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3 knives that caught my attention at SHOT Show 2024

I have to tell you, the knife companies really made me put on my thinking cap this year

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Ocaso Knives had its Strategy on display in several configurations.

Photo/Lindsey Bertomen

When I went to shoot DiamondBack Firearms new SDR (Self Defense Revolver), a 6 shot .357, I passed by a display of Southern Grind knives.

I’m sure you want to hear about the SDR first, so here goes. By the time my son (who was working as my media support) and I got to the DiamondBack range, it was starting to pour. Most people had abandoned Range Day by now, and I was there to burn some ammo, of which they had plenty, in this revolver. The SDR is a keeper. I gradually moved out to longer ranges. I covered everything in between but could not ring steel at 100 yards. Within 50, I could do it pretty consistently. Can you shoot your snubnose revolver out past 25 yards? It is quite capable. The quality is off the charts, and is a smooth-running gun.

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Lindsey got to shoot a Diamondback Firearms SDR, a 6 shot 357 in stainless steel.

Photo/Forrest Bertomen

Southern Grind

As I walked off the range, I started checking out the Southern Grind Hornet on display. This is a thumb hole opener, with a flipper, with Magnacut steel, reversible pocket clip and a button lock. The blade itself is only 3.30 inches, in a sheepsfoot style. It is built for hard use, but it is what we like to call a “fidget knife.” In fact, I think Zac Brown of Southern Grind actually said that. A fidget knife has such smooth ergonomics that a knife fan will open and close it for the calming effect this produces. It is about the full bearing system in the pivot, which few knife makers will do because of expense and the custom fit. I’m not big on fidget knives usually, but now I am.

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The Southern Grind Hornet has both a thumb hole and a flipper. It is definitely a “fidget knife,“ considering the smoothness of the bearings, and the push button opening.

Photo/Lindsey Bertomen

Ocaso Knives

On the SHOT Show floor, where weather no longer was a constraint, I started shopping for knives. Ocaso Knives had its Strategy on display in several configurations. This is a Mike Wallace design, and it comes in Jade G10, carbon fiber, Satin black G10 and even aircraft aluminum. It also uses caged bearings, and this was evident in the first two seconds of handling. The Strategy is a liner lock made of German 110 steel. I liked the feel of the scales, but I’m certain the main attraction will be the reversible deep pocket clip.

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The Ocaso Knives Strategy is a Mike Wallace design. It features German K110 steel and G10 scales. It also can be purchased with several other options like jade G10 or aircraft aluminum. Superior bearings make this a good flipper.

Photo/Lindsey Bertomen

Spyderco

Everyone knows I like Spyderco. It’s not just the designs, it is the culture. Spyderco always has knife makers in their booth who love talking to end users. This time, I spent a few minutes chatting with Ed Schempp. I was with my son, Forrest, and I introduced them. I explained that he was meeting a legend in the knife making industry, and pointed out his designs in the display. Ed has explained things about metallurgy to me in the past, and I always appreciate his help.

Spyderco has changed my perspective on one thing. The company released a Paramilitary 2 in Magnacut with black G10scales. The scales have a unique textured pattern that sticks to the hand. My metallurgy friends can write books about Magnacut, but the part you need to know is the fact that Magnacut was designed specifically for making knives. That is, it wasn’t just a tool steel that loaned its qualities for knife making.

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The Spyderco SALT Paramilitary 2 is new in CPM Magnacut. The G 10 scales have more texturing, consistent with the SALT series of knives.

Photo/Lindsey Bertomen

Whenever a knife steel is selected, the knife maker has to consider the various qualities, which are sometime compromises. For example, some steels can hold an edge, but the composition makes them rust more readily. Because of this, steels are selected to compliment its intended use. If we throw in corrosion resistance in salt environments, the very definition of Spyderco’s SALT knife series, a whole new set of factors comes into play. Here is what changed my perspective: Spyderco is making the SALT PM2 with a unique cryo treatment, which adds to corrosion resistance. It has a non-reflective diamond like coating (DLC) on the blade, and everything is designed for a night discipline environment.

Now that you know the specs on the SALT Paramilitary 2, you know who they had in mind when they designed it.

I have to tell you, the knife companies really made me put on my thinking cap this year.