The Lansky Willumsen Responder X9 is a tactical folder from a company known more for their sharpeners. This is a big, beefy, aggressive looking tactical folding knife that is based on a design by custom knife maker Mikkel Willumsen. If you are looking for a large everyday carry knife at a bargain price, the Lansky Willumsen Responder X9 is worth looking at. In my opinion it’s a super bargain. This is a knife that just grows on you the longer you hold it in your hand. It’s not perfect, but the positives far outweigh any negatives you’ll find, particularly for a knife in this price range.
Note: I bought the Responder X9 at Amazon.com for my own personal use. It was not supplied to me by the manufacturer.
Breaking down the Lansky Willumsen Responder X9
I’ll break down all of the features of the Lansky Willumsen Responder X9. This review is really picture heavy, but I felt it was important to show you the knife from as many angles as I could.
First let’s look at the Responder X9 handles. The material is G10 and is well textured to ensure a decent grip. On one side of the knife is an added inset piece in OD green and it contains the Mikkel Willumsen logo. I think that’s a nice detail.
The opposite site is a plain black textured G10. The closed length of the Responder X9 is approximately 5 inches. The one thing I want to point out early in this overview is that the Lansky Willumsen Responder X9 is not an assisted opening knife. It is a manual opening knife. It does have what would appear to be a “flipper.” This will only open the blade to about 50%. You’ll either have to flick your wrist, use the thumbstud, or use the triangle shaped blade cut-out to open and lock the knife in place. The Lansky website clearly states that it is offered with only the manual opening option.
Here is another view of the Responder X9. It’s just a really nice looking knife in my opinion. The knife accepts a lanyard. To me that part of the knife might double as a glass breaker as well, but Lansky isn’t advertising that as a feature.
Here is the same view with the blade partially exposed. You can see the indentation and screw hole allowing you to move the clip for tip-up or tip-down carry.
Grip and ergonomics
How does the Lansky Willumsen Responder X9 feel in your hand? The grip choil is very ergonomic and quite comfortable. There is jimping on the back of the grip and blade where your thumb will naturally rest.
This view gives you a better look at the choil. Your index finger will settle in against the flipper which acts as a stop to keep your hand from sliding up the blade.
The Responder X9 is extremely comfortable in reverse grip. If you think you’ll use the knife with this defensive grip you’ll find it to be a very natural way to hold this knife. Thumb and finger placement feels really secure in reverse grip and although I can’t confirm this I’d guess Mikkel Willumsen considered this in his original design.
Responder X9 blade steel type
The Lansky Willumsen Responder X9 uses Sandvik 12C27 blade steel. You can read some conversations about the quality of Sandvik 12C27 steel here and here. There are a ton of variables that affect the end product but I feel confident that the Sandvik 12C27 is at least as good as AUS8, 8cr13mov, or 440C.
More on the blade and ease of opening
The blade detail is really nice. It is a combination of a satin finish on the flat area and stone wash finish at the edge. On the backside of the blade you’ll see the Lansky logo. On the opposite side (the side with the OD green G10) is the Willumsen name and logo. Having the Willumsen name and logo by itself was a nice touch. Out of the box (or in this case, blister pack – which I hate BTW because this knife is worthy of a box) it was sharp enough to shave the hair on my arm. Note: My Lansky Willumsen Responder X9 was just slightly off center, but nothing that interfered with opening or closing the blade.
Let’s talk a bit more about the ease of opening. Using the manual flipper gets the blade open. You can finish opening the blade with the thumbstud. That works just OK for me. I didn’t like the fact that I had to reposition my hand so much on the grip afterwards. I prefer to finish opening the knife with a wrist flick or the triangular hole in the blade. The hole has very smooth edges but I’d prefer a circular shape (like Spyderco uses on some of their folders).
I’ve been carrying this knife around for awhile and the clip works well. It is easy to engage the clip on jeans. On the plus side the clip doesn’t interfere with your grip. It does look a bit undersized on a knife of this size, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to do.
The spacer, liner, and liner lock
The Responder X9 has a jimped spacer. The jimping is a nice addition to the spacer. The spacer color is titanium, but the material appears to be aluminum. The liner is stainless steel.
This knife uses a liner lock. In the previous iteration of this knife (when it was an actual assisted opening blade) hard blade lock-up was causing the liner lock to move all the way to the right so it was butted right up against the right side of the liner. This was something that was concerning users. Now the base of the blade appears to extend a bit of blade material on the right to prevent the lock from moving too far right. I opened the knife by flicking my wrist strongly to see if the liner lock would move from the position shown in the photo above and it consistently locked at the center of the blade base.
How the X9 compares to other large folders
The largest folder I have in my EDC rotation is the Cold Steel Counter Point. The Responder X9 and the Counter Point are identical in thickness. The X9 is a little longer. The weight of the Lansky Willumsen Responder X9 comes in at 8.6 ounces.
Lansky Willumsen Responder X9 Conclusion
This is a knife that I could have paid $20 more for and I would have been very happy. It has a good blade steel and tons of little details you normally don’t find in a knife at this price point. The only complaints I have are a slightly off center blade and it came in a blister pack. Dear Lansky, this knife deserves to be sold in a box. I’d love to see it offered as an assisted opening knife, but my guess is they are trying to ensure this knife can be sold where assisted opening knives might not be legal.
The Lansky Willumsen Responder X9 is available at Amazon.com