Tag Archives | Kizer

Review: Kizer Banish with Nitro-V Steel

The Jacob Lundquist designed Kizer Banish has been available for a while now. Kizer recently introduced multiple new versions of this excellent fifth pocket knife with new Nitro-V steel, new handle scale options, and an even more affordable price. If you like small, useful EDC folders… tune in. This is a great one.


  • Overall Length: 5.4″/137.1mm
  • Designer: Jacob Lundquist
  • Opener: Thumb Hole, Front Flipper
  • Blade Style: Sheepsfoot
  • Blade Length: 2.30″/58.5mm
  • Blade Thickness: 0.098″/2.5mm
  • Blade Material: Nitro V
  • Handle Length: 3.09″/78.6mm
  • Handle Material: Various
  • Pocket Clip: Deep Carry, Reversible
  • Weight: 2.01oz/57.1g
  • Lock Type: Button Lock
  • Hardness: 61.5-62

Observations from Use

Anyone can design a small knife but not everyone can make one that is easy to live with. Small knives can be very hard to open, close, or even hold effectively when you have adult-sized hands. This is where the Banish shines – it makes everything easy.

It’s easy to open and close. The button lock makes both opening and closing easy. It’s the perfect lock choice for a small knife like this. The proportionally large blade opening hole, and relief cut/finger groove to provide access, means this knife can easily be flicked open with a thumb or middle finger. Additionally, the front flipper works shockingly well on this knife.

It’s easy to grip. The most stylish visual element of the Banish (and other well known other Lundquist designs) is the swayback design. This isn’t all for looks though. The shape, coupled with the pronounced finger groove, serves to lock this little knife into your grip in a surprising way. It’s perfect for the sort of quick, little cuts you might make with an EDC-oriented knife like this.

It’s easy to, you know, cut stuff with. The Banish has a super-slicey, thin sheepsfoot-shaped blade. This means you have plenty of cutting leverage and an easy-to-access, needle-sharp point. It’s exactly what you want in an EDC knife that is well-suited to use as a secondary knife.

It’s easy on your wallet. These are $42. That’s amazing when many of the other small knives that work as well as this one are $50 or more.

It’s easy to decide on a handle scales options. Maybe… but maybe not. The Banish is available with a variety of options but Kizer’s red linen micarta is so, so good. It offers plenty of grip without being aggressive. It also looks great, starting out looking brown/tan and gradually darkening into a rich red-brown with use.

Wrap Up

As you likely know by now (because it seems like I mention it in every one of these compact knife reviews), I frequently carry a fixed-blade knife. So, I am always on the lookout for a great small folder to carry as a “Public Knife”. The Kizer Banish is PERFECT in this role. It’s a top-tier compact folder that oozes style and it’s an incredible value. I think it goes on the Rushmore of fifth-pocket knives.

I also want to mention that my daughters love this knife. It is small enough to fit the pockets in lady’s pants, easy for them to operate (even the front flipper), and I like that the lock is “finger safe” since they are still learning to be confident with knife safety. This would make a great gift.

Kizer Banish on Kizer.com

Kizer Banish on Amazon.com

The above links may be affiliate links. Thank you for Kizer for providing this review sample.


Review: Kizer Sheepdog with Clutch Lock

Kizer’s Sheepdog series, one of their best-known knife lines, is characterized by bold and functional sheepsfoot-shaped blades. There are several great knives in that series but I think their Clutch Lock models are the real standouts. You could say they are standout knives in a standout series.


  • Overall Length: 7.60″/193mm
  • Opener: Thumb Stud/Thumb Hole
  • Blade Style: Sheepfoot
  • Blade Length: 3.15″/80mm
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11″/2.8mm
  • Blade Material: 154CM
  • Handle Length: 4.45″/113mm
  • Handle Material: Aluminium
  • Pocket Clip: Reversible Deep Carry
  • Weight: 4.76oz./135g
  • Lock Type: Clutch Lock

Observations from Use

If you like big, bold knives, you’ll like the Sheepdog. I happen to think it is a great-looking design that makes a statement (especially with the purple scales). However, the Sheepdog series isn’t just wild for the sake of being wild. This is actually a practical and useful knife. The blade stock is thinner than you would expect, though still plenty stout given the height, at .11″ thick. This coupled with a very tall flat grind, a useful point, and slight belly to the edge means these knives excel at utility work and cut aggressively.

