Almost everyone reading this article has at least a passing understanding of the circus that is SHOT Show. There are often knife companies in attendance—those that are not afraid to associate themselves with American gun culture. But there’s a series of trade shows dedicated to knives, too: Blade Show 2022.
The Best Place To See Knives, Ever: Blade Show 2022
If you like knives, this is the place to be. Most of the major production companies bring their entire catalog, plus upcoming and new releases. Likewise, most of the smaller production companies and mid-tech brands have booths. There’s no better way to get your hands on knives than Blade Show.
For those who are really into knives, Blade Show offers a chance to see a ton of independent makers, too. These are the garage-shop guys making small batches of custom knives or individual knives that are true one-offs. Some of these are really exquisite and worth the hassle of attending the show; others are clearly less inspired and look like someone retired and is now trying to indulge in a hobby.
Seeing What’s Coming
The biggest difference between Blade Show 2022 and the massive firearm industry shows is that this is a retail event. Almost everything is for sale. Some of the big production companies will bring their prototypes and won’t sell them, but the public is welcome and folks typically come with a healthy wad of cash.
I didn’t buy anything—that isn’t why I go to Blade Show. I want to get my hands on everything, all at once, and see the direction I plan on taking my editorial interests for the upcoming year. And it never hurts to see those companies, face-to-face, that I’ve only ever seen online.
Can you find a good deal?
Those that are there to buy, though, can sometimes score a solid deal. Companies sell direct (with a discount off MSRP), while the big retailers—like Smoky Mountain Knife Works—are there selling at similar prices and higher volumes.
The real appeal is the opportunity to buy from makers that have waiting lists. So many make short runs and sell out instantly, but hold a handful back to clear at the show. But it is a race to get those.
And that’s my ultimate takeaway here. This wasn’t my first Blade Show rodeo. I know the lines are absurd.
Don’t come to Blade Show if you don’t like people.
I have the feeling that Blade Show began small and has, in recent years, really exploded. The east-coast show is held north of Atlanta, and it has seriously outgrown the infrastructure of its host convention center. They need a new home, badly.
The show starts on Friday with an early-bird-style opening that allows you to get in ahead of the sweaty masses, for a fee. Then they open the gates. This year, though, there were so many waiting outside of the convention center that the facility was overwhelmed. Never in all of my journalistic experience have I been so privileged to have a press pass.
The lines to get in on Friday bunched into one mass. Those with tickets were trying to get in the same door as those those in the will-call line, and security was only letting in a few people at a time because the staircase heading up to the show floor could hold no more.
There are knives at the gun show, but no guns at the knife show
If you are looking for a sign of the times, I can offer this. This is the first Blade Show that I’ve attended where I found people who don’t like guns. I was given the cold shoulder at a couple of booths because I write for GunMag Warehouse. They aren’t afraid of GMW, per se, they simply don’t want to have their brands tied—in any way—to firearms.
This stance is lamentable, of course, and somewhat ironic. Blade Magazine—sponsor of the Blade Show—is part of the editorial group that publishes Recoil and other magazines that are hardly hoplophobic.
That is, sadly, where we are. Companies that sell tools purpose-built for EDC and self-defense don’t want anything to do with our type of purpose-built tools meant for EDC and self-defense.
It is what it is. No amount of rational dialogue will change minds in a time like this. Instead, do as I do and take the money you may have spent on one of their knives and spend it on something else, instead.
Still, you need to go to a Blade Show. Atlanta in June. Blade Show West will be in Salt Lake in October. And Blade Show Texas will be in Fort Worth in March. We’ll be reporting more in the future.