SOG Strat Ops Auto Knife Review

Unlike the usual history of a knife company, SOG began years before the company actually became a company. And, to make the story more unique, SOG began in Vietnam. There was a group of highly classified US Special Ops that were officially known as MACV-SOG. The members of this group were working primarily in the jungle of Vietnam, so they needed special knives to be able to actually accomplish tasks and survive. Years later, around 1986, Spencer Frazer, who was a young knife designer, came across the story of that special ops units and was inspired by the knife that they used. He had a mission: to reproduce the original SOG Bowie knife and help to pay tribute to the special ops unit that created it. He named his company SOG Specialty Knives. This replication, which was a commemorative model, became extremely popular and soon became a full line of innovative tools. These knives and tools have been field proven by US Special Forces and even honored as the Navy SEAL knife of choice.

Now SOG knives are carried with confidence even when you are carrying them in the most demanding of situations. These knives and tools have been forged out of tradition, hardened in the field, honed for you. SOG says, “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.” And lucky for us, SOG has just come out with another durable knife. They call it the Strat Ops Auto.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife has been forged out of S35VN steel. This steel is a high end steel that has been developed by Crucible and Chris Reeve. Years ago, Crucible released S30V steel which became known as one of the best blade steels that money could buy. This steel was developed specifically for knives, which gave the user all of the qualities that they could ask for from their blade steel. This steel had the perfect balance between toughness, hardness, and edge retention. The steel was also extremely resistant to corrosion. There was one drawback to the steel though: it was relatively tricky to sharpen. So in 2009, Crucible and Chris Reeves upgraded this near perfect steel and named it the S35VN steel. They added Niobium, which is where the N comes from in the name. This Niobium and the much finer grain structure that they chose to use makes the blade much easier to sharpen. Not only that, but they also upgraded the other features of the steel. Now, the steel is slightly tougher, while still having the hardness behind it. And it’s not brittle, which is normally a problem when a steel is extremely hard. One of the other aspects that have been upgraded with S35VN steel is that it is even more resistant to corrosion. All in all, this is one of the best steels out there. It will give you a durable blade that is able to take on all your challenges.

This steel has a Hardcased Black finish. This finish provides the steel with a black look, which cuts down on glares and reflections. Having a finish on the steel helps to cut back on rust or corrosion, even though the S35VN doesn’t necessarily need the help. This finish adds a little bit of hardness and a little bit of durability, further enhancing the excellent steel.

The blade shape on this knife is a straight back blade. This is one of the simplest shapes for a knife. Like the name implies, the back, or unsharpened edge of this blade shape is straight. The sharpened edge starts at the bottom of the tang, follows a straight line for a little bit, then curves up to meet the point of the blade. There are a handful of advantages that come with having this blade shape. One of the biggest is that this is a very strong blade shape because the spine is thicker. Another big benefit of this blade shape is that you can rest your thumb on the back of the knife, which adds pressure when slicing or chopping. Because the straight back is dull, it won’t hurt your thumb when you are adding a lot of pressure. Another big benefit to this blade shape is that it has a large belly, which gives you plenty of ability to slice, cut, and perform all of your daily activities.

On the unsharpened edge of the Strat Ops, there is some thick jimping near the handle area.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of linen micarta. The most popular version of a micarta material is a linen micarta. This is when thin layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phenolic resin, which produces a material that is not only strong, but also lightweight, and provides you with a little bit classier of a look when being compared to G-10. When this material was first introduced to the world, it had been designed as an electrical insulator. However, it is now one of the best plastics out there for making knife handles. However, there are a few drawbacks to the linen micarta. One of the biggest disadvantages is that linen micarta really has no surface texture. To provide the user with a secure grip, the manufacturer has to hand carve or etch texture into the knife handle. Because this takes time and hand labor, this increases the cost of this handle material steeply. On the Strat Ops, SOG has etched four deep grooves into the palm of the knife handle. This will provide you with a secure grip, whether you are in a wet or dry environment. They also carved in the “SOG” initials. Other benefits of a linen micarta knife handle is that Micarta is extremely hard to scratch because of how hard the material actually is. Compared to G-10 or Carbon Fiber, it holds up very well. One of the other drawbacks to this knife handle material is that it does tend to be brittle. This is because the linen is all facing one direction, so while it is extremely strong in that direction, when it is being stressed in the other directions, it does have the tendency to crack or break. If this handle material is impacted with a hard or sharp object, it might crack or break. SOG says that the more this handle is used, the better it will look.

The Strat Ops sports stainless steel liners.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is a low carry clip. This clip is skeletonized with “SOG” carved in the middle of it. This is a reversible pocket clip, which means that you can carry it on the left or right side, depending on which is more comfortable for you. This helps to make this knife ambidextrous friendly. However, you cannot reverse whether you carry this knife tip up or down.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an automatic folding knife. Like always, because this is an

SOG Strat Ops Automatic
SOG Strat Ops Automatic

automatic knife, and automatic knives have some strict laws surrounding them, make sure that you know your local knife laws before purchasing or carrying this knife. This knife won’t be legal in all states, cities, or areas. An automatic knife is a knife that has its blade stored inside of the handle. Also inside of the handle are a variety of small mechanisms and moving parts. One of the most important mechanisms in the knife is a spring with tension on it. When you push the button on the handle to deploy the knife, the tension of the spring is released and the blade pops out of the handle and locks into place. This lock helps to keep your blade locked into place while you are using it to help avoid accidents and injuries. When you want to close the knife, you push down on the handle button again and fold the blade back down into the handle. One of the reasons that many people love automatic knives is that they are quick, efficient, and easy to use. You can quickly have your knife deployed in a tactical, survival, or self-defense situation. However, because there are many inner mechanisms and moving parts, an automatic knife is more prone to breaking. Maintaining an automatic knife will take a little extra time, but if you treat your knife right, your knife will treat you right as well.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Strat Ops is 3.5 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.11 inches long. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 7.9 inches long overall, with a closed length of 4.4 inches. This knife weighs in at 3.70 ounces. The Strat Ops is made in the USA.

 

The Designer:

SOG is a unique company because the founder of the company is also the chief designer: Spencer Frazer. As a kid, he was always filled with curiosity for the world around him. He was constantly intrigued with the ways that the world worked. When he was in Boy Scouts, he started to become interested in knives and axes. However, it would still be years before he created a career out of knives and axis. He actually graduated college as a math and science major and began his own company in the professional audio industry. He also worked with the aerospace defense industry, in the Top Secret Black Projects Division making tools and models. Around that same time, he worked in the modern art movement and met with many of the top artists. When he became interested in the SOG Bowie knife, he felt like all of his life experiences had led him to this and prepared him to recreate it. When he first started the company, he had only designed that knife. Since then, he has gone on to create many different knives that have been innovative and durable. He has also won many industry awards.

 

The Pros of the Strat Ops Auto:

  • The steel is a high end steel that has the perfect balance between toughness, hardness, and edge retention.
  • The steel is easy to sharpen.
  • Because of the fine grain structure, the finishing look on the blade is more polished than with many other steel options.
  • The steel is extremely resistant to corrosion.
  • The Hardcased Black finish provides the steel with extra corrosion resistance, hardness, and durability, all while cutting down on glares and reflections.
  • The straight back has a strong spine.
  • The straight back provides you with a big enough belly to slice, which makes it great for everyday use.
  • The linen micarta handle is durable and hard.
  • The linen micarta handle will provide you with a great grip, whether in wet or dry conditions.
  • The pocket clip is reversible, helping to make this knife ambidextrous friendly.
  • The automatic knife works quickly and efficiently to deploy your blade.
  • The blade locks securely into place after it has been deployed.

 

The Cons of the Strat Ops Auto:

  • The pocket clip is not deep carry.
  • The pocket clip cannot be tip carry reversed.

 

Conclusion:

SOG has been a reliable company since the 1980’s. Spencer Frazer has designed many reliable knives that have become extremely popular and have helped many people in a variety of circumstances. These knives are built to last whether you are in a survival situation or just going through your daily tasks.

This new knife combines exceptional steel, a great, versatile blade shape, and a durable handle to give you a knife that will last through the years. The all black knife looks classy and sleek making this knife a perfect addition to your collection. You can get your Strat Ops here on our website.

 

 

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Buck 110 Automatic Knife Review

This story about Buck Knives goes like this. A young blacksmith apprentice named Hoyt Buck was looking for a better way to temper steel so it would hold an edge longer. His unique approach produced the first Buck Knife in 1902. Hoyt made each knife by hand, using worn-out file blades as raw material. His handiwork was greatly appreciated during World War II. Hoyt’s eldest son Al had relocated from the Pacific Northwest to San Diego California after finishing a stint in the navy a decade earlier. Hoyt, and his wife Daisy, moved in with Al and his young family in 1945 and set up shop as H.H. Buck and Son.

Following the death of his father, Al kept the fledgling custom knife business going until incorporating Buck Knives, Inc. in 1961. Al introduced his son, Chuck, to the knife business at an early age and Chuck and his wife, Lori, were both involved when the company was incorporated. IN n1964, the knife industry was revolutionized with the introduction of the Model 110 Folding Hunter, making Buck Knives a leader in the field. A position that they still hold proudly today.

Chuck worked his way up through the company serving as President and CEO for many years before handling over the reins to his, CJ, in 1999. Chuck remained active as Chairman of the Board until his passing in 2015. Lori now serves on the Board of Directors and is actively involved with Buck promotional events throughout the U.S., continuing Chuck’s legacy.

CJ, the 4th generation family member to run Buck Knives and current CEO, President and Chairman, started out with the company on the production line in 1978. He has been quoted saying, “We have been helping people thrive with reliable and trustworthy edged products for over a century. Since our own name is on the knife, our quality, focus, and attention to detail is very personal.”

Hoyt and Al Buck’s ingenuity may have put the company on the map. But it is our ongoing commitment to developing innovative new products and improving what we have by third and fourth generation Buck family members that have made Buck the successful knife maker it is today.

