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Review request: Stiff Kiss and Mirage


Feb 26, 1999
I need a "beater" class of knife for general chores and what not. This is going to be a knife or knives that will be used hard for around the yard and house. I want something fairly decent, but at the same time I don't want to be out 100.00 if I leave it out in the yard over the winter.
You mention the Stiff Kiss. It is a bit small for an all-purpose knife.It is really great as a steak knife and for light cutting chores.

I think it would be great as a hide-out as you could do some serious damage with it in a hurry.

Probably it is not an ideal outside-chore knife. I cant see it handling a lot of abuse
but I could be wrong.

I think your money's best on the Mirage. Think of it this way - the Mirage is in the same price class as Zytel handled folders (e.g. Spyderco Endura, Cold Steel Voyagers, et. al.) Though the Mirage has Zytel scales, it is a sturdy linerlock® knife with steel liners and microscrew construction. But I don't know how the AUS-6 steel of the Mirage will hold up to, say, Spydie's ATS-55 which is used on the Endura. ATS-55 will probably outperform since it's very similar to ATS-34 in performance. In closing, the Mirage offers a much more solid feeling knife thanks to the steel liners, but then it weighs more than the Zytel models. Hope this info helps!
Well I ended up getting both the Stiff KISS and the smaller Mirage. I will let you know how they work out. So far I'm very impressed with the Mirage, and I have been having a ball wearing the KISS around my neck. they are both a good deal for the money IMHO, but I think the Benchmade Panther is a little better design, but since they are discontinued, the Mirage may be a good replacement.
Can you update us on your opinion since you've had some time to live with these two knives, now.

For a "beater" knife - yard work and such, it's hard to beat the Frosts of Sweden line in the $9 to $15 range for a working knife with a comfortable molded plastic handle, a 4" carbon steel or stainless (Sandvik 12C27) blade and an esthetically challenged molded plastic sheath. One of them is the official Swedish Army issue utility knife. The blue-handled stainless models are very popular among commercial fishermen.

As for the CRKT models under discussion, they are proving that Taiwanese factories can indeed produce a good product without a microchip. Good attention to detail. Now, if CRKT would make them in AUS8A or maybe ATS34, for a few bucks more, they'd be downright dangerous competition. I like the Stiff KISS as a portable steak knife (for right-handed use), and the bare steel handle, with its three holes and a slot, is a handy place to install some fancy hardwood.



Hello (James Mattis)

I really liked how you modified the stiff kiss.
I have the other kiss model.

Where and and how much was the handle?

James is a talented knife-finisher, I've admired his excellent finishing work on Bob Engnath's blades for years. I don't think James ever grinds, just puts the handles on and hand-rubs the finish if necessary. Is that right James?


Your modified Stiff KISS looks cool.
Are you producing these or was it a one off?


That is a sweet looking Stiff Kiss. How does it feel? Good balance? Should fill the hand better. Thanks for posting the photo!