While looking around the Emerson Knife Company website recently, I noticed they had added a “Super CQC-8” with a massive 4.3-inch long blade. Ever since Ernest Emerson actually loaned me his wife Mary’s personal, custom-made CQC-8 around a decade ago, this has been one of my favorite models in the company’s line. Originally referred to as the “banana,” the basic blade pattern resembles a greatly scaled down version of the Chinese “dao” saber. Though at first glance you might think that the curved blade is some kind of specialized hunter’s skinning knife, Ernest pointed out to me that the point is actually very well centered for efficient thrusts. Rather than just take his word for it, I had to prove that to myself on a variety of training targets. I quickly found the knife easily penetrated to the handle even when other blades that appeared more “pointy” failed on the same medium. At the same time, the curved edge retains the cutting and slashing power of the saber it resembles.
Despite my affection for the model, I am not generally a big believer in folding knives for military (as opposed to civilian self-defense) close combat. Basic field utility yes, but carrying anything under 4 inches for hand-to-hand is strictly a very last resort type of plan similar to packing a .32 auto for self-defense. As in, it will probably work most of the time. Never having been much of a gambler, those are not the odds I would really like to have on my side. It goes without saying a larger version of the CQC-8 is a step in the right direction for those that intend to carry the knife in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.