When it comes to knives of all types, my “go to” dealers are Smoky Mountain Knife Works, and Knife Center, and to a lesser extent, BudK, and Kennesaw Cutlery. I’m not a fan of natural materials - BudK, for example, carries Gil Hibben’s “Chugach” skinner and sub-hilt “toothpick” - a formidable-looking fighting knife - but you’re stuck with crummy leather sheaths. This is the one use I have for kydex - it could be the difference between carrying a razor-sharp piece of steel, and wearing it - leather and hard cordura nylon sheaths - regardless of how well they’re made - should have a kydex/similar liner for max safety and security in the field. FYI - Kurt
I have had good experience with DLT Trading, Knifeworks, KnivesShipsFree, BladeHQ, Copper & Clad, SK Blades (now out of business), and Knife Center.
My issue with Smokey Mountain is that, unlike the other dealers mentioned, they will not check the knife before mailing it out. The others let you put a note in the order to check for blemishes, blade centering, etc. and I even had Knifeworks call me to verify my notes with one knife I ordered. When I called Smokey Mountain to order, they specifically told me they don’t have time to do any check on the knives they sell.
That’s their choice, and therefore it was my choice not to purchase from them.
Only time I received a knife with an internal QC issue was an Ontario Rat 1 bought from Amazon. I returned it and bought one from Knifeworks that was perfect.
Like Kershaw flippers for edc buy them anywhere also. Morakniv both carbon & stainless
Honestly, I made my own knives and have one in each of my vehicles. I can’t make pocket knives yet, but making your own fixed blade is actually quite easy. Likewise, buying the Kydex from Amazon and making your own sheath is really easy too.
I made a knife for my brother and he sent me back a video where he used it with a baton to cut a 3" tree and then sliced through a piece of paper with ease. I’d highly recommend giving it a try. Buy o1 steel online from any knife place or amazon. You can also buy the scales and other necessary parts all on amazon. You can use a torch to heat the steel up to harden it and the oven to temper it. It’s almost therapeutic to me to just go make one and see the finished product.
If you’re interested, go to amazon and type in the following in the search field:
“o1 Tool Steel” - grab any 1/8" thick by 1 1/2 to 2" wide piece or whatever thickness you want.
“Knife Scales” - micarta or wood…your preference
“knife mosaic pin” or just “Knife Pin” and select the pin type you’d like to use
Other than that, watch a forged in fire or youtube on knife making and start sanding/filing the knife of your dream in the shape you like and start making it.
It is a lot of fun. If you’re interested or have questions, feel free to message me. I’m not an expert but I certainly learned a few things along the way of making my own. It’s a cool skill to have to be able to make your own knife and sheath whether kydex or leather.