Everyone warned us that it was going to be crazy, including KnifeCenter’s Jason Kunkler who described it as “always insane,” but nothing could have prepared us for the scale and scope of SHOT Show. Though the Sands Expo Center is enormous, it was difficult just to move around the hall. People were packed together like bullets in a magazine, and day 2 promises to be just as crowded as the first.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the NewsFeed, you may not have seen all the new knives from Kizer this year. We were almost overwhelmed by the sheer number of new blades they brought, including a few prototypes not yet in production. To manage all these new products, Kizer has reorganized their product line for 2016. They now offer dozens of new knives, each belonging to one of 3 product lines: BladeSmith, Vanguard, or Prime. BladeSmith represents Kizer’s collaboration with custom knifemakers from around the world, Vanguard is a new budget-friendly line, and Prime will cover their in-house designs. Kizer has been growing quickly since they emerged a few years ago. With their new line-up, 2016 may be the year they breakthrough as one of the top knife brands in the industry.
Visiting the Benchmade booth was a total pleasure – even though we already knew the new knives they would be bringing, seeing and holding the knives in person exceeded our expectations. Their 2016 lineup seems to be pushing them out of their comfort zone with a number of new blades including several flippers like the Proxy designed by the late Warren Osborne. The Crooked River folder stood out – in addition to its classic good looks, Benchmade says that the particular construction of its lock makes it one of the strongest AXIS-lock folders they’ve ever produced.
We also visited the two largest multi-tool manufacturers in the world: Victorinox and Leatherman, who each had a few new offerings. Leatherman will be offering a bright orange variation of their popular Skeletool, made specifically for first responders with a fully-serrated main blade and carbide glass-breaker bit attachment. Victorinox added a new member to their iconic Swiss Army folder family called the Walker, and also announced a partnership with Wounded Warrior Project. Victorinox have pledged a $100,000 minimum donation to WWP, funded through a percentage of sales from eight co-branded Swiss Army knives sold this year.