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Quick-Open Pocket Knife, Affordable Price

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[leadin]The Kershaw CQC-6K is a fast-opening pocket knife with a unique manual deployment device that helps it open as you pull it from your pocket. Developed in collaboration with Ernest Emerson, it’s an affordable way to purchase a coveted “wave” opening knife.[/leadin]

kershaw cqc-6k knife
The Kershaw CQC-6K knife

Kershaw introduced the CQC-6K (above) in 2014. Read on for some history about this blade, Emerson knives, and the wicked-fast Wave opening system.

Emerson Knives Background

Ernest Emerson started out making custom knives in the late 70s early 80s. The brand took off when he developed the Wave feature focused on hard use and tactical knives.

The Wave, a patented rapid opening device on the spine of the blade, is incredible. It’s the best way to open a knife fast, deploying the knife as you pull it out of your pocket.


For the longest time, you had to buy an Emerson to get it (or delve into the black market and get a counterfeit). Buying an Emerson is not a bad thing. I have owned a few and they are all stoutly built beasts.

Kershaw CQC-6K
An Emerson design, with a less versatile blade design

But they are very idiosyncratic. First, most Emersons come with a chisel ground cutting bevel. This means that the secondary grind, the cutting edge, is only ground on one side. This gives you a sharp point that is easy to maintain, but it is very different than the norm. I have found they are difficult to use when making precise cuts and are hard to “register” to a line because they are ground on the “wrong side” when compared to the chisel, the tool the grind is derived from.

The full chisel ground blades (ground one side and completely flat on the other) are even harder to use. Second, I am also not a huge fan of just how beefy the knives are. If you are storming Fallujah or capturing Bin Laden, get an Emerson. For the rest of us, a thinner blade and slimmer knife are more appropriate.

Kershaw And The CQC-6K

In steps KAI USA. In 2014, it announced a series of collaborations with Emerson, both for the entry-level brand, Kershaw and high-end brand ZT. Of these knives, my favorite is the budget-friendly Kershaw CQC-6K.

CQC-6K Blade 2

A blend of a few different Emerson knives, the CQC-6K has the classic, awesome Emerson handle with the Wave and a thumb disk for opening, but it drops most of the Emerson quirks.

While it is not a light knife, it pales in comparison to just about any true Emerson. It also has a conventional grind, eschewing the chisel grind, and has a framelock, unlike many Emersons, which typically run very beefy liner locks.

Many of the KAI/Emersons are good, but the CQC-6K’s traditional blade shape puts it ahead of its stablemates for all-around users.

Kershaw CQC-6K Knife 2

The 8Cr steel isn’t great, but it is a decent steel, sharpening easily and getting very sharp quickly. I also like the Emerson clip, which is a direct port from the Emerson line of knives.

If you are looking for a midsize knife and want to try out the Wave, the CQC-6K is one of the cheapest and best. One quick snap of the blade and you will instantly see why the Wave and Emerson designs, in general, have a legion of fans all over the world, including in some of the most deadly environments inhabited by man.


  • Price: $31.95 (street price); $54.95 (MSRP)
  • Steel: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Length: 3.25 inches
  • Overall Length: 7.75 inches
  • Weight: 5.1 ounces

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