relationships with many fantastic brands and even better people from many countries, the KnifeCenter is proudly based in the USA with our offices located in the heart of central Virginia.
While we take the time to honor our country's birthday this July 4th, we are thankful for all of the support from our customers during these trying times. If our current situation has taught us nothing else, it has certainly made clear how important our US manufacturing base is to the well-being of our country as a whole.
With that in mind, we decided to take a look at some of our favorite American-made EDC pocket knives earlier this week. If you are committed to buying American, these awesome folders are a great place to start. You can hear my thoughts on them in the video below.
This last week was a good one for new knives, especially if you're looking for a compact knife with full-size quality. We just stocked all-new items from Spyderco, Civivi, Kizer, and a custom curio from Rexford Knives - read on to take a closer look at the best new knives to hit our shelves!
Meet the Mini Bullmastiff, a cleaver-style flipper from Civivi that somehow feels both small and large at the same time. By the typical measurements we tend to talk about, the Mini Bullmastiff is fairly small: 2.9” blade, 3.5 ounces. Numbers don't tell the whole story, though, because the broad, almost cartoonishly proportioned blade make this knife feel much bigger than it is. It's not a bad thing - it makes the knife feel capable, with a pugnacious personality that I suspect many customers will find irresistible.
The grind is keen, and the blade is made from 9Cr18MoV steel, which is comparable in composition to 440C - a solid choice for the price. With such a long, gradual transition from the spine to the edge, we expect the blade to be a slicing machine. The unique blade shape also contributes to an addicting action, and the liner lock is rock solid. Available in your choice of blue, black, or OD green G10 handles. I think Civivi has another hit on their hands with the Mini Bullmastiff - if you pick one up, let us know if you agree!
Designed by Alex Shunnarah, the man behind ARS (Attack Rescue Survive) Knives, and produced by Kizer Cutlery, the Flip Shank is a bite-sized brute with big attitude. The 1.9” S35VN blade maximizes edge length with a sweeping belly, and deploys quickly via the flipper or thumbstud.
Like the Civivi Mini Bullmastiff, the proportions of the Flip Shank are deceptive. The blade stock is beefy, and the handle affords a full-fisted grip thanks to a generous finger choil. If you have blade length restrictions in your area, or want a small knife that does not compromise on build quality and materials, the Flip Shank delivers the strength and performance you'd expect from a much larger blade. Multiple deployment options make it extremely fidget-friendly, too. Available with either black G10 or natural Micarta show-side scale.
The Rexford Knives RUT (Rexford Utility Tool) is back and better than ever. The original RUT spawned a sea of spin-offs from other brands, but none of them measure up to the original. Todd Rexford's machining skills are unparalleled, and the RUT - while simple - is simply perfect.
Manufactured in Rexford's USA-based shop, these latest V4 tools feature updates to the lock and anti-rattle refinements. The “maze” pattern you see here is exclusive to the KnifeCenter, which adds a measure of grip to the Titanium handles and an interesting look that we think will wear in beautifully as you carry it.
I can see this fitting in with just about any everyday carry setup, whether you carry it alongside a larger tactical knife, or as a dedicated cutting tool. It also makes an excellent travel knife: since utility blades can be found just about anywhere, just remove the blade for travel and replace it when you arrive at your destination. This minimalist multitool won't be around forever, though, so don't sleep on these if you want one!
Recently arrived and in stock now, the brand-new Canis is the latest tactical folder from Spyderco with a Wharncliffe blade and compression lock. The goal behind the design - by counter-terrorism and close-quarters combat expert Kelly McCann - was to create a knife with all the benefits of a Wharncliffe blade without any of the drawbacks. The result is the Canis, a knife with the unique cutting power of a perfectly straight edge, but without a thin, delicate tip.
The S30V blade on the Canis features a short, aggressive hollow grind which carries the full thickness of the blade stock all the way to the tip, along with a dramatic swedge to reduce cutting drag. The handle ergonomics are inviting, and feel “locked in” without relying on aggressive texturing or finger scallops that can cause fatigue. The compression lock is smooth, and more importantly, strong, and tuned for a drop-shut action straight out of the box.
In the left corner, the Cold Steel SR1 Lite takes everything that made the original SR1 such a beast and dials down the price with materials that get the job done without breaking the bank. Weighing in at 6.3 ounces, it features a 4” 8Cr13MoV steel blade that measures nearly 5mm thick. With a Tri-Ad lock backing things up, this is one seriously strong folder. Cost: $59.49.
In the right corner, the Spyderco Endela falls in line between the smaller Delica and the larger Endura and is sized to suit just about everyone. Retooled with an officially-licenced Emerson Wave-shaped opener and tough flat saber grind, the new Endela Wave also features VG-10 steel and an ambidextrous backlock for safe, strong lockup. Cost: $96.60.
Depending on who you ask, the quirks of each knife were either an advantage or a disadvantage. Commentor wasn't impressed with the size and strength of the Cold Steel, sarcastically writing that “…if I wanted my pants to fall down all the time when it's in my pocket… the Cold Steel wins.” On the other hand, the Wave feature on the Endela was polarizing, with @spiderfiend12 declaring “Out with the wave in with the Cold Steel. The Cold Steel won't attempt to break your pocket or cut you when you bring it out the pocket unlike the wave.”
In the left corner, the Civivi Exarch is a minimalist EDC design made with attention to detail. Coming in at 2.6 ounces with a 3.2” D2 blade, it's a perfect pocket companion thanks to its easy-to-use front flipper that stays out of the way whether the blade is open or closed. The blade itself is hollow ground and keen to cut. Made in China for $49.30, it's easily one of the best value executive knives on the market.
In the right corner, the Fox Knives Radius G10 takes the innovative Radius design and trims the price down with utilitarian materials that make it much more accessible. Coming in at 3.7 ounces with a 2.9” N690Co blade, the heart of the Radius is its unique button lock / thumbstud mechanism that allows you to open and close it with the push of a thumb, without ever putting your hand in the path of the blade. Made in Italy for $164.25, it's the most affordable version of the Radius yet.
Many of the commenters shared the same sentiment who wrote that “Design wise the Radius wins, budget wise the Exarch wins.” Budget is a powerful motivator - when a knife is both great AND inexpensive it's hard to argue with. And in the end, the voters agreed, with the Civivi Exarch securing 55% of the vote for the win.
In the right corner, the Condor Bush Slicer is designed to be the ultimate camp kitchen knife. Coming in with a 6.4” blade made from tough 1095 steel, the Bush Slicer combines the balance of a cleaver, the belly of a chef's knife, and the strength of a survival knife into one versatile tool. It even lifts hot pots (and opens bottles) with the notch cut into the spine of the blade! Made in El Salvador and priced at $110.48.
In the left corner, the Kershaw Camp 5 is a refined design fit for just about any outdoors adventure. Coming in with a 4.8” blade made from D2 steel, the Camp 5 has an intuitive, easy to control blade shape that slices well without sacrificing the durability you want in a fixed blade. We can see this knife working well for just about anyone who needs a high performance companion blade on a budget. Made in China and priced at $59.95.