We all live different lives and participate in different activities, so it stands to reason that we have different needs when it comes to our daily carry knives. Whether you’re an avid outdoorsman, a trained combative, a cop on the beat or just the average guy at work or home, there’s something for everyone in this issue’s selection of 4 purpose-built EDC blades.
4 Purpose-Built EDC Blades to Choose From
Whether you’re focused on finding a fighting knife, a blade with the latest premium components or just something different from the rest of the pack, these companies are sure to have something you want or need. It’s all about finding the right tool for the job and the right knife you can integrate into your daily life. From old-school charm to the latest tactical offering, no matter what you choose, you’ll find sleek lines, clean grinds and performance that will last a lifetime.
One of the latest marvels in Benchmade’s Black Class line of knives is the new Mediator push-button automatic. Though very similar in form and size to the 9400 Auto Osborne, the Mediator has a few distinguishing characteristics that sets it apart.
First, it houses a blade made of the much-lauded CPM-S90V super steel. S90V is a particle-metallurgy steel that has a reputation for its corrosion resistance and edge retention, though it takes a little extra time to maintain.
Another difference is the use of highly textured G10 for the handle material. G10 is a grippy material that excels in tactical applications, and the added texturing makes it perform even better under adverse conditions. Finally, the Mediator offers a manual safety to prevent accidental deployment, though the push-button is recessed nicely to guard against that happening. The safety also works when the blade is open to prevent an inadvertent collapse.
The Mediator sports essentially the same reverse tanto tip profile as the Auto Osborne, making it an ideal choice for piercing thrusts. The grind on the Mediator is not as high as the Osborne, featuring instead more of a saber-style grind. This gives some advantage to the Osborne for slicing but retains extra blade material for additional strength.
Carry and Fit & Finish
The deep-carry, tip-up clip offers better concealment. The clip is reversible with pilot holes on the opposite side of the frame, though lefties will need to orient themselves to using an index finger for the push-button rather than a thumb. A hole is also available for your favorite lanyard to improve ease of retrieval from a pocket.
The blade on the Mediator centers nicely and locks solidly into place, and the action is extremely snappy. The grind concluded to a very clean edge finish that was hair-popping sharp out of the box. Of course, Benchmade offers its lifetime sharpening service for its customers as well.
All in all, the Mediator handled and performed well. The controls were easy to access and engage, and with its lightweight construction it carried quite easily. It’s the perfect blend of high-performance materials that bridges the gap between a full-blown tactical blade and the essential EDC folder. (benchmade.com)
Dawson Knives Snakebite
For hard work in the field or around the shop, sometimes the best EDC knife is a fixed-blade. And being built for hard use doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful as well. Dawson Knives is now offering the company’s Snakebite EDC knife with Marble Carbon Fiber grip scales and the company’s Arizona Copper finish.
For such a compact blade, there’s a lot of work and thought that goes into the production of each Snakebite. Made from CPM-3V steel, the full-tang knife features a modified sheep’s foot blade profile that not only provides a lot of belly for cutting, but also offers excellent control with extremely comfortable jimping on the spine. CPM-3V is another powder-metallurgy steel that is known for its strength and toughness.
CPM-3V can take abuse that would wreck other blades, yet it still offers excellent edge retention as well. The folks at Dawson Knives improve upon that performance by utilizing a differential heat treatment with the CPM-3V. This results in one part of the blade being harder than the other, and it creates a hamon, like can be found on older Japanese blades.
The Marble Carbon Fiber grip scales are fairly thick for such a small blade, but with their superb 3-D contouring they are extremely comfortable and provide a solid purchase on the knife to do that hard work. The grip scales are polished and notched by hand for an elegant appearance that is contrasted beautifully by the Arizona Copper blade finish. A proprietary heat-treat process brings out the color of the steel, creating the copper tone. They apply a clear Cerakote layer to the blade, to protect against corrosion, once the toning is complete. The toning is different for each individual knife.
Designed For Hard Use
The Snakebite I received had a very high flat grind with a little extra meat left at the spine for extra strength and hard work. The blade also featured a generous choil for such a compact knife, allowing the user to choke up a bit for finer detail work. I really enjoyed the oversized grip that made the Snakebite easily the most comfortable, small fixed-blade knife I have worked with in a very long time.
The Snakebite ships with a Kydex pocket sheath that includes an integral flap/clip that keeps the knife positioned for easy access. For its very reasonable selling price, the user gets the best of both worlds—a knife built for tough jobs but that looks like it belongs in a display case. It’s the tank-tough EDC option for those times when a folder just won’t get the job done. (dawsonknives.com)
MKM Malga 6
Even traditionalists want the best in performance and aesthetics from their knives, and they often appreciate something that’s unique in its own right. MKM (Maniago Knife Makers) has answered their call with the new Malga 6 folder. Taking the concept of a Swiss Army Knife one step further, MKM utilizes premium materials to elevate this class of slipjoint knives.
