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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Benchmade Phaeton OTF Knife Review

Heckler and Koch, or H&K, is the leading company of firearms today. They have a rich history that started with turmoil but a dynasty was quickly built. They have been producing many firearms for decades now. While they have the machinery and necessities to build great firearms, they wanted to broaden their supplies. They formed a collaboration with Benchmade because Benchmade has been creating fantastic knife designs for years. With these two leading companies, they created many innovative knives. Their collaboration contract stated that Benchmade could keep the designs that came out of it, but H&K got to put their brand name on it. This would widen their audience but provide an excellent knife. These knives were designed to be high quality, yet affordable knives for first responders, police, military, and the common citizen. These knives have gained a wide following.

Recently this partnership came to a conclusion.  Benchmade doesn’t follow the common quote, “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke”, because the H&K Turmoil definitely wasn’t in need of fixing, but Benchmade decided to improve and upgrade18 it anyways. And I am so pleased that they did. The Turmoil was already an excellent knife that could meet the demands thrown at it. They switched up the blade and the handle and created a masterpiece. This new knife is called the PHAETON.

Benchmade Phaeton OTF Knife
Benchmade Phaeton OTF Knife

The Blade:

The steel of the Turmoil is D2 steel. D2 is a suitable steel. D2 can stand up to tasks. D2 is a semi stainless steel that is hard and tough. D2 is a great steel, especially if money is one of your biggest concerns when searching for a knife. The PHAETON has an upgraded steel of S30V steel. S30V is a premium steel used on high end knives. S30V is a hard and tough knife. It has actually been known to be tough on grinders, which means that it is going to hold a better edge than D2 will and it will hold its edge for longer than D2 would have. S30V steel was produced by Chris Reeve and Crucible Steel, which is a New York based steel manufacturer. This kind of steel as actually specifically produced for use on knives and is most commonly used in high-end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. This means that it is going to have high corrosion and rust resistant properties, making it an excellent steel for tactical and survival knives, because you never know what environment you are going to be in during these scenarios. This is a hard and tough steel that can definitely take a beating. This is a more expensive steel than the D2 is, so the PHAETON knife is going to be more expensive than the Turmoil is. However, this upgrade is worth every single dollar because S30V offers higher quality characteristics than D2 could ever give you. This new knife will be able to stand up to harder beatings, longer periods between sharpening, and more extreme scenarios than the Turmoil ever could have.

The blade is cut into a drop point shape. This is the most versatile knife shape around. Many people think that a drop point and clip point are very similar, however, a drop point blade is usually thicker, especially near the tip. A drop point blade has a very broad tip, so it isn’t going to be a great knife for piercing and stabbing. But, that is basically the shapes only drawback, so it’s a pretty great shape. But, even though the broad tip does not offer good stabbing abilities, it offers fantastic strength to the tip and knife. Because of this strength, the blade makes for fantastic tactical or survival knife. The shape sports a pretty solid belly, so slicing is going to be an easy task. The easy slicing makes for a great every day carry knife, because much of your typical tasks include quick slicing. This shape is often times found on hunting knives, because the lowered tip gives control, so it is hard to nick any of the organs. This shape is the perfect shape for all purpose knives, hunting knives, tactical knives, survival knives, and everyday carry knives. It can take a beating and can perform almost any task that you throw at it.

The blade on the Turmoil was a good blade, it could take on most tasks and was relatively durable. D2 was a softer steel, so there was more maintenance required. Benchmade kept the fantastic blade shape and upgraded the steel to give you a truly premium blade. This is a blade that is going to take on the tasks that are thrown at it and last you a lifetime.

 

The Handle:

The PHAETON handle is still made out of T6-6061 anodized aluminum. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that works to add color to aluminum. If the process uses higher voltage, the process gives you a darker color. If the process uses lower voltage, the aluminum will result in being a lighter color. Aluminum is commonly anodized to provide color to the aluminum. The PHAETON has been anodized in either a black or dark earth colored handle. Aluminum is also anodized to add for hardness and protection. This is a light knife, but it looks hefty, not cheap or plastic-y. The aluminum will give you the feel of being study without requiring all of the extra weight. This specific kind of aluminum is one of the strongest aluminums that you can purchase. However, if not properly textured, this knife is going to be extremely slippery. On the Turmoil. There were a couple of deep grooves on the top and bottom part of the palm section of the handle. For the PHAETON, Benchmade decided to switch this up and instead do a checkered texture pattern at the portion of the handle nearest to the blade. Aluminum is very resistant to corrosion, so this handle is going to take less maintenance than others. There are a few drawbacks to having an aluminum handle though. For starters, this is going to be a cold material. That means if you are usually working in colder environments, this handle can start to feel like it is biting into your hand. Another drawback is that even when it is properly texturized, it is not going to give you as solid a grip as some of the other knife handle materials. Lastly, while it is a strong material, it is not going to be as strong as a Titanium handle, which would be more expensive.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is a double-action out-the-front automatic knife. Like always, this is an automatic knife, or a switchblade. These aren’t legal in all states or areas in the United States. Before purchasing and most definitely before carrying, make sure you know your local laws. An out the front opening knife is a blade that opens and closes through a hole in one end of the handle. This is different than many knives where the blade folds out from the side of the handle. An automatic OTF knife has a blade that travels within an internal track, but it is released by a spring and button mechanism. A double action just means that the knife opens and closes with the button instead of a single action that just opens with it.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the PHAETON is 3.45 inches long. The blade is 0.112 inches thick. The overall length of this knife is 8.08 inches long, but when it is closed it is 4.63 inches long. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.47 inches. While this knife is pretty large, because of the aluminum handle, it only weighs 3.01 ounces.

 

The Extras:

This knife comes with a reversible deep-carry pocket clip. This means that you can carry your knife either left or right handedly. However, this is only a tip down carry. The deep carry means that it is going to be an easy knife to conceal in your pocket. It also means that it is going to be secure and snug in your pocket; you don’t have to worry about the clip slipping off and losing your knife. But, the deep carry also means that it is going to take a smidge longer to draw out of your pocket.

 

Pros of the Benchmade PHAETON:

  • The steel on this knife is extremely durable and will hold a fantastic edge for long periods of time.
  • The steel on this knife is very resistant to rust and corrosion, so it is going to take less maintenance.
  • This is a full stainless steel, instead of the Turmoil’s semi stainless steel.
  • The steel can take a heavier beating than most knives.
  • The shape of the blade is one of the most versatile blades.
  • The tip on the blade is broad, so it is stronger and can take a beating.
  • The tip on the blade is broad and lowered, so it is easily controlled.
  • The blade shape has large amounts of room for slicing.
  • This is a great knife for tactical, survival, and every day carrying.
  • The aluminum is a light material, keeping the weight of the knife down.
  • Can get the handle in black or dark earth color.
  • Aluminum is resistant to corrosion.
  • The handle is strong and tough.
  • Comes with a reversible, deep carry pocket clip—making it an ambidextrous carry knife.
  • Automatic knife, so it is going to open quickly.
  • Double action knife, so it opens and closes with the button.

Cons of the Benchmade PHAETON:

  • The steel is harder to sharpen than a softer steel.
  • Automatic knives aren’t legal in all areas, so this might not be a legal knife for you to carry.
  • This is not a tip up carry pocket knife.

 

Conclusion:

While the Heckler and Koch Turmoil was a great knife, the Benchmade PHAETON is an exceptional knife. What started out as a great design got even greater when Benchmade decided to revamp this knife and make it a higher quality knife. The Turmoil was a good knife, but it was designed to be an affordable knife to reach the biggest group of people. The PHAETON is designed to be the best. Benchmade started by upgrading the steel from D2 to S30V. This makes it stronger, tougher, and more durable. The edge will last longer and the blade is going to be able to take a bigger beating than previously. Benchmade decided to keep the same blade shape, and I’m glad they did, because a drop point is one of the most versatile shapes you can find. The broad tip is strong and is not prone to easy breakage. There is enough room to make slicing a breeze. The whole blade is extremely strong because of the shape. The handle comes in two color options. Benchmade decided to revamp the texturing and changed it from deep grooves to a smaller checkered pattern. This provides you with a more secure grip. The deep carry pocket clip allows you to safely and securely keep your knife in your pocket. While the Turmoil did its job and would have been a good option for your everyday carry knife, the PHAETON is an exceptional knife that can be your tactical, survival, or everyday carry knife choice.  You can find each of the different PHAETON OTF automatic knives available on our site, right here.

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Kershaw Launch 3 Automatic Knife Review

Kershaw was established in 1974 and ever since, they have been making excellent knives. Kershaw is actually a sub brand of Kai USA Ltd. Kai is a known company, especially in Japan, where they have been the leading producer of premium blades for over 100 years now. Kai has a commitment to innovation; they take an innovative approach to their product development, their research, their production, even their marketing and distribution functions.

