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CIVIVI Brazen & Elementum: Opposites Attract [Hands-On Review]



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If you just look at a feature list or a specs sheet, you might think that the Brazen and Elementum from CIVIVI are complete opposites. In many ways, they are. But both have the same bones, the same DNA, and both make for great EDC knives.

Coming in at just $58 and $59, they are practically the same price – but what knife is right for you? I’ve been using them for a while now, and I think I can help answer that for you!

WHO IS CIVIVI?

To understand who CIVIVI is, you need to know WE Knife first. Founded in 2000, WE Knife is a major OEM for the industry's top manufacturers of produce knives. Since then, WE Knife has expanded into offering its own lines of knives in a huge range of styles and designs.

As a part of that expansion, WE Knife introduced the CIVIVI brand in 2018 to focus on EDC knives that were functional and utilitarian. Between CIVIVI's and WE Knife's in-house design team and the industry designers they work with, CIVIVI has a great stable of EDC knives that are durable, ready for hard use, and won't break your bank account.

SPECS

ElementumBrazen
Overall Length:6.99" (177.6mm)7.98" (202.7mm)
Blade Length:2.96 "(75.2mm)3.46" (88mm)
Blade Thickness:0.12" (3mm)0.12" (3mm)
Blade Material:D2D2
Blade Hardness:HRC59-6158-60HRC
Blade Grind:HollowFlat
Blade Finish:Satin FinishBlack stonewashed
Handle Length:4.03" (102.4mm)4.52" (114mm)
Handle Overall Thickness:0.43" (11mm)0.47" (12mm)
Handle Material:G10G10
Handle Finish:Black G10 Handle
Locking Mechanism:Liner LockLiner Lock
Liner Material:Stainless SteelStainless Steel
Liner Color:Gray ColorBlack
Clip Material:Stainless SteelStainless Steel;Black
Screws Material:Stainless SteelStainless Steel;Black
Pivot Assembly:Caged Ceramic Ball BearingCaged Ceramic Ball Bearing
Thumb Stud Material:N/AStainless Steel;Black
Weight:82g / 2.89oz3.82oz / 108.4g

SAME, BUT DIFFERENT

From the length of the blade to the style of grind on the edge, these are very different knives – and yet they aren’t as different as you might think.

There are cosmetic differences like the color and profile, but both the Brazen and the Elementum use D2 steel for the blade (a great tool steel that makes strong, durable knives), both use G10 handles, and both use the same caged ceramic ball bearings for the rotation assembly.   

Using them side-by-side and they feel very similar in all of the best ways.

The handles are grippy without being too much, the blades hold great edges, and the flipping action on both knives is buttery smooth. Because they share so much in common, it’s easy to feel at home with either of them. Plus, both knives look great too, and that is always a nice bonus!

THE BRAZEN

I simply love the Brazen, partly for tanto style blade profile, partly because the handle is green, but mostly because it’s just the perfect size for me. With XL Men’s size hands, small knives feel smaller than usual to me. The Brazen is just large enough that I can get a full grip on the handle but still compact enough that it’s an easy-to-use pocket knife.

I really like tanto knives due to the strength of the blade and having a sharp, strong point to work with. If you need to stab through tough material, a tanto blade helps a lot.

With both a flipper bar and a thumb stud, I like having options for opening and closing the blade. CIVIVI’s caged ceramic ball bearings make for a super smooth action that is easy to get moving.

Really, there isn’t anything I can complain about the Brazen. The lanyard loop is great for when I pack it on a trip, the pocket clip is nice and long for a deep carry in my pockets, and designed well for ease of daily use.

Even the liner lock is almost perfect. Not too firm, not too weak, just a nice balance of strength and safety. 

THE ELEMENTUM

With a blade that is only about a half inch shorter than what the Brazen has, and the overall length about an inch shorter, the Elementum feels smaller than it really is – but in a good way.

Carrying the Elementum, it feels like a small and very compact carry knife. It’s fairly lightweight and very streamlined across the design of the handle. But once you get it in your hand, it doesn’t feel like a 3” knife, it feels much better.

For my hands, small knives aren’t my favorite. The Elementum never gives me the feeling like it’s a small knife, even though it is a small knife. Between the steel in the handle and all of the fasteners, and the G10 handle, it feels like a knife with a bit of meat on it. I really dig that!

The drop point blade profile is an extremely common style that feels instantly familiar. Since it has a bit of a belly, chopping things is easier than with the Brazen’s tanto-style blade. I’ve found the Elementum to be a super handy knife to keep on me while gardening. The small blade is easy to use even when I’m working around thorns or vines.

It has many of the same features as you should expect, a great pocket clip, a liner lock that feels great, and a very smooth opening action.

Part of what helps the Elementum feel so streamlined and smooth is the fact that it only uses a flipper bar to open, no thumb stud on this one. While I like thumb studs, the lack of one makes the Elementum feel great going in and out of my pocket and holding the knife in my hand.

LOOSE ROUNDS

So what knife is right for you? It’s really your choice. Both knives are budget-friendly EDC knives that you can count on and feel great in your hands. I like the Brazen for its larger size and a bit more tactical feel, but the Elementum is excellent for a grab-and-go everyday carry knife.

Having both on hand to choose from makes it easier, but either one on its own is a solid choice that I think you’ll be pleased with.

Pick the one that matches your lifestyle the most, and go for it!

CIVIVI has a lot of great EDC knife options, so take a look at their Amazon Store for more!

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