By Dexter Ewing, Knife Collector and Enthusiast


Without a doubt, one of the most sought after folding fighters on
the market today is the Benchmade CQC7 (Close Quarters Combat), designed
by Ernest Emerson. Emerson and Benchmade share the same visions when it
comes to knives: rugged beauty and superior reliability. Therefore, it
was not surprising that the folks at Benchmade were eager to join forces
with the leading name in combat folders. Also, Benchmade recently began
producing both sizes of the CQC7 with the option of Black-Ti coated
blades, which yield outstanding corrosion resistance.

The CQC7 is a very user friendly knife. The curves of the handle
allow the user to comfortably and securely lock their grip on the knife.
More so with the 975, there is enough of the butt end of the handle
protruding, allowing the CQC7 to be used as a blunt striking device. A
closer examination of the double titanium liners reveal tiny serrations
on the top, just behind the thumb ramp (assuming the knife is open), and
partway on the underside of the liners (including under the exposed part
of the Locking Liner release). The serrations and thumb ramp work in
harmony to provide enough traction for the hand when pressure must be
applied to the blade, virtually eliminating any slippage that may occur
under demanding conditions. For those of you who are looking at the CQC7
for utility purposes only, I suggest that you look at Benchmade's other
folders. This knife was primarily designed as a self defense tool. The
chisel ground tanto blade facilitates slashing at full arm extension, and
the tanto point will penetrate the thick materials with ease.

As with the rest of Benchmade's Designer Series knives, the CQC7
sports a spring type pocket clip for ease of carry and withdraw. Both
the 970 and 975 carry very well when clipped to the front pants pocket.
I did discover that the 975 is a bit uncomfortable using the waistband
carry mode. Almost as important as how well the knife is carried, is the
ease of blade deployment. The titanium liners make for smooth opening
and closing action, and the thumb disk allows the blade to be opened
using either hand. I'm happy to report that "weak hand" operation is
almost as easy as the "strong hand".

In summary, the Benchmade/Emerson CQC7 is a very well designed
and well made folder. For those who cannot afford the high prices of
Emerson's custom mades (or to endure his 18 month waiting period), this
is an excellent opportunity to own one of his designs. Benchmade is
known for their high quality folding knives, and this one is certainly no

Dexter Ewing
If you have some thoughts or comments to share with Mr. Ewing, please email him using his linked name below
Dexter Ewing

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