SOG Banner Assist Knife Review

While many knife company stories begin with one person and their love of knives, this company begins years before that. It actually begins in Vietnam. This is where members of a highly classified US special ops unit known as MACV-SOG were fighting. These members needed special tools because they were working in the jungle on covert missions. So, they carried a unique combat knife. It was years later, in 1986, where that knife inspired a young designer, named Spencer Frazer, to found SOG Specialty Knives. His mission was to reproduce the original SOG Bowie knife and pay tribute to the special ops unit that created it. What began as a single commemorative model soon became a full line of innovative tools. These tool are field proven by US Special Forces, and has even been honored as the Navy SEAL knife of choice.

Today, SOG knives are carried with confidence into the most demanding situations. These tools are forged out of tradition, hardened in the field, honed for you. So whether you’re protecting others or leading an epic hunting expedition, tackling one of life’s everyday challenges or facing your most extreme conditions yet, lead the way with SOG.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is cut out of CPM S35VN steel. This steel was made by Crucible and Chris Reeve. Years before, Crucible release the CPM S30V steel. This steel had excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. This was designed in the US and was typically used for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. Because Crucible added vanadium carbides into the steel, it brought out the extreme hardness. This steel was considered to have the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. However, this was a tricky steel to sharpen, and that was the biggest complaint from knife lovers. That is why Chris Reeve and Crucible set out to improve it and improve it they did. In the S35VN steel, they added small quantities of niobium, which is where the N in the name comes from. They also chose to use a much finer grain structure. Because of these two changes, they were able to make the steel much easier to machine while also improving the toughness and the ability to sharpen this steel. This steel also resists rust effortlessly. When the first steel was so perfect, just imagine how excellent this improved version is.

The steel on the Banner was finished with a black TiNi finish. TiNi is short for Titanium Nitride. This is one of the best coatings that can be applied to a steel. Not only does it create a sleek, black look, it also works to increase durability of the steel. The TiNi finish is known to be both extremely scratch resistant as well as peel resistant. This finish is applied to the steel in a unique process of plasma deposition performed in a complete air-sealed vacuum. This means that the coating is applied as evenly as you will find; there are no spots where the finish will be uneven or where it ran, like a painted finish can get.

The steel on this knife has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is a great all-purpose blade shape because of how versatile the blade shape is. It is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. This blade shape is most commonly found on Bowie Knives, but it is also a popular blade shape on many pocket knives and fixed blade knives. The back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle and then stops about halfway up the knife. Then, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This area looks to be cut out, or clipped out, which is where the knife gets its name from. This clipped out portion can be curved or straight, but on the Banner, it is a straight clipped out portion. The point on this blade shape is lowered, which means that you are going to have more control over your slices and while you are using the knife. Because the tip is controllable, and sharper and thinner at the spine, the clip point blade shape lends itself to quicker stabbing with less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal. While the drop point and the clip point blade shapes are often confused, the biggest difference between the two is the point. On the drop point blade shape, the point is much broader and provides you with a lot more strength. However, because it is broader, you do not have any stabbing capabilities. The clip point blade shape features a much thinner blade point. So while you do possess stabbing capabilities with this blade shape, it is much weaker and more prone to breaking or snapping. With a drop point blade shape, you are able to perform harder or heavier duty tasks than with a clip point blade shape. One of the other reasons that this is such a versatile blade shape is that it features a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. One of the biggest features that you should look for in an everyday knife is one that can be used for slicing. The clip point blade shape helps make the Banner a perfect option for your everyday carry knife.

This blade features a plain edge. This means that it will be easier to sharpen and you will be able to get a finer edge on this knife. Plain edged blades are the perfect option if the tasks that you are looking to perform include a lot of push cuts. The Banner will also be able to skin, peel, and slice because of its plain edge. The Banner has truly been designed to make your everyday tasks much easier.

On the back of the knife blade, near the handle, there is a series of jimping.

 

The Handle:

SOG Banner Knife
SOG Banner Knife

The handle on this knife is made out of aluminum. Aluminum is anodized for a handful of reasons. One of the most obvious reasons that aluminum is anodized is to add a color to the metal. In the Banner’s case, SOG chose to anodize the handle black. A few of the other reasons that it has been anodize is to add hardness and protection. Aluminum is a very durable material, especially when it is used of knife handles. Plus, this material is a low density metal. This means that you will have a nice, hefty feel to your knife without your knife actually weighing too much. When Aluminum is properly texturized, you can have a secure grip on your knife. Aluminum is also a comfortable material to use for extended use. One of the biggest drawbacks to aluminum is that it is a very cold material. So, if you are working in the winter months or a cold environment, this handle might feel like it is biting into your hand. It can be very uncomfortable because of its conductive properties. One of the other reasons that aluminum is such a good knife handle material is that it is extremely resistant to rusting or corroding. The last drawback to an aluminum handle is that it is very susceptible to scratches and dings.

To add texture to this handle, SOG has carved in three grooves into the palm portion of the handle. They have also carved “SOG” into the handle. To help keep your fingers safe and your hand comfortable, they have carved out a deep finger groove. This is the perfect place to rest your finger as you grip the handle. One of the other safety features that SOG has added is a finger guard.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is skeletonized. In the middle of the pocket clip, SOG has added their logo, which is also skeletonized. The pocket clip on this knife is a low carry pocket clip, but it is a reversible pocket clip. This helps to make the Banner a little more ambidextrous friendly.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an assisted opening knife. The assisted mechanism that supports you is a thumb stud. This is arguably the most common one hand opening feature. The thumb stud is employed by many companies and designers. A thumb stud essentially replaces the nail nick found on more traditional knives. The principle is pretty straightforward. You grasp the folded knife, place the tip of your flexed thumb on the stud and extend your thumb to wing the blade through its arc until the blade is fully open. Knives with a thumb stud usually incorporate a locking mechanism of some sort. If the stud extends through the blade, the knife can be opened with either hand.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.5 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 7.1 inches long, with a closed length of 4.6 inches long. This knife weighs in at 4.6 ounces. This knife was designed and made in the United States of America.

 

The Pros of the Banner:

  • The steel chosen for the blade is excellent at holding an edge.
  • The steel chosen for the blade resists rust effortlessly.
  • The steel chosen for the blade is very durable.
  • The blade’s steel is easy to machine and sharpen.
  • The steel is very tough, yet still durable.
  • The steel is hard, yet not brittle, which is a rarer combination to find.
  • The coating is applied in a vacuum, so you don’t get buildup of painted on coating.
  • Because the coating is applied in a vacuum setting, the coating is extremely even.
  • The coating is one of the most quality coating finishes, and will take much more to scratch off the coating.
  • The aluminum handle is extremely durable.
  • The aluminum handle is very resistant to rusting or corroding.
  • The aluminum handle makes maintenance a breeze.
  • The pocket clip is reversible.
  • The aluminum handle has plenty of texture added to it, to provide you with a very secure grip.
  • The aluminum handle provides you with a very hefty feel, but it is actually a very lightweight handle material.
  • The handle has a finger groove and a finger guard to keep you safe.
  • The clip point blade shape is versatile.
  • The clip point blade shape provides you with stabbing capabilities.
  • The clip point blade shape gives you a large belly that is perfect for slicing.
  • The thumb stud makes it a breeze to open your knife one handedly.

 

The Cons of the Banner:

  • Because it is a coating finish, the black will eventually scratch off.
  • The pocket clip is a low carry pocket clip.
  • The aluminum handle is a very cold material, so if you are trying to use this knife in a cold environment, it will feel like its biting into your hand.
  • The clip point blade shape has a weak tip that is prone to breaking or snapping.

 

Conclusion:

SOG’s story begins in Vietnam with a group of special ops that had to carry a special knife. Years later, Spencer Frazer found that knife and wanted to recreate it. At the beginning of SOG, there was only one knife and it was the tribute knife. But as they became a more popular company, they began to design and sell many other types of knives. Now, when you purchase a SOG knife, you know you are getting your money’s worth because these knives have been field tested for you.

For this perfect knife, SOG started out with a premium steel that has the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. Plus, it resists rust effortlessly and maintenance is a piece of cake. The handle is made out of aluminum, which is an incredibly durable material that also requires very little maintenance. The thumb stud allows you to open your knife with only one hand and the pocket clip is reversible. The reversible pocket clip helps to make this knife ambidextrous friendly. This everyday carry knife is truly a game changer. Get yours today at BladeOps.

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Kershaw Eris Spring Assist Knife Review

Kershaw was founded in 1974 with a founding mission to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to won, carry, and use. To do so, Kershaw knew that each and every one of their knives must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collector’s edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state of the art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.

