Knives you weren't expecting to like so much until you had them in hand

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Kaizen1, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. Kaizen1

    Kaizen1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Any insight into what changed your view once you had it in hand, used it, owned it for a while, or just finally saw in person, is appreciated.

    A recent one for me is the Ban Tang Knives SAF (Sexy As F***). A few things stood out once I actually handled:
    • It's more ergonomic than I was expecting. The hook toward the pommel makes the handle feel like it can't go anywhere if you don't want it to. The finger groove by the ricasso tilts the knife tip forward to better do what it's designed to do. It also adds a lot to the overall ergonomics of the knife.
    • The cord wrap provides a lot of confidence in the grip
    • The different grinds on each side is just nice to look at. It's chisel ground, and one one side you have a flat/ zero edge, and on the other, you have a very slight hollow grind leading to a polished convex edge.



    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
    Llasi likes this.
  2. Kaizen1

    Kaizen1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    The first knife that really changed my view about what quality pocket knives could be, was the Spyderco Manix (1st gen). I had no idea a pocket knife could be so ergonomic.
    Akcir likes this.
  3. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    Mora Eldris. With it's full size handle, the amount of work the stubby 2" blade could take on surprised me.
  4. mwhich50

    mwhich50 Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 18, 2011
    The endura started it for me in 1992. Felt very futuristic: feather light, plastic, and a very sharp fully serrated blade. I couldn't understand why anyone would want a "pen pocket clip" on a knife until I got pocket lint/sand in the pivot joint.

    This is just nasty. I have a bunch of XL knives, and this one feels like a true pocket sword.

    Kaizen1 likes this.
  5. Rykjeklut

    Rykjeklut Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    May 23, 2018
    I could not decide between the PM2 and the PM3, since both had been getting all of the praise in the world.

    Ended up buying both of them, but not really expecting to dig the PM3, because of its much smaller size. The PM2 now sits in a drawer, very much unused, while the PM3 has climbed in to my Top 5.
  6. SuckSqueezeBangBlow


    Apr 23, 2017
    Gayle Bradley Folder by Spyderco.

    Looks a bit odd but is such a tough working knife.
  7. Comeuppance

    Comeuppance Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary

    Jan 12, 2013
    The Cold Steel Recon 1 Clip Point is easily the knife that best fits that description for me. I bought one mostly because I like clip points and it was one of the few longstanding Cold Steel models that I had never so much as handled. By the time I picked one up, the base model was DLC-coated S35VN with linerless G10 handles and a retailer had it for sale for 90 bucks.

    While I entirely expected to be ultimately underwhelmed, it nearly immediately became -the- knife that I would keep if I needed to sell down to bare essentials. It fits my hand like it was made for me. It's strikingly thin and light for how absurdly robust it is. It is mechanically perfect (centered when closed, no play when opened) and is easy to operate one-handed. The exaggerated clip point is aesthetically pleasing, and yet the blade shape/grind is perfectly functional as an everyday cutting tool - while still being 100% prepared for any car-hood stabbing encounters, or, god forbid, a situation where I need to defend myself against a steel-toed boot filled with meat.

    It is a knife that inspires 100% confidence. Lynn bless us all.
    Akcir, Kaizen1, SharpieB and 3 others like this.
  8. mongomondo

    mongomondo SUPPRESSING FIRE

    Sep 17, 2006
    I also have the Cold Steel Recon 1 but it's the older version with the axis lock. It's huge, black coated, has serrations, and the g10 feels rougher than sandpaper. It has AUS8 steel which isn't anything exciting. But it cuts like a beast and I've been basically abusing it for years now and it's still working like a champ. Still perfectly centered with no blade play and it's easy to sharpen. I think I got it for $30 when it was discontinued. Best $30 I've spent.
    Kaizen1 and jlauffer like this.
  9. colin.p


    Feb 4, 2017
    Yes, word for word for me too.
  10. HappyDaddy

    HappyDaddy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 21, 2013
    Massdrop Laconico Keen. Given the glowing reviews, I expected to like it. I did not expect that it would be the one folding knife I would keep if I could only keep one. The simplicity, quality, blade shape/function, and glassy smooth action, at $150 is just remarkable.
  11. Spikediesel

    Spikediesel Spare time SAK builder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 14, 2018
    ^ This 100%!
  12. Texan42


    Nov 6, 2018
    Really like my Spyderco Hundred Pacer way more than I expected.
    Kaizen1 likes this.
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Last year's (2018) surprise knife was the Benchmade Mini Presidio II folder. I generally hate folders with metal handles. I just don't buy them. Handled this knife in the Spring and bought it, metal handles and all and loved it immediately.

