Clay’s Budget Blades Ep. 6: The Super Karambit from Emerson

This week, we probably should have dropped the word “Budget “ from the title, because our knife is anything but cheap. In fact, the Emerson Super Karambit is one of the most expensive production knives around. But since it is also the standard by which other Karambits are judged, I felt like we should go ahead and look at it.

Emerson is a knife company founded on a reputation for hard use blades. They expect you to beat and batter them, which is largely why they don’t come cheap. Emerson has made several models at the behest of various special operations units, from Navy Squeels to the SAS, a customer base you don’t let down.

The Super Karambit folded up.

The Super Karambit is the most innovative folding karambits I have seen. Others have tried, with varying degrees of success, to match it. But the Emerson model still reigns supreme. As long as you are willing to fork out a little over $300 for one.

The Super Karambit deployed.

The Emerson Karambit comes in two sizes for folders, the Super and the Combat. The Combat has a 2.6-inch blade, while the Super is a full 3 inches. Having had both, they cut and carry largely the same, with the Super giving you a little more reach (obviously).

I am a bit of a latecomer to the karambit blade party. In fact, when these first came to popularity in the early 2000s, I wrote them off as a passing fad. And to be fair, the curved blade shape makes a terrible utility knife. Unless you are laying linoleum or harvesting grapes, the blade really only has one purpose: to be used as a weapon.

The liner lock.

The shape is made to resemble the claw of a tiger or other animal, which sounds like some eastern mysticism nonsense until you try one out. Like the karambit nerds will tell you, the curved blade really does bite into tissue.

Combined with the raw power you can generate from the grip on a karambit, they are nasty for defensive use. When we are talking about shorter blades, which makes stabbing kind of irrelevant anyway, nothing else cuts like one.

Features the iconic Emerson “Wave” deployment hook.

Emerson has a style and the Super Karambit fits exactly like every other knife in the lineup. G-10 epoxy glass laminate, for a thin but secure grip. Steel liner, with Emerson liner lock (incidentally, one of the only liner locks on the market I trust with my fingers). Chisel grind, with a reversible pocket clip.

The Super Karambit rides nicely in the pocket, even with the tell of a ring sticking out. The tradeoff in concealment is rapid deployment. Combined with the patented Emerson Wave opening feature, this thing deploys like greased lightning.

One of the few liner locks I trust.

As an edged weapon, if you must carry a folder, this is my number one recommendation. It isn’t cheap, it will set you back most of the price of a decent pistol. But if you ever need it, you are going to be glad you spent those coins.  For more information visit


  • Handles: Black G-10 epoxy
  • Lock: Aerospace grade Titanium
  • Blade: 154 CM
  • Finish: Black or Stonewashed
  • Grind: Razor Sharp Chisel Grind
  • Overall Length: 8.0 in.
  • Blade Length: 3.0 in.
  • Handle Length: 5.0 in.
  • Blade Thickness: .125 in.
  • Hardness: 57-59 RC
  • Weight: 4.5 oz.
  • Finger Hole Diameter: .9 in.
  • MSRP: $314.95

Note on purchasing: If they are out of stock, keep your pennies hoarded. Emerson builds in batches with a rotation of models in production at any one time. I had to wait two years for my Super Karambit, so be ready to strike when they are available.

Ready to carve faces off if needed.

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About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Beachhawk February 2, 2019, 5:26 am

    I see very little practical use for this knife other than it’s “tacti-cool” factor, especially one this expensive. A knife is a utility tool first and fore most. If you really need a weapon, you should be carrying a gun. A knife is a poor substitute for a weapon and karambit is a poor substitute for a utility knife. I carry a pistol and an automatic knife every day. The knife I carry is a sturdy tool, the pistol is my weapon. I don’t carry a knife to a gunfight, but I do have serviceable knife if I need a backup.

  • The Bearded Pretender February 1, 2019, 11:30 pm

    Or just get a Strider and wear it IWB and be done with it.
    And some Moron didn’t mention that it was designed as a control weapon a billion years ago when it was designed.
    It is not just a box slasher, get some training so you don’t look Stupid.

  • James February 1, 2019, 12:08 pm

    Clay, I would really like for you to do a review on the Ruger M77 Hawkeye Long Range in 6.5 Creedmoor. There is little out there on the accuracy of this rifle and how well it performs, only thing on YouTube is the same old PR videos from Ruger telling us how great it is but not really showing anything at all! Next up after that one would be the new Thompson LRR from the S&W performance center. Again you get people making videos shooting for groups off the hood of their truck! We know that you can shoot so if you say it can shoot great or that it’s a “POS”, then we can believe it! Yes I know I’m posting on the wrong type of article, but couldn’t figure out how else to ask! Thanks

  • Rangemaster11B February 1, 2019, 12:02 pm

    I clicked on this one because of the “budget Emerson”. Thanks for clearing that up in the first sentence.

  • Zupglick February 1, 2019, 7:20 am

    “Claw of a tiger”. God is a good engineer.

  • Lukeum February 1, 2019, 6:46 am

    love the smell of some Clay reviews in the morning cool karambit

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