New knives new profits: gun dealers can carve out impressive sales in this strong segment of the marketplace!

Author:Ewing, Dexter

The knife market continues to post strong growth, despite a questionable economy. Knife makers report strong sales and have responded with an impressive array of new offerings. Many of these were unveiled at the 2003 Blade Show & International Cutlery Fair in Marietta, Ga., in June.

The show is a great barometer to gauge the various trends in the knife industry, and provides gun dealers solid research on what knives are selling. In turn, companies are actively seeking gun dealers who are willing to offer today's innovative knives in their gun shops.

Tactical Folders Rein As Top Sellers

Tactical folders, a trend started in the early 1990s, are still a strong segment of the knife market. They make up a large portion of the knives produced by manufacturers.

Most, if not all, of the new tactical folders introduced at the Blade Show are custom collaborations, another hot trend in the market. Established custom knifemakers continue to lend their design expertise to manufacturers. The results are high-performance production knives bearing the knifemakers' signature design characteristics, but without the custom price tags.

For gun dealers, the bottom line is custom collaborations are guaranteed sellers.

Benchmade Knife Co.'s new Model 520 Axis Lock is a stout-working knife based on a Mel Pardue design. Another Pardue design, the Model 530, is a slim and lightweight folder that has the company's exclusive Axis Lock.

Kershaw Knives' Ken Onion designed Bump is a curvaceous folder with an assisted-opening mechanism.

Spyderco's Para-Military model is a scaled-down version of its popular Military folder. This one features a S30V steel blade, G-10 handles and the company's Compression Lock. Another new Spyderco model is the ATR (At The Ready)--a Titanium-handled folder that is an all-business work knife with a S30V blade and integral Compression Lock.

Columbia River Knife & Tool's E-Lock folder showcases Allen Elishewitz's design, function and incorporates his blade-lock design.

Timberline Knives' Greg Lightfoot-designed Pistol Grip folder has a unique look with a curved and finger-grooved handle. It has a blade of AUS-8 stainless steel, steel bolsters and Zytel handles.

Meyerco USA unveiled its newest Blackie Collins speed-assisted tactical knife, the A-OK. It combines the rapid-opening feature of the speed-assisted line and a liner lock. The A-Ok has injection molded, glass-filled handles and a 440C stainless-steel blade.

Surefire debuted its Edged Weapons Division at the show. The company's first offering, the Alpha, is a radical Steve Ryan design with aluminum handles, G-10 inlays and a S30V blade. A flipper...

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