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George Hill
April 17, 2002, 01:07 PM
I've worn Benchmade AFCKs and Mini AFCKs on my pocket for a few years... before that were Spyderco Endura's and Police with an occasional Native thrown in.
You get the impression that I like the round hole in the blade for fast one handed opening.

A few months ago Spectre sent me something new. It's been my carry knife ever since. It's a Kershaw production Boa of Ken Onion's design. Partialy serated blade forged of CPM440V, blackened with a titanium nitride type of coating. This coating is very tough and to this date remains free of any and all mars to the finish despite some rather hard use. My old M2 bladed Mini AFCK's coating was pretty much torn up after just a couple of weeks. Benchamade should take note. It still might be protecting the blade from corrosion, but it looks like crap with all the scratches. This titanium coating is Da Bomb, at least so far. The best thing about the blade isn't the coating or the steel... but the blade's geometry. It has a recurve geometry that not only keeps the cutting edge on target, but allows the blade's belly to cut deep. I made some slash cuts on an old foam pad and the cuts were easily twice as deep as the cuts from the Mini AFCK with about the same blade length. This shape, combined with the steel and coating... it makes for a killer knife blade.
One thing about the blade, it had a thumb stud to allow one hand opening. I found that this stud was just in the way. It would snag my jeans and prevent any fast blade presentations. I'll come back to this in a moment. The blade has held it's edge longer than other knives and the only thing that can compair is the M2 steel that Benchmade uses in some of it's knives. After all the hard use I've given it, only just yesterday did I have it resharpened. The fellow that resharpened it for me sells a lot of knives, but said that it was this was the first one he had to resharpen.

The black scales are made of aluminum. They have a dimpled surface that is to create a none slip surface... It would have been better to try something else... maybe just drill the scales all the way through, because the surface could be a little more non-slip. Thankfull because of the grips shape, slipage isn't an issue. The handle is shaped very well and allows a solid grip in any position.
Overall this knife has a very solid and secure feel. For a folder, the only liner lock knives I know of that feel this solid and rugged are the offerings from Emerson. The AFCKs feel almost DELICATE in compairison.

The coolest thing about this knife is the Speed Safe opening mechanism. It's similar to an automatic knife, but not so legally. You have to manipulate the blade to facilitate opening. Once you start it opening by about 3/16th of an inch, the torsion bar mechanism takes over and the blade snaps open and locked. For the nervous types, you have a safety switch. Yes, a pocket knife with a safety. Now, about that thumb stud. It was always snagging my pocket. This was most annoying. So I removed it. The knife has something that I call a "Trigger". It's a little section of the blade that protrudes through the handle when the blade is closed and allows you to give it a quick flick to open the knife. Knife experts probably have a real name for it, but I like calling it a Trigger.

This is one SERIOUS knife. It's been a true work horse for the tasks I've put it through... from chopping branches for building fires, slicing off hoses under the hood of my small Jeep collection, severing drive belts within the same... it's done all that with grace. The only hint that the knife is used is the pocket clip, where some of the finish has worn off. Obviously not the same finish that is on the blade. Yesterday, while getting this Boa resharpened, I wore my M2 Mini AFCK which is about the same size. I had the feeling that I was under knifed. As if I wasnt' packing as much knife as I had been. The M2 Mini AFCK is a wonderful knife... sleek, scary sharp, reliable, and all around a great knife. However the Boa trumps it.

This Boa has become a permant replacement to my M2 Mini AFCK. If you have a knife shop in your area, next time your around it, stop in and check the Boa out for your self. Bring some cash with you... you wont want to hand it back.

Spectre
April 17, 2002, 03:32 PM
Good review. Thanks, George.

I managed to lose my well-liked Native while doing HRAP a couple of weeks ago. I've been considering replacement options; sounds like the BOA could be what I'm looking for.

George Hill
April 17, 2002, 04:05 PM
You lost a Native? That sucks... Natives are wonderful little knives. One of my all time favorites. I just wish Spyderco would make one just an Inch Bigger.
Send me your new address... I have a knife for you.

Spectre
April 17, 2002, 04:56 PM
I should have my new address tomorrow. Thanks, George.
--- I could not see the guns but they were evidently firing directly over us. It was a nuisance to have them there but it was a comfort that they were no bigger. -A Farewell to Arms

ahenry
April 18, 2002, 12:08 AM
If I’m not mistaken the thumb stud is what keeps your Boa from being termed an auto. Kershaw insist that the speedsafe design is legal in all fifty states, but I believe that is due to the thumb stud not the fact that the torsion bar “assists” the opening. There is an on going legal battle in Washington State about this very thing. IIRC both Kershaw and Ken Onion are involved in the case trying to help the poor sap that got his knife confiscated by what appears to be an overzealous cop. If it really bugs you, you could check it out with Ken Onion on his forum: http://www.kenonionknives.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi

My chive is my EDC and I am partial to the stud method of opening for one-handers anyway so leaving it on for me is given. I honestly don’t know if what I am saying about the thumb stud is true or not (I got my info off the internet), but for those of you that might want to avoid the possible headache I toss it out there....