Kershaw is actually a sub brand of Kai USA Ltd. For over 100 years now, Kai has been Japan’s premier blade producer. Kai takes an innovative approach to product development based on the close coordination of research and development, production, marketing, and distribution functions.

Just like Kai, Kershaw also has a commitment to innovation. In fact, Kershaw has pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. As some examples, Kershaw’s assisted opening knives were the first to market. The technology behind that is the Speed Safe. Next, Kershaw introduced the concept of knives that have interchangeable blades in their Blade Traders. Lastly, they released the Composite Blade technology, which works to give users the best of both worlds by combining two steels into one blade. This means that the user can get the longest lasting edge as well as a crazy strong spine.

Kershaw has award winning technologies and uses advanced materials, so when you are carrying a Kershaw, you know that you are carrying the real thing. This means that your blade has value and plenty of it. Even Kershaw’s more inexpensive models are impressive. This is because everything about a Kershaw is solid, crafted, and reliable. You know that your Kershaw is going to last a lifetime.

Kershaw has recently released a brand new knife, and it is going to be a game changer. Kershaw named it the Eris. The Eris got its name because Eris was in the Greek pantheon and was always known as the troublemaker. Eris was always stirring up jealousy. Now, you can always stir up jealousy whenever you take the Eris out of your pocket.

 

The Blade:

To keep the overall cost of the Eris down, Kershaw chose to use 8Cr13Mov steel. They finished this blade with a stonewash finish that has satin flats. 8Cr steel comes from a Chinese steel series. Out of the series, 9Cr steel is the strongest, most durable, and long lasting. 8Cr is close behind it. The biggest advantage that 8Cr steel boasts is how inexpensive it actually is. This works really well to keep down the overall cost of the knife. This is considered an average that is going to get the job done, but it isn’t going to excel at anything it does. You can get a very fine edge on this steel, and it will last awhile. And, because of the softness of this steel, it is extremely easy to sharpen. This steel is also considered a stainless steel, so it does resist rust and corrosion well, just not as well as a premium steel would have. On the flip side, you do get what you pay for with blade steel, so like I said, this steel does not excel at anything.

Kershaw chose to finish the blade with a stonewash finish and satin flats. This means that the majority of the blade does have a stonewash finish. This finish is created by tumbling the steel around with an abrasive material, which is almost always small pebbles. This creates a very textured, well-worn look on your blade. The next step in the process is to smooth out and polish the steel. This steel does cut down on glares and reflections well, but the biggest advantage to a stonewash finish is how well it camouflages scratches and fingerprints that accumulate overtime. This finish definitely preserves the look of the blade overtime.

The flats of the Eris have been finished with a satin finish. This is one of the most common finishes, because it provides you with a very classic look. However, in terms of what this finish can accomplish, it seems to fall right in the middle. It does work to cut down on glares and reflections, and it isn’t as shiny as some. However, it isn’t completely matte either. This finish is reliable and classic. This finish works to show off the lines of the knife and is accomplished by sanding the steel in one direction with increasing levels of an abrasive material.

The steel has been carved into the favorite blade shape: a drop point blade shape. However, this particular blade boasts an attractive top swedge. The drop point shape is easily one of the most versatile blade shapes on the market. Almost all of its features work to accomplish a plethora of tasks. The unsharpened edge slowly curves down to meet the sharpened edge, creating a lowered point. The lowered point is the features of this blade shape that makes it so popular among hunters; it provides you with exceptional control over your cuts. Plus, the lowered point means that it is going to be thicker than a regular point, providing you with plenty of strength. This means that you won’t have to worry about the tasks that the Eris will be able to take on, because this blade shape is designed to take a beating. One of the last reasons that this blade shape is so useful is that the sharpened edge provides you with a large belly and plenty of length for slicing. This is the key feature that makes the Eris great for your everyday carry knife.

Kershaw 1881 Eris Knife
Kershaw 1881 Eris Knife

The Handle:

The handle is made out of stainless steel. This has a handful of advantages and a handful of disadvantages to it. Let’s start with the advantages. First of all, this is a very durable handle material that can easily take a beating and help you perform the harder tasks that you are presented with. Secondly, this type of handle material is very resistant to rust and corrosion which does work to cut down on maintenance time. On the flip side, this is a heavy material that is going to add a decent chunk of weight to the Eris. Secondly, this is a slippery material that does take some manufacturing to provide you with a great grip. However, you aren’t going to have a solid grip on this knife in some environments.

This handle has been finished with a Titanium CarboNitride coating. This is sometimes known as a TiCN coating. This is not one of the more common coatings, so we’ll go into depth about it. This type of a coating is a thin film coating that was developed from Titanium Nitride or TiNi. This type of finish offers a slightly higher hardness compared to TiN and can show a slightly lower friction coefficient in many applications. This type of finish really helps to increase the handles abrasive wear resistance and help make it last for years.

The finger groove on this handle is shallow and elongated, but to help protect your finger, Kershaw has added a finger guard. Another big benefit about this handle is that there has been a lanyard hole carved into the butt of the handle. There are so many benefits to tying a lanyard onto your pocket knife, and this hole will come in handy in a variety of different situations.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is long and silver, which does add a nice contrast against the dark gray handle. The pocket clip matches the rest of the hardware on this knife. It is held into place by two small screws. This is a reversible pocket knife. The handle has been drilled to carry this knife either left or right handedly. However, the handle has only been drilled to attach the pocket clip in a way that requires you to carry your knife tip up.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an assisted opening knife that sports Kershaw’s Speed Safe assisted opening mechanism. Speed Safe is a patented system that assists the user to smoothly open your knife with a manual pull back on the flipper. This mechanism works by using a torsion bar. When the knife is closed, the torsion bar helps prevent the knife from being opened by “gravity”, it creates a bias toward the closed positon. To open the knife, the user applies manual pressure to the flipper to overcome the resistance of the torsion bar. This enables the torsion bar to move along a track in the handle and assist you to open the knife. The blade opens smoothly and locks into position, ready for use. Because the Eris features the Speed Safe mechanism, you can easily open this knife one handedly. And no, this knife is not a switchblade, even though it will feel as smooth as one.

This knife uses a flipper mechanism to assist you in opening the knife. The flipper is a small protrusion that juts out of the spine of the handle when the blade is closed. You push down on the flipper, which puts enough pressure on the blade to flip it open. One of the benefits about the flipper is that it keeps your fingers out of the way and safe from harm when you are opening the knife.

The Eris also features a Frame Lock, which is a portion of the handle that moves behind the blade to lock it into position during use. This is a safety feature of the knife.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3 inches long. When the Eris is opened, it measures in at 7.5 inches long, and when the Eris is closed, it measures in at 4.1 inches long. Because of the hefty handle, this is a much heftier knife—weighing in at 4.7 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

Kershaw designs their knives to last a lifetime with you. They are designed to make you proud to carry them, so Kershaw uses appropriate high quality material on all of their knives. They have plenty of budget options, one of which is the Eris, but you can still be proud to carry it. Kershaw will still use the high quality materials that will help you get the job done and help this knife last.

Like I previously mentioned, the Eris was named after the troublemaker in the Greek Pantheon, the man that was always stirring up jealousy. This is because now you will be the one stirring up jealousy every time you pull out this knife to show it off. But, what I didn’t mention was that this knife actually has two namesakes. The other one is the celestial Eris, which is the most massive dwarf planet in our solar system. So while this knife looks large and gives you a solid and hefty feel, it won’t be one to weigh you down.

Kershaw believes that everyone should be able to afford a high quality pocket knife, so they work to give you appropriate high quality materials. To start out with one this knife, Kershaw used 8Cr13MoV steel. This is a steel that will be able to get the job done, while also reducing the overall cost of this knife. To finish off the blade, Kershaw chose to use a stonewash finish with satin flats. The stonewash finish provides this knife with a well-worn, texturized, rugged look. The satin flats work to provide a hint of elegance to this knife, because you need a hint of elegance when the knife gets its name from a God and a Celestial planet. The handle is durable and rust resistant, but does add a chunk of weight to the knife. The handle has been finished with a matte gray titanium carbo-nitride coating, which drastically improves the hardness of this handle. This knife actually has two cherries two top it off, one being the lanyard hole and the other is the reversible pocket clip.  Order your Eris today on our website here.

