Keen Insights: The Fox Folding Karambit

Many of us—the type of people who carry handguns in the interest of defending ourselves and the ones we love—also carry knives. While some of the knives I carry regularly are decidedly utilitarian, some—like the Fox Folding Karambit—are not. This is a fighting knife, plain and simple, and undoubtedly the single most aggressive EDC knife I own.

With the textured G10 scales and the hawk-bill blade, the Fox Folding Karambit is built for hard use.
With the textured G10 scales and the hawk-bill blade, the Fox Karambit is built for hard use.

The Fox Folding Karambit (479)

Blade Steel: N690Co stainless steel
Hardness: HRC 58-60
Blade Coating: black Idroglider
Handle: G10 black
Clip: stainless steel 420J2B – reversible
Back Ring: T6-6082 aircraft aluminum
Blade Length: 7.5 cm – 2.95″
Overall Length: 19 cm – 7.48″
Blade Thickness: 3 mm – 0.12″
Weight: 130 gr – 4.59 oz

This one is showing its age. Note how the finish is starting to wear on the blade.
This one is showing its age. Note how the finish is starting to wear on the blade.

Fox Knives

Fox began making knives about the same time George Lucas began making Star Wars films. The Italian company started small but quickly gained recognition for their quality.

Now Fox is known for its collaborations with a wide variety of famous designers to build a surprisingly wide and diverse selection of knives. Unlike some of the brands that have a defining aesthetic, Fox builds knives—like this Folding Karambit—that bear few branded hallmarks.

The Fox Folding Karambit is starting to show signs of wear.
I have carried this one in my right front pocket for years. The Fox is starting to show signs of wear.

This was the first Fox that I’d bought. I’d seen their knives for years, and had been impressed with the quality. The Italian knife companies that we can readily access here in the states are all really robust and well built. The moment I saw this one, though, I ponied up. I really like the Karambit design, and this one scratches the fighting-knife-itch really well.

The Karambit, by Fox

To begin, the blade has a claw-shaped hook design and a wicked point. The back side of the blade has a false edge. The blade stock is thin, which works for the design.

The Fox Folding Karambit has the typical ring, but it is also the way you draw the knife from your pocket.
The Fox Folding Karambit has the typical ring, but it is also the way you draw the knife from your pocket.

The index finger ring is aluminum and built into the handle as a back spacer. While it doesn’t continue all the way up the spine, it extends far enough in to hold up to serious use. You can yank on the ring to deploy the knife without worrying about it being fragile in any way.

The Emerson Wave. This is a simple cut that provides easy-to-use mechanical opening assistance.
The Emerson Wave. This is a simple cut that provides easy-to-use mechanical opening assistance.

And it is meant to be yanked from a pocket. The blade is carried tip-up as the blade has an Emerson Wave cut into the top. If you’re not familiar with Emerson’s designs, you should check them out. They’re badass.

The wave catches on the seam of your pocket as you pull the knife out—if you are moving fast. Stick a finger in the ring, rip it up, and the knife will—almost simultaneously—snap open and fall into your open hand. The motion is fluid, easy to master, and insanely intimidating.

The pocket clip can be reversed, though the only reason to do so would be for left-handed deployment.
The pocket clip can be reversed, though the only reason to do so would be for left-handed deployment.

Carrying the Folding Karambit

I’ve been carrying this knife off-and-on for more than five years. Deployment with the Emerson Wave is actually faster than pulling and deploying an automatic. You pull the knife with one finger—not with a finger and a thumb—so it requires less manual dexterity. And you have to really be dramatic with the draw motion in order to ensure that it pops open.

As it leaves the pocket, the blade will lock in place with the liner lock. The liner is steel and has a pronounced curve up to the midpoint at the back of the blade. It holds the knife secure as it should, and is a logical lock-type for the design, though you will have to reposition the knife in order to get your thumb enough leverage to disengage it.

The liner lock on the Folding Karambit.
The liner lock on the Folding Karambit.

The hawk-bill shape of the blade is ideal for the tactical application that Karambits are known for, but they are harder to sharpen. I’ve found a round ceramic stone work well on the curved surface, but it requires far more concentration and patience than I typically give to knife sharpening.

Because of this, I tend to use this knife far less than others. I still carry it, but I’m hesitant to use it to open boxes or cut ropes or any of the other basic camp chores I frequently use pocket knives for. If you don’t use it for daily tasks, it won’t get dull.

The G10 feels great in the hand and provides a solid grip surface, even when it is wet.
The G10 feels great in the hand and provides a solid grip surface, even when it is wet.

I’m not advocating that you carry a knife you don’t intend to use. I look at this like I look at my EDC guns. I’ve been testing holsters for the P365 lately, so I’m carrying the little Sig. I like it well enough to trust my life to it. And I’ve put it through its paces, and continue to train with it, but it has its purpose.

Fox Folding Karambit
Like many more recent knives, this one is also a flipper. If you pull it slowly, and don’t use the Emerson Wave to get it open, this flipper tab works—and it also becomes a small guard to keep your pinky off the blade.

Fox has designed and built a beast of a knife. Maybe it won’t be a go-to knife for basic utility, but it is a fantastic addition to an EDC toolkit.

There are several iterations of the design, too. If you want titanium liners or carbon fiber scales, or a different blade shape, or even one that’s built like an odd fighting rescue tool—a collaboration Fox created with Doug Marciada—there are options.

The ring extends in to become a back spacer.
The ring extends in to become a back spacer.

And Fox has trainers available for those who want to work with force-on-force techniques for training.

This version—Model 479—is their entry-level model.  The going price right now is somewhere in the $125 neighborhood. I thought it was worth it five years ago, and—unlike many of the knives I’ve paid for over the years—I’ve never had one single moment of buyers remorse.

 

David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. David is a former backcountry guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Boundary Waters Canoe Area who was a college professor for 20 years. He ultimately left behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry and was (among other editorial positions) the Managing Editor for a nascent Mag Life blog. In that Higginbotham helped establish The Maglife's tone and secure its early success. Though he went on to an even more practical firearms industry profession still, he continues to contribute articles and op-eds as time and life allow.

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