ProTech Tactical Response 2 Automatic Knife Review

Pro-Tech Knives, LLC is a family owned company that was established in 1999. Pro-Tech strives to make high quality American made knives. Pro-Tech chooses only the best materials that are available and they have a commitment to craftsmanship. Pro-Tech uses the most current high tech manufacturing process that are around to produce an exceptional knife that tis going to last through the years. To keep quality high and satisfaction levels higher, they actually produce their knives in small batches (around 12,000 knives a year) so that they can take the time to individually hand fit and finish each knife. Because they give each knife special attention, you get a level of quality that isn’t normally found on factory knives. Pro-Tech has worked with knife makers such as Ernest Emerson, Walter Brend, and Allen Elishewitz to produce some of the most innovative knives today. Some of Pro-Tech’s most popular knives are the Godson and Godfather. Pro-Tech has designed models for the U.S. Military and several police departments over the years. One of their popular knives is the Tactical Response 2 Auto Knife, which is what we will be discussing today.

Exclusive ProTech TR2 Auto
Exclusive ProTech TR2 Auto

 

 

The Blade:

 

The blade on the Tactical Response 2 is carved out of 154 CM stainless steel. This is a high end stainless steel that is produced by Crucible. Essentially, they took 440C steel and added Molybdenum to upgrade the quality of it. Because of the added Molybdenum, the steel has fantastic ability to hold an edge while maintain excellent levels of corrosion resistance. This is a relatively hard steel that has decent toughness—enough toughness to complete most of your tasks without worry. This steel is not difficult to sharpen, if you have the correct machinery or equipment. 154 CM stainless steel has fair corrosion resistance abilities, but, you will need to make sure to oil your knife periodically. This steel gives you many of the same qualities that S30V steel does, just at a slightly lower level, for a cheaper cost. All in all, this is a good steel. It is not the best steel around, but it will get the job done. It has a good balance between being hard, tough, and corrosion resistant. There are two different options of blade finishes. One blade is the traditional silver and has been bead blasted. The other option is a black blade that has a Diamond Like Coating on it. A bead blast finish is where the manufacturer uses glass or ceramic beads and blasts them at the blade at a high pressure. This process will result in a very even, gray finish. Some pros to having a bead blast finish is that the reflection and glare will be diminished, because it produces a matte finish. However, because the beads create micro-abrasions in the surface of the knife, your blade is going to be more prone to rusting or corroding. If you choose the bead blasted blade, just be aware that you are going to have to put more maintenance into the blade. The second option is the black Diamond Like Coating. This option will also reduce the reflection and glare, because it is dark and matte. The DLC also reduces wear and corrosion, because the blade is literally coated in a material. However, coatings will also be scratched off if you are constantly performing heavy duty tasks with it. Also, the harder the coating, the more expensive it is going to cost. And since a DLC is one of the hardest coatings on the market, the cost of your knife will go up.

The Tactical Response 2 sports a spear point blade shape. This style of blade is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center line of the blade’s long axis. Both of the edges on the blade rise and fall equally to create a point that is directly center in the blade. This shape of blade is very similar to a needle point blade, but it does have a few advantages over the needle point shape. First, the point on the spear point is stronger, so you won’t have to be as concerned over your tip snapping. Second, the spear point blade shape does sport a small belly that will help you when you are slicing. Another advantage to a spear point blade shape is that there is a lowered tip, which provides you with greater control over your blade helping you perform detail or delicate work with the tip. The spear point blade shape is an excellent balance between piercing and slicing. With this style of knife, you really get the best of both worlds: the tip is sharp enough to stab or pierce things and strong enough for you not to worry about it, and the belly is big enough to allow you to slice things, without getting in the way of your other tasks. This is a great hybrid type blade that is going to be versatile and functional.

There are two different options for the blades edge. You can either get a plain edge or a combo edge, meaning that half of it is serrated and half of it is plain. A plain edge grind will give you better control and accuracy while also providing you with cleaner cuts. With a plain edge, it is easier to skin, peel, or shave. Another benefit to having a plain edge is that they are easier to sharpen. On the other hand, serrations are going to be able to perform the harder cutting tasks. Serrations excel at cutting through rope or wood, because the serrations will bite through it. Before deciding, I would figure out what you want your knife to accomplish and then figure out which edge will give you the best benefits. Another thing to consider is that some people love serrations while some people hate them. Getting a combo edge really just comes down to personal preference.

