As you can guess by the title, this page is devoted to high end production pocket knives. I realize that the definition of “high end” varies from person to person, but for purposes of this website I am going to define a high end pocket knife as anything over $300. I may include some knives between the $250-300 range.
I think for the longest time our idea of the high end in the world of production pocket knives was dominated almost exclusively by Chris Reeve Knives, Strider Knives, and Hinderer Knives. There was a time when collectors of production knives would seek out the “Holy Trinity”: a Chris Reeve Sebenza, a Strider SnG, and a Hinderer XM-18.
Indeed even today these are probably the most recognizable high end knives, but we now live in a world where there are more options. Most recently, a number of high end Russian and Chinese companies have been producing knives in the $300+ price range. With the proliferation of CNC machining and the internet, manufacturers all over the world are realizing the demand for a more premium product, and are able to bring high end knives to market in ways that were previously impossible.
High End Pocket Knife Reviews:
What follows are all of the reviews of premium pocket knives that I have reviewed. Scroll further below for commentary on high end knives.
- Mission Workshop x Kingdom Armory Unagi Review
The Unagi is a collaboration with boutique bag company Mission Workshop and David Rydbom of Kingdom Armory. I have long been a fan of David's work. His Mini Samaritan is especially intriguing. The PR team for ... continue reading
- Grant and Gavin Hawk MUDD Review
I haven't reviewed many mid-tech knives. This is because I find a lot of them to be expensive and boring. Many follow the standard formula of slab sided titanium handles with a stainless steel blade. In theory, mi ... continue reading
- WE Knife Company Model 605 Review
WE Knife Co. (or "WE Knives") is a relatively new manufacturer from China. Technically that isn't true as, they produced OEM knives for other brands for years, but WE Knives has recently garnered attention from knife ... continue reading
- Hinderer MP-1 Review
It seems like every time I write a review of a Hinderer knife I can't help but open with a commentary on the state of the Hinderer market. A few years ago (say 5?) a Hinderer XM-18 would sell for well north of retail. ... continue reading
- Pohl Force Mike One Review
I have lusted after the Pohl Force Mike One for years. I wanted one ever since Andrew acquired and reviewed his in 2013. For the uninitiated, Pohl Force is a tactical knife company owned by Dietmar Pohl, a long time k ... continue reading
- Zero Tolerance 0888MAX
First of all, this is not really a review. The 0888MAX is a pure collectible for me. A collectible I was able to acquire through a trade with my good friend Andrew of the Edge Observer. The knife has been admired and ... continue reading
- Shirogorov F3 Review
The Shirogorov 95t is arguably the nicest knife I have reviewed to date. It is a beautiful piece embodying all the characteristics one would seek out in a high end titanium framelock flipper: top shelf materials, amaz ... continue reading
- Hinderer XM-18 3" Review
If you have been following Hinderer knives on the secondary market, you will have noticed that the prices have fallen dramatically over the past couple years. A few years ago, it would have been hard to find a used XM ... continue reading
- DPx Aculus Review
The first time I noticed a gear company use the words “executive protection,” I was browsing the Goruck website. I was in the market for a backpack (my Jansport had succumbed to a combination of heat, dirt, and h ... continue reading
- Spyderco Slysz Bowie Review
Last Updated: November 18, 2016 An often enjoyed pastime of production knife collectors is to discuss various "Sebenza Killers" arriving on the market. The Sebenza has long been considered a gold standard in high end ... continue reading
- Shirogorov 95t Review
I have had folks occasionally confess that they live vicariously through my reviews of high end pocket knives. I have handled some nice stuff over the years, but for the most part my wallet and I have been able to res ... continue reading
- Spyderco Rubicon Review
Spyderco has released a number of high end knives of the past year. Blades like the Slysz Bowie, K2, Firefly, and Burch Chubby are all retailing at north of $200. Meanwhile, there doesn't seem to be much of interest g ... continue reading
- Rick Hinderer Knives XM-18 3.5 Review
Last Updated: 09/27/2015 In the past I have compared knife collecting to mountain climbing. Certainly there isn't the element of physical accomplishment, as the only thing that really gets a workout is your wallet, b ... continue reading
- LionSteel TiSpine Review
Especially astute readers may note that I debuted a review of the LionSteel SR-1 a while back, and then published the world's first review of the TM-1 not so long ago, but I conveniently skipped over the other folder ... continue reading
- Chris Reeve Knives Sebenza 25 Review
