Welcome to Bargain or Just Cheap? This series will review budget friendly knives for a variety of uses in a short format. All of the knives will cost less than $50 (in most cases, much less) and will be purchased out of my own pocket. I’ll buy them, carry them, and use them in an attempt to determine if the knife is a bargain or just cheap.
The Elite Scavenger or Desert Scavenger from ABKT is a knife that seems to have a lot of potential. Unfortunately, while the market is currently full of truly great Chinese made knives, this one seems to fall short of its potential.
The Elite Scavenger does have some really nice features on paper and some of them are fairly well executed. For instance, the blade features a tall flat grind and is fairly thin behind the cutting edge. It didn’t come particularly sharp but that was easily fixed and the D2 steel seems to hold an edge well enough. It is actually a very good blade design with great size, good geometry, and good cutting performance.
The steel components have a blackwash finish that looks good and seems to be well applied. The liner lock seems to well-executed, locking up early and secure. The flipper tab is comfortable and well shaped – easy to use without seeming overly large and lacking in sharp corners… Which is a little ironic considering…
The Elite Scavenger also has some features that are not so well executed. It has a lot of sharp edges most of which can be found on the G-10 handle scales. The corners of the G-10 handle slabs are all sharp but the corners that also happen to have the checkered texture on them are particularly saw-like. There are also plenty of other sharp machined edges around screws and such.
Speaking of the G-10 handle slabs, the G-10 used on this knife feels plasticy in a way that is hard to explain. I’ve had FRN handles that feel less plasticy.
The ball bearing pivot does allow the knife to deploy somewhat easily but it feels gritty, like the bearings are rolling across worn sandpaper. This could be because of the blackwash finish. I would say that it actually deploys a bit too easily due to a very light detent which makes the deployment feel less snappy than it could have.
Finally, the pocket clip is just not up to snuff. It is undersized and the end doesn’t turn up quite enough to allow easy clearance for the edge of your pocket. That fact, coupled with the very sharp texture, makes this knife difficult to get in and out of your pocket.
Bargain or Just Cheap?
Everything I listed above could likely be tuned with some sandpaper, metal polish, and some TLC… but why spend the time? There are other well-designed, ready to carry, D2 flippers in this same price range. It feels like the designers of this knife tried to throw in as many features as they could without bothering to consider what makes those features desirable or functional. I think this one is Just Cheap.
I use Amazon as the price baseline for this series. All knives were purchased by me from Amazon: ABKT Elite Scavenger
Our goal is to represent knives for a variety of uses from EDC, to outdoor, to tactical knives. Do you have a favorite affordable knife? Let us know about it in the comments!
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