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Benchmade Torrent Spring Assist Knife Review

Benchmade has a rich history that dates back over 30 years, Benchmade is the product of many dedicated employees, a never quit demand for excellence and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service and innovation. Benchmade really began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives. He used his high school shop skills and blueprinted his dream knife. He assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. When it came time to pick a name for the company he recognized that there was “handmade” and “factory made”, it was “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with had assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s positon in the market—even to this day. To this day, Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics, and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

For over 25 years, Benchmade has been designing and manufacturing world class products for world class customers. When Benchmade was founded, the mission was to create something better; something exceptional. Today, we continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. To exceed what is expected. Whether you are using a Griptilian for every day duties or taking the flight to the enemy with the Infidel, their knives are built to perform. When you choose to purchase a Benchmade, you do so because you want the best. You demand it. And programs like their LlifeSharp Lifetime Service Warranty are the foundation of their commitment to excellence. They live it and breathe it, and they know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.

Their knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum, and titanium, to name a few. But perhaps the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. They carefully measure every part at every step in the process. They sue the bets materials and equipment. They make world class knives for world class users through an eight step process. The process starts at laser cutting, then moves to surface grinding and blade and handle milling, the next step is beveling, then on to back sanding and finishing. To finish the whole process off the knives they move to assembly and sharpening.

May is Benchmade month at BladeOps. To celebrate, we care going over different knives every day and today is the Benchmade Torrent Family of knives. With this family of knives, you have a wide variety of options to choose from with the different characteristics of the knives.

 

The Blade:

The blade has been carved out of 154CM steel. This is a high end steel that is relatively hard. This steel formula is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This addition achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. This steel has decent toughness that is good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. 154CM steel is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment. You will find a lot of quality pocket knives that use this type of steel.

There are two different finishes that you can choose form in this family of knives. The first is the satin finish and the second is the coated finish. The satin finish is created by sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. The satin finish really shows the bevels of the blade, showcase the lines 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 more traditional blade finishes that you are going to find.

The second option of a finish is the coated finish. This is a black finish that reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. However, all coating finish can and will be scratched off after continuous heavy use. At that point, the blade has to be refinished. A quality coating can add cost to the knife but provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance. The coating finish can also prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust.

The blade shape on this family of knives is a drop point blade shape. This is a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything. A drop point blade shape is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today and the most recognizable knife that features a drop point is the hunting knife, although it is used on many other types of knives as well. To form the blade shape, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, creating a lowered point. This lowered point provides roe control and adds strength to the tip. While the tip on a drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. Because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. And because the point on a drop point blade is easily controllable, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidently nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. One of the reason that a drop point blade shape is so versatile is because they feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. Drop point blades really only have one disadvantage and it is that the drop point blade is its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. When you choose a knife like the Torrent that sports a drop point, you will be choosing great all-purpose blade that can be used in man situations, whether they are expected or unexpected.

With the Torrent Family, you are also presented with two different blade edges. You can choose from a plain edge and a serrated edge. The plain edge is going to excel at push cuts, slicing, skinning and peeling. The plain edge is going to be the easiest to sharpen out of the two options. The serrated edge is going to be ideal if you are going to be working with thicker materials. The teeth of the serrated edge is going to be ideal for sawing through those thicker and tougher materials. But, the teeth make for a much more uneven cut. The cuts of a serrated edge tend to be a jagged cut.

Benchmade 890BK Torrent
Benchmade 890BK Torrent Assist Knife

The Handle:

The handle on this family of knives has been made out of G10. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties, although slightly inferior, to carbon fiber yet can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. The manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks tem in resin, then compresses them, and bakes them under pressure. The material that results is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong. In fact, G10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger, although more brittle, than Micarta. Checkering and other patterns add a texture to the handle, which makes for a solid, comfortable grip. The production process can utilize many layers of the same color, or varying different colors, to achieve a unique cosmetic look on the G10 handle. Tactical folders and fixed blade knives benefit from the qualities of G10, because it is durable and lightweight, non-porous, and available in a variety of colors. And while it is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined into shape, which is not as economical as the injection molding process used in FRN handles.

The G10 is designed to look like wood, but it is black. There has been enough grip added that you will have a secure hold on it in most circumstances. On the bottom of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. This lanyard hole is very useful to tie on a piece of rope, leather, or some other line through to form a retention method. This also comes in handy for taking your knife out of your pocket. Since the Torrent family of knives is designed to be an everyday carry type of knife, the lanyard will really only come in handy to keep your knife close, have an easy withdrawal, and to add a little bit of personal style to your blade.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is a deep carry pocket clip that has been designed to attach tip down.

 

The Mechanism:

This family of knives is a manual opening knife that uses a thumb stud to assist in your opening. The thumb stud is arguably one of the most common one handed opening feature. A thumb stud essentially replaces the nail nick found on more traditional knives. The principle is pretty straightforward—you grasp the folded knife, place the tip of your flexed thumb on the stud, and extend your thumb to swing the blade through its arc until the blade is fully opened.

This knife also features a liner locking mechanism.

This knife features a liner locking mechanism. Liner locks are one of the more common mechanisms seen on folding knives. This mechanism’s characteristic component is a side spring bar located on the same side as sharp edge of the blade, “lining” the inside of the handle. When the knife is closed, the spring bar is held under tension. When fully opened, that tension slips the bar inward to make contact with the butt of the blade, keeping it firmly in place and preventing it from closing. To disengage a liner lock, you have to use your thumb to push the spring bar down towards the pocket clip so that it clears contact form the butt of the blade. This lets you sue your index finger to push the blade just enough so that it keeps the bar pushed down so you can remove your thumb form the blade path, then continue to safely close the knife. Liner locks are beneficial in that they allow a knife to have two true handle side, unlike a frame lock. You can close the knife with one hand without switching grip, ideal for when you need both hands on the job. You’ll find liner lock in both entry level and high end knives. It’s a lock type that appeals to both knife newbies and enthusiast alike. If you’ll be using your knife for heavy duty tasks, you should know that liner locks typically aren’t as robust as other locking systems. They’re still plenty strong, but because they’re typically made form a thinner piece of metal, they’re more prone to wearing out compared to a beefy frame lock.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.60 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.100 inches. The overall length of this knife is 8.2 inches long with a closed length of 4.60 inches long. The handle on this knife is 0.60 inches. The Torrent family weighs in at 3.5 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

The Steigerwalt design knife has a 154CM stainless steel drop point blade with a plain edge or combo edge and a satin or coated finish. The blade locks open with the modified locking liner. The modified drop point blade is simple to open, just push the thumb stud opener to get the blade started and the spring takes over and snaps the blade open nice and fast. The black G10 handles are comfortable to hold and look fantastic. The Torrent comes with a tip down pocket clip. It has a lanyard hole at the base of the handle. This family of knives will make you rethink what you want from your everyday carry knife. Celebrate Benchmade month and come pick up your Torrent today.

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Benchmade Boost Spring Assist Knife Review

For over thirty years, Benchmade has been creating a fantastic reputation for themselves and for the excellent knives that they design and produce. This knife company has gone by a few different names, but by the time that they started calling themselves Benchmade, they had a unique way of producing knives. Les de Asis, the owner and creator of Benchmade, has said that there are handmade knives and there are factory made knives. He feels like his are unique because their knives lie in the middle of that spectrum. The intricate pieces are made by a machine in a factory, but each knife gets finished by hand. This is what a Benchmade knife is. And that is where the company’s name comes from.

Recently, Benchmade decided to really buckle down and focus on their own lines of knives. They have revamped a few of their older knives to make them a little bit higher quality. Benchmade has also released a couple of brand new knives. One of these knives that is brand new is the Benchmade 590 Boost.

The Blade:

Benchmade has been focusing on creating high quality knives for over three decades. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your knife is high quality is to use a high quality steel on the blade. The blade is the part of the knife that is being utilized the most, taking the hardest beating, and yet is still pretty fragile. Benchmade chose to make this blade out of CPM S30V premium stainless steel. This steel was designed and produced by Crucible, which is a United States based company. When they designed this new type of steel, they designed it specifically to be used on knives. By doing so, they could create a steel that has all of the characteristics that the knife communities have been searching for. One of the biggest features that sets CPM S30V stainless steel apart is the perfect balance between hardness and toughness. Often times, when a steel is extremely hard, it is not tough because the harder the steel is, the more brittle that the steel is going to be. The harder the steel gets, the less flexibility it has, and the more prone to breaking or snapping. But, Crucible has added Vanadium Carbides to the steel to add extreme hardness without sacrificing the toughness of the steel. Because the steel is so hard, it is able to hold a great edge for long periods of time. It is also a fully stainless steel, that has high corrosion resistance properties. Because of these last two characteristics, the maintenance is reduced by a decent amount. However, keep in mind that even though it is fully stainless steel, you do have to care for the steel. Any steel is going to rust if left in the wrong conditions. Make sure to oil your blade every so often, don’t leave it in wet, damp, or humid environments, and make sure that it has breathing room when you store it. There is really only one drawback to using this steel: it is difficult to sharpen. Not difficult in a way that requires a professional sharpener, but difficult in a way that most beginners are going to have a tough time doing it themselves. It has been known to beat up grinders too. A huge bonus about using CPM S30V steel is that Crucible has actually created a slightly better version in the last few years, so CPM S30V steel is not going to be as expensive as it once was. This blade sports a plain edge grind.

