By Luigi Salvatore
Special to Outdoor Enthusiast Lifestyle

They have been carried for centuries. Their designs qualify as functional art. They have been built into walking sticks, spring-loaded beneath the barrels of pistols and derringers, carried in silk-lined pockets of elegant, bespoke jackets. They are put to myriad utilitarian purposes. They even save lives.

Today, the gentleman’s knife may be discovered in a virtually unlimited array of designs, many of which push the science of ergonomics to new heights, a handful of which qualify as artistic masterpieces.

I could do a “ten best” number, but such a limitation is artificial and hokey. Past a certain point of technical excellence, these knives present subjectively appreciated beauty that is in the eyes of beholders – or more to the point, the eye of this beholder. So what I’ve tried to accomplish here is to review briefly four knives that are of a kind in terms of their construction and functionality, but that appeal to my personal aesthetic preferences and practical needs.


Semi-custom cutlery is relatively new to FAMARS, but developing functional art is not.  FAMARS knives can be seen around the world in fine jewelry stores and bespoke gun rooms.  FAMARS knives from the company’s Exotic Collection, like their bespoke models with custom serial numbers made to a customer’s unique requirements, are hand crafted and assembled using only the best materials – knives that are in a league all their own.

I got my hands on a wide range of FAMARS gentleman’s knives in the Sporting Shoppe at The Preserve at Boulder Hills, the extraordinary new four seasons sporting resort in Richmond, Rhode Island.  Engraved bespoke knives are hand made by artists in the company’s Italian shop using tools of their own design.  Engraving is available on all FAMARS models.

FAMARS Predatore

The world-renowned Predatore line includes folding, hunting (two sizes) and bird varieties.  All boast flawless balance, flawless steel, flawless design – are you getting my point (so to speak)?

Visit The Preserve and its Sporting Shoppe.  Hold a FAMARS gentleman’s knife in your hand.  Enjoy an as-good-as-it-gets experience you won’t soon forget.

The Sporting Shoppe at The Preserve at Boulder Hills

87 Kingstown Road
Wyoming, RI 02898
401-539-GOLF (4653)
Mon-Fri: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; Sat-Sun: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm


If pure functional excellence is what you seek, you are seeking the Griptillian line from Benchmade.   From the company’s website: “The Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high-school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song® prototype.

“While there was ‘handmade’ and ‘factory-made,’ it was ‘Benchmade’ that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom.

“To this day Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.”


So does Benchmade live up to its hype?  The line of Griptillian everyday carry knives provides the answer in the form of a resounding “YES!”  Infinitely customizable in terms of size, handle color, and other factors, this line will not be outmatched in terms of quality and functionality.

300 Beavercreek Road
Oregon City, OR 97045
(503) 496-1853


As we learn from its website, “Founded in 1939 and based in Portland, Oregon, USA, Gerber is an American brand whose products have global reach and relevance. Carried extensively by hunters, soldiers and tradesmen, Gerber’s heritage runs deep. And we are now looking toward the future, where tomorrow’s problems will be solved by the next generation of innovations.

Edict Green

With its rubber handles affording perfect grip and its high-performance 3.6 inch blade, the Gerber Edict Green provides “excellent edge retention in a drop point shape more ideal for everyday tasks that need longer and more precise slices or cuts. The Edict’s handles come with a lightweight FRN core wrapped in a diamond texture overmold to give it the extra grip for hardier cutting jobs. Dual thumbstuds and a lockback mechanism let these two parts come together in a robust whole, giving you a knife that can cut with the best of them from either hand.”

Versatility and endurance are built into every Gerber knife.

Gerber Gear
14200 SW 72nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97224


The Spyderco Meerkat is aptly named: small, able to withstand extremes of applications, the Meerkat is equally useful as an everyday use knife and something more … well … robust.

The blade is but 2” long, yet its three-layer lamination (a combination of abrasion-resistant HAP40 tool steel flanked by SUS410 martensitic stainless steel.  Thus corrosion is resisted and strength is enhanced.

Spyderco’s proprietary Phantom Lock mechanism is hidden within the knife’s handle.  It is disengaged with a pivot motion that scissors the handles to allow the blade to fold in.

Handles are made of lightweight, injection-molded FRN and can accommodate a reversible deep-pocket carry clip.

Spyderco Meerkat

If you’re as intrigued as I am, find a Meerkat today.  They remain available but are no longer being produced.

Spyderco, Inc.
820 Spyderco Way
Golden CO 80403
800-525-7770 (Toll-Free)