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Elwood Shelton

Case Knives: Bevy Of New Knife Drops For The New Year

Case Knives is celebrating its 135th year with some top-notch new knives.

Creeping up on a century and a half of knifemaking, Case seems to feel its oats still. Or, that’s the way it seemed from the prolific 135-year-old Pennsylvania manufacturer’s recent releases at the 2024 SHOT Show, held in January in Las Vegas. The company had a full-court press of drops at the gun and outdoor gear hoedown, with a bevy of new lines, releases, collabs and model iterations. This should prove sweet music to the army of the brand’s collectors.

There isn’t space enough to cover every whipstitch of what Case is bringing to the table in 2024, but we’ll take a gander at some of the company’s weightier introductions for the coming year. There’s a little bit of everything for case fans out there, from classic patterns with new twists to brand-new knives that strike original ground.

Bridgeline Series

Not wandering too far off the beaten path, Case’s newest series of knives offers some nice updates for users seeking a modern knife. At the vanguard of the line are the Highbanks and Longhouse, both of which should prove excellent everyday carry options with the chops to handle most tasks thrown in front of them. Each features aluminum frames and bolsters, screw construction, ball bearing pivots, deep-carry pocket clips and CPM-20CV steel blades.

Case isn’t shying from the use of powdered steel for its blades, and the choice in these knives offers up a premium option used in a number of higher-end production knives. It’s similar to D2 and other tool steels—respectable toughnesss and edge retention—but with the added benefit of improved corrosion resistance.

Highbanks

Case Highbanks

Certainly a break from the tried and true, the Highbanks veers to the more traditional in the Bridgeline Series. Namely, because the knife is a non-locking folder bosting a nail nick and a Wharncliffe blade. Still, with the high-performance blade steel and the choice of Micartia or hardwood grips, this certainly isn’t your granddad’s jackknife. I particularly like the handle ergonomics of the Highbanks, tapering nicely to the blade and fitting the hand just right. Spoiler… so does the Longhouse.

Longhouse

Case Longhouse 2

Here we see Case move its design a bit more forward with the flipper Longhouse. The liner lock boasts plenty of blade, a clip-point profile with a beef spine that should help the knife stand up to any job put in front of it. However, the hand mimics the Highbanks, giving the knife a timeless look I’d wager many Case fans will appreciate.

Chris Taylor Hunters

Teaming up with renowned custom knifemaker Chris Taylor, Case has cooked up an intriguing hunting-knife collection. This year, the partnership unveils three unique fixed blades, each a fairly unique take on the must-have outdoor implement.

CT1

Case CT1

Crafted to exude rugged dependability, the CT1 showcases a top-tier Nitro V steel Clip-point blade. Known for its outstanding edge retention, corrosion resistance, and easy maintenance, Nitro V steel ensures that your knife remains ready and reliable whenever and wherever you require it. Case gives the knife an OD green burlap Micara handle, a plus for a hard-use knife that will likely be used in inclement weather. The CT1 also boasts aggressive jimping on its spine, so you have a solid contact point on more forceful cuts.

CT2

Case CT2

Cutting a much sleeker profile, the CT2 has the most modern feel among the CT hunters. Built around a resilient S35VN steel drop point blade, the knife doesn’t offer as much belly as the others in the line. But with a defined point, should prove at pro at perforation. The carbon-fiber handle is a nice touch, adding to the CT2’s modern looks, and proves very ergonomic and nimble in the hand.

CT3

Case CT3

Tailored for the wilderness, the CT3 has more of a traditional hunter profile. Constructed from premium 1095 carbon steel, its specialized coated skinner blade boasts razor-sharpness, facilitating precision cuts and providing a sharpening advantage compared to many other steels. Outfitted with a hunter orange handle, the nice part about the CT3 is it will be difficult to lose in the woods.

Razor

Case Razor

Case is commemorating its 135-year legacy by dusting off a real classic eye-catcher—the Razor. Reintroduced from the Case XX Vault, the knife is available in two patterns: a single-bladed version featuring a broad Clip blade with a distinctively curved tip, and a two-bladed variant with an additional Pen blade. Available in over a dozen handle styles, such as Smooth Abalone, Micarta, Smooth Brown Maple Burl Wood, and Sawcut Jig Caribbean Blue Bone, the Razor is a great Case throwback and a fantastic knife for the company to pay homage to its rich history.

