Why the Best Knife of 2018 Isn’t What You’d Expect

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This was a banner year for production knives. We could have easily chosen any of five knives as the best knife of 2018. But the Massdrop x Ferrum Forge Gent stood out with its backstory alone.

First, a quick nod to the top five knives of 2018. They are, in no specific order: the CRKT Pilar in S35VN, the Three Rivers Manufacturing Neutron, the Massdrop x Ferrum Forge Gent, the Spyderco Chaparral in FRN, and the SOG Terminus XR.

Massdrop x Ferrum Forge Gent: Best Knife of 2018

The real eye-catcher in that group is the Gent. Massdrop users funded this knife, a custom knife business designed it, and the up-and-coming overseas brand WE Knives made it.

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The strange thing here is that the Gent represents something very close to a crowdsourced design. Massdrop sells stuff, but it also hosts forum boards for different hobby communities. By poring through posts, Massdrop is better able to figure out what people want.

The cynic might see these boards as nothing more than market research, which, of course, they are. But whatever the label may be, it’s clear the resulting products are hitting the market just right. The Laconico Keen, Bharucha Prism, and Terzuola Compact all have crowd-favorite features.

The Gent itself comes in two variants: a basic version with four different-colored G10 onlays and a select version with two high-end materials, either carbon fiber or rosewood. The blade is 3 inches long, a perfect length for EDC tasks and more widely legal than the larger Crux (which the Gent design comes from).

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The knife deploys via one of the most effortless flippers on the market. The blade is a very well-rounded S35VN blade steel. All of this awesomeness comes in a package that weighs a very pocket-friendly 2.4 ounces. The basic Gent comes in around $80. The select comes in around $100. At either price, the knife is a total steal.

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The Gent represents something new and exciting in the knife world — blades with designs driven by enthusiast feedback. The traditional brands should pay attention. If Massdrop fixes its logistics issues, like spotty product availability and turtle-like shipping speeds, it could be a major player in the knife business for years to come.

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