Although knife collectors often become excited about titanium handles, exotic steel alloys, and space-age tactical coatings, the reality is that the most successful knives are often pretty simple. With high quality materials, smart, thoughtful design, and diligent manufacturing practices, it is possible to produce a knife that will put in years of highly dependable duty.

ESEE has been making that very point for decades now. Never attracting the kind of attention from the most devoted enthusiasts that some of the smaller, big-name smiths do, the company produces knives that almost invariably hit the mark in terms of performance and value. Instead of fancy buzzwords and unusual sounding material bills, it leverages proven standbys to deliver knives that simply do whatever is asked of them.

The ESEE 4 is a great example of this drive. At least one ESEE 4 review has decreed that the knife is the kind of daily companion the average buyer is looking for, with many more making a similar point in slightly different terms. It is easy to see why, too: The Model 4 boasts a great blend of features and quality that add up to a reliable, affordable little knife.

With a closed length of about four and one-quarter inches, this knife is right about what most buyers are looking for with regard to pocket space. That dimension entails a blade of just over three inches, so that the overall length of the open knife adds up to a little over seven. That is a comfortable length for the average person to hold and handle, giving a good balance between blade length and grip size for common tasks.

As the authority Knifeworks points out at, these satisfying basic facts are joined by a number of helpful embellishments. ESEE's proprietary assisted opening system means that it is easy to put the blade into place with a simple press of a bulge on its spine. Even so, the Model 4 also comes equipped with a stud that allows the thumb to do the same work, and with the same kind of assistance, as well.

That is about as fancy as the Model 4 gets, however. Otherwise, buyers will find a high quality aluminum handle that conceals a sharp blade of conventional steel alloy. With a lot of experience in the matter, ESEE understands that these design decisions will contribute to the project of creating a great everyday knife. It may not wow the enthusiasts, but the ESEE 4 lives up to its name in other ways.