Check Out Our Knife Reviews:

Tactical P.A.S.S. Com: Condor Knows When To Fold ‘Em

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Fixed-blade focused Condor continues to branch out Tactical P.A.S.S. Com folder.

Condor Knife & Tool came heavy into SHOT Show 2024 with a bevy of new blades and variations. The company’s fans should be excited about the coming year. That said, one particular knife jumped — the Tactical P.A.S.S. Com.

Those who follow Condor know its bread and butter are fixed blades, usually the type fit to slice through the El Salvadorian jungle—home base for the company. But the manufacturer continued to branch out with the Tactical P.A.S.S. Com, a folder (not its first, mind you) that makes for an interesting break in Condor’s same old, same old. Trust me, you might be able to tuck it away in your pocket, but it’s every bit up to the company’s rugged standards.

Tactical P.A.S.S. Com open

Designed by Jason Breeden, who has conjured up a bevy of designs for Condor, the Tactical P.A.S.S. Com is modeled after an icon—Bob Loveless’ Chute knife. As an aside, Mike Haskew did a phenomenal piece on the development of this classic in his article on the original Chute knife. Breeden appears to have an affinity for the design, having created a more true-to-form fixed-blade rendition of it previously. The folder marks the continued expansion of Condor’s popular Mountain P.A.S.S. (Plain And Simple Survival) line, which has grown significantly in the past year.

In brief, the knife looks to have the chops for tough outdoor use, as is the typical theme at Condor. Tactical P.A.S.S. Com boasts a 4.96-inch, drop-point blade constructed from 14C28N stainless steel. This is a budget stainless, but one not without its charms, particularly its respectable edge retention and toughness. And at .12 inches in thickness, Condor gives you plenty of material to work with on the flat-ground blade, particularly if called into play on more demanding tasks, such as batoning. I’ll say, the false edge is a nice touch, giving the blade an overall clean, yet rugged look tapering back into the hammer finish around the thumb studs.

As for the handle, it’s a tan Micarta with some milling down the midline and a single-finger groove to provide a comfortable yet firm grip. The liner lock’s stainless screws give the handle strong, if understated aesthetics, not to mention easy access if you need to crack baby open to clean.

Tactical P.A.S.S. Com closed

While Condor pulls off a strong showing with the Tactical P.A.S.S. Com, I do have one nit to pick. The company opted for a spine-side, extended clip, which from my standpoint isn’t the most practical configuration. But with everything else the knife brings to the table, it’s far from a deal breaker for those who prefer a more traditional clip arrangement.

As for costs, Condor as usual keeps its edge but puts the Tactical P.A.S.S. Com within reach of most knife consumers. The company lists its MSPR at $150 at its site and has it on sale for less. Overall, the folder is a nice addition to a catalog of fixed blades and certainly seems on par with Condor’s ready-and-rugged standards.

Tactical P.A.S.S. Com Specs
BLADE LENGTH: 4.96 in
OAL: 9.66 in
BLADE THICKNESS: 0.12 in
WEIGHT: 7.27 oz
BLADE MATERIAL: 14C28N Stainless Steel
FINISH: Condor® Classic
GRIND: Flat Grind w/ Second Bevel
TYPE: Folding Knife
HANDLE MATERIAL: Micarta®
MSRP: $150

Check Out Our Knife Reviews:

First Look: GiantMouse Upsizes With The ACE Biblio XL

Is bigger better? GiantMouse is betting so with its first release of 2024. As it’s easy to surmise, the ACE Biblio XL is the big brother of the ACE Bibilio the company released a few years back, but not enlarged to asinine proportions.

My gander at the knife, it certainly hasn’t been up-proportioned to the point it isn’t a viable EDC option—especially for those who appreciate a larger blade. Yet, the modified Wharncliff’s larger dimensions have the potential to provide more utility for certain users. In my mind, the Biblio XL has a bit more advantage over the smaller original as a work knife or even in outdoor applications.

BiblioXL-GreenMicarta-Half Open

So exactly, how much bigger is the new variation than the original Biblio? Not much—a mere fraction of an inch. But the nearly half-inch GiantMouse has added gives the XL a blade length of 3.2 inches, plenty of cutting edge to tackle a fair range of jobs. As for the overall tale of the tape on the knife, its overall length is 7.6-inches open, 4.4-inches closed and 3.9 ounces in weight. As mentioned, definitely not an option that will weigh you down, nor feel like you’re toting a rock in your pocket.