Today we will be talking about the Buck 0110BRSA 110 Automatic knife.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this sleek knife is made out of 420HC High Carbon Stainless Steel. This comes from the 400 series which remains one of the most popular choice for knife makers because it is easy to sharpen and it is resistant to corrosion. 420 series contain several types with various carbon content between .15% and .40% this steel grade is widely used to make high end razor blades, surgical scalpels, etc. It obtains about 57 HRC after suitable heat treatment. 420HC is a higher carbon content, which is where the HC comes from. It holds a higher carbon production rate than stainless steel. The content is much softer than the higher number steel count 440, yet it’s more rugged than other similar proudcts. This steel can be brought to a higher hardness than 420 and should not be mistaken for it. Buck Knives is known for using this type of steel in many of their knives. This steel material has a greater carbon base and is mixed to a harder content than 420 stingless steels. There are many different levels of steel, but products made from 420HC steel are definitely different from other types of steel in terms of performance and reliability. Knives that are made with this steel are easy to sharpen and are durable when in constant use. Blades made from this steel are less prone to corrosion.

Buck Auto Knife
Buck Auto Knife

The blade has been finished with the classic satin finish. This is one of the most typical knife finishes. It is slightly less shiny than a polished finish, and it is less expensive than both the mirror and polished finishes. The luster of this finish usually falls between bead blasted, which is a matte finish, and a mirror polish, which is a high gloss finish. This finish works to show fine buffing lines with two directional finishes that better display the bevels of a blade. It actually takes great hand skill to finish. This finish is created by sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive, which is usually a sandpaper. The finer the abrasive and the more even the lines; the cleaner the satin finish blade looks.

This blade has been carved into a clip point blade shape. The clip point is one of the three most common knife blade shapes used today. The other two are the drop point and the spear point. Clip point blades have the appearance of having the front third of the blade “clipped” off. Traditionally, the spine or unsharpened edge of the knife begins at the hilt and continues to a point between one third to one fourth of the blade length. The blade spine than tapers in thickness in a recurve to the knife’s point. The clip point blade design actually dates back to at least Macedonian times, where examples of knapped flint clip point knives have been unearthed. Variants of this style include the California clip, which uses a clip greatly extended in length, and the Turkish clip point with its extreme recurve. One of the most recognizable clip-point blades is used on the famous Bowie knife. The clip point allows a quicker, and thus deeper, puncture upon insertion because clip point blades are thinner at the spine. The clip point lends itself to a quicker stabbing advantage with less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal. However, when you are comparing the clip point design to the drop point design, the clip point is going to seem a lot weaker because of this thin characteristic. If you want a knife that is going to be able to take on all the challenges that you throw at it, I would recommend the sturdier drop point. The clip point blade does feature a large belly that is perfect for slicing or skinning. And because this knife has a plain edge, you are going to be able to skin or peel just about anything with this blade. The plain edge is also going to excel at push cuts of any kind, shaving, and traditional uses for your knife. The plain edge is going to give you the clean cuts that you long for, without fraying what you are working with.

 

The Handle:

The handle is made out of Dymondwood and brass. Dymondwood is phenolic resin impregnated wood veneers that are laminated and compressed. This material is extremely similar to Micarta, G10, and Carbon Fiber, except that the base material is wood instead of an unnatural material. Wood has been used as a knife handle since knives came into existence, really. A good quality wood handle can be durable and attractive, making wood a relatively inexpensive material for heavy duty knives. But, unlike many of the other budget friendly options, wood has a quality aesthetic that it adds to the knife, making your knife look sleek and elegant. In fact, wood hands are very popular among collector’s knives. There are many different types of woods used in knife handles, so you have to choose based on how you are going to use the knife. In this case, the handle has been made out of Macassar Ebony wood. This is an exotic wood with heartwood that is reported to be strong, very heavy, and very hard. The black heart is usually brittle, and the wood is used mostly for decorative purposes. This is a very dark wood that contrasts nicely with the bright brass hardware and ends.

Brass is known and valued for its easy machinability and the ease that the metal can be formed into desired shapes and forms while still retaining its high strength. All brasses are considered malleable and ductile and due to its low melting point, brass can also be cast relatively easily. This metal has both good heat and electrical conductivity and it is wear and spark resistant. Other you won’t need to worry about the electrical and spark related characteristics, the other two are important to knife users. The heat conductivity means that even if you are planning on working with this knife in cold environments, you won’t have to worry about it biting into your hand because it will quickly draw in your body heat. And, being wear resistant means that it is going to stand up to many of the elements and resist scratching easily.

The combination of the dark Ebony Dymondwood and the bright brass create an elegant feel to your knife. This knife is going to be a classic and as the years pass, this knife will always be in style. The handle has a slight curve to make your grip comfortable and secure, even after using it for long periods of time.

This knife does not sport a pocket clip.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an automatic knife, sometimes known as a switchblade. The typical switchblade knife has been around since the 1920s and is really not all that different from a folding knife. The handle is going to be longer and thicker than the blade itself because it has to be able to store the blade in the handle. The handle has been hollowed out and has a slit going down the length of one side. IT contains the folded knife blade, a spring, and a locking mechanism that is attached to a button that extends form one of the flat sides of the handle. When the knife blade is hidden, it is folded into the base of the handle form the side, passing through the slit in the side of the handle. This pulls the spring, which catches on a lever connected to the activation button, effectively preventing the spring form exerting force on the hinged base of the blade. When the button is pushed, the lever, which is on a small rocker, is pulled out of the spring’s way. The spring snaps back into its original shape, pulling the base of the blade around das it does so, flipping the blade’s point out from the side of the handle. The only way to then close the knife is to physically pill upward on the hinged hilt before folding the blade back again. The lever attached to the activation button simply clicks into place against that underside the blade the same way as it would against the spring.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this Buck knife is 3.75 inches long, with a handle measuring in at 4.875 inches long. The overall length of the knife is 8.625 inches long. This knife weighs in at 7.1 ounces. This knife is made in the United States of America.

 

The Sheath:

Because this knife does not have a pocket clip attached to it, it does come with a leather sheath. Leather is one of the traditional materials that is used to make a knife sheath. Leather is very rugged, tough, and strong. A leather knife sheath feels and looks good, and the attractiveness of a leather sheath only gets better as it ages. One of the best features about a leather knife sheath is that they are silent, so you can easily pull the knife out or put it back in without making a sound. Unfortunately, leather is not waterproof, so getting it wet a lot or exposing it to extreme heat can dry out the oils in the leather which could lead the sheath to crack. To combat that, oiling the sheath from time to time can help make it last longer.

 

Conclusion:

The iconic Buck 110 folder first debuted in 1964 and quickly propelled the company into one of the country’s most prominent manufacturers to date. The name and style has always maintained its heritage but over the years we have seen emerging variations in both finish and functionality. Buck finally took wind of the popular auto-converted 110 model and now produces the knife from start to finish and is 100% eligible for Buck’s limited lifetime warranty. Each product features a high carbon stainless steel blade that has been hardened to a standard RC 58-60 for ideal performance with both edge retention and corrosion resistance and the handle styling boasts a flared base for proper grip security. This model features a brown Macassar Ebony Dymondwood handle complete with brass bolsters, a clip point style blade in a satin finish, no pocket clip and the black leather sheath provides a convenient belt carry option.

 

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Gerber Coyote Brown Mini Covert Auto Knife Review

Joseph R. Gerber one time described his young knife company as the “birth of an enterprise that grew into a big business.” He nailed it right on the head, and while it was true, it was definitely an understatement. Gerber Gear started in 1939 as a small batch of handmade cutlery sets that were given as holiday gifts turned into thousands of retail accounts around the country. By 1960, Gerber had quickly become one of the most trusted, appreciated, and collected names in knives. Over 70 years since its founding and Gerber is continuing to grow. They are still grounded in the same principles that first guided Joseph R. Gerber’s enterprise, Gerber is a company dedicated to making knives and tools that combine high quality materials and innovative designs that will stand up to a lifetime of use. The sleek, stainless steel sheath knives of the 50s and 60s have given birth to today’s lightweight, open frame clip folders. Gerber is no longer just a knife company. They are now designing, making, and selling multi-tools, axes, handsaws, machetes, headlamps, flashlights, survival kits, and digging implements. These are all the newest directions that Gerber explores with the same standards of quality and design that inform their revered knife making.

“Like the men and women who carry our gear, Gerber is Unstoppable.” With decades of innovation and dedication, Gerber has come far. They are renowned as a master of knives and tools, Gerber’s problem solving, lifesaving products are designed with the unique needs of specific activities in mind. Today, that includes much more than a blade. This company was founded in 1939 and based in Portland, Oregon, Gerber is an American brand whose products have global reach and relevance. Carried extensively by hunters, soldiers, and tradesmen, Gerber’s heritage runs deep. They are now looking toward the future, where tomorrow’s problems will be solved by the next generation of innovations.

All of Gerber’s products are designed and engineered in Portland, OR where many of their products are produced. They also tap their global supply chain to create a wide range of activity specific gear for wide variety of consumers. And no matter what, every product that bears the Gerber name is back by their famous lifetime warranty.

“Quality, reliability, and innovation. For over 70 years this is what our customers have expected form us. And whether our products are used to save time, save the day, or save a life, Gerber always delivers.”

Today we are going to be talking about one of their Mini Covert automatic knives. This is their Coyote Brown version.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM-S30V stainless steel. This steel is a premium grade steel that is made by US based Crucible. This steel is often referred to as only S30V steel, instead of CPM-S30V steel. It has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the US and is typically used for the high-end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. Crucible added vanadium carbides to the steel alloy matrix to bring out the extreme hardness. Dollar for dollar, this is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it does prove tricky to sharpen. Crucible has made a better looking brother, S35VN steel, which is distinctly similar, but easier for manufacturers to work with thanks to the niobium addition. S30V is really common these days and is one of my favorite steels for a blade.

