Kershaw Emerson CQC-8K
The Kershaw Emerson CQC-8K is an interesting knife. When I initially got it I eagerly ripped into the box and pulled it out. I was a bit taken aback by it’s Funkiness. It is sort of homely, and I was thrown by the chisel grind, which was as dull as a butter knife. So to say my initial feelings were mixed is a bit of an understatement. I was actually a bit repulsed by it. My plans were to carry the Kershaw Emerson CQC-8K for a little bit and then lose it in the safe until I could pass it along to someone else. Due to a new baby coming into the house, I was either too tired (Newborns are a young man’s game, he is killing me softly) or too busy to make the long trek into the basement to get something else out of the safe. So the CQC-8K stayed in my pocket for a loooooooooooooooong time and a funny thing happened, it grew on me. It will never crack my Top 10 but it is good enough to warrant a mention here on the blog.
A Little Background
The Kershaw Emerson CQC-8K is a collaboration between Kershaw Knives and Ernie Emerson of Emerson Knives fame. The CQC-8K combines Kershaw’s mass production techniques and Emerson’s designs, including the famous and patented Wave Feature and Thumb Disk. This line of knives brings the feel and features of a high-end Emerson to the masses albeit with some lesser materials.
- Steel: 8Cr14MoV, black-oxide coating
- Handle: Textured G-10
- Blade length: 3.5 in. (8.9 cm)
- Closed length: 4.6 in. (11.7 cm)
- Open length: 8.1 in. (20.6 cm)
- Weight: 5.3 oz. (152 g)
The CQC-8K has textured G-10 as the handle material. G-10 has become fairly common in EDC knives these days and Kershaw has done a pretty nice job on this knife. It could be a bit grippier though, I wouldn’t describe it as slick but it doesn’t supply as much traction as the G-10 found on the Spyderco Manix 2 XL.
The jimping isn’t aggressive enough to add much to maintaining a solid grip on the knife. Not to keep pointing to Spyderco but the jimping on the Spyderco Manix 2 is much better.
The real genius of the Kershaw Emerson CQC-8K is found when you hold it and use it for a while, This is where my extended carry time with it really comes into play. When you place your thumb onto the Wave and get ready to bear down and do some work, the pressure of your thumb causes the knife to pivot on your index finger and it really buries itself into your hand. I find this to be one of the best features of the knife and it makes up for the short-comings of the G-10 and the less than adequate jimping.
When you start fooling around with the CQC-8K in a variety of grips Emerson’s hand in the design starts to show. This oddly shaped knife is very comfortable in almost all grips. The weird jimping on the spine of the blade even works well when choking up and trying to do fine tasks.
The blade on the CQC-8K is a very aggressive modified tanto. Being that I grew up in the 80’s it really took me back to when these kind of blades started to show up on the scene. It really is a testament to the design that it has stuck around and just wasn’t a flash in the pan. Having said that while I think the tanto is cool looking it I don’t find them to be very practical. It lacks the belly I like in a blade and I don’t use my knives as weapons enough to appreciate the raw stabbing power a tanto brings to the table.
The Chisel Grind was turn-off for me. I like symmetry when it comes to my knives and I’m not completely sold on the supposed extra cutting power of the chisel grind. Throw in the fact that it came so insanely dull that I almost sent it right back and I’m still not a fan.
Kershaw has done a good job on the 8Cr14MoV and it performed just like I’ve come to expect. It reminds me of 440A from back in the day. It holds a decent enough edge and sharpens easily. The black oxide coating held up better than I ever thought it would, after months of use it still looks good.
The Kershaw Emerson CQC-8k has a simple liner lock. It engages nicely and the blade is locked open very securely. My issue is two-fold. The lock is overly stiff and it isn’t long enough to get a solid bit of thumb on to it. The length problem only compounds the stiffness. I eventually got used to it but I still don’t like it. I asked my co-workers to check it out and they have the same feelings.
Carrying The Kershaw Emerson CQC-8K
TheCQC-8K carries well in my pocket. The clip places the knife deep enough in my pocket and the Emerson Skull Logo on it is just plain Bad-Ass!
The Wave Feature is freaking AWESOME! I love being able to snap this thing out like a deranged lunatic. If you do need to deploy the knife in a less dramatic fashion merely lifting it straight out, instead of gliding it into a Wave assisted opening, lets you use it like a regular pocket knife.
The Thumb Disk is an elegant solution to the one handed opening problem. It is easy to use and ambidextrous and just like the Spyder-Hole sets Spydercos apart the Thumb Disk just screams EMERSON!!!
The super fast deployment and Tanto blade shape squarely place the CQC-8K as a self defense folder. I used it as my main EDC blade for work quite some time and found it to be adequate for that. The blade shape lacks the belly that I find useful in my daily knife but it did get the job done. It functioned better as a tool than the Cold Steel Ti Lite I reviewed a few weeks ago but it still leans more towards weapon than work knife.
The Kershaw Emerson CQC-8K leaves me with a bunch of mixed emotions. I don’t like the blade shape and I still absolutely hate the lock. The handle material is good but not great, and the blade steel is the same. The ergonomics and hand feel in particular are what keep me coming back to this knife. I love the way it just locks itself in when the work gets hard. I’m going to give it 2.5 Out Of 5 Stars. It has it’s strong points but it just isn’t for me. It is available on Amazon.
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