I prefer my EDC knife to be smaller than the UZI Responder I, but since my dainty Kershaw Chive had an untimely and very unfortunate camping accident, I just haven’t purchased a permanent replacement yet. However, the UZI Responder I is such a steal at $14.97, I had to give it a chance.
What first appealed to me—besides the price—is the partially serrated blade, spring-assisted opening and the nylon cord attached to the lanyard hole. I’ve always been a plain edged kinda gal, but I’ve noticed the guys around the office carry part serrated, so I figured I’d try it out. For the kind of money I didn’t shell out, I reckon if the UZI Responder didn’t become a favorite I hadn’t lost much.
The UZI Responder I folding knife has a 3.25-inch black stainless steel partially serrated blade, black G10 handle, black metal pocket clip and a spring-assisted opening. When the knife is open it is 7.75 inches long, closed it is 4.5 inches long and it weighs 3.8 ounces.
Pulling the UZI knife out of its cardboard box, it looks like it is going to be a hefty knife, however the holes in the handle keep the weight down. The finish is flawless and every edge is rounded and smooth. My fingers easily slip into the contours of the knife’s handle and my thumb rests comfortably atop the knife’s spine right under the blade in the curved thumb rest. Oh, yes. This knife fits quite nicely in my hand. I really like the G10 grip. It is slightly textured, but not rough, while at the same time grippy enough so that the knife feels secure.
To open the blade, the UZI Responder I has an ambidextrous thumb stud at the bottom of the blade and a finger lever on the spine. The finger lever along the spine activates the blade quickly and deploys it fully open, while the thumb stud requires more pressure than the finger lever to make the blade open fully. Both work without catching immediately. I have no problems activating the blade one-handed with the finger lever. However, even after a week of practice, I struggled with using the thumb stud one handed. Due to the pressure it takes to open the blade using this method, I’m not as quick to deploy it as I am using the finger lever.
Putting the blade back is a bit sticky and the liner lock is a bit stiff. The liner lock lever is also rough—it chipped the edge of my nail polish the first day I started evaluating the knife.
Overall, I find the knife easy to open and close one-handed using the finger lever, even with my small hands and fingers.
It is not as sharp as a Ka-Bar or Kershaw—two of the knife brands I have to compare the UZI to—right out of the box. The first day I had the knife it cut paper just fine. It stabbed cleanly through a Girl Scout cookie box and the plastic inside.
Getting the chance to take it to task over the weekend, I used it to shave off plenty of kindling-sized bark quickly and easily. Trying to saw a 0.5-inch diameter thick branch with the serrated edge was fruitless, though.
After sticking it in wood, shaving bark, cutting paper, attempting to saw branches and throwing it around, the blade’s black finish stands up and proves itself scratch-resistant.
The black metal gear clip has one position—tip-down. In bigger man hands than mine, the operator said the metal clip became uncomfortable when gripping the knife hard, but I never had that issue. The metal clip never dug or was painful while I was using the knife. Surprisingly, the Responder unobtrusively fits into the pocket of my skinny jeans and though it does create a bigger bulge than my tiny knife, it doesn’t get in the way.
The black nylon cord attached to the lanyard hole is thicker then my shoe strings, but has the exact same elasticity and strength. After the weekend of menial tasks, the cord started untwisting and after a week of carrying the knife, it came off completely. This is no matter; I planned to replace it with paracord anyway. Stretched out, the cord is 21 inches long.
Though the UZI Responder is not going in my bug-out bag, I have happily carried it in my purse and jeans pocket every day. Even without sharpening, I am satisfied with it as it accomplishes simple tasks while camping and exploring the hunting lease. There aren’t many super small knives to choose from that don’t look manly and have an assisted opening. The UZI Responder I won’t end up as my every day carry knife, however, for the money it offers excellent value. It will be a great EDC knife for someone, just not for me.
Pros: price, finish, ease of opening, sturdiness, weight, generous finger grooves
Cons: cheap cord, no safety lever, needs to be sharpened
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