We recently talked about an incoming CJRB prototype, the Chord, but it didn’t arrive alone. The Ekko is another new everyday carry proto for Artisan Cutlery’s budget label, landing in a different size class with a very different blade shape.
Whereas the Chord came out with a solid rendition of a drop point, a blade shape that has never really been out of style, the design team at Artisan aimed for something a bit more trendy on the Ekko. This is a modified sheepsfoot blade, where the typically straight edge is canted up to give it some belly, and the tip elongated to keep piercing power on a parity with other popular profiles. Once again Artisan crafted this blade from AR-RPM9, their budget-focused powder metallurgy steel. When they first brought it out in 2020, Artisan described AR-RPM9 as a formulation that used the advantages of powder metallurgy to deliver a high value steel, rather than something that simply aimed for maximum performance at the cost of, well, a reasonable cost.
In another similarity to the Chord, the Ekko gives users multiple ways to open it. You can see the opening oval, which is one of two ambidextrous opening methods offered here, the other being the front flipper tab. It’s another trendy touch that brings the Ekko close to total ambidexterity – close, but not completely so. The Ekko’s lock is a liner lock, set up in the “righty” configuration. Of course, this doesn’t mean southpaws can’t use the knife, and, sadly, using righty-configured locks is something any left-handed knife enthusiast will be familiar with by now. The good news is that the clip can be swapped to either side.
Handle material-wise, you’ve got a pick between G-10 or Micarta scales on this one. The G-10 comes in natural, black, or midnight blue flavors; meanwhile the Micarta options are green or burgundy. As these are prototypes, it’s hard to say which of these variants will make it into standard production, so if you see a proto you like it may be wise to act sooner, rather than be left out in the cold later.
Knife in Featured Image: Artisan Cutlery Ekko
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