Emerson CQC7, production model initial impressions

Oct 4, 1998
I haven't see a whole lot reviews about the Emerson's production CQC7, and wondered how they would turn out. As with almost all knife reviews, the sample is horrendously small, one knife, so it doesn't necessarily reflect the thousands of pieces.

The first liner lock folder I ever purchased was Benchmade 970, basically a copy of the CQC7. Interestingly I traded a Spyderco Civilian for it at Augusta, GA gun show. I was pretty impressed at the time, and promptly in the next few days played with it incessantly and even managed to slice the tip of my right thumb off, closing it with one hand. My 970 was typical of the old Benchmades, before they started letting knives get out of their factory with excessive slop, not to mention less poorly ground blades and flaking BT2. The G10 scales were sharp at their perimeter, and the liner seemed to be serrated, building up a healthy callous on my right thumb from releasing it. Took me awhile to figure out how to sharpen the chisel grind, but final was able to get it a hair popping edge. The action was pretty gritty, but after dissembling the knife and polishing the pivot area, it smoothed out considerably. I have since close to a hundred folders since and the 970 was pushed back into the draw as other higher speed folders rode in my waistband. Funny aside, a buddy of mine used it to open up a toilet paper dispenser in the Dizzy Chicken. TP can be a serious issue. Looking at the knife now, the liner has worn to a large extent, with it almost crossing the entire width of the blade. The G10 is no longer black, but a sugar frosted dark gray, and the blade has significant lateral play from the liner and the pivot being warped while separating many a bike tire from its rim.

Its rightful heir arrived via Confederate Cutlery www.confederatecutlery.com and UPS. I sent Jeff a Benchmade 750 that I was hardly unhappy with for one of the new BlackT coated CQC7's from Emerson production operation. Opened the box, there it was, a CQC7. I had been a little hesitant about getting one, since I had a less that optimal experience with the SpecWar line. Bought a SpecWar model A and was totally unhappy with it. The action was gritty, the edges were extremely sharp, the blade came dull and rubbed the liner, not to mention the clip was low enough where almost an inch of scale stuck out over one's pocket/waistband. It was nothing like my Commander, which felt like a custom Emerson. Not to mention the funky thumb stud, with was really a bar of steel making it ambidextrous, but looked and felt cheap.

The CQC7 is the quality of my Commander, with is saying a lot. The G10 is perfectly mated to the liners, and the edges are neatly rounded, fit is pretty flawless for a production piece. The G10 has been predrilled for either tip up or down carry, but comes tip up. The holes go into the liner, not just the G-10, so pulling the clip out shouldn't be a problem, one that plagued a Spyderco Military of mine. The clip is black, and rides about ¼ inch from the end of the scale, giving enough purchase, but not leaving nearly half the knife exposed. The blade resides in the middle between the liners, not rubbing either one. The liner lock has enough bite to release it, but not to tear of layers of your epidermis. The blade has been ground straight and came hair popping sharp and is coated with BlackT, which in my experience is one of the better blade coatings. Emerson has changed the serration patter from the SpecWar series to something closer to the Spyderco pattern, which is much more effective than the previous design. It has a thumb disc exactly like the Commander, meaning it is circular, not the funky bar of the old SpecWar models. The pivot is super smooth with no rough spots in the opening or closing cycle.

My only initial concern is that the scales are fastened by the pivot and two screws, as opposed the Commander's, three. All the screws are either slot or philips head, and are easily removed or adjusted. Having to juggle torx/spine/allen wrenches can be a pain. And the pivot screw is easily adjusted via a dime. All in all, the CQC7 is well worth the 80-90 dollars they are going for. Have say I am glad that Emerson had taken the time to straighten out his production models and take the CQC7 from Benchmade, the wait has been worth it. I'll be sure to post my impressions after bit of use.
Great review. Is there any chance of accidently unlocking the knife by gripping tightly? Does the liner lock protrude above the handle scales?


[This message has been edited by Will Kwan (edited 19 July 1999).]
As far as I can tell I can't make the lock fail using the "white knuckle" grip. If anything it tightens the contact between the liner and the blade. The liner is not flush with the scale. The liner engages securely, and you'd be hard pressed to release it if it was flush.

Have found a flaw though, when reversing the clip to the pivot end, the middle section of the clip where towards the top (where the screws are) butts the pivot, thus inhibiting flush contact with the scale. This could be fixed with a bit of dremel work on the clip, but hopefully Emerson Knives will rectify this.

As far as the use goes, had a chance to cut a lot of 10-BaseT cable, with no problems, and still slices paper with ease. It seems to be shaping up well as a daily carry/user.