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Discussion Starter #1
... or the third best for self defense? I'm asking because the Emerson Commander CQC-7 seems to be the consensus choice for first best, but I can't find one for less that $120. That price is about double my budget.

Yeah, I know some will say $120 isn't that much when your life is at stake, but reality is such that we make compromises every day. My reality is that my budget doesn't allow it.

Is there a worthy contender among the tactical folders that costs about $60? I'm looking for something with a 3" - 4" blade.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Have you examined and operated the different blades you are considering? When I operate the many folders that are within my grasp, I can tell the difference. No sales pitch, just honesty. I can tell the difference. On a tight budget, Kershaw and CRKT make good tools. But, I swear, there is a difference. Go spend some time with a Benchmade or two. That Axis lock system is a real gem. Just get out, and carefully examine and operate as many of them as you can. I think you'll find the decision a little easier than you may have originally thought.

Be well!
 

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Thanks, Dubb-1.

Can you help me narrow down my choices with Benchmade? They offer a lot of different models, and I find their naming system confusing (I don't see any connection betwenn the names and the knives).
 

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http://www.benchmade.com/products/product_list.asp?page=1&class=Blue

I carry the 705, among others. My wife prefers the 2550. The line up is large enough to cause a bit of confusion. The handles are made of different materials. For example, mine is made up of a layers of resin soaked fiberglass, my wife's is aluminum. There are enough different choices, that even if we spent all night, you'd still need to try them yourself.

Damian
 

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Look at the Benchmade Griptilians. They are in your price range and with the Axis lock mechanism you get a superior knife. Mine was $58 and worth every cent. Then start saving for a Strider:D
 

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Friend, I paid $70 out the door for my Griptillian and it is hands-down the best "fighting folder" I've ever owned. Yea, I looked into Emerson, even bought my brother a Commander for Christmas one year, but the liner lock and their attitude didn't sit well with me.

The majority of Benchmade knives come with a clip you can move to suit your mounting needs, and that axis lock is brilliant. I like a truly ambidextrous knife and that's what BM offers.

You could try one of the Columbia River Knife/Tool knives, but the liner locks scare me. I had one fail and even though they replaced the knife without hesitation or quibbling, I was never confident in the system after that initial exposure. Their M16/13LE really fit my hand well and I love the positive finger stop of the Carson Flipper feature, but....

Overall, those are my two choices, with Benchmade taking the lead by a considerable margin.
 

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The Benchmade 806D2 may not be second best. New Graham has them for $106+. The BM 710 isn't bad either.

http://www.newgraham.com/benchmad.htm

Take a look at their site. They may have something you would like. I've found them to fast, accurate and friendly in mail order sales.

I think Brownie is on this forum. Ask him about the "Brownie Pop". You can get the BM806D2 open really fast.

If you don't mind something a little smaller check out the BM 941. It can also be very fast.

Knowing what to do before and after you open your knife helps too.

Good luck,
Rich
 

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750SBT, Full size ATFK, 910SBT to name a few.
 

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WhyteP38 :

I don't belive the Commander cqc-7 is the number one tactical folder to begin with.

Many issues with linerlock failures over the years and continuing too often even today. Thats not what I consider #1 in anything.

Your question is subjective and will get subjective answers based on peoples preferences.

Myself, I would not own an Emerson and I see a lot of knives across my desk either through sales or sharpening them for others.

If the commander is the #1 choice by the majority, I'd like to hear why.

Brownie
 

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I agree with Brownie(Though I seem to recall he used to Rave about the Cqc7).. I have owned both the Cqc7, and then the commander as a replacement when I lost the cqc. and the quality just isnt there.. They are comfortable, in my hand, and I love the lil hook that opens the knives, but my commander needed alot of work to the lock to function properly, and the liners were as sarp as the blade.. after striping, fileing and refitting it does work well, but I carry one of my benchmades daily, and leave the commander at home to show and amuse friends. The benchmades prices range from much cheaper to emmerson, to even above emmerson commanders I mostly carry my Benchmade Elishewitz Ares Model 730S.. go to a store and hold and operate them all, then choose whats most comfortable.
 

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Aronj :

Yes sir, a few years ago, I did state the cqc-7's were rugged hard use knives, which they were.

Then we got to seeing all the problems with them when orders came in for customers similiar to your description above.

They may have corrected the issues from years past with the liners releasing but even if that is the case today, I will not order an Emerson for a customer and then take the chance it has to go back to the factory NIB to be repaired.

I no longer recommend the Emerson commanders. It seemed their other products did not suffer as much or at all from the malady with the commanders and I'll order knives other than that model for customers at this time.

Brownie
 

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I'll put in for the inexpensive, yet beefy CRKT copy of the Crawford KFF. Designed by Kaspar, and has many features that a fighting folder can use. Yes, it's not great steel, but you don't use it for cutting as a utility blade. Keep it sharp, and don't use it till it's needed for defensive use. Practice with another one, they're inexpensive enough.
EricO
 

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Number One Tactical Folder???

In the semi-custom production world, I have yet to find a better knife than the MercWorx Three Fates. There is currently a 4-month wait when you order one. They are the dreaded "liner-lock" variety, but you aren't going to get one to fail! :D

I think the Emerson's are great knives, but they're not in this league.

MercWorx Three Fates Tactical Folders
 

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I also didn't like my CQC7 or the Mach I (II? can't remember) and so traded them off to someone who did.

I'm a big fan of the Kasper/Crawford and find it near perfect. I particularly like the positive grip and it is one of the better designs to keep your hand on the grip.

 

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2nd best Tactical Folder

I really LOVE my Emerson SOFCK, but like my other Emerson (raven), the clip came loose and I just can't get it to stay put. Also, I realized too late that a screw inside the liners was protruding just enough to mar up the black finish on the blade.

I've never really liked the cqc-7, I know it's blasphemy, but it never felt secure in my hand.

Back to the original question:
Benchmade Stryker (now discontinued)
Benchmade Ares
Benchmade AFCK
Spyderco Lil' Temperance
CRKT M1

I've been rotating between the last two lately (my newest knives). I'm really impressed with the price/perf ratio of the M1, but this thing is wide & HEAVY.

I've been looking at a friend's Griptillian and it will probably be my next purchase. A trainer is available for that one.
 

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I know I am not a frequent visitor here, Brownie is in this role, since my knowledge with knives is not so extensive, but for what it is worth, here is my opinion:

Stay away from CQC7. Too many problems, you can read about them in Folders-R-Us.ORG. Even the new one that Emerson send me to replace my original one, has a problem, the blade not being parallel to the liners when closed (I know this is not a big issue, but if a factory produced knife can be perfect, I would expect a semi-custom to be too).

For less than 100$, the Benchmade Griptilian is an excellent knife. I just got one before Christmas, and for the time being, I like it a lot.

Rgds
 

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I'm partial to my Benchmade AFCK, although I would like to hear a little more about liner lock failures, please. ==Bob
 
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