A little over a decade ago Tactical Knives featured the then-new Duane Dieter-designed Masters of Defense “Close Quarters Defense” tactical folder. Billed as the “most advanced tactical folder of all time,” the heavy-duty knife certainly had a lot going for it. But its superior design and construction came at a price, $269.98 in 1999 dollars, to be exact. While this isn’t to say the CQD wasn’t worth it, many of the people that needed the knife the most were the ones that often could afford it the least. So when Blackhawk told me they were going to bring out a made-in-Taiwan second-generation CQD at a much more user-friendly price, I was cautiously optimistic. After all, if lowering the price meant sacrificing all the qualities that made the original knife such a first class piece of equipment, very little useful would have been accomplished. Well, I’m here to tell you that I was totally amazed at how close the new “Blackhawk! CQD Mark I Type E” comes to the original version.
To go over the basic specs of the CQD Mark I, the AUS-8 blade is 3.75 inches long with an overall open length of 9.5 inches. Closed, the knife is a relatively long 5-5/8 inches, mostly due to the roughly ¾-inch the seatbelt/cord cutter adds to the frame. The handle is reinforced nylon with non-slip grip panels and stainless steel liners. The steel pocket clip can be reversed for tip-down, right- or left-hand carry. A carbide glass-breaking point is mounted on the front of the handle frame and, as mentioned before, a seatbelt/cord cutter notch is built into the rear of the grip. The blade is opened by means of ambidextrous thumb pegs and is secured in place by a high-strength button lock. As with many modern tactical folders, it is available in both straight edge and partially serrated versions. Either is offered at a suggested retail price of $99.99.
Okay, at 5-5/8 inches long closed and a weight of 7.5 ounces, this is another folder that I would have to say isn’t made for dress slacks or urban EDC. Duty belts, MOLLE gear, backpacks, field coats, and BDU’s are all words that go better with the CQD MK-I. While I know some automatically assume any “black knife” is strictly intended for “tactical” use, I have certainly found the new Blackhawk a useful tool for my own everyday lifestyle. Granted, I probably don’t need the window breaker, but I did find the strap hook a practical way to cut fishing line. Along with this, I also tried the strap cutter on some nylon webbing. As expected, the hook easily cut the strip. I’m sure this cutter would work equally well on flex cuffs. Having used the original MOD knife, I can state there is little or no difference in overall “feel” of the two models in your hand. I doubt you could tell the difference in the dark.
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by Durwood Hollis / Jan 22, 2010