Exclusive: Spyderco Karahawk Review

While a good knife sits high on the list of Every Day Carry tools, the best knives to carry every day combine several key characteristics: high functionality, durability, and ease of deployment. As the tool that has been around since the dawn of time, personal utility knives of course come in thousands of sizes, shapes, and configurations. Some are geared more toward utility, some more toward personal defense. Spyderco’s Karahawk, a design based on the Southeast Asian karambit, draws on the best features of that tool or weapon and takes the design even further in usefulness.

Most of us probably look as the Karahawk first as a wicked looking weapon. Fair enough; it is. But you’ll probably be just as intrigued by its usefulness as a tool. Either way, Spyderco complements its functionality not only with great ruggedness and strength but also with classic Spyderco ease of deploying the blade.

Highly functional

DSC_6624Depending on which knife history resource you’re reading, the Karahawk’s curved blade either follows the look of a bird of prey’s curved bill or a tiger’s claw. Either way, the short blade (2.35 inches) cuts very efficiently, with less effort than a straight blade. As a tool, it’s meant to make short work of cutting tasks where a small but strong stroke is required. As a weapon, let’s just say it’s meant to dissuade an assailant with its powerful cutting ability.

Of interest, one means of using the Karahawk as a tool allows you to dangle the knife from a pinky finger, allowing you to work with whatever is in your hands, and then swing your knife hand in such a manner that the knife safely swings into your grip to perform a cut. Very handy.

Durable and rugged

Spyderco’s knives are some of the most durable and rugged in the world and the Karahawk continues that lineage, offering a VG-10 stainless steel blade connected to a handle that features a skeletonized stainless steel liner and textured G-10 grip panels. Months of use, both indoors and out, had no effect on the steel, the grip panels, the locking mechanism, nor the clip. The blade sharpened and cleaned up well and I never feared the tip breaking.

Easy to deploy

DSC_6628In conjunction with the very useful pocket clip, the Karahawk drew out of my pocket quickly, allowing me to easily put one finger through the ring and get my thumb on the famous Spyderco round hole on the blade. Or, for faster deployment of the blade, I could pull the Karahawk out and the let Emerson Opening Feature catch my pocket and pull the blade open for me. Spyderco’s pocket clip can be installed on either side of the handle.

The Spyderco Karahawk retails for $289.95. Do you think of it more as a tool or a weapon?

— Mark Kakkuri

Get more information on Spyderco and other companies at the Guns Magazine Product Index.

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