Thursday, March 22, 2012

Changes to the Knife Scoring System

When I first set out to review products I thought that a scoring system would be helpful. It would allow people to rank things they wanted and a consistent system would allow scoring across products. A system that was consistent, not just within the product class, but across product classes would allow folks to select items of similar quality and performance, giving them a system of gear that was uniformly good. I chose the ten categories for the knife scoring system focusing exclusively on locking folding knives. That has become a limitation and I would like to score non-locking knives now.

I want to do this for two reasons. First, a lot of folks that read this do so from states and countries with very different legal limitations placed on blades. A non-locking blade is almost universally legal and so for a lot of readers, reviews of locking folders are about as useful as reviews of different types of black tar heroin. As side comment, I think that heroin and a folding knife having equal levels of contraband status is bonkers, but that is just me. Second, there are a lot of knives out there that are very, very good EDC knives that don't lock. I really like my Hybrid folder and I have come to learn that a lock is not required so long as there are other means to ensure the safety of a person's fingers. There are a whole range of knives that are eliminated from consideration because of the lock requirement--things like SAKs (I want to review a Cadet, it is just a perfect little blade), Case knives, and Spyderco Slipits (in particular the Terzuola Slipit).

So the change is actually a simple one. Instead of giving a score for a knife's lock, I will score it the same way (0=fail, 1=adequate, 2=superior) in terms of blade safety--meaning lock or other device or method of protecting the user's fingers. This allows me to review both locking and non-locking knives on the same scale and allows me to review all different forms of non-locking knives, again with the same score.  I will still compare knives to their own category, so, for example something with a lock could score a 1, while something without a lock could score a 2.  A lock, I have found over time, is not INHERENTLY superior.  I would prefer to have one, but there are instances, such as the SAK Cadet, where the trade off between a locking blade and some other feature, in the Cadet, the slim size and weight, makes the lock less than essential.  In the end, this does not change a single previous review. It also allows the 20 point system to remain in place and work going forward. Finally, it allows me to open up for review a whole new range of really great knives out there. I may even go back and score the Hybrid.


  1. A very realistic assessment of the lock situation. The only knife that is 100% of the time with me is a tiny SAK with scissors, file, blade, tweezers and toothpick. It does not lock, but it does not need to because of the light duty it gets. I have purchased only locking blades otherwise, because a knife getting more pressure or a wider range of movement calls out for more stability, in view of my clumsiness. That said, I like the congress style knife for looks, so I may be getting one, but I think it will be more like jewelry than a hard user.

  2. I agree that a lock is NOT a necessity, especially on a light duty EDC blade. Kudos to you for being the first EDC blog that seems to recognize this!

    Looking forward to the review of the Rambler.