This steel has been finished with a black coated finish. A coated finish helps to reduce the reflection and glare while also reducing wear and corrosion on the blade. Unfortunately, because it is a coated finish, it can and will be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and the blade on the Mini Covert will have to be re-coated if you wish to keep all of the high qualities. As a general guideline, the harder the finish, the more resistant to wear and corrosion, but also the more expensive to add to a knife. A coating finish also eliminated shiny surfaces, which is an absolute necessity if you are using this knife on a mission. Another great benefit is that a coating finish can reduce drag during a cut. Lastly, the coating finish does add aesthetic to the knife. It provides an even, matte surface to the blade.

This blade has been carved into a spear point blade shape. A spear point blade is similar to the needle point blade because they are both good for piercing. However, its point is stronger and it does contain a small belly that can be used for slicing. A spear point is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center lien of the blade’s long axis. Both edges of the knife rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade. They can be single or double edged, although this version of the mini covert is single edged. In contrast to the needle-point blade which has a very sharp but weak point, a spear pint knife has a strong point that is also sharp enough for piercing. However, a spear point blade is only good for piercing if both edges are sharpened. The lowered point is easily controllable and is useful for fine tip work. Spear point blades contain a small belly which can be used for some cutting and slicing applications, however, the belly is relatively small when compared to drop point and clip point knives. A spear point knife is a great choice for the knife lover who is looking for a good balance between piercing and slicing ability. It combines the sharp point of a dagger with the strength of a drop point blade, while maintaining some of the belly that is used for slicing. This is a hybrid shape that is extremely functional.

This blade is a plain edged blade. Plain blades are best when you need precision and accuracy. Plain blades excel at tasks such as carving, dressing an animal, trimming your nails, or peeling an apple. The nice advantage of plain edge blades is their versatility. With a plain edge blade, you directly affect its purpose by changing how you sharpen it. It is standard practice to customize the edge of a plain edged blade to tackle a specific task. For some tasks, a highly polished, low friction edge will do the best job. Tasks such as food prep and wood carving are great examples of when a highly polished edge is ideal. For other tasks, a roughly sharpened edge that has hidden “micro-serration” is ideal and will often work similar to the way a true serrated blade would.

Because this blade is a plain edge blade and features the spear point blade shape, it is an extremely versatile blade shape that is going to meet your needs in a wide variety of situations.

 

The Handle:

Gerber Coyote Mini Covert
Gerber Coyote Mini Covert

The handle of this knife is made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum. This is the most common type of aluminum that is in use today, which has tremendous tensile strength. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles. It is a low density metal, so it is lightweight. However, it does provide a nice, hefty feel to the knife as well. This is a huge benefit of aluminum because you do want the weight or heft to complete tasks, but you also don’t want to be weighed down by a crazy heavy knife. When properly texturized, an aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip that is also comfortable and easy for extended use. However, aluminum can prove to be a very slippery material. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortable cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the more premium knives. One of the other drawbacks to this handle material is that it is susceptible to scratches and dings.

This knife handle has been anodized for color, hardness, and protection. Thus making it a more durable knife handle. The anodization process has made the handle a Coyote Brown, which is a light tan color. Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts. The process is called anodizing because the part to be treated forms the anode electrode of an electrical circuit. Anodizing increases resistance to corrosion and wear and provides better adhesion for paint, primers, and glues than bare metal does. Anodizing changes the microscopic texture of the surface and the crystal structure of the metal near the surface. Thick coatings are normally porous, so a sealing process is often needed to achieve corrosion resistance. Anodized aluminum surfaces are harder than aluminum but have low to moderate wear resistance that can be improved with increasing thickness or by applying suitable sealing substances.

To help with grip, there are three skinny grooves cut across the palm of the handle. This knife has a skinnier top part of the handle, which has two curves cut out for added finger control. Then, the handle flares out to fit well into you hand, and tapers back towards the butt of the handle. This handle does sport a lanyard hole.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is designed for tip down carry only. The clip is black, to contrast with the handle and to match the blade. It is a deep carry pocket clip, helping it fit snugly in your pocket. “Gerber” has been stamped across the middle of the clip. This clip is kept in place by two small, black screws.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an automatic knife that deploys with a lever on the palm of the knife handle. An automatic knife is also known as a switchblade or an ejector knife. This is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a lever on the handle is activated. The blade is unlocked manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed positon.

You do need to keep in mind that automatic knives have strict laws surrounding them in certain states, cities, and areas. Make sure you know your local knife laws before purchasing and carrying this Gerber Mini Covert.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 2.8 inches long with the knife sporting an overall length of 6.5 inches long. The handle measures in at 3.7 inches long. This knife weighs in at 2.1 ounces. This knife is made in the USA.

 

Conclusion:

The Applegate-Fairbairn designed Gerber Covert automatic knife series was modeled after their best-in-class Covert folder model and combines premium elements with user-friendly functionality. This auto knife features coyote brown anodized aircraft aluminum handle scales that showcases a sleek symmetrical design with integrated dual finger grooves for a secure hold despite its size. A front-mounted slide safety has been built into the handle and even portrays a red dot so you know the knife is ready for action. This Mini Covert auto knife also features a plain edge spear point blade comprised of premium CPM-S30V stainless steel in a black finish and the pocket clip is designed for tip down carry only. The stainless steel is durable and strong, and maintains one of the best balances of toughness, hardness, and edge retention. The aluminum handle is durable and strong and very resistant to corrosion. However, it does accumulate scratches easily over time. With the combination of those two materials, you are going to get one of the most durable knives on the market.

Pick up your Coyote Brown Mini Covert Auto Knife today at BladeOps.

 

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SOG TAC Ops Automatic Knife Review

SOG has an interesting history. Instead of the usual beginning to a knife company, SOG’s story actually began in Vietnam. There was a highly classified US special ops unit, with the name of MACV-SOG, where the members would carry a unique combat knife that would last the challenges of the jungle. Fast forward to 1986, where Spencer Frazer was inspired by these specialty knives. Because of them, he founded SOG Specialty Knives. Spencer’s founding mission was to reproduce the original SOG Bowie knife and pay tribute to the special ops unit that created it. He achieved this goal, and the company quickly went from being a single commemorative model to a full line of innovative tools. These knives and tools are field proven by US Special Forces, and have even received the honor of the Navy SEAL knife of choice.

To this day, SOG knives are carried with confidence in any situation, from everyday carry knives, to some of the most demanding situations. “Forged out of tradition, hardened in the field, honed for you.” With this slogan, you can be confident in purchasing and using a SOG knife. These knives are going to help you accomplish whatever task you need it to. And luckily enough for us, SOG has just released a new knife: The Tac Ops Auto.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife has been carved out of CPM S35VN steel. This blade steel was introduced to the knife community in 2009 by Crucible and Chris Reeve. This is a slightly superior version of the S30V steel that they had previously created just for knives. To make it a more superior steel, they used a finer grain structure and actually added small quantities of niobium, which is where they get the N in the name from. By using the finer grain structure, they were able to make this steel easier to sharpen, which is one of the only drawbacks to the S30V steel.  They also improved the toughness of the steel, while maintaining the strength levels. This steel has all the abilities to maintain an excellent edge for long periods of time while also resisting rust and corrosion easily. This steel was also designed specifically for knives, so you know that you are getting all of the qualities you could want in a blade’s steel. The previous version (S30V) was regarded as one of the finest blade steels because it provides you with the best balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness, so just imagine how great this superior version will be.

This steel has been finished with a hardcased black finish. This provides the steel with a sleek black color, more durability, and more resistance to corrosion.

The blade shape on this knife is a straight back blade shape. This knife has a wide curve towards the bottom of the blade. And of course, the back of the blade is completely straight. This is one of the simplest blade shapes. On the SOG Tac Ops, there is some jimping located on the unsharpened edge of the blade, near the handle. The straight back blade shape has a few advantages to it. One is that this is a strong blade shape, so you are going to be able to chop or cut through thicker materials. And, because the back of the blade is flat, the knife can easily be batoned. Because the sharpened edge of the blade is so curved, you can easily skin, slice, and cut with the blade. The tip is oriented towards the top of the blade, but you can actually still use this for drilling. This blade shape is a great all around shape for hunting, survival, and camping. All in all, the two biggest advantages to this blade shape is the strength that is behind the knife, because of the thick spine, and the ability to rest your thumb or fingers on the dull edge of the knife for added pressure while cutting or chopping.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of linen micarta, which is the most common versions of micarta. Micarta is made by soaking thin layers of linen clothes in a phenolic resin. This process will produce a material that is strong, lightweight, and has more personality than the similar G-10. This material was actually originally introduced as an electrical insulator, but is one of the best plastics that you could make a knife handle out of. While this is material does provide you with some excellent benefits, there are a few drawbacks to linen micarta. One of the biggest is that it has no surface texture whatsoever; it is extremely smooth, which makes it very slippery. To combat the fact that linen micarta provides you with almost no grip, the manufacture has to use hand labor to carve texture into the knife. On the Tac Ops, SOG has carved five deep grooves going down the length of the handle. And, they also carved out their initials “SOG” into the handle. With these carvings in the knife, you will have an excellent grip on your knife in wet or dry conditions. Because of the hand labor, the cost of linen micarta goes is pretty expensive, which does add cost to the knife overall. Some of the other benefits of linen micarta is that it is a very hard material that is hard to scratch. Micarta has a reputation of being easy to scratch, because to add texture, the manufacturer has to “scratch it up”. This is not a true statement; it is so hard to scratch and will hold up better than G-10 or carbon fiber. However, just like G-10, linen micarta is a brittle material. This is because the linen is all going in one direction, so while it is extremely strong in that direction, when it gets stressed in other ways, it has the tendency to break. If your knife handle is bumped against a hard or sharp object, the handle does have a tendency to break or chip. The linen micarta handle on the Tac Ops is black.