How do you improve on perfection? That may have been a question asked by the engineers at Chris Reeve when they approached the Sebenza 25. I wasn't in the room, so I really have no idea. The Sebenza has received incre ... continue reading
- LionSteel TM1 Review
I hope the regular readers are interested in high end knives, because the next few posts are all going to be doozies. The TM-1 is so mythical a knife, that it isn't even out yet, although LionSteel tells me that they ... continue reading
- Zero Tolerance 0454 Review
Updated: 11/29/2015 Every so often as a knife collector I have had my expectations taken up a notch. For purposes of this introduction I'll call them "game changing blades." Making the jump from a $25 knife to a $65 ... continue reading
- Lionsteel SR-1 Review
A topic knife nuts love to ponder is the age old question of "is it worth it?" This question is probably as old as knife ownership is itself. I imagine that first cave man who showed off his fancy new blade hewn from ... continue reading
- Chris Reeve Mnandi Review
When I think Chris Reeve Knives, I first think of the Sebenza, their flagship blade. Then my mind wanders to the Umnunzaan, their amped up tacticalicious offering. Only after sampling both of those knives did I ever t ... continue reading
- Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21 Review
For many the Sebenza 21 is a knife obtained on the steep ascent to the upper echelons of production knife collecting. It's not a starter knife. It is something to be gradually aspired to, pined over, and then climatic ... continue reading
- Strider SJ-75 Review
I have come to really enjoy my Strider SnG. Perhaps its because I won it in a contest, and therefore, had no qualms about carrying and beating the crap out of it. Regardless, it is a knife I have really enjoyed. But h ... continue reading
- Strider PT Review
Last Updated: February 2, 2017 One of the best parts of blogging about knives is checking out other people's blogs, and seeing what they really like. It often piques my interest and expands my collection into all sor ... continue reading
- Strider SnG Review
For many knife collectors the Strider SnG is a holy grail of sorts. Much like the Chris Reeve Sebenza, the Strider SnG represents the top of the line for production grade folders. Toss in a Hinderer XM, and you have w ... continue reading
- Chris Reeve Knives Umnumzaan Review
The ink had barely dried on my Sebenza review. I was sitting peaceably at my desk and distinctly remember saying how it would be a good while before I got my hands on another Chris Reeve knife. Shockingly enough it wa ... continue reading
- Chris Reeve Knives Small Sebenza 21 Review
Last Updated: February 2, 2017 I don't think many people get into the hobby of collecting knives with the idea that one day they will buy a pocket knife that costs hundreds of dollars. Well, at least I didn't sta ... continue reading
Why High End Pocket Knives?
Invariably when I set down to write a review on a $300+ folding knife, the subject of price and value comes up. People want to know if it’s “worth it” to buy a $300, $400, or $1000+ pocket knife. This is a very personal question and it’s impossible for me to divine whether an expensive knife like this is worth it to you.
At the end of the day these are luxury goods, and it’s all relative. No one “needs” a $500 pocket knife. A $50 or $100 knife will work just as well to cut things. Hell, some people will argue that a $15 SanRenMu or a $5 or $10 box cutter at the hardware store works just as a well as a $50 or $100 pocket knife. It’s all relative.
Buying a high end knife is like buying any other luxury good. You are paying more for incrementally better performance, higher levels of machining, more expensive materials, and perhaps because you perceive some value in the brand of the knife. This is not unlike buying a German car, or a Swiss watch. Much in the same way a Honda can get you to work as well as a Mercedes Benz, or a quartz Casio can tell the time as good (if not better) than a Rolex, buyers of high end knives don’t necessarily buy them because they are better than a cheaper option. The marginal utility of a knife shrinks with each additional dollar you spend. At some point the idea that you are buying a legitimately better pocket knife goes out the window, and the decision to buy a very high end knife is simply because you want it.
There is also collectibility to consider. Some people simply enjoy collecting high end knives, admiring the materials, the fit and finish, the nuances of the design. There is nothing wrong with that. I collect knives myself and I totally get the appeal.
There is no right or wrong answer when exploring the merits of a high end knife. You buy it because you can afford it and because you want it. You don’t buy it because you can’t afford it, or simply don’t want to spend the money on it.
As an enthusiast of all kinds of knives, expensive ones and cheap ones, I can see both sides to the argument. I enjoy checking out expensive knives, but I also get excited when I get my hands on a truly great $40 knife. That is part of what makes this hobby so enjoyable to me.