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A personal interview/knife review: Emerson CQC-7 / HD-7

Recently, while visiting Tom over at the Book Rack, my eyes were drawn to the cover of a book which clearly featured an Emerson Knife. I was very interested & excited to see my friend Ernie Emerson's knife of the cover of a book. I quickly snatched the book from the shelf telling Tom I'd return later, leaving thru the door, with my cell phone already in my hand, I dialed Ernie's number in California.

After entering into a long discussion with Ernie, about things ranging from the recent SHOT-Show to the upcoming 2-day training course in Va. Beach, May 20 - 22, and personal family issues, I finally got to the point, asking Ernie how he had been so fortunate to have a CQC-7 appear on the cover of such a prolific writer as David Morrell's book? THE PROTECTOR.

As we discussed his meeting with and eventual working with David Morrell, a New York Times bestselling author, it became obvious that David Morrell may have had something to do with this awesome Knife being on his book jacket. (see book review elsewhere this issue)

Just as we were wrapping up, I told Ernie I wanted to know if he had Anything NEW in the Knife world, which I might be able to talk with him and write about in an upcoming issue of my magazine. He immediately informed me he'd gladly send me an HD-7, his newest Knife.

Ernie and I scheduled an interview for a later date and below are Ernie's personal comments - word for word, exactly as he stated them to me. I am extremely grateful to Ernie Emerson for his time, his willingness to discuss this issue with me, and for his continuing support of our Troops, and Law Enforcement personnel thru his equipment designs and Training programs. Now a few words from Ernie Emerson -

"The CQC-7 is by far the most sought after and well-known tactical knife of all times. The CQC-7 knife design was the genesis for the entire tactical knife genre and has remained the major influence in tactical knives for over 10 years. Every knife company that produces tactical knife models can trace the lineage back to the Emerson CQC-7 design and that knife (the CQC-7) has become the standard by which all tactical folders are now judged."

"My belief, philosophy if you will, is that a knife design is never truly finished. No matter how good it may be judged, there will always be room for improvement. It is the natural evolution. As new materials are developed, technologies evolve and processes are improved, these evolutions should be applied not just to "new" models as some knife companies do, but to all designs and models, regardless if they are an old standard or today's "latest and greatest."

"This now brings us to the HD-7. The HD-7 knife is just such an evolution. Although the basic design of the knife is the same as it has always been, there have been major changes to the lock and handle. Although there have never been any doubts about the integrity of the original CQC-7 design (we still produce thousands) it was time to offer a stepped up version. The new CQC-7, the HD-7 was introduced on the 10-year anniversary of the introduction of the original in 1994. HD stands for Heavy Duty and there is really no other way to describe this knife. The HD-7 features an integral frame lock design, pioneered by my good friend Chris Reeve. In fact I waited over 10 years to introduce a frame lock version in deference to Chris until it reached the point where everybody and their brother were making frame lock knives. The HD-7 features a .125 thick solid titanium slab on one side that doubles both as the frame of the knife and the lock mechanism. Built on the same principles as a standard liner lock, the knife now features a .125 thick spring that forms the lock creating an almost undefeatable lock up and handle rigidity as a result."

"The top half of the knife features a .125 thick slab of Westinghouse G10 laminate. Impervious to most solvents and proven sound by the white sands Laboratories (we made the knives for NASA and the Space Station - note Bill Shepherd former Navy SEAL was head of the international Space Station program), this G-10 slab is held in place by 2-56 stainless steel socket head cap screws. Now there are only three parts to the handle (slab, slab, backspacer) rather than 5 on the original CQC-7 (slab, slab, liner, liner, backspacer)."

"The only other difference is a subtle change in the height of the blade (blade edge to spine) and a slightly thicker point."

"All in all this is truly a heavy-duty knife and you might compare the CQC-7 and the HD-7 like you would a HMMV and an Abrams Tank. In fact it has been called an Abrams tank with a razor."

"Thanks for the opportunity. My Best Regards, Ernest"

Well, Ernie, it's definitely an incredibly interesting knife and the Chris Reeve frame lock sets it apart from the CQC-7 immediately. I am nowhere near the Knife Guru Ernie is, however, I've had many a knife pass thru my hands, and will do my best to evaluate your new HD-7.

The day I received my HD-7, I was contacted by the local media for an interview. I had David Morrell's book, THE PROTECTOR on my desk, alongside the boxes containing my new HD-7 & a new CQC-7 I had bought for comparison. That evening on T V, all these items were clearly evident on my desk, during the interview.

Since the arrival of my HD-7, I've carried it with me constantly. It has been put thru some serious cutting requirements, to include salt water use in a near emergency as we had to cut away lines which were going to cause a vessel to sink if they were not removed quickly. It fits easily in my hand under glove or bare handed. It's quick opening design allows me to open it on the move, ensuring I can cut when my hand arrives at it's destination.

The Titanium/G-10 combo version, I received has a great slip resistant finish on the handle. It feels comfortable in my wet grip, and I'm confident I'll not drop it due to slippage when wet.

I find the HD-7 an interesting and user friendly design. I like it's curves, and extremely thick blade, especially the thicker tip. I personally use my blades tip often to pry open or cut away tops of boxes, and pry into various other containers. As well as keep a door open, by jamming it into the doorjam to prevent the door from closing - when conducting boarding/clearing operations on small craft.

My knives typically go thru some pretty seriously hard use on a daily basis, especially when training SWAT Officers in Maritime operations. As a matter of fact, a Knife is a REQUIRED item for all students in any TWO course of instruction. I would strongly recommend the HD-7 or CQC-7 as a pocket carry knife. I am intrigued by the WAVE design, or Remote Pocket Opener design. Which allows the user to open the knife while it is being removed from the pocket, with one hand.

I strongly recommend the Emerson HD-7 for Tactical use by hard knife user's. Ernie Emerson, Well Done my Friend, and keep it up. Thanks so much for the opportunity to speak with you and write about your newest Knife Design.

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