It tends to only come up with writers who are new to Tactical Knives, but every once in a while one will ask me if I really think they should actually “use” an expensive custom we have been sent to evaluate. Many are of the opinion that there is a price point beyond, which knives are just for “looking at,” not truly cutting things. And what that price point is tends to often be surprisingly low by some of their standards! But then, asking any group of high-end custom makers what they have in their own pockets will usually produce a strange collection of give-away knives and beat up commercial models that I would think they would be ashamed to show in public.

Given I ordered my first true custom knife when I was a 17-year-old army enlistee, I’ve always taken a completely different tack. Knives are companions I intend to take exotic places and share high adventures with. Pretending they are only an investment alternative to the stock market holds no real appeal to me. When the going gets tough, I want the best tool money can buy and I’m willing to make that a continual lifetime search. Take Pat and Wes Crawford’s new “Stealth Dagger Folder.” Would I be willing to EDC a $750 tactical folder? Without the slightest hesitation! And I’ve done my best to prove that point over the last few months.

The Stealth Family

The Stealth Dagger is actually part of a group of tactical folders from the Crawford shop that include the “Big Bite,” “Assisted Stealth Quick Cut,” “Stealth Quick Cut,” and “Stealth Saber” (there is also a handy little fixed blade neck knife, the “Stealth Fighter,” in the group). You start with a S30V stainless 4-inch spear-point blade with an unsharpened 2.75-inch false edge (this is almost ground to a true cutting edge, but being a folder, it can’t be taken down that last little fraction of an inch). The upper flat of blade features an engine turned finish, as does the stainless steel bolster. Its handle scales are polished carbon fiber with a generous 3-inch tip-down right-hand carry-clip. A spin-mounted flipper provides a mean of one-hand opening knife.

So how do you categorize a knife like this? At 4 inches in blade length and 6 ounces in weight, it is hard to call it an urban “dress tactical.” On the other hand, it doesn’t conform to the flat-black/gray/coyote brown-colored-everything stereotype of a Spec Ops operator combat knife. I guess I will have to leave that up to the reader but I know, flashy or not, I wouldn’t have hesitated to carry it during my own time in a battle zone. By the time a Taliban has a chance to see the knife in your hand, it won’t matter what the blade finish is anyway. As it is, I’ve been using the knife for several months for a wide variety of chores from gardening to hunting. Though the term is more commonly used for handguns, the Stealth Dagger tends to fit the description of what I would consider a “barbeque” knife, i.e., a weapon that has been customized for flashy looks but that still remains totally functional when needed.

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