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http://www.okshooters.com/showthread.php?84502-Ber] my feedback [/URL]
I choose between a Byrd (by Spyderco) Cara Cara 2 in G10 or a Kershaw Chill for everyday carry. Both are high value, high utility blades for my use.
A swiss army executive always goes with either choice. The little swiss army knife is the most often used knife that I own and carry.
My Para-2 is matte finished. I don't think I even own a coated-blade anymore (aside from my 1095 fixed-blade ESEEs and Beckers - and that's mostly because I use them in situations where they are exposed to the elements for a while between maintenance). The Digi-cam coloring is actually colored in a layer below the surface of the scales on the Para-2. Between the G-10 and the uncoated blade, it looks remarkably well under pretty hard use - minor blade-scratches and marks that barely show up on the G-10 scales aren't bad for mine - it gets used a lot.
CTS-XHP is one of my favorite steels. Its basically Carpenter's stainless answer to Crubicle's CPM-D2 (which is another of my favorite steels). Great edge retention, but it is a pain to sharpen (though not that much worse than S30V). S30V is not my absolute favorite steel, but I've come to appreciate it over time. I wasn't a fan of 154CM or ATS-34 either, but in reality, they're good at what they were designed to be - tool steels.
The Para-2's S30V is heat treated to around 60rc - which (IMHO) is a lot better than the 58-59rc treated versions used in a lot of other manufacturer's knives. This does come at a price though. Its a pain to sharpen, and at 60rc, its hard enough that you risk chipping the edge if the blade is struck against something hard (so I don't chop with any of my S30V Spydercos personally just in case). Its like stretching an engine to its max performance possible - there isn't a lot of room for error or abuse.
At the end of the day, I still prefer Spyderco's CTS-XHP or CPM-D2 over their CPM-S30V personally - they retain that initial razor-edge for far better than S30V in my experience. S30V quickly falls into what Crucible calls a "working edge" which lasts a long time (but even that initial razor-edge is crazy hard to achieve in S30V - you have to sharpen for a long time, hone, and then attempt to get a micro-bevel and then strop). All that and you lose the initial edge in about a day or two of hard use. When you're lazy (like me), you just quickly sharpen back to just above that working edge and go with it.
Zero Tolerance's S30V is a little softer than Spyderco's (right around 59rc) and Chris Reeve (and I want to say Benchmade's and the Buck Vantage's) are a touch softer than that. You might look at the ZT 0350 as well - Its a good knife (and you can remove the torsion bar on almost any Kershaw/ZT speed-safe opening knife and the ball-detent will hold it in place just like a non-assisted flipper). I just sold my 0301 and 0200 - they were both too big for me - if you don't mind great big heavy (7-9oz heavy) knives, then I'd say to look at either one. I pre-ordered the new Hinderer-ZT collab 0561 though - and anxiously await its arrival (ELMAX steel in a Hinderer-designed flipper is win/win).
Here's a thread on Blade Forums about the various blade-steels and their performance in a controlled test for edge-retention:
I own several Composite blade Kershaws btw. Good knives (I've got a Rake, a Tyrade, a large JYD - I'd love to pick up a Composite ZT 0350). Anything that would cause the composite steels to separate would destroy the knife handles or break the liners or blade itself. You've got no worries there. Tim Galyean is one of my favorite knife-makers and his designs (the Rake, JYD, etc.) are very nice. He likes blind stop-pins and composite steels - which makes for a very clean look and a lot of durability.
Hmmmm. I'm not a very good sharpener, maybe I should stay away for the s30v. Or maybe I'm thinking this through too much.
You could go Full Tilt and get some DMT stones and free-hand it - check out SolosKnifeReviews (4 part video):
If you want something along the lines of a knife the size of the Para-2 (slightly heavier, thicker blade-stock, wider-scales) but that still has a compression lock and similar feel (but in easy to sharpen VG-10 steel), check out the Superleaf. Mine gets a lot of pocket-time despite its unnecessarily large handle.
I have a Spyderco Sharpmaker that I have successfully used; if that will work well enough then I will be OK.
How do you feel that the Endura compares to the Paramilitary 2?
All of these steels will sharpen just fine. The high performance powder steels with high rockwell hardnesses (S30V, 154CM, CPM-M4, ZDP-189, etc...) just take more passes and a bit more time and patience when sharpening. So it just depends on your preferences. I enjoy sharpening knives so it's a non issue with me, you might be different.
And I do agree with ez bake on VG-10 steel. That is my favorite EDC steel. For me it strikes the perfect balance, you should definitely check it out if you have sharpening concerns with s30v.
I like the Endura - it's a good knife, but it's not in the same ball-park as the Para/Superleaf (IMHO). The Endura has a slightly thinner blade, FRN handle (which is not a bad thing at all - the 4th gens are very grippy). The 4th gens also have Stainless liners, previous version had (I believe) no liners. You can get a waved version - which is kind of cool (I had a waved Delica - they're pretty well designed). I used to hate back-lock knives, but I now own several and appreciate them for what they are. Again, in my opinion, the Compression lock is far better (especially if you're right-handed - for lefties, not so much).
The Delica also has no choil (I'm a fan of choils - lots of folks aren't - if you're not, then the Para/Superleaf probably aren't for you - you loose a little cutting edge with the choil in the tang-end of the blade, but that has never bothered me personally).
I don't own an Endura anymore though - I prefer a slightly smaller knife (I love the Delica).
Its a much cheaper option if you don't mind the lack of choil, slightly thinner blade, and back-lock.
I really like the Spyderco Native.
I wouldn't know. I don't have the Native 5 yet, I have the old S30V version.
The Native 5 is on my short list. I would love to own one, but after pre-ordering two different Para-2 Sprint Runs, pre-ordering a ZT 0561, and buying a bunch of goodies for Christmas, its getting harder and harder to justify purchases to the wife
My wife loves good knives, so its a non issue here, that also includes my son an daughter. Yeap a whole house full of gun an knife nuts. As to carry; I'm left handed, an through hard use have found liner lock blades to be unfriendly. A hard enough grip wll disable the lock, so I prefer a spine lock like on most of the Spyderco knives, With their new divit cut into the lock release, its almost impossible to unlock via pressure from the grip. All my carry knives have this. As to sharping a blade, I only use(for plane edge) a double sided stone, an a razor strop. For my serrated Spyderco blades I use there sharpening tools, and a small set of mild files. I don't use the blades for everyday chores, thats why I carry a VSAK Huntsman, or a Leatherman Wave.