Harbor Freight has announced a new ICON-branded EDC folding knife.
They made the reveal via potato camera at SEMA 2023.
The Harbor Freight Icon knife is going to feature a D2 steel blade, a flipper opening mechanism with “ultra-smooth” ceramic bearings, and carbon fiber-inlaid G10 handle.
It’s going to launch for $39.99 and – from the box art – looks to be covered under a lifetime warranty.
Knife aficionados are going to immediately notice the Icon knife’s resemblance to the Begg Knives Mini Glimpse.
I bought a Begg Steelcraft Mini Glimpse (imported production model) a few years ago, and then returned it. It had the best flipper opening design I’ve ever experienced, but the styling was awful. Then, I came across the same knife with a 50% discount and bought it. At a 50% discount, I could look past the styling.
A few months ago, I noticed a new budget model came out – shown above – and I bought one of those for $79. I haven’t reviewed it yet, but I can at least tell you it’s fantastic.
That Begg Mini Glimpse knife also has a D2 tool steel blade and G-10 handle scales. Its flipper performance is about on-par with the pricier one I ordered a few years ago.
The $79 Mini Glimpse is still a bit outside my personal tastes and preferences style-wise, but it’s just about perfect with respect to function.
So, now Harbor Freight has the Icon, and it looks a lot like the Begg knife.
Brand collaborations are common – different brands have made folding knives for Snap-on before – and it’s possible that Begg Knives or their OEM (Reate??) worked with Harbor Freight.
Here’s what the older Steelcraft Mini Glimpse looked like.
The Icon knife is not the same, but it at least looks heavily inspired by the Mini Glimpse.
Based on all of this, I see two possibilities.
First, the resemblance to the Mini Glimpse is going to lead to countless discussions in knife and EDC enthusiast circles. Is the Icon a rip-off? A copy? Inspired by the Begg knife? Or are the companies and OEM all working together?
There look to be some differences, and so I’m leaning towards thinking that maybe Harbor Freight contracted with a different OEM to produce a similar-looking knife.
That would also explain the price point – $40 is quite far from $79 for the current generation of Mini Glimpse knives. I don’t think Begg would work with Icon to undercut the prices of their own product lines, and most OEMs won’t transfer one brand’s designs to another label’s products.
Next, IF the Icon knife performs comparably to the Mini Glimpse, or other flipper knives in the $40 to $100 price point, it’s going to be a hit.
There’s no point in speculating about performance until the first knives hit the store shelves and enthusiasts start testing them.
One thing’s for certain is that the Icon knife is going to raise some eyebrows and spark a lot of conversations.
Hopefully Harbor Freight can provide us with some better photos and product details.
Can’t wait for the Icon? Consider the Civivi Elementum flipper at Amazon.