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Old 03-24-2007, 12:21 PM   #1
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Looking for a Budget "Tactical" Folder

I'm looking for a knife of the "tactical folder" type, 3.5"-4" blade in the price range of $30-$50. I don't need and can't afford a $100+ folding knife. At the other end, I've had a number of the $3-$10 Chinese knock-off gunshow specials--some of these are actually amazingly good for the money but I want something a bit nicer. What brand names represent good value in the $30-$50 range? Surely there must be something. Going to a couple gunshows soon and I don't want to pay $30-$50 for something that's really worth $3-$10.

If nothing halfway usable is available in this range, I'll just buy a bunch of the real cheap ones and consider them disposable.
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Old 03-24-2007, 12:28 PM   #2
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Columbia River Knife and Tool makes some good ones in that range. So does Kershaw. The CRKT's tend to be a bit heavier and are very solidly constructed. The Kershaws tend to be lighter and more refined. A couple of years ago I would have said Gerber, but their QC has since become questionable in my mind.

All the best,


Joe
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Old 03-24-2007, 03:58 PM   #3
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I've got a CRKT M16-02 Tanto I've been carrying daily for at least four years. Aluminum scales, AUS-8 steel, sturdy, holds an edge well, and sharpens easily. It's a good tool. You should be able to find one, or something similar, at the high end of your price range.
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Old 03-24-2007, 05:32 PM   #4
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Another vote for CRKT. I have a Crawford Kasper that I've had for a couple years now and it's given me no complaints. A little less than $40 I think when I got it.
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Old 03-25-2007, 07:14 AM   #5
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By tactical, do you mean with blackened blade? While I'm not the biggest fan of it, EBay has a huge selection of knives at any one time. Go to the Collectibles section, then to knives and swords section, and hang on. Prices run from the ridiculous to the sublime.

CRKT, Cold Steel, older Gerbers, Spyderco, Kershaw, Boker, and others are routinely found there. Shopping the auctions can result in real discounts.

Most quality 3.5-4.0" folders are going to push the $50 point, to start with. A 4" folder gives you at least a 5" overall knife. That's headed rapidly into belt-mount territory.

I routinely handle knives at Gun Shows, to get a feel for them. Then I check them against prices at Smokey Mountain Knife Works, and Saveson Swords and Knives web sites. With the sales prices in hand, I look through the auctions. It's a soothing thing for me.

I'm an avid proponent of Spyderco SS-scaled knives. The Endura 4, C10 series has a 3 7/8" blade, and is just under 5" closed. Three types of edge, plain, part serrated, and spyderedge (fully serrated).
They have a removable clip, are made of excellent materials, and last forever. I have seen them for right on the $50 line.
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:02 PM   #6
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Hummm. A while back I saw some decent looking knives at Target. But I didn't inquire further.

Geoff
Who was looking for reasonably priced LED flashlites at the time.
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:43 AM   #7
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Here's one that's tough to beat. http://www.makosecurity.com/Merchant2/m ... de=_SPDRCO

I'm a big fan of Spyderco and I often carry either a Rescue or a D'Allara. The Endura is light weight and made with a VG-10 blade. I like VG-10 because it's every bit as good as S-30V without all the hype and cost. I consider the Endura and the D'Allara to be world class knives for an outstanding price. I personally chose the D'Allara because I wanted more of a survival knive than a tactical folder. The DíAllara makes a good tactical knife, but itís a touch bulky for daily carry (although Iím willing to put up with it). The Endura has less blade height, which makes for less bulk in the pocket.
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:50 AM   #8
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So far I still haven't found anything I really liked the size, shape, looks, and feel of in my desired price range. Everything's either way less, or way more.

At the last gun show, I saw a lot of S&W knives that were about the right size and looked good, but were priced at only about $12 or something, so I figgered, how good could they be? (If they'd have been priced at $30-45, I'd have probably bought one--is that weird or what?)
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Old 05-21-2007, 10:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Here's one that's tough to beat.
That's pretty [s]cheap[/s], inexpensive, for a Spyderco. It's a tough one getting just the right size.
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:58 PM   #10
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I know the price is just outside the range your looking for but I have been carrying this knife for a while now. I picked up one of the Kershaw leek series 1660st knives in stainless. MSRP for $70, I got mine for $59, you might be able to get them cheaper online. Blade is 3in, closed length is 4in, assisted opening with a built in belt clip. I haven't had to sharpen it yet so I don't know how that will work out but it has held it's factory edge nicely and was mad sharp right out of the box.


http://www.kershawknives.com/productdetails.php?id=60
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:21 PM   #11
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vf---

Kershaw has actually had to come out with a non-assisted opening version of some of their popular knives because there have been jurisdictions that have been considering and enforcing the laws as if the assisted opening mechanism is a "switchblade" or "automatic opening" knife. The new series has a larger stud on the back of the knife, and no spring assist. I have gotten a few of the ones I ordered at SHOT show in, but alot of what I ordered from Kershaw is still on Back Order. (it is the same with CRKT and Benchmade.... Ka-bar finally shipped me the last items off back order).
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:36 PM   #12
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Snake, I have a CRKT M16 knife. Actually, I have a couple. They use a "flipper" arrangement on the back of the blade that works really well in opening. Unlike the M16 rifle, mine has never failed to perform.

