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Thread: Your opinion on Emerson knives?

  1. #21
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    I love them; you'll have to buy one and see if it's right for you. In hand and in use--that's the only way you'll know if you like them or not.

  2. #22
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    I had an Emerson CQC-7 and a Benchmade CQC-7.

    The Benchmade was by far the superior piece. Wish I had it back.

    If you want a CQC-7, see if you can find an old Benchmade 970 or 975.

    That's my advice.
    When a robot can make a knife as good or better than Kit, No I don't want the knife. I want the robot. -db

  3. #23
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    I have owned about five of them. They deserve a place in the market, and they have plenty of admirers. But, as a class of folders , they have little in common with Benchmade, Spyderco, or ZT. And, I really have no use for chisel-ground blades.

  4. #24
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    I had a cqc7 spear point for a while, good design but didn't like the grind nor quality. ZT makes a few licensed Emersons, if I did it again I would go that route. Just my experiance

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Velitrius View Post
    I had an Emerson CQC-7 and a Benchmade CQC-7.

    The Benchmade was by far the superior piece. Wish I had it back.

    If you want a CQC-7, see if you can find an old Benchmade 970 or 975.

    That's my advice.
    I'd have to disagree with you on this - the construction of the 970/975 was not as good as Emerson's construction of the CQC 7. The 970/975 series knives had a single screw running through one untapped liner on the presentation side into the tapped liner on the lock side. Because of this, not only was the locking mechanism more sensitive to changes in tightness of the handle & clip screws, but the threads of both the screws and the locking liner were more prone to stripping. I say this as someone who has collected several 970/975 models in the past and at one point owned eight of them, including prototypes and the titanium blade version. I have also owned three Emerson CQC-7s produced in 1999.

    I think there is a caveat for Emerson's often discussed excellent ergonomics. In my view Emerson excels at creating designs whose ergonomics are incredible at certain hand sizes and preferred grip positions. Because of the multitude of Emerson designs it is almost guaranteed that there is an Emerson design that will fit your hand like a glove and be extremely comfortable in use. However, not all handle designs will be as compatible with everyone, and it seems that other manufacturers prefer a more 'one shape fits all' approach, which also has clear benefits.

    As far as fit and finish are concerned - I think the quality of the blades is excellent and the quality of the handle, lock and pivot washers below average.
    Last edited by CornSyrup; 03-10-2017 at 10:54 PM.

  6. #26
    Where I stand on Emerson is that they capture the spirit of a certain time: the mid- to late-'90s

    As far as I know, Emerson was the first to bring together titanium liner locks, G10 scales, Teflon washers, ATS-34 steel, one-handed thumb disk opening, spring steel pocket clip, and "American tanto" blade +/- chisel grind. In a way, Emerson built the template for the modern "tactical folder" that lasted some 10-15 years ... when titanium frame-locks and flipper tabs took over.

    So, I think an Emerson is worth owning just as a Chris Reeve is worth owning: it's the archetype of a certain kinf of knife. Problem is, their designs and materials haven't changed with the times. Fit and finish is still very much '90s production knife standards. However, his prices have risen. If they cost $60 you'd say it's a great knife for the money, but for $200? I'm not so sure.

  7. #27
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    It took me a long time to come around to Emerson knives (many years). He makes a lot of great designs and a lot of good ones have a V-grind, which I prefer.
    Give one a try, you'll never know until you do.
    Best of luck.
    Si vis pacem para bellum

  8. #28
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    I have a Mini-CQC7, and I like it, even though it's a tanto blade with partial serrations, two things that usually send me looking somewhere else.

    There is little I can say that has not already been said, both positive and, not so positive.

    The specifications sheet for an Emerson is nothing special. Mostly 154CM, G10, Titanium, linerlock... ho hum.

    I felt this way for a long time, until I got the chance to handle one. It took me a while to figure out that what makes them different is they are more than the sum of their parts.

    Appeal is subjective, especially here, where a buying decision can come down to very specific details. If the OP is asking with intent to purchase, I would say that an Emerson is a good choice. If you find that you don't like it, NIB ones sell for 75%-80% of MSRP, so you're not out much money.

  9. #29
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    My best advice is know your purpose and the purpose of the makers knives. If they match, get one. If not, move on to something else.

    I like Emerson knives for what they intended. I'm also a big Ernie fan just for being a solid dude and a maker that appreciates his customers/vendors/etc. Ernie makes knives for a specific function....fighting, durability and efficiency. Some of the best ergos on folding knives. If you are getting one to win a beauty context (fit/finish), you aren't going to win. That being said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find most Emerson designs to have fantastic lines. If finish is a major factor in your checklist, I'd recommend skipping. If you want a hardcore protection/self defense blade, get one. They do take break-in to get butter smooth. They aren't lightweight carry EDCs, they aren't bushcrafting folders.. they are defensive knives, but can also open boxes and cut off wrist bands. If that is what you want, I think you will be happy. But just like any knife, don't set you expectations to such a high level that even perfection won't fill the void. This can be said for any knife. Understand what you are buying and think if it will fit into your lifestyle.