The blade of the Italian-made knife comes in two steel options. On the Micarta-handed version, Elmax is the order of the day. On the titanium-handled model, Vanadis 4 is used. Both are high chromium-molybdenum-vanadium alloys, with good attributes for top-shelf EDC knives. As to the profile, the Wharncliffe has a bell to it, giving it better-slicing abilities than a knife that stuck to the traditional formula of this style of blade. Adding to this capability is a full flat grind.

BiblioXL-Titanium Open

Interestingly, GiantMouse integrates a fairly substantial choil into the Bibilio XL’s design, enough to use it as a leverage point on finer work. Additionally, the is understated jimping on the spin—just before the thumbhole—perhaps just enough to add more purchase when utilized, but not so much as to catch on clothing coming out of your pocket. As for action, a ball bearings pivot mechanism deploys the Bibilio’s blade quickly and very smoothly. Aiding in the opening are both a nicely textured kicker, as well as a thumb hold near the spine.

Finally the handle. As mentioned, there are two options—micarta and titanium—both well textured and proportioned to the hand. GiantMouse includes a wire pocket clip, situated for tip-up carry, but reversible making it friendly for righties and lefties. As for cost, the Micarta ACE Biblio comes in at $225, while the titanium model demands a premium of $285.

Read More On GiantMouse:

Bear & Son Cutlery Offers Up Two New EDC Folders

Bear & Son’s Mini Rancor IX and 778SR Sideliner come in at the right price for EDC performance.

Look at the calendar and it’s apparent the year is dwindling down to its final days. Yet, there are some knifemakers still as busy as ever, squeezing new models into the final days of 2023. Among these is Bear & Son Cutlery.

Earlier this month, the Jacksonville, Ala., manufacturer unveiled two new folders, each with the trappings of solid EDC options. The OPS Mini Rancor IX and 778SR Sideliner are both designed to provide everyday, at-hand performance. However, the knives go about offering this up in slightly different ways.

OPS Mini Rancor IX

Bear & Son Mini Rancor IX
Mini Rancor IX

No bigger than a minute, the drop point flipper is the smallest option in Bear & Son’s growing Rancor line. While its predecessors weren’t gargantuan by any stretch of the imagination, the Mini Rancor IX is sized much more practically for a day-to-day option and for lighter duty.

Bear outfits the knife with a 2.5-inch blade, for a package that measures in at a very nimble and usable 6 inches in overall length when deployed. The manufacturer opted for D2 stainless steel—a high carbon, high chromium alloy—a common option for higher-end production knives. The steel gives the blade excellent edge retention and wear resistance, plus the ability to easily get touched up when resharpening is required. Giving the stainless steel an extra layer of corrosion and stain resistance, Bear & Son applies a black finish.

The handle of the knife is Zytel—a thermoplastic from the nylon family—with jimping along the spine and along the lower front. Further enhancing the hold of the knife, Bear textures the grip with significant milling, which in the sand-colored handle gives it a dynamic look. The ergonomics appear comfortable and the tapered profile of the handle should give the user a supreme purchase on the knife.

Rounding the knife off is a slide lock—similar to an axis—with offers strong lockup, as well as a fast and safe ability to put the blade away. Also, with familiarity, the lock can also make deployment lightning fast. Adding to getting the blade into action are ambidextrous thumb studs and a kicker. The knife boasts a stainless steel insert to provide backbone and it comes outfitted with a deep carry, tip-up pocket clip.

Bear OPS Mini Rancor IX Specs:
Model Number: MC-900-DS7-B
Blade Material: D2 Tool Steel
Handle Material: Tan Zytel
Rockwell: 58-60
Closed Length: 3.62 inches
Locking Type: Slide Lock
Open Length: 6 inches
Edge Length: 2.30 inches
Weight: 1.60 ounces
Extras: Thumb Studs, pocket clip, stainless steel inserts, Lifetime Warranty
Origin: Jacksonville, Alabama
MSRP: $91

778SR Sideliner

A slightly larger option, the 778SR Sideliner nevertheless offers up a fairly tidy package for those looking for a budget knife. Catching the eye right off is the high-polished 3.25-inch, 440 stainless steel blade with a drop point profile. A quick note on the steel choice, it is softer than many other alloys but does—in general—provide a balanced package of edge retention and corrosion resistance. The tip comes to a very fine point, not only making it dexterous on fine-cutting jobs but also making it great at puncturing. Adding to its cutting prowess are aggressive serrations at the hind of the edge and terminating before the belly.

