Knives Illustrated

WINNING ON MERIT

- Bryan J. Ball, Editor

When I was young, I never cared much about football. In all honesty, I still don’t pay much attention to the NFL, but I am a proud New York Jets fan. (I know… They suck.) Let me explain how I became a supporter of arguably the most dysfunctio­nal franchise in the NFL and how it relates to knives. I became a Jets fan because I moved to North Carolina and everyone justifiabl­y gave me a metric ton of crap about them just because I was from New York. Eventually, I became a fan out of spite. I felt a need to stick up for the home team, no matter how awful they are year in and year out. I could have chosen the Giants or especially the Bills because they’re right down the road. But I picked the Jets because they were the worst at the time and I decided to embrace the jibes rather than just say, “I don’t even like football.” That is the opposite of why I’ve become a fan of American-made knives lately. I have no instilled hatred or dislike of knives made overseas; my tastes have simply gravitated more toward manufactur­ers such as Hinderer, Hogue, Spartan, Chris Reeve, Protech, etc… Part of that is because I’ve been pretty into two categories of knives that America does best: hard use folders and automatics. But that’s only part of the story. Once my preference­s sort of (for lack of a better word) forced me to buy American, I was very happy with what I found. American knife manufactur­ing has greatly improved the last few years. Overall, quality is up, customer service is up, and a lot of innovation is happening. These improvemen­ts couldn’t come at a better time, either. The knife industry is doing pretty well during these chaotic times in America. People are realizing that when things get bad, maybe it isn’t a horrible idea to have a good solid tool in your pocket. Many of them have an impulse to shop at home before shopping abroad and when they do, there’s plenty for them to like. Will I stop buying or reviewing Chinese and other overseas knives? No. That’s ignoring a huge swath of the knife world and totally ignoring that is just willful ignorance. And there are many, many makes and models that I adore made overseas. But I do admit that it’s nice to have a home team that I can root for on merit and because I’m proud of them, rather out of spite.

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