Daily carry knife

May 13, 1999
I know this is a fairly common topic, and thanks for all those who have provided input prior to this.

Right now all I have is an Endura (the original, with AUS-8A) serrated. Ideally, I'd like a plain edge blade that I can use as a utility knife, but is smaller than the Endura. By this, I mean about 4" closed as a maximum. This isn't a hard number or anything, but that's about as large as I'd like to go. I was originally planning on spending about $50 or less, but from all of your postings, I'm thinking it may be worth spending a little more.

From what I've seen, I'm considering the following knives: BF Native - a little expensive, but from your enthusiasm, it seems worth it. My question with this is whether it will be easy enough to keep corrosion free without having to care for it excessively; The BM 820 (Ascent, small) - this knife is more along the lines of what I was thinking, but I'm not sure about BM's quality. Some of the posts I've seen on the site scare me a little; BM 812 (Mini AFCK) - a little larger than I'd like, but the reviews I've seen are great except for questions of BM quality; Calypso Jr. - the only question here is whether it's worth getting something more expensive for better steel.

I'd appreciate any input as to the pros and cons of each knife, or anything similar
Since I'm a frequent complainer about Benchmade quality, let me step in and say that it's *uniformity* that I'm concerned with. Some Benchmades are fantastic. My AFCK, my girlfriend's Mini AFCK and Cubs - they're glassy smooth and lock up tightly. But we picked them each time from a number of similar pieces, some of which functioned poorly. That's the key. If you can go somewhere and handle a couple of the model you like, you can be sure of getting a nice one; if it's mail order I think it's a lottery.

I wonder if it's simply the tolerances involved in a linerlock that cause this (of course, I just handled a friend's new Ascent 830 that had substantial play in its midlock). I wasn't at all pleased with the action on my recently acquired Military, and that's from Spyderco, who rank A+ in my book for making a uniformly good product. Or maybe American manufacture is to blame; after all, the dedication and hard work of American factory workers will not reach the precision of the decades-old Japanese cutlery industry "overnight." The "new" American knife industry is still in its infancy, and quality will suffer a bit while it grows up.

OK, enough with the ranting
. My advice is if you are willing to spend over $50, get something that you really like carrying, something with class. That means no more Zytel handles, so forget the Ascent and the many nice Zytel Spydies. Forget the Calypso Jr. because it's a great knife but you should get a better steel than your Endura. The Mini-AFCK is an all-around good piece. Rookies are darn nice, too, and easier to sharpen. What about a steel-handled Native in Gin-1 (great steel, IMO)? Or a small Centofante in ATS-34 ($74 from Top Of Texas)?

I'm probably not helping by adding choices. But I just wanted to explain more fully my concerns with Benchmade and say that if you are ready to move up that little step to the $50-$100 range, make it with something you'll really feel good carrying every day.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)

[This message has been edited by Corduroy (edited 13 May 1999).]

Thanks for the clarification, and while I have a few others to look at, those are knives I didn't know to look at, so thanks.

I would definitely consider the following:

Benchmade Leopard Cub. Excellent blade shape (flat-ground drop point--my favorite). Robust all-metal construction feels sturdy yet very agile in the hand. Makes a decent paring knife due to relatively straight handle. My only gripe: the holes in the handle make it a bit difficult to draw when clipped to the wrong kind of pocket.

Spyderco Wegner Jr. I don't own one but I've handled one and was impressed. Great handle in terms of ergonomics. Nice heft in a modest-sized package, thanks to full-length metal spacer. Good not-too-threatening blade shape with plenty of belly.

BladeForums.com Blue Native. I've never handled a Native, but I'm betting $100 I'm gonna love this knife. CPM-440V is going to be tough to beat without going to very expensive wondersteels bordering on the mythical. This knife will be strong, classy-looking, and secure in the hand.

Calypso Jr. Never rule out the Calypso Jr. Insist on the black Micarta version, because it's flat ground and very light. A very well executed knife in terms of fit. Don't be turned off by the AUS 8 steel. Edge holding is not bad, and it gets incredibly sharp. Because the edge is so thin, this knife will keep on cutting even after it's worn down a bit. Trust me on this. Sure, I'd rather have VG-10 or 440V, but hey, you've got to look at the whole car, not just the tires, right?

Regarding Benchmade quality: I still trust Benchmade. Nobody's perfect, but BM has a great reputation for making it right when they goof. If you want to be sure you'll get a good specimen and can't handle several at a local store, order from an internet dealer who will inspect the knife for you before mailing it. James Mattis of Chai Cutlery is a good one to do this, and no doubt there are others.

Good luck, and let us know what you end up getting. Most of us are always on the lookout for something better. And welcome to the Forum.

