The coyote iteration of the Gerber StrongArm was a Knife of the Week way back in 2016, but this all-black version of the beloved knife is even better.
If you want to see all iterations of the Gerber StrongArm, click here.
So what makes the StrongArm such a formidable knife? It starts with the simple yet perfect 4.8-inch drop point blade. Made from 420HC steel with a black Cerakote coating, the blade is versatile and outrageously functional.
This post was originally written in September 2017 and updated in March 2023 to include newer models.
Finding the perfect steel is tough. Not only are there so many types available but there are also tons of factors to consider — price, ease of sharpening, hardness, corrosion resistance, and more.
The perfect steel is ever elusive, but you can pick the right steel for the job. If you want a steel that’s nearly stainless but has great edge retention and wear-resistance, opt for D2.
D2 tool steel has been around for a very long time. It became popular as a tool steel during World War II in factories. In terms of knives, knife makers Wayne Goddard and Bob Dozier pioneered the use of D2 steel in knives. In fact, Dozier is sometimes called Dr. D2.
Here is an excerpt from Steve Shackleford’s Blade Magazine post on why D2 is still so great after all these years:
While D2 may not be stainless, it remains a top performer due in no small part to its high wear resistance/edge-holding ability. “It will hold an edge for a very long time before it will go dull,” says Paul Tsujimoto, director of engineering at Ontario Knife Co. Combined with its relatively inexpensive price, this makes D2 a favorite of manufacturers and custom makers alike. “For us, it’s the perfect combination of performance and an affordable price,” notes Dietmar Pohl of Pohl Force Knives. Agrees Devanna, “It’s the best bang for the buck because it’s priced reasonably and works well.”
While D2 does sacrifice ease of sharpening and some corrosion resistance, it remains an excellent choice for knife users everywhere.
If you’re interested in seeing what D2 has to offer, I collected a list of 20 knives that showcase the variety of D2 knives. Take a look.
1. CRKT Pilar III
The CRKT Pilar has been an unexpected hit the last few years. Although the larger Pilar was fine, it didn’t live up to the original. But the Pilar III definitely does.
When it comes to unique yet functional tactical rescue knives, Smith & Wesson is king. And the SWMP4LS is the perfect example.
This Military & Police model boasts a robust design with a 3.6-inch partially serrated blade with black coating. Its modified clip-point blade offers a strong piercing point and enough belly for long slicing cuts.
The folder uses Smith & Wesson’s second-generation M.A.G.I.C. assisted-opening technology. The M.A.G.I.C. mechanism (Multipurpose, Assisted, Generational, Innovative Cutlery) ensures the knife bursts open reliably when you need it most.
Because flexibility in an emergency is key, the SWMP4LS offers a flipper tab or ambidextrous thumb disk for easy one-handed opening. It’s also one of the best assisted-opening knives.
When Joe Caswell’s “Morphing Karambit” hit Kickstarter in 2020, it represented one of the most unique innovations in knife-opening mechanisms since the flipper tab.
A year later, CRKT brought the folding karambit to public at a more reasonable price. Now for 2023, the Provoke is in its most EDC-friendly iteration yet.
The CRKT Provoke EDC takes the aggressive original karambit design and transforms it into an absolutely perfect everyday carry knife.
The main difference starts with the new drop-point blade, a drastic change from the original hawkbill-style blade. The new blade is 2.56 inches long and made from D2 steel. The strong blade is more amenable to tasks around the house or at work.
Another added benefit of the new blade style is how it minimizes the profile when closed, making it infinitely more comfortable to carry in the pocket.
Kershaw Knives has a long history that dates back to 1974 when Pete Kershaw left his job at Gerber to form his own company. More than 40 years later, the Oregon-based company continues to flex its muscle and show why it remains one of the best knife companies around.
The company has evolved over the years with popular and revolutionary knife models coming and going, but we wanted to take a look at the best knives currently in production at Kershaw.
Note: Best is obviously a very subjective term. While there will be some bias in which knives to include, I will try to select the knives that receive generally widespread acclaim from professional reviewers and customers. Some knives may also get some bonus points for being important to the company. New knives often need a few years to gain the stature needed to be called the best but there are always some that are obvious additions.