Again, Bear & Son opts for Zytel for the handle and gives it a pebble finish with some milling down the midline. Given its long and tapered shape, the thermoplastic should provide a comfortable grip and fit most hands fairly well. In its core, the liner lock has a stainless-steel liner, giving the knife a measure of overall ruggedness. Rounding out the package are both thumb studs and a kicker for deployment.

778SR Specs:
Model Number: 778SR
Blade Material: 440 Stainless Steel
Blade Shape: Drop Point
Handle Material: Black Zytel
Lock Type: Linerlock
Overall Length: 7-1/4 in.
Edge Length: 3-1/4 in.
Weight: 2.9 ounces
Extras: Stainless Steel Pocketknife, Thumb Studs, Torx Screws, Lifetime Warranty
Origin: Jacksonville, Alabama
MSRP: $45

Check Out Our Knife Reviews:

Spartan-Nemec Folder: Czech Design Delivers Tactical Sophistication

Collaboration between Spartan Blades and Ondřej Němec is sleek, slender and ready to serve.

Hard-use, tactical tools—Spartan Blades‘ designs are generally as conspicuous as a hand grenade in a sewing circle. That happens when the mucky muck has a Special Operations background.

But simply because the North Carolina concern favors brute superiority over frivolous aesthetics doesn’t mean it’s devoid of a sense of style. The freshly minted Spartan-Nemec Folder is more than proof.

Release in early December, the straight-back folder is a dashing addition to the Spartan Blade’s catalog. And while it appears more James Bond than Rambo, the knife offers up the same exceptional tactical performance for which Spartan is renowned.

Spartan-Nemec Design Background

For those who follow European knifemaking, the moniker of the new blade is a tip-off of its origins. Boasting a slightly Americanized play on Ondřej Němec’s surname, the knife is a collaboration with one of the Czech Republic’s premier designers. His company—Acta Non Verba Knives (ANV)—has become known for knives that have a desirable balance between modern lines and tactical practicality. Overall, his portfolio teams with clean design, with just enough swagger to catch the eye, without crossing over too gaudy. Which, in so many words, sums up the Nemec Folder.

Spartan-Nemec Folder Design Points

spartan-nemec-carbon-fiber
Spartan-Nemec with carbon-fiber handle.

Right off the tick, the Spartan-Nemec Folder grabs attention with its overall svelte design. Intentional, the 3.5-inch blade knife is meant to nearly disappear on the person and prove as unobtrusive as possible in carry. Along with its thin lines, Spartan and Němec have opted for lightweight scale materials, with the choice of titanium and carbon fiber. The scale is enhanced with attractive diagonal millwork—certain to improve the purchase of the knife.

The blade is S35VN, a well-rounded top-end stainless-steel, with a long drop-point profile and sporting the choice of finishes. Well, at least for the carbon-fiber model, which is offered with a tumbled or Black PVD blade. The titanium iteration is only available with a stone-washed blade.

The Nemec’s blade is deployed via an understated kicker, which blends in well with the rest of the design. Getting it into action is quick and smooth, thanks to a caged-bearing pivot system. Finishing off the package, a deep-carry wire clip (tip up), which makes the knife nearly disappear on person.

As for cost, the Spartan-Nemec folder falls in the toner end of production knives, with the carbon-fiber model boasting a $275 MSPR and the titanium a $295 MSRP.

Spartan-Nemec Folder Specs:
Designers: Ondřej Němec
Blade Length: 3.5”
Blade Thickness: 0.125”
Overall Length: 8”
Blade Steel: Premium CPM S35VN
Blade Hardness: 58-60 HRC
Blade Style: Folding-Straight Back-Flat ground
Blade Finish: Stone Washed (titanium); Tumbled or Black PVD (carbon fiber)
Frame: Liner Lock, Satin Titanium Finish with Black Hardware or Sculpted Carbon Fiber
Weight: 2.624 ounces (titanium); 1.984 ounces (carbon fiber)
MSRP: Titanium $295; Carbon Fiber $275

Check Out Our Knife Reviews:

CRKT Clever Girl And Stylus Drop In November

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Just in time for Christmas, CRKT adds a pair of sleek and stylish options.

