Lionsteel BestMan

For the past few decades, my taste in gear has been almost exclusively of the tactical nature. Given my career in law enforcement and involvement in tactical teams, that probably comes as no surprise.
And I still do love tactical gear, especially firearms and knives.

Of late, though, my tastes have shifted a bit, and I’ve found myself yearning for something a bit…different.

Recently, I saw a photo of a traditional knife that a friend posted on a forum, and it hit me – that’s what I wanted! As a kid, I carried a small slip-joint folder everywhere, including to school (yeah…I’m that old). That knife was a constant companion and completed too many cutting tasks to ever begin to count. Eventually, I lost that little knife.

So I decided that I was going to get another traditional type knife, and began researching. A friend suggested that I check out Lionsteel Knives, and in a matter of minutes, I decided to give them a try. I
ordered their “BestMan” model.

New School meets Old School. The Lionsteel BestMan with an older Marlin .30-30 lever action. Both of these old designs still work very well.

The BestMan is a slip joint knife, which means it has no lock. The user opens it and it’s kept open by spring tension. It is closed by simply applying pressure to the back of the blade. When I was growing up, it seemed that the majority of men had a small, folding knife in their pocket, it was completely normal. I didn’t (and still don’t) feel dressed unless I have a knife or two on me.

Blade length of the Lionsteel BestMan is 2 7/8 inches long, consisting of M390 steel at 59-60 HRC. Blade configuration is that of a clip point, and the swedge is nicely done, in my opinion. The cutting edge is not the sharpest of any knife I’ve ever used, but it is adequate for most cutting tasks. The weight of the knife is 2.42 ounces.

Lionsteel Bestman M390 steel blade
M390 steel may not be the latest supersteel, but it gives good performance. The blade has a nice satin finish. Note the attractive pivot screw.

The Lionsteel BestMan is pleasing to the eye, with Titanium bolsters and natural canvas micarta handle scales. I’ve always liked canvas micarta as a knife handle material, for its texture, looks, and the fact that it is stable and will never rot or deteriorate like wood can.

Lionsteel BestMan slip knife
The natural canvas micarta makes an excellent material for the scales. The bolsters are Titanium.

Lionsteel is a small knifemaking company based in Maniago, Italy. Their website displays a wide variety of knives that they make, including fixed blades. This will not be a good thing for my wallet because I see quite a few models that are extremely appealing!

First impression of the Lionsteel BestMan was very positive. The fit and finish are very well done and pleasing to the eye, with the blade finish being satin. The Titanium bolsters seem to be a bead blasted finish, and the screws are Torx head.

Some effort is required to open and close the blade. I’m thinking the action may smooth out a bit with use, although I can’t complain; it is relatively smooth fresh from the factory. The micarta handle scales
have been given a fairly smooth finish while still providing a decent gripping surface.

Although the grip of the knife is straight, I found it to be comfortable in the hand, fitting my hand well.

LionSteel BestMan knife in hand
Comfortable in the hand. Light, and yet solidly built, the folder is satisfying to use.

There is a groove in both sides of the spine of the blade for the fingernails to grip the blade for opening. Normally, I simply grab the spine with the tips of my fingers without using my nails for opening. I’m finding it does take some getting used to because for years, I’ve opened knives that typically have a hole in the blade (Spyderco and Strider) or an opening disc (most often Emersons). A bit of effort is required to open the blade.

As such, this knife is not a one-handed opening type. Conversely, I’ve found it is better to close it using two hands as well. There is no lateral blade play, and the knife is tight overall, as a quality knife should be. When the knife is held, it is light, but at the same time, the user can feel that it is solidly built.

The size of the blade is just about perfect for most normal cutting tasks that a person would run into. So far, I’ve cut plastic (it worked great and zipped right through), paper (it needs a bit of edge work to go
through paper more smoothly), and paracord (good to go) in the short time I’ve had the knife. In time, it will cut many more mediums.

Lionsteel BestMan slip knife
The BestMan is compact and easy to carry in the pocket.

I like the fact that it’s a classic styled folder made from modern materials (canvas micarta and Titanium). It looks good, functions well, and will last a few generations.

In the future, I’d like to order some more Lionsteel knives made from more traditional materials; their various wood scales look very attractive.

Lionsteel bestman slip knife
The BestMan in its natural element.

Aside from their traditional knives, they also have other styles, including tactical type knives, both folders and fixed blades. Their prices are reasonable too, and very competitive with other knife companies. It’s hard to believe that I haven’t heard of this company before, but I sure am glad that I did now!

The BestMan that I bought cost $127 at the time of this writing. Considering the materials and quality that went into the knife, this represents a very reasonable value.

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