If you feel any knives have been slighted or want to mention a knife you feel is the best, let me know in the comments.
1. Kershaw Leek
I’m kicking off the list with the most iconic Kershaw knife ever made: the Leek. This Ken Onion design has always been lumped in with the historically important knives (it made our own list of most iconic knives) and for good reason.
The Leek is simple, effective, and is a gold standard for EDC knives. The knife features a 3-inch modified Wharncliffe blade made from quality 142C28N steel, a stainless steel handle with a frame lock, and the SpeedSafe assisted-opening mechanism.
With a rich history that dates back to World War II, the KA-BAR Ek Model 4 is a truly iconic fighting knife.
The origins of the fixed blade begin in 1941. That’s when John Ek created the Ek Commando Knife Company and produced fighting knives for the war effort. The knife was never officially issued by the military. However, it was the knife of choice among those who bought their own knives for combat.
The company changed owners throughout the years until KA-BAR acquired the designs and brought them back to their former glory.
The Ek Commando Model 4 is the first Commando knife that KA-BAR helped revive. Even after all these years, it remains a remarkable fixed blade.
At the start of this year, Kershaw surprised the knife community with its interpretation of the crossbar lock called the DuraLock. All four new DuraLock knives offer something different, but the one that’s been turning heads the most is the Kershaw Iridium.
The Kershaw Iridium is a modern everyday carry work folder with a clean design that blends functionality and elegance.
Its blade is 3.4 inches long with a spear-point profile that excels at piercing and slicing. Kershaw has been upgrading its steel on most of its lineup to D2, and the Iridium is no different. D2 is tough with high wear resistance, making it ideal for work situations.
The real highlight of the Iridium is the DuraLock mechanism. This new crossbar lock is strong, easy to use, and keeps your fingers out of the blade’s path when closing.
While all knives are meant to cut, there are only a few knives you’d really want to put through the wringer on a busy job site. So I did my best to pick out a few folding knives you can bet your fingers on at work after getting some recommendations from blue-collar workers (not some blog boy like myself).
The pocket knives on this list are a mix of “overbuilt” knives that you can pretty much pry with and less expensive but very serviceable blades you could happily carry onto a construction site.
I tried to take price into consideration, which is why you won’t see a Medford Praetorian, Hinderer XM-18, or a few others that are around $500. Also, if you’re serious about a true work knife, you might want to consider a more reliable and easier to maintain fixed blade. With those caveats out of the way, let’s get to the list.
Post originally posted in September 2018 before being updated in February 2023 to include current knives.
Cold Steel AD-10
When it comes to hard-use folders that are overbuilt and ready for work, there’s a new king in town: the AD-10.
This relatively new knife boasts a 3.5-inch chunk of S35VN steel for its blade. The sculpted G-10 handle feels great in the hand. The AD-10 also has a Tri-Ad lock for even greater power. This may be pricier than others, but it will never fail on you.
The Benchmade Adamas is one of the most common models you’ll see on lists about work knives. The reason? It’s large, reliable, and strong. The blade is 3.78 inches and uses exceptionally strong CruWear steel on a no-nonsense drop point blade. Not only is the blade stock thick but so are the liners and G-10 scales.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re getting married.
Congratulations on taking the plunge. That also means you’ve probably been planning your wedding for ages. The venue is chosen, the flavor of your cake is set in marble, your music is finalized, and you’re still working on your vows.
But there’s the little matter of thinking about your groomsmen.
Your brother or buddy was likely put up to the task of best man or groomsman. It’s safe to say he’d much rather be out hunting or watching a basketball game. Instead he’s getting fit for a tux or going to rehearsals.
That’s why it’s always nice to thank them with a gift.
Considering this is a knife blog, I know we are very biased, but I honestly believe personalized knives make the best gifts for groomsmen.
Knives are actually useful!
If you do a quick Google search on the best groomsmen gifts, thousands of articles with suggestions will come up. Most of them are filled with absolute junk that people don’t really want, like cufflinks (who wears these?), leather bags (come on!), pocket watches (what year is this?), and even personalized underwear.
Except for alcohol, every single one of those gifts is getting thrown in a drawer.