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SHOT Show 2007 Report - Knives

SHOT Show 2007 Report logoMulti-tools were back in vogue after a short hiatus as a number of manufacturers introduced new or improved tools. This is one area where variety is the spice as designers come up with yet more ways to integrate knife blades with jointed tools and screwdrivers, etc.

This year saw even more assisted opening (AO) folders from just about every manufacturer. These AO mechanisms continue to provide fertile ground for designers and engineers and knife enthusiasts continue to be captivated by them. Include me among them. The well designed AO folders are just plain cool.

Having said that, I have to admit that I have a difficult time getting too excited about them from a purely functional standpoint. From the perspective of a survival guy, in my opinion they seem like an unneeded complication with no significant functional benefit for most users except for the WOW factor. I find a well designed one-hand opener just as quick to use as any AO and when you factor in the safety that so many are equipped with, for good reason, it completely negates any potential speed edge the AO might have. While there are always tradeoffs, KISS remains a good design principle for gear upon which you are going to bet your life. The good news is that with rare exception these AO folders will all function, in other words, open and lock, if the AO mechanism fails. So, not something to lose a lot of sleep over.

Uncle Sam can really stimulate product development and the competition for a new shroud/webbing cutter brought out all the big guns. Some have been introduced in earlier competition for a new Air Force survival knife, but others were brand new. No winner had been announced as of our publication date, but they were all offering their entries to the rest of the public service community and us lowly civilians. Everyone we talked to was convinced they had the inside track and were going to win. All but one of them likely is wrong. There were also a slew of new EMS/Rescue type knives.

Also related to our Uncle, "foliage green" appears to be the new hot color. We won't bore you with listing or describing all the "new" knives that have simply changed handle colors or sheath colors or both. This is a lighter green, compared to Olive Drab, and is one of the greens in the new Army ACUs, their replacements for the old BDUs. Suffice to say that Foliage Green is the new Desert Tan, and you can expect to see it in anything even remotely military or tactical before long.

Two familiar companies were MIA, Camillus and United Cutlery. Well, actually, United showed up with a sign and a few people at desks trying to convince folks they would be back, but there were no knives to be found. They looked pretty lonely in that big empty space. Camillus didn't even try. Ethan Becker could be found at various times at both the Ontario and KA-BAR booth, suggesting that a new source for the Becker Knife & Tool line of knives, previously produced by Camillus, might be forthcoming in the near future.

If you are reading this report, odds are that you own and carry a pocket knife, and likely that you own more than one. Are you aware that there are those who are working to severely restrict, and if they can get away with it, simply ban most pocket knifes? Really! I'm not making this up. They have succeeded elsewhere in the world. We launched Knife Rights at SHOT Show to provide knife owners the same type organization that gun owners have in the NRA. Knife Rights is a grassroots organization dedicated to protecting your right to own and carry the knives you choose. PLEASE, take a moment to visit the new Knife Rights web site to find out more about this very real threat.

Please support Equipped To Survive with a tax-deductible donationAssembling this SHOT Show Report is a major undertaking and was especially expensive with the show in Orlando this year. Without the support provided by generous ETS contributors who donated money to assist us and the sponsorship by Red Flare we couldn't have done it. Please drop by Red Flare's site and take advantage of their special deals for Equipped To Survive visitors. Please also consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Equipped To Survive Foundation if you find this report to be of value to you. The Equipped To Survive Foundation is a tax-exempt non-profit corporation that supports the continued operation and expansion of Equipped To Survive® and which allows me to attend shows such as this and report to you on the latest and greatest gear. In many cases Equipped To Survive® has been first by months to publicize new and exciting survival and preparedness gear. Again, donations are fully tax-deductible. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation or to find out more. Thanks very much for your support and consideration.

The knives covered here are those that are appropriate for wilderness survival or general utility use or which otherwise captured my imagination or attention. This is not an all-inclusive coverage of every knife introduced at the show. Moreover, some manufacturers decline to make appointments and in some cases were not covered since we were unable to sit down and review the new product with them. Others failed to get us promised images of their new products in time. (By and large, we no longer photograph knives at the show if we're told images are available; just not enough hours in the day anymore.)

We have provided the specifications we received from the manufacturers for the most part; some are much better than others in what they provide, so blame them if you are missing some spec you'd have liked to have seen.

Prices quoted are manufacturer's suggested retail price as of January, 2007, rounded to the nearest whole dollar. Most knives and tools covered here can be purchased at significantly discounted prices from those quoted. In some cases, items will not be available until much later this year. When we have been given an expected production date, we have included it, but manufacturers often miss such targets and many others do not provide one.

(Disclaimer: Editor Doug Ritter, author of this SHOT Show cutlery review, is currently collaborating with Benchmade Knife Company and others on a line of knives and may in the future collaborate with other manufacturers included in this report.)

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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
First Published: February 11, 2007
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