Kershaw, as a member of the Kai group also has a solid commitment to innovation. Interestingly enough, this commitment to innovation has spurred the technologies in the knife community. Kershaw helped to pioneer the use of many of these technologies and their work with advanced materials have become the standard in the knife industry. One of these technological advancements include the SpeedSafe assisted opening. One of the world’s favorite technological advancement is that they have created knives that have interchangeable blades with their Blade Traders. One of my favorites with these technological inventions is the Composite Blade technology. For example, Kershaw will create a blade that uses a steel known for its excellent edge retention near the sharpened edge of the blade. But, for the spine of the blade, they will use a steel that is known for its strength. Because of this new technology, you can truly get the best of both worlds when it comes to your blade.

Kershaw’s founding mission is to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. To accomplish this mission, Kershaw has chosen to use the highest quality materials. They believe that if the knife isn’t up to your standard, then it is not up to their own standards.

Kershaw knives truly last a lifetime. And you know that when you are carrying a Kershaw knife, you have a lifetime companion that is able to stand up to the tasks that you throw at it. Kershaw has said, “if this is your first Kershaw, be prepared. You just may be back for more. If it’s not your first Kershaw, welcome back.” They know that their knives are excellent, and once you use your new Kershaw, you will also know just how excellent they are. One of their popular knives is the Launch. And they just released a new version of it. This is the Launch 3 Automatic.

 

Kershaw Launch 3 Auto Knife
Kershaw Launch 3 Auto Knife

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM 154 steel. This is a high end steel. There is regular 154 CM steel which is also a high end steel. The 154 CM steel has extra Molybdenum, so it is a very hard steel. Because of the strength behind it, it can hold an edge extremely well. Surprisingly enough, even though this steel has less Chromium, it has fantastic levels of corrosion resistance. Even though this knife has a very high level of strength, it is also very tough. The CPM in this steel name stands for Crucible Particle Metallurgy. This Particle Metallurgy makes finer carbide particles, which results in a slightly superior steel. This superior steel is tougher and has better edge retention than the classic 154 CM steel. This Particle Metallurgy also helps to more easily grind the steel. Although, the regular 154 CM steel is already relatively easy to sharpen. The finer carbide particles also allow for you to get a finer edge and the polished finish looks better than if it did not have this treatment done to it. This new version of the Launch 3 features a combo blade. This means that part of the blade is a plain edge, and the bottom part of the blade is a serrated edge. The combo blade gives you the best of both worlds, because you get the benefits of the serrated edge, while also not missing out on the advantages of having a plain edge.

One the older versions of the Launch 3, Kershaw used S30V steel instead of CPM 154 steel. This steel also is able to hold an edge for long periods of time. However, S30V steel has a higher resistance to rusting or corrosion. All in all, this is one of the best steels on the market, and is considered a premium steel. It has the perfect balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention.  However, S30V steel is a more expensive steel, so with the slight downgrade, the knife is a little more affordable.

 

There are a couple of different finishes to this steel. The classic and newest Launch 3 design has a black Diamond Like Coating on it. This coating is not painted on the steel like many of the other styles of coatings. This is actually molecularly bonded to the steel, so while it will eventually scratch off, it won’t scratch off as fast as other coatings will. There are a few pros and cons to having a coating finish. One of the pros is that coatings provide a barrier between the steel and the oxygen, so rust and corrosion levels are cut down. Another pro is that they are usually a darker color, so reflections and glares are significantly cut down. However, the biggest con to having a coating finish is that they will all eventually scratch off. The harder the coating, the higher quality it is, which also means that it is more expensive. The DLC is one of the hardest and thus, the most expensive coating finishes on the market.

One of the other finishing options is a stonewash finish. On this version of the Launch 3, the blade is not black, but rather an even gray. The stonewash finish is created by tumbling the steel around with an abrasive material, which is usually small pebbles. After this, the blade is smoothed over and polished. This finish creates a textured, rugged look. The resulting color is an even, matte, gray finish. Because of the matte, glares and reflections are cut down. Another big benefit to the stonewash finish is that it easily hides fingerprints and scratches, which cuts down on maintenance time.

The last finish option available for this knife is a Black Oxide Coating. This coating blackens the steel and is used to add mild corrosion resistance. It also helps to minimize light reflections.

Like I previously said, these last two finishing options are finish options that are on the older versions of the Launch 3.