Benchmade designed the Boost with everyday use in mind. So they chose to grind the blade into a drop point shape. This shape is created by taking the unsharpened edge, or back, of the blade and having it curve slowly from the handle to the tip. The drop point name comes because the curve creates a lowered, or dropped, point on the knife. There are a handful of benefits that come from having this lowered tip. One of the advantages that is most appreciated in the knife communities is that the lowered tip is broader than it would be if it weren’t lowered. The broad tip is stronger and more durable, thus being able to take on heavier duty cutting tasks. A drawback to having such a broad tip is that this knife is not going to be able to stab or pierce things very well. Another advantage to having a lowered tip is that you have more control over your blade and tip in general. This comes in handy when you are trying to perform detail work, or you have to be careful about not nicking the material that you are working with. One of the biggest reasons that this shape is so perfect for everyday carry knives is that it has a large belly with ample length for slicing things. Having a blade that can slice easily is a big need for your everyday carry needs, because you will most likely be performing tasks like slicing open a box, letter, or cutting things up.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of dark gray Grivory with a black over mold made out of Versaflex. Grivory is an interesting material. Basically, it’s a type of plastic resin that has been chemically altered to produce a very strong new plastic material. Some people describe it as a “form of fiber glass reinforced nylon”. This material has been used to replace metals in applications that require high temperature resistance. It has other great properties, such as higher chemical resistance, higher strength especially at extreme temperature, higher warpage resistance, and a higher resistance to absorbing moisture. Grivory is very similar to FRN, which is a little bit of a more popular and common material. To help add grip and dimension, Benchmade put a black over mold of Versaflex, to cover the handle. The dark gray and black materials create a very class look. Benchmade has this to say about the Boost’s handles, “Dual durometer handles greatly increase grip performance while maintaining strength on this fast-action assist.”

 

The Pocket Clip:

The Boost comes with a reversible, tip up, deep carry pocket clip. This pocket clip is black, to match the Versaflex over mold on the handle. The handle has been drilled to attach the pocket clip to carry it either left or right handedly, helping to make this an ambidextrous knife. The clip can only be attached to carry your knife tip up. Plus, it is a deep carry pocket clip, which many people prefer to a regular pocket clip because your knife is more snug and more easily concealed inside of your pocket. All in all, Benchmade has perfected the pocket clip.

Benchmade 590 Boost Knife
Benchmade 590 Boost Knife

The Mechanism:

The Benchmade Boost is an assisted opening style of knife. This means that it is a folding knife that has an internal mechanism to finish the opening of the blade once the user has partially opened it. It also uses the AXIS locking mechanism. This mechanism was introduced to the world in 1988. Benchmade bought the rights to this style of lock and renamed it the AXIS lock. It works by using a small, hardened spring loaded bar that moves back and forth in a slot made into both steel liners. This mechanism is completely ambidextrous, so that along with the reversible pocket clip, makes this knife completely ambidextrous. This knife also has an integrated safety, so you can prevent the blade from accidently opening while in your pocket.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.70 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.120 inches. When the Boost is open, it measures in at 8.52 inches long, with a closed length of 4.83 inches long. The handle on this knife is 0.70 inches thick. This knife has a total weight of 4.59 ounces.

 

The Pros of the Benchmade Boost:

  • The steel chosen for the knife is one of the highest qualities steels offered.
  • The steel is extremely hard and tough, a combination hard to find.
  • The steel has great edge retention.
  • The steel has high resistance to corrosion.
  • Because the steel company has released a newer version of the steel, it is not as expensive as it once would have been.
  • The drop point blade shape is one of the most versatile blade shapes out there.
  • The lowered tip helps you control your blade better while performing delicate work.
  • The lowered tip is broader, so it is more durable and can perform harder tasks than a thinner point would be able to.
  • The drop point shape features a large belly, perfect for slicing.
  • The handle material has many great qualities to it, such as resistance to absorbing too much moisture and higher strength.
  • Benchmade has added a Versaflex over mold to add grip and style.
  • Pocket clip has been drilled to carry left or right handedly.
  • Uses the AXIS lock.
  • This knife is completely ambidextrous.
  • This knife has an integrated safety mechanism.

 

The Cons of the Benchmade Boost:

  • The CPM S30V steel is tricky to sharpen, so a beginner is going to struggle with it slightly.
  • The drop point blade shape is not made for stabbing or piercing, because it is too broad.
  • The pocket clip has only been drilled to carry your knife tip up.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade has been creating exceptional knives for over thirty years. These knives are very popular in the knife communities because they use high quality materials and each knife gets finished by hand, so you know that your knife is as perfect as it can be. Benchmade has recently decided to focus on their lines of knives and to really create masterpieces with them. When they decided to start focusing on their own lines of knives, they revamped a few of the older ones to give them higher quality materials that will help them last longer and be able to take on harder tasks. They also have recently released a couple of brand new knives. One of these is the Boost. To make the Boost into a masterpiece, Benchmade tired extra hard to pay attention to all of the little details.

Benchmade chose to design this knife into a perfect everyday carry knife. To create that, they started out with a durable, reliable, low maintenance steel: CPM S30V steel. This steel has a great balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. This balance is a balance that is hard to nail and one that you won’t find on too many other steel types. This steel makes a great everyday knife steel because you don’t have to be worried about what tasks it can and cannot perform and you don’t have to be too worried about maintenance. Sharpening it is not going to be a daily or weekly need, and you won’t have to worry too much about rust or corrosion.

Next, they chose the perfect everyday carry blade shape: the drop point. This shape is strong, durable, and has a great belly for slicing. Again, this is going to be the ideal shape for your everyday needs, because you don’t want to be worried about your knife breaking or snapping and most people need to be able to slice with their everyday knife.

For the handle, they chose Grivory with a Versaflex over mold. Grivory is strong and does not absorb moisture easily.

The pocket clip is reversible, so you can feel as comfortable as you can, not needing to carry your knife on the wrong side. With the AXIS lock, the knife is completely ambidextrous, which is a quality not found on many knives.

Many of the Benchmade knives become very popular because of how high quality they are. The Boost is going to be just the same. This knife has truly been designed to be the perfect everyday carry knife. It will be a great addition to your knife collection and you will know that your knife has you covered for any task.  You can find your new Benchmade Boost knife here on our website.

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SOG Kiku Assisted Knife Review

The story about how SOG came to be begins long before SOG existed. The story actually begins in Vietnam, with members of a highly classified US special ops unit, known as MACV-SOG. These members needed to carry a unique combat knife because most of their covert missions were in the jungle. It was years later, in 1986, that Spencer Frazer came across this bowie knife. The knife inspired him to found SOG Specialty Knives. His mission for the company was to reproduce the original SOG Bowie knife and pay tribute to the special ops unit that created it. What began as a single commemorative model soon became a full line of innovative tools. These tools have been filed proven by the US Special Forces and have even been honored as the Navy SEAL knife of choice.

Today, SOG knives are carried with confidence into the most demanding situations. It doesn’t matter if you are protecting others, leading an epic hunting expedition, tackling one of life’s every day challenges, or facing your most extreme conditions yet, you should lead the way with SOG. This tools are forged out of tradition, hardened in the field, and honed for you.

Spencer Frazer is the founder and chief designer at SOG. He has always been a creative person who has had a great curiosity of how things worked. While he was in the Boy Scouts, he gained an affinity for knives and axes, but it was much later in his life that that interest would be channeled into actually creating knives and tools. He graduated from UCLA as a math and science major and started his own company in the professional audio industry. Then he went on to work in the aerospace defense industry as a n R&D tool/die and model maker. He also became involved in the modern art movement and began meeting with top artists. This is where he learned about scale and color. Spencer feels as if all of his life experiences converged the moment Spencer saw his first Vietnam SOG Bowie. He has said, “the knife was magical in how it looked and felt. You could see the history as well as the functional aspects of the this knife.” Later on, Spencer said, “We don’t settle for ordinary. We never did, and we never will.”

Recently, SOG has released a brand new knife called the Kiku Assisted, and let me tell you, it is anything but ordinary.

