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The Emerson wave, a unique feature that accompanies many knives in the Emerson lineup, is itself accompanied by quite the story. For those who may not know, the wave feature is integral on a select number of Emerson Knives in order to allow the user to open a knife in the fastest, smoothest, safest way possible. This affords the user ample time to engage in self-defense or an emergency without the delay of manually opening a knife.

What’s the backstory on the “wave?”

In Emerson’s own words; The way the wave was developed was while I was working with a special group within the SEAL team community at the time and it had to do with their combat fighting course curriculum. They were both developing and modifying tactics and fighting weapons techniques and they came to me and said, “We'd like to have a knife that would have something on top of the blade that would act as a stop or catch to prevent something from sliding over the top of the blade and contacting the operator's hands.” So, I developed a knife that had a hook like feature on top which to me looked like a wave, and because at that time we were living in southern California and going surfing quite often that I said, “Well, we'll just call it The Wave,” and the name stuck.

It was really developed to catch something, like another knife blade or an edge coming across the top of the knife if you were in a clash with someone who also had a weapon. Coronado's only about 90 miles away, about an hour and a half or so and when they came up to my shop to pick up the prototypes they said, “Wow, that's great. We think that will work just fine.” We finished up our business and they took a couple of the prototypes with them and I kept a couple. It was funny because I put the knife in my pocket and started to pull it out and I noticed that the blade partially opened up when I was trying to drag it out of my pocket. Then, I thought, “Wow, that's interesting.” So, I pulled it out again, then again, and again and then I pulled it out with just a little more oomph behind it and wham, it opened the blade completely up. 

So, I was sitting there in my shop putting that knife in and out of my pocket and pulling it out and opening it instantaneously as it was withdrawn from my pocket. I was like, “Damn, that blade opens up automatically.” Lo and behold just then my phone rings. It's the guys who had just been at my shop. By now they had gotten back down to Coronado and they're saying, “Emerson, do you know what this knife does when it comes out of your pocket? It automatically deploys. It opens up automatically.” I was like, “Yeah, I know. I just discovered that myself.”  “Damn, man. This is awesome.” And of course, the next words were, “It opens up beer bottles, too.” I knew then, “Okay, we've got something here. In fact, it seems like we've got everything covered.” 

As I guess it is with a lot of good ideas, they are byproducts or are discovered by accident and sometimes good ideas just happen to fall into place.

We went on to patent the wave feature and it became a standard requirement on all military contracts that we got and most law enforcement contracts that we filled.

So, that's how the Wave feature was developed.



  • Anthony Clark says:

    I’ve been carrying a CQC 7 since 1999 and never really cared for the wave. So needless to say my CQC sevens always were waveless and then in 2014 the jungle CQC 7 come out and it had to wave on it but I had to have it because I just love the handles and after I got that knife every single Emerson I’ve ever bought since then has had the wave on it I love the way if it’s a great idea as a rapid deployment system and as a blade catch in a knife fight.

  • Andrew Pugh says:

    I have a 2004 model “tanto” blade with half titanium half carbon fiber handle and except for losing the thumb wheel, it’s still going strong as my edc at work!

  • Ted Whalen says:

    Great back story on the wave. I like it so much on my Emerson’s that I bought snaggletooths and installed them on some Benchmades. I wish you made a CQC7 with an axis style lock, wave and thumb disc. You would sell a million of them.

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