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The Mini-Commander is my third Emerson folder and third in the line of CQC knives. I guess I’m an Emerson collector. I initially purchased a CQC-7BW during my Marine Corps days, then I purchased a Mini CQC-15 that I thought combined a cool tanto edge and a good belly to replace the 7. Now I have a Mini-Commander that I purchased for no real reason.
Of course, it’s been serving as my EDC for several months now because you don’t buy a knife like this and not carry it. It’s a knife designed for guys and gals in the military as well as those who typically work in non-permissive environments, and its in a handier size. The Mini-Commander isn’t for everyone, and its combination of features do make it more or less suited for a niche group of users.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Mini-Commander loses half an inch of the blade from the standard Commander model and has a 3.4-inch blade with a deployed length of 8 inches. The Mini-Commander’s blade is .125 inches thick and is made from 154CM. The handle is 4.6 inches long and the knife weighs 4.5 ounces.
It’s a convenient and easy knife to pocket carry. The Mini-Commander features a recurve blade design that sports a very prominent belly. You get a lot of cutting edge in a very compact package. It’s got a standard drop point tip and has a black cerakote finish. A stonewash finish is also available.
The use of 154 CM is pretty standard with Emerson knives and a great overall steel. It’s an excellent compromise of features and specs, but also makes an outstanding metal if you deploy to harsh conditions with your knife. Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, wildland firefighters, Border Patrol, etc.
154 CM is very corrosion resistant, and it is tough steel. It’s relatively easy to sharpen and can get quite sharp. 154 CM steel seems to be excellent steel when paired with a chisel grind. A chisel grind is quick and easy to sharpen, something I appreciated with the CQC-7BW when I was in the field and deployed.
You can get a good sharp edge with minimal tools and effort. The blade will also last. A chisel grind is a strong grind and when combined with a strong steel it makes a very dependable knife. When logistics suck you want something you won’t need to replace.
A chisel grind is great for most things, but don’t expect super smooth cuts. It has some grind to it while cutting. While it does cut, it doesn’t give me that tactile satisfaction I get from a super smooth cut. The belly of this blade makes it a great slasher.
The CQC knives and Emerson knives, in general, are designed to be weapons and EDC tools. I’ve never used a knife as a weapon, and likely never will. However, the belly on this knife would deliver deep, penetrating slashes in such an encounter. From my purposes, it’s perfect for cleaning game or cutting apples up for my kid’s basketball team. I do suggest washing the knife in-between those activities.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The handle is designed to fully fit the hand and it does well. The handle curves slightly forward, reinforcing the blade’s slashing design. The grips are made from G10 material and its heavily textured for comfort and control. The finger guard is deep and ensures nothing will slip and cause an accident.
The rear of the grip has jimping on both the handle and blade. It’s quite a bit and the thumb feels comforting pushing on it. Combined with the deep fingerguard and you’ll have a hard time losing your grip. If you do the grip does have a lanyard hole to ensure you really can’t lose this knife.
The grip is very comfortable and the grip design is well suited for slashing and slicing.
The pocket clip is nice and robust, very durable and it clings to your pants well. It’s certainly strong and well made. As a reader and commenter pointed out in my Mini 15 review the knife is only tapped for right-handed use.
Left-handed models exist and a right-handed model can be tapped for left-hand carry but that costs money. However, for the price of this knife, it should be ambidextrous. Most of the knife is ambi so a left-handed clip option should be standard.
Deployment and Lockup
This model features the Wave opening system. This allows you to open the knife as you remove it from your pocket. It’s neat, and if you were about to get into a fight its faster than an auto knife. However, it takes practice to learn.
In addition to the wave feature you have a thumb disk that is ambidextrous and easy to use. A flick of the wrist and thumb will send the blade flying out and locking reliably with just the thumb disk. This takes time and a little wear. The blade is initially tight and opens slowly but over time mine has become easy to flick open with the thumb stud.
The lock is made from titanium and its slightly jimped for an easy push release. What’s interesting is that my Mini 15 seems to lock up all over the place. The Mini-Commander locks up in the same spot every time regardless of how fast or slow I open it.
The lock is nice and tight and hasn’t let me down yet. Titanium may wear with time but it seems like little pressure or force is exerted over this lock so I doubt we are going to see many issues. I still haven’t seen any of the CQC-7 I’ve owned for years.
Emerson Mini-Commander Review – Final Thoughts
This is an expensive knife, with the price being close to 200 dollars. There are admittedly knives out there at that price that cut smoother, are thinner, and have left handed pocket clip options. However, the Mini-Commander’s combination of features does fill a certain role in the military and frontier world.
It’s nice to have a traditional point with a deep belly for slicing when fall deer season comes around and for tasks with a bigger cutting emphasis. It’s better for EDC than the CQC-7 and the mini designation makes it more comfortable than the standard Commander.
It’s a rock solid and well-made knife and it joins what appears to be my ever growing Emerson Collection with its own rightful place.
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