SOG Kiku Assist Knife
SOG Kiku Assist Knife

The Blade:

The blade on the Kiku Assisted is made out of VG-10 steel. This steel is a well-known, high end Japanese steel. This steel is considered premium, in fact, the G in the name stands for “gold” because this steel has reached a “gold standard”. This steel was designed for high quality blades that are used in kitchen cutlery. One of the reasons that makes this steel such a great option for kitchen knives is it’s ability to withstand rust and corrosion. People who use this blade every single day, can go about a week without washing or oiling the blade and the blade still refuses to rust. But, that feature also comes in handy in other knife types, so this stainless steel has been used for top of the line hunting, pocket, and tactical knives. This type of steel always excels. This steel can also take a crazy sharp edge. Not only can you get a crazy sharp edge on the knife, but it is a very easy steel to sharpen. Most beginners will be able to pull off sharpening this knife. And the last major benefit to the edge on this steel is that it holds an edge for long periods of time. This is also a very durable knife and because of the vanadium in the steel, it is also known for its toughness. A big benefit to this type of steel is that it is a very hard steel but it doesn’t seem to be brittle.

There are two different finishes that you can choose from when purchasing this blade. The first option is a black TiNi finish. This is short for Titanium Nitride. This is actually the very best coating finish that can be applied to steel. The main purpose that it achieves is adding a sleek, black finish to the knife as well as increasing durability. This type of finish is known to be both extremely scratch resistant as well as extremely peel resistant. Something that makes this type of coated finish unique is that it is applied to the steel through a unique process of plasma deposition that is performed in a completely air-sealed vacuum. This sets the TiNi finish apart from the other finish in the manner of how smooth and even the finish is on the steel. A big complaint about many of the coated finishes is that near the edges, it appears as if the coating has run or built up, but you won’t get that with this finish.

The other finish option that you have is a satin finish. This is a semi-shiny finish with a luster falling between bead blasted, which is matte, and mirror polish, which is a high gloss. This is the most popular finish on production knife blades. It excels at showing off the fine lines of the steel. This is a very classic finish.

The blade on this knife has been carved into a tanto blade shape. The tanto blade shape isn’t designed to be an all-purpose knife, it is designed to do one thing and one thing really well. The tanto shape has been designed for piercing through tough materials. This type of blade was originally designed for piercing through armor and is similar to the Japanese long and short swords. However, in the early 80’s Cold Steel modernized it and popularized it. To form the shape, the tanto has a high point with a flat grind, leading to an extremely strong point that is perfect for stabbing into hard materials. The point is much thicker than most knife shapes and contains a lot of metal near the tip. Because of those two characteristics, it is able to absorb the impact from repeated piercing that would cause most other knives to snap or break. The front edge of the blade meets the unsharpened edge at an angle, rather than the traditional curve. This means that the tanto shape does not have a belly. Because the shape is lacking a belly, slicing is not going to be as smooth, and these knives are not as useful in a general utility sense. But, because you sacrifice the belly, you get a much stronger tip that can be used in tough situations. One of the other drawbacks to this knife is that it is harder to control the point.

This knife sports a straight edge. There are a variety of benefits about having a straight, or plain, edge. Some of them are that they excel at push cuts (which are the more common cuts), they are easier to sharpen, you can get a finer edge on them, they can peel, they can slice, and they can skin. The straight edge is definitely the more traditional edge. Some people are worried that they aren’t going to be able to cut through the tougher or thicker materials, because with a serrated edge, you can saw through those. While serrated edges do perform better in those situations, if your straight edge is sharp enough, it will be able to manage those same tasks. And because the blade on the Kiku Assisted is made out of VG-10 steel, you will be able to manage those tasks.

 

SOG Kiku Assist Kknife, Satin
SOG Kiku Assist Kknife, Satin

The Handle:

The handle on this knife has been made out of a linen Micarta. This is a material that has been made with the organic compound Phenol, which is a type of resin. To make the Micarta, thin layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phenolic resin, which makes a product that is lightweight, strong, and looks a little classier than G-10. This material was actually originally introduced to the world as an electrical insulator and is now one of the best plastics out there for making knife handles. However, Micarta actually has no surface texture and is very slippery and smooth. This means that it requires a lot of hand labor to produce and then carve some sort of texture into the knife handle. This makes Micarta a pricier material, which means that your knife is going to be more expensive because of it. The linen Micarta on the Kiku Assisted knife is a green Micarta that has plenty of grooves carved into the spine and the bottom of the handle. These grooves will provide you with a secure grip in most situations. This is a brittle material that can break if impacted with a very hard or very sharp object. To keep your fingers safe, there is an elongated, shallow finger groove and a finger guard.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on the Kiku Assisted knife is the classic SOG pocket clip. It has been skeletonized because “SOG” has been carved into the middle of it. This is a low carry clip that is reversible. This means that you can carry it on either the traditional or nontraditional side of the knife, helping to make this knife ambidextrous. This is a black pocket clip that matches the black hardware on this knife.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an assisted opening folding knife. The assisted mechanism on it is the thumb stud. The thumb stud is a small stud that lies on the butt of the blade, near the handle. The thumb stud sits on the side of the blade near where the blade pivots on the handle. This makes for an easy and smooth opening operation. This is also one of the most common opening mechanisms on the market. This is a very comfortable way to open your knife with only one hand. However, the drawback to having the thumb stud mechanism is that it puts your hand very close to moving blade. There are plenty of people who have slipped while deploying their knife and slicing their thumb. While using a thumb stud, you do have to be careful.

This knife also sports the SOG Assisted Technology, which works through the balance of opposing high tension coil springs. As you initiate the opening action, the force propelling your blade open becomes greater than the force keeping it closed. The result is a blade that springs open instantly once it is engaged, seemingly on its own.

The Kiku Assisted knife sports a button lock.

 

The Specs:

The Kiku Assisted boasts a blade that is 3.5 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.12 inches. When the knife is closed, it measures in at 4.6 inches, and has an overall length of 8.1 inches long. This knife weighs in at 5.6 ounces. This knife originated in Taiwan.

 

Conclusion:

SOG has a reputation of designing and building trusted knives that can take a beating. They build durable knives to get you through not only your everyday tasks, but also the challenges that accompany any adventure. These knives are field tested, so you know that they are going to be able to take on whatever you throw at them. These tools are tools that you can trust and rely on. The Kiku Assisted knife is no different.

To create an impeccable knife, they started out with one of the highest quality steels. This steel is easy to sharpen, you can get a crazy sharp edge, and the edge will last long. Because of how stainless this steel is, maintenance is a breeze. The tanto style blade is the perfect blade for piercing through even the toughest of materials. The handle is durable and strong, but also lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about this knife weighing you down. The thumb stud is an efficient way to get this knife open and you don’t have to worry about it closing on you because of the button lock. Get your brand new Kiku Assisted today at BladeOps.

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Kershaw 5520 Malt Assist Knife Review

Kershaw was established in 1974 and has been designing and creating fantastic knives ever since. When they founded the company, they had the drive to create and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. To satisfy their drive, Kershaw is sure to use appropriate, high quality materials and they are dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Something that Kershaw has accomplished is that when you purchase one of their knives or tools, you will be able to own that product for a lifetime, because Kershaw products last decades.

One of Kershaw’s goals is a commitment to innovation. Kershaw has actually pioneered many of the technologies and advanced materials that are now the standard in the knife community. Some of these innovative technologies include the SpeedSafe assisted opening knives, the knives that have interchangeable blades because of their Blade Traders, and one of their newer technologies is the Composite Blade Technology. This last one is where they combine two different steel types to give you the best of both worlds. Kershaw explains that they can use a steel known for edge retention on the edge, but then use a steel known for strength on the spine of the knife. This way, you don’t have to compromise with strength or with edge retention on your blade.

Kershaw is actually a sub brand of Kai USA Ltd. Kai is also strongly committed to innovation while designing, creating, and manufacturing their knives. For more than 100 years, Kai has even been Japan’s leading blade producer.

Kershaw knows that if this is the first of their knives that you have purchased, you will be back. And if this is not your first, you already understand how quality, durable, and innovative their knives are. One of Kershaw’s newest releases is called the Malt.

Kershaw Malt
Kershaw Malt

The Blade:

The blade on the Malt is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This is a Chinese produced steel that actually comes from a series of steels. All of the steels in this series are known as Cr steels. The best in the series is the 9Cr steel, with 8Cr falling close behind. There are Cr steels less than 8, but it would be a waste of money and your time. 8Cr steel is comparable to AUS 8 steel. However, it is more prone to rusting or corroding than AUS 8 steel is. The 8Cr steel is also softer than AUS 8 steel. Because it is a softer steel, this steel is easily sharpened. Almost any beginner sharpener would be excellent at sharpening the 8Cr steel. It is a good thing that this steel is easily sharpened, because 8Cr steel does not retain its edge as well as a high quality steel would. One of the biggest advantages to having your blade made out of 8Cr13MoV steel is that it is an extremely inexpensive steel, which helps to keep the cost of the overall knife lower. While this steel is not the best steel that you can find, it does make a great option if you are on a tight budget. And, the better that the steel is heat treated, the higher quality this type of steel will be.

