Model: CQC7 (bead blast, tanto version)
Price Paid: $165
Initial Impressions: More then I generally like to pay for a knife, but in this case it was worth it. The packaging, literature and knife itself all show a high attention to detail and evidence that someone cares about what they do.Packaging: Good sized box, probably 1-2 inches longer then it really needed to be though.
Accessories: A thick, molded nylon carry pouch with a belt loop and velcro to secure the flap. The knife was in a plastic bag inside the pouch, so between that and the box damage in shipment is highly unlikely.
Documentation: Double sided laminated sheet that contained an introduction to the company and warranty info on the one side, while on the back were pictures of about a dozen other knives they make.
Observed Quality: Top notch. Nothing was amiss or out of place, everything was just right.
Sharpness: Razor. On the sheet Pro-Tech included with the knife it says "THIS KNIFE IS SHARP, USE WITH CAUTION!" (that's verbatim, capitalization and exclamation point included). In this day and age you might consider that merely CYA for the fools who might cut themselves and then go after the company alleging they weren't forewarned. That might be true in this case, but something else is as well; out of the box this was one of the sharpest knives I have ever bought. Most people use printer paper to test a blade, but that's a relatively easy test. Try the super thin sheets from a newspaper or phone book, and cut slow not fast. Now that's a test. The CQC7 sliced off pencil width strips with a super smooth edge, something very difficult to do.
Speed of Deployment: Very quick. The blade jumps out of the handle and is fully deployed in less than a second.
Solidity of Lockup: About as secure as they come. Once locked into place this blade isn't going anywhere. Even downward pressure shows almost no movement. That's a rare feat.
Blade Wobble When Deployed: None. The blade doesn't move side-to-side at all.
Feel: Awesome. I love aluminum for the rigidity, but I'm not really thrilled by how cold or wet weather will negatively affect it. No such thing will happen with this knife; I don't know what these folks did, or how they did it, but this handle almost feels like it's made from some type of rubberized material. The grip is incredible. For me, all other handles pale in comparison now.
Size: Perfect. The length is equal to the size of the blade, so it's as small as it could physically be. The width is ideal for me; wide enough to have substance, yet not overdone so you can't make this an EDC knife.
Impressions: I think Pro-Tech may have ruined it for me, at least as far as other knife manufacturers go. This handle is the yardstick I'll probably be using to judge all others by. These folks just get it; make a strong knife with a good sized handle that can be uses in every type of weather and situation. Game, set and match.
Clip Strength: Overdone. This clip has too much spring tension, so getting it in and out of my pocket requires more effort then it should. It's held in by 3 screws, in the ubiquitous half circle pattern, so it's certainly not going anywhere.
Carry Options: Right side, tip up only. There's certainly space on the left side for a tip up carry as well, so maybe Pro-Tech will consider that for future versions.
Value: Absolutely. Yes, it's a lot for an auto, but in this case you get what you pay for.
Buy Again: Without hesitation. AAMOF, I'm looking at other Pro-Tech knives right now. I want to own more like this.
Overall Assessment: The CQC7 will be spending a lot of time in my pocket, and considering I own about 2 dozen autos that's quite a compliment. With quite possibly my favorite handle of all time, a razor sharp blade and nothing but solid engineering, this is one very impressive knife. Even the jimping is spot on; the ridges on the handle spine flow perfectly into the ones on the blade spine, arching ever so slightly upwards to create the perfect thumb ramp. There are some very talented people at Pro-Tech, no doubt about it.