David Rock

Thanks for the advice. As I continue looking, I'm starting to see the need for different knives for different situations. I think you guys are starting to affect me too much. And I thought I was a Spydie freak before

Right now, I'm really not sure...I will probably end up getting many of the knives you and Corduroy have suggested over time, but for now I have to make a choice.

Thanks for the suggestions and explanations. I plan on going to the local army surplus store to get a feel for some of these knives, but it helps to have an idea what to look at going in. At least I have the comfort of knowing that all of the knives I am considering are high quality knives - this makes the decision making process far easier. For this, I thank you and all the other members who have discussed their daily carries throughout the forum.

JP Bullivant
Hi JP, I carry a plain-edge Delica as a alternative to my combo-edge Endura. It is inexpensive, but more importantly the ergonomics are nearly identical to the Endura. Therefore, it doesn't matter which one I might be carrying, when I grab my knife du jour and thumb it open - no fumbling.
The most important aspect of ergonomics, IMO, is the carry mode (tip up or down). Since I carry tip up knives on a daily basis, whenever I carry a tip down knife I find the 'fumble factor' increases.
This is probably important, only if you think your knife may ever be used in a self-defense mode.
Well, there's my 3 cents worth (.03 Canadian = .02 US - with exchange rates).

Bill (Yes, we carry knives in Canada - we need them to fight off the polar bears and militant Eskimos ;) )

Have you considered the BM 705?. It's footprint is slightly smaller than the 812, which I also have. The blade is, I believe, 2.75" or so. The quality of the new knife is excellent. Yes, I too have had problems with the blade not seating on my 812 - it rubs the liner quite a bit. Not so with the new Mini-Axis Lock. I own about 50 quality knives, from old Cases to Gerber to CRKT to Benchmade and Spydies - the soon to be released 705 is, by far, the best made I own (along with it's big brother, the 710). I especially like the solid, safe, and reliable Axis Lock mechanism.

I'm not sure when the first production run will be (mine's a pre-production), I've heard possibly August, but if you're looking for a sub 3" folder, it would be worth the wait. I've relied on my Mini-AFCK for a while now, but it sits in a drawer these days. It just can't compare to the 705.


[This message has been edited by Codeman (edited 14 May 1999).]
Bill and Codeman,

Thanks for the input.

I've been reading up on that whole tip up vs. down argument, and for me it's tip up...I've never had a problem with the blade opening, though the results aren't fun to think about. Regardless, I like how many more of the members are including descriptions of the ergonomics of their knives. I can definitely get a feel for the knife if they've described it anywhere near decently.

Actually, I hadn't heard of the BM 705. I've probably seen it briefly in my looking over web sites, but it never caught my eye. Thanks for bringing me back to it.

JP Bullivant
I have both a Calypso Jr and an 812, both from James Mattis. He does inspect the knives before he sends them out, and seems to intercept 'less than perfect' units. I like both knives for daily carry, though not necessarily for defense. The BM seems more robust, the Calypso cuts better. Get both.


The Spyderco Native in either regular or BF version has a lot going for it. Nice size and some relly good ergonomics. If you get a chance, handle one and you'll see what I mean.

Have you considered a zytel handled Native? Definately one of the sturdiest zytel handled folders I have seen. The ergonomics are incredible, the steel is good, and they can be had for about $39. It would make a fine compliment to your Endura. I recently purchased an Endura98. I like the Native better. You cant go wrong with the zytel if you want a using knife that fits your criteria. I think the BF Native is a putter-upper due to the limited quanities. The all steel Native is great, but they are hard to find. I got mine from Chai Cutlery. They were also made in limited numbers. Also FYI the zytel uses GIN-1 and the all steel uses AUS-10.

"I don't care if you think it's your right. I say: Sorry, it's 1999. We have had enough as a nation. You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun I think you should go to prison."- Rosie O'Donnell

"I don't care if you think it's your right. I say: Sorry, it's 1999. We have had enough as a nation. You are not allowed to make stupid comments, and if you do make stupid comments I think you should go to prison."- Dennis R. Bible

Thanks to all who've posted. The advice is much appreciated.

I should be able to go to the local dealer (an army surplus store) tomorrow. Couldn't today or yesterday because the police had the street blocked off because a nearby building burned down completely. Just my luck. Still, it'll be nice to get a hands-on look at some of the knives you've mentioned.

Right now, the BF Native is really high on my list. I will probably end up getting a Calypso Jr. as a good slicing knife eventually, but not right now. The BM 705 (depending on reviews in the meantime) looks like a definite option down the road. I suppose eventually, I'd like to replace the Endura - mostly due to the lower steel quality. I may just end up getting the '98 version. But this is all speculation...I'm nowhere near being able to afford all that right now.

