KA-BAR makes some of the best, most useful affordable EDC folding knives on the market. Their $20 Dozier is a lightweight, easy-to-carry knife that’s made with a decent steel and you won’t be kicking yourself if you lose it. I’ve had one stashed in the center console of my car for years.
The KA-BAR Jarosz Folder is a slight step up in price with a big step up in build quality, toughness, ergonomics…and weight.
At about $40 retail, the KA-BAR Jarosz knife cost roughly 1/10th the price that Jarosz got for his very similar custom-made design. As a hard use EDC blade, the Jarosz Folder gives you a lot of performance for the dollar.
KA-BAR offers a tanto blade version, but I bought mine with a classic drop point that’s both more functional and easier to sharpen. The only variation in the blade profile from Jarosz’s original design is the absence of a swedge.
My knife arrived wickedly sharp right out of the box, able to shave the hairs on my arm. The action is remarkably smooth and flips open readily and the blade is perfectly centered when closed.
That beefy stonewashed blade is 3½ inches long and a thick .15 inches wide. The blade has a hollow grind and is made from AUS-8A steel, probably the best of the budget steels used by knifemakers these days, at least in my book.
Everything about the Jarosz Folder is designed to make it hold up to hard use. In addition to the heavy blade stock, the liners are also thick and sturdy.
Note the full shift on the liner when the knife is open in the photo above. That’s a lot of steel locking the blade in place, so you don’t have to worry about slippage and the knife closing on your fingers under demanding use.
The KA-BAR Folder’s scales are made of a lightly textured glass-filled nylon that’s gently and comfortably rounded. They provide a pleasant, ergonomic, full-hand grip.
On the down side, it’s not as grippy a texture as some will want on an EDC knife. When your hand is sweaty or the knife is wet, there’s potential for some slippage. For most regular duty EDC use, though, or especially when wearing a glove, it’s just fine in practice.
One note about those scales…they’re contoured down to a notably thin edge all the way around. Along the spine, that isn’t a problem as they’re fitted well to the liner. However, with the bottom of the liner moved away from the scale and locking the blade open, that leaves a thin, fairly sharp edge exposed. See the image above.
Out-of-the-box, that edge was uncomfortably sharp, but the fix was simple. I just took another sharp blade and made a few passes along the edge to radius it ever-so-slightly. I actually did that on the bottom edges of both scales. It took all of about 30 seconds and was a huge improvement, making the knife now perfectly comfortable to hold and use.
For those who care where the things they buy are made, the KA-BAR Jarosz Folder is manufactured in Taiwan. For the geopolitically challenged, that’s the good China. For those who don’t want to pay a lot for an EDC knife and don’t want to send their money to a communist country, you can rest easy.
The Jarosz Folder’s spring pocket clip is excellent and can be moved to either end for tip up or tip down carry. It comes from the factory in the tip down position. As tip up carry is baked into my DNA, I immediately switched it (all it takes is the right Torx bit and a little bit of blue Loctite and you’re good to go).
Again, this is a large, muscular folding knife. It’s a full eight inches long when open and that thick blade is 1.125 in. from top to cutting edge.
As you can see above, it’s every bit as big as a ZT 0550 and a full inch longer overall than the also four-finger gripped Spyderco Delica 4.
Given its size and the thickness of the steel used, the Jarosz Folder isn’t a lightweight. At all. It’s listed at 5.6 oz., but my sample registered 5.2 oz. on my kitchen scale. Still, that’s substantial. It’s more than twice the weight of the Delica 4 and no attempt was made to lighten the KA-BAR knife. The liners aren’t drilled or skeletonized to reduce its carry weight at all.
Jarosz and KA-BAR have produced a useful, full-fisted knife for demanding everyday use at a price that won’t make many people blink. Its nicely finished hollow grind AUS-8A blade slices well and retains a useful edge longer than most budget steels. If a larger, tough-use knife is what you’re looking for and you don’t want to drop a lot of samolians, the Jarosz Folder is a good way to go.