The larger variant is actually a big knife!! The latest version has the Auto-LAWKS system installed. I like the original variant myself, as it doesn't require two hands to close it.

Look at the Buck Stridor series, as well. They run well over your self-imposed limit, but are really impressive.

I have a friend down here who uses a S&W folder as a knock-about knife. He opens a lot of cardboard furniture boxes with it. It's not a bad knife for the price. It holds an edge against the abrasive cardboard, is relatively easy to re-sharpen, and can be adjusted to "flip" open. $20.00 range.
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:51 PM   #13
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For box opening I have Valor "Chinese" special SS Blade knives that RETAIL at $7.95! Heck, I carry one all the time...... If I break it or lose it I don't cry like I would if it were one of my Benchmade or Emerson's! I just go to the shelf and get another one out.
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegunner
vf---

Kershaw has actually had to come out with a non-assisted opening version of some of their popular knives because there have been jurisdictions that have been considering and enforcing the laws as if the assisted opening mechanism is a "switchblade" or "automatic opening" knife.
Huh, wouldn't have thought of that. I actually got mine from my local Snap-On dealer, they sell them with a laser engraved Snap-On logo. The blade is date coded as March of 2005 so it would most likely be manufactured pre-controversy on the latest attempts of banning anything sharp.
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:20 PM   #15
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Here is the thing about cheap folders, folders by definiton are already broken into at least two places. The weakest part is the pivot. Should you be using it and it closes on your hand, the hospital bill will be more than an Emerson or Strider.

CRKT makes a good knife as does Kershaw (IMHO they have the best customer service) in the industry.

When I buy gear I think about how much time am I going to carry/use it. If it is EDC gear I try to buy the best.
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Old 05-30-2007, 05:26 AM   #16
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I'm guessing that your "job" for the folder isn't going to be defending your life, or attempting to eke out existence is a survival scenario?

My friend's S&W has cut a LOT of cardboard boxes (he moves furniture for a Home Decorating Business next to a gated community). I see it every few weeks to be "touched up". While my Spyderco Standard holds an edge better, it also costs more.

I see the Spyderco Delica SS (the current iteration of the Standard) going for about $40 on EBay daily. A little larger is the Endura SS. The spyderco Delica has a 2 7/8" blade. The Endura has a 3 7/8" blade.

If I feel the need for a blade much over 3 1/2", I usually like a fixed-blade. They have no pivot point, or lock, to fail under hard use. This allows the maker to put more value into the steel and heat treating, for the same money.
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Old 09-26-2007, 12:56 AM   #17
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Are you looking for a "tactical" knife for defense or a large utility knife?

Head to the Cold Steel site and read up on "tactical folders" -- They pretty much conclude that a "tactical" knife used for defense should be a fixed blade -- for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because the pivot on a folder is subject to failure in serious knife combat.

(Cold Steel is pretty over the top on knife fighting -- I prefer a 12 gauge shotgun.)

For a large work knife, in your price range, look at gun shows for an Scrade "Old Timer" Model Cave Bear 70T or Buck folder in the leather belt pouch.

Check the Schrades! The older ones are made in the USA. The new Schrades are made in Japan. You should be able to find a US made Schrade at a gun show. Buck makes a similar knife, also Case.

[img]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p117/AccesOfEvil/CaveBear7OTcopy.jpg[/img]
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:15 AM   #18
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The new Schrades are made in China. I picked up an X-timer for my step-daughter Monday afternoon, at Smokey Mountain Knife Works, in Sevierville, Tn.

Prominently displayed on the box is Made in China. It cost $4.99. The largest draw was that it has PINK scales. It will be a display item. She carries a Kershaw Leek for routine cutting chores.
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Old 09-26-2007, 11:45 AM   #19
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OK, China . . . I knew it was over there somewhere. All I know is that Schrade USA celebrated its 100 years in business and then went bankrupt. I have numerous US Schrades in the collection, including a couple carbon steel blade folders "Stockman's Knife" -- two bladed.
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:56 PM   #20
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As mentioned, Schrade USA can still be found inexpensively at shows, or on-line. Another recently closed marque is Camillius Cutlery. They also had a long life, and excellent specimens are still easy to find.

The newest Cold Steel knives are also coming from China.
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