Bear OPS is a subdivision of Bear & Son Cutlery. The story of Bear & Son Cutlery all began in 1991 when Ken Griffey and two partners bought the Parker Edwards knife facility, which was a sister plant to W.R. Case & Sons in Jacksonville, Alabama, to create Bear MGC Cutlery. A lot has happened since then to establish Bear & Son Cutlery as a rising force in the knife industry.
After a wild ride, including a time when the firm actually was owned by Swiss Army Brands, Ken Griffey still heads the operation as president. His son Matt, who began working in the factory when he was 18, is vice-president, as is Ken’s wife Sandy, who has played a key role as vice-resident of purchasing and premium department.
With their supervisors and management team, they bring a combined knife experience of more than 290 years, including positions with Gerber, Case, Buck, Parker Edwards and Schrade. They head a skilled team of 82 knife craftsmen.
As Americans become more and more concerned about jobs lost to overseas sources, they resent it when they see the words “Made in China” on a product.
Bear & Son Cutlery meets the test because 100% of their high-quality knives are made in their state-of-the-art Jacksonville, Alabama plant, where they do all their own tooling, pressing, heat-treating, grinding, hafting, finishing, and assembling.
Ken Griffey has said, “Our fundamental position is clear and absolute: we make high-quality knives, and we make them all right here in the U.S.A. And when we say Made in America, we mean everything—the steels, every component right down to the tiniest screws, and of course every step of manufacturing. We’re a family company, and we are dedicated to keeping it exactly that way.”
With a wide range of knives—from a big Bowies to popular Butterflies—Bear & Son covers almost every knife need.
The Bear OPS Division, launched in 2011, features a growing line of rugged tactical and survival knives. The goal of Bear OPS products is to manufacture the best Tactical Knives available for those who serve. OPS is the abbreviation of Operational Precision for Superior Tactical Knives, and this was more than a decade in the making. Matt Griffey, the vice president of Bear & Son said, “I had some friends that had been deployed in the Middle East and many of them were unhappy with the standard-issue knife. Once they returned to the U.S., I showed them the drawings/prototypes. One of them carried a prototype on his second tour in Afghanistan. He would send me emails about the feedback he received from soldiers in his unite, and they all wanted one.”
Today we are going to be going over the Bear OPS Grey Incognito automatic knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel. This steel is ideal for knife blades, because it allows for the highest attainable hardness without the compromising of micro-structure integrity. The steel is often used in high end knives by top shelf manufacturers, which is perfect for this tactical knife. With this steel, sharpening and edge retention is maintained with ease. This steel has high resistance to micro chipping, rolling, and folding of the edge. This steel has a high corrosion resistance that lends itself particularly well in a tactical knife, because you are never use what the environment is going to be that you have to work with.
The blade has been satin finished. This process involves sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive, which is usually a sandpaper. The satin finish shows off the bevels of the blade, showcases the liens of the knife, while also reducing its reflective glare. The finer the abrasive and the more even the lines; the cleaner the satin finish blade looks. This is one of the most traditional blade finishes that you are going to come across, because its luster falls right in the middle of the spectrum. Because of this, this knife is never going to go out of style.
The blade has been carved into a modified Wharncliffe style blade. The Wharncliffe blade, not to be confused with the sheepsfoot blade, is very much like a standard blade shape turned upside down. This type of blade has a totally flat cutting edge, and the spine of the blade drops gradually until the tip forms a point. There are a few stories as to how the name Wharncliffe came to be, with some people claiming that the pattern originated many years ago form some of the patterns used for Scandinavian Seax Knives and others claiming that it came from a British Lord who commissioned the knife to be made. There is one thing that is for certain however according the website of Ron Neep. There were several Lord Wharncliffe that he blades shape could have been named after, but the actual name “Wharncliffe” did not exit prior to 1822, which means it was named after that point in history. Regardless of history, the Wharncliffe is a very useful blade shape. It is fantastic for office folk for opening boxed and envelops and excels in box-cutter type chores. It is not very good for preparing food and skinning as the lack of belly makes it difficult for cutting soft tissue and using on a cutting board. Some other confusing things regarding the Wharncliffe blade are the differences between this blade shape and the Coping blade and the Sheepsfoot blade. There is a lot of inconsistencies in naming by companies and which blade is which. It is generally accepted that a Sheepsfoot blade has an abruptly curving spine at the tip of the knife, creating very little point. While the Wharncliffe has a more gradually tapering spine creating a pointier tip, and consequently more fragile.
