This the Mark 98-R, the first new folder of 2022 from KA-BAR. A sequel to 2018’s Mark 98, the 98-R shares the same materials as its predecessor, but brings a major change-up to the blade, resulting in a very different kind of budget EDC.
Cast your mind back, if you can, to the misty reaches of 2018 – in June of that year, KA-BAR released the original Mark 98. This unassuming knife made history as KA-BAR’s first modern flipper. It was followed quite quickly by the Jesse Jarosz-designed flipper models, but those knives hit a higher price point, and the State & Union OSF folder from last year hits an even higher one; thus the 98 has remained the only budget KA-BAR flipper knife, until now.
KA-BAR has a long history with straight razors. As a knife company working in the early 20th century, before EDC enthusiast culture was a thing, straight razors were an important part of the company’s catalog. The 98-R is a nod to that heritage, reinvisioning the grooming tool as a large, locking EDC blade. Compared to the 3.5-inch spear point on the original Mark 98, the 98-R’s blade is even longer at 3.9 inches; the extra length is supplemented by a huge forward finger choil, giving users a lot of fine control. The blade steel is 5Cr15MoV, an indisputably budget-oriented recipe whose standout trait is its stain resistance – an aspect further bolstered here by the black blade coating.
That was the same steel we saw on the original Mark 98, and the 98-R’s handle design and materials also more or less match its predecessor’s. Brown/black G-10 scales are laid over full stainless liners, with a lock leaf implemented on the off-side liner. The pocket clip isn’t reversible to the other side, but can be reconfigured for tip-up or -down carry on the off-side. The Mark 98-R weighs 4.8 oz. and is available now.
Knife in Featured Image: KA-BAR Mark 98-R