WeKnife Co Banter
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

WE Knife Co. Banter Review: Possibly the Best Blade on a $100 Budget

Don’t ignore the ‘Banter’ around this mighty folding knife. WE Knife Co. makes a strong case for a perfect EDC blade with a combination of simplicity, price, and undeniably good steel.

Just a few years ago, you couldn’t buy a pocket knife with S35VN steel, G-10 handle scales, and ceramic bearings for less than $200. But today you can buy the Ben Petersendesigned “Banter” from WE Knife Co. for just over $100.

I brought the Banter on my day-to-day adventures for a couple of weeks. The Banter proved a pleasant surprise in its execution of both modern living and outdoor tasks.

As someone who carries a larger knife regularly, I’m always trying to determine if it’s overkill. This mighty EDC has me believing that it might be.

In short: Available in a series of different handle materials and blade finish combinations, the Banter finds itself in the sweet spot of what the perfect EDC pocket knife should be. From size and shape, to materials and build, the Banter exemplifies the modern pocket knife in terms of something you can take with you indoors, outdoors, and anywhere else you can legally carry a knife.

WE Knife Co. Banter Review

WeKnife Banter Pocket Knife

Specs

  • OAL: 6.52 in.
  • Blade length: 2.9 in.
  • Blade steel: CPM S35VN
  • Shape: Drop point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Hardness: 59-61 HRC
  • Lock type: Liner lock
  • Carry: Tip-up, right carry
  • Weight: 2.86 oz.

Design and Features

weknife banter thumb studs knife g10
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

The Banter is sized right for every hand size — not too big, not too small — and based on the design and build is just right for an everyday carry pocket knife that you can rely on for all time.

The Banter uses a stainless steel frame and G10 handle scales, creating a rigid structure that should withstand use and abuse. The drop point blade has a flat grind and S35VN steel, which provides excellent edge retention, superior abrasion, and corrosion resistance.

The blade, frame, and pocket clip are all stonewashed to further increase the resistance to wear.

For opening and operating, the Banter features ceramic bearings and a Titanium thumb stud for quick and easy, one-handed deployment. The liner lock keeps the blade in place until you’re ready to put it away, and there is zero blade wobble.

First Impressions

Out of the box, the Banter is probably one of the sharpest and smoothest operating knives that I’ve ever gotten to use. The thumb stud and ceramic bearing combo allow the blade to flick out just as fast and hard as any assisted opening or auto knife I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.

This keeps the blade locked in place until you’re ready to activate the liner lock and put it back in your pocket.

I carry a Benchmade Griptilian as my EDC and was initially concerned that the Banter would be too small and less utilitarian. Boy, I’m glad I was wrong, as even with a large hand, this smaller knife functions with surety and precision.

I will say that the liner lock takes a little getting used to, but over the week, it either broke in or I got used to it. It might prove to be a challenge with gloves, but I really wouldn’t give it a second thought. I would rather have a tighter tolerance on a lock mechanism than have to worry about the blade closing under duress.

When it came to carrying the Banter, I put it in my back pocket and it virtually disappeared. This is what deep carry is at its finest. No one can see the knife and you can hardly feel it, even when sitting.

In the Field

I relied on the Banter exclusively for a week for a series of tasks, both planned and spontaneous, indoor and outdoor.

I found that the fat-bellied drop point blade could complete myriad tasks effortlessly. The drop point blade shape is the most universal blade shape, and when you couple it with a scalpel-sharp edge, you’d be hard-pressed to find a task it can’t do.

I was able to break down boxes and slice through packaging with ease. When I got the Banter out into the woods, I did everything from prepping some kindling and fir sticks for a small fire, to slicing up lunch.

WeKnife Banter Pocket Knife
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

I even had the opportunity to carve a pumpkin with it, and (aside from cutting myself) the experience was much better than I thought it would be. The S35VN steel and factory-sharp edge excelled carving up the gourd. And the Banter’s G10 offered up plenty of grip, even for hands covered in pumpkin sludge.

What’s more, cleaning up this blade after use is as easy as wiping it down with a wet cloth — and letting it dry before putting it away. A stonewashed blade will show a lot of markings when you’re using it, but it cleans up nicely for its next adventure.

A note on S35VN steel: there’s a reason why it was coveted boutique steel for as long as it was, and I’m happy that we’re finding it in more mainstream applications.

It’s a “set it and forget it” type of steel, which makes it great for knife users of all kinds. It’ll stay sharp for an extended period of time and will be easy to resharpen when the time comes; requiring only a few swipes on your stone to get it back to that factory “pop.”

WE Knife Banter: Conclusion

With all of the pocket knives out in the market today, picking out the perfect EDC for your needs isn’t the easiest thing to do. So, to have a knife like the Banter in the right size and shape, using top-of-the-line materials, and priced so well is a home run for anyone shopping for an EDC pocket knife.

On top of which, it’s low maintenance in terms of both care and sharpening, and is legal in almost every state in the U.S.

Credit where credit is due: it’s more than obvious that Ben Petersen did his homework when he sat down to draw this knife up. So much so that the Banter is the type of knife that I would expect every outdoor outfitter to carry.


FYI, if you want to spend a little extra, WE Knife also offers the Banter in the following combinations:

Carbon Fiber with Black Stonewashed S35VN 
Micarta with Black Stonewashed S35VN
Copper with 20CV
Cuibouritia Wood with Black Stonewashed S35VN

And, if you’re looking for a larger form factor for your EDC knife, WE will soon be offering the Big Banter, which is 8.34 inches in overall length with a 20CV blade that has a length of 3.69 inches. The Big Banter will be offered in a Black G10/Black Stonewash or with Green Micarta and Standard Stonewash.

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Nick LeFort
By

Nick LeFort is a contributing writer of GearJunkie and makes guest appearances in a handful of other outdoor and craft beer publications. He has been writing for over thirty years and is also the author of his own blog, The Tribe of Flannel. Based in Connecticut, LeFort is an avid wanderer and loves spending as much time as possible in the outdoors with his two daughters. In 2017, LeFort helped open a brewery in Connecticut and is part owner of Ragged Mountain Knife Works.