Pros: Pocket Clip, Overall Quality, Handle Feel, Weight, Handle Material, None
Cons: Ease of Opening, Pocket Clip
A nice combination of new and old.
I am a big fan of both case knives and the ubiquitous one-hand opening, pocket clip folder. I associate the latter with Spyderco, so I will compare this knife with two other knives that I see it as sort of a cross between: the Case CopperLock, and the Spyderco Endura. The ideaa of having the convenience of the one-hand and pocket clip with the nice design of a classic case has a lot of appeal. And for the most part I feel that Case has met the goal of bringing a Case design forward that works like people using Spyderco type knives expect, while maintaining what makes Case pocket knives so nice. First some good things: the build quality is typical of case, flawless. No gaps between handle slabs and bolsters, fantastic looking knife with alternating stainless and brass liners, nice inlaid logo (the oval ones are still my favorites) and the synthetic "fuddy gum" is great looking and feels nice too. One think I like about case knives, particularly the single blades like the CopperLock is how thin they are. They fit nicely in the pocket. This knife is quite a bit thinker: about 5/8ths of an inch vs. 3/8ths. This isn't just the pocket clip, their is an extra liner to provide the liner lock and even the handle seems a bit thicker. But this does provide for a nice chunky feeling knife, something else I like about Case folders. All in all it's still a very compact knife and light enough to not notice in daily carry. I prefer the feel and look of the TrapperLock to the Endura, it's just nice to carry around a finely finished piece of steel. (Of course Spyderco has many knives that fit this description, the Endura is a budget utility knife with cast nylon handles) The weak point of the knife is the opening system. It's good, but not great. The small thumb stud does not provide as sure a grip as the Spyderco hole, and the geometry and design make for good, but not great, opening. A strange feature is a small pin on the liner lock. This pin does not have to do with the lock-up when open, you can see that it is not touching anything. It may help lock it closed, but it doesn't feel like it. Instead what it does is provide a 1/2 way open position where there is some resistance to overcome. When opening this knife there are two distinct clicks, the first when the pin slides off the blade, the second when the liner lock engages. On closing the knife the blade goes to 90* and the pin hits the blade, and additional resistance is needed to close it the rest of the way. I believe this is intended as a safety system. If you are closing the knife one handed, using your right hand thumb to push the liner lock open and your index finger to push the blade closed, it give you an obvious safe-stop to switch grips, get your thumb out of the way, and probably finish closing the knife with your thumb replacing your finger on the back of the blade / stud. Sounds complicated, but it is pretty natural to do. The other odd design feature is the choice to have the clip set up to place the knife tip down. All other pocket clip equiped folders I own, including the Endura , are tip up, which offers faster opening. I believe both the relatively small stud and the location of the clip were done to keep the knife looking as much like a "normal" case as possible, while still providing these features. At first I found the design soft of irritating, but decided to carry it exclusively. After a week I no longer noticed them, and the knife seemed to work well, although clearly it's not in the first rank of super-confident one-hand opening folders like the Spyderco Butch Valloton folder or Buck Stryders. Rather it reminds me of other early folders relying on small studs on old school design blades like the Air SOG. All in all I really like the knife. The size, shape, feel, and beauty make it something I enjoy carrying and showing off. The utility is a step above any other old-school Case folder I own, without the maker sacrificing the look and feel of the brand. I gave it four stars. I think Case should continue to work on the new+old concept, and maybe be more flexible on the design to get a design really optimized for one hand deployment. That would clearly be a five-star knife, but this one is so nice I am extremely happy I bought it and would highly recommend it for an every day dressy folder.