Review: Emerson Knives Tactical Kwaiken

posted on May 5, 2020

With features such as dual thumb studs for ambidextrous use, combined with the company’s popular assisted opening Wave Feature, Emerson KnivesTactical Kwaiken is one no-nonsense knife, designed for instantaneous deployment. Upon opening the knife, the first thing to catch your eye is the its blade, which is forged from 154CM steel for added strength and ability to retain a sharp edge. It measures slightly less than 4 inches and sports a conventional V-shaped grind with a chisel edge. But, the most impressive aspect of the blade pertains to its classical design: The bottom of the blade features a long trailing edge with a graceful curve that forms a shallow belly and culminates at a point which is in line with the top of the spine. This pairing of a shallow belly paired with the symmetrical spine of the blade is reminiscent of the knives carried by Samurai as a form of concealed backup weapon.

The aforementioned symmetry of the design is carried into what can only best be described as a plain-looking handle. Clean lines create a neutral handle shape to aid in quick transitions from an underhand or overhand grip, depending upon the situation. Finely textured G10 scales, combined with a generous choil on the bottom of the handle provide ample purchase and a non-slip grip. The addition of a titanium liner lock ensures the Tactical Kwaiken will not close inadvertently. (The Tactical Kwaiken is available in two different blade finishes, and partial serrations are optional.)

If I had to choose a single aspect of this knife to gripe about it would pertain to its steel belt clip. No, I do not have anything against the clip as a whole. In fact, the Tactical Kwaiken's clip is the first knife clip I have encountered in several years that has not required extra tension to prevent it from being involuntarily dislodged from my pocket. Sadly, the clip cannot be reversed to accommodate my southpaw affliction. Moreover, unlike other competitive offerings, the clip on this no-nonsense knife could only be configured for tip-down carry. I find this method perpetuates slower blade deployment than in tip-up fashion. A second set of holes along each scale would not only bring welcome versatility by offering alternative and ambidextrous carry methods to users, it would be an easy means to make a great knife even better.

If you are looking for a new knife to add to your daily concealed-carry gear, look no further than the elegant and purpose-built Tactical Kwaiken by Emerson Knives. MSRP: $249.95.


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