Within any industry — be it running, cycling or outdoor gear — there are well-known brands and those that fly under the radar. Recognition, however, isn't a measure of quality. In pocket knives, the big players are Gerber, CRKT, Benchmade and Buck, among others. Here are a few with less clout but equal merit — and a discounted blade that proves the point.
QSP is a straightforward acronym that stands for Quality, Service, Price. It may be bland, but it's also what you want in a pocket knife, and it doesn't mean the company cuts corners on manufacturing or materials. For instance, the Leopard, which is on sale for 35 percent off, has ceramic ball bearings for smoothing opening, G-10 handle scales and a Sandvik stainless steel blade with solid edge retention.
Real Steel is another company, along with QSP, bringing credit to the growing Chinese knife making industry. Established in 2013, it has collaborated with many of the industry's leading designers. The E571 is an affordable, all-stainless pocket knife with a flipper tab, frame lock and blade that prioritizes corrosion resistance. It's currently 25 percent off.
MKM, which stands for Maniago Knife Makers, is a four-way collaboration between LionSteel, Viper, Fox Knives and Mercury, all of which are based in Maniago, Italy, a town known globally for steel blade production. Drop teamed up with the consortium to produce this exclusive slip-joint, which features ebony wood handle scales and a Bohler M390 steel blade. It's currently 56 percent off.
Rike Knife spent years producing pocket knives for other companies before creating its own in-house brand, which is named loosely for its founder Richard Wu. Many of its designs can be ornate, but the 802G is more sleek than showy. Its handle is titanium on one side and G-10 on the other, while its 3.7-inch drop-point blade is high-end 154CM stainless steel. It's up for pre-order at 41 percent off.