The recurve blade is a design that has been around forever in some form, but in the past 25 years or so, it has really taken off and become a popular EDC profile. At one time, the design was made to facilitate chopping and hacking, but as knives and blade steels have evolved, so has the application of the recurve blade. Depending on which historian you believe, the design originated in the ancient world. The kukri, kopis, falcatta, golok, dao, scimitar, and other similar designs exhibit recurve styles with a larger curve and more weight toward the front of the blade. They were all almost undoubtedly choppers — whether meant to hack through thick vegetation or a warrior’s leather, metal, or wicker armor.

The geometry of the recurve potentially allowed for efficient slicing, and this pattern was popular on butcher knives and skinning knives in more recent centuries. We still see them on various choppers like machetes or kukris, but on the full range of EDC blades they offer another advantage: They pack more usable blade length into a smaller package. If you compare blades with even a slight recurve, you’ll find that you’re gaining the cutting power of a blade from 25- to 75-percent longer than the straight length measurement of the recurve blade. To simplify this, think of your 4-inch-bladed recurve
having the cutting power of a 5- to 6-inch blade.

If there’s a drawback to the recurve, it may be maintaining the edge. Much like the hawksbill — but not as bad — you’ll find that most whetstones and straight sharpening devices won’t work well with a more dramatic recurve. You can either send them back to the maker or manufacturer, visit or send to a professional knife sharpener, or invest in a round-shaped sharpening stone or rod.

The recurve was born out of basic geometry and has really improved over the centuries we’ve seen it in use. Whether you need something for slicing, chopping, or just a good self-defense blade, the recurve has a little bit more to it than meets the eye.


Studio photo of the CSSD/SC Mini My So in the open position.

Mini My So

Bram Frank is a Grandmaster of Arnis and has developed a series of self-defense-oriented knives based on his teaching. The Mini My So is a small concealable folder featuring a recurve blade fit for an ancient warrior with respect to its design. Available in a variety of colors (pink, black/pink, black/tan) and three sizes (mini, medium, and large), this is a knife designed to be carried comfortably but ready to deploy instantly. This is a somewhat specialized design, and it’s advised that you seek training with Bram Frank or one of his instructors in order to fully understand the intricacies of its design.

Studio photo of the CSSD/SC Mini My So in the folded position.


  •   Like all of Bram Frank’s designs, this includes the BRAMP that allows you to open it against an attacker’s body if needed.
  •   The blade slices like a razor, a testament to the grind more than the steel used.
  •   Its smallish size leads to a lot of concealment options for daily carry.


  •   There’s currently no training variant for this model.
  •   While the basics are simple, these knives really need the user to work with Frank or one of his instructors.

Overall length: 6.8 inches

Blade Length: 2.8 inches

Weight: 4 ounces

Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV stainless steel

Price: $100



Studio photo of the Benchmade North Fork in the open position.

North Fork

The North Fork has a dressy look to it with its stabilized Dymandwood scales, and the blade has one of the slightest recurves compared to the rest on our list. Benchmade offers this as a potential pocket skinning blade for processing game, but it makes for a very effective EDC knife. The Axis lock mechanism makes it easy to open or close the blade with one hand and a flick of the wrist.

Studio photo of the Benchmade North Fork in the closed position.


  •  Very sharp out of the box with a nice thin edge for slicing
  • The North Fork relies on Benchmade’s ever popular Axis lock for a safe and robust locking mechanism.
  •  CPM S30V is a premium knife steel with superb edge retention.
  • The clip can be positioned tip-up and either left- or right-handed.


  •   As good a steel as S30V is, it can be difficult to sharpen.
  •   The handles can get slick under wet conditions. Be mindful if you’re using it to dress game. A retention lanyard should be used if possible.

Overall length: 7 inches

Blade Length: 3 inches

Weight: 3.2 ounces

Blade Material: S30V

Price: $220


Zero Tolerance

Studio photo of the Zero Tolerance ZT 0350 in the open position.

ZT 0350

Zero Tolerance is a division of KAI/Kershaw Knives, and this company prides itself on their designs coming from the demands of military professionals. The ZT 0350 is a good-sized recurve blade that deploys by means of the speed-assist mechanism. This is a scaled-down version of the ZT 0300, making it lighter and more pocket friendly. The G10 feels great in the hand with its natural texture.

Studio photo of the Zero Tolerance ZT 0350 in the closed position.


  •  The blade is made from CPM S30V; it’s tough, razor sharp, rust resistant, and sports excellent edge retention.
  • This knife performed well as a cutter, and the factory grind was just about perfect.
  •  Fires like a rocket every time, like all assisted or flipper knives should function.


  •   The pocket clip is a bit too tight from the factory and seems prone to damage.
  •   S30V may keep its edge for a long time but it’s not the easiest steel to sharpen.

