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Handle ergonomics: what works and what doesn't?


HPIC - Hatas gonna Hate
Staff member
Super Mod
Oct 2, 1998
Hey all! When posting my last message, I remembered that somethings can make or break a knife, like handle ergonomics.

Example: The REKAT Hobbit Warrior is designed for reverse grip fighting, while Mad Dog's can be used in any position. Finger notches don't fit everyone, and sometimes the blade just doesn't fit right in your hand, if you know what I mean.

So, what styles and knives do you like in your hands, and what don't you?

I like my SOCOM for it's aggressive grip, but my LUDT is a bit too small for me, how about you guys?

Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for BladeForums.com

Insert witty quip here
I really like the feel of the Crawford Kasper Fighting Folder. It fits just right.

I really like how my Spydie Moran feels in my hand. The handle is small but seems to ride well in the palm.

<<Kodiak PA>>
Greg Mete
Kodiak Alaska

hmm, you're right spark, i really like the socom handle too. And even the mini socom feels really good in my hand (i know some people complain that it feels too small). The thumb ramp on the socoms are amazing!
For maximum tip movement and flexibility you want a grip that sits "inside" the palm. The Spydie Moran, the new Scott Evans/Alan Folts hawksbill, many Puukos and my Outsider all do this. The Outsider may prove one of the biggest blades using the concept ever. Problem is, it takes a "shift" in grip to do a pommel strike if it's possible at all, one reason I did the "throw the trigger finger around the lower guard" option. Doing that lets you scoot the grip up and expose a smashing pommel - barely.

If you've got big hands, the Mad Dog ATAK and similar can do this if you've got your forefinger in the notch behind the lower guard where it belongs. I'm not certain that's a deliberate feature; Kev McClung isn't a very big dude so I suspect the original intent was a grip that extended out and through the palm. Even if you do a "through the palm" hold, the downward curve at the pommel end of the grip feels *wonderful*. The EDI Genesis and a lot of other good folders feature this "downward slope to pommel" and assuming the slope matches your hand is a great thing.

Jim March
I prefer my knives to look like a Banana (the fruit or the knife) handle with a well bellied blade, making an "S" shape overall, but not too extreme.
So far, the only folder that I have bought that I have not *had* to modify to fit better is my Emerson Commander. Ernie Emerson got it right on with that handle design. The AFCK is close, and it's many recent clones like the Spydee Wegner, but they still take a little modification. The Commander is dead-nuts on, right out of the box.

Fixed blades have a lot of variety, though and many more uses, so shapes vary. Black Cloud's "Friend" has a great shape with it's banana handle, but then, so does the Fighting Bowie, with it's very different handle. Then so does the more generic design like the ATAK handle or Lightfoot Hammer. Seems to me, once you get into fixed blades, there are so many varieties and ways to use them that the "right" design varies with size and purpose (smaller knives get away with having very funky handles at times, yet feel great). But with folders, I personally like the same thing every time: a moderate banana curved handle and a well bellied blade.

Ps- (The Kasper Fighting Folder gets honorable mention, but I don't own one....yet)

Of all the knives ive handled, by far the 2 most comfortable are 1- Jerry Fisk "pit boss", it is a bowie but with a more "military" style grip. the grip has a vertical palmswell giving the handle a "belly", it also drops back down at the "pinky" for a very secure grip. the handle is also "thinned" out at the rear.

2) RJ Martin Quickening is very comfortable. single finger groove, comfortable in any position.

I also must say that Walter Brends stuff is equally as comfortable as any.
The old style Endura. When I first picked up this knife, I couldn't believe how it fit my hand perfectly. I don't practice drawing a knife for speed but this knife seems to come out of my pocket and open almost immediately.

The most comfortable handle I've held is the Benchmade Stryker. I'm not wild about the tanto blade configuration, but the handle fits my hand better than any other I've seen (at least so far).
I have already referred to it in another current thread but it is worth repeating..the Lakota series of folders has an odd shape that works great.The downturned butt with the hook ensures a great grip and the single guard/bolster keeps your hand away from the edge.
Bob Dozier seems to understand handle ergonomics....I have the Arkansas Toothpick and the handle is a work of art. Many small fixed blades seem to have handles scaled down from larger knives. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. It is as though the designers have come up with a blade design and added the handle as an afterthought. Not Bob Dozier....his designs are a total package.
The Pro Guide model looks like a nice, ordinary knife.But after using it for a while, I began to see it differently....It proved to be such a "friendly" knife that it
takes on a new character and becomes quite beautifull.
I am also a fan of the old claspknife(I think that is the description) handle design.
I have a Schrade 127UH with imitation stag scales and it is a knife I can use for extended periods without getting blisters.
Come to think of it, the AFCK has a similar profile.....
Actually, some of the older designs still work.....sometimes better than a few of the hi-tech stuff.

just a few thoughts

Brian W E
ICQ #21525343

Oh, yeah....what doesn't work for me :
The oddly mismatched finger cutouts on the EDI Genesis 1. Forces me to grip the knife in a manner that is both uncomfortable and unnatural. It's a shame because it is a fine knife and the rest of the handle is fine.

Brian W E
ICQ #21525343

I have a lot of really fine knives, but nothing fits my hand like a Benchmade AFO. It just seems to melt into my hand.

Take Care,


"Every Dog Has His Day"

The Randall model 1 (standard leather washer handle) sucks. Too thin/small with regards to the handle cross section. The knife feels like it is going to slip very easily.

The Ka-Bar (standard leather washer handle) is awesome. It fits very well. Plus, the deep grooves really help the grip. I feel like I could hold it in the standard grip and drive it into a refrigerator door without it slipping.


Wow !

Someone agrees with me on the Randall #1 handle. Sold mine because I was not "as one" with the knife when using it. Yes ,the KaBar has (for me) a superior feel.

Brian W E
ICQ #21525343