Until I actually buy the knife, I welcome any additions or further comments. Thanks all.
I've got a small Ascent, and, b/c I don't want to get in trouble w/ the law (I've been frisked, and when they found the knife, they didn't give it a second look), it's my choice for daily carry. It fits the specs you're looking for. Unfortunately, this is my only BM knife, and if it's inconsistent quality you're looking out for, I would follow everyone else's advice. Just wanted to stick up for BM when it comes to MY Ascent. It's a great knife--no lock or blade play, the no loose screws, I can open it w/ a flick now, the ATS hasn't rusted, and, even after dropping hard a few times, no chipping or any of that stuff. But I've recently bought a Delica 98. Same dimensions, ATS-55, reversible pocket clip, etc. It's a great knife and I'm seriously thinking of replacing my Ascent (oh no!). My vote goes for the Native, too. I've heard nothing but good things about it, and to tell you the truth, it's just a sweet knife! Why not consider a CRKT Apache II? I've got a normal Apache, and the knife is another winner, IMHO. Have you considered carrying a small fixed blade? The REKAT Utility Neck knife comes to mind--that's not more than $50 on any of the net dealer sites. If you want to get a little bigger, there's always the CRKT STIFF KISS, that's not more than $35. Anyway, I thought I'd add to the conversation and insert my input.
I'd like to second (third?) the recommendation of the Delica 98- I love mine. And it's the small version of the Endura, so it will feel the same, only smaller.

I also vote for a Delica 98. I own several highend knives from Coldsteel to Spyderco, from Benchmade to Microtech. I bought a comboedge Delica 98 as a legally safe travelknife and i have to say it´s in my pocket most of the time. it´s a tad bit bigger then the original Delica so it doesen´t feel to tiny and it handles any chore that comes to it.
Matt from Munich

Well, I too will have to tell you to look at the Delica 98.

If you like the Endura, then the natural downsizing progression goes to the Delica...ATS-55, reversible clip, just about perfect ergonomics, strong lock, and all for about $40.

The Native is a very nice knife, but is more limited in duties. And if you get a BF Native, you probably won't wind up using it for fear of ruining a custom run knife.

BTW, earlier today I took out a Delica 98 and worked the action for about 1 hr. after putting a little Tuf-Glide on it.It is now silky smooth and I just might grab it for personal use instead of selling it.
I would go with the C16 lite wt. Wayne Goddard. It has a slightly longer handle but the ATS-55 steel is great. The blade shape is also ideal. As for the slightly longer handle well it is a much thinner knife in profile than others. I have the Axis 710 and don't like it as much as the C16. Doesn't come close for edge holding and contrary to what people are saying about the cutting abilities of the the recurved blade, well my C16 cuts better and the edge lasts longer. For a lockback vs. the Axis lock there is no comparison and I realize that, but comaparing the two I carry the C16 more. Read the above as the Axis is much stronger and closer to custom quality in fit and finish. But that ain't all there is to a knife either. My C16 was starting to loosen up a bit and all I did is take a tack hammer and pean the right side of the pivot pin and voila rock solid once again and it hasn't loosened up at all. the action is pretty smooth to for a lockback. For less than 50 bucks it is the all time sleeper in knife deals.
Thanks for the continued advice. I went to one of the better dealers in town and got a feel of many of the knives, but unfortunately they didn't have any of the Spyderco knives I'm interested in - not even the Delica (it's on order, though). Anybody know another dealer other than M&C Army Surplus in the Gainesville, Fla. area?

Otherwise, I tried out several knives - even the BM 705 preproduction. That feels like an awesome knife. I'm planning on waiting until it's available in plain edge, but it has a wonderful feel and great blade geometry. After looking at the CRKT Apache II and BM Leopard Cub, I'm inclinded to go against liner locks. I know that there are several out there that break this trend, and I'd consider those knives (eg. AFCK or Military), but this is my feeling in general.

I think the Wayne Goddard is a little on the large side for what I'm thinking right now, but thanks for suggesting it.

The Delica98 is definitely one I want to try, but I wasn't able to. I may hold purchasing off until I get to try it out some.

Thanks again,
JP Bullivant
JP - I used to have a Delica and liked it a lot - but I love love love my 1/2 serrated mini-AFCK, and once I had it for a few weeks I gave away my Delica to a friend. Granted, the Delica is more in your price range, but if you can find a deal on a mini-AFCK, well, I just love the blade & handle geometry, the blade has both belly and a sharp point . . . it is such an efficient cutting too, and since I filed off the hard edges of the G10, it slides into my hand like the proverbial bar of soap. A great knife!! Definitely my favorite in your size range.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
I usually carry 1 of the 2 Delica's I own on a daily basis. They are sharp, great quality and probably the best buy for the money (about $40 each), plus since I work in an office, they don't freak out my fellow co-workers. I also own a Military, an Axis, and many others, but don't really feel comfortable carrying these on a daily basis.
The Axis I just recently got, and I think it's probably my favorite. Sharp as heck, tip up carry, strong lock, and flicks open like an automatic.