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CIVIVI Chevalier Review: Serious Chops, Irresistible Fun Factor

Can this courtly folder out-joust some of the leading pocket knives in the industry?

chevalier flipper knife(Photo/Josh Wussow)
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In the dark ages of Spyderco and Benchmade price creep, budget-friendly makers like CIVIVI earned their chance to shine. And one of CIVIVI’s brightest up-and-coming stars is the new Chevalier Button Lock ($72), with its knightly name and noble (caged ceramic!) bearing. 

Yet even from within, the Chevalier faces competition. The Elementum Button Lock Knife is one of the crown jewels in the company’s line, and it retails for around $10 less. So does this new soldier have what it takes to outmatch the brand’s current value champ?

I carried the knife for 2 weeks on an intrepid quest to find out. 

In short: Hovering around $70, the CIVIVI Chevalier is an outstanding pocket knife. Its flat-ground, sheep’s-foot-style blade makes short work of foodstuffs and cardboard, and its neutral handle offers solid finger-position and grip. The button lock is the star of the show, with quick deployment and an action that’s mildly addictive. We hope to see more steel options in the future. 

CIVIVI Chevalier Flipper Knife


  • Overall length 7.87" / 200 mm
  • Blade length 3.46" / 88 mm
  • Blade thickness 0.12" / 3 mm
  • Blade material 14C28N (57-59HRC)
  • Handle width 1.25" / 31.7 mm
  • Handle thickness 0.52" / 13.2 mm
  • Weight 3.19 oz. / 90.5 g
  • Handle material Micarta
  • Locking mechanism Button lock


  • Work-friendly blade
  • Outstanding grip
  • Addictive, fidget-friendly action


  • Unnecessary blade groove
  • Potential clip hot spot

CIVIVI Chevalier Knife Review

CIVIVI Chevalier cutting
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

Cutting and Comparisons

Like most royals in medieval times, the Chevalier will immediately be compared to its successful cousin. But I’ll be frank — the Elementum never did much for me.

It’s kind of just a knife, without a strong personality. So when the Chevalier arrived, I immediately placed it up against some of the reigning medium/large blades in my collection: the Benchmade Bugout and the ubiquitous Spyderco Paramilitary 2.

In practice, this CIVIVI lies somewhere in the middle: Its blade is shorter and thinner than the PM2’s, while being slightly longer and wider than the Bugout’s. All three feature locking and closure mechanisms that keep your fingers away from the edge, though only the Chevalier bears a flipper tab. 

Because of this, I found the CIVIVI to be the easiest to open. Don’t get me wrong, the AXIS and compression locks are great. But even folks who enjoy these mechanisms (as I do) will likely find the simple flip and click of the button lock to be quicker and less complicated. 

CIVIVI Chevalier cutting knife
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

The Chevalier is also the superior option in the kitchen. Its sheep’s-foot blade is reminiscent of a santoku, and it glided through produce and carved a chicken like a champ. The Bugout is maybe a hair better at slicing, with its thinner blade. But when facing down a bowl of onions, I’d reach for the CIVIVI’s added length every time. 

Like its points of comparison, the Chevalier bears a flat grind. Its edge held up well against the usual household materials, and even against some light carving. And as usual, CIVIVI’s manufacturing was on point — blade centering, handle finishing, and out-the-box sharpness were all up to snuff. 

Within its comfy Micarta handle, the whole assembly swings on a pair of caged ceramic ball bearings. Which brings us to the next point. 

The Fidget Factor

fidget factor on CIVIVI Chevalier
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

For years, my most-used pocket knives have been the Spyderco Dragonfly 2 or Spyderco Native 5, both of which prioritize comfort and cutting performance over snappy action. But the Chevalier made a flippin’ fool out of me. 

With its wonderful deployment and detent, this knife is responsible for maybe an entire wasted hour of my life. There were multiple times during its testing period where I found myself standing, dumbfounded, listening to the metal click as the blade flipped open and dropped shut. The button lock is nothing short of excellent, making it perhaps the most user-friendly option for fidget enthusiasts. 

Taken on its own, I remain skeptical of this as the primary selling point for a knife. There are very, very few situations where it’s socially acceptable to just stand there, flipping your blade open and shut.

But with an action as fun as the Chevalier’s, it’s hard to avoid the temptation. 

The Downsides

Besides having the potential to make you look unhinged, there are very few downsides to this CIVIVI. One could argue that 14C28N steel is a bit long in the tooth, but I’ve found it to be a solid performer. It’s not as hard as the D2 elsewhere in the company’s lineup, but you’re going to get better rust resistance along with an easier sharpening experience.

Overall, I consider this steel to be fine. There’s a Damascus option, if you’re into that sort of thing. 

There’s also the groove along the top of the blade. I understand why it’s there, as it helps you grip and pinch the knife open if you don’t feel like using the flipper tab. Plus, it breaks up the monotony of a single, unmarked piece of steel. But if you’re cutting onions and tomatoes, be sure to clean it out after you’re done. 

My only other complaint lies with the pocket clip. While I enjoy its low-key ride and coloration, the upswept end has the potential to be a hot spot for some users.

It was generally fine in my palm but, hey, it’s a thing. CIVIVI offers a titanium version as a separate purchase, which removes the deep carry but would likely remove this potential issue altogether. But given my choice (and my hand shape), I’ll be sticking with the steel. 

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Conclusion: CIVIVI Chevalier Knife Review

CIVIVI Chevalier flipper knife
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

Squeaking in at the very end of the year, the CIVIVI Chevalier turned out to be one of my very favorite knives of 2022. Its excellent price point, outstanding action, and wonderful cutting performance assailed the ramparts of my heart.

The PM2 might be bigger. The Bugout might be thinner. And the Elementum might be cheaper. But taken as a whole, this knife has a strong personality all its own, with the capability to match. 

One more thing in closing: I’d love to see this one get the Elementum treatment. Additional choices in steel, handle finishing, and (perhaps) even locking mechanisms would go a long way toward keeping this knight at the head of CIVIVI’s vanguard. But for now, I thoroughly recommend the Chevalier.

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