Kershaw CQC-11K Knife Review

Kershaw CQC-11K

Kershaw Knives was started in Portland, Oregon in 1974 when knife salesman Pete Kershaw left Gerber Legendary Blades to form his own cutlery company based on his own designs. Early manufacturing was primarily done in Japan. In 1977, Kershaw became a wholly owned subsidiary of the KAI group. In 1997 the US production facility was opened in Wilsonville, Oregon. Due to an expanding market, the facilities were moved to a larger production site in 2003. Currently, KAI USA manufacturing facilities are located in Tualatin, Oregon with some goods coming from their Japanese and Chinese factories.

Kai USA Ltd. has three lines of products; Kershaw Knives brand of sporting and pocket knives, Shun Cutlery, hand crafted Japanese kitchen cutlery, and Zero Tolerance, a line of premium and professional knives.

Kershaw has collaborated with a number of custom knife makers over the years to produce ground breaking knives. Collaborations include working with Hall of Fame Knife Maker, Ken Onion on Kershaw’s SpeedSafe knives, Ernest Emerson, Grand and Gavin hawk, Frank Centofante, Rick Hinderer, RJ Martin, and more.

In 2002, Kershaw released a Steven Seagal model featuring stingray leather on the handle. In 2004 Kershaw developed a multi tool for the National Geographic Society with National Geographic filmmaker Bryan Harvey. Kershaw has also released models in collaboration with Jeep, Orange County Choppers, the American Professional Rodeo Association, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Kai USA Ltd. and its Kershaw, Zero Tolerance, and Shun brands have a history of garnering industry awards. In May 2005, Kai USA Ltd. won four of the top awards at the Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first time in the show’s history that one company won this number of awards in one year: 2005 Overall Knife of the Year, 2005 Most Innovative American Design, 2005 Kitchen Knife of the Year, and 2005 Knife Collaboration of the Year.

2009 brought a Kershaw win for the Speed form. In 2010, Kershaw won “American Made Knife of the Year” for the Tilt.

Kershaw had a founding mission to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. This means that Kershaw builds each of their knives with the highest quality. They also have a commitment to innovation. In fact, Kershaw has pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. When you are carrying a Kershaw, you know that you are carrying the real deal—from solid sound of the blade lockup to award winning technologies and advanced materials.

Kershaw has earned a reputation of creating phenomenal knives that are exceptional—even their inexpensive knives are top quality. Today, we are going to be going over their CQC-11K model.


The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This type of steel comes from a Chinese series of steel. Out of the series, 9Cr steel is the highest quality, with 8Cr steel falling shortly behind. If you were going to compare this steel to another steel, the closest type is AUS 8 steel. However, AUS 8 steel is the higher quality one. 8Cr steel is a softer steel, so it will be an easy steel to sharpen, even if you are out in the field, and this steel can be repeatedly sharpened without losing its quality. As a total bonus, this steel does keep its fine edge for long periods of time. This is a stainless steel, so it does resist rusting and corroding fairly well. This is an average grade steel, so while it does stand up to most tasks, it does not excel at anything like a premium grade steel would. The biggest advantage that this steel boasts is how budget friendly it is. This steel is jam packed full of value—it is a low cost steel that can stand up to the majority of things that you throw at it.

This steel has been finished with a stonewashed finish. A stonewashed finish refers to tumbling the blade in an abrasive material. This finish easily hides scratches, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin finished blade. There is a wide variety of stonewashed finishes based upon the abrasive shape, tumbling motion and the type of finish the blade has before it enters the tumbler. A very positive benefit of stonewashed blades is that they are low maintenance and preserve their original look overtime. The stonewashed finish hides the scratches and smudges that occur with use over time.

The blade has been carved into an upswept clip point style blade. If you are looking for a great all-purpose blade, then the clip point blade is a great option for you. This is also one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. The most recognizable knife that features a clip point is the Bowie knife, but it is also popular on many pocket knives and fixed blade knives. The back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle and stops about halfway up the knife. Then, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This cut out area is a curved area and is referred to as the “clip”, which is how this shape got its name. Clip point knives look as if the part of the knife from the spine to the point has literally been clipped off. The area of the point is upswept but the actual point is still lowered, which does provide more control when you are using the knife. Because the tip is controllable, sharp, and thinner at the spine, a clip point knife lends itself to quicker stabbing with less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal. Clip point knives also feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. This CQC-11K has been designed as a hunting knife and the large belly is perfect for skinning any game that you are trying to dress. The large belly also offers superior slicing for a wide variety of tasks.