OD Kershaw Launch 3 Auto
OD Kershaw Launch 3 Auto

The shape of the blade on the Launch 3 is a drop point blade. The drop point blade shape is one of the most versatile blade shapes on the market. The shape is created by having the back of the blade slowly curve until it meets up with the sharpened edge. This creates a lowered point, which helps to give you more control over your cuts. Because it is lowered, it ends up having a broader tip, which provides more strength and durability behind the tip. This way, you can use the tip of your blade more confidently than you would otherwise be able to. The drop point blade shape is a fantastic option for your everyday blade carry, because it features such a large belly. This large area for slicing lets you complete all of your everyday tasks. One of the only drawbacks to this shape of blade is that the tip is broader than most, so you really don’t have many stabbing or piercing capabilities.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this new version of the Launch 3 is an aluminum handle. This is a very durable and strong material. One of the biggest benefits to this handle material is that it provides you with a very hefty feel without actually weighing the knife down. This is a lightweight material, because of how low density of a metal that aluminum is. However, aluminum is prone to scratches, so to combat the scratches, Kershaw anodized the handle. The anodization process is the most common finish for aluminum knife handles. This finish adds hardness and protection to the handle, so it will cut down on how many scratches the aluminum would normally wrack up. It also works to add a color to the handle, in this case, black. In older versions of the Launch 3, the anodization process has also added an Olive Drab color to the handle. Another drawback is that aluminum is a cold material, so if you are working in a cold environment, I would not recommend having a knife with this handle.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is black to match the rest of the handle. There are pre drilled holes in the handle that allow the user to reverse the pocket clip in four different directions. You can either carry your blade with the tip up or down, or change which whether or not you carry your blade left or right handedly. This is a big benefit because it allows you to carry your knife as comfortable as possible for each specific user.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an automatic knife, so like always, make sure that you know your local knife. Automatic knives, or switchblades, have some very strict laws surrounding them. They are not legal in every state or city, so be sure you can legally own this knife before purchasing and carrying. An automatic knife is a knife that has the blade stored inside of the handle. Also in the handle is a tightened spring. To deploy the knife, you push down the button and the spring untightens and the blade will pop out. On the Launch 3, the name of this mechanism is the Push-button Lock. This is when the blade is locked open during use, and when you push the button again, the lock releases and you are able to store your knife.

 

The Specs:

The Launch 3 Automatic was made in the United States of America. There is also an integrated back spacer on it. The blade on this knife is 3.4 inches long. When the Launch 3 is opened, it measures in at 7.8 inches, with a closed length of 4.4 inches. The Launch 3 weighs 3.4 ounces.

 

The Pros of the Launch 3 Automatic:

  • The high end steel is tough, strong, and has great edge retention.
  • The high end steel is also resistant to corrosion.
  • The DLC adds strength, durability, and increases corrosion resistance.
  • The DLC is one of the hardest coatings on the market, so it will add the most durability and take the longest to scratch off.
  • Has a combo edge.
  • The drop point shape is one of the most versatile blade shapes.
  • The drop point has a large belly with ample cutting room.
  • The drop point has a lowered point that is broader than most, giving you some of the most strength.
  • The aluminum handle is strong, durable, resistant to corrosion, and very lightweight.
  • The anodization process makes the handle more resistant to scratches.
  • The pocket clip can be reversed in four different directions.
  • This is an automatic knife, which will deploy faster than other knives.
  • This is made in the USA.

 

Cons of the Launch 3 Automatic:

  • The steel is a little tricky to sharpen, unless you have the correct tools.
  • The DLC will eventually scratch off.
  • The drop point blade shape has a broad tip that takes away many of your piercing and stabbing abilities.
  • The aluminum handle will still get scratched, even with the anodization.
  • The aluminum handle will feel extremely cold if you are in a cold environment.
  • Automatic knives are not legal in many areas of the United States.

 

Conclusion:

Kershaw is a trusted, reliable knife company that will provide you with one of the most quality knives that you have ever used. To create their newest knife, they used a high end blade steel and cut it into one of the most versatile blade shapes. To compliment the great blade, they added a durable handle. Everything combines to make a truly exceptional knife. If you have liked the previous Launches, you are going to love this version of the Launch 3.

 

 

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ProTech Rockeye Auto Knife Review

Specs ProTech with a Les George Design

ProTech Knives is a family owned knife company that has been in the knife making industry since 1999. Ever since day one, this fine group has been producing knives that people everywhere enjoy. Les George began making knives in 1992 and a few short years later enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1997. Having traveled all around the world and his experience in the military has given him the knowledge needed for a good hard working knife. He knows what is helpful in most situations and what is useless. Together, with over many decades of experience, ProTech, and Les George have united to create the Rockeye automatic knife. This knife will blow you away, just wait and see.

