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Knives of SHOT Show 2023: A Cut Above

A knife junkie spent 2 days looking for the sharpest new knives. These are the best knives of SHOT Show 2023.

Boeker 1969 z28
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Supersteels. Amazing handles. Smooth actions. Unique designs. The 2023 SHOT Show dazzled with a vast selection of new knives that will hit the market in the coming months. The SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoors Trade) Show is a massive tradeshow, with an estimated 2,400 exhibitors in 2023.

Among the myriad guns, apparel, tactical gear, and outdoor products, thousands of knives had a very strong presence at the show. These are a few of my favorites.

Benchmade Narrows 748

Benchmade Narrows 748

Benchmade’s booth buzzed with energy at the show. Attendees packed the aisles to check out the brand’s major offerings in 2023. And the star of the show was the Narrows 748.

It’s the thinnest folding knife Benchmade has ever made. It rocks a titanium handle slimmed down, but still very rigid, thanks to I-beam architecture.

Benchmade modified its popular Axis lock with a unique spring for this knife to save space. Bohler M390 steel gives the blade exceptional toughness, great edge retention, and very good corrosion resistance.

The Narrows is 33% narrower than the popular Bugout and weighs just 2.41 ounces, making it an exceptional EDC knife that should handle outdoor use wonderfully. The only ding against it is the price. The Narrows 728 will hit the wallet at $580.

Buck Alpha Hunter and Alpha Hunter Scout

Hunters, campers, and anyone who likes to carry a beautiful fixed-blade knife take note: The Alpha Hunter and smaller Alpha Hunter Scout from Buck are absolutely gorgeous and packed with excellent ingredients.

Both the Alpha (8.125 inches overall) and Alpha Hunter Scout (6.625 inches overall) start with a full-tang S35VN steel blade with a very deep belly. The drop point borders on a skinnier design. I adore the shape for cleaning game, as well as the grippy textured richlite handle.

Buck’s BOS heat treatment of S35VN steel has proven excellent over several years of use in other blades, so it’s exciting to see the brand launch another high-quality hunting knife. This one sits so nicely in the hand I can’t wait to get one in the field. And I can’t ignore the luxurious leather sheath for belt carry. Gorgeous!

CRKT CEO Microflipper

CRKT CEO Microflipper

This slick little flipper will ride discreetly in the pocket of your chinos or suit for a day at the office.

But while small at just 3.25 inches closed and 5.63 inches open, the Sandvik 12C27 blade offers a lot of utility.

As the smallest offering in the CEO line, the new Microflipper opens beautifully, carries like a dream on the ambidextrous clip, and will open packages at the office like a dream.

Spyderco Military 2

Spyderco Military 2

The Spyderco Military brought the first powder steel production knife to the market using CPM 440V steel back in 1996. Since then, it inspired several iconic Spyderco knives, including the ParaMilitary series.

But now, Spyderco brings a fully revamped Military 2 to the market in 2023. The Military 2 now uses premium CPM S30V steel blade steel. But even more importantly, Spyderco added a compression lock system, which makes it both safer to close and stronger.

With a 4-inch blade intended for the toughest conditions soldiers can throw at it, the Military 2 should serve as a trusted tool for professional and recreational users alike.

Case Westline

Case Westline red handle

Case launched the Westline as the brand’s first modern assisted opener. And it’s a nice step for a brand with a storied history that has been a bit behind the times. It launched its first modern flipper a couple of years ago with the Marilla EDC.

Now, the Westline brings the Case name fully into modern design with an S35VN drop point blade, hard anodized aluminum scales that feel great in the hand, and an ambidextrous thumb stud quick-flip opening. Of course, the brand still has hundreds of gorgeous, collectible nail-knick knives. But this launch should grab the attention of enthusiasts who want something a little more practical in their pocket.

Böker 1969 Z28-Damast

Böker 1969 Z28-Damast in blue

This one’s for the car lovers out there. The Böker 1969 Z28-Damast not only nods to the iconic 1969 Camaro Z28, but it’s also made from one!

Italian designer Tommaso Rumici incorporated parts of the upper A-arm from the Camaro in the steel of the Damascus drop-point blade. The “muscle knife,” as Böker calls it, is as unique as they come.

Hand-forged by Chad Nicholas with 80 layers in a “Tread” pattern that brings to mind the sloping cowl induction of the muscle car’s hood, this one should grab collectors’ attention.

Not into muscle cars? The P-51 Damast uses a similar process to build a knife from the P-51 Mustang airplane. These are as cool as knives get.

CIVIVI Button Lock Elementum II 

CIVIVI Button Lock Elementum II

With the Button Lock Elementum II, Civivi launches a great EDC knife with broad appeal.

At just $76, buyers get a knife with a precise fit and finish, a tough 2.96-inch blade of Nitro V steel, a black G10 handle with stainless steel liners, and an easy-to-use button lock.

This knife feels great in the hand and seems like a great contender as an EDC tool for many folks.

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