The Big Banter from WE Knife isn’t just the knife you take on an adventure, it’s the knife you plan your adventures around.
Every once in a while, a knife comes around that checks all the boxes of a great EDC pocket knife, but is so damn big you could carve a totem pole with it.
“Is this too much knife for me?” you’ll wonder as the gears start spinning. Big EDC knives like this can inspire new ideas and adventures, just so you have a reason to use it.
This is the case with the Big Banter from WE Knife Co.
And although I originally wrote a whole review of this knife’s standard Banter cousin, this isn’t a situation where the knife was just enlarged to fit larger hands.
Just because these knives share a name and some design and function features doesn’t mean they’re the same.
In short: The Big Banter is a big knife put on this Earth to be a knife that does all the work. So, rest assured, the next time you head out into the wild, you can leave all of your other knives at home.
All in the Family: Banter Knives Comparison
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The Big Banter marks the third offering in the Banter Series. First came the Banter, then the Baby Banter, and now the Big Banter.
All three are brain children of blade expert Ben Petersen. And all three could represent progress; as each one feels like an improvement on its predecessor.
But while I consider the Baby Banter and the Big Banter different sizes of one knife, the standard Banter stands more on its own.
This is due to the choil found on the Baby and Big variants, but not the Banter. The choil not only changes the look of these knives, but also their function. Overall, this provides the operator more control over the blade and increased ergonomics. And that allows the user to put more work in without getting fatigued.
Additionally, the relief around the liner lock provides better access to the mechanism when wearing gloves. (Handy, too, if you have big paws, ham hands, or Snicker-bar-sized fingers.)
These two features urge me to classify the Baby Banter and Big Banter as blue-collar knives, meant to get out and do hard work above and beyond the call of EDC pocket knives.
This doesn’t take away from the standard Banter in my mind. If anything the lack of the choil and lock relief make it a less technical, but more universally appealing knife.
WE Knife Big Banter Review
Big Banter Specs
- Overall length: 8.35 in.
- Blade length: 3.69 in.
- Steel: CPM 20CV
- Shape: Drop point
- Grind: Flat
- Hardness: 59-61 HRC
- Lock type: Liner lock
- Carry: Tip-up, left or right carry
- Weight: 4.1 oz.
In the Hand
The Big Banter builds off of a skeletonized stainless steel frame recessed into canvas Micarta handle scales. This provides a rigid foundation without any increased bulk.
It also allows your hands to get a good grip and maintain it, without tiring out or needing to readjust over and over.
The canvas Micarta handle scales feel smooth to the touch but have a considerable grip. And this only improves when your hand gets wet with sweat, rain, snow, etc.
WE Knife designed the Big Banter to be left or right-hand carry. But when used in a right-hand configuration, the cutout in the top scale — which exposes the liner lock for easier operation — may lead some users to believe that it’s still really a righty knife.
As GearJunkie’s resident left-handed knife tester, I am happy to tell you that while the relief is a nice addition for righties, you other lefties will benefit from it too.
I love a good choil on a knife. It serves as a visual reminder that you can really put a blade to work.
The Big Banter’s choil impresses with its jimping, offering better grip. This little feature also shows up on the liner lock and spine of the blade — all indicators that this knife can handle work in all weather conditions.
This notion is further supported by the stone washing on every bit of metal on the Big Banter — even the blade, whose 20CV steel leads the pack in corrosion resistance among today’s knife steels.
Regarding the blade steel: 20CV is considered a “super steel” and can be compared to Bohler M390. They’re both incredibly tough, corrosion-resistant, and highly sought-after for knives designed to withstand serious abuse.
You won’t find the factory-fresh, skin-popping sharpness you would with S35VN, but I assure you, this drop-point 20CV blade is just as sharp and will maintain an edge longer than most of the S-steels will.
When I first took the Big Banter out of the box, a fine stream of excited expletives raced from my mouth with a hearty laugh punctuating them.
Appropriately, the Big Banter is big. For size comparison, it falls between a Spyderco Para Military 2 and an Ontario Knife Company Rat 1. But for its size, it doesn’t feel bulky or clunky. However, it did not have the heft I figured it would.
Flicking it around in my hands, I could almost spin the Big Banter around like a butterfly knife, without the fret of losing a finger. I could open, close, and maneuver it around smoothly, as easily as if it were 2 inches smaller.
Additionally, due to the size, shape, and choil, I found three different ways to hold the knife depending on what I was doing. I wasn’t forced into any one handhold, which can be a drawback for knives with choils and differing hand sizes.
Big Banter Field Test
The first week I had the Big Banter with me, we mostly did things around the house. But I kept it nearby even when I was relaxing at the end of the day.
I found myself examining it more and more, trying out different grips, seeing how many times I could flick it open and fold it closed one-handed.
I had one grip for regular tasks and another for cutting and shaving. In fact, I even had a grip for slicing and prepping food — really for anything requiring a little more precision.
The Big Banter and I also tackled an unexpected chore. A large limb splintered off an ash tree in my yard came and broke the top off a newer apple tree. I used the Big Banter to notch the two pieces of the apple tree, so I could splice them back together.
It worked like a surgical scalpel; never pushing too far through the ½-inch diameter branch and stem I was working with. I suspect this may save the tree, thankfully, as it should begin fruiting next year.
Soon after that task, I really started planning out adventures: day hikes, an escape off-trail where I could build a shelter, and (time permitting) a few days up in Vermont without another soul in sight.
The Big Banter excited me and urged me to find more work for it. Cover it in tree sap and sawdust, let some beef and veggie juice slip down into the ceramic ball bearings, and then wash it off in a river.
I did it all. And it never faltered.
For as much as I used the Big Banter, I made sure to carry it in my back pocket. I noticed it was there a few times, based on its size alone, but it never felt burdensome while sitting down or squatting.
I have no Big Banter impression marked on my hip, and it hasn’t worn its way through my pants. For the most part, it disappeared in my pocket thanks to the deep-carry pocket clip.
I think you’ll find the deep carry allows the Big Banter to nestle in a sweet spot, riding around on your backside.
WE Knife Co. Big Banter: Conclusion
In a time when smaller pocket knives are all the rage, the Big Banter stands as a full-size workhorse you won’t mind relying on. Where someone carrying a smaller EDC folding knife may have to use a belt knife or other pocket knife for larger tasks, the Big Banter works alone.
That said, the Big Banter particularly suits the person who only uses one knife and uses it all the time. I was surprised at how easily the Big Banter performs, even under pressure.
WE Knife’s choice to use 20CV steel allows the Big Banter to work anywhere and everywhere. It’s the kind of steel you don’t have to worry over or coddle. When you finish the task at hand, wipe it down, slip it back into your pocket, and forget about it until next time.
Plus, the Canvas Micarta scales will only look better as they break in, and get their conditioning from the oil and grit off your hand. In terms of durability and grip, they’ll never fail you.
WE Knife Co. probably could have gotten away without the nearly full-length scalloped stainless steel liners that hold the Big Banter together, but having them in place only increases this badass knife’s durability and capability.
Down to brass tacks. The attention to detail that went into designing and building the Big Banter will surely make it a go-to, classic everyday-carry pocket knife for years to come.
I have no problem saying that the Big Banter is the knife I would take on trail and keep in my pocket. It will serve the endless handyman tasks around the house and tackle food prep at camp — and it’s something I can pass down to my kids so they can use it for another lifetime.