Another aspect of the knife handle that provides you with a quality grip is that there are deep finger grooves going down the length of the handle. These grooves help the handle contour perfectly in your palm. This is a comfortable knife to hold and use, even for long periods of time.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip that is included on this knife is black to blend in with the handle, the blade, and the hardware. This is a skeletonized pocket clip, with an outline of “SOG” carved into the middle of the pocket clip. This is a low carry pocket knife. This pocket clip is a reversible pocket clip, which makes it ambidextrous friendly, because you are able to carry it on your right or left side.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a folding automatic knife. Like always, because this is an automatic knife, or a switchblade, there are some strict rules and laws surrounding it. Switchblades are not legal in all areas or states, so before purchasing this knife and definitely before carrying this knife, make sure that you know your local knife laws. An automatic knife is a knife that has its blade stored inside of its handle. When you push the button that is on the handle of the Tac Ops, it releases the pressure on the spring inside of the handle and deploys the blade. The blade will then lock into place, so that

SOG TAC Ops Knife
SOG TAC Ops Knife

you don’t have to worry about it collapsing during use. To close the knife, you push the button down and fold the blade back into the handle. There are a couple of major advantages to having an automatic blade. One of them is that you can open your knife quicker than if it was a purely manual knife. However, there are also some drawbacks, one I already covered: it is not legal in all states or cities. Another is that there is are many small, moving parts inside of the handle that have the ability to rust or corrode. If these parts do rust, the mechanism can work slower, or not work at all. You just have to make sure that you are maintaining and up keeping your knife, including the inner mechanisms to maintain its high quality.

 

The Specs:

The Tac Ops is made in the United States of America. The blade on this knife is 3.5 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.11 inches. The overall length of the Tac Ops is 8.2 inches long, with a closed length measuring in at 4.7 inches long. This knife weighs 4.6 ounces.

 

The Pros of the Tac Ops Auto:

  • The steel chosen for the blade is a superior steel.
  • The steel has a fine grain which makes sharpening easier and gives the finished product a more polished look.
  • This steel resists rust and corrosion effortlessly.
  • This steel has a high toughness, without sacrificing any of its strength.
  • This steel maintains its edge for long periods of time.
  • Because this steel has been specifically designed for knives, it provides you with all of the qualities that you could desire in a blade.
  • The finish on the blade is a hardcased black finish, helping the blade to resist corrosion while also adding strength and durability.
  • The straight back blade shape provides you with a thicker steel, thus more strength.
  • Because the back is straight and unsharpened, you can easily rest your fingers or thumbs on it to add more pressure.
  • There is a large, curved belly, which is excellent for slicing or skinning.
  • This blade is an excellent all around blade.
  • The linen micarta handle is strong while still maintaining its lightweight characteristics.
  • The linen micarta handle is hard to scratch up.
  • The finger grooves contour perfectly in your palm, making this a very comfortable knife to use.
  • You will have a secure grip on this knife always, whether it is in wet or dry conditions.
  • The pocket clip is reversible.
  • The automatic knife opens quickly and efficiently.
  • This knife is made in the USA.

 

Cons of the Tac Ops Auto:

  • The steel is one of the more expensive options on the market.
  • The tip is fine, which makes it more prone to snapping off if used incorrectly.

 

Conclusion:

Spencer Frazer based his original knife design off of the highly specialized special ops group that had to battle in the jungle. These knives were built to be durable and capable of accomplishing almost any survival task. After his first knife was such a hit, he expanded his product base and his knives have been widely popular. His company has developed a reputation of producing classic knives that are able to stand up to almost any task that you can throw at it. SOG has recently released a new knife called the Tac Ops Auto.

Spencer started this knife off with a superior steel. This steel has been designed specifically for knives, so you know that you are getting all of the benefits out of it. It has the perfect balance between strength, toughness, and edge retention, all while being easy to sharpen and very resistant to corrosion. The blade is finished with a black finish. The straight back blade shape provides the user with strength to perform most survival tasks while having the belly for your daily tasks. The linen micarta handle is black to match everything else, while providing you with strength without weighing you down. The reversible pocket clip is an excellent addition.  Get your TAC Ops knife here at BladeOps.

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Pro-Tech Strider PT Automatic Knife

Pro-Tech Knives, LLC is a knife company that has been around since 1999. They are a family owned company who designs and produces high quality American Made knives. Pro-Tech strives to use only the finest materials that are available and use the newest high tech manufacturing processes. Because of this, you know that your knife is innovative, modern, and will last you a lifetime. To keep quality of their knives high and customer satisfaction higher, they manufacture their knives in small batches, around 12,000 each year. By keeping their batches smaller, they can take the time to hand fit and finish each individual knife, creating a level of quality that is hard to come by on factory made knives.

Pro-Tech has collaborated with high end knife makers and have also produced knives for the U.S. Military and a couple of police departments. Some of their most well-known knives are the Runt J4 and the Godson. Pro-Tech recently came out with a brand new knife that I’m sure will be just as big of a hit. They named this new knife the Dark Blue Strider.

 

The Blade:

ProTech PT Strider Auto Knife
ProTech PT Strider Auto Knife

The blade on this knife is made out of the high end stainless steel 154CM. This steel is made by Crucible, who produces ground breaking and high quality steels. To create this type of steel, Crucible took the regular 440C steel and added Molybdenum. This extra Molybdenum helps the steel have fantastic edge retention and great levels of corrosion resistance. This steel is relatively easy to sharpen, when you have the correct equipment. This steel is tough enough to get the job done. 154 CM stainless steel has many similar qualities to S30V, although slightly inferior, for a much more inexpensive cost. You have a couple of options when it comes to the knife finishes. There is a black finish, a stonewash finish, or a bead blasted finish. The bead blasted finish is created by shooting small ceramic or glass beads at the blade with a high pressure system. This creates a more matte finish, reducing reflections and glares. However, it does create micro abrasions in the surface, so your blade will be more prone to rusting or corroding. This finish gives you a gray look to it. The stonewash finish is created by tumbling the blade around with pebbles. This finish easily hides scratches and reduces glares and reflections. This finish is the most silver out of all of them.

The shape of this blade is the versatile drop point blade. This shape of blade is perfect for an everyday, all-purpose knife. This is a durable shape that can really stand up to any task. This shape of blade gets its name because the unsharpened edge of the blade runs from the handle to the tip in a slow curve. Because of this curve, it creates a lowered, or dropped, point. There are a handful of advantages to having the tip on your knife lowered, one of them being that you will have more control over your blade with a lowered tip. Hunters especially love the drop point shape because it allows them to do precision work without piercing the organs while they are skinning their game. Another one of the advantages to having the tip of your blade lowered is that it adds strength to the tip. The tip is on the broader side of things, especially compared to a clip point, but because of the broadness, it is much more durable than that of a clip point. Because of the strength behind the point, this shape is great for tactical and survival knives. One of the characteristics of the drop point blade shape that makes it so versatile is that it sports a large belly area. This belly allows your blade to excel at slicing. With all of the benefits of a drop point blade, it can seem like there are no disadvantages to it. This is almost true, except for with a broad tip, this blade is not going to be able to pierce or stab as well as a clip point would. This shape of knife is great for every situation, whether it is the expected or unexpected.

This knife has two options for the edge. The stonewash and bead blasted versions are both plain edged. Plain edged blades are going to be easier to sharpen, because they do not have the teeth that a serrated edge does. The plain edge excels at shaving, peeling, and skinning. When people prefer a serrated blade, it is usually because serrations can cut through harder and tougher materials. However, when a plain edge blade is sharp enough, it can also cut through those hard and tough materials. There are two options for the black finish: a plain edge and a combo edge. The combo edge is popular because it gives you the best of both worlds; you get the plain edge for the easier tasks and the serrated portion for the trickier tasks that are presented to you.

On the unsharpened edge of the blade, near the handle, there is a series of thick jimping. Jimping is the notches down the spine of the blade that help to provide grip on your knife.

 

The Handle:

The handle on the Pro-Tech Strider is made out of T6-6061 aluminum. Aluminum is a very durable material. One of the biggest advantages about aluminum is that it provides you with the hefty feel that many knife lovers long for, without actually weighing you down. This is because aluminum is a low density metal that is very lightweight. This version of aluminum, the T6-6061 allow, has incredible strength behind it. This allow is also the most common type of aluminum used today. Aluminum is very strong and very resistant to corrosion. There are a few drawbacks to aluminum though. One, aluminum is a cold material. If you work in a cold environment or live in an area that experiences winter, this knife is going to bite into your hand. Another drawback is that aluminum is a slicker material. Pro-Tech, to avoid having no grip on the handle, has added jimping in a few places. It also has a deep finger groove to provide you with extra grip. The last drawback to aluminum is that it is prone to scratches and dings. To combat the accumulation of scratches on the Dark Blue Strider, Pro-Tech has anodized the aluminum. There are many benefits to the anodization process. This process adds strength and durability to the knife. The most obvious benefit of this process though is that it adds color to the aluminum. Pro-Tech has anodized the Strider to a dark blue.

One of the most defining aspects about the Strider’s handle is the shape of it. The handle has a slow, triangular shape to it, wider at the butt than it is at the top. The butt of this handle has an angled portion with jimping on it. This slightly flared butt will provide you will better grip and better control over your knife.

 

The Pocket Clip and Hardware:

Both the pocket clip and all of the hardware on the Dark Blue Strider is black, matching the black versions of the blade and contrasting with the stonewashed blade. This pocket clip is sturdy. The pocket clip can carry your knife tip up and only on the traditional side of the handle. With the black hardware and black blade, this knife has an elegantly modern look to it. The only exception to the black hardware is the bead blasted version of the Dark Blue Strider. This version has gray hardware to match the blade.

 

The Mechanism:

The Dark Blue Strider is an automatic, or switchblade, knife. Like always, automatic knives have pretty strict laws behind them that vary depending on where you live. Make sure you know your local knife laws before purchasing this knife and especially before carrying or using this knife. A switchblade knife works by pressing a button to automatically open the blade. There is a spring encompassed in the handle of the blade that has significant pressure on it when it is in the closed position. When the button is pressed on the Strider, the spring is released, popping the blade out of the handle. A black thumb stud on the blade stops the blade when it opens all the way. The blade is locked into place. When you want to close this knife, you press the button again, which unlocks it, and push the blade back into the closed position.

