Over the last five years, WE Knife Co. has established a solid reputation for building high quality production knives that rival, and often beat, the top USA and European manufacturers. They make outstanding knives with longstanding, reputable, factories and facilities.
Last summer they released the Banter, designed by a guy named Ben Petersen. Most people in the knife community know Ben from his knife videos made during his time with BladeHQ. He’s not a knife maker, but someone who has handled countless knives in all price ranges. He wanted to design a knife that was extremely reliable, simple, and his version of the perfect EDC knife.
Model: Banter – 2004B
Weight: 2.86 oz.
Overall Length: 6.50”
Blade Length: 2.8”
Blade Thickness: 0.11”
Blade Style: Spear Point
Blade Steel: S35VN
Hardness: 58-60 RHC
Blade finish: Black Stonewash
Handle Material: G10
Lock type: Liner lock
Liner mterial: Stainless steel
Pocket Clip: Stainless steel, tip up, right carry
The Banter comes in a nylon padded zipper pouch with 2 slots to carry multiple knives and a microfiber cloth. On first sight, I thought the Banter looked basic and unassuming which isn’t a bad thing. An every day carry shouldn’t look threatening or be complex to use in case you have to whip it out in public or lend it to a friend.
My version is sporting Black textured G10 scales. The golf ball-like texturing is comfortable to hold and adds the right amount of grip to the sclaes. Chamfered edges surround the handle and it comes with a lanyard hole. Both the standoffs and pivots are blacked out and the show side pivot features the WE knife logo. It sits flush with the frame and is a nice change from the traditional looking pivots. The lock side reveals the deep carry stainless steel pocket clip engraved with the model name.
Inside the frame sits the liner lock made of stainless steel and features large jimping for easy release. The liner pocket is precisely milled and the lock engages at the same position on the blade each time – no matter how soft or hard the blade is deployed. There is zero blade play and no lock stick. In the closed position, the detent ball keeps the blade firmly in place and remains solid. The lock face is nicely machined and finished.
The blade rides on caged ceramic bearings and is deployed using the dual blue anodized thumbstuds. I like the subtle pop it gives overall. They aren’t too pointy and have a nice step down rounded edge. It’s easy to get your thumb, index, or middle finger to flick it open. The action is buttery smooth and the lock engages with a satisfying click. It’s hard to resist fidgeting with this one. And at 2.8” the Banter should be legal in those states with pesky knife laws.
CPM-S35VN steel was used to make the traditional spear point blade. It has a black stonewash finish which is excellent for hiding that EDC wear. The spine features jimping which isn’t aggressive and doesn’t hurt your thumb when you really need to push through a cut. On the lock side we find the blade steel stamped near the pivot and the makers mark – WIUG. Which is an acronym for Ben’s signature intro on his knife videos “What Is Up Guys?” The flat grind is even on both sides and the blade is centered in the closed position. For being such a simple design, the quality is top notch. The bevel is consistent and the steel is very sharp out of the box.
I’ve been carrying the Banter for a couple weeks now and it has proven to be everything I need from an EDC knife. The deep carry clip makes it dissapear in the pocket. I often forget it’s there. The G10 handles are made for resisting wear and can be easily controlled even when wet. They fill the hand nicely and it doesn’t create any hot spots for me no matter how hard I grip.
The simple design and looks have grown on me over time. It wouldn’t be my first choice in a knife, but I know non-knife people are often intimidated by other, larger knives. I’ve handed it to several friends and some people not familiar with knives and they had no problem using the knife. Most of them had a big grin when the blade effortlessly flies from the handle and locks into place. There were a couple people who didn’t know how to operate a liner lock, but that was easy to explain.
Everyday cutting tasks with the Banter are easily achieved and I didn’t find the 2.8” blade to be limiting. From food prep to box cutting, the Banter didn’t have issues tackling whatever I threw at it. The S35VN steel is good at retaining its edge, and resisting corrosion while remaining easy to sharpen. I cut through some copper RCA cables and the black stonewash finish did a wonderful job at not showing any scratches or wear marks. The edge didn’t roll and remained sharp. I never felt the lock disengage or budge during any of the activities I performed. The lock remained solid the entire time and gave me confidence when using it. The only time it struggled is cutting through some heavy cardboard. But anything short of a razor blade isn’t good for that.
Overall I think the Banter is a good EDC blade that was well thought out by Ben and meticulously executed by WE Knives. I like the combination of G10 and higher end S35VN steel for EDC use. For people with exceptionally large hands I could see how this might not be as comfortable to use. The ceramic bearings make the knife fun and easy to use. The deep carry pocket clip makes it easy to forget it’s there until you hit it on the wall or furniture. Unfortunately for lefties the pocket clip is oriented for right-hand carry only.
There’s not much bad to say about the knife that isn’t a personal design preference. The knife does what a knife is intended to do which is cut. And it cuts well. Don’t expect to be using this blade to skin your deer next season. It’s made for light EDC use, just keep that in mind. For me, I now carry this as a backup to my custom knives and offer to people who ask for a knife. It’s also a knife I’ll throw into my luggage when traveling knowing it’s legal anywhere I’d go.
Learn more about the Banter at WE Knives