emerson cqc7

Mar 20, 2000
Just recieved on of these and thought I might post my impressions of it, especially since I have seen many questions and concerns about emerson production knives lately.

The CQC-7b is a tanto style blade with a chisel grind. it is about 3 and 1/2 inches or so...it does seem short to me..per emersons web site, it is made of 154cm steel, but the blade is not stamped. mine has the black t finish as the only plain edge blades at a price i really liked were black t. it has a disc opener and g10 handles..the liners appear to be stainless steel.

The blade is very sharp out of the box, although I have not done any formal cutting tests with it to say how sharp. I would compare it favorably as far as sharpness to the microtech socom I just purchased though.

The blade is chisel ground and it seems strange to me that the grind is on the left side of the blade if the point is facing away from you. if you are performing a push cut, like peeling an apple or whittling wood, i would have thought it would be preferable to have the grind on the top of the knife which doesn't happen for right handers with this knife. informal experiments with this blade in both hands whittling a piece of wood indicate it cuts better with the grind on top, and the flat side down, which means you must hold it in your left hand. maybe i'm missing the point of the chisel grind though...

the blade opens by virtue of a round disk. i find this works just fine, and am able to open the knife very fast with one hand. the knife is one of the smoothest openers i've handled. my technique, with thumb stud, disc or hole in the blade is to use my index finger on the right side of the blade, and a quick flick of the wrist..this works just fine.

the fit and finish of this knife are acceptable for what i paid for it, but not comparable to my microtech socom which costs twice as much. one of the screws had gunk in it, and there was a slight and easily removed burr on one of the liners. the pocket clip was not finished well, it looked "streaky" and made my shorts dirty where i kept clipping and removing it. However, the blade is centered nicely, the action is smooth, and the lock-up is tight. Those are the important issues. The pocket clip is very functional and the handle and liners are drilled and tapped for either tip up or tip down carry, your choice although factory default it tip up. the handle is slightly textured g10..it feels fine in your hand and has no sharp edges.

the screws are standard phillips for the handle and a flat screw for the pivot pin. i've seen many references to the pivot screw working loose, and to put a drop of lock-tite on it. let me say, out of the box i could turn this screw with my thumbnail...i tightened it with a screwdriver and after flicking the blade a bit, it is loose again..definately hit it with some loc-tite. i do prefer torx screws on knives. emerson says on his website that he uses standard screws so anyone can take it apart but torx screwdrivers are not hard to get and really do tighten up better, not to mention that standard screws get buggered up and ugly looking easily. i think it may be a cost issue.

the liners seem kinda thin, especially compared to the thick slab of a lock on my microtech socom, but it locks up good and tight...i didn't whack the spine, as i don't believe in that test, but i did grab the blade and twist my hand...i didn't have a problem. another problem i've seen referenced is that the liners can be bent. well, if you squeeze the knife hard, the liners do bow in, but never did this affect the lockup..they spring back to normal when you stop squeezing...and you have to squeez hard...i also don't think it would be possible to bend them permanently without using quite a bit of force, more than you can do by hand. this knife is no weaker than any other g10 handled knife in my opinion. i don't see this as an issue, but if it's a problem for you, get a knife with aircraft aluminum or stainless steel or titanium handles or a different locking mechanism.

let me preface this portion by saying i'm not a fan of black coated blades, but that i've gotten two of them recently as it was the only way i could find a plain non serrated edge. however, the black coating on the cqc-7 is awesome...much much better than the coating on the microtech. the coating on the microtech holds fingerprints and scratches away even with normal use like cutting cardboard....the black t does not take finger prints, and as a test of its scratch resistance i stabbed the blade into a soda can and pulled it out...there was some fine black powder on the blade, where the coating rubbed off, but the blade still looks normal...no metal is showing through...the black still looks uniform. this coating must be fairly thick..

my overall impressions of this knife are favorable..keep in mind though that I only paid $72 dollars for this new in box from MJS and if I had paid the full $135 dollar list price I would have felt differently. The most important part, the cutting edge, is excellent, although I'm not sure about the way the grind is on the left side of the blade. As a tactical folder, and for stabbing, this knife is excellent. i plan to carry it for a while and see if i form any opinions.

  • ch
My earlier BM Emerson CQC-7 has the chisel grind on the same side, needs to on the other side. I had thought Emerson changed it....

Do it right,or not at all.
crazy_horse, I thought I was the only guy in this thought pattern.

You are correct that in certain slashing moves and reverse grips, the blade grind jumps right in there. However, when I switch hands I am back to square one saying "Hey, the grind is on the wrong side again".

Since my CQC7 sees more utility use than CQC, I think I am going to get rid of it in favor of a knife better suited for the jobs I throw at it.

I don't know if you have this problem with yours, but I find mine a bit more difficult to sharpen than my other knives. It's probably just me, though.
velitrius: i agree with you on the grind thing. if i am ever in CQC with this knife, i want a longer blade. a sword would be nice. i've already decided to give it a week or two before i decide whether to stop carrying it or not.

as far as sharpening, i havn't had the chance to do that yet, but my sharpmaker is supposed to be here by UPS today, so when i get up to speed on it I will post my thoughts.
When I originally posted this topic I indicated I would carry this knife for a bit and see how the odd left side grind worked out for me. It has now been exactly one week of carry, and I must say that my final impression of the knive is that it is a quality knife, at a reasonable street price (MSRP is a little much, but everyones always is) but because of mr emersons desire to have a "unique visual cue" and putting the grind on the wrong side of the blade for a right handed person, it is of limited utility for everyday carry. The knife was sharp as hell, and it cut well when I used it left handed, but except for things like opening boxes, the left side grind is a hinderance. The thing is, I really like the chisel grind, and not many makers use it. I just wish this one was on the right side of the blade.
Right on, Crazy Horse.

If I were frequently involved in Close Quarters knife fighting, and I really thought the left side grind was better for outside to inside slashing or reverse grip, then so be it... but I'd take a double guarded 6" to 8" fighter from Dave Broadwell or Jim Siska (hell, from Randall) anyday for knife fighting if I knew that were a primary task (thankfully, even for soldiers in heat of battle, the knife is foremost a tool, and secondarily, no, tertiarily, a very backup weapon, with rifle/submachinegun 1st, then handgun 2nd). Hard not to get cut even if you win a real knife fight.

Fact is, I have a concealed carry permit, and my folder is a daily working tool and self defense backup (or primary when I can't carry somewhere in particular).

I had one of the Benchmade CQC7's ... "had" being the operative word. Chisel grind isn't so bad, but wrong side is, and awkwardness of cutting things with a knife with no belly....the whole tanto thing is lost on me for daily chores after trying them, and "chores" constitutes 99.999% of my folder use, mercifully. I sold the CQC7 several years ago.

Emerson's quality isn't any better than Benchmade (nor any worse), but the pricing is higher, so you gotta like the Commander design enough (I don't, big fat bellyish tip) to pay the premium. I sold my SPECWAR Emerson also (inefficient design, ratio of blade length to closed length was too small). I'd look hard at any Emerson designs I like in the future for efficiency before I jump again. (I like LaGriffe for what it is, a truly small, light neckknife, but hey, I think Fred Perrin did the initial design anyway).

Just a comment, I dont think those are scratchs on that MT's coatin
The stuff they use fingerprints like crazy and seems to change to a differnt shade depending on how much oil is on the surface of the blade. Try to wipe it down with a good oil, should take any marks on it right off.