Making The Cut
Content that I could get the knife into action when I needed it, I began carrying the Daniel Defense Folding Knife as a utility knife to see how it performed everyday tasks. Like all other Kershaw knives I’ve used, it had a keen edge and great edge geometry, so it cut extremely well. Its unique blade shape lends itself well to choking up for a scalpel-style grip, with the index finger extended along the back of the blade.
Gripped conventionally, the handle’s excellent ergonomics enabled the blade to cut with surprising power for its size. This was particularly true when cutting with the serrated section of the edge, which easily powered through everything I put in its path, including seat belts, cord, and some very significant hunks of rope. During literally hundreds of openings, the SpeedSafe mechanism never hiccupped. The blade always opened with authority and the frame-lock mechanism locked securely. Release of the lock was a conscious effort—just as it should be—but was always easily accomplished.
To assess the Daniel Defense Folding Knife’s potential as a personal-defense tool, I put it to the test against a variety of cutting targets, including everything from free-hanging sheets of paper to my benchmark standard, a meat-wrapped wooden dowel affectionately known as “pork man.” To replicate the resistance of typical clothing, the latter was dressed in a pant leg from a pair of jeans and the sleeve of a down-filled winter jacket. The knife didn’t care. It easily powered through them, producing deep cuts with the potential for serious stopping power.
The acutely tapered point and swedge of the Daniel Defense Folder also make the knife a potent thrusting weapon. I tested it in both standard and reverse grips against a foam mannequin torso covered in a winter jacket and it easily penetrated the full length of the blade with very little effort. I then folded the leg of a pair of denim jeans multiple times to create 16 layers of material and placed it over a “pork man” target. Again, the knife’s point sailed through the multiple layers without a problem.
Although the handle of the Daniel Defense Folder is not textured, its thoughtfully designed ergonomics and pronounced index-finger groove provided a very secure grip during all testing. The tapered shape of the handle fits the natural contours of the hand, wedging in place on hard impact and effectively transferring the force of the impact shock into the meaty portion of the palm.
Many tactical companies that want to offer a signature knife are content to stamp their name on another manufacturer’s product and call it good. Daniel Defense and Kershaw don’t work that way and clearly aspire to a much higher standard. They and Ken Onion put exceptional effort into this project and have created a distinctive, highly functional knife that truly achieves all of Daniel Defense’s stated goals.