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The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

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Jason

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Post Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:36 pm

The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

There are currently only a handful of quality production butterfly knives available, so our options are fairly limited. Here's list of what's currently out there and what's being talked about, arranged by average retail price in USD (more or less), along with quick summaries, compiled from the numerous reviews available. You might want to look up some actual in-depth reviews before making a purchase.

You may notice there is a paradigm in play here: 9" to 10" in length, 4 to 6 oz. in weight, and straight/tapered handles that are roughly as wide as they are thick. Generally, anything within those confines will flip well (unless the balance is way off), while anything outside the paradigm will take some getting used to (at best).


"CCC'S": $5 - $50. This is an acronym for 'Charming Chinese Cheapy,' or 'Crappy Chinese Copy,' or something similar. Generally not recommended, because of durability/safety issues, as well as ethical issues stemming from copies of well-respected makers, but it's better than nothing. Retailers often give them names on their websites, however the knives themselves are generally unbranded. These come in 2 varieties:

Channel style, zamak handles. Because the handles are made from cast low-quality zamak, they are brittle and break easily. They are usually held together with peened pins.

Sandwich style, steel handles. The handles are made from steel, but they tend to be thin and fairly flexible, which can cause the blade to stall at the worst times. This can lead to nasty cuts, even when performing what would otherwise be pretty safe maneuvers. Also, the screws are made from soft steel with odd-sized heads, and tend to fall out and/or strip fairly easily. Many of these also have a single cylindrical spacer on each handle, which is unstable.

Notable CCC's:

Jaguar Classic: $20 - $30.
Clones of the old Pacific Cutlery 259. Channel-style zymak, they're very bulky, which makes them more difficult to break than similar CCC's.

MTech Twist: $25 Chinese clones (somewhat licensed) of the CKK Typhoon 'Twister' variant. They do flip well, due to their design, and their steel handles are much thicker than most CCC's. They still suffer from the same crappy screw problems as the other CCC's do, but these can now be easily replaced with better hardware.
Update: The availability of these has been spotty in recent years, with clones of their own popping up.
Also be aware that the 'Twsit II' is NOT really a Twist II. It is an old DDR Venturi Clone, renamed to 'Twist II' by certain retailers when the supply of MTech Twists was depleted.

BM4x clones: $30 Clones of the Benchmade 4x series. With channel-style steel handles, they are very durable. However, they are held together with typical CCC pivots, which can fall apart, strip, or wear out easy, though these can be easily replaced with better hardware.
There are also cheaper sandwich-style variants being made, but these have only a cylindrical spacer on each handle, which makes them far less durable than the channel variants.


Production Knives:

Bear MGC 114: $30. Featuring channel-style zamak handles bulky enough to withstand abuse better than CCC's of the same variety, decent blade steel, and (near) idiot-proof pin construction. They also make a model 113, which is basically the same thing, but shorter than the standard bali length. Other Bear models are pretty much more of the same, with upgraded cosmetic features that don't really improve durability or flipping quality.

Bradley Kimura series: $90. Well made, great pocket knife, fair flipper. It's relatively heavy, and the overall thickness of the handles is pretty thin (they're not as boxy as most). This can be good or bad for flipping, and currently it seems very subjective. They all pretty much flip the same - the differences between them are mostly cosmetic.
The K1 variants (now unavailable) had grooved handles. The K2 through K4 have handles skeletonized with small holes, while the K5 through K7 are skeletonized with long slots.
K1, K2, and K5 have spear-point blades.
K3 and K6 have tanto blades.
K 4 and K7 have bowie blades.

Bear OPS B200: $90. Great flipper, makes a great pocket knife. Fit & finish may be a little rough. Handles are sandwich construction, made of solid G-10. Blade is 154cm. There is also a trainer version of this knife available.

Bear OPS B400: $85. Same as above, but with aluminum handles and 14c28n blade steel.

Spyderco Smallfly: $125. A small variant of the Spyderfly (long discontinued). Not the best flipper, due to it's size, but a good pocket knife.

Benchmade 32 Morpho: $150. A great pocket knife, but perhaps not the best flipper, due to it being so short.

CKK American Patriot Kit: $175 Kit version of DRT American Patriot Balisong (see below)

Benchmade 51: $180. The 51 is basically a full-sized 32 - sandwich construction with liners and scales, as opposed to the 4x's solid titanium channel handles, and D2 blade steel, as opposed to 154cm. They are also lighter than the 4x's were, weighing in at only 3.3oz. Reviews are mixed, with 3.3oz being too light for some but okay for others.