 

ProTech Rockeye Auto
ProTech Rockeye Auto

Specs

One of the interesting things about the Rockeye is that it shares its name with a bomb used to destroy tanks and other armored vehicles. It’s no coincidence that the Rockeye knife shares this powerful name. Listed below are the different specs for the knife.

  • Product Type: Automatic
  • Locking Mechanism: Plunge Lock
  • Overall Length: 8.38″
  • Weight:  4.53 oz.
  • Handle Length: 5.00”
  • Blade Length: 3.38″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.130″
  • Blade Steel: D2
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Finish: Various Available
  • Handle Material: Aluminum
  • Handle Color: Various Available
  • Sheath Included: No
  • Lanyard Hole Included: Yes
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up
  • Made in the USA

 

Now if that didn’t do enough damage, let’s dive a little deeper into what this explosive knife is all about.

Hard Quick Auto

Automatic knives have always been a popular choice. They offer many advantages that typical folders, fixed blades, and even a spring assisted knives do not offer. One benefit to owning an auto is its deployment speed, especially with the Rockeye. Not only is it quick, but it can be fired off with one hand. The Rockeye is abnormally quick and like its explosive counterpart, it packs a hard punch. Its kickback recoil is almost comparable to that of a gun. It’s that hard of a kick.

An automatic knife is a better option because of the ease of opening the knife. Literally, by pressing the button, the blade will flash open in a blink of an eye. Until this little button is pressed on the handle, this blade is not going anywhere.

Having these features come in handy during many instances. Is a hand of yours in a bind or holding an object that is in need of cutting? An automatic knife can be opened instantly with one hand to perform its job. In many high-stress conditions, having a knife ready in a blink of an eye can preserve a life for one more day. It is different than a traditional knife and brings something new to the knife industry.

 

Blade

Steel

The steel you will find on the Rockeye is the extremely durable D2 blade steel. The steel was first developed around the time of World War II. D2 steel is a wear-resistant steel used for various rigorous tasks and can be found on cutting tools such as shears and planers. It contains 1.5% carbon and 11.0 – 12.0% chromium; additionally it is composed of 0.45% manganese, 0.030% max phosphorus, 0.030% max sulfur, 1.0% vanadium, 0.7% molybdenum, and 0.30% silicon. It is a popular knife steel due to its edge retention. One setback the steel has is that when it becomes dull, it is harder to sharpen. Due to its chromium and carbon content, it is often considered a semi-stainless steel. D2 is a high carbon tool steel. Compared to a steel like 1095 it is not nearly as tough but it is capable of holding an edge for a long time. D2 is also much more resistant to corrosion than 1095. Being a tool steel, this knife is able to accomplish heavy duty tasks.

Style

Your standard blade, the drop point, is the blade featured on the Rockeye. It is one of the more common blade shapes in use today. The unsharpened edge of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slowly curved manner. The large edge for cutting makes it perfect for slicing. Another advantage that the drop point has is its tip. The point on the blade is sharp and is thicker than other styles, thus allowing for a stronger tip. The point is also great when it comes to controlling the blade. The drop point is an all-around good blade to have equipped a knife and is popular on knives because of the controllable point and large slicing area.

Finish

Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) is a special finish. Like all other finishings on knives, the DLC is going to get scratched over time. But it will take a lot of time. DLC coatings can last years, depending on how thick the coating is. I’ve had several knives with a black blade. Like any other blade, with time, it began to look used. Personally, if a knife doesn’t look used, why have one? (It’s still important to take care of it.) It is a type of material that displays some of the typical properties of diamond. From a hardness point of view, it is said that DLC is harder than diamond. The way it looks is a matte black finish. Notable benefits of it are its coolness factor, and its low reflectivity. This coating can be helpful in stealth operations that require a tactical knife with low reflectivity. When someone needs protection from corrosion, a DLC coating has some advantages. If one tends to forget proper blade maintenance, the coating can resist corrosion for a longer time. It lowers friction, offers high wear resistance, and enhances hardness. The Rockeye DLC blade coating is not all about looks, it’s about performance. The benefits are obviously important when it comes to knives.

 

ProTech Rockeye Auto
ProTech Rockeye Auto

Handle

Material

The handle on the Rockeye is made of an aluminum alloy. Aluminum is a non-ferrous metal (meaning it does not contain or consist of iron) that is corrosive resistant. It is a very durable material for knife handles. It’s a low-density metal that provides a nice, solid feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. It is strong because of its high strength to weight ratio. Aluminum is often considered to be inferior titanium, which tends to be found on more premium knives. Though inferior to titanium, it is still an excellent handle material.

