Five Great Knives You Should Try Before You Buy

5 Knives to try

There are a lot of great knives in the world, but very few that are great for everybody. Research can help you determine if a particular knife is right for you. That could mean a visit to your local knife store – if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby. Or you could try borrowing a knife from a friend for some hands-on time. It could be as simple as not relying on the first review you come across. But you can save yourself some serious heartache by getting to know the knife you want before hitting that ‘Confirm Purchase’ button.

Here are five popular knives that illustrate the importance of trying before buying. All of these blades are excellent, but have features or design elements that may limit their appeal for some buyers.

Zero Tolerance 0562
The 0562 embodies Rick Hinderer’s style, and won many fans with its hard-use construction. Multiple finger grooves lock your hand in place in a forced grip. If the grooves don’t fit your hand, you’re going to be the owner of an uncomfortable $200+ knife, so it’s worth getting a hold of a 0562 before pulling the trigger.

ZT 0562

Emerson CQC-7
Nobody in the production world makes blades quite like Emerson Knives. The aggressive style, roughly-textured G-10, and of course the Wave and infamous chisel-ground blades guarantee these tactical tools are unlike anything else you own. For most collectors an Emerson CQC-7 is a mandatory purchase, but if you’re casting for the part of a everyday carry companion it’s a good idea to get one in hand ahead of time. This is a very different beast than other modern folders.

Emerson CQC-7

Benchmade Crooked River
A stunning blend of modern materials and traditional looks, the Crooked River is a category killer in the outdoors space. If you’re in need of a reliable, robust outdoor folding knife, the Crooked River should be on your shortlist. On the other hand, it’s a huge folder, with a 4-inch blade and an overall length north of nine inches. It’s hard to appreciate just how big it is until you see it for yourself.

Benchmade Crooked River


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Leatherman Wave
There comes a time in every knife guy’s life when he considers EDCing a multitool. A knife plus a bunch of other handy tools – what could go wrong? The Wave is one of Leatherman’s most popular models, and one that many gravitate to when looking for a possible EDC. But the Wave is heavier than all but the most extreme folding knives, which is why there’s a better chance it will end up in your glovebox than on your belt.

Leatherman Wave

Extrema Ratio T-Razor
Extrema Ratio struck a chord with the T-Razor. The idea of carrying around a modern, tactical straight razor has an irresistible appeal. But you make some compromises in exchange for that ‘wow’ factor. The T-Razor doesn’t have a pocket clip and the true straight edge razor blade shape, while great for shaving, may be less ideal for daily tasks. The extended friction folder-style tang can also complicate carry. A great collectible, but will you actually use it?

Extrema Ratio T-Razor


Knife featured in image: Emerson CQC-7

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