Because this knife has been designed as a hunting knife, the edge is a plain edge to help with skinning and slicing and providing you with clean cuts.


The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of a textured G10 front scale with a 410 bead blasted finish back scale. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber, yet it can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. While it is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined into shape which is not as economical as the injection molding process that is used in FRN handles. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The material that results is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong. In fact, G10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger than Micarta, although it is more brittle. Tactical folders and fixed blade knives benefit from the qualities of G10 because it is durable and lightweight, non-porous and available in a variety of colors. The fact that it is non-porous is what makes it an exceptional material for a hunting knife.

The back handle scale is made out of stainless steel. This material provides excellent durability and resistance to corrosion but is not particularly lightweight. Stainless steel is a slippery material, so that is why the dual material handle scales make such a great combination. The G10 gives you all of the grip that you need and the stainless steel gives you the durability that you want.

The stainless steel handle scale has been finished with a bead blasted finish. This finish is created by using abrasive, glass or ceramic beads. The bead are blasted at a high pressure against the metal, resulting in an even, grey finish. A blasted finish reduces reflection and glare due to its even matte surface. Creating a blasted finish is a base level or user level finish on a knife blade. The blasting creates an increased surface area and micro abrasions make the steel more prone to rust and corrosion. However, a blasted finish, even from stainless steel, can rust overnight if left in a very humid environment.

Kershaw CQC-11K
Kershaw CQC-11K

The handle has a thick finger guard and a deep finger groove to protect your fingers from getting sliced as well as keeping your fingers comfortable. At the bottom of the handle, there is a row of jimping.

At the bottom of the handle, there is a lanyard hole carved into it. The lanyard is going to come in handy when you are processing a large animal. While field dressing a large game animal, there comes a time when you’ll reach inside the cavity to cut the esophagus so the intestines can be pulled out. This is a messy, bloody situation, which makes a knife handle slippery. You really don’t want your hand to slip down the handle onto the blade. Or suppose a lengthy fish-cleaning session is going on. As your knife dulls, the handle will probably get slippery from the slime, blood, and guts. All it takes is an inattentive instant to hurt yourself. A lanyard around your wrist or hand can prevent this from happening.


The Lanyard Hole:

The lanyard hole is black, in contrast with the bead blasted stainless steel. The knife has pre drilled holes in the handle that enable the user to change either the tip position or the side on which the knife carries.


The Mechanism:

This is a manual knife that has no mechanical assist, such as SpeedSafe, used to open the folding knife. It opens the classic, old school way. This knife has a thumb disk, “wave shaped opening feature”. This is also called the remote pocket opener and is built into the back end of the blade, similar to the flipper. The unique wave shape is a hook that enables the user to open the knife as it is withdrawn from the pocket. Make sure closed knife is snugged up against the rear seam of your pants pocket, tip up. Reach into the pocket to hold the handle of the knife, keeping your fingers away from the blade. Pull toward the rear seam, withdraw the knife form your pocket quickly and steadily so that the wave shaped opening feature hooks on the rear seam of the pocket. This will open the blade. By the time its fully out of the pocket, the knife will be open and ready for sue. Pull back quickly and smoothly to ensure blade lock up.

The CQC-11K also features a frame lock. This is a portion of the handle that moves behind the blade to lock it into positon during use. This is the safety feature of the knife.


The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.5 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 8.5 inches long and it sports a closed length of 4.75 inches long. This knife weighs in at 5.8 ounces. This knife was designed by Emerson, built by Kershaw.


The Conclusion:

This knife is part of Kershaw’s series of hunting knives—for the toughness, durability, and edge holding capabilities your next hunting trip demands. The popular Kershaw—Emerson series is growing. The newest entry, the CQC-11K, is based on the Emerson Rendezvous. Originally designed as a hunting knife, it’s equally adept for survival, camping, bush crafting, or for just about any outdoor activity.

The CQC-11K features a blade of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel with a stonewashed finish. It holds an edge well, and then resharpens easily when out in the field. The blade offers plenty of belly for skinning and other game processing, as well as superior slicing for a wide variety of tasks. For a secure-grip, the CQC-11K has a G-10 front scale with stainless steel back and a sturdy frame lock. Of course, it’s also equipped with the Emerson “wave shaped opening feature” so that the folder can be opened as it is withdrawn from the pocket. Or use the thumb disk for simple, manual opening. The CQC-11K’s handle is contoured for comfort and grip security while you work. A reversible pocket clip enables left- or right-handed carry.
This brand new hunting knife is going to make all of your buddies jealous while also meeting and excelling at any task that you throw at it.


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