Top, the Wilson StarTac and bottom a standard Chris Reeve Sebenza. It is easy to see that the new Wilson folder is a first cousin to the other knife.

Few knives seem to ignite as much controversy with the web set than the Chris Reeve Sebenza frame-lock folder. First introduced in 1990, the design has been steadily fine-tuned and improved for the last 20 some years. I’ve carried a succession of these knives since their introduction (including a much appreciated left-hand version) and consider it one of the finest field folders on the market.

Unfortunately, real world performance doesn’t seem to be an accepted standard for some to judge a knife by. In their minds, doing things the hard way is somehow of much higher value than creating a better product. For them, it is enhanced if you use 19th century techniques and materials along with a little smoke and mirrors about secret quenches in mysterious substances. And to really impress them, you must stress how only a single person, using the simplest hand tools possible, was involved in a knife’s creation. Call the Sebenza “handmade” and they go off on long rants about why that is totally incorrect. Having handled enough one-man-shop custom folders to know far too many of them don’t come anywhere close to a Sebenza in fit and finish, I have to say, “Who cares if it is handmade or not, it works!”

Just like the grips of a custom Wilson 1911 45 auto, the starburst pattern on the handle of the StarTac immediately identifies it as the product of this premier combat gear company.

All Go and No Flash
If the folder has a flaw, it would probably be that the standard Sebenza is a little on the plain side as far as looks go. Folding knives have long been a workingman’s “bling” and Chris’s basic model tends to be all go and not much show. For those looking for a little more flash without sacrificing any of the original design’s performance, Wilson Tactical’s new limited edition CR StarTac may just be the perfect answer.

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Top, the Wilson StarTac and bottom a standard Chris Reeve Sebenza. It is easy…