The good news is it won’t cost you anything to enter a knife lottery. The bad news is if do you win you’ll need to reach for your wallet. “The lottery is not a free knife giveaway,” explains Ernest Emerson, who for years has been running the largest knife lotteries in the industry. “It’s actually the privilege of being able to purchase a knife, though we do get people coming up to the table all the time asking: ‘does this mean I get a free knife?’”

“Supply and demand was really what it came down to”
At first it may seem surprising that people would enter a lottery just for the chance to buy a knife, but for Emerson it was a necessary solution to a simple problem of economics: “Supply and demand was really what it came down to,” he said. As his tactical knives caught on, he struggled to keep up with the growing demand. “Back in the 90s, what started to happen was there was a higher demand for my knives than I could build and bring to a knife show. Most knife makers have a running list of orders, and depending on how long that list is there might be a one year, two year wait. We ended up with a 12-year waiting list.”

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