Spyderco Szabofly: $220. A very unique knife. Perhaps not the best flipper, due to its odd-shaped handles.

Bradly Mayhem: $220. An excellent pocket knife, but perhaps not the best flipper, due to its odd-shaped handles.

Microtech Tachyon II: $280 A blast from the past, but longer than the original. Should be an excellent flipper.

Benchmade 6x: $290 Visually similar to the 4x series, but with zen-pin sandwich construction and shorter steel handles. Reviews are mixed, but they are considerably heavy (6.4oz) and pricey.

DRT American Patriot: $295 A.K.A. "the Wafflesong."

BRS AB: $370 Technically more small run than regular production. There aren't very many of these available, but reports are very positive.

FHM's: ~$150. Short for 'Filipino Hand Made.' A broad category, but these generally tend to be large and durable, with carbon steel blades, and with pinned handles made of brass and exotic wood or bone.

'Customs' and small-run productions: $400 and up. Some customs are truly made-to-order custom jobs, while the term is also used for small-run production knives, which are still a pain to make and therefore still costly. Many custom knives nowadays are made with either bushings or IKBS bearing systems installed, which make them the smoothest flippers around. The price range on these really have no limit, as you can have one made out of platinum if you really wanted.


Now discontinued: The following have been discontinued since this post was originally typed.

Benchmade 4x: $180 The 'x' is replaced with a number representing the blade profile - the handles are generally all the same. The most common is the 42 (aka BM42), with a 'Weehawk' profile. Other models are less common, and therefore generally more expensive. These are widely considered the best production flippers available.
They can be found used for about $350.

CKK Typhoon and Tsunami: $50 to $80. These are kits knives that, when assembled and modified properly, can make for an excellent quality flipper and a good all around knife. However, when assembled improperly and without the necessary modifications, they will lead to headaches, and therefore I generally don't recommend them to absolute beginners. The easiest to make into a good flipper is the Twister variant (now discontinued) , followed by the milled variant, followed by the solid variant, while the solid variant has the greatest potential for customization.


"NBO's": Near Balisong Object or Non-Balisong Object. These are items that can be flipped like a butterfly knife, but with the blades replaced by some other useful object.

Spyderco Baliyo: $10 to $25. A Fisher Space Pen. Plastic construction with brass weights.

BBbarfly: $20 to $30 A bottle opener with customizable graphics.

Bottlefly: $10 A bottle opener. Shorter and lighter than the BBbarfly.
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FaultyPly

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Post Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:21 am

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

I would have to disagree with the Szabofly. I flipped one at my local B&M shop. It is a very nice flipper, as well as a defensive knife. The Bite Handle is considerably heavier than the safe handle making basic flipping easier. However, when you get to advanced stuff like rollovers and aerials and zen tricks, then things get a little sloppy. Doing a little research awhile ago, the designer, Laci Szabo, designed the knife especially for self-defense martial arts, where you rarely do much more than basic flipping.
"Well, if you live, you wanna give or get old; And if you never knew that we get old, you live it up. You live it up, you get old"
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slashncut

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Post Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:33 am

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

another cheap balisong brand is Herbertz. for around 15-30euro, you'll get a very strong balisong.
I don't know what material the handles are made of, but they're indestructible skeletonized, and very heavy.
the blades are made out of 420 stainless steel.
only downside of this lower end balisong are the pivot pins: no screws, so its hard to adjust bladeplay(I did mistreat the balisong, and the pins held out okay).
same quality as Jags(I think Herbertz even made some Jag copies)
it was my first flipper
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knifezoid

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Post Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:20 pm

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

Oops, should have read this post first. Nice summary of knives available.
Really though I wish the list was HUGE! But then I guess I'd have to break
the bank to get more...

I have the Szabo and the Kimura.
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six7zero9

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Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:18 pm

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

benchmade model 51 thoughts

I know that there are several good reviews on YouTube about the "new" benchmade 51 (sungwei, cutlerylover, and nycdave), but I was going to give a short opinion. If u are considering one and u have a bm42 already, pick one up. I watched several reviews wondering about the weight and handle construction. After playing with one now fo r2 weeks, I highly recommend it. The weight is actually kind of nice and the handles are very well constructed, as to be expected from a benchmade or any ~$200 knife for the matter. The sound is the only thing really lacking, but that isn't really a big deal given the overall quality and asthetics of the knife. But this is just my amateur opinion .... take it for what it's worth.
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cja245

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Post Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:48 am