 

The Specs:

The overall length of the Dark Blue Strider is 6.4 inches; this knife is on the smaller end of the spectrum. The closed length of this knife is 3.65 inches long, which will fit comfortably, securely, and well concealed in your pocket because of the small size. The blade length on this knife is 2.75 inches long, big enough to get the job done, but again, everything about the Strider is big things in small packages. This knife weighs 2.5 ounces.

 

Pros of the Dark Blue Strider:

  • The steel of the blade has great edge retention and corrosion resistant properties.
  • The steel offers only slightly inferior qualities to S30V, but for a much lower price tag.
  • The steel is easy to sharpen.
  • The steel is tough enough to get the job done.
  • The drop point blade shape is the most versatile out of the blade shapes.
  • The lowered point gives the user better control and extra strength.
  • The belly on the drop point blade shape gives you plenty of room to slice.
  • The plain edge is easy sharpen and excels at shaving, peeing, and skinning.
  • The combo edge allows you to cut the thicker and tougher materials.
  • You have the option of three different finishes, all with their own pros and cons.
  • Pro-Tech has added jimping to the blade to give the user better grip and control.
  • The aluminum handle is strong and tough.
  • The aluminum has been anodized to add a dark blue color.
  • The aluminum is lightweight, but still provides you with a hefty feel behind it.
  • Aluminum is very resistant to corrosion.
  • The slightly flared handle gives the user more control over their cuts.
  • The pocket clip and hardware are black to match the blade; giving you a very aesthetically pleasing look.
  • The automatic mechanism will open quickly and efficiently.

 

Cons of the Dark Blue Strider:

  • The pocket clip has only been fitted for traditional carry, so it is not ambidextrous friendly.
  • The pocket clip only allows the knife to be carried tip up.

 

Conclusion:

Pro-Tech has released many knives that are huge hits in the knife communities. This company chooses to keep their knife batches low so that they can give each individual knife the attention that it deserves. Pro-Tech hand fits and finishes every single knife to provide the user with a quality that is hard to find in factory made knives.

The Dark Blue Strider is the newest of their masterpieces. They started with a tough steel to get the job done and gave the user three different options for the finishes. The blade shape is the most versatile of them all: the beloved drop point. The user also has the option to decide between getting a plain or combo edged blade. The handle as a unique shape to it, giving you the most control. The durable aluminum handle has a modern dark blue color to it. With the Pro-Tech Dark Blue Strider, they gave you a perfect auto knife in a small package. You are not going to want to put this knife down.

 

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Kershaw Launch 7 Automatic Knife Review

Kershaw was founded in 1974. Since the very beginning, they have had one mission: to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to won, carry, and use. Inspired by this mission, Kershaw has built each of their knives with the highest quality. Kershaw chooses appropriate, high quality materials. When you pair the great materials with intensive craftsmanship, you get true masterpieces. Kershaw also has a commitment to innovation. They have actually pioneered many of the technologies that are today’s standard in the knife community. Some of their most popular innovations have been the SpeedSafe Assisted Opening Knives, knives with interchangeable blades thanks to the Blade Traders, and one of the more recent ones is the Composite Blade technology. This last technology allows Kershaw to combine two different types of steels into one blade. This lets the user experience the best of both worlds with their blade. Kershaw has combined two steels to create a knife with excellent edge retention, but the other steel is known for strength, so they put the second steel on the spine. Because of their commitment to innovation, they will also keep innovating and bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knives.

One aspect of Kershaw’s reputation is that people will own a Kershaw knife for a lifetime. This is a true story, because they do use such great materials. Kershaw has said that even their inexpensive models are impressive.

Kershaw is actually a sub brand of Kai USA Ltd. Kai has been the leading blade producer of Japan for over 100 years now. The whole Kai community has vowed to take an innovative approach to product development.

Once you purchase one Kershaw knife, you are going to want more. So be prepared. Whether this is your first Kershaw knife or your 50th, the brand new Launch 7 Automatic knife will be a game changer.

 

The Blade:

The blade on the Launch 7 is made out of CPM 154 steel. The CPM means that it is made with Crucible’s Particle Metallurgy. CPM will result in a slightly superior steel that is tougher and has better edge retention than regular 154CM steel. Not only that, but because of the Powder Metallurgy, the steel has better toughness, while still being easier to sharpen than regular 154 CM steel. The last big benefit that the Powder Metallurgy is that the finished polished result will be better than the other kind of steel. CPM 154 steel is a pretty hard steel because the manufacturer has added Molybdenum. Although it has less Chromium content in the steel, the steel still sports excellent corrosion resistance. This steel has a good balance between being hard and being tough; you don’t really lose out on either side of the spectrum with CPM 154 steel. If you have the right equipment, this steel is not that hard to sharpen. This steel is often used in blades that are going to be used in heavier cutting or harder tasks, so you know that the Launch 7 will be able to stand up to what you throw at it. All in all, this is a high quality steel.

 

The coating on this steel is a Diamond Like Coating, or DLC. Coating finishes are good because they add corrosion and rust resistance while also preventing many reflections or glares. Because this specific DLC is black, you really won’t get any reflections or glares out of it. The only drawback to a coated finish is that it will eventually scratch off. There is not much you can do to stop it from scratching off over time or with heavy use. The harder the coating is, the longer it will take to scratch off. And the DLC is one of the absolute hardest coatings that you can find. Instead of just being “painted” on, it is actually chemically bonded to the steel itself. Because of this, you get a stronger and more durable blade.

 

The blade on the Launch 7 has been ground into a clip point shape. Clip points are a great blade shape option if you are hoping to be able to use your knife for any task. Clip points are a successful all-purpose blade shape. The blade shape is formed by having the unsharpened edge of the blade run straight from the handle until it stops about halfway up the blade. Once it stops, it actually drops and continues to the point of the knife. This drop almost looks like that portion of the blade has been cut out, or clipped off, which is where it this blade shape got its name. On the Launch 7, this cut out portion is straight. Because the point on this blade shape is lowered, you have more control over the blade and tip. This is a great benefit if you are hoping to perform detail work with the Launch 7. While this sounds very similar to the drop point blade style, this shape has a fine and sharp point, unlike the broad point of the drop point. This is an added benefit because you have a much better ability to stab with a clip point. However, it is also a drawback, because this thin tip is fairly weak and much more likely to break off. Another fantastic feature about the clip point shape is that it sports a large belly that is great for slicing.

Kershaw Launch 7 Auto
Kershaw Launch 7 Auto

The Handle:

The Launch 7 sports an anodized aluminum handle. The anodization process is the most common finish for an aluminum handle. While the aluminum handle is already extremely durable and hard, the anodization process does add a smidge of extra protection. However, even though the aluminum is very durable, it is prone to scratching or dinging. The anodization process helps to add a layer of protection against the scratches. Another, more obvious, benefit of having the aluminum on this handle anodized is that it creates a new color on the aluminum. This is not a coating, because it actually molecular draws out a different color. On this specific knife, the anodization process has turned the aluminum into a dark gray. A drawback to an aluminum handle that anodizing cannot fix is that aluminum is a very cold metal. If you are hoping to use the Launch 7 in a cold environment, just be prepared and either have gloves or be ready for the handle to feel like it is biting into your skin. One characteristic of aluminum that many knife lovers enjoy is that it has a very hefty feel to it. When you are using a knife with an aluminum handle, you feel like it has weight behind it and that it will be able to stand up to your hardest tasks. However, aluminum is a very low density metal, so it is very lightweight. Because of this, you will get the hefty feel that you crave, but the handle won’t end up weighing the knife down, like a stainless steel handle would. The last key aspect of having an aluminum handle that we will touch on is that aluminum is a slippery material. To provide you with a little bit extra grip, Kershaw has drilled four small arches into the bottom portion of the handle. This also provides the handle with an industrial look to it. Kershaw has also drilled a deep finger groove into the handle to provide you with extra grip while you are using this knife. Although the handle looks like all angles and edges, it actually fits comfortably in your hand and will stay comfortable even after long periods of use.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is black to match the blade and hardware. The Launch 7 has pre drilled holes in the handle that enables the user to rotate the pocket clip four different ways. You can either carry the knife tip up or down, or left or right handedly. That is a very convenient feature because it allows you to carry your knife as comfortably as possible. Plus, it is ambidextrous.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is an automatic knife. Because of this, make sure that you know your local knife laws before buying or carrying the Launch 7. Automatic knives, or switchblades, have strict laws surrounding them. An automatic knife has a spring taut spring inside of the handle. When the button is pushed, the spring releases and the knife opens. Switchblades can open very quickly and very efficiently. This knife also features the Push-button Lock. This mechanism locks the blade open during use, so that you don’t have to worry about the blade folding while in use. The Push-button Lock also releases with the push of a button for storage. When you are ready to close an automatic knife, you unlock the knife, push down the deploy button, and manually fold the knife closed.

 

The Specs:

This knife has a blade length of 3.75 inches long. When the Launch 7 is opened, the knife measures in at 8.6 inches long, with a closed length of 5 inches. This knife weighs in at 3.2 ounces.

 

The Extras:

The Launch 7 was made in the USA, which is a big bonus. Tim Galyean is the designer behind this knife. There is also an integrated back spacer on this knife.

 

The Pros of the Launch 7:

  • The steel is a high quality steel with a great balance of strength and toughness.
  • With the right equipment, this steel is very easy to sharpen.
  • The steel has great edge retention.
  • The DLC is the best coating that you can get and will stay on the longest.
  • The DLC helps to cut down on reflections and glares while also providing corrosion resistant properties.
  • The clip point shape offers a big belly that is great for slicing.
  • The clip point shape can stab easily.
  • The clip point shape is a great all-purpose blade shape that is going to get the job done.
  • The lowered tip is great for performing detail work.
  • The aluminum handle has been anodized helping to add strength and durability.
  • The anodized aluminum is less prone to scratches than plain aluminum.
  • The aluminum handle is strong, tough, and durable.
  • The aluminum handle gives a hefty feel without adding too much weight.
  • The pocket clip is four way reversible.
  • The automatic mechanism opens quickly and efficiently.
  • The knife sports the Push-button Lock.
  • Made in the United States of America.