Overall length: 7.6 inches

Blade Length: 3.3 inches

Weight: 6.2 ounces

Blade Material: S30V

Price: $235


Mercworx Knives

Studio photo of the Mercworx Knives Golgotha unsheathed.


Mercworx Knives has a long and consistent history in the realm of tactical fixed blades. Made by professionals for professionals, these knives have seen serious use with elite troops all over the globe. The Golgotha sports a chili-pepper-shaped handle that locks into your hand in either the forward or reverse grip and is extremely comfortable. The blade is a bold-styled recurve that brings to mind a Kopis or Falcatta, albeit a scaled-down one.

Studio photo of the Mercworx Knives Golgotha sheathed.


  •  It’s made from either 154CM or S30V. This version is 154CM and has been an absolute performer.
  • Razor sharp out of the box, the way all knives should ship
  •  The rubber belt loop carry attachment works well for keeping the blade in an upright and ready-to-go position while remaining secure.


  • These blades are handmade one at a time to order, so availability may be an issue in some cases.
  • Some users don’t care for a mirror-polished blade; it’s very reflective unless you bead-blast it.

Overall length: 8.5 inches

Blade Length: 4.5 inches

Weight: 8 ounces

Blade Material: 154CM

Price: $375


SOG Knives

Studio photo of SOG Knives Kiku FX Fixed Blade unsheathed.

Kiku FX Fixed Blade

SOG Knives has been partnered with custom knifemaker Kiku Matsuda for a number of years. He brings quite a few fixed blade and folding designs to the table with his compound recurve designs. The FX Fixed blade features a variety of different handle materials and colors, from natural linen Micarta in this one to orange G10. The handle material and texturing give this knife great ergonomics.

Studio photo of the SOG Knives Kiku FX Fixed Blade sheathed.


  • The blade is generously sized and can tackle just about any task you have in store for it.
  • The handle is extremely comfortable and ergonomic.
  • The blade is made from S35VN; it’s tough, razor sharp, rust resistant, and sports an easily maintainable edge.


  • Although the sheath is well-made, the Tek Lok makes it sit a bit farther out than most other designs.
  • The blade could’ve been a hair sharper, but it was easily touched up due to the compound edge and approaching it from two different angles.

Overall length: 8.7 inches

Blade Length: 4.1 inches

Weight: 7.4 ounces

Blade Material: S35VN

Price: $150


Emerson Knives

Studio photo of Emerson Knives Commander in the open position.


Emerson was asked to design a folding knife for use by the SEAL Teams, and the original submission was deemed too scary by the Navy brass, despite the fact the SEALs loved it. Emerson changed the blade design to a more utilitarian shape in the form of a recurve. He was asked to incorporate a blade catcher on the top of the blade for knife fighting. As silly as this may sound, the device, now known as the Emerson Wave Shaped Opening Device, opened the knife as it was drawn from the pocket, which soon propelled Emerson into an even higher demand from knife users.

Studio photo of the Emerson Knives Commander in the closed postion.


  • The blade, made of 154CM, is tough, razor sharp, rust resistant, and sports an easily maintainable edge.
  • The knife excels at cutting and slicing.
  • The Emerson Wave Shaped Opening Device allows this one to deploy as it’s drawn from the pocket.


  • The Emerson Wave Shaped Opening Device can shred your pocket corners up with regular deployment.
  • It’s only tapped for clip use for right-handed users. Emerson Knives can tap the other scale for an upcharge.

Overall length: 8.8 inches

Blade Length: 3.8 inches

Weight: 5.5 ounces

Blade Material: 154CM

Price: $269


V Nives

Studio photo of the V Nives Deplorable Titanium in the open position.

Deplorable Titanium

V Nives is one of the fastest-growing knife companies in the U.S., producing collaborative designs with custom knifemakers. The Deplorable Titanium is based on a design by custom maker Jerry Hossom. There’s an economical version of this model about $300 cheaper, but they sent us the version with the sculpted titanium frame lock handle. The sculpted handle offers a nice grip and imparts the look and feel of a custom knife. Whether you go with this one or the economy version, the Hossom-designed blade makes for an amazing recurve style even if it’s more of a strike point than a curve.

Studio photo of the V Nives Deplorable Titanium in the closed position.


  • This one is very comfortable in the hand, V Nives did an outstanding job here.
  • The blade is made from S35VN; it’s tough, razor sharp, rust resistant, and sports an easily maintainable edge.
  • Flipper action is buttery smooth and opens perfectly every time.


  • The polished titanium handles could be susceptible to scratching with everyday use.
  • It could’ve been a little sharper out of the box.

Overall length: 9.3 inches

Blade Length: 3.9 inches

Weight: 6.5 ounces

Blade Material: S35VN

Price: $370


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