Having owned several Kershaw EDC knives designed by Ken Onion, I have a lot of trust in the higher-end products that Kershaw produces. However, in most cases you pay dearly for those quality American made knives, and for the average person looking to add a few quality options to their EDC it can be a pain-point. This led me to explore Kershaw’s more affordable CQC (Close Quarters Combat) line designed by Emerson, which brings together the build of Kershaw and the design of Emerson at a modest price-point. What makes it more affordable? As far as I can tell, the primary reason for the lower cost is because this line is made in China. Don’t let this dissuade you though – they are a solid EDC option for what you get at their price.
To cover a range of the CQC-1K through CQC-11K, I am reviewing the 4K, 5K, 7K, and 11K models, which vary in size and blade type. Each uses 8Cr14MoV steel, just with varying coatings and finishes. Each includes a reversible pocket clip for left or right-handed carry, and each are manual openers that utilize a wave shaped opening feature which allows the person to open the knife as it is withdrawn from a pocket.
The locks for the 4K, 7K, and 11K were frame locks, which mean that one side of the knife’s steel “liner,” the steel plate to which the handle scales are attached, moves into position behind the blade to securely lock it open. The lock for the 5K was a liner, which means one side of the knife’s steel “liner,” the steel plate to which the handle scales are attached, moves into position behind the blade to securely lock it open.