Civivi ExOne Review

Civivi ExOne Review

Civivi x Brian Brown ExOne


Alright, so this is the first review that we are posting on the blog, so with that I need to give a little background information. We are talking about a Civivi, which personally I have not really enjoyed in the past. Civivi designs have always felt cheap and just overall “meh” to me. There has never been a time that a Civivi has wowed me, but that doesn’t keep me from owning a few.


The ExOne is no exception here. I did not open the box and flick her open with the feeling of awe and inspiration. In fact, my reaction was more of a “huh”, having expected a bit more than what I felt like I got. Nevertheless, the ExOne has grown on me and is a design that I have come to appreciate and enjoy.




Overall Length: 7.12”

Blade Length: 2.94”

Blade Material: Nitro-V

Handle Material: G-10, Guibourtia or Micarta

Blade Shape: Reverse Tanto

Blade Grind: Hollow

Lock Type: Liner Lock

Action: Ceramic Ball Bearings

Weight: 3.41 oz.

Designer: Brian Brown

Price: $58.99

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*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.


This review will specifically be talking about the Green Micarta version of the ExOne.




I’m not even going to humor the blade steel snobs surely reading this awaiting my view on whether Nitro-V is good or not and then later offering their unrequested opinions on the matter. What I will say is that Nitro-V for $58 is just fine by me. Thanks Civivi.

The reverse tanto blade sports a wicked hollow grind and some jimping for the thumb at the shoulder. The sharpening choil is not quite large enough to be a full finger choil, but with the way the flipper tab was designed, you can easily choke up with a trigger pull grip.




The action on the ExOne is good. The blade carries momentum and rockets out with every deployment method you could think of. The fuller offers thumb flicking goodness and even the worst of us can pull off the spydie flick on this bad boy. The blade is running on bearings that make the flipper tab nearly impossible to fail without focused effort. Access to the liner lock is also good and allows for easy disengagement.


Fit and Finish


Let’s talk scales first. The micarta on the ExOne leaves me disappointed and in my opinion could be improved upon. There is little to no grippiness which adds to the ExOne having a cheap feel upon first impression. Despite that, there are no quality control issues with the scales. The liners sit proud of the scales, which is something I personally don’t care for and wish that they had changed. The stonewash on the blade is very nice as we have come to expect from Civivi and even better is the billboarding, or rather the lack there of, as it only has the maker’s mark coupled with the steel description, which goes almost unnoticed.



Carry Profile


The ExOne is no a beef cake and is very easily pocketable. Let’s put it this way, if you are happily willing to carry a PM2 or Para 3, the latter being almost the exact same size as the ExOne, then you have no reason for concern. A deep carry pocket clip also lets the knife tuck away nicely and the in and out of the pocket is very good. Finally, coming in at 3.41 oz. This knife can call just about any pocket home.


Personal Experience


The moment I found out Brian Brown had a model releasing with Civivi I knew I had to get my hands on one. I have been a long time admirer of Brian’s designs and this was the first one that I could afford. I love the fact that companies like Civivi and Kizer exist and offer a chance for enthusiasts not able to pay custom prices to get their hands on some of their favorite designers’ work. So to say that I was hyped up about this collaboration would be an understatement.

Now, when I actually got the knife in hand there was a completely different feeling. It just felt, well, cheap and unrefined. The design itself looked fantastic, but some of the finishing choices that Civivi decided to go with left me scratching my head. Firstly, their micarta is not something that I find to be pleasing to the touch (we won’t even talk about the shade of green they decided to use). It doesn’t seem to offer as much grip as other micarta offered by competitors in this same price point.

The liners are not recessed and are very present when holding the knife in hand. The micarta backspacer felt like an afterthought with it only being made from the same material as the scales. I think backspacers are best when they add a little cayenne to design of the knife and with this one, and a change to OD green scales, a brass backspacer would have been, as the youth of today call it, “choice”. I also would have liked to have seen a lanyard hole. Finally the clip feels and looks a little too long, but it does offer a nice deep carry experience with only a minor hotspot where the clip flairs at the end.

Now to the action. The action is almost… almost… chef’s kiss. The detent feels a little weak when closing the knife and not quite buttery smooth. I want unsalted clarified butter action, this isn’t it. But despite my irrelevant take on good butter, the knife deploys smoothly and consistently. The fuller with the flipper tab adds additional fidget factor for those of us who flip our knives all day. And the acoustics are an 8/10. The blade rockets out making a nice “click” sound, but it is on closing where you hear an overly satisfying “thwack” that really makes you want to do it again. And again.

Now, despite my original hesitations with this knife, I am going to have to say that I really enjoy it. The hollow grind is slicey AF, the reverse tanto is lean and mean, the acoustics are money, and the fuller action warms the soul. If you’ve been looking to get your hands on a Brian Brown design, but don’t want to pay the prices of some of his higher end models, then this is the knife for you. Trust me, I’m a self-proclaimed expert.

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