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