BEST KNIFE UPGRADE 2016: Meet the Contenders

Presented by: Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpeners

The KnifeNews Dealers’ Choice Awards recognize extraordinary achievement in the production knife world. KnifeNews turned to knife dealers to determine the winners. With hundreds of new production knives passing through their hands and many hours spent interacting with end-users, dealers have the most comprehensive and informed perspective. 21 of North America’s top dealers cast their votes in 10 different categories to choose the best of the best in 2016.

Best Knife Upgrade
A knife upgrade can take many different forms. It can mean a change in steel or handle material and even new features. Upgraded knives don’t always replace the original, either. Sometimes they simply give users another variation suited to more specialized needs. Knife companies are always tweaking popular designs in response to customer feedback, and in 2016 this resulted in some great new options.

In alphabetical order, here are the five new knife upgrades that garnered the most votes. Visit tomorrow to find out which one is taking home the KnifeNews Dealers’ Choice Award for Best Knife Upgrade 2016.

Benchmade G-10 Griptilian
This year, Benchmade gave fans what they’d been asking for. But this upgrade went beyond handle material. Benchmade gave the new G-10 Grips upgraded CPM-20CV steel, open pillar construction, and a great deep carry pocket clip, making it feel like a brand new knife.

Benchmade G-10 Griptilian

Bradford Guardian 3 3D
Bradford’s Guardian 3 offered expanded handle options this year with the 3D variants. By implementing three dimensional, contoured scales, Bradford augmented the ergonomic qualities of the Guardian 3 and further expanded the audience for this already popular model.

Bradford Guardian 3 3D

Spyderco Blue S110V Paramilitary 2
S110V is near the top of the super steel pack, promising extreme wear and corrosion resistance. Spyderco’s decision to implement the steel on their most sought after model was a home run.

Spyderco PM2 S110V

Victorinox Pioneer X
SAK aficionados relished the Pioneer X from the moment it debuted in March. Until this release, the only way to get scissors on the popular Pioneer model was to take it to a SAK chop shop. Now it comes straight from Victorinox with a more complete tool complement for everyday use.

Victorinox Pioneer X

Zero Tolerance 0450CF
The standard all-Ti ZT0450 was already a slim, light knife, but the carbon fiber version manages to trim off another half ounce. The ZT0450CF weighs just 2.45 oz., and the DLC-coated blade complements the new CF show side scale perfectly.

ZT 0450CF


Best New Tactical Fixed Blade:
Top 4 Contenders
CRKT Clever Girl (WINNER)
Friday, November 11th

Best New Outdoor Fixed Blade:
Top 4 Contenders
Mora Garberg (WINNER)
Saturday, November 12th

Best New Fixed Blade for EDC:
Top 4 Contenders
Sunday, November 13th

Best Knife Upgrade:
Top 5 Contenders
Benchmade G-10 Griptilian (WINNER)
Monday, November 14th

Best New Automatic Knife:
Top 4 Contenders
Kershaw Launch 6 (WINNER)
Tuesday, November 15th

Best New Assisted-Opening Folder:
Top 4 Contenders
Benchmade 490 Amicus (WINNER)
Wednesday, November 16th

Best New Value Folder (MSRP under $100):
Top 4 Contenders
Cold Steel Pro-Lite (WINNER)
Thursday, November 17th

Best New Manual Folder:
Top 5 Contenders
Zero Tolerance 0456 (WINNER)
Friday, November 18th

Most Innovative New Knife:
Top 3 Contenders
CRKT Homefront (WINNER)
Saturday, November 19th

Best Overall New for 2016 Lineup:
Top 5 Contenders

Benchmade Knife Company (WINNER)
Sunday, November 20th