Emerson fans are no stranger to the Commander. It’s one of Emerson’s (EKI’s) original designs and is among their most popular models to this day. So it would seem like a no-brainer to take this classic knife and come out with a mini version, and the Super Commander shown here. Having owned this one for a while now I can say that this knife not only has all the things that made the original Commander so desirable, but a lot more.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Super Commander has an overall length of 9.5″, a 4″ blade, and it weighs 7 ounces. Yeah, this is not one that I’d like to EDC (although plenty of people do), but it actually felt surprisingly good in my pocket and feels light for its size. This of course would make a great tactical knife, large utility knife, or just a welcome addition to the collection.
The blade on this beast is just a thing of beauty. I tell you, Emerson does not mess around when it comes to grinding their steel, and Super Commander’s blade is nothing short of epic. Of course you have that classic Commander blade shape, the nice drop point with the swooping recurve and nasty belly. They started with a thick piece of steel and everything has been ground with laser like precision (including the swedge – a recent refinement to the Commander series). I am super impressed with the blade on this knife.
Note that this Super Commander is “V” ground – although the actual edge is a chisel grind. I know this polarizes people but the grind works alright for me and the knife gets extremely sharp.
What I especially love about my Super is the gorgeous stone wash on the flats. Now, stonewashes have recently experienced a resurgence in popularity. I have to say this is the finest, most beautifully stonewashed knife I have ever seen – nicer even than the Chris Reeve knives I have handled. The stonewashing is so well done it basically has given the knife a jeweled appearance. My recommendation is if you are picking up an Emerson don’t get the coated version, don’t get the satin finish – get the stonewash (you can thank me later).
Emerson uses 154CM for all of the blades on all of their knives. They found something that works and are sticking with it – I can totally appreciate that. 154CM is a long time favorite steel of mine, it gets sharp, holds the edge and is fairly resistant to corrosion. A good all-round steel.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handle on the Super Commander is relatively plain next to the beautiful blade. Again, Emerson has a formula, and they tend to stick with what works. In this case it’s black G10 over steel and titanium liners with a G10 backspacer. The handles are held together with phillips screws, an interesting touch that was designed for easy maintenance in the field. All in all, handle construction is solid. The liners haven’t been milled out, but the titanium liner lock helps lighten the load. The steel liner could be milled to reduce weight, but I find that unnecessary here. Everything is sturdy and lines up well.
You would expect the ergonomics on such a large knife to be decent, and the Super Commander doesn’t disappoint. The spacious handle gives you plenty of room for any grip, and the Commander feels very comfortable in hand. There is a large choil that forms a nice guard, and the thumb ramp is substantial and nicely jimped. The edges of the handle have all been rounded and the G10 has a nice medium rough texture to it. No complaints with the ergonomics.
The pocket clip on the Super Commander is a nice sturdy blackened clip. It’s not a low rider clip, but it rides low enough for my tastes and has good retention. The one issue is that it is not ambidextrous. I could send this knife in to the factory and they will drill and tap some holes for like $25, but really – this should have already been done. Ambidextrous clips are important – not only for lefties like me, but for right-handers who like carrying knives on their weak side.
Deployment and Lockup
My Super Commander came with a black thumb disk. It works alright, not really my first choice (especially with such a big blade). I think you might be able to get this one with a thumb hole – that may be preferable although personally I’m not a huge fan of the Emerson style thumbholes. What I am a fan of is the wave deployment. In my mind this is the only real way to deploy this sucker. There is nothing like having 4 inches of gleaming steel at your fingertips, and the wave is the absolute fastest way to make that happen with a folding knife.
Lockup is done through a nice titanium liner lock. Mine engages very early, and it’s an extremely solid lockup. It’s a well executed lock that has held up so far. On the subject of deployment and lockup, my blade didn’t come perfectly centered and I wasn’t able to get it tuned with the pivot screw – it’s not that bad though. An interesting thing to note about the pivot screw is that it is it uses a flat head driver rather than more conventional torx bits.
Emerson Super Commander – Final Thoughts
The Super Commander is one hell of a knife, I don’t know any other way to really say it. The blade is the showpiece here – it is beautifully ground, and the stonewash finish on the flats provides awesome visual interest. I’d buy this knife just for the blade. That said, everything else is pretty solid on this one. The materials are all great. Fit and finish is good – not outstanding, but good. Lockup on mine is super early and deployment is very smooth. My blade isn’t perfectly centered, and I noticed just some small things that could have been finished a little better (like the thumb ramp, and the backspacer isn’t 100% flush with the handles). But these are very minor issues, and are par for the course with all the Emersons I’ve handled.
So if an Emerson Super Commander is on your radar I think it’s a great knife. These retail for around $250, which is on the spendy side – but this is a big knife made in America (and it’s an Emerson) so frankly price wasn’t a big factor for me… and I suspect that would be true for many Emerson enthusiasts. So for the final word on the Super Commander – I think it’s a great knife, and I recommend the stonewash finish.
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Emerson Super Commander – $234.95
Retail Price: $312.00
You Save: $78.00