The steel on this knife is finished with a PVD coating. This is a Physical Vapor Deposition. This process is done by introducing the steel to a material vapor that can be reacted with different gases to form a thin coating. This process is completed in a vacuum environment. Some of the advantages to this type of coating is that because of how it is applied, you won’t get a buildup of your coating around the corners or edges, like some of the other types of coatings. Because the coating provides a barrier between the steel and the environment and air, this type of finish with prolong the life of the blade by preventing corrosion and rust. The higher the quality of the coating (PVD is a high quality coating) the more expensive it will be. However, the higher the quality of the coating, the more corrosion resistant the blade will be and it will have a better chance at lowering reflection. Because of this coating, maintenance type will be significantly cut down. The coating on the Malt creates a dark grey color. The blade is actually two toned, with part of it being dark grey and another part looking much more reflective and silver. The two tone look creates a very distinctive look to the Malt.

The steel on this knife has been carved into a modified tanto blade shape. The tanto blade shape has no curves and is instead made up of straight lines and sharp angles. Tanto’s aren’t meant to be used for everyday knives, but this modified tanto is going to be able to get the job done. Because the tip is thicker and carries more steel towards the tip, the point is very strong. It can dig, pry, and hammer while also being able to cut. Tanto’s also excel at piercing, even through some of the hardest materials. There are a couple of drawbacks to the tanto shape, one is that the tip is hard to control, so you aren’t going to want to perform detail work with this blade. Another drawback is that there is a lack of belly, making slicing a little bit trickier. However, on this modified tanto, while there is no curved belly, the angle towards the tip starts further back and will allow you to slice enough. The Malt has been designed as a great everyday knife and the modified tanto blade shape will help you get all your daily tasks done.

 

The Handle:

The handle on the Malt is made out of steel. This is a durable material that has great corrosion resistant properties. However, it is one of the heavier knife handle materials, and it will weigh the knife down considerably. A steel blade is also known for being pretty slick, so Kershaw had to get creative with how they added texture. The handle of this knife is also two toned, with the silver part being raised above the dark grey part. Because of this, you get more grip than you would have. The silver part also has grooves going down the length of the handle, which also work to add grip. There is light jimping on the bottom edge of the handle towards the butt. Kershaw has also added a deep finger groove into the handle, to provide you with a solid grip during harder tasks.

The handle has also been finished with a PVD coating. This is what has created the dark grey color to the handle. It also ensures that your handle will be a little more resistant to corroding or rusting, while also cutting down on the reflective properties that steel normally features.

Kershaw Malt, Back View
Kershaw Malt, Back View

The Pocket Clip:

The clip on the Malt is black, adding contrast against the two toned handle. There are pre-drilled holes in the handle that slows the user to reverse the pocket clip in four different directions. You can carry your knife tip up or tip down and also carry it left or right handed, helping to make this knife an ambidextrous option. This pocket clip is held in place by two small, black screws.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a flipper knife. The flipper is a protrusion on the back of the blade that the user can pull back on, which then flips the blade out of the handle in a quick and easy manner. The Malt features Kershaw’s classic SpeedSafe Assisted Opening mechanism. This mechanism allows you to open your knife quickly and safely. One of the many benefits of a flipper knife is that it keeps your fingers safe and out of the way during the entire process.

The Malt also sports a Frame Lock, which is a portion of the handle that moves behind the blade to lock it into position during use. This is a safety feature of the knife, because with it, you won’t have to worry about your knife folding shut, onto your hand, in the middle of use.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Malt is 3 inches long. When this knife is opened, it measures sin at 7.1 inches long, with a closed length of 4.3 inches long. This knife weighs 4.6 ounces. This knife was designed by one of the most sought after custom knife makers: Gustavo Cecchini. He is known for his innovative knife technologies as well as the striking lines of his custom designs, which you can clearly see in the unique look of the Malt. The Malt features Gustavo’s classic sculpted style, but does sport a little something extra.

 

The Extras:

This knife actually doubles as a bottle opener. The flipper protrusion on this knife isn’t the typical sharks fin shape. It actually looks just like any bottle opener would. Because of this unique bottle opener shape, the flipper is able to open any bottle. Kershaw has said that this knife, “also has an interesting feature that (we admit) just may have been inspired by the fine brew we were sharing with Gus at the time”.

 

The Pros of the Kershaw Malt:

  • The steel chosen for this blade is extremely inexpensive, helping to make this knife affordable.
  • The steel on the blade is a breeze to sharpen.
  • The PVD coating helps to prevent rusting and corrosion.
  • The PVD coating helps to cut down on reflections and glares.
  • The PVD coating won’t build up around the corners and edges of your blade and handle, because of the unique way that it is applied to the steel.
  • The modified tanto blade shape provides you with a very durable and strong tip, that can also dig, pry, and hammer.
  • The modified tanto blade shape also provides you with a partial belly that isn’t normally found on a tanto blade.
  • The steel handle is durable and strong.
  • The handle is also very resistant to rusting and corroding.
  • The pocket clip is reversible in four different directions, helping to make this knife ambidextrous friendly.
  • The flipper mechanism is efficient while keeping your hand safe during opening.
  • The flipper mechanism allows you to open your knife with just one hand.
  • The Malt sports Kershaw’s SpeedSafe Assisted Opening mechanism
  • The Malt features a Frame Lock, which is a great safety feature.
  • The flipper “fin” is actually a bottle opener, so this knife not only can complete all of your daily tasks, but also help you celebrate with a cold one.

 

The Cons to the Kershaw Malt:

  • The steel chosen for the blade is not a high quality steel.
  • The steel is very soft, so it does not hold an edge for long periods of time.
  • The steel chosen for the blade is not super resistant to corrosion.
  • Because the finish on the blade and handle is a coating finish, it will eventually scratch off.
  • The modified tanto blade shape will allow you to slice some, but it is not going to excel at slicing like a drop or clip point shape would.
  • The steel handle will add significant weight to the Malt.
  • The steel handle is not super grip-y.

 

Conclusion:

Kershaw has been known to break the mold and think outside of the box. They have thought up plenty of innovative ideas that have since become the classic standard in the knife world. Because of this, you know that when you purchase a Kershaw knife, you are getting the most modern ideas and your knife will be able to last a lifetime.

The Malt has been designed as a great everyday knife, with a great blade coating to add corrosion and rust resistant properties. You can get your Malt here. The modified tanto blade shape will help you get almost any job done, and as an extremely strong tip. The steel handle is strong and durable, not likely to rust or corrode any time soon. But one of the best aspects of the Malt is that the flipper “fin” actually doubles as a bottle opener. This knife is truly going to help you with almost any task.

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Kershaw Fraxion Knife Review

Kershaw is a brand of Kai USA Ltd. Kai has been the leading producer of premier knives for over 100 years in Japan. Kai also produces razor blades, housewares, and other products in Japan. Kai tries to take an innovative approach to every aspect of their production chain, starting at research and development, moving to production, marketing, and even ends at the distribution functions.

Kershaw Fraxion
Kershaw Fraxion

Kershaw also has a commitment to innovation; pioneering many of the current technologies and advanced materials that are now the standard in the knife industry. To name a few of these, Kershaw has their Speed Safe assisted opening knives. One of their newer of these innovative technologies is the Blade Traders. These are the knives that actually have interchangeable blades. For a last example, Kershaw has recently released a Composite Blade technology, which is where they have combined two steels into one blade. This works to give knife users the best of both worlds. Kershaw can use a steel that has been known for its strength and use it on the spine of the blade, while using a steel that retains an edge well for that feature of the knife.
When Kershaw was founded in 1974, they had a founding mission. This was to make their users proud to own, carry, and use Kershaw knives. This means that Kershaw will only use the highest quality materials on their knives. Kershaw vows to choose appropriate, high quality materials and use intensive craftsmanship. Because of those commitments and their extremely tight tolerances and state of the art manufacturing techniques, your Kershaw product will truly last a lifetime.
Kershaw knows how fantastic their knives are and has said, “if this is your first Kershaw, be prepared. You just may be back for more. If it’s not your first Kershaw, welcome back.” Kershaw just released a new knife called the Fraxion. And because of Kershaw’s continuous commitment to innovation, the Fraxion is going to be just as great as the last ones.

