I had managed to sleep through the first version of this knife coming out, but not this version as it was posted in the member Discord — a dangerous place to be most days. As soon as I saw this, I struggled to pick the color and blade I would want. But ended up getting the fully blacked out Hogue Deka (gen 2) with the wharncliffe blade.
This is one of my favorite pocket knives.
Steel & Lock
Ok, let’s start with the steel, it’s CPM-20CV — which is essentially M390. Insane edge retention, excellent corrosion resistance, and brittle at times. I’ve come around to two ways of thinking with the M390 variants of steel like this:
- They are really ideal for destroying Amazon boxes and other slicing tasks as the edge retention is top notch.
- They are really not ideal for any situation where you are going to put lateral torque of any kind on the blade.
In other words: I kind am souring on M390. I love how long the edge lasts, and that most people could get by with a small ceramic rod to keep their knife sharp. But for me, I always worry I am going to chip the blade, despite the only blades I have ever chipped being: 1095, S30V, and S35VN. So it’s unfounded to say the least, but I do earn for more durable steels most days.
On this knife, for this blade shape, 20CV is a smart call. It’s a slicing shaped blade, and this is a slicing steel.
The lock on the knife is what Hogue calls “ABLE Lock”, which is short hand (I assume) for: Benchmade’s patent on the AXIS lock expired, but not their trademark, so it’s that lock but the Hogue name.
The lock is fully ambidextrous and fully awesome. Works exactly like you expect, and keeps your fingers out of the blade path. Ideal.
Use & Carry
This is a mean looking knife, and yet that’s not how it feels in hand. The handle is fantastic in your hand as the G10 is molded nicely while offering a lot of grip. The ABLE lock and thumb studs have almost too much grip on them, so it’s easy to get solid purchase on both to operate the knife.
Which brings you to the blade, which is as delicate as could be. The modified wharncliffe style blade gives you two flat angles which all come to an engineering feat of a fine tip. Seriously, this tip is thin. And what that all means in practice: this is the most slicey of slicey knives I have ever used. Even with the black coating on the blade, it glides through everything I’ve put it to test on.
The two most notable changes for the second generation of this knife are the pocket clip (deep carry now) and the scales having a reasonable (fewer) amount of screws on them. So fret not if you don’t have the second generation.
Perhaps the best part of this knife is that the blade doesn’t feel overly large for EDC tasks, while the handle is a little oversized feeling. Typically you will find knives being a little more balanced, but here the handle is definitely the larger of the two, and it works in favor of the knife — giving you a lot of control and grip on it as the blade glides through its tasks.
Destroying Amazon boxes with this is a delight.
The action on the knife is equally great after only a short period of breaking in making the entire package is fantastic.
There is one thing though. All those rough edges on the lock and thumb studs lead to edges which can and will catch on things here and there. The edge of your pocket being one, though rare. I found that every pocket case/pouch/organizer I slid this knife into, was harder to get the knife out of as it generally latched on often catching right on the lock. To get around that, I’ve been carrying it in oversized pouches/organizers which works fine. Not a deal breaker for me, but a thing to be aware of if you have something you really want it to fit in, it might catch often and annoyingly at times.
I love this knife. It’s not the best knife, not yet anyways, but it’s darn close.
The entire thing looks wicked, slices like crazy, and feels amazing in your hand. And it does all that at a reasonable price of $165 retail. I have very little to fault this knife on, and even though the blade is 3.25” long, it carries light and feels nimble.
Highly recommended, buy one.
Note: There’s a new version coming out with a different handle scale material, but CPM Magnacut as the steel. I am very stoked for that.