 

Cons of the Launch 7:

  • The DLC will eventually scratch off, just like any other coating finish.
  • The clip point shape has a weak tip that is prone to breaking off.
  • The aluminum handle is prone to scratches and dings.
  • The aluminum handle is pretty slick.
  • The aluminum handle will feel super cold in your hand when using it in a colder environment.
  • Because it is an automatic knife, it will not be legal in all states or areas.

 

Conclusion:

Kershaw has been around for a little over four decades now and since the very beginning they have been producing innovative and ground breaking new technology. Their knives have helped to set the new standard in the current knife market. Kershaw’s goal is that when you purchase a knife from them, you can own that knife for your lifetime. They also know that if it is your first knife, you will be coming back for more, and if it is a second, third, or maybe even tenth knife, that you already appreciate the quality that is Kershaw.

To create their newest in their knife collection, they started off with a high quality steel that is strong while still being tough, very durable, maintains an edge well, and is still relatively easy to sharpen. They threw on a Diamond Like Coating and ground the steel into a versatile clip point shape. To match the excellent blade, they added a durable aluminum handle in a dark gray color. The four-way reversible pocket clip is an excellent added bonus to this automatic knife. The Launch 7 will be the perfect addition to your knife collection.

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The Benchmade Infidel Knives Reviewed

For over twenty-five 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, they 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 fight to the enemy with the Infidel, our 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 LifeSharp Lifetime Service and Warranty are the foundation of our commitment to excellence. They live it and breath it, and they know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.

Benchmade builds knives for the most demanding customers, form special operations forces to elite backcountry hunters, and building for the best requires the best raw materials. They select premium blade steels and pair them with aerospace-grand handle materials to create premium grade knives and tools that provide great value for their customers.

The mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. Is it easy to actuate? Can it be opened with one hand? Is it ambidextrous? Will it absolutely not fail when you need it the most? These are critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism.

The Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CNC machining centers that offer control and tolerances commonly found in the aerospace industry—often to tolerances half the width of a human hair. Our commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured.

Benchmade knives are all supported through a team of skilled technicians.

Benchmade Infidel
Benchmade Infidel

Their only function is to ensure your Benchmade is in optimal working condition for your entire life. This service is called LifeSharp, which is a name that speaks for itself. When you send your knife to the Benchmade LifeSharp team, the knife is completely disassembled and all worn part are tuned and replaced. The knife is then lubricated and reassembled, a sharpener applies a factory edge to the blade and the knife is shipped back to you. This is all at no cost to you.

Benchmade has a rich history that dates back over 30 years. Benchmade is the product of many dedicated employees, a never quite demand for excellence and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service and innovation. 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.

Over here at BladeOps, we are some of Benchmade’s biggest fans. So we decided to celebrate this May as Benchmade month. We are hoping that you will celebrate with us.

 

The Blade:

The Infidel family has its blades made out of D2 steel. This is a high end tool steel that is often referred to as a “semi-stainless” steel. This is because it falls just short of the required amount of chromium to qualify as full stainless yet it still provides a good amount of resistance to corrosion. On the other side, D2 steel is much harder than other steels in this category such as 154CM or ATS-34 steel and as a result holds its edge a little better. That said, this still is not as tough as many other steels and exponentially tougher to sharpen. In fact, you will really need to be a master sharpener to get a fine edge on this steel formula.

With this family of knives, you can choose between two different steel finishes. The first finish that you have the option of is a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive. This abrasive material is usually a sandpaper. The main characteristic that you get with this blade finish is that it shows the bevels of the blade very well and it also showcases the lines of the steel. The satin finish is going to give you one of the most traditional blade finishes that you are going to come across. The satin finish works to cut down on glares and reflections, but is also nowhere near matte.

The second option of a blade finish that you get with the Infidel family of knives is a coated finish. The coated finish is black and reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. However, ALL coatings can be scratched off after continuous heavy use and the blade would have to be recoated at that point. With a coating finish, the harder the finish, the more resistant to wear and the more expensive to add to a knife. Coatings can prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust. Quality coatings add cost to a knife but provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance.

Benchmade Mini Infidel
Benchmade Mini Infidel

The blades on this family of knives has been carved into a double edge dagger shape. The dagger blade shape is all about the point. This shape is also known as a needle point blade. It is a double edged blade whose primary purpose is piercing and stabbing. This blade shape is composed of 2 symmetrical sharpened blades that taper to a very thin sharp point which pierces easily into soft targets. The two sharp edges reduce the profile of the knife and let it cut in on both sides equally. This makes them a favorite blade design for self-defense in close combat situations. Dagger blades are popular among military and police personnel because of their ability to be easily concealed. However, there are also disadvantages to the dagger blade design. Because the geometry of the blade lacks a belly and contains quickly thickening edges, it is not good for slicing or slashing. Also, because the tip is very sharp and thin, it is weak and has a tendency to break when used on hard targets. This blade shape is the perfect option for knife owners who are looking for a blade design known for piercing.

Because it is built to be a stabbing knife, both edges of the blade have a plain edge. The plain edge provides you with cleaner cuts than if you had a serrated edge.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this family of knives is made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum. This is the most common type of aluminum that is used today and it has tremendous tensile strength. This is a very durable material for knife handles. It has a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. When an aluminum handle is properly texturized, and aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip that is also comfortable and easy for extended use. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortably cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the premium knives. The aluminum handle has been anodized black for hardness and protection.

The handle has a wide flare and the top and butt of the handle. This helps with grip and to protect your hand from slipping. In the palm of the hand there are tight grooves going across the width of the knife.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip that is attached to the Infidel family of knives is dark sliver, deep carry pocket clip. It has “the Infidel” stamped across the length of the clip. This is a MALICE CLIP, which means that it is MOLLE compatible. This knife has been designed to attach the pocket clip tip down only.

 

The Mechanism:

The Infidel is an Automatic opening Out the Front knife. This style of knife is also known as an OTF, sliding, or telescoping knife. This is a style of pocket knife with a blade that opens and closes through a hole in one end of the handle. Contrast this with the majority of knives, which are either standard folding knives or are fixed blade sheath knives. OTF only refers to the basic portion of the knife’s mechanical operation where the blade slides parallel with the handle to deploy. An automatic OTF knife blade travels within an internal track or channel in the same manner as a manual slider or gravity knife but the automatic main spring drive and button mechanism enclosed within requires a switchblade handle to be thicker or longer than a similar size gravity or sliding knife. The Infidel is a double action out the front knife. Double action OTF knives deploy and retract with a multifunction button and spring design. Although movie magic often shows double action OTF automatic knives being powerful enough to open when pressed against an opponent and then pushing the butt, in reality, they are not strong enough to do that. You can chalk that idea up to movie magic. Double action sliding autos are only spring powered 10 to 12 millimeters; afterwards, kinetic impetus slides the blade to full open.

The firing button sits toward the top handle. It is slightly oversized for easy access. When you push the button, the blade snaps out quickly like you would expect forma Benchmade. When you slide the button back down, the blade closes tight and quick. This double action OTF knife is built tough and ready for action.

 

The Purpose:

The family of Infidels has been designed as a series of tactical knives. This is also considered a fighting knife which is a knife with a blade designed to inflict injury in a physical confrontation or between two or more individuals at very short range. Fighting knives were traditionally designed as special purpose weapons, intended primarily if not solely for use in personal or hand to hand combat. This singularity of purpose originally distinguished the fighting knife form the field knife, fighting utility knife, or in modern usage, the tactical knife. The tactical knife is a knife with one or more military features designed for use in extreme situations, which may or may not include a design capability as a fighting or combat weapon.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.91 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.118 inches. The open length of this family of knives is 8.91 inches long and it has a closed length of 5 inches long. The handle thickness on this knife is 0.59 inches. The Infidels weigh in at 4.9 ounces. These knife has been made in the United States of America and is MOLLE compatible. The sheath type of this knife is Cordura.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade describes this knife they say, “In addition to the incredibly stable, fast action and the rugged, pure tactical nature of the knife, the Infidel has a cool factor that is hard to describe without physically experiencing it.” The Benchmade Infidel double action out the front automatic knife, designed by McHenry & Williams, is a favorite amongst law enforcement and military professionals around the globe and is praised for its rugged construction, solid durability, and an X factor of pure awesomeness that one can only experience when owning one.  The design of the black anodized 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum handle boasts a milled “step” design that transitions seamlessly into the design of the slide trigger. On the black dagger style blade, you will find a blood groove that runs the length of the almost 4″ blade on both sides that further enhances the already aggressive nature of this black class model. Furthermore, the enlarged slide trigger is housed on the broad side of the handle scale allowing for better accessibility, even while wearing gloves. This model features a black aluminum chassis, a dual-edged dagger style blade in a black finish and the deep carry pocket clip is statically designed for tip down carry only. Due to the size, this knife comes with a MOLLE compatible nylon sheath and malice clip for multiple carry options.
Come celebrate Benchmade month today at BladeOps and pick up your favorite Infidel today.

