Curved blades are nasty. Acting like a razor sharp talon, they can be used to pull, slice, stab and slash their way out of tough situations.
Since I was first introduced to the karambit at a week-long class with Steve Tarani, I’ve been a believer in their efficacy and have been carrying one daily. My folder of choice? The Blade-Tech Riptide Karambit. By no means do I tout myself as the human Cuisinart that Tarani is, but his mantra for increasing your chances in a fight is to perform two moves in two seconds. With the Riptide and its Emerson Wave feature, I can easily get the knife out of my pocket and deployed in less than a second, faster than any of my other folding knives. In fact, I tore it out of my pocket and tossed it onto to the table for some photos – no cleaning, no adjusting.
An Emerson Wave on a Karambit? Yeah, in fact Emerson has their own version that I’ve lusted after for quite a while, but never pulled the trigger. They licensed the Wave patent to Blade-Tech for the Riptide, as well as several other models. If you’re unfamiliar with the Wave, it’s described on the Karambit.com site:
This “wave shaped” hook-like opener on the back of the blade is used to catch the edge of the pocket as it is drawn, allowing it to be instantly opened as it is removed. In a situation where precious seconds count, this is the advantage you need in your pocket!
The unique design of the Riptide Knife features a rarely seen double curved blade, where the second curve acts as a large serration for massive ripping power.
The slightly serrated design of the blade annoyed me visually at first. But after thinking about how a curved blade cuts through materials, having the double curve actually makes some sense when you’re all about the ripping and the tearing. While I haven’t tested on actual flesh as I did with other knives in training with Tarani (it was hog flesh, before you get all PC on me), I’m looking for the right opportunity in the upcoming hunting season.
The blade itself appears thin and while I wouldn’t use it as a prybar like I would a Strider, I have no concerns of it snapping under moderate stress.
The ring is generously sized without feeling too large. I would have liked more aggressive texturing on the grips panels but this knife is built for speed and it’s possible that heavier texture would slow down the deployment and wear out your pocket.
Designed by Mike Vellecamp and with a street price of right around $100, the Riptide is a budget-friendly entry into the folding karambit world without dropping all your coin on more expensive folding hardware like the Emerson, or a high-end fixed blade karambits.
My daily use has it cutting boxes, rope, and the occasional closed end of a cigar. People in traffic may or may not see me absent-mindedly flipping it open and closed from time to time.
After about three months of daily carry, the ambidextrous pocket clip hasn’t lost any rigidity, the blade deploys just as fast as it did on Day 1, and I haven’t had to sharpen it. Of course, it lost some of its black finish on the finger ring and clip, but that’s to be expected. I’ve been impressed with how solidly the blade locks into place, and how well it’s retained in the folded position.
I’ve been really happy with my purchase of the Riptide, and while it may not last as long some other knives in my collection, it’s become my daily defensive knife that won’t break the bank when I need to replace it.
Overall Length: 7.25” in
Blade Length: 2.5” in
Closed Length: 5″ in
Blade Thickness:0.125″ in
Blade Material: Aus-8
Blade Grind: Plain
Liner Material: Stainless
Lock Type: Liner Lock
Handle Length:5.25″ in
Handle Material: Polymer
Handle Thickness: 0.52″ in
Weight: 4.85 oz
Extra Features: 4-way reversible pocket clip
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