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

I'm not sure if anyone gives a shit, but I just noticed that bladeplay sells these now. They aren't jaguars like the one i have, but i bet their pretty much the same thing. These things are really nice. For 22 bucks they are a steal. I would think they would last longer than any other cheap knife on the market, since its a thick stainless steel channel. They are a bit heavy at almost 8 oz, but thats not nessessarily a bad thing. Honestly, i think i'd recommend this over the twist for beginners, since it should last longer and its a lot lower maintinence without the shitty screws. This is the knife i was flipping in my challenge with baliflip and tannersgirl if you wanna see it in action. ---------> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nB4B5enzYs Figured i'd give you the heads up since i really like mine ;)

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baliFlip17

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Post Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:03 pm

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

my brother has been looking for a cheapo to flip while he waits for his 42 to come. the cheapo he has now is breaking so i'll have tell him about this
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beflipped

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Post Sun May 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

examples of the Herbertz knives mentioned above
quite heavy but pretty decent stuff
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SaintAffliction

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Post Sun May 23, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

Im flipping a Cold Steel Arc-Angel, and I gotta tell ya, I love this knife! Great flipper, A bit longer than the 4x.Image
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Kefir96

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Post Sun May 23, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

I'd love to get the ArcAngel, shame it has been discontinued.
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jhoonday

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Post Mon May 24, 2010 3:43 am

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

For the serious collector or martial artist, this is a must have. It is seriously well made by a genius who knows form and function. Benchmade 32 Morpho is the best for you. That is the best recommendation I can actually give.
Last edited by jhoonday on Thu May 27, 2010 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BYAKUYA

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Post Thu May 27, 2010 5:14 am

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

So ive been flipping my 32 for almost a week and a half now. Before i was flipping a CCC that broke. Because i am new to flipping i find that the 32 is not the best knife for beginers. i have a hard time with the small handles and light wieght of the knife. i seem to be taking long to master some basic flipping (have not tried arials that much). What do other 32 owners think bout it, and how does it flip compared to the 51? (51 is the next one I'm getting).
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tornado9015

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Post Fri May 28, 2010 10:05 am

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

BYAKUYA wrote:So ive been flipping my 32 for almost a week and a half now. Before i was flipping a CCC that broke. Because i am new to flipping i find that the 32 is not the best knife for beginers. i have a hard time with the small handles and light wieght of the knife. i seem to be taking long to master some basic flipping (have not tried arials that much). What do other 32 owners think bout it, and how does it flip compared to the 51? (51 is the next one I'm getting).


I have disagreed with many people in the past about knives that deviate from what seems to be a pretty standard shape, such as the 32, the mayhem, and the szabofly. But from my experience, the 32 being my second high end bali, and the 51 being, IIRC my third. The 32 pretty much requires you to relearn most tricks. Just because the handles are shorter, it seems to end up in unexpected positions during flipping. My biggest gripe with the 32 is also that the clip is too close to the front of the knife, which interferes with my ability to properly do simple bite hand rollovers, such as the helix, or y2k. The 51 is the lightest production bali I own, and is a lot of fun, I would think moving from the 32 to the 51 shouldn't be too hard, I would think it would be easier than moving to the 32 from the 51, but that's just an educated guess at best.

I'm kind of getting off track here, but I really enjoy flipping both the 51 and 32, though to be honest my 32 doesn't see too much use, it's become sort of a novelty to me and my friends somehow. If you wanted to EDC a bali though, the 32 is easily in my top 2. I hope your knives bring you as much joy as mine have for me. :D
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FkeSpydrFly

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Post Fri May 28, 2010 10:07 am

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

SaintAffliction wrote:Im flipping a Cold Steel Arc-Angel, and I gotta tell ya, I love this knife! Great flipper, A bit longer than the 4x.Image

thats a nice knife man..is that stu's old one?
fke
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FaultyPly

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Post Fri May 28, 2010 11:14 am

Re: The "What Knife Should I Get?" Sticky

I disagree tornado. What separates the 32 from the other 4" balisongs is it is a very fast, very light, and very short knife. It is not about relearning tricks. As with all knives, it is gonna take some adjustment. I have never had problems with the pocket clip inhibiting any manipulation. I have more problems with latches. There are zero play in the handles and the 32 is smoother than a baby's ass. I would highly recommend it to flippers, knife collectors, or anyone who loves knives. It is a superior EDC knife too. I find myself staring st it as I flip because it is just that beautiful of a knife.
"Well, if you live, you wanna give or get old; And if you never knew that we get old, you live it up. You live it up, you get old"
FkeSpydrFly wrote:watch out for that weed it might kill your grandpa


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