The Importance of Grip
Let’s be honest, the last thing you want is unnecessary hand blisters. Our bodies adapt to nature, just as your tools should. Did you know that in water, our hands shrivel up like raisins due to osmosis and also in order to increase our grip in wet environments? Survival is all about adaptation and performance in ever-changing environments. Maintaining homeostasis is the goal. The best knives for any environmental conditions will perform comfortably, hold an edge, and decently avoid corrosion. You can check out more important qualities to look for in a blade by reading my previous blog post. Grip matters, so here are three grip specs to look for in your next knife purchase!
1- Handle Material
The quality of handle material matters a lot to me. I prefer a decent wood, g-10, or micarta handle. Hardwoods or stabilized burl woods may be used to construct a robust knife handle with the beauty of natural wood. G-10, an exceptional performer, is a stable laminate composite, epoxy-filled woven glass fiber. G-10 is light, strong, durable, impervious to many chemicals, and resistant to changes in temperature. Micarta is very similar to G-10 and is made up of composites of linen, canvas, fiberglass, paper, or carbon fiber in phenolic resin or thermosetting plastic. Micarta is also smoother than G-10. Whatever handle you choose, make sure you like the feel and the looks!
2- Ergonomic Shape
Ergonomics is another important feature- you won’t want to use a knife if it doesn’t feel comfortable in your hand. You don’t want the knife to rub blisters on or strain your hand during use. Your hand web between your thumb and forefinger should rest on the top of the knife while your fingers wrap around the knife naturally. The fit relies on the geometry of the knife, the shape of your hand, and the working motions performed when using the knife. Ambidextrous versatility of a knife is great, but people tend to use their dominant hand for most tasks.
The best knives have good balance established. There is no uniform balance point, because blade shapes and lengths are all different. Some are made blade-heavy, and some handle-heavy. The balance is all about personal preference. Some of us choke up on grips, some of us sink into the back of grips depending on how light or heavy, long or short the knife is. Handle thickness (or thinness) and material also plays a role in how the blades balance. The balance also dictates where and how you apply force to do work most efficiently. Think physics (Newtons Law, etc.)
Guide to knife handle materials by Knife Informer gives a super comprehensive look at each of the handle materials and a sample knife to go along.
Here are some of the most notoriously comfortable knives with awesome handles that have honorable mentions:
Morakniv Companion ($14.66 on Amazon)
Ontario Rat ($27.08 on Amazon)
Gerber Bear Grylls ($39.30 on Amazon)
CRKT Hissatsu ($58.15 on Amazon)
ESEE Izula ($65.00 on Amazon)
Gerber Strong Arm ($67.89 on Amazon)
KA-BAR Becker BK2 ($82.00 on Amazon)
Benchmande Mini Griptilian ($93.50 on Amazon)
ESEE Knives 6P ($108.44 on Amazon)
Zero Tolerance 0350 ($139.99 on Amazon)
Tops Knives Apache Falcon ($146.12 on Amazon)
Helle GT ($154.00 on Amazon)
ESEE Knives 5P ($158.24 on Amazon)
Tops Knives Bushcrafter Kukri ($172.00 on Amazon)
That’s the tea! Every time I do one of these reviews, I see more blades that I am tempted to add to our collection. I enjoy both factory made and custom.
Thank you for reading this post, and don’t forget to subscribe. Please let me know what types of knives and handles you prefer in the comments!