"I was introduced to Joe several years back through a mutual friend. The first knife I received was the HITS knife. I carried that knife daily for the last few years of my law enforcement career. It was solid, easy to conceal and deploy. I now own a number of his other blades and if you are looking for a fixed blade to handle your every day tasks and still be small enough to conceal for defensive purposes, I would recommend one of Joe’s knives"
-Dave D -Retired LE
"I have worked with Joe Watson from a very early period in his knife-making career. I saw a special talent in him that I knew would lead to him being a very successful knifemaker. I have done numerous collaborations in the knife industry on blades that carry NSN numbers and are issued to military and government intelligence and law enforcement agencies from various makers. I have also consulted on the design of many popular blades and collaborated with some of the best knife makers out there on various blades. When Joe was new in the industry I saw an immediate gift that reflected a talent for applying his military and personal experience into solid, practical designs combined with a great talent to create high quality blades. We did an early collaboration on the HiTS knife that Joe knocked out of the park on designing, incorporating all of my requirements for that knife into a great daily carry fixed blade. When I wanted to do a travel and adventure utility blade I went to Joe with my ideas and the Gamboa was born. We have also worked on some below the radar stuff. I have watched Joe grow his talents over the years and his blades are truly exceptional in both design and execution.
I also appreciate that Joe is a quiet professional in an industry full of large egos and hype. Joe does solid work, protects his designs and the designs he collaborates on and is fiercely loyal to those he works with and always keeps his side of every agreement we have ever discussed. He not only keeps his word, he keeps discussions to himself and is not a self-promoter and simply lets his work and his customers speak for themselves at how good his knives are.
I have been blessed to have gone from a professional relationship with Joe as a guy who I worked with on a project to one of my closest and trusted friends. If you are looking for a high quality edged tool made by a maker that simply embodies all that we consider to encompass in a truly great American, then look no further than a Joe Watson knife. "
-Darryl Bolke, DB’s Shooting Adventures
"I have had the pleasure of owning Joe Watson’s knives since his early days of selling to the public. The three things that caught my eye about Joe’s work were functionality, quality and value.
When you look at the knives, the first thing you notice is how they are built for a purpose. Whether it is self-defense, game chores or all-around utility; you immediately see how they could work for your needs. And when I got a chance to pick them up and handle them, the natural fit sold me right off. They were comfortable in my hand, with no hot spots during heavy use or awkward grip required.
Quality is something a lot of people promise, and is tough to deliver. Joe pulls that off in spades. The work is just very clean. The edge is completely sharp everywhere – and one you can maintain in the field. For a service member deployed somewhere, that’s a big deal. You can’t just mail a knife back and forgo a tool. And on a long-anticipated hunt, your tools can’t let you down. These knives won’t.
Value for your money is even more special these days. Folks want to know they get their money’s worth. And for the price you pay, you receive a great tool that is worth your investment.
I own eleven of Joe’s knives. I can’t say that about any other bladesmith.
"My selection of pointy things from a bladesmith & craftsman I truly admire, Joe Watson. Joe’s designs and blade profiles are based upon real world experience and use. He blends that knowledge with just enough flair to please even the most discerning collector. I always look forward to seeing what comes next from this talented maker!"
"I have been using knives for over five decades for both work and pleasure. As a US Armed Forces retiree, martial artist, hunter, and archaeologist knives have been, and continue to be a quotidian use item for me. Knife design is paramount, for if it can't function for the intended job its as useful as a football bat.
As I knifemaker myself I am super picky on design, form, fit, and function. The best testament I can give for Watson knives is I trust my life to them. If not carrying one of my own making, it will be a Watson knife. Purpose designed, tested and made to last!"
Professor John Kiernan
"At this point, after collecting knives for the last 20+ years, yours are pretty much the only custom knives I buy anymore - and since I’ve missed some good ones, my new practice is to buy the ones I like when they become available. Maybe I’ll make it to a show you attend after I retire next year and get some in person. They won’t be coming up for sale or trade either.
"I highly recommend you train with Joe if given the chance. I first met Joe years ago in a HiTS pistol class and was astounded because of his phenomenal accuracy. Joe is an exceptional knife maker. I have bought several of his blades over the years. I have attended several classes with Joe as either the Instructor or Assistant Instructor. Joe brings intensity, focus and desire to see his students improve into his instructing. Joe is knowledgable, skilled, articulate, and is able to convey ideas and techniques to his students, regardless of skill level. He takes instructing seriously and continues to train with the best instructors in the country. If you get a chance to train with Joe I recommend you do it."
-Guy S. Federal Law Enforcement Officer Department Of Homeland Security
"You need to really up your prices. As far as the big time knives, I own them all and yours are up there with the best"
"I got to know Joe through research for a now-published article on his knives. I've long believed that details matter on any piece of important gear, and few pieces are more important than a quality knife. I've purchased a number of Watson knives from various websites and did so because Joe gets the details right.
Watson knives are made without using high heat cutting measures. A laser is faster and cheaper, but it burns the steel and the edge remains soft until the burnt material gets ground away. Joe is fanatical about the heat treat process, something that the consumer can't see, so I'm glad Joe sweats the details so I don't have to.