    My advice, get one and decide for yourself. Best of luck brother!
    Hobby Knifemaker

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/NcFrqxsBpbMifBIzFxRoIMoDTTZOakXVUYtT0xnat7E=w197-h196-p-no

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornSyrup View Post
    I'd have to disagree with you on this - the construction of the 970/975 was not as good as Emerson's construction of the CQC 7. The 970/975 series knives had a single screw running through one untapped liner on the presentation side into the tapped liner on the lock side. Because of this, not only was the locking mechanism more sensitive to changes in tightness of the handle & clip screws, but the threads of both the screws and the locking liner were more prone to stripping. I say this as someone who has collected several 970/975 models in the past and at one point owned eight of them, including prototypes and the titanium blade version. I have also owned three Emerson CQC-7s produced in 1999.
    Your experience is yours, and mine is mine. Hence your opinion is yours and mine is mine.

    You certainly have a larger data set of pieces to form your experience, but it does not nullify mine.

    Different strokes and such.... you set those two knives in front of me and I'll buy the Benchmade version every time.
    When a robot can make a knife as good or better than Kit, No I don't want the knife. I want the robot. -db

  11. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Velitrius View Post
    Your experience is yours, and mine is mine. Hence your opinion is yours and mine is mine.

    You certainly have a larger data set of pieces to form your experience, but it does not nullify mine.

    Different strokes and such.... you set those two knives in front of me and I'll buy the Benchmade version every time.
    Well I would like to hear details about your experience if you don't mind sharing them about the higher quality of the Benchmade, maybe there's something I overlooked.

  12. #32
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    I believe there's two types of high end knife owners, not including the collectors. There's the guy who expects perfection because he spent his "hard earned money" on a $200+ knife and expects perfection and gripes when liners and scales don't line up exactly and had a small smudge on the blade or lockup isn't to his exact liking. Then there's the guy who will use it as a tool- which it was built to be. These are the guys who buy the Emerson and don't expect custom build perfection because they know it's gonna get used, and don't bitch about the price for their "hard earned money". We all work hard for our money, but when you have to point that out as an excuse to bitch about a knifes fit and finish, you sound like a snowflake griping about the election results. Buy an Emerson or don't, but the guys who own them and use them how they should be are some the toughest and hardest working in the USA. And the true Emerson users rarely complain about fit and finish, of all the Emerson forums I'm on.


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  13. #33
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    Love my emersons, great working knives. The cqc7 is my favourite.

    They have a great warranty so I wouldn't worry about getting a bad one.

  14. #34
    Honestly, my answer for you will be a bit complex. I only have one, a partially serrated Horseman. On one hand, it is probably my favorite knife I own. The design is perfect. The ergonomics are great, it carries well, cuts well, and looks awesome. The chisel grind works great, and the wave is also very cool. Finally, they seem like a stand up family and company. All these reasons have made my experience with this particular knife all the more painful :P After using the knife for standard EDC tasks for a few months, some pretty noticeable vertical blade play was present. I figured it could've happened to anyone, so I sent the knife in, paid the service charge, got it back a few weeks later and it was solid. But then, a few more months of regular carry resulted in the same problem. This time I called them, and sent it in again. They waived the processing fee, and everyone was very nice and helpful over the phone. However, after a few weeks, I got the knife back and the issue was not even fixed at all upon arrival back. Gripping the blade between my fingers and wiggling it up and down produced a clicking noise and some very noticeable movement. I once again called them, and sent it back a third time. Weeks and months passed by, and they even said Mr. Emerson was taking a look at it. Which I was very excited about! Anyways, I received the knife about 5 months after I sent it in the third time. The issue seems resolved, but if I really pull on the tip I can still feel some rocking up and down. But it's less noticeable than I have in my PM2, and if it doesn't get worse I'll be happy. But only time will tell, I do not know if I will be willing to send it in for a fourth time. It is a fantastic knife, but I do not think that problem is excusable at any price point, especially not recurring in that way. Sorry for the wordy post, but in short, I love Emerson knives. I think they're fantastic, and I hope to try more. But I am leery. I would not feel comfortable recommending them without the back story.

  15. #35
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    Well put
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk45 View Post
    My best advice is know your purpose and the purpose of the makers knives. If they match, get one. If not, move on to something else.

