Kizer has really made a name for itself in recent years for making knives that are quality yet affordable. Their Begleiter line includes several variations on that theme.
So, as I often do, I picked up a Kizer Begleiter 2 and decided to put it to the test. The version I bought has micarta scales and a handsome drop-point blade, and like a lot of Kizer knives, it looks more expensive than it is.
Kizer knives are made in China, and some people will write them off based on that alone. But I would argue that the folks at Kizer have done a lot to dispel the notion that “made in China” is synonymous with poor quality. There are some impressive knives coming out of China right now, and this is one of them.
Kizer Begleiter 2: First Impressions
I like the fit and finish of the Begleiter, and I like that mine came impressively sharp right out of the box. It’s a lightweight folder that’s substantial enough to fill my palm and big enough that it doesn’t get lost in my pocket.
One of the things I hear all the time about these knives is that they’re great “for the money.” It can be hard to compare knives in different price ranges, and the Kizer Begleiter falls in that zone that’s too expensive to truly be called a budget knife, but not high-end enough to be a premium knife.
That leaves it in no man’s land a little bit, but it’s a good step up if you’re ready to upgrade beyond the lower tier of EDC pocket knives. It impressed me upon first unboxing, and continues to do so after extensive use.
Measurements & Specs
Like I said, there are a lot of variations within the Begleiter line of knives. Depending on which one you have your eye on, you might be looking at a different blade shape and size, or any number of various scale materials and grades of steel.
The particular model I’m basing this review on is the Kizer Begleiter 2 with a N690 stainless steel blade and gray micarta handle. The handle has a deep carry pocket clip, and the blade steel has a black titanium coating.
The blade is a 3.42” drop point, and the overall open length of the knife is 7.87”. It weighs a trim 3.25 ounces, and the blade thickness is 2.9mm at its thickest point.
Blade Shape & Steel
Blade shape is a matter of personal preference, but for me, the drop-point blade of this particular Begleiter is about as close to perfect as it can be. It looks great and has just the right amount of belly to it. Kizer also makes a version of this knife with a tanto blade if that’s your thing.
The drop-point glade of the Begleiter has a flat grind, and it’s a wicked slicer. It aced a paper test immediately upon being taken out of its box, and has since made short work of ropes, cardboard boxes, rubber hosing and all sorts of stuff.
The blade is a little on the thin side, so it’s not what I would call a heavy-duty knife, and definitely not one that I would recommend doing and prying with. It’s more of an everyday pocket folder that’s designed for sharpness and ease of use, as opposed to its ability to withstand a lot of punishment. That’s not to say it isn’t tough, just don’t ask it to do more than it’s designed to do.
The steel is N690, an excellent stainless steel made by the European company Bohler (yes, it’s a Chinese knife, but it’s not Chinese steel). It’s comparable to classic American 440C steel, and is known for excellent wear-resistance and edge retention.
The steel is also very resistant to corrosion, and can be heat-treated to 60 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale. N690 is not super-premium steel, but it’s what you might call upper-mid-range steel.
Deployment & Locking
The more recent iterations of the Begleiter utilize ceramic ball bearings, as opposed to the phosphor bronze washers of previous models. This is a significant upgrade, and it gives the knife silky smooth deployment.
It can be flicked open one-handed using the thumb stud at the rear of the blade, and it locks up with a satisfying ‘click’. The ease of opening and closing definitely makes this an enjoyable knife for anyone who might be prone to fidgeting.
Some of the newest models also have a button lock, though mine has a liner lock that I find to be sturdy and reliable. I will say that the blade has just a bit of side-to-side play when it’s open. That’s not ideal, but it’s a small strike against what is otherwise an excellent knife. If this knife cost $20 more, I might be more of a stickler about it.
Comfort & Carry
In hand, the Kize Begleiter 2 is super comfortable. Thumb jimping along the top of the blade adds stability, and the edges of the liners are well-rounded all around to keep any part of the handle from digging into your hand. The micarta scales have great texture that makes the knife very grippy in wet conditions.
Micarta is also very tough and water-resistant. In keeping with the many variations available within the Begleiter line, you can also get scales made of G10 or carbon fiber. Overall, the handle of the knife has just the right thickness to feel natural in my hand. You can feel the pocket clip in your palm, but it doesn’t get in the way.
Speaking of which, the pocket clip carries the knife high up in one’s pocket. It’s designed to ride tip-up only, but can be reversed to be carried left- or right-handed. I’ve found it to be comfortable for everyday carry despite being a fairly sizeable knife.
Final Thoughts on the Kizer Begleiter 2
I think the Begleiter is a great knife, and I want to avoid simply calling it a great knife “for the money.” That being said, there’s simply no way you can compare this knife (which costs somewhere around $70) with a premium knife that might cost double or triple that amount. There just wouldn’t be any point in making that kind of comparison.
By the same token, the Begleiter easily outclasses most budget folding knives, so much so that comparing it to your average $30 knife feels equally pointless. This knife exists somewhere in-between those two extremes.
For that reason, I would suggest that if you have a budget knife in mind, it might be worth saving up a little more and investing in a knife like the Begleiter, which is smartly designed and made of quality materials. Kizer was wise to choose good steel and ergonomic features for this knife.
One of the reasons I like the Begleiter a lot is that it adeptly straddles the line between very different knife worlds. Its appearance is modern yet classic, and with micarta scales it somehow looks both refined and casual. And, of course, there are so many variations within the Begleiter family that there really is something there for anybody.
It’s basically a middle-of-the-road crowd pleaser. If you’re looking for a knife that brings a lot of positive attributes to the table, but you’re not quite ready to commit to an expensive premium blade, the Begleiter is a great compromise.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights, and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his client’s websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.