It's what I originally thought: Handground blade,waterjet cut liners, production handle, assembled by Ernest. Very rare and one of my favorites. Oliver and I worked out a deal reflecting the correct history of the knife.By todays' standards many major makers would call this a full custom. If Ernest doesn't cut the liners and handmake and fit the handles he doesn't.
I just rejoined Blade Forums but can't get my old name back BILL SANDER. I first joined in 1998.
Here is my old post on the history of the Commander:
A little more info on the first Commander.
I bought two at the Las Vegas Knife Show in Jan.1998 (same weekend as the SHOT show). He had several hand ground Commanders and was taking orders on the regular production version which would be serial numbered. He also had about six customs which he auctioned off. I got a prototype of the CQC7B which went into production a couple years later. I have since sold the prototype and one of the handgrounds.
And here we are 24 years later and I still have the original hand ground Commander from the Reno Show and a CQC5 that I bought in 1999.