George Hill
April 18, 2002, 12:13 PM
I think what it is, is that you have to manupilate the blade to facilitate opening... be it the stud, a hole, a ramp, a hood (like the new spydercos are now using) or a part of the blade that sticks out of the handle when closed.
Automatic knives have a switch or button that let's a spring pop it open.

I don't know... I'm not a lawyer.

But I do know that if your a cop and you bust someones chops for a pocket knife that is sold at a freaking MALL... your an idiot. It's no more an Auto than is a Buck 110.

ahenry
April 18, 2002, 12:21 PM
I have no idea what Utah law is like but lots of state laws differentiate between owning and carrying. F'r instance you can buy autos but you can't carry them....

Like I said, I have a thumb stud on all my one handed knives so leaving this one on is no biggie, even though I use the back "trigger".

Don Gwinn
April 18, 2002, 02:08 PM
Autos are illegal in Illinois for any purpose up to and including daydreaming about owning one.


The definition here boils down to a knife that can be opened with a switch or control on the handle, without manually moving the blade. As George says, the Speed Safe knives don't qualify because you have to manipulate the blade to open them. I would argue that the "trigger" he's talking about qualifies. If anyone can't picture it, think of an integral guard built into the blade that protrudes through the back of the handle when the blade is closed. Now imagine holding the closed knife with your index finger at the front bolster on the back of the knife, then drawing the finger toward your palm.
I suppose a prosecutor could argue that this resembles the thumb switch on a true switchblade too closely, but he'd have a hard time. First thing I'd do is bring in a roll of knives--Camillus CUDAs and such. The control on a Camillus Cuda isn't even an integral part of the blade, but it's considered legal because you are still manipulating the blade rather than letting a spring do the work.

Erich
April 18, 2002, 02:42 PM
Well, let's face it, all these laws banning autoknives are pretty silly. (Yep, they've sure put a stop to the crime wave that swept the country in the '50s.)

I am a lawyer who does criminal defense appeals. Whether these Kershaws qualify as "switchblades" is a question that will vary from state to state. Some states define "switchblade" very narrowly, others very broadly. You really want to check with an attorney who's familiar with your state's laws, because there's every possibility the "Speed Safe" mechanism could be trouble for you.

New Mexico's law prohibits "manufacturing, causing to be manufactured, possessing, displaying, offering, selling, lending, giving away or purchasing any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or any knife having a blade which opens or falls or is ejected into position by the force of gravity or by any outward or centrifugal thrust or movement." NMSA 1978, § 30-7-8 (2001); see State v. Riddall, 112 N.M. 78, 811 P.2d 576 (Ct. App. 1991). It's a petty misdemeanor here.

Now, I think the Onion knives just might fall within the NM definition of a prohibited switchblade: a knife "which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife . . . ." Might not. It hasn't been decided, but it's a close enough call that I wouldn't advise having one here. What would be decided depends on the judge, I guess, and ultimately the appellate courts. The last time the switchblade definition issue came up (regarding butterfly knives in the above-cited Riddall case), one of the cooler Court of Appeals judges masterfully showed everybody how to operate a butterfly knife and then dissented when the rest of the panel found it to be illegal under the NM statute.

So, definitely check out a lawyer who knows your state's laws, kids. I think the Kershaws are neat, personally, and they are quite a deal through SMKW (though I wouldn't be surprised if I managed to hurt myself with that "Speed Safe" mechanism). But, looking at my state's law, I'll stick with my Spyderco Ayoob for EDC.

George Hill
April 21, 2002, 02:07 PM
In Utah, you can carry an auto knife as long as it isnt concealed.
Pocket clip carry is kosher.

Last auto I carried opend in my pocket. Ouch.
Deep stab wound into my hip.

Erich
April 22, 2002, 09:18 AM
Glad it was your hip and not "Shisk - a - George"!

jar
April 22, 2002, 12:03 PM
I wonder where the scale release knives fall? Also, more and more states are placing automatic knives under their CCW laws so with a carry permit they become legal. I know that Texas is finnaly trying to add them.

Look for a new one from Pro-Tec hitting the shelves around June or July, designed by a Texas maker.

Bogie
April 22, 2002, 03:14 PM
I've got one of the little Onions... Really like it. But my everyday carry is a CRKT small Crawford-Kasper. When you stick your thumb behind the stud, and flick it, rather than riding the stud around with your thumb, the thing just flies open. VERY nice, and the fastest non-mechanical-assist knife I've ever used.

I suspect that the "trigger" on the Onion isn't that much different, legally, than the assist knobbie on the CRKT M16 knives.