Comparison request - Stiff KISS vs. Arc Lite


Jan 31, 1999
Can anyone attest to the pros/cons of these two, when measured against one another in the following regards:
- steel quality
- blade shape utility
- ergos
- size
- sheath/carry configurability
- economy

Just for fun, how does the Neck Peck fit in as well?
I can't do a true comparison yet, my Arc-Lite hasn't arrived. But I'll give you my opinions anyway. My KISS opinions are based of the MDP version, not the Tanto.

- steel quality: The AUS6 in the STIFF KISS has a good track history and is well regarded for its price point. I think CRKT does a good job with this steel.

The 420HC is getting some rough opinions in the announcement of the knife. Steve Harvey's comparison posted at KFC of the production Arc Lite vs his Custom from DDR gave a good accounting of this inexpensive steel. It probably comes down to the quality of the heat treat between the two in which will perform best. On average, my biases are towards the AUS 6 so far.

- blade shape utility I like the lack of included angle in the KISS line up. I also like the lack of recurve. There are knives where i like and use those features. The Arc Lite seems to have included them well by getting the handle up high so more of the blade can come down on a cutting surface as in food prep. Steve Harvey's review mentions the Arc Lite being decent at this task.

I like how the flatter grind of the Arc Lite should perform compared to the binding I experience in hollow ground knives such as the STIFF KISS MDP.

- ergos, both handles are thin. I wrapped my KISS and it's better now. Mr. Harvey wrapped his Arc, and I am sure I will too. The handle design of the Arc appears superior, but perhaps limited in the variety of grips it will support well? That statement is merely based on looks though. The KISS handle is equal in all grip styles. Neither great nor bad but thin. Both blades should be easy to add custom scales to with little skill required.

- size I think the KISS blade is longer, but not by much. Weight is very close for both of them is my guess. Overall balance in the hand looks like the Arc may be better. I like the length on my KISS.

- sheath/carry configurability I have heard no comments on the Arc sheath. I suspect it's not as configurable as the KISS, but the KISS sheath doesn't give me the specific horizontal carry option I want although it does offer horizontal options. I was impressed with the versatility of the KISS sheath for the cost. There are reports of the KISS sheath not being reliable at retaining the blade. YMMV. I haven't put my KISS through any real rigorous carrry. I don't feel that the retention method and size are good for neck carry in the MDP. The PECK, might be?

- economy Both are available at less than $20. They both seem to offer lots for the money. The KISS has a decent track record. The Arc has some good heritage. Buy both and compare them yourself. You'll find uses for both of them and may find they complement each other in your usage.


Ya know, All of the comparison criteria you listed can best be compared by you yourself. These pieces are very affordable, and you probably would find room for both in your inventory.

I always like listening to my car buddies. They quote stuff about tires like tread pattern, low profile, sidewall thickness, skid pad numbers, blah blah blah ad nauseum. When they ask me my answer is simple.

"Stick 'em on my car and I'll tell ya which ones are better for me."

This is where you will find the best answers to your question: where the rubber meets the road. You can get everyone's opinions on blade shape, rockwell hardness, ergonomics, yadda yadda yadda. But with the price tag on these two knives, you can afford to find out for yourself just which is better for you.

Sometimes I catch myself assuming that everybody knows their way around a pocket knife. Then I remember what the first three letters of "assume" are.
- James K. Mattis
True enough, Velitrius. Buying both would not break the bank, but would be redundant.

I know, I know, I have a drawer-full of redundant folders (at least that's how my wife sees them), but this would be my first fixed blade, and I do not want to start a fixed blade collection - considering the few practical (and legal) occasions I would have for carrying a fixed blade.

It's just something 'new' that I've been eyeing to round out the collection, just in case I find myself white-water rafting or mountain climbing next week.

But you're right, I know what they say about opinions. That's what's great about this place. You can actually garner opinions and come to a consensus before dropping your $.
Ahh, very well then, I shall offer you my opinion.

I have the ArcLite, and my Cop Buddy carries the Stiff KISS. I found that the carry system of the KISS is indeed versatile, but I personally can find no use for most of the carry options the sheath allows. Cop Buddy does though.

I also find the ArcLite more comfortable to use, and I find that the blade shape is more comfortable FOR ME. Cop Buddy says the same.

The steel thing seems like it is gonna be hashed out for a long time, but I have made up my mind about the 420HC as it comes out of Camillus. I like it. I find that it performs BETTER than the 440A that is on my Kershaw Blackout. Yes, I've heard the arguments..... different blade profile, different this, that, the other stuff. My experience tells me that I like it better.

I haven't done any prolonged cutting chores with either of the knives. I use the ArcLite as a hang-around-til-needed piece, and it performs small miscellaneous tasks as they come up. Cop Buddy uses his for same, and he says it is up to the task. As purely personal OPINIONS, Me and Cop Buddy both like the ArcLite better.

Price on both is so close that it doesn't matter. Now here's another reason why I think you should buy both. You can be sure you have the one you like the best, and you can give the other to a potential knife knut friend of yours. Gotta love givin' knives, my friend. Gotta love it.