One downside to aluminum is that if you use your knife during cooler weather, you might find the handle to be slightly uncomfortable.  If left uncared for, aluminum will oxidize. This oxidation appears as white residue and pitting on the surface. Some other things to watch out for with an aluminum handle is that it is susceptible to scratches and dings if you are not careful. Though it may seem to have significant disadvantages, there are many good qualities to this material. The biggest advantages to aluminum are its strength, its light weight, its durability, and its resistance to corrosion.

Design

Though the only real texture on the handle of the Rockeye is a honeycomb hexagonal design, this isn’t some wimpy bug of a knife. The Rockwell’s texture provides a better grip and gives variety to the rest of the smooth handle. Only the front face of the handle has this texturing on it, and it only covers three-fourths of that side. The rest of the handle is smooth to the touch. When the blade is opened, there is a finger groove that adds extra grip. Not only that, but it serves as an extra bit of protection as well. Though not a part of the handle per say, there is jimping on the blade. This jimping extends well into the handle for additional gripping ability. Some other features of the knife include a lanyard hole for your convenience. The pocket clip, only equipped tip up on the backside of the handle, allows the carrier a near discrete carry while in a pocket.

 

Variations

There are many variations available for the Rockeye. Those variations include everything from blade edge, to handle finish. And from blade finish to a completely different knife product. It would be much simpler to go to the website to learn more about it. Go to BladeOps.com for more variation information.

 

Everyday Carry or Tactical Knife

The ProTech Rockeye is a viable tool for everyone. Whether it is for everyday tasks or for the tactical situation, the Rockeye is ready to blow.

Carry Depth

It is never comfortable to carry a large knife in your pocket every day. There is only a small limited size pocket space available. With that being said, the Rockeye is a great knife to carry around daily. The total length of the knife, when closed, is 5.00″ long. For those of you with smartphones, the Rockeye is about the same size as the average phone. If you have room in your pocket for your iPhone or Android device, you definitely have room for the Rockeye. If by some chance you have a small pocket, this knife will easily fit into another pocket; such as that on your backpack. There is no need to worry about the length of this knife.

Weight

Now the Rockeye is pretty dense for its size. Weighing in at 4.40 ounces, the Rockeye is sure to pack a serious punch. As a more heavy-duty knife, its weight is perfect just the way it is. If it were any heavier, then it would be uncomfortable to carry around. And if it were any lighter, the knife would not be able to make as big of an impact when used or it could go unnoticed while in a pocket and fly out unknowingly. I’d say that the perfect weight range for any everyday carry is 3.5 to 5 ounces. The Rockeye easily fits into that range.

Thickness and Width

As far as the thickness and the width go on the Rockeye, it is your average size knife (perhaps leaning towards the larger side). The thickness of the knife is just over half an inch, including the pocket clip. Without the pocket clip, the knife’s thickness would be half an inch. The width of the knife anywhere between an inch and a quarter and an inch and a half. The dimensions of the knife are pretty normal. It will not take up much pocket space although it is slightly thicker than the average smartphone (when in a protective case).

Tactical

If carrying the knife every day isn’t enough for you, there is no need to fret. The Rockeye can be used as a tactical knife. The term “Tactical Knife” often gets thrown around the industry for a variety of reasons. Whether it is a publicity tactic or an actual description of the knife’s purpose, there is a need for a filtering lens to see what the knife is really made for. In the case of the Rockeye, it has many tools equipped on it to make it useful for several different jobs. This is what makes a knife a tactical one.

A tactical knife is a knife with one or more features designed for use in extreme situations. A tactical knife is principally designed to be used as a utility tool, not as a weapon. Folding knives are rarely, if ever, designed primarily for fighting or combat. However, several military organizations have issued folding “utility” knives that were not intended to be used as weapons, but which had tactical features that appealed to military personnel as well as civilians. A knife with aggressive looks such as having a blackened blade and grips do not make a knife “tactical.”

 

Conclusion

This knife is the bomb. ProTech is always coming up with brilliant knives to arm people with. The ProTech Rockeye is a practical tool that you can use anytime and anywhere. Being capable of working as an everyday carry and as a tactical knife makes it great to use every day. The design and construction of this knife allow you to own a knife that is made to last you a lifetime. It will not let you down.

 

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