I haven’t tried every crossbar-style lock but I think, in general, Kizer is doing them best of what I have put hands on. For one, their Clutch Lock is adjustable which is a meaningful feature for this knife. The blade has a lot of mass so being able to set a stiffer detent is great. They also seem to get great action from their Clutch Lock knives, taking the time to polish bearing surfaces. This VERY strong lock with fidget potential is very fitting for this design.

Most, if not all, of the Sheepdog series have multiple opening methods. I particularly like the setup on this version of the full-size Sheepdog. It has color-matched thumb studs, a large opening hole, and a fuller. Some models of the Sheepdog have a flipper tab but this one does not, which I prefer. It is already a wide knife in pocket so it is nice to forgo the extra width of the tab.

If you have never tried a Sheepdog in hand, you need to. They generally have flat scales but deeply curved handle shapes that are very comfortable to hard use. The handle is large enough that it should be very well suited to those with larger hands. I also want to call out the finish that Kizer uses on their aluminum scales. It feels great in hand.

If I could change a few things, I might make the fuller just a bit wider which I think would make flipping it open off the fuller even easier than it already is. The deep carry pocket clip is secure and stable but seems like it could be trimmed down a bit. These are clearly nitpicks on a great knife.

Wrap Up

Maybe you want a large, hard-working knife that is well suited to utility tasks. Maybe you just want an EDC that makes a statement. Maybe you just like sheepdogs. If any of those apply, you ought to check out something from Kizer’s Sheepdog lineup and, as I said, I happen to think these Clutch Lock models are the pick of the litter.

The Clutch Lock Sheepdog models are available at a host of price points with various blade steels and handle materials. You can view the whole range at Kizer.com.

Watch the Kizer Store on Amazon for sales: Kizer Sheepdog C01C at Amazon.com

Review: Kizer Beleiter XL

Lots and lots of blade in a super slim, easy-to-carry package… That’s what has always drawn me to the Begleiter series. That is also what drew me to the Begleiter XL, the subject of this review. I’ve owned 3 knives in this series and I keep coming back.


View the full specs at KizerKnives.com. The highlights are listed below:

  • Overall Length: 9″/229mm
  • Opener: Thumb Stud & Flipper
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length: 3.91″/99mm
  • Blade Thickness: 0.13″/3.2mm
  • Blade Material: 154CM
  • Handle Length: 5.12″/130mm
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up, Right or Left
  • Weight: 5.06oz./144g

Observations from Use

As I mentioned earlier, the Begleiter series is characterized by designs that minimize width and maximize blade length. That is what I have always appreciated about the series and why I have owned several. The Begleiter XL leans into that design ethos even more aggressively. It packs a nearly 4″ blade into package that is very slim and therefore very pocketable. So, the bottom line is that if need a larger blade for EDC that is still easy to carry, check out the Begleiter XL or the rest of the series.

All my other Begleiters have been liner locks. This review sample Begleiter XL has a button lock which is a welcomed finger-safe locking option and very fidgety. In my experience, Kizer is doing button locks better than most. Their button locks lock up strong (passed multiple spine whacks out of the box and after a few weeks of carry) and have a slightly sticky/clicky feel that I like in a button lock.

As long as we are talking about what Kizer does well, it has been my experience that Kizer has some of the best micartas in the game. The lined micarta used on this Begleiter XL looks amazing and feels amazing which is what I have come to expect from Kizer. The finishes on their micartas are top notch.

