As I mentioned in my Day 2 Blade Show coverage, I am pleased to be making inroads with the larger Chinese knife companies. No longer the (legitimate) punchline in knife jokes, they are instead pushing the American manufacturers to up their game. Or at least they ought to be. American companies such as CRKT or AG Russell which carefully source and oversee their production have been selling wonderful knives at affordable prices for years. Now Chinese companies such as Kizer, WE, and Reate are eliminating the middleman and producing some seriously outstanding knives for the world market.
I was not surprised when Kizer asked me if I would like to review a couple of their knives recently. I was however surprised to receive 5 new-in-box Kizers the other day, or technically 3 Kizers and 2 Tangrams – Kizer’s budget line of knives (which still seem pretty nice).
With a couple of knives already in my testing queue (I should have my Buck N Bear Lynx review out this week), I obviously can’t test 5 knives myself. So I am sending 2 on to David, the Kizer Bush fixed blade, and the Tangram Progression folder. I am sending Dan Zimmerman the Kizer Basalt, and I am keeping the Kizer Sheepdog and Tangram Vector to test myself.
I did have a chance to give the knives I mailed out a once-over and my opinion is fairly solid on first glance.
The Tangram Progression is a Dirk Pinkerton flipper design with a liner-lock, g10 scales, a 3.46″ ACUTO440 blade and 7.91″ overall length. It is big for an EDC, but seems well built.
The Kizer Bush is a fixed blade designed by Justin Gingrich of Gingrich Tactical Innovations. Like the GTI/Minuteman Adjutant, the Bush is an extremely robust knife, but the geometry looks to be much better. I think the handle is a bit on the small side, but it should be a fun knife for David to review.
I am sending the Kizer Basalt on to Dan. I really like this S35VN, titanium framelock folder. The action is buttery smooth, and with a 3.375″ blade this is the complete package for an EDC blade. With a BladeHQ price of $159 ($242MSRP) if it tests half as good as the indicators point, it is a really good deal.
The two I am keeping for myself are the Tangram Vector and the Kizer Sheepdog. The Vector, which is clearly gunning for the niche occupied by the Benchmade Mini Griptillian, blows it out of the water price-wise – under $40 from Amazon. I am not saying it is overly derivative, rather the size and overall shape just hit that sweet spot for a light/medium duty EDC. There are enough differences that I would not be critical of design overlap.
The last knife is the one that I requested when Kizer first contacted me. It is an odd knife, with an exaggerated sheepsfoot blade which is almost a cleaver. It is a titanium framelock flipper with an S35VN blade, and fits my hand perfectly. I have enjoyed carrying it this weekend, and look forward to putting it through its paces.