The Blade:
The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This is a Chinese steel that comes from the Cr steel series. There are a variety of different formulas in this series, and the 9Cr is the highest of quality. The 8Cr steel comes next and is an average steel. Most people recommend not purchasing a knife that has anything lower than a 6Cr steel, because it is going to be too soft. 8Cr13MoV steel is most commonly compared to AUS 8 steel. However, AUS 8 steel is superior when compared to this steel. 8Cr13MoV steel is a soft steel. Because of this, it doesn’t keep its edge for long periods of time. However, this steel is extremely easy to sharpen. It has good resistance to corrosion and rusting. The biggest benefits of this steel is the price. It is an excellent budget steel that will get the job done for you. However, this steel doesn’t excel at anything.
The finish on the Fraxion blade is a black oxide Black Wash finish. This finish gives you a well-worn look and it actually also enhances the corrosion resistant properties on the blade. The finish makes the steel of the blade an even black color.
The steel on this knife has been carved into a clip point shape. This shape, along with the drop point shape, is one of the most versatile blade shapes on the market. This is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. While this blade shape is most commonly found on the popular Bowie knife, you will also find it on many pocket and fixed blade knives. The shape of this blade is formed by having the back or unsharpened edge of the knife run straight from the handle and then stops about halfway up the knife. At this point, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This section looks to be “cut out” or “clipped off”, which is where the shape gets its name. The point on this knife is lowered, which provides you with more control over your cuts. The difference between clip points and drop points is the thickness of the point. While the drop point shape provides you with a broader tip, the clip point is sharper and thinner, which provides you with excellent stabbing capabilities as well as less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal. Another thing that makes this blade shape such a versatile one is that it features a large belly that makes it perfect for slicing. The Fraxion’s clip point features a top swedge and a slight recurve to enhance your slicing capabilities. While the thin tip is an advantage, because of the capabilities that it provides you with, it is also one of the only drawbacks to this shape of knife. The thin tip is relatively narrow, so it is weak and does have the tendency to break fairly easily. When you carry a knife that features such a versatile blade shape, you will be prepared to take on any of the challenges that you encounter, whether they are expected or totally unexpected.

The Handle:
The handle on the Fraxion is made out of G-10 with carbon fiber overlays. G-10 is a grade of Garolite, which is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. This material has similar properties to carbon fiber, except that it can be made and produced at a fraction of the cost. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The resulting material is a super tough, super hard, super lightweight, and super strong material. G-10 is actually considered to be the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and is even stronger than Micarta. However, G-10 is a pretty brittle material. To add texture and style, the manufacturer can add checkering and other patterns. This provides the user with a solid, comfortable grip. Even though this material is cheaper than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined, so it still is on the pricier side.
The overlays on this knife handle is made out of carbon fiber. This is when thin strands of carbon have been tightly woven together and then set in a resin. This material is super strong, yet still very lightweight. However, it is on the more expensive side. Because Kershaw only used carbon fiber for the overlays, they did keep the price down compared to if they had used the carbon fiber for the whole handle. Even though carbon fiber is a super strong material, it has the tendency to be brittle. This is because the fibers have all been woven in the same direction. When the strands get stressed in the other directions, carbon fiber tends to break or crack. The manufacturer of carbon fiber can add different patterns depending on how they choose to weave the fibers.
The obvious texturing on this handle comes from the carbon fiber overlays and not the G-10 base. This is an all-black handle, which gives the knife a very sleek look. This handle has more angles than curves, but is still comfortable to use for long periods of time. Instead of a finger groove, they added a finger guard, which is in line with the other angles on the handle.

The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip and hardware is also black; because this is a completely black knife. This pocket clip is straight down. This clip has been drilled so that you can carry it on the left or right side, making this an ambidextrous friendly carry knife. However, you can only carry this knife tip up.

The Mechanism:
This is a manual opening knife that uses a flipper as the opening mechanism. When talking about how manual this knife is, Kershaw said, “There is no mechanical assists, such as Speed Safe, used to open the folding knife. It opens the classic, old school way.” The flipper mechanism is a small protrusion that juts out the back of the handle when the knife is closed. The flipper on this particular knife looks like a bike ramp; it is all angles, but it is a slow angle. The user pushes down on this protrusion, which then puts enough pressure on the blade to “flip” it open. This helps the blade move easily out of the handle.
The Fraxion also features an inset liner lock. This is a strip of stainless steel that has been riveted inside the knife’s handle. This enables Kershaw to create a slimmer, lighter knife, but still providing the strength and security of a locking liner.
The last mechanism that this knife sports is the KVT ball bearing opening system. This is a Kershaw mechanism. It helps to make one handed opening of your knife faster and easier, without even needing a mechanical assist. The Speed Safe assisted opening uses a torsion bar to help move the knife blade out of the handle, however KVT relies only on a ring of caged ball bearings that surround the knife’s pivot. This means that the ball bearings are secured within a ring that surrounds the pivot. It keeps the ball bearings in place, while allowing them to still rotate freely. When the user of the Fraxion pulls back on the built in flipper, the blade rotates out of the handle as the ball bearings roll into place.
When a Kershaw knife sports the KVT ball bearing system, it also has an additional detent. This is a design feature that helps hold the blade safely in the handle when the knife is closed. When you open the knife, you might notice a little bit of stickiness, just as you pull back on the flipper and before the blade rolls out of the handle on the KVT ball bearings. You just have to power through and add a little extra pressure on the flipper will be able to overcome the detent and the knife will open with ease.
Because this is a manual opening knife, there are no strict laws that surround this knife. But, even though this knife opens smoothly and efficiently, some people still prefer an automatic knife, because of the milliseconds that it saves you.

The Specs:
This knife is made in the United States of America. The blade on the Fraxion is 2.75 inches long. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 6.75 inches long. When this knife is closed, it measures in at 4 inches long. Because this knife has been designed to be so slim and sleek, the knife only weighs in at 1.9 ounces. In fact, it only weighs in at a “Fraxion” of the weight that similar knives have.

Conclusion:
Kershaw has been around for almost five decades now. In that time, they have pioneered many of the technologies and materials that are now considered the standard on the knife market. They have a commitment to innovation and want their users to be proud to carry and use a Kershaw knife. Because of this, they have a seamless manufacturing system and always use the appropriate high quality materials. When Kershaw builds a knife, they build it to last a lifetime. They know that if you take care of your knife, your knife will be able to take care of you, in almost any situation.
One of their newest knives is the Fraxion. This is a durable knife that is going to get the job done. The steel that they chose is easy to sharpen and can take on most tasks. Plus, it comes at an unbeatable price–grab yours right now here. The handle is made out of strong materials that are designed to take a heavy beating. This is a manual opening knife that will open smoothly and efficiently because of the KVT ball bearing opening mechanism that has been built into it. This is a great knife at an even better cost.

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ProTech TR-5 Tactical Response 5 Assist Knife Review

TR-5: Tactical Response 5

The Tactical Response 5 is Pro-Tech’s first Spring Assist knife. You wouldn’t know that with how quick the knife launches out. This spring assisted knife has the power and speed of an automatic knife. As of January 2016, it is the newest of the Tactical Response folder family which features the new Titanium Assist mechanism designed by Matthew Lerch. The TR-5 is a smaller version of the popular Tactical Response TR-4.

The TR-5 Story
Pro-Tech is a family owned company. Established in 1999, they have been creating and developing high-quality knives that are made here in the United States. Recently I inquired of Pro-Tech’s President, Dave Wattenberg, about the new Tactical Response. This is what Dave had to say,

“A few years ago I was chatting with my good friend and custom knife maker Matthew Lerch at the blade show—he had an idea for a spring assist mechanism that would combine the ‘snap—and quick action’ of our cool spring with a spring assist mechanism. After a few years of tinkering – we were able to engineer the mechanism into this new smaller version of the TR-4 (the new TR-5).”

Rumor also has it that following this conversation, the idea for this new spring assist mechanism was developed in a matter of minutes where many ideas take a greater amount of time to come up with. Whether or not this is true, we have this amazing knife with us today to enjoy.

Matthew Lerch
Matthew Lerch is the mastermind behind the new Tactical Response TR-5. He was initially trained in the watchmaking industry and as a jeweler but later moved into manufacturing and tool making. Aside from the mechanics of the TR-5, Matthew has a few patents under his name for knife mechanisms such as the Fire Safe. He has also been honored with some prestigious awards, including the Buster Warenski award. Matthew views knives and knife making as something more than a tool and a process. He sees them as functional pieces of art. Of Matthew Lerch, Dave Wattenberg, said about him, “Matt Lerch is really one of my favorite knife makers—he’s a mechanical genius.”

Specs
Below is an overview of the different specifications of the Tactical Response 5. Many of the things listed will be covered later on, but here is a simple glance at what the TR-5 has to offer.