The handle on this blade has been made out of stainless steel. Stainless steel is not as light as aluminum, but offers a much greater resistance to dents and scratching. It is also quite corrosion resistant, although it is not completely impervious to it—so you do need to maintain a measure of care to keep it rust and spot free. As far as metal handles are concerned, stainless steel is certainly the most commonly available and the least expensive, but it is also the heaviest. Unfortunately, stainless steel can be rather slippery when it is not finished correctly. The pros of a stainless steel handle is that they are strong, durable, and corrosion resistant. The cons of the stainless steel handle is that it is heavy and it can be slippery.
To combat the slipperiness of the stainless steel handle, Bear OPS has intensively textured the middle of the face of the handle. To add aesthetic to the handle, there is some thin striping on the handle by the nearest portion of the blade. The firing button on this knife is also textured, so that no matter the environment, you are going to be able to deploy this knife instead of slipping off it. There is wide and deep jimping on the spine and the bottom of the handle to give you better grip and control when slicing with this knife. The butt of the handle is not squared or curved, but rather pointed. There is a slight finger guard to keep your fingers safe. Although, this guard is not as large as some other blades, so you are going to need to be careful when using this knife. The jimping and the textured middle will help prevent this slippage though.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry pocket clip. This means that even if you are on a mission or moving around a lot, the knife is going to stay more securely in your pocket than if it were not a dep carry clip. The clip is rectangular all the way down and has a matte grey finish matching the handle. It is kept in place by silver screws, which match the rest of the hardware on the knife. This clip is designed for tip down carry and only on the traditional side of the handle. This is one of the features that some people view as a drawback, but it isn’t a huge deal for others.
This is an automatic knife. Before we get into what an automatic knife, I need to specify that automatic knives, or switchblades, have a very strict and particular set of laws surrounding them in the United States. This means that this knife is not going to be legal in all states, areas, and cities. It is your responsibility as the user to know what your local laws are. It might be illegal to purchase or carry this knife in your area. You are responsible for all consequences, not BladeOps.
An automatic knife is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade that is contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. Most switchable designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened positon. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position.
Switchblade knives date form the mid-18th century. The earliest known examples of spring-loaded blades were constructed by craftsmen in Europe, who developed an automatic folding spike bayonet for use on flintlock pistols and coach guns. Examples of steel automatic folding knives from Sheffield England have crown markings that date to 1840. In France, 19th century folding knives marked Chatellerault were available in both automatic and manually opened versions in several sizes and lengths.
Some of the advantages to owning an automatic knife are that you can have fast, one handed opening. You can easily bring them into play and you don’t have to worry about the knife being hard to open. Some of the disadvantages are that this knife does have restricted ownership, automatic knives are more expensive than other styles of knives. The biggest disadvantage to this style of knife is that the maintenance is tricky and the inner workings have a larger ability to break. When you are cleaning this knife, you do have to clean all of the inner pieces. And you do need to make sure the knife is dry inside to avoid rusting.
The blade on this knife measures in at 2.75 inches long, with a handle that measures in at 3.5 inches long. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 6.25 inches long. This knife weighs in at 2.6 ounces, which is a great weight for a knife that you are going to want to carry with you at all times, especially when you are in the field and can’t be weighed down. The Grey Incognito was made in the United States of America.
Florida native Steve Jernigan has been a knife designer for 34 years and has been making knives for close to 65. From diplomats, to international collectors, to the average knife fanatic, Jernigan has appeased to every taste and assisted in creating knives at every price point. Bear OPS continues its march down automatic lane with a Jernigan designed side-open automatic that is sleek and slim and a delight to use. The unique focal point of the design rests on the pocket clip–because of its lightweight design and the fact that the pocket clip extends pass the handle scale, users can wear it, much like a pen, in a polo or dress shirt. This model, the AC-800-S, features a grey stainless steel handle, a modified Wharncliffe style blade in a satin finish and the deep carry pocket clip is statically designed for tip down carry only on the traditional side of the handle. Pick up this tactical knife today at BladeOps.