The action on the Begleiter XL is great. The long blade definitely helps, but this knife swings open like a rocket and falls shut the moment the lock is depressed. Kizer manages to get achieve a very strong and crisp detent from their button locks. As a result, both the flipper tab and thumb stud actions are tuned very, very well.

The blade on the Begleiter XL has everything I like in a blade. The tall, primary flat grind tapers down to a very thin edge. The drop point is strong, precise, and usable thanks to the swedge grind. It also has a long, subtle distal taper that ensures that the belly part of the blade slices extremely aggressively.

There are two things I would change if I had my way. First, I would love to see some texture on the button lock for no other reason than I just like that texture as a tactile index point. Second, it would be nice if the flipper tab was just a little more compact. It is shaped well enough that you can actually grip the knife over it, which I like, but it would be great if it was just a bit more compact.

Wrap Up

I am going to repeat it, if you like big, easy-to-carry blades, the Begleiter series and the Begleiter XL will be right up your alley. The materials are great, the action is top-notch, and I really like the cutting performance.

Begleiter Series at KizerKnives.com

Begleiter XL at Amazon.com (35% off as of the time of this writing)

Review: Kizer Drop Bear

Some knives go down as all-time classics – knives that never get discontinued, that constantly have new versions being introduced, that never stop being recommended, and never go out of style. Kizer Knives has produced several of these types of knives like their Begleiter series, Sheepdog series, and more recently, the Drop Bear series. This review will take a look at the original Drop Bear version that started it all.


  • Model Number: V3619C1
  • Overall Length: 7.15″/182mm
  • Designer: Azo
  • Opener: Thumb Stud
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length: 2.97″/76mm
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11″/2.8mm
  • Blade Material: 154CM
  • Handle Length: 4.17″/106mm
  • Handle Material: Aluminum
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up
  • Weight: 3.68oz./104g
  • Color: Black

Observations from Use

The Kizer Drop Bear is a great example of what can happen when a company gets the little things right. There are so many little touches that elevate this knife.

Comfortable, Nuetral Handle – The Drop Bear’s handle shape is comfortable in every way you might want to hold a knife. The ergonomics are subtle in that there are just some gentle curves but they get the job done well without forcing any one grip.

Unique and Useful Blade Shape – The blade shape is unique. At first glance, it looks like a Kephart-esque spear point with a reasonably tall flat grind but when you look closer you see that Kizer has dropped the point down below the midpoint of the blade. The result is something in between a sheepsfoot and a spear point. It’s a great all-around shape and something that I think really steals the show in this design. You get a knife with a tip that is easy to access while also having plenty of belly and a long straight edge for powerful cuts. Kizer also added a GREAT swedge grind to make the tip even more useful without sacrificing strength.

Jimping – Kizer clearly put a lot of thought into making the tip of this knife useable which is why it is so nice that they ran jimping all the way out to the swedge grind. That means you can rest your index finger out near the tip to control it in precise cuts. Details like this matter!

Action – I don’t think anyone gets better action from their crossbar locks than Kizer and that is impressive because this is the knife on which they introduced their version of the lock (Clutch Lock). It is end-user adjustable for tension meaning you can dial it in to your heart’s content but mine came snappy and soooo smooth, right out of the box.

The Drop Bear series is available in several variations now to suite any taste or budget. The version I have with 154CM steel and aluminum scale is the original but it now sits in the middle of the line with options for more high-end blade steel sitting above it in price. More recently, Kizer has also introduced new, more budget-oriented versions with Nitro-V blade steel making this a GREAT time to try something from the Drop Bear series.

Wrap Up

The Drop Bear may be relatively new to the scene but it is already a classic. It isn’t flashy but, if you go looking for them, the details abound. This knife is a true all-arounder that can slide into dress slacks, everyday jeans, or work pants thanks to impressive attention to detail, compact proportions, a strong lock, and a great blade shape.

See the whole Drop Bear series at KizerKnives.com

The Drop Bear series is also available on Amazon with frequent sale pricing: Kizer Drop Bear on Amazon.com

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