I love these knives because they're the right size for what I need (mostly everyday carry, but field use as well) and they're made right. The world is running out of craftsman, but Joe Watson is one of the few that remain."
Former Army SOF, Rifle and Optics Editor, Guns & Ammo
"It has been exceedingly difficult to arrange into some form of arranged intelligible words some sort review for my Joe Watson EDC fixed blade knife. Do I discuss the outstanding human who crafted, wrapped and sharpened it? Do I mention the amazing attention to detail, such as the thin finish of oil on the blade when it arrived, or the sharkskin base material underneath the brilliant handle wrap?
Within the struggle sometimes clarity emerges. For myself, it’s not enough to just trust the product but also the producer. I have friends and acquaintances that flock to fad manufacturers so as to not be left behind the social media trend wave, ie, so they can “flex” and scratch whatever psychological itch that drives them to such shenanigans. ...And if we are being candid, I’ve done the same -all too often. “Ok, that’s cool”, you might think, “but what’s that got to do with a knife you got from an online knife maker...?” Be reassured, reader; I’ve not lost my way in this review, and like my lovely wife will matter-of-factly say, “Sometimes he needs to tell the story with the statement.”
Sigh. (She’s not wrong.)
I had the opportunity to get to know Joe Watson a little bit, in the course of this blade being made. To Joe’s great credit, I was all over the map: “I need an every day carry blade”, “I’d like something with a wood handle”, “no, actually cord wrapped”, “recurve blade”, “no wait, straight...”
To be painfully blunt: I was *that* customer.
But Joe gave me his input, had a design in his stable of offerings that he thought would work, and I trusted his expertise. I’m glad I yielded to experience. What was delivered was better than I could have hoped for. Joe backed up his input with results.
Know this, also: Joe stands behind his product. He will write and ask how the knife and the sheath rig is working. He will answer questions about loctiting screws that hold the belt clip, about blade/edge care and even trail running shoes, if necessary.
Buy a solid blade from Watson Knives, and you get the experience and reliability of the manufacturer as well.
That’s the my stab (pun intended) at a review for a stellar knife from a solid knife maker. Now, does anyone need any screws or washers? Because Joe sent me plenty."
"I’ve been around the knife industry for 15+ years, collected before that for 10 years. While it is hard to come up with something innovative, especially when it comes to the venerated knife, Joe manages to combine just the right amount of aggressive utility, using features, materials and proper geometry to truly craft a cutting tool that works as intended. He’s not a household name in the “knife guy” world, but I keep running into professionals that carry a gun at work who know him or his knives. Easy to carry, easy to use and easy to get a solid grip on means I haven’t carried a folding knife in a few years and these days have something I can always depend on whether at work or in the field. Hunting, combatives, military or outdoors, Joes formula resonates with so many that it has given birth to many new makers “influenced” by his work. I haven't seen this level of “inspiration” since the great American tanto tip rage in the 90’s. None of them have the combination of quality, features and experience. I haven’t before had knives so easy to maintain, yet so efficient and built just right."
"What my team likes about working with Joe is he is the only one we know with the mix of great mind for design, high level craftsmanship and with his time as an armed professional, he knows what we need. We can just give him a few guidelines, he’ll ask us a few questions and he will knock it out of the park. We also like that on top of the blades being solid, he can do these projects quietly. One of the hardest working men around who has also done more for our nation's veterans than many are aware of."
"I have numerous Watson knives. Gamboa, Good Sport, several Hunters. They’re comfortable and reliable. I wear them all day. From opening boxes, cutting twine off of hay bales. skinning wild hogs and deer. Including using a baton to cut through rib cages. These knives can do it all. Fit and finish is excellent and the overall quality is superb. Sharpest knives I’ve owned out of the box. These knives are stout enough for EDC and nice enough to give as gifts. Great quality from a great company."
"What more can I say, Joe is an artist. His work is not only beautiful but functions flawlessly. His attention to detail is incredible from fit, form and function, no detail is left out. I have carried this piece everyday for almost two years and could not be happier. If your looking for a true craftsman who has mastered his trade, look no further than Watson Knives."
-Rich Hardin, K9 trainer for special operations and LE
"To Joey Watson- a great American, patriot and warrior! Have a good one... PS Thanks for the last knife, getting plenty of good use around the shop and deer hunting. You'll find that Kolt's gets him out of a bind in the story."
Tom G aka "Dalton Fury", Bestselling author
"Knife has worked out great, durable without being overbuilt. Last trip overseas even used it to help a local ANA casualty who was down on his luck. Sharp with a needle point really is valuable. Still as sharp as I got it."
"Joe Watson is like the stealth Bomber of the knife making world (back when it was classified). There tend to be knife collectors, and then knife users, and by users we mean guys doing serious stuff that train with a blade as a way of life. If you have heard whispers of Joe Watson, they have probably come from these users. No flash, no hype. Just clean, purpose built, hand crafted defensive tools."
"Our SWAT team placed a team order with Joe for a model recommended by another coworker. Throughout the process he listened to what was needed and adjusted the configuration for us without issue. The knives have been in service for several years and have performed in every way. He also has quickly serviced a couple when we requested it. We just put in another team order and at this point have no reason to look elsewhere"