Back in march 2013, I wrote a review about Emerson Knives. Back then I was already using them in hard places and I thought I had settled on a few models that I would use.
In the years that followed, I added some other Emerson Knives to the collection (you can Search and see, including a few pictures of a Custom CQC-8 that I donated to the Red Circle Foundation), but after a few iterations, I settled on the ones you see in the picture above.
4+ years of hard use and the knives keep on performing. I settled on:
- Horseman (mini CQC-8)
- CQC-8 (not in the picture)
- Mini CQC-15
- Mini A-100
- Combat Karambit
- Custom CQC-6 (not in the picture)
I'm going to leave the CQC-6 out, since I don't use it on the field, and the full size CQC-8 is currently at Emerson for a much needed service. The CQC-8 is the one I use the most in the field and, while Emerson knives are easy to service on the field, it reached the point where it needed a professional sharpening, cleaning and overhaul.
Most Emersons have similar features: grippy G10 scales, good retention clip and titanium lock. They are sharpen on one side of the blade, making them very sharp.
These knives are created first and foremost as defensive weapons. Emerson ergonomics, blade shape and delivery systems are simple, yet very effective. Emerson goes full on, even on knives as small as the Mini A-100. Even when you get one of these, you get a knife that can deliver a punch.
After more than 4 years of hard use, I have not a single complain. I have used the knives as weapons, rescue tools, cutting and prying tools, and lock picking tools (sort of...). The full size CQC-8, with its curved blade, delivers a great cutting surface, while the smaller Mini A-100 dissapears on my pants, or while wearing a suit, yet delivering that extra when needed.
So, after trying many models I settled on these. Why?
CQC-8 and Horseman (Mini -CQC-8)
These are my favorite Emersons. The full size CQC-8 is the best defense knive I own. The shape of both the handle and the blade make this a very easy to handle knife, while delivering good cut and piercing power. Easy to service on the field and with the Emerson Wave Feature, they are great. When I need something smaller, to put on my pocket, or when I need to go slick, the Horseman (mini CQC-8) is my go to.
I had a CQC-7 and a Commander for a while. I liked them both, but some of the features on both models (or lack thereof) bothered me. So, I went for the logical reoplacement, the CQC-15. It combines the cutting power of the Commander with the awesome power of the tanto CQC-7. I went for the Mini version because I needed a sub 4 inches blade. But don't think this doesn't deliver. I use this knife when I need to bring a knife that can perform with everything: defense and utility.
Like I mentioned on the previous review, I was looking for a knife that I can carry while wearing dress pants or a suit. Something with a slim profile but that I could still use as a tool or as an emergency defensive weapon. This turned out to be the perfect knife for this. So much that it has become my normal every day knife for everything. The clean shape, great ergonomics, cutting power and smaller size are just hard to beat.
I was not sold on Karambits for a long time. Then I took some training combining the use of Karambits with Krav Maga. It was great. And now I found the Karambit to be a great weapon. These are not utility knives.
When I was researching Karambits to buy one, people kept on telling about Emerson, and being a fan of his knives, well, it was the logical choice. So, I grabbed one and it's great. That's all I will say.
I usually carry the two below with me on my EDC. The Mini A-100, and the Karambit. I found this combo to be perfect for what I need.
So, are these good knives? Worth the money you spend? Absolutely yes. As you know, I believe in having the right gear. And yes, this more often than not means spending a good sum of money. So, save your money, and get one of Emerson knives. They will not dissapoint.