 

 

The Handle:

 

The handle on the Tactical Response 2 is made out of T6-6061 aluminum. Aluminum is a very durable material, especially for knife handles. It has some definite benefits, one being that it is a very lightweight knife, but feels hefty. Many people prefer the heftiness behind it to support them during the heavy duty tasks, and aluminum will give you that. Aluminum is also very resistant to corrosion, cutting down on maintenance time. Unfortunately, aluminum has its drawbacks. One is that it is a cold material; aluminum can actually feel like it is biting into your hand when it gets really cold outside. The second one is that it is prone to scratches and dings. The last one is that aluminum is slippery unless properly texturized. Pro-Tech combats the slickness by adding several areas of engraving. These areas of engraving provide you with fantastic gripping power, so you won’t have to worry about your knife slipping right in the middle of using it. The ergonomics on this handle are also perfect. The curves of the handle fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. There are a few different colors of handles on the Tactical Response 2. The most common color is a simple black handle. But, you can also get your handle in grey.

 

 

The Pocket Clip:

 

This knife comes with a convenient pocket clip to keep your knife secure in your pocket. The pocket clip matches the handle, so it will either be black or grey. This clip is held in place by three screws that have been drilled into the handle. This pocket clip has been designed to carry your knife tip up.

 

 

The Mechanism:

 

The Tactical Response 2 is an automatic knife, or a switchblade. Keep in mind that automatic knives have strict laws in most areas. Make sure you know your local laws before purchasing or carrying this knife. This knife has a button that you push in to activate the opening mechanism. The blade is contained inside of the handle and when you push the button, it will open automatically. To close the knife, you hold down the button and then push on the back, or unsharpened edge, on the knife and then click it into place.

 

 

The Specs:

 

The blade on the Tactical Response 2 is 3 inches long and 0.120 inches thick. When the blade is opened, it measures at 7.5 inches long, with a closed length of 4.5 inches. The handle has a thickness of 0.44 inches. This knife weighs 3.4 ounces.

 

 

The Pros of the Tactical Response 2:

 

  • The steel is a high end stainless steel.
  • The steel has a great balance between toughness, hardness, and corrosion resistance.
  • The steel has two different options for finishes.
  • The bead blasted finish creates a matte look, cutting down on reflection and glare.
  • The bead blasted finish helps scratches to appear not as obvious.
  • The DLC is hard and helps add corrosion resistance to the blade.
  • The DLC also cuts down on reflection and glare.
  • Can get a black or a grey blade.
  • The steel is not difficult to sharpen.
  • The spear point shape has a great balance between being able to pierce and being able to slice.
  • You have the option to choose a plain edge blade or a combo edge blade.
  • The aluminum handle is durable, strong, and very resistant to corrosion.
  • The aluminum handle gives you the feel of a heavier knife without actually being a heavier knife.
  • You can get the handle in black or grey.
  • The ergonomics of the handle help it to fit perfectly in your hand.
  • Pro-Tech has engraved areas on the handle to provide you with great grip.
  • Pocket clip is sturdy and reliable.
  • This is an automatic knife, so it will open quickly and efficiently.

 

 

The Cons of the Tactical Response 2:

 

  • The steel choice is decent at all of its properties, but doesn’t really excel at any of its properties.
  • The spear point blade shape has a great balance between piercing and slicing, but doesn’t excel at either.
  • The pocket clip is not reversible and can only carry your knife tip up.
  • This is an automatic knife, so it is not going to be legal in all areas or states.
ProTech TR2 Auto Knife
ProTech TR2 Auto Knife

 

Conclusion:

 

Pro-Tech is an exceptional knife company that gives each and every knife special attention by hand fitting and finishing the knife. They have collaborated with many top notch knife makers and have produced knives for the military and a few different police departments. When you purchase a Pro-Tech knife, you can be sure that it is going to be a high quality knife that has some of the finest materials and newest technology used to create it. Pro-Tech did just that when they designed and produced the Tactical Response 2.

They started out with a good, high end steel. When the blade on a knife is made out of a good steel, the knife is going to be able to complete most tasks. This steel is hard, tough, has fair resistance to corrosion, and maintains an edge well. They provide the user with two different finishes to give you the blade that you want. This knife has been designed to be an all-purpose knife, so they provided you with a fantastically shaped blade. Pro-Tech chose to use a spear point blade because it can pierce and stab and also slice things. You can really do it all with a spear point blade. To complement a great blade, they needed a great handle to go with it, so they chose to use aluminum. This is a lightweight, yet durable material that is very resistant to corrosion. This knife fits perfectly in your hand and gives you exceptional grip. This knife really is a must for your collection or to carry for everyday use.