 

 

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Microtech LUDT Automatic Knife Review

For over 20 years, Microtech has been working to build a long standing tradition of innovation and quality with each knife that leaves their facility. In a world of ever changing technology, we strive to ensure their customer have access to the latest advancements in knife making, while still continuing to maintain a humanized element throughout the manufacturing process. As the company continues to grow, their focus remains the same: delivery revolutionary products that exceed the industry’s ever increasing desire for groundbreaking ideas. They appreciate their customers, for the years of loyalty and support, and for motivating them to better themselves so that they may continue to rise above your expectations. Some memorable moments from Microtech’s history:

  • In 1994, the very first knife prototypes were created in Anthony and Susan Marfione’s apartment.
  • In 1994, the release of the UDT marked the official beginning of Microtech. The company began renting a building in Vero Beach, Florida, which quickly expanded to nearby empty buildings as the demand for a larger facility became apparent.
  • In 1995, they released the HALO, which has become a prominent line through Microtech’s history and earned the cover spot of the 1995 edition of Fighting Knives magazine.
  • In 1999, the Ultratech, the most popular Microtech ever, first hit production.
  • 1999 was also the second year in a row which Microtech earned Blade Magazine’s Manufacturing Quality Awards.
  • In 2000, Microtech released the company’s first balisong knife, the Tachyon, which was later followed by the Tachyon II and the Metalmark in 2012.
  • In 2004, the initial run of the Currahe was limited, with the first few placed in the hands of those best suited to test the knife, the United States Special Forces.
  • In 2007, Microtech’s sister company, Microtech Small Arms Research engineered the original STG-5.56, becoming the first knife company to establish a firearms division.
  • In 2015, they had significant collaborations with Heretic Knives, Sean Marfione, Kohi hara, Borka Blades, and Munroe Knives.
  • 2015 also saw the introduction of the thin Blue Line law enforcement special Ultratech.
  • In 2016 production porotypes of the SBK and kitchen knife collaborations with Borka Blades were released at Blade Show.

Microtech’s knives are amazing knives. All of them are durable and reliable. Today, we are going to be talking about the LUDT (Large Underwater Demolition Team) knife series. This series has a wide variety of different options to choose form, so we will be going over all the different options that you are presented with.

 

The Blade:

The blade on the Microtech LUDT’s are made out of Bohler Elmax steel. This is a European powder metal steel that is used in higher end knives, Elmax has an advanced formula and the result is a very good all-around steel, a generation ahead of formulations like 154CM. When this steel first came out, it was pricey, but the competition has driven it down to reasonable levels, which makes it a decent value. This steel is a high chromium vanadium molybdenum alloyed powdered steel with extremely high wear and corrosion resistance. Elmax is stainless but acts in many ways like a carbon steel. You get superb edge holding and relatively easy sharpening while maintain a healthy resistance to rust. Many of Microtech’s blades are made from Bohler’s Elmax. This is because they have found it to provide the best balance between corrosion resistance and edge retention. This is a high performance knife stele, and is a third generation powder metal technology that is noted for its fine carbide distribution with extremely low inclusion content for virtually no chip out.

With the blade, you can get a very wide variety of blade finishes. The two most common ones that you are going to find on a LUDT knife is either a black coated finish, a bronze/bead blasted finish, or a satin finish. Coatings provide corrosion resistance, but they will scratch off eventually and at different rates, depending on the quality of the coating. One of the most common coating finish is the black coating that you are going to get on the LUDT knife. The black coating is matte.

A satin finish is the most typical knife finish. It is slightly less shiny than a polished finish and it is less expensive than both the mirror and polished finishes. It has decent corrosion resistance but less than polish or mirror finished blades.

The bronze/bead blasted finish is also one of the common finishes that you are going to find on this knife series. A bead blasted blade is dull and non-reflective and it is just what it sounds like—the steel is literally blasted with plastic beads to reach the desired finish. This type of finish also hides scratches pretty well, but the stonewash accomplishes this a little better. A bead blasted finish has a rougher texture and is therefore more susceptible to corrosion. These blades are covered with a bronze finish.

You can also get the LUDT with a custom finish. This is from their Star Wars series: The Jedi Knight, which has a blue and satin blade, the Sith Lord which has a red and satin blade, the Jedi Master which has a green and satin blade, and the Storm Trooper which has a white blade.

Microtech LUDT Auto Knife
Microtech LUDT Auto Knife

The LUDT has been designed as an everyday carry knife and the perfect blade shape for that is the drop point that they chose. This is a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything. A drop point knife blade is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. The most recognizable knife that feature a drop point is the hunting knife, although it is used on many other types of knives as well, including the larger bales in Swiss army knives. To form this blade shape, the edge of the knife runs straight from eh handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, creating a lowered point. This lowered point provides more control and adds strength to the tip. While the tip on the 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 sue, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. Drop point knives also feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. It is this large belly that makes the LUDT such a perfect everyday carry blade. The blade shape is ideal for everyday carry and simple chores, because the drop point profile is very popular and used on a variety of pocket knives and fixed blades. The only downside is that this blade’s broad tip isn’t suited for piercing, especially compared to clip or spear point blades.

With the LUDT knife series, you have the option between either a plain edge or a serrated edge blade. A plain edge is a blade that is one continuous sharp edge and it is far more traditional. They serve a much wider purpose as their most useful application is what most of us think of when we think of using a knife: a strong, steady pressure. Another key advantage of a plain edge is that it doesn’t snag or fray when cutting through some ropes, however, it may simply slip. A plain edge cuts cleanly. Serrated edges are blades that have some kind of toothed or saw like edge ground into the cutting surface. These are intended to be used much like a small saw, with a back and forth motion. They’re great for cutting through belts and ropes, fabric, and various other textured materials. Serrate blades also work great on substances that are soft, such as bread or tomatoes. However, cutting with a serrated edge often causes fraying and when the blade is dull it’s much more difficult to sharpen and requires specialty sharpening equipment. It really comes down to what you are most likely going to be using your blade for and personal preferences.

 

The Handle:

The LUDT knife series is mostly made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum. There are a couple of other options for the handle material, but the majority of the knives in this series are made out of the aluminum. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles. It is a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. The most common type of aluminum that is used today is the 6061-T6 aluminum alloy which has tremendous tensile strength. When properly texturized, an aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip that is also comfortable and easy for extended use. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortably cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the more premium knives.

The handles that are made out of the aluminum have been anodized for color, hardness, and protection. There is a very wide variety of different colors of anodized handles such as: black, tan, bronze, red, green, turquoise, burnt orange, purple, and silver.

The handle has four long grooves that go down the length of the knife. The handle has been contoured to fit your hand comfortably. There has been a lanyard hole carved out of the handle, which comes in use in many different situations.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is held in place by tree small screws.

 

Microtech LUDT, 135-1TQ
Microtech LUDT, 135-1TQ

The Mechanism:

This series of knives are all Automatic knives, or switchblades. This is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. Most switchable designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened positon. The blade is unlocked by manually operation a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position. However, switchblades do have some strict laws surrounding them. This means that before purchasing your favorite LUDT knife, you need to be aware of what your local knife laws are. This knife might be illegal to purchase or carry in your area.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.375 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 8 inches long, with a closed length of 4.625 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.6 ounces. It was made in the USA.

 

Conclusion:

The LUDT is based on the U.D.T, Microtech’s original compact automatic folder.  Re-released for the first time in years, this larger, updated version features a milled handle, with lanyard hole, and recess for the firing button.  The latest model also features a revised blade profile and tri-angle hardware. Microtech’s L.U.D.T. auto knives are back–and we couldn’t be more excited. This premium automatic knife was first produced in the 1990’s and quickly established itself as one of Microtech’s fastest selling side open automatic knives. The L.U.D.T (Large Underwater Demolition Team) comes made out of Elmax steel that is strong, durable, and reliable. This steel has some of the highest corrosion resistance that you are going to find and is a premium grade steel that is going to give you good bang for your buck. The drop point blade shape is useful in a wide variety of circumstances and helps to make this a great EDC option. You have the option of a wide variety of different blade steels and you can choose between a combo edge or a plain edge. The handle is made out of aluminum, which is very durable and very resistant to corrosion and rusting. This material has been anodized in almost any color that you can picture. With so many options, this automatic knife is sure to please. Pick up your favorite version today at BladeOps.

 

 

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Benchmade APB Automatic Knife Review

The Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. Proud of his creation, he took this first Bali-Song into a local guns tore and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”

In 1980, Les incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Utilizing the rudimentary technology available to him at the time, Les began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song: The model 68. Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving its name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987, due to its inability to control quality, price, and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; This time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality, and customer relationships. The company would now need a new name.

While 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 hand 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 position in the market—even to this day.

In 1990, Benchmade moved from California to a facility in Clackamas, Oregon and began producing knives there under the name Benchmade, Inc. This was a major turning point, as the company was now located in the epicenter for knife manufacturing. Many technological advancements were now possible and Benchmade became the first company to now and employ a high power laser cutter, allowing for work with steels too hard to stamp. The company also became the world leader in automatic knife manufacturing, which is still true to this day, and began to supply military units.

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.

This May, we are celebrating Benchmade month over here at BladeOps. To celebrate today, we are going to go over the Auto APB family of knives. This family of knives has a variety of different options that you get to choose from and we will be going over those today.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this family of knives is made out of 154CM steel. This is a high end steel. This is also a relatively hard steel which is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. It has decent toughness good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. It is not too difficult to sharpen with the right equipment. You’ll find a lot of quality pocket knives from top manufacturers like Benchmade using 154CM steel.

You are presented with two different blade finishes for the Auto APB family of blades. The first option is a satin finish. This finish is created by sanding the blade repeatedly in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive. This finish works to show the bevels of the blade and also to showcase the lines of the steel. This is one of the most traditional blade finishes that you are going to come across.

The second option that you have with the blade finish is a coated finish. This is a black coated finish that works to reduce the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. On the flip side, ALL coatings can be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and the blade would have to be re-coated. Coatings can prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust. A quality coating can add cost to a knife but provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance.

The Auto APB family of knives has been designed to be an everyday knife. To create a perfect EDC knife, Benchmade chose to carve the blade into a drop point style blade. This is a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to almost anything. This is also one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. The most recognizable knife that features a drop point is the hunting knife, although it is used on many other knives as well. To form the shape of this blade, the back or unsharpened edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, creating a lowered point. This lowered point provides more 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 sue, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. Because the point on a drop point blade is easily controllable, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. One of the last reasons that drop point knives make exceptional EDC knives is that they feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. The only real disadvantage of the drop point blade is its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piecing than the clip point. However, this broad tip provides point strength that is not found on clip point knives.