    I like Emerson knives for what they intended. I'm also a big Ernie fan just for being a solid dude and a maker that appreciates his customers/vendors/etc. Ernie makes knives for a specific function....fighting, durability and efficiency. Some of the best ergos on folding knives. If you are getting one to win a beauty context (fit/finish), you aren't going to win. That being said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find most Emerson designs to have fantastic lines. If finish is a major factor in your checklist, I'd recommend skipping. If you want a hardcore protection/self defense blade, get one. They do take break-in to get butter smooth. They aren't lightweight carry EDCs, they aren't bushcrafting folders.. they are defensive knives, but can also open boxes and cut off wrist bands. If that is what you want, I think you will be happy. But just like any knife, don't set you expectations to such a high level that even perfection won't fill the void. This can be said for any knife. Understand what you are buying and think if it will fit into your lifestyle.

    My advice, get one and decide for yourself. Best of luck brother!

  16. #36
    The only problem with that, Hawk45, is that Emersons are NOT built any differently from any other titanium liner, G10, 154CM knife. The kind you can buy all day every day for $50.

    When you get into the $200 price bracket, you're up against lots of knives that are better built, made of better materials, and have better fit & finish.

    So, I don't buy the whole "fit & finish is for pansies ... these knives are built for real men" argument. It's not like sloppy tolerances somehow make a knife "tougher." A knife can be both tough and well built; you don't have to choose one or the other.

    I like Emersons, mostly because I like the designs and respect the innovations he made 20 years ago. I own a few. They have a special place in tactical knife history. As for the price...we're all crazy by the standards of normal people. Emersons cost 1/2 to 1/3 of folders I do carry everyday, so I don't find them extravagantly priced. Just not great value for money in 2017. How about some S35VN, Elmax, micarta, titanium bolsters, or something?

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emre View Post
    The only problem with that, Hawk45, is that Emersons are NOT built any differently from any other titanium liner, G10, 154CM knife. The kind you can buy all day every day for $50.

    When you get into the $200 price bracket, you're up against lots of knives that are better built, made of better materials, and have better fit & finish.

    So, I don't buy the whole "fit & finish is for pansies ... these knives are built for real men" argument. It's not like sloppy tolerances somehow make a knife "tougher." A knife can be both tough and well built; you don't have to choose one or the other.

    I like Emersons, mostly because I like the designs and respect the innovations he made 20 years ago. I own a few. They have a special place in tactical knife history. As for the price...we're all crazy by the standards of normal people. Emersons cost 1/2 to 1/3 of folders I do carry everyday, so I don't find them extravagantly priced. Just not great value for money in 2017. How about some S35VN, Elmax, micarta, titanium bolsters, or something?
    I think you are adding words to my post brother. Take it at face value which is how it's intended. But hey, you are entitled to your own opinion, and I offered mine. Have a great weekend.
    Hobby Knifemaker

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  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emre View Post
    So, I don't buy the whole "fit & finish is for pansies ... these knives are built for real men" argument. It's not like sloppy tolerances somehow make a knife "tougher." A knife can be both tough and well built; you don't have to choose one or the other.
    +1 to this. It's almost as if the Emerson fan club thinks poor fit and finish are the hallmarks of a superior tacticool tool somehow, as if the all-titanium handled, bearing pivot flipping ZT you could get for the same price range is somehow weaker for not looking like it was assembled by the developmentally disabled in a dark room using twenty years ago's materials.

  19. #39
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    IMO Emerson knife are great for

    -Design : I found Emerson make a great looking knife. Even though they might look quite similar but the overall shape of the knife, handle, blade are all well thought especially for their standard model.

    -Ergonomic : nothing to say much Emerson knife is the best among what I have ever handled.

    -Locking mechanic: I have done testing many folder to the point abusive and you wouldn't believe how many high-end knife get lock failed easily under hard-use (especially the one with steel insert lock bar) due to the false design of the lock bar face angle. Some high-end folder fail just by some light spine wrack.

    I have baton a Roadhouse thru a thick steel pipe with a hammer just to see if it will hold up and Emerson took beating to the point very impressive. The edge are completely destroyed but the lock bar still function well.

    The soft 154CM while it may not sound very excite compare to newer steel but it really hold decent edge and tough enough for what it design for.

    The downside of Emerson are poor fit and finish as anyone said. Their liner lock also get worn off pretty quick in regular use. I'm also not a big fan of asymmetric edge.




    Last edited by shqxk; 03-11-2017 at 03:58 PM.

  20. #40
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    Your opinion on Emerson knives?

    My experience with Emerson knives is limited to a horseman.
    Design and ergonomics are great
    I am convinced by the use of standard screws to adjust the knife easily in the field.
    The chisel grind may not be the best for food prep but otherwise it works fine and is very strong
    The operation is smoooth but my horseman require to use loctite on the pivot to make sure it doesn't get loose

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