The Emerson Knives CQC-10 knife has been my go-to blade for the past few months. I’ve had it in my pocket every day and have used it for a myriad of tasks. Not once has it failed me. If you’re like me, when you get a new knife, you put it through its paces. Any knife I purchase has to earn my confidence by successfully performing several outdoor tasks and be easy to carry and use on a daily basis.

If it fails during any one of those tasks or does not perform to my expectations, I don’t carry it. With that said, the CQC-10 has more than impressed me over time, and it continues to do so today. The CQC-10 is known by many in the knife and military community as the original H&K knife. The CQC-10 continues to serve in the hands of many operators currently defending our freedoms for a damn good reason: It works!

Style of knife: 

This is a straightforward, no-frills blade perfect for everyday carry, a day out in the woods, or downrange fighting bad guys. The design of the blade is utilitarian, making it a jack-of-all-trades. The design of the spear-point blade, in combination with the swedge, create a brutishly strong tip.

Blade specs: 

  • Overall length: 8.5″
  • Blade length: 3.625″
  • Handle length: 4.875″
  • Weight: 5.5 ounces
  • Lock type: liner lock

Type of edge:

The edge of the CQC-10 blade is a conventional V grind with a chisel edge. Emerson knives are known for their chisel-ground edges. The chisel-ground edge on the CQC-10 allows for quicker and easier honing in the field. All you need is a rock, piece of glass, or a brick. Users typically have a love/hate relationship with the chisel grind. When I got my first Emerson knife, I was thrown off by this type of grind, but over time it’s grown on me and now I love it.  

Blade and handle materials:

The handle material is a black G10 epoxy that, out of the box, is pretty aggressive and well-suited for working in less-than-ideal conditions. You won’t lose your grip on this one. The handle ergonomics are second to none. I’ve never owned another knife that has had the ergonomics and comfort Emerson knives provide. It doesn’t matter what grip you use, it feels like it was custom made for your hands.

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Emerson Knives CQC-10
CQC-10 handle ergonomics
Emerson Knives CQC-10
Perfectly executed jimping at the thumb ramp
Emerson Knives CQC-10
More jimping at just the right place to enhance your grip. This comes into play when you’re using the reverse grip.

The blade material is 154 CM premium blade steel that you will find on all Emerson knives. This type of blade steel has become my standard when looking for a knife. First off, it’s an American-made steel, so you’re supporting American jobs. Second: The heat treatment that Emerson knives gives these blades makes them tough as nails and easy to maintain. These blades will bend before they break. And as you’d imagine, a bent blade is still a blade, but a broken blade is no blade. When you’re putting these knives in the hands of our military, you want a knife made from a material that will stand up to harsh environments.

Emerson Knives CQC-10
A brutishly strong spear-point blade design

MSRP:

$230.95 direct from Emerson Knives. 

Unique features: 

As with all other Emerson knives, the CQC-10 does feature the “wave opening feature,” which deploys the blade as you pull it out of your pocket. We have the Navy SEALs to thank for this feature. Back in the late ’80s, when members of SEAL Team 6 asked Ernie Emerson to design a knife for them, they had a specific requirement. They wanted a hook on the spine of the blade to prevent another edged weapon from sliding up the knife, onto the operator’s hand and arm. To hear this story from Ernie Emerson himself, check out the following video.

Application:

Everyday carry, hiking, backpacking, law enforcement, or deployed military. 

Pros: 

What’s not to love about an Emerson knife? Especially the CQC-10. It feels great in the hand and it just works every time I need it to. I’ve used this knife for everything from cutting boxes open to cutting through a 50 pair telecommunications cable, and all it took to bring the edge back was a few passes against a ceramic sharpening rod.

Cons:

For most, it may be the price point, but before you dismiss these knives due to their cost, let me tell you this: They cost what they do for a reason. Not only are you buying an all-American-made product, but you are getting a blade from a knife maker with over 30 years of experience in knife making, martial arts, and hand-to-hand combat.