Kay so I have amassed what years ago, I never thought I'd get. I have all 5 of the knives I called grails at one point in time.
I want to share my thoughts on all these and hopefully they'll serve as sort of a guideline if you're shopping for that grail knife. I'm not rich, it took a shit ton of work and trading to build up to this. Half of these I already gotta ship out to good boys and girls around the world because my budget doesn't allow for ALL of these.
CRK Sebenza Large 21
Strider SnG DGG
Spyderco Military (my first grail)
I love this knife, it's lockup is the standard by which most other knife makers both factory and custom could hope to acheive. It's bank vault, meaning no play in any direction, and it holds up to this even after a decade of carry. I know an old friend who has an original "P" Sebenza from 1998 which has never seen spa service of any sort.
Ultimate blade profile for cutting
Lockup, both in precision and in longevity
Slow to deploy
Not lefty friendly at all, requires a lefty specific knife which you can wait months to get
Requires anal retentive cleaning and lubrication to maintain action
Lets face it. It's a tactical Sebenza that caters to the more rugged of men. The kind who buys those roasted chickens and eats it with his knife and bare hands. It's looser in tolerances, but you wouldn't know based on lockup. Instead of a bushing pivot, it has a beefy traditional pivot. The lockup is not a true framelock, it uses a ceramic ball as the lock to tang interface. It's got a badass glass breaker and the jimping is chunky, yet smooth. Theres even a semi sharp swedge for assisting with poking holes in bad guys with. It CAN be flicked open. That already is why I sell Sebenzas all the time, but only in emergencies will I not have an Umnumzaan on me as my high-end carry.
It's faster than the Sebenza
Action so smooth, it's like glass
Quiet opening, it's a big framelock, but no clack on deployment
Cutout on the top of the blade for thumb when choking up
The shit is hard to open and close until you develop a technique. Try getting caught in some rope on a fishing trip and handing this knife to your wife to save your ass... shits not gonna happen.
No bushing, yes it can be at the mercy of pivot tension just like any other knife. It can be adjusted to hand tight without the special tool and not have any play though.
Aesthetically awkward looking. Not my first choice if I had to draw a badass knife
Glass breaker is fairly difficult to use
Strider SnG DGG
The most expensive of the SnG family. It's got golf ball dimples. It looks better than it feels. I buy Strider time and time again for the warranty. UPS lost 2/3 of my knives.. Strider replaced them at their cost and made sure UPS is ALSO sending me a check. Fuckin' badass.
As a knife it doesn't have any flaws. It cuts stuff and it's tough. Almost everything on the knife exists to enhance it's durability. It comes at a cost because with durability factored in, you start to lose precision and the lockup is no better than your run of the mill BM or Spydie.
I chose to have one just because I don't care about frills. I don't like cleaning, the knife doesn't even break down without a specialized spanner wrench and it doesn't need to be. I've literally dropped this knife in a pot of chili, rinsed it in water, and it was good to go. I think if that happened to my Sebenzas, I'd never look at them the same again.
The ultimate reason I have one is just because I like to be different. It's not as precise as a Sebenza, but I'll admit I bought into the kool-aid on this one. I've owned about 8 of these and every one of them makes me giggle like a girl when I whip it out to cut shit with it.
You could basically "accidently" blow this knife up and they'd fix it for you on their dime pretty much.
Theres a forum of super-best-friends who like to wear green that you get to hang out.
They're tough than anything else out there
Not what I call $400 lockup borrowed from Chris Reeve
Lockup does require tuning to maintain "bank vault" if you need it, which Strider will gladly oblige
Most people assume this is "The Daddy" of midtech. It's actually just another brand with it's own reputation. They're not super rare, a lot of them are made for a certain audience of everyday superheroes like EMT/Fire/LEO. You get carded when you buy one and aside from that, it's 3 weeks until you get yours.
It's FAST too. I swear the knife rides on bearings every time I get one, nope just precision built with teflon washers.
It's chunky, industrial, and built with the toughness of a Strider and the precision of the CRK, but is uglier than both in my opinion. It's faster than the CRK in deployment, yet could possibly be as tough as the Strider while maintaining "bank vault" for years to come.
Pretty much everything
Satisfies the ego
Looks non menacing
Rick Hinderer is an everyday superhero doing knives for others like him
*Cheap (if you're EMT/Fire/LEO, it's like $350-$450 for the range)
You can't get one unless you save people and have a massive penis
(Props to everybody who serves, regardless of their dayjob)
I personally think they're ugly
Expensive as shit to get 2ndhand (think $750-900)
Fuck. I don't know why I like this one so much. It does everything, costs $120, and has a lifetime warranty by one of the most beloved knife brands in the industry. Tell me why a Strider or Sebenza is better, and I'll tell you that I probably don't use my knife for that purpose anyway.
Spyderco brings exotic steels like CPM-S30V, Carpenter's steels, and other stuff you don't care to hear me talk about to the everyday working man for a price that you probably spend at the bar anyway. Thats a win-win scenario, so Spyderco gets honorary mention in the elite 5.
Slices better than all the above
Warranty is borderline no-questions-asked
Ergos are rock solid
I would not use this to pry staples
Tip down carry
You don't get too many e-props for having one of these
Anyway thanks for reading my review, hope it was at least entertaining.
There is ONE knife I would like to throw into the mix which I think has the potential to beat all these, which is the Les George VECP. Hit me up if you can loan/sell me one yo.