  • Product Type: Spring Assist
  • Overall Length: 7.66″
  • Weight: 3.5 oz.
  • Handle Length: 4.36”
  • Blade Length: 3.30″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.125″
  • Blade Material: 154-CM
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Finish: Stonewash
  • Handle Material: Anodized 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Handle Color: Black
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up
  • Glass Breaker and Lanyard Hole Included
  • Made in the USA

One thing that can be pointed out here is the handle. At a first glance, it doesn’t look too special. But at a closer examination of it proves otherwise. The black anodized aluminum handle is smooth to the touch and feels great when holding it. When deployed, the knife has comfortable finger gripping that serves for an easier hold, as was as a more secure hold. The handle is accented with a glass breaker and lanyard hole to give flair to the rest of the knife. The overall look of the knife looks great and pleases the aesthetic eye.

Out with the Old, In with the New

The Tactical Response 5 is the newest knife in the Tactical Response Series. It is an alternative to the older Tactical Response models. It is smaller in every way but still performs just as well.

TR-5 TR-4 TR-3
Overall Length 7.66″ 9.25″ 8.00″
Blade Length 3.30″ 4.00″ 3.50″
Handle Length 4.36″ 5.25″ 4.50″
Weight 3.5 oz. 5.4 oz. 3.6 oz.
Product Type Spring Assist Auto Auto
Steel 154-CM CPM-D2 154-CM

All of the knives in the Tactical Response line are phenomenal knives. Each has their own unique properties to them. They are all quick and sharp right out of the box. The TR-5 allows more people to carry Pro-Tech with the same speed as an auto but still be classified as a spring assisted knife.

New Mechanics
The Tactical Response 5 features new mechanics that make allow the assisted folder to compete with automatic knives. It is difficult to even begin describing how this thing works. It is absolutely flawless. Here is my best shot. Most, if not all spring assisted knives to have either a thumb stud, or a thumb hole, or some other device that a thumb can move which allows the blade to partly open before a spring takes over and launches it into its “on” position. Other spring assisted knives may include a flipper on the back of the handle that will flip the blade open. A typical spring assist knife has a variety of mechanisms that make the knife work. They more or less have a common theme among them all. A normal spring assist knife has a spring or tension bar that acts as the main part that moves everything else around. There is tension all around inside these knives. They help flip the knife open, but they also help keep the knife closed. Thus, there needs to be some sort of manual force to overcome the resistance the spring gives off to open the knife.

The new mechanics that are featured in the TR-5 are unique and different in many different ways. The first major difference is that the Tactical Response 5 does not have a traditional spring or tension bar. The TR-5 utilizes Pro-Tech’s high-quality springs that are found in their snappy automatic knives. And rather than having a typical tension bar that runs the length of the handle, there is a bar that is in the shape of a half circle on both sides of the handle, on the inside, that is connected by a metal peg. This half circle bar functions similar to your standard spring bar. It provides the same amount of pressure when opening and closing the blade. It is difficult to describe how it all works, but the most important thing to know is that this knife is sweet. The new mechanics make it quick, if not faster than many automatic knives in the industry.

In that inquiry with Dave, he was able to help me out in describing how the knife operates. This is what he had to say,

“The mechanism he (Matthew Lerch) invented is really very simple and one of the really strong points is that there are only a few parts.

“The parts, however, have to be extremely precise. Two wire EDM (Electrical Discharge Machine) cut titanium springs are installed on the inside of the frame—they hold a dowel pin across the inside of the handle, there’s a notch in the blade that this pin locks into. Since our coil spring is strong it takes a strong detent to keep it closed in the locked position.

“As you open the knife with the thumb stud, at the moment you push past where the pin locks into the blade our Superior Coil Spring Action takes over! And of course, our proven button lock works to lock the blade into the open position.

“Since there are only a few (albeit very precision) parts—the mechanism is very sturdy, even more so than some spring assist mechanisms on the market.”

Hopefully between both of our descriptions, the mechanics of the knife works make more sense. The bottom line is that the TR-5 is quick, it is dependable, and it is awesome.

Steel

The steel used in making the drop point blade on the TR-5 is the sturdy 154CM. 154CM is a favorable steel when it comes to knives. It is a high-end stainless steel made in America by Crucible Industries. It is a newer stainless steel that is just as good as or better than 440c stainless steel. The Rockwell test for this steel is around HRC 58-61. 154CM is popular in survival and tactical knives because of its corrosion resistance. It may be exposed to salt water and other corrosive material for long periods of time. This steel is comparatively cheaper than other high-quality steels such as BG-42 and S30V. Having this steel on any knife, especially the TR-5, makes it an even better knife.

Blade Finish

A stonewash finish is fairly new in the knife community. The process begins when a blade is rolled and tumbled with pebbles and an acid of sorts, then smoothed. In theory, it can hide scratches or other abrasions to the blade. This is a favorable characteristic that many knife owners desire. Because of the tumbling process to create this finish, it looks as if there are already hundreds of markings on it. Yet, the markings are done in a natural way to form a work of art. Similar to a snowflake, no two stonewashes are the same. The finish has a different look to it. The stonewash finish on the Tactical Response 5 almost has a satin finish to it. Direct light reflects off the blade. Because of the style of the finish, there need not be any concern about scratches or other markings to the blade. The knife can be used for its intended purpose of cutting and doing any other type of work. Some suggest that because of the process, a stonewashed knife can become more resistant to rust as well. The acid oxidation it goes through in the process enhances a blade’s rust resistance with a stable oxide barrier between the steel and its surrounding. Another benefit of stonewashing a blade is their low maintenance and their ability to preserve their original look over time.

Tactical or Every day Carry

“The size, shape, mechanism of the TR-5 spring assist really make it a perfect knife for every day carry. I started carrying one myself in January and just can’t seem to swap it out for any other knife from my pocket!” –Dave Wattenberg

The Tactical Response is a highly functional knife. It works great as either an everyday carry knife or as a tactical knife. For some, a tactical knife and an everyday carry is the same thing. Either way, there are several key characteristics to consider before purchasing a knife. The designed purpose, the ergonomics of the knife and its size, the materials used to make the knife, and the blade design and style, are all factors in choosing a great knife.

Designed Purpose:

Some knives are created for those in the armed forces to help them out with their problems they encounter while other knives are created for a more day to day type of carry that can be of use in self-defense or other menial tasks. As the name of the knife suggests, the TR-5 is a tactical response to the need for a decent knife in the industry.

Ergonomics and Size:

A knife that is built with the highest quality of material would be utterly useless if it does not feel right when holding it. When a knife feels secure in your hand, you can feel secure as well. The TR-5’s size is great for an everyday carry or a tactical knife. It is small enough to carry, yet big enough to do some damage.

Materials:

Any knife, no matter its purpose, is going to be going through a major beating. Because of this, it needs to be built out of a strong, high-quality material. This includes both the blade steel and the handle material. The handle on the Tactical Response is made of an aluminum alloy. This is perfect for the knife to help it be lightweight and durable at the same time. And of course, the steel is made of a high-quality material.

Blade Design and Style:

The blade for a tactical or an everyday carry should be an all-around useful tool to tackle all sorts of tasks. The blade can make or break any knife. A good versatile blade is a drop point. And that’s just what the TR-5 has equipped on it. With this blade, the TR-5 is useful for any number of tasks.

Conclusion

“I’m very pleased to produce a knife with my friend Matt Lerch’s design and very proud of the product that it’s become.” These were some of the closing remarks that Dave had with me when discussing this knife. Truly, this knife is remarkable. It shares the best of both worlds when it comes to automatic knives and spring assisted knives. Along with Dave, I would highly recommend picking up the Tactical Response 5. You will not be disappointed with it. The TR-5 awaits your response.

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Kershaw Own It 4 Piece Set

Looking for a great deal–check out this 4 piece set from Kershaw.  Part of the Own It series, this Limited Edition offering includes four great items from Kershaw, all at an unbelievable price point.

In your set you get the 1304BW assist knife.  This knife opens smooth as silk with a tug on the flipper or a push on the dual thumb studs.  The tanto blade boasts a BlackWash finish that provides an extra layer of protection for the stainless steel blade as well as a fantastic look that doesn’t show wear and tear like many blade finishes.  The blade locks open with a sturdy framelock.  Comes with a tip down, deep carry pocket clip.

Kershaw Own It Set
Kershaw Own It Set

The kit also includes a fantastic LED flashlight that fits comfortable in your hand and can easily be attached to your go bag, your gear bag or anywhere else you want.  The kit has a handy pocket tool that can cut straps, open your favorite drink and even unscrew a stubborn flathead screw.  You also get a bead chain with a dog tag.

All in all, this is a fantastic set of tools for a deal of a price.

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