Little surprise, CRKT’s insatiable march of designs continued in November with a couple of wickedly lithe designs.

The Clever Girl Fixed and Stylus most certainly cut different profiles from each other and seem different as night and day. However, the new release certainly mimics each other in their sleek and slender designs, with their nimbleness apparent even out of hand. Additionally, both are in time for the impending Yuletide season, making them both perfect additions under the tree.

Let’s take a look at what each of these new CRKT drops brings to the table.

Clever Girl Fixed

CRKT Clever Girl profile

This knife somewhat returns to its roots, taking the Clever Girl back to the fixed-blade configuration. However, the Austin McGlaun design has some new twists that keep the Persian-style trailing point fresh. In particular, partial serration of the blade.

These are a series of three large, scalloped Veff serrations (CRKT proprietary and created by professional sharpener Tom Veff) running near the midpoint of the 4.6-inch blade. This enhances the knife’s sawing power, particularly against materials such as rope or fabric—think seatbelts. But let’s face it, it also takes a pretty menacing original design and makes it look a dash more ominous.

The other change on the Clever Girl Fixed is the handle, with CRKT bidding adieu to black G-10 scales and replacing them with marbled blew G-10. Not a huge switch-up, but one adding a touch of flair to the knife, particularly when offset by the black powder-coat finish on the blade.

CRKT Clever Girl Blade

As to the finer points of the knife, the blade is made from SK-5 steel, providing a good balance between toughness and ruggedness. It comes with a molded Kydex sheath for ease of carry. And it the Clever Girl Fixed watches her weight, tipping the scales at a very nimble 6.3 ounces. CRKT lists the knife at $114 on the company’s website and a portion of every sale—as with every knife in Columbia River’s Forged By War collection—is donated to the Green Bret Foundation.

CRKT Stylus

CRKT Stylus Profile

A Ken Onion classic CRKT brought to the masses a few years back, the Stylus has proven a popular addition to the company’s catalog. Unable to leave well enough alone—lucky for knife nuts—CRKT has released an updated version of the classy and svelte, assisted-open. In particular, the new version of the Stylus offers several upgraded materials, including a titanium handle and powerful CPM S35VN blade steel. The handle is especially nice, accentuating the crisp lines of the knife, making the already clean and sleek design seem even more so

CRKT Stylus Blade

The updated Stylus offers the points that have made the flipper a favorite of many, such as an IKBS ball bearing pivot for a silky blade deployment, a thick locking bar to secure the frame-lock’s blade and an extremely low profile. At present, CRKT lists the new Stylus listed at $195 on the company’s website.

More On Fixed Blades:

2023 BLADE Show West Custom Knife Award Winners

See Who Took Top Honors In Salt Lake City For The 2023 BLADE Show West Custom Knife Awards.

BLADE Show West took place Oct.13-14, 2023, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was the show’s second year in Utah and drew custom makers, manufacturers and collectors from around the county and world.

It also drew an impressive cadre of entrants for the BLADE Show West Factory and Custom Knife Awards. For Factory Knives, awards were given in six categories, while the Custom Knives awarded nine categories.

The Custom section was evaluated by a panel of undisclosed industry experts who judged the blades on a number of factors, including utility, design, creativity, materials and other traits.

BLADE Show West Custom Knife Awards

Best In Show & Best Slip Joint: ESNYX Knives

Best Slip Joint: ESNYX Knives

Best Folder: Rhidian Knives

Best Folder: Rhidian Knives

Best Damascus: Apple Valley Forge

Best Damascus: Apple Valley Forge

Best Kitchen Knife: Apple Valley Forge

Best Kitchen Knife: Apple Valley Forge

Best Fixed Blade: Shane Atwood

Best Fixed Blade: Shane Atwood

Best Hunter: Ramm Bladesmithing

Best Hunter: Ramm Bladesmithing

Best M.A.C.K.: Heretic Pariah

Best M.A.C.K.: Heretic Pariah

Best Of The Rest: Jared Williams

Best Of The Rest: Jared Williams

See Past 2023 Factory Knife Of The Year® Awards Winners:

  • 2022 Factory Knife Of The Year Award Winners
  • 2021 BLADE Show Knife-Of-The-Year® Award Winners & Custom Knife Award Winners
  • 2019 Knife of the Year® Award Winners & Custom Knife Award Winners
  • 2018 Knife of the Year® Award Winners & Custom Knife Award Winners
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