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Benchmade 10 Year Anniversary Infidel Knife Review

The Benchmade 10 Year Anniversary Infidel

 

For over three decades, Benchmade has been producing exceptional knives. Benchmade began by a man named Les, who wanted a butterfly knife that used higher quality materials, while using the newer technology to create a great knife. He had taken a shop class in high school, so he put those skills to use and blueprinted his dream butterfly knife. He later met Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever Bali-Song prototype. Les himself finished it in his home garage and promptly took it to a local gun shop and asked if they could produce 100 more. For the first few years, this company focused on only making butterfly knives. Within the next seven years, they expanded their products to encompass fixed blades and the traditional folding knives.

The Infidel is one of the knives that Benchmade has produced. And to celebrate the Infidel’s 10th birthday, Benchmade decided to revamp this blade. This celebration is a great opportunity for you to get your hands on an exceptional knife that will help you throughout your life–the 10th Anniversary Infidel OTF Auto.

BEN3300BK-1701
10 Year Anniversary Infidel OTF Auto Knife. BEN3300BK-1701

 

The Blade:

 

The originally Infidel rocked D2 steel, which is a good steel. D2 is a semi-stainless steel, because it provides you a good amount of resistance to corrosion, but it isn’t quite completely stainless. D2 is also not as tough as many of the steels that you are going to come across and is actually very hard to sharpen. In almost every single case, you will need a master sharpener to actually get a fine edge on a D2 blade. However, this steel is very hard and holds an edge pretty well because of that fact. To really celebrate this knife, Benchmade decided to upgrade the steel into CPM S30V premium stainless steel. This new steel really gives us something to celebrate. CPM S30V steel is made by Crucible and they designed this steel to be especially for knives. CPM S30V steel is mainly used for high end premium pocket knives or expensive kitchen cutlery. That gives you an idea of how great this steel is and how great your knife will be, now that it has this newer steel option. Crucible added vanadium carbides to help bring extreme amounts of hardness to the steel. Usually, when you get a crazy hard steel, it will lack on toughness, because the harder a steel is, the more brittle it will be. That is not the case with S30V steel. In fact, this steel is considered to be the perfect balance between hardness and toughness. The Infidel’s blade will be able to take on the toughest of tasks and you will not need to be worrying about whether it can take it or not, because it can. S30V steel has exceptional edge retention and resists rust very well. These two characteristics help cut down on maintenance. And, your blade will come out of the box razor sharp. Plus, you won’t be counting down the days until you need to sharpen your blade again, because it stays sharp for longer than you’ll believe. The steel on this blade has been finished with a black color.

The blade on the Infidel is a double edged dagger shape. This has also been called a needle point blade. This blade shape has been designed around it’s point. Its main purpose is to be able to stab or pierce. It is built by 2 symmetrical sharpened blades that taper to a very thin sharp point. The Infidel has been designed to be a tactical knife, which is a knife that is to be used in extreme situations. One of these extreme situations is that this knife can be used as a great fighting knife. And because of the two sharpened edges, this knife excels at fighting in close combat scenarios. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to this type of knife shape. First of all, the tip on this knife is very thin, it is going to be more prone to breaking, especially if you are using it on harder targets. Another one of the drawbacks is that there is absolutely no belly. This means that slicing is not going to be easy at all; it will actually be a challenge. A dagger point blade is going to be found the most on military and tactical knives. Since it is a flat grind, the blade might seem duller than it actually is sometimes and with the flat grind. To keep the edge razor sharp, you are going to have to take off a little extra steel while grinding it. Because of this, you will lose some of the durability that the blade once had.

 

 

The Handle:

 

The handle on this knife has been carved out of 6061-T6 billet aluminum. A piece of billet aluminum just means that the entire handle has been carved out of a single piece of aluminum. This benefits you because there are going to be no weak spots where two pieces of aluminum have been welded together. The 6061-T6 alloy is one of the most common aluminum alloys used today and it has incredible tensile strength. Aluminum has a low density, especially for metal, so while it provides you with a hefty feel, it is actually an extremely light material. Aluminum can be very slippery, unless it has been properly texturized. To help provide you with better grip, Benchmade has added grooves going down the center of the handle on the palm side. The first Infidel had its handle finished by an anodization process. This is one of the most common finishers for an aluminum handle. The original Infidel’s handle was black. This is where the handle gets switched up for this version. Instead of an anodized handle, they decided to dip the handle. This means that there is a coating instead of a chemical change. And instead of being black, like the first one was, this version is bright silver.

 

 

The Pocket Clip:

 

The knife is outfitted with a deep carry, tip down pocket clip. I prefer having a deep carry pocket clip because of two reasons. First of all, I feel like my knife is more secure in my pocket when it is carried this way. The knife lies further down in my pocket, so I know that in my everyday movements, I am not going to lose my knife. There is almost no way that it is going to slip out of my pocket. The second reason that I love having a deep carry pocket clip is because you can conceal your knife more easily. This especially comes in handy for my tactical knives, which this is. The handle has been drilled so that you can carry your knife tip down.

 

 

The Mechanism:

 

The Infidel 10 Year Anniversary Knife is an automatic knife. It has a double action, out the front mechanism. Like always, automatic knives are not legal in every state or area. Make sure that you know your local knife laws before purchasing and especially before carrying this knife. An out the front knife is also known as a sliding knife or a telescoping knife. Basically, it is a pocket knife that has the blade open and close through a hole in one end of the handle, instead of folding out of the side of the handle. There are two different types of automatic OTF knives: single action and double action. The Infidel 10 Year Anniversary knife is a double action OTF knife. This means that when you slide the button forward, the blade will be ejected automatically. And, when you slide the knife backwards, the blade will retract automatically. If it were a single action, the knife would only eject automatically, so having this be a double action is a bonus. The trigger on the original Infidel was silver, contrasting against the black handle. On the Infidel 10 Year Anniversary knife, the trigger is black, contrasting against the silver handle.

 

 

Extras:

 

This knife comes with a Commemorative Challenge Coin. On the front of this coin, there is the shape of the Infidel in the center. On the top, it reads “10th ANNIVERSARY”. On the bottom it reads, “THE INFIDEL”. On the left side, there is an engraved “2007” and on the right, “2017”. The back of this coin features the Benchmade Butterfly logo in the center. The top of the coin reads, “BENCHMADE KNIFE CO. The bottom of the coin reads, “USA PROUD”.

 

 

Limited Edition:

 

This version of the Infidel is a limited edition knife that has been individually numbered for 2017 only. Get it while you can. You won’t regret it.

 

 

The Specs:

 

The blade on this knife measures at 3.91 inches long, with a thickness of 0.118 inches. When the knife is open, it measures in at 8.91 inches long, with a closed length of an even 5 inches long. The handle on the Infidel is 0.59 inches thick. The knife weighs 4.90 ounces. This is a rather large knife that is going to get the job done when you are utilizing it.

 

 

The Pros of the Infidel 10 Year Anniversary Knife:

 

  • Benchmade upgraded the steel, so now it is a fully stainless steel blade, instead of semi-stainless.
  • The new choice of steel is easier to sharpen and holds a fantastic edge.
  • The steel is very hard and still very tough, which is not an easy combination to come by.
  • The steel resists corrosion very well.
  • This knife comes razor sharp.
  • The double edged dagger shape helps the Infidel excel at being a self-defense knife.
  • The point is super sharp and thin, so it will work great at stabbing your target.
  • The handle has been made out of billet aluminum, so there will be no weak spots where two pieces have been welded together.
  • Aluminum gives you a good, hefty feel, but is actually very light.
  • There are grooves running down the center of the handle to help with your grip on the knife.
  • Has a double action OTF mechanism.
  • Comes with a deep carry pocket clip.
  • Comes with an Infidel Challenge Coin.
  • This is a limited edition knife which makes it a fantastic knife for your collection.

 

 

The Cons of the Infidel 10 Year Anniversary Knife:

 

  • Because of the upgraded steel, the cost is going to be higher.
  • The new steel choice is easier to sharpen than D2, but still not easy to sharpen.
  • A dagger point has no belly, so you aren’t going to be able to slice.
  • A dagger point has a weak tip, which is prone to breaking when stabbing harder targets.
  • While the dagger point excels at one thing, it can really only do that one thing—this is not a versatile knife.
  • The pocket clip is not reversible, so it is not an ambidextrous knife.
  • The pocket clip has only been drilled to carry your knife tip down.
  • The aluminum handle is going to be cold if you live in a cold environment.
  • