The Emerson Knives Commander is celebrating it’s 20 year anniversary this year. Early on Emerson Knives created the ES1-M, which was developed as an all-around survival knife for the SEAL Teams. That knife (The ES1-M) is what we know today as the Emerson Commander knife. Take a look at the photo below out of Tactical Knives magazine from 1997.

Emerson Commander | Survival Folding Knife
Image courtesy of the Emerson Operators Facebook Page

The Emerson Commander knife is a battle-tested blade and approved by the Navy SEAL Teams as an edged weapon. Originally this knife was developed with input from members of Navy SEAL Team 6, and later made available to the public beginning in 1998. The wave opening feature allows you to deploy the blade as its pulled from your pocket making it quicker than auto knives, and in some cases quicker than a concealed fixed blade. Opening the knife using the wave feature will require some practice in order to become consistent. The knife will react differently with different pants depending on how the pockets are constructed – practice, practice, practice. To make the deployment of the blade as smooth as possible, I recommend applying blue loctite to the pivot screw and adjusting the pivot to your personal taste. If the handle traction is too aggressive, you can remove the pocket clip and use a high grit sandpaper to smooth out the texture of the G10 (under the clip area a bit so that it doesn’t destroy your pocket and makes for a smoother deployment).

The blade and handle design is what you would expect from Emerson Knives. Once again the ergonomics of the handle are a perfect fit to my hand. I’m not sure what they do during the design phase of these handles, but they always seem to fit my hand like they were custom-made for me. When it comes to the design of the Commander blade itself, there are several factors that I really like about it. First, the recurve design provides a continuous cutting surface making the use of the knife more efficient for the operator. Second, the chisel ground edge allows for ease of maintenance out in the field when you need to bring back a serviceable edge after hard continuous use. Third, the combination of the blade steel (154cM) and heat-treat of the blade steel give you a highly wear resistant blade, easily maintainable edge, and lateral strength.

Emerson Commander | Survival Folding Knife
G-10 handle scales
Emerson Commander | Survival Folding Knife
Recurve blade


Emerson Commander Specifications:

  • Blade steel: 154CM
  • Blade Steel Hardness: 57-59 RC
  • Overall Length: 7.5″
  • Blade Length: 3.75″
  • Blade Thickness: .125″
  • MSRP: $249.95 direct from Emerson Knives website.