With this family of knives, you are presented with two edge options. You can choose from a plain or combo edge. Plain blades are one continuous sharp edge and are far more traditional. They serve a much wider purpose as their most useful application is what most of us think of when we think of using a knife: a strong, steady pressure. Another key advantage of a plain edge is that it doesn’t snag or fray when cutting through ropes, though with other ropes, particularly ones made of plastics or other synthetic materials, the blade may simply slip instead of cut. A plain edge cuts cleanly. A serrated edge are blades that have some kind of toothed or saw like edge ground into the cutting surface. These are intended to be sued much like a small saw, with a back and forth motion. They’re great for cutting through belts and ropes, fabric, and various other textured materials. Serrated blades also work great on substances that are soft, flexible, or can be crushed easily with downward cutting. The downside to the serrated blade is that especially with ropes and fabrics they can easily cause fraying. And when the blade dulls, it’s much more difficult to sharpen and requires specialty sharpening equipment. A serrated blade does not cut as cleanly as a plain edge knife. Often sharpening requires taking the blade to a professional sharpener, especially if the sharpening is long overdue.

Benchmade APB Auto Knife
Benchmade APB Auto Knife

The Handle:

The handle is made out of anodized aluminum. This handle is anodized black and aluminum is usually anodized for color, hardness, and protection. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles. It is a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. When properly texturized, an aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip hat is also comfortable and easy for extended use. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortably cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the more premium knives.

The handle has a big finger guard to protect your fingers. There is also a large finger groove. The rest of the handle has been carved to fit comfortably in your hand even for long periods of use. Across the palm of the handle, there is a series of diagonal grooves to provide a secure grip. On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole carved into it. This lanyard hole is a fantastic addition for your EDC knife. The lanyard will help you draw out your knife quicker, you can put the knife deeper into your pocket and just have the lanyard hole hang out, and it can help with a solid grip when you are taking on those tougher tasks.

On the very butt of the handle, there is a glass breaker.

 

The Clip Point:

Like most Benchmade models, the pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but it is eligible for left or right hand carry options. This is a standard pocket clip.

 

The Mechanism:

This family of knives sports an ambidextrous push button automatic opening mechanism. Automatic knives are also known as switchblades and they do have strict laws surrounding them in many states and cities. Before you purchase an APB Automatic knife, make sure that you do know your local laws. This knife might not be legal for owning or carrying. An automatic knife is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. Most switchblade designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened position. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the APB automatic family of knives is 3.52 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.124 inches. The overall length of this knife is 8.64 inches long and it sports a closed length of 5.12 inches. The handles on this knife are 0.63 inches thick. This knife weighs in at 6.28 ounces. This family of knives is made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is talking about this series of knives they say, “The first ever ambidextrous push-button automatic. The APB features push buttons on both sides of the handle, because you don’t always get to choose which hand to use.” The Benchmade APB (Ambidextrous Push Button) fami.ly includes both spring assist and automatic models and offers a truly ambidextrous utility. This newly developed versatile design allow the blade to be fired as well as released with either of the oval shaped silver buttons found on both sides of the handle. The spine safety on this series has been elongated to make engaging and disengaging more user friendly—even with gloves.

The steel on this knife is 154CM stainless steel which is a hard, high end steel. This is one of the tougher steels that has exceptional edge holding properties. You can choose between a combo or plain edge, which both make for great EDC knife edges; however, they both sport different advantages. Both of the finishes work to prolong the life of the blade by cutting down on corrosion and wear. The handle is made out of aluminum, which is a very durable material and is also very resistant to corrosion. This is a phenomenal knife that will change the way you think of EDC knives. Come celebrate Benchmade month with us and pick up your favorite version of the APB Automatic family.

 

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Benchmade 3150BK Impel Automatic Knife Review

Benchmade has a rich history that dates back over 30 years. Benchmade came about as a result of many dedicated employees, a never quite demand for excellence, and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service and innovation. Benchmade really began in 1979 when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives that he had played with as a kid. When Les was in high school, he had taken a shop class, so he put those skills to use and blueprinted his dream knife. He eventually met Victor Anselmo who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade prototype. Les paired this prototype with handles that Les sourced form a small machine shop in California. Les actually assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. He was proud of his creation and took it to a local gun store when the owner asked him if he could make 100 more.

In 1980, Les incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment that this company used was actually purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Les utilized the rudimentary technology that was available to him at the time and began building handmade, custom Bali-Songs, or butterfly knives. He was building these knives along with Jody Sampson, who was grinding all of the blades in the operation. It was the success of these custom butterfly knives that spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song: The model 68.

Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives and evolved its name from Bali-Song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987, due to its inability to control quality, price, and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; This time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality, and customer relationships. The company now needed a new name.

Les recognized that while there was “handmade” and “factory made”, it was actually “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand 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.

Benchmade has a wide variety of quality tools. When you are carrying a Benchmade, you can count on your knife to be reliable and durable, no matter the situation. At BladeOps, we respect the high quality products Benchmade produces and are celebrating them during the month of May.

 

The Blade:

The blade on the Benchmade 3150BK Impel is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by Crucible, which is a US based company. This steel has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the US and is typically sued for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. The introduction of vanadium carbides brings extreme hardness into the steel alloy matrix. Dollar of dollar, this is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. One of the only drawbacks to this formula of steel is that it does tend to be tricky to sharpen.

The finish on this blade is a black, coated finish. A coated finish reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. However, ALL coating can be scratched off after continuous heavy use and at that point the blade will have to be recoated. Coatings can prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust. Quality coatings add cost to a knife but provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance.

The blade on this version of the Impel has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is a fantastic all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything. A drop point is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. One of the most recognizable knife styles that features a drop point blade is the hunting knife, although it is use on many other types of knives as well. To form the shape of this style of blade, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curve manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that provides more 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. And because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. Because the point on a drop point blade is so easily controlled, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. One of the reasons that this style of blade is so versatile is because of the large belly area that is perfect for slicing. The Impel knife has been created to be an everyday knife, so the large belly is a huge advantage. When you choose this knife, you are preparing yourself to take on all the daily tasks that you expect to encounter, but also the twists and turns that life is known for throwing at you.

The edge on this knife is a plain edge, which is the perfect option for your everyday carry knife. The plain edge is designed to take on a wider range of tasks. A plain edge is going to excel at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. Many people do worry that without the teeth on a serrated edge, you aren’t going to be able to cut through the thicker materials, like branches and ropes. While this is mostly accurate, when you get a plain edge sharp enough, you will be able to tackle those materials. A bonus of the plain edge is that it is going to be easier to sharpen, because of the lack of teeth. And, you can usually get a finer edge on a plain edge as opposed to the serrated edge. Because this knife does sport a plain edge, your cuts and slices are going to be much cleaner.

Benchmade Impel Knife
Benchmade Impel Knife

The Handle:

The handle on this knife has been made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum. This is the most common type of aluminum that is used today and it has tremendous tensile strength. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles. It’s a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. This is a big benefit, because you want to feel like you have weight behind the knife that is going to be able to tackle your tasks, but you don’t want a crazy heavy knife. When it is properly texturized, an aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip that is also comfortable and easy for extended use. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortably cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium, which tends to be found on the more premium knives.

To add texture, Benchmade has added a G10 inlay to the palm portion of this handle. G10 is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. This material is similar to carbon fiber, except that you can get it at a much cheaper 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 material is very tough, hard, lightweight, and strong. It is very easy to add checkering or other patterns to the handle to provide you with sufficient texture.

The aluminum on the handle is a classic silver and the G10 inlay is a classic black. The handle has a comma shape to it, with the butt of the handle being much thinner than at the front portion. The Impel does have a finger groove, that is slightly more shallow than a traditional finger groove, but also slightly elongated. This works to give you a very comfortable grip, with the handle molding perfectly to your handle.

 

The Pocket Clip:

This is a standard pocket clip that is made out of stainless steel. The knife has been designed to attach the clip tip down.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is a push button automatic knife. Automatic knives are also known as switchblades or flick blades. This is a type of knife with a folding blade that is contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. Most switchblade designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened position. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position. The ability to purchase or carry switchblades or automatic knives continues to be heavily restricted or prohibited throughout much of the world. In the USA, switchblades remain illegal to import from abroad or to purchase through interstate commerce since 1958 under the Switchblade Knife Act. But, in 2009, an amendment provides that the Act shall not apply to spring assist or assisted opening knives. This means that the Impel might not be legal to own or carry in your area, so make sure that you know all of your local knife laws before you purchase or carry this knife.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Impel measures in at 1.98 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.100 inches. The overall length of this opened knife is 5.03 inches long and it sports a closed length of 3.06 inches long. The handle on this knife is 0.35 inches thick and the Impel weighs in at 1.39 ounces. This knife has been made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

The Benchmade 3150BK Impel auto knife a push button design with an integrated slide safety. This Lerch design automatic knife has a plain edge blade of S30V premium stainless steel with a BK1 black tactical coat. The steel has the perfect balance between strength, toughness, and edge retention—which is a hard balance to achieve. The black tactical coat does cut down on glares and reflections while also prolonging the life of the blade; however, all coating finishes will be scratched off after periods of heavy use. The Impel also has a machined aluminum handle with black G10 inlay. The aluminum is hard and durable while the G10 inlay provides you with plenty of texture to have a solid grip on this everyday carry knife. The Impel comes with a removable tip down steel pocket clip. This small automatic knife falls in the Cali Legal class with a blade just shorter than 2″. The Impel has extremely fast action and tight lock up. Especially nice is the slide safety that is right next to the button. Makes for easier one handed operation. This is the perfect carry auto for the office but it’s solid construction makes it just at home pretty much anywhere.

Come help us celebrate Benchmade month this May at BladeOps and pick up your Impel knife today.

 

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