The hero of the Malga 6 story is the main blade, which is 2.6 inches long and constructed from Bohler’s M390 steel. Another popular super steel, M390 has a reputation for its extreme edge-holding capabilities as well as its resistance to corrosion. Though it’s a little harder to maintain, once you’ve got the edge you want, it’s going to last for quite a while. That’s a quality that can come in quite handy out in the field.
The Malga 6 offers 5 other tools—apart from the blade—that are crafted from 420 stainless steel for tough use and resistance to the elements. One tool is the combination flathead screwdriver/bottle opener, and the others are a can opener, reamer, a corkscrew and, interestingly enough, a fork. All tools, including the blade, receive a stonewash finish that gives a rustic appeal to the Malga 6.
Not Your Typical SAK
Another departure from the typical SAK-style knives is the use of Micarta for the grip slabs. Where polymer or metal slabs can often get slick in wet conditions, Micarta offers excellent traction for the grip, and it looks good, too. The Malga 6 currently comes with natural Micarta and green Micarta slabs.
Overall, the fit and finish of the Malga 6 is very good. The grind on the main blade is extremely clean and the edge is literally hair-shaving sharp. The only weak points I could find was the walk and talk of a couple of the tools. The fork and the main blade had good spring tension and locked up positively. The other tools were a little soft in their action and the “talk” was a little anemic.
To add to the Malga 6’s rustic appeal, MKM sent along an attractive, supple leather pocket sheath to help protect the little folder. The sheath includes a flap that can act as a belt loop and attaches to the sheath via enclosed magnets. It’s a nice little combo kit for the cutlery fan looking to step up from a standard SAK. The Malga 6 is a unique blend of latest-gen materials with old-world style and it’s definitely worth a look for those that want top-tier components while still keeping things simple. (mkm.it)
Bastinelli Creations Chopper
For those who like their knives to be a little more action oriented and who have the skills to put it to good use, Bastinelli Creations has just offered up a sleek and sexy fixed-blade fighter called the Chopper. Sized for easy concealed carry, the Chopper is a completely different knife than I imagined when I heard the name.
With a trailing-point blade profile, the Chopper features a 3.5-inch blade with lots of belly for slashing cuts. Featuring a full flat grind, the razor-sharp blade balances nicely and is quite nimble in the hand. The Chopper is another knife constructed from Bohler’s M390 steel, which gives it a superb edge-holding ability. Though M390 is very corrosion resistant, the blade features a black PVD finish for a more tactical look.
The Chopper’s black, G10 grip slabs fit comfortably with either a standard hold or a reverse grip depending on the user’s fighting style. The grip/handle is fairly thin, just 0.52 inches wide, making concealment fairly easy. I’ve tried similarly shaped knives in the past that were too bulky in the grip area and that did not tuck away so easily.
High End Mid Tech
The Chopper ships in one of the nicest presentation-style boxes I’ve seen, especially in its price range. It also ships with a Kydex sheath with an affixed loop that makes it especially handy for IWB carry.
Bastinelli Creations does different levels of production from full customs to what they call their “Industrial” line where manufacturers like Reate Knives, Lionsteel or Fox Knives do runs of specified designs. The Chopper is somewhere in between. It is a med-tech knife that is made in the United States but still offers excellent value with its lower price point than a full custom blade. Currently, the Chopper retails for around $220.
I like this style of knife and, as mentioned, I’ve tried other models before from different companies. One was too thick and bulky to comfortably carry and the other suffered from poor material workmanship and a weak blade. The Chopper strikes the perfect balance between strength and concealability, and it does so in fine style with the maker’s keen eye for craftsmanship and detail. (bastinelliknives.com)
Specifications: BENCHMADE MEDIATOR
Blade Material: CPM-S90V
Open Length: 7.75 inches
Closed Length: 4.45 inches
Blade Length: 3.30 inches
Thickness: 0.115 inches
Blade Finish: Cerakote
Point: Reverse Tanto
Weight: 2.89 ounces
Operating System: Automatic
Handle Thickness: 0.52 inches
Specifications: DAWSON SNAKEBITE
Blade Material: CPM-3V
Overall Length: 6.75 inches
Blade Length: 3 inches
Thickness: 0.14 inches
Blade Finish: Arizona Copper/clear Cerakote
Handle Material: Marble Carbon Fiber
Weight: 4 ounces (6 w/sheath)
Specifications: MKM MALGA 6
Blade Material: Bohler M390
Overall Length: 8.62 inches
Blade Length: 2.64 inches
Thickness: 0.10 inches
Blade Finish: Stone washed
Locking System: Slipjoint
Handle Material: Micarta
Weight: 2.79 ounces
MSRP: $130, knife; $30, sheath
Specifications: BASTINELLI CHOPPER
Blade Material: M390
Overall Length: 8 inches
Blade Length: 3.5 inches
Thickness: 0.137 inches
Blade Finish: Black PVD
Handle Material: 3D Black G10
Weight: 2.5 ounces
This article was originally published in the Ballistic Magazine Feb/March 2021 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email [email protected]
4 EDC Blades, Purpose-Built to Bookend the Sharp Spectrum – Ballistic Magazine is written by Garrett Lucas for www.ballisticmag.com