Pros: Lock Type, Blade Material, Handle Feel, Handle Material, Overall Quality, Weight, Ease of Opening, Blade Sharpness
Gemini vs Small Sebenza and Mantis Prototype
I first saw this knife at Kizer's booth at Blade show this year. It was my first trip to Blade, and didn't know what to expect. I handled nearly every knife they had out and fell in love with this one. It's beautiful in a simple way, not to flashy, but clearly something special. I would have bought this knife right there, but when I asked the price the Kizer rep told me it was a prototype, and would be available in September for around $200. Disappointingly, I jotted down the name and price and moved on. I ended up bringing home a dozen or so other knives from Blade, including two that are comparable to this one: a Chris Reeve small Sebenza, and a prototype Mantis Polar Ice. The Mantis was $200, and the decked out Sebenza was well over twice that. Both are high-end titanium handle frame lock folders of similar size. Like a giddy school kid, I met the mailman at his car to get my package the day the Gemini arrived. It is a Ray Laconico design, he calls the custom version the Jasmine. After carrying and fondling the Gemini for a time, I went to the case to pull out the Sebenza and Polar Ice for a side by side review. Blade Steel: The Gemini and Sebenza tie with cpm S35VN Blade Centering: Both Gemini and Sebenza are dead center when closed. Blade Shape: Depends on use, but advantage to Gemini for an EDC blade, it's a wider full flat grind drop point with a nice belly, I'd give advantage to the other two for a defensive role, just not in deployment Blade Deployment: Big advantage to the Gemini for the smooth but tight and fast flipper. It opens like my ZT 0566 which is spring assisted. Locking Mechanism: Advantage Gemini for incorporating both an over-travel and replaceable steel insert (to prevent titanium to steel lockup)The over travel bar is in the interior, a nice touch I think. Carry Orientation: Here I have to give advantage to the Polar Ice for the tip down carry. The Gemini is tip up only. If you prefer tip up, not an issue. Sebenza is tip up too. Pocket Clip: Advantage Sebenza, it's a single screw but it's recessed into the handle. The Gemini clip is more than adequate however, and anodized blue, another nice touch. The Polar Ice clip is deep carry, but longer than it needs to be. Personally, I feel deep carry clips make the knife harder to drawl too. Pivot System: Advantage Gemini, ball bearing system, it's noticeably smoother than the other two. Manufacturing Quality: Slight advantage to the Sebenza, cannot find an issue. The only issue I found on the Gemini is one side of the anodized pivot screw has a small imperfection, a discoloration in the blue. Blade sharpness: All three came hair shaving sharp, but with a little pressue. Summary: It's a great knife, and a insanely good value that will be hard to duplicate. Kizer and Ray Laconico did a great job. BTW the Kizer rep I met at Blade show followed up with me about the kife's availability 3 time's over 3 months from half a world away over a 170 knife, great service. Meanwhile I can't get my local hvac man to return my call....