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Shooting Industry September 2010 - Page 35

HOT STEEL! What’s In Demand? What Are The Trends? 2010 Story and and Photos Photos By By Pat Pat Covert Covert Story T T he annual Blade Show & International Cutlery Fair in June is always a good barometer of what’s hot and what’s trending up in the knife world. All the major cutlery manufacturers are at the event, and there’s a chance to talk with many of the heavy hitters in this segment of the industry. Tactical folders still dominate the folding-knife market, but the genre is more diverse than ever. Manufacturers have broadened their scope to better take advantage of a dim economy. Others have expanded their customer base by offering lower-priced models produced offshore. Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) built the bulk of their business on serious tactical knives, but their hot sellers now are a pair of “gent’s tacticals,” designed by wellknown custom knifemaker Ken Onion. Diversification & Price-Point “Gentleman folders are the latest trend. People want a knife they can carry discreetly, yet still have enough blade to perform chores if they have to,” said Doug Flagg, CRKT vice president and director of marketing. “The Ken Onion Ripple is selling really well, and we can’t keep up with demand. Our customers like it because it has an incredibly smooth action, thanks to I.K.B.S. (ball bearing) system.” Ever the stickler for quality, Spyderco is Jim O. Young (left), of Hogue, and custom knifemaker Allen Elishewitz pose with a couple of their latest collaborations, which include tactical folders and fixed blades. SEPTEMBER 2010 35

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