Why the disparity in prices?


March 21, 2003, 11:35 AM
I'm not looking for a "my knife can beat up your knife" discussion, but I've noticed a wide range in prices for some of the big names in knifemaking (and I'm not talking about one-off custom jobs). Why, for instance, is a 3.5" linerlock Kershaw under $50, but a 3.5" linerlock from Benchmade 5 times that? Again, without getting into another Colt-vs-Ruger style debate, is there a difference in quality or reliability that justifies such an extreme difference in price? Or is there a "cachet" factor at play here?

While we're at it, is the new (well, new to me) generation of so-called "tactical" knives that much of an improvement over the old Schrade and Buck lockbacks?

Inquiring minds, and all that...


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March 21, 2003, 01:56 PM
Yes. Whenever the knife is either 1) black; 2) has a composite (plastic) handle; 3) has a ninja type (tanto) point; or 4) has "Tactical" as part of its name, it is automatically much better and worth 3X as much as a similar knife without said feature(s).:neener:

NOTE: If it is one Tamara has featured in one of her numerous gun photos, it is usually about 10X as expensive as a normal knife. :D

March 21, 2003, 02:06 PM
Many times you get higher quality plus a higher name. A higher end knife has better fit, finish, materials, performance, longevity, warranty, craftsmanship, etc. Just compare a S&W SWAT with a Buck Strider then that with a Reeve Sebenza. The differences are immediately apparent.

Jim March
March 21, 2003, 02:07 PM
The number one "extra" I'll pay good money for is a good, hand-fitted, ultra-reliable LOCK. The Axis lock used on the better Benchmades is very good, among the best available.

The other main issue that affects cost is the blade steel and heat-treat. D2, M2, the better CPM steels, etc are worth owning.

My daily carry piece is something I paid $200 for with shipping. I *trust* it. The ergonomics are flat-out perfect, it opens cleanly and smoothly every time, the lock has never failed me and is known as a good type.

What do I really get out of that investment?

If I pull it in anger, there'll be that leeetle extra boost of confidence from faith in my gear. That's not ALL I need, but it's a nice little extra. And confidence is what the assailant (man or beast) responds to, and flees from.

It's worked on a pair of dogs so far :p.

It's worth it to me. Then again, do recall that at the moment I can't CCW a gun, therefore a megafolder is my primary defense.

March 21, 2003, 03:44 PM
Jim nailed it.
The difference is the steels used, the fit and finish [ usually ], reputation of the manufacturer, warranty, how difficult a design it is to produce on cnc equipment [ initial setup costs,etc. ].

I am paying 260.00 delivered for the Tarani Kerambit folder due out second week of April.
Already have it ordered and credit carded to them.

Is it worth 260.00? Hell no-------
But I want one.

Supply and demand. These aren't for everyone I'm sure but it will be my constant companion along with a Microtech Socom I already carry in the near future.

No sense in compaining about the price though. If you want it you pay for it.


March 21, 2003, 06:52 PM
I narrowed it down to a couple of choices, and since I couldn't make up my mind, I bought both: a sweet little Kershaw Chive 1660 and a CRKT M16 with the Tanto blade. Around $100 for both with tax.

Not high dollar, perhaps not the quality of a top of the line piece, but at this point it might be wasted on me anyway. And there's time to look at what's out there while I educate myself.

Thanks for the intel, guys. Quality as always!


March 21, 2003, 07:07 PM

Look for my test of your m-16 at www.folders-r-us.org

Good choice for the price and unless you try to destroy it purposely it'll stand you well.

Good luck with your new tools


March 21, 2003, 07:10 PM
Lots of good points made here, and I'll toss in a few thoughts.

As with anything, you get what you pay for. (Well, a vast majority of the time)

With a higher end knife, you usually just get a better product.

Better technology, better steel, ergonomics, etc.

You also often get a chance to actually meet and talk with the men who make the blades.

Example: All of the Strider guys, most notably Mick, spend a fair amount of time on various forums chatting with customers and helping to fill special orders.

Oh, plus the warranty:

If you EVER break or damage a Strider knife, send it in for repair. If they cannot fix it, they will give you a new one, no questions asked.

Each knife also comes with lifetime servicing.

You can send it in at any time for sharpening, refinishing, rewrapping the cord handle, etc.

Now THAT'S service!!!


March 21, 2003, 09:19 PM
I can't see paying much more for a knife than you would for a Benchmade. Past that, you are paying for hand work, not better materials or ergonomics. Small production numbers and hand work, mean higher prices. Worth it to some, not to others. With some of the 'better known knife smiths', you are paying a premium for the cache of their name. Of course, if you just want one, the price is not the real issue.

Don Gwinn
March 22, 2003, 12:43 PM
True, but hand work can make a BIG difference. All you're really paying for on a Rolls Royce is hand work, too, you know. ;)

March 22, 2003, 01:17 PM
Thanks, Brownie, I've bookmarked the site. (Oh boy, another way to take avoid work! :D )

My initial reactions to the M16-12Z are:

- Opens and closes easily with one hand.

- The clip is much tighter than on my Kershaw Chive 1660, making it more difficult to draw in a hurry.

- The straight edge of my Tanto combination blade don't seem very sharp. This is essentially a single-edge straight grind (OK, there's a very slight angle to the flat side, but not to speak of) -- and I hope I can do a decent job of bringing it up, as I'm not the world's best sharpener yet. (I have downloaded your FAQ and will be studying it.) However, I haven't actually done any testing other than just feeling the edge, since I only acquired it last night. At this point, anyway, it seems more of a stabber than a cutter, so to speak. We'll see when I actually get to play with it.

Again, thanks to all.


March 22, 2003, 01:39 PM

Even on my expensive customs or semi-customs I have to tweak the clip to my liking when I get it.

Very few come through the way I want them to sit in my pockets.

Usually they are tighter than necessary and do restrict the speed of presentation [ sometimes dramatically so, others just a little ].

I never recommend anyone actually do this as you have to learn from your own mistakes like I have in this area, but here is a quick fix for the dilemma of the clip thats too tight.

Firmly hold the knife closed on it's side, clip facing up. With the index finger of the other hand grasp the end of the clip and "stretch" it away from the knife scales or side. Go gently and only a small amount of pressure against it's resistance to do so.
Try it on.
Keep repaeting this until you get the desired pressure on the pocket for you.

If you go strong to begin with it may be too lose on the first try and then it has to be removed and tweaked back which weakens it further.

Glad you liked the site--have another test coming out soon. I think it will be the Camillus small CUDA.


March 22, 2003, 05:39 PM
I'd love to see a review of the Benchmade mini Griptillia 556 - my favorite* folder.


* (only)

March 23, 2003, 08:38 PM
I normally carry a BM 910 Striker. I was in a store and they had the Kershaw Ken Onion "assisted opening" knives on display. They appeared to be a quality knife. Because of working in a corporate environment, I thought something smaller might fit the bill better. I purchased the Kershaw. Out of the box, the assisted opening didn't snap that blade open like it should. I used my usually high quality oil and attempted to work it down into the pivot point. Never made a difference. That wasn't the bad part. Within a week the pocket clip was bent perpindicular to the handle. Needless to say, I went and purchased a BM 905.


March 23, 2003, 10:07 PM
Wes, your Kershaw should have been warranteed, I believe. FTR, my assisted opening works perfectly. Haven't had any problems with this one, and I really like it. Been carrying it everywhere since I got it. The M16-12Z is a bit larger and seems more single-purposed. I will probably tighten up the clip on the Chive, it could grip just a bit tighter for my taste -- don't want to lose it.

- V -

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