Review: Camillus 7.25" Folding Knife

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Camillus Knives has a long history of producing traditional pocket knives, dating back to 1876. Since their re-launch in 2009, they’ve put out some interesting modern folders to make their re-entry into the everyday carry knife market. Jake Tauriainen of World Knife Outlet thought the Camillus 7.25” Folding Knife would be an interesting product to showcase here, so he kindly sent over a copy for me to review for Everyday Carry. Let’s see how successfully Camillus approaches more modern folders in this review.

Everything about the knife speaks modern design – surprisingly utilizing a good VG-10 Japanese steel with a Carbonitride Titanium coating on its 3” drop-point blade. The black coating allegedly strengthens the steel’s hardness up to ten times that of untreated steel for long-lasting sharpness, and doesn’t peel, flake, or chip. Externally, the knife features an ergonomic carbon fiber body, housing anodized blue titanium internal structures. Its liner lock and pocket clip are also made from the same anodized blue titanium. As the product name suggests, it’s 7.25” long when open, and fairly compact at 4.25” long when closed. Despite its interesting materials in carbon fiber and titanium, the knife manages to weigh in respectably just shy of 2.3 oz, or 65g. Overall, it’s a fairly sleek knife with some striking aesthetics.

Upon closer inspection, the construction, fit, and finish are acceptable. The carbon fiber handles have a visually interesting finish with decent grip and texture. The blade on my copy centers well, and its black coating has even coverage throughout. However, with some use, the black coating in the belly of the blade eventually revealed some light scratches. The titanium bolsters have a striking blue anodized color, but it isn’t perfectly even with some slight imperfections along the spine, near the lanyard hole, and on the pocket clip. With time, the titanium does display some scratches, and the deep blue tends to fade into a smoky purple color in areas prone to abrasion and wear. Personally, this adds character to the knife and I consider it more of a patina than a poor finish.

The knife opens via bilateral thumb studs. Deployment is not the smoothest I’ve seen on a knife, but opens just fine with a slower, controlled motion. Flicking the knife open proved difficult for me, which I suspect could be from having a weaker detent to facilitate opening, making it harder to build up enough pressure for a strong flick opening. Because of this, I’d recommend a traditional right-handed thumb opening as opposed to a left-handed or middle-fingered opening. Disengaging the liner lock to close the knife requires some adjustment, as the lock bar is difficult to access. It appears the opposite liner has a recessed cut out to accommodate thumb access, but the actual carbon fiber handle over it doesn’t follow the same cut, rendering the cutout useless outside of cutting weight from the knife. This oversight was one of my main disappointments in the knife.

Actually using the knife is much more enjoyable. The blade locks up decently, albeit a bit late. The ergonomic body feels especially good in hand – there’s enough length in the handle and comfortable curves along the inside of the knife to let my fingers grip the knife naturally. Thumb jimping on the back of the blade further solidifies the handling on the knife. I have smaller hands, and to me, the knife doesn’t feel unwieldy at all. I suspect folks with larger hands shouldn’t have trouble using the knife either. Out of the box, it’s sharp and slices effortlessly. For being only a 3” long blade, it’s shaped nicely, giving it versatility in its capabilities to slice, cut, and puncture.

Although the design of the knife lets it fit comfortably in hand, it’s somewhat lacking in available carry options. The pocket clip design constrains the knife to a right-handed, tip-up carry only. Nonetheless, I am confident in the clip’s retention – it’s easy to clip and unclip, but manages to still feel secure on my pants pocket. The knife doesn’t sit all too deeply when clipped, and the exposed portion of the knife does appear more obviously like a knife, and less like a pen or something more discreet. Lastly, lanyard holes on the bolsters at the end of the knife provide other means to carry the knife, such as clipping it to a bag. More simply, it’s a place to attach a lanyard for a convenient way to carry cordage with you, provide more grip, and improve accessibility from the pocket.

Camillus’s modern folder is most suitable for everyday urban carry. Those who prefer exotic materials would especially appreciate this knife. Unfortunately, its right-hand only pocket clip, slightly inaccessible liner lock, and awkward deployment would probably be less than ideal for you southpaws out there. I’d be wary of using this knife for extremely heavy duty as it doesn’t seem designed for that kind of use, so hardcore knife users might want to pass on this knife as well. Otherwise, it’s a good folding knife with decent steel for those on a budget, or looking for a unique entry-level to mid-range knife.

Everyday Carry Score: ★★★☆☆

Pros: Affordable, good steel, exotic materials, slim to carry, comfortable in hand, slices well for everyday urban use, unique aesthetic

Cons: Deployment could be smoother, liner lock slightly late and difficult to access comfortably, limited carry/clip options, minor imperfections in anodization

The 7.25” folder is an interesting departure from the more classic Camillus Knives offerings. Its strength lies in its affordability, good steel and materials all around, ergonomics and performance. While ambitious with its materials, the knife’s fit and finish are close, but not quite perfect. Furthermore, some oversights in its design, namely in deployment, lockup, and carry options, hold it back from really shining. These oversights hardly render the knife unusable, however. With some adjustment from the user to learn the knife, it makes for a great addition as a sleek everyday user for general and urban carry on a budget.

PURCHASE @ WorldKnifeOutlet:

Camillus 7.25” Folding Knife Drop Point – Carbon Fiber Handle ($66)

Article and Photography by Bernard Capulong on Monday, Mar 24, 2014

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