CLASSY CARRY

KICK­START, CASE’S FIRST EN­TRY INTO THE AS­SISTED OPEN­ING CAT­E­GORY, IS A WIN­NER

Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - EDC BLADES - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY STEVEN PAUL BAR­LOW

Idon’t re­quire all of my ev­ery­day carry (EDC) gear to carry the “tac­ti­cal” ap­pel­la­tion in or­der for me to place my trust in it. When it comes to knives espe­cially, I re­quire a good amount of util­ity beyond any pos­si­ble self-de­fense ap­pli­ca­tion. I’m more likely to open a pack­age than a vein.

And while I view my knives and guns too as pur­pose­ful tools, that doesn’t mean I have to set­tle for spar­tan mod­els that are all func­tion and no art. Per­for­mance is key, but be­ing at­trac­tive is a nice plus.

W. R. Case & Sons Cut­lery Com­pany has been sell­ing qual­ity knives that are both rugged and good look­ing for more than 100 years. But now the com­pany has in­tro­duced its first fam­ily of knives, namely its Mid-Fold­ing Hunters, to in­cor­po­rate its Kick­start as­sisted-open­ing tech­nol­ogy. I had to take a closer look.

MANY CASES LATER

Case, which man­u­fac­tures its knives in Brad­ford, Penn­syl­va­nia, has been most widely known for its tra­di­tional fold­ing pocket knives. The com­pany has a strong fol­low­ing among those who carry as well as those who col­lect. Some pick a knife pat­tern and ac­quire those mod­els in all of the many han­dle ma­te­ri­als the com­pany of­fers. I’m espe­cially fond of its three-blade stock­man knives in var­i­ous sizes.

Oth­ers choose a han­dle ma­te­rial and col­lect ev­ery knife pat­tern that fea­tures it. I’m a sucker for any knife the com­pany makes with Navy blue bone han­dles and a red oval shield. Show me a new one and I’ll buy it. And while the Kick­start Mid-Fold­ing Hunter is the com­pany’s first as­sisted opener, it has made knives with lock­ing blades for some time. The Trap­perLock, Cop­perLock and Tribal Lock are my fa­vorites.

KICK­START FEA­TURES

I ac­quired two Kick­start Mid-Fold­ing Hunters to try. The first sported the com­pany’s am­ber bone han­dles with peach seed jig. The se­cond came with dark red bone han­dles with a stan­dard jig. Both fea­tured sil­ver oval script shields and pol­ished nickel sil­ver bol­sters front and back. Both were beau­ti­ful knives. Case is one of the few com­pa­nies that can make a knife look an­tique, yet shiny and new all at once.

Other han­dle ma­te­ri­als avail­able ini­tially in­clude Bon­estag, rough black syn­thetic, smooth Pa­tri­otic Kri­nite, smooth yel­low syn­thetic and smooth black can­vas lam­i­nate.

The Kick­start Mid-Fold­ing Hunter is about 4 inches long closed. The pom­mel curves down­ward, mak­ing for a knife that not only car­ries in a

“CASE IS ONE OF THE FEW COM­PA­NIES THAT CAN MAKE A KNIFE LOOK AN­TIQUE, YET SHINY AND NEW ALL AT ONCE.”

pocket well, but is very com­fort­able in the hand.

When open, the sin­gle, sweep­ing clip blade an­gles down­ward from the lat­eral line of the han­dle. The blade is about 2.9 inches long. It se­cures open with a liner lock. There’s no jimp­ing on the spine, but it an­gles up­ward to serve as a thumb rest when get­ting over the top of the blade for mak­ing de­tail cuts.

The model with the am­ber bone han­dle fea­tures the com­pany’s Tru-Sharp stain­less-steel blade ma­te­rial, a strong steel with good edge re­ten­tion and cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance. The model with the dark red bone han­dle fea­tures Case’s Chrome Vana­dium steel that is very easy to re­sharpen. The blades of both knives were mir­ror pol­ished and both came very sharp from the box. No sur­prise there; ev­ery Case I’ve ever owned has come with a good edge.

TO CLIP OR NOT

The stain­less-steel pocket clip is po­si­tioned the way I like it for tip-down carry in a right-side pocket. It’s not re­versible. That’s just as well as many times I won’t use a pocket clip at all.

Some­times I don’t want peo­ple to see that I’m car­ry­ing a knife and on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions I’ve had knives work their way up and out of the pocket when us­ing a pocket clip.

I do pre­fer tip-down carry when I do use a pocket clip, how­ever. I can pinch the top of the knife be­tween thumb and fore­fin­ger and pull it up right into my nor­mal grip very quickly. Tip-up carry forces me to dig deeper into my pocket to re­trieve a knife and then read­just my grip when I clear the pocket.

KICK­START MECH­A­NISM

Dual thumb studs al­low the Kick­start Mid-Fold­ing Hunter to be opened with ei­ther hand. The spring in the as­sisted-open­ing mech­a­nism is very strong and the knife opens with a sat­is­fy­ing click. I did add a drop of oil to each knife to smoothen the ac­tion.

I found that hold­ing the knife a bit fur­ther up in the hand pro­vided a bet­ter an­gle when push­ing the thumb studs. That’s not a fault of the knife. Usu­ally I must ad­just to the feel of any new knife and af­ter a lit­tle prac­tice—the fun part with an as­sisted-opener—I was open­ing the knife very quickly.

THE RIGHT BLEND

I car­ried these knives al­ter­nately for a month and used them for my ev­ery­day cut­ting tasks. Just as of­ten, how­ever, I would pull one from my pocket and ad­mire the beauty and work­man­ship of this lit­tle pre­ci­sion ma­chine. And nat­u­rally, I had to play with the as­sisted-open­ing blade.

Case has man­aged to cre­ate the right blend of the tra­di­tional and the modern in the new Kick­start Mid-Fold­ing Hunter fam­ily of knives. These knives carry well, are com­fort­able to use and come sharp. They’re hard-use knives when you pull on your jeans and have work to do. And they’re dressy enough to put in the pocket of your suit for a night on the town. CC

“CASE HAS MAN­AGED TO CRE­ATE THE RIGHT BLEND OF THE TRA­DI­TIONAL AND THE MODERN IN THE NEW KICK­START MID-FOLD­ING HUNTER...”

The au­thor tried two of the new Case Kick­start Mid-Fold­ing Hunter knives shown ly­ing across a Case Win­kler Skin­ner fixed blade.

Top: These par­tic­u­lar mod­els come with the Case sil­ver oval script shield. Col­lec­tors espe­cially make note of such de­tails.

xx Bot­tom: The au­thor used his ex­am­ples of the Case Kick­start Mid-Fold­ing Hunter for a va­ri­ety of house­hold cut­ting tasks.

The spring in the Kick­start as­sisted-open­ing mech­a­nism was strong and the blade opened with author­ity.

The pocket/belt clip for these knives is po­si­tioned for tip-down carry on a right-side pocket.

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