The Critical mini is my first knife from the Kizer brand. They have quite a good reputation for producing well-made knives with a fair price tag and some very creative designs.
With a blade length of approximately 8.00 cm, it is fairly standard in size compared to other edc knives. I’m not quite sure why they would label it as “mini.” Its larger counterpart only has about a centimeter more in blade length. Personally, the mini version feels comfortable in my medium-sized hands, and I don’t think I would opt for the larger one, especially considering that I haven’t found a Micarta edition available for the full-sized version.
A well made Wharncliffe blade
Undoubtedly the standout feature of the Kizer Critical is its impressive blade. It offers a generous amount of usable edge and effortlessly cuts with the sharpness of a razor straight from the packaging. Additionally, the blade is enhanced with grooves on the top, providing users with an added grip for increased precision during detailed tasks.
Besides its aggressive blade, the Critical stands out as one of the more classic-looking knives in Kizer’s lineup. While I believe they made some interesting choices, none of them really stand out too much.
The round circle surrounding the pivot of the handle is color-matched to the backspacer, enhancing the knife’s cohesive design. In the green color version, these circles are red, so if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you could opt for the green version.
Additionally, I believe the Micarta scales greatly enhance the appearance of the black scales. Depending on the lighting, the knife sometimes appears more gray than black.
After checking out the designer of this knife, Matthew Christensen, i really would love to see some more blade versions in the feature.
Clean and reliable performance
There is more to a good folding knife than looks and ergonomics. The blade opens smoothly and the flipper deploys consistently with enough force to open the blade fully.
The flipper tab is also large and offers enough grip to control it with ease.
The Kizer mini comes with a linerlock, I have to say I am not normally a linerlock enthusiast. I just feel a bit safer with a crossbar or framelock to protect my fingers from accidentally closing the blade, but I have to say that on this wider folder it doesn’t worry me too much. Even with a lot of force, it does not move, not even a little.
So, in my opinion, this knife will do the job even on the toughest jobs.
Kizer has really impressed me with this knife. I’m particularly fond of the handle scales and the exquisite blade, both of which have stunning action and have me wanting more from their collection. I firmly believe it is an excellent all-round EDC knife. At the moment, the Critical Mini stands out as my top Wharncliffe knife under $100 in my collection.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a Wharncliffe knife or expanding your collection, I highly recommend taking a look at this one.
The Kizer Assassin is a well made pocket knife with a button lock that shines in everyday use, especially the high quality materials like the 154CM steel that stands out in this price range. After many weeks of carrying this knife, I am more than impressed with its build quality.