    In 2017, it was the Steel Will Mini Cutjack in M390. Handled this one at a knife store and it just worked for me. At the time, I was anti flippers and this knife turned me back toward them after years of ignoring them.

    Will see what 2019 brings....
    Kaizen1 likes this.
  14. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    The zt 808 blk. On paper it wasn’t for me. Loved the look but I didn’t think it was big enough for my hand. I always stay away from full ti or aluminum scales because of the lack of grip.

    I got it in a trade and fell in love with it. The dlc adds just enough ?traction? that the ti doesn’t feel slippery. The handle is just long enough to get a a full grip on it. The blade, I always liked, is awesome. Great tip. Good length for most lite tasks. Its a keeper for me.
    Kaizen1 likes this.
  15. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    The Spyderco Southard -- My first reaction to seeing it was all negative. Too-scratchy baby-poop-brown scales, asymmetric handle side thickness, stupid pointless idiotic hole in the blade (it's a flipper, and the hole is not even particularly convenient to use on the model), too-thick blade, oddball blade shape? No thanks. Turns out it fits my hand perfectly, it carries great and feels great in use--I love the knife still all these years later.

    True story: the first pocket knife my wife bought me was a Spyderco Southard. When it came in the mail, she opened it up and disliked it so much that she thought it was a poor gift, so she ordered a Sage 2 to replace it and then just gave me both.
    Kaizen1 and lieferung like this.
  16. Monofletch

    Monofletch Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    I never thought this Gerber Prodigy would make it in my collection. This knife is so comfortable and ergonomic. It is a dream to use. This knife has been abused and is still going strong.

    evilgreg and Kaizen1 like this.
  17. SharpieB


    Oct 31, 2017
    The Recon 1 is my answer as well.

    I am in no way a fan of Lynn and his idiotic videos, but when I started looking for a heavy duty folder, I initially settled on a BM Adamas or a CS 4Max. Both were pricy for a knife to use hard IMO, so I figured I would try a limited edition S35VN in satin from a Canadian retailer for around $100USD.

    Great knife. Liked it so much I added an XHP serrated Recon 1, an American Lawman in XHP and a Rajah III in BD1.

    The Tri-Ad lock IS fantastic and even though I don’t plan to put my Recons in a vice and hang a dead cow from them (chopping meat boots does hold a certain allure for me though :rolleyes:) but I have absolutely zero worries about the lock failing.

    The Italian made mini Steel Will Gekko is another knife I didn’t have on my radar until I went to a B&M store while on business to buy a BM Crooked River. I couldn’t put the Steel Will down and left with it over the BM. Best fit and finish I have seen on a <$500 knife and I think I paid around $150USD. Amazing action and ergonomics.:thumbsup:
    Kaizen1 likes this.
  18. 007Airman


    Dec 23, 2018
    Cold steel recon scout in Sanmai with custom g10 handle. Once I had it in my hand it became an extension of my arm, perfect fixed blade in every way. Never was a fan of CS before I knew of ichiro hattori.
    Kaizen1 likes this.
  19. lieferung

    lieferung Basic Member Basic Member

    May 24, 2016
    Spydiechef. It looked ugly and too big for me. But I noticed it's handle looked slightly like the Kershaw Link, which I find to be comfortable. I got it and instantly loved the slim frame, it disappeared in my pocket. A bit of oil and some flipping time to wear out the minor lockstick, and I had my unexpected new favorite EDC.
    Kaizen1 likes this.
  20. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    i expected to like the Keen, but not so much that I’d buy two and irritate everyone around me by talking about it incessantly.

    Also, my bad.

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