Pros: Ease of Opening, Overall Quality, Handle Feel, Weight, Lock Ease of Use, Lock Type
Good as "executive" EDC
Quick background: I spent 17 years studying martial arts (10.5 years in Kenpo), and I have a 3rd-degree black belt in Kenpo. That means I am reviewing this from a martial arts weapons (extension of hands in self defense) perspective, as opposed to a “knife collector” perspective. I do own a Fox 599 karambit and some other cheaper versions, so I am also comparing this Karahawk with those other karambits. The Fox 599 (cost $125) also has the Emerson Wave, by the way.The reason I got the Karahawk knife (for $173 from GP Knives) is because it seemed thinner than other folding karambits that I own, and that thinness piqued my interest because I wanted a lower profile everyday carry folding karambit. Spyderco achieved that thinness by using a lockback mechanism for the lock, instead of a liner lock… which requires a bit more width to accommodate. So here are my thoughts:Pros: (1) Thin so it is hardly noticeable in pocket; (2) Feels light in hand when performing self defense techniques; (3) The lock back theoretically will be more difficult to accidentally engage during rough use than the liner lock on most other karambits.Cons: (1) The Emerson Wave feature on the Karambit sticks out a bit too far to hold comfortable in hand in the closed position (vs. the Fox 599). A knife does not have to immediately and always be utilized lethally in self defense. The Fox 599 for example is a decent hunk of metal in your hand when closed, and either end (including the retention ring) can still be used as a blunt force object. Then it can be opened with the Emerson Wave dynamically during motion without changing your grip (if you have it in the reverse grip). However, the Karahawk is a bit too “bulky” to hold comfortably in the closed position as a non-lethal alternative. It is thin, yes… but also a bit “chunky” as measured from the spine to the Emerson Wave feature. (2) The retention ring is not designed for flipping or spinning comfortably. The ring’s dual metal sections are too thin so they cut into the finger when rotating. Now, as a martial artist, I could not care less about continuously spinning karambits (really, it’s not practical)… but practicing flipping out for extension and then back in for retraction is still an important part of knife familiarity in my opinion. And even just flipping once out and once back in is a bit uncomfortable on the finger with the Karahawk. Contrast this with the Fox 599 which has a ring that feels like butter when flipping out for extension.Overall, so far I like the Karahawk.. and I will certainly use this as my everyday “executive” carry. But it is not the knife I’ll go to when practicing in general either in air or on my body opponent bags at home.