The CQC-4KXL is a design from Emerson but made by Kershaw. If there ever was a folding knife that was made for self defense, this is it. After owning it for a year and half I can tell you some things. So let’s get on with the information.
This thing’s large 3.75″ (9.5cm) hollow ground, drop-point blade is made of the budget standard 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. If you are like me, then the blade is the major attracting feature. Its very nice looking what with its dual tone design. The hollow ground portion of the blade is stonewashed while the flat area has these horizontal striations on it as if it were put through a rough surface grinder. These finishes may inhibit rust at least compared to a bead-blasted finish, though I’m not certain on that. Due to the blade being slender and having a drop point profile this knife would certainly stab well. Just sayin’. Instead of thumb studs there is a thumb disk on this knife which is a usual feature for Emerson knives. It doesn’t feel super comfortable but it feels very engaged with your thumb when you flick this guy open. Another Emerson feature on this knife is the wave opener that is one with the blade. It works great. With the wave opener it is as fast as a drawing a fixed blade. Not only is it fast but it is a reliable means of opening your knife. It does tend to tare up pockets compared to carrying a normal folding knife, so keep that in mind.
I actually replaced the factory pivot washers because I lost them after I took apart the knife just for the fun of seeing how the knife was constructed. Also, I was trying to clean up the action/pivot so it would be smoother. The original pivot situation wasn’t amazing before hand but it worked with the design since the wave opener is the primary opening element. I have since replaced the original nylon pivot washers with phosphor bronze ones from Knife Kits. They didn’t cost very much plus they came with a Knife Kits branded band-aid. It is pretty smooth now plus the blade is centered well enough in the closed position so it doesn’t scrape up against the inside of the handle. It does has some side to side blade play but I am still satisfied with the results. The whole thing feels quite positive to the point where it is fun to play with. Oh, and one more thing. This knife is a frame lock so its pretty damn strong in case you gotta use for some serious work.
The handle is large and the geometry was designed well. It makes for a firm grip because it is wider in the ring finger/pinky area than it is at the area where your index finger would go. Also, there is somewhat of a finger choil in place for the index finger because the part of the handle that close to the pivot is flared out to create a hand stop so your hand won’t slide down the blade. The wave opener doubles as a thumb ramp and it has some mild texturing on it. The steel frame is smooth but the textured G10 makes up for the lack of grip.
Though the clip may appear to be a little wimpy, but it is plenty good for me. It can handle the thick material of a waistband or sweatpants pockets just fine. When you have the knife clipped in your pocket, an inch of the handle will stick out like a tab which allows me to grab the knife instinctively without even looking and whip this thing out in short order. I really like this knife for its speed of use and this adds to it. I know some people would rather not have the knife stick out like that but I don’t it is a bad move. I’m not sure if I would care if I startled some “sheeple” because they noticed I had a folding knife with me. I’m not doing anything wrong and if you are scared because of the presence of another human carrying a knife then you have so growing up to do. Additionally, I highly doubt most people notice things like a passing stranger carrying a knife clipped into their pocket.
So what do you think? Does the CQC-4KXL sound enticing? It is fast and fairly well constructed. Keep in mind that there are many budget version Emerson collaboration knives available from Kershaw. If you want smaller and lighter, then go ahead and take a look at their other models albeit not all of those other knives are well liked by the knife/E.D.C. gear community.
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