Kizer Vanguard V3 Vigor: A modern classic

If you've never considered a truly modern knife, this one could change your mind

If you've never considered a truly modern knife, this one could change your mind - Credit: Archant

The editor looks at the pick of a healthy crop from Kizer knives

I make no bones about the fact that I like very modern working knives for my daily use. Okay, they’re not as classically pretty as walnut or stag horn and brass models, but even when used hard, these knives look like new after a simple clean under a hot tap. They’re like tactical rifles in that you either like them or you don’t, but if you didn’t like them before, let me see if I can change your mind.

The Kizer Vanguard is a superb rendition of the truly modern airgunner’s knife. It’s small and light, yet has cutting power well beyond what its size would suggest. For me it’s mostly going to be used as a game blade, but if I need to take on tougher jobs, I have no worries about its strength and durability.

Blade steel

The blade is the beating heart of every good knife and Kizer selected the superb VG10 steel, hardened to 58-60 Rockwell, which is very hard indeed, and can only be used on the best grades of steel. If you harden poor-quality steel this much, it becomes brittle and easy to chip. Hard steels hold their edge well and need sharpening less frequently, which is good news for everybody. Better still, VG10 has a reputation for being easily sharpened when the need arises.

The frame of the Vigor is stainless steel, for strength and corrosion resistance, and goes that welcome step further by being drilled for weight-saving. It also incorporates the strong and reliable liner-locking system, that’s my favourite by a very long way. This, alongside the ambidextrous thumb studs, offer one-handed opening and closing, with full blade control at all times. Wrapped around this we find scales machined from G10, a super-stable, modern, synthetic material so strong that it can be machined, shaped and even have threads tapped into it. A stainless steel pocket clip is bolted to it and that can be swapped from left to right, so that southpaws are taken care of as well. Pocket clips are another favourite of mine because they attach to whatever you’re wearing, be it summer shorts or the thickest winter coat.

Clever design

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The shape of the blade is very interesting in that it features a high, hollow-grind, drop-point layout, with a neat twist. Just behind the tip, the hollow grind stops short, leaving a greater thickness of steel in this area that can come under serious pressure. This strengthens the blade and is an impressive and clever adaptation of a classic design that’s sure to add durability to hard-working knives.

The design, the build quality and the engineering finish of this knife look worth twice as much as Blades and Bows are asking. If I’ve changed your mind and you feel it’s time to add a truly modern knife to your hunting kit, let me recommend this lovely model to you. It’s everything we need at a surprisingly modest price and is deserving of your attention.


Manufacturer: Kizer

Model: Vanguard V3 Vigor

Blade steel: VG10

Hardness: 58-60 Rockwell

Handles: G10

Blade: 76mm

Weight: 117g