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CIVIVI Conspirator: Best Sub-$100 Carry Knife? [Hands-On Review]

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If you’re looking for a solid EDC knife that won’t destroy your bank, the CIVIVI Conspirator sells for $98 and has some excellent features that make it one of the best everyday carry knives you can find!

I’ll dig into the details and give you the rundown on why this might be the best sub-$100 EDC knife!

WHO IS THE CIVIVI CONSPIRATOR FOR?

I got my first pocket knife when I was about nine years old, I remember it because I had just started Webelos in the Boy Scouts. Ever since, a knife has been item #3 on my EDC list, right behind my keys and wallet.

While I wouldn’t call myself a knife guru, I’ve owned and used more than my share of knives – most of them you would probably consider “budget” knives. I like a good knife that I can depend on, but that won’t make me think twice about how much I spent on it when I need to get a job done. 

Usually, that means I have to kind of settle for decent knives, but ones that are nothing special.

For the first time in a long time, I don’t feel that way at all about my EDC knife.

The CIVIVI Conspirator with the Micarta handle and Nitro-V blade might be a sub-$100 knife, but it doesn’t feel like it at all. 

The Conspirator is a pretty simple design that focuses on delivering what you need while still keeping it a little stylish. Built with both a flipper bar and a button lock, CIVIVI uses ceramic ball bearings to make the flipping action crazy smooth. 

The button lock has enough tension to keep you from accidentally pressing it but not enough that it feels like you need to fight the lock to open or close the knife. Press the button while the 3.48-inch blade is closed, and it swings out easily into the locked position. Use the button while the blade is locked out, and it closes just as easily.

If you prefer a flipper bar (I normally do), the Conspirator’s flipper is a bit more effort to use than the button lock but retains the smooth-as-glass feel and is still easy to use with just your finger.

METALS

As you should expect from a decent EDC knife, the Conspirator’s small parts are made from stainless steel – this includes the liner, the pocket clip, screws, and pivot assembly.

What helps set this knife apart from the pack is the use of Nitro-V steel for the blade. Sporting a 59-61HRC, CIVIVI’s Nitro-V steel is a direct upgrade over the steel most pocket knives use.

Why? Well, because it’s better. There is some cool science behind it all, but the bottom line is that Nitro-V is a proprietary steel that comes from New Jersey Steel Baron. This special mix of herbs and spices results in a blade that is harder, stronger, and more corrosion-resistant than the S35VN steel you commonly find in most other EDC knives.

Knowing how good S35VN steel is for knives, the major takeaway you should have is that Nitro-V is even better.

GRIP, FEEL, AND EDC USE

The grip is made from Micarta with some light checkering to improve grip and stability. It’s enough that it helps, but not so much that it feels like sandpaper – I like the balance!

Speaking of balance, the Conspirator is a little handle-heavy with the balance point just behind the blade. For an EDC knife, that isn’t surprising and is where I like my balance to be. More weight in my handle gives me a better feel for the knife as a whole and makes doing everyday tasks a little easier and faster.

Something I’ve become oddly picky about with my knives is how my pocket clip works. I like a longer clip that grips my pants tightly but not so tight that it’s impossible to get my knife in and out.

For me, the Conspirator’s pocket clip is that perfect balance! The pocket clip is installed by default on the right side but can be switched to the left side if you carry yours on the other side.

The top of the blade has a long ridge of deep serrations giving my thumb a lot of gripping room, great for me since I have XL Men’s sized hands. 

FINAL VERDICT?

I really like this knife. Flat out, this is my kind of knife. Not too fancy, but hits all of the points that I look for in a good EDC knife. From my personal use to giving it as a gift to family, the Conspirator is a great middle-ground of a knife that simply performs and delivers a ton of value for the cost.

I can think of a few family members that I know will appreciate it also, and being under $100 this won’t crush my holiday budget. To me, that’s a huge plus.

CONSPIRATOR SPECS:

  • Overall Length: 8.11″ / 206.0mm
  • Width: 1.44″ / 36.5mm
  • Overall Height(Include Clip): 0.74″ / 18.8mm
  • Blade Length: 3.48″ / 88.3mm
  • Closed Length: 4.63″ / 117.7mm
  • Blade Thickness: 0.12″ / 3.0mm
  • Handle Thickness: 0.51″ / 13.0mm
  • Weight: 3.82oz / 108.3g
  • Blade Material: Nitro-V
  • Blade Hardness: 59-61HRC
  • Blade Grind: Flat
  • Blade Finish: Gray Stonewashed
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Handle Color/Finish: Black
  • Liner Material: Stainless Steel
  • Liner Color/Finish: Black
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up,L/R
  • Clip Material: Stainless Steel
  • Screws Material: Stainless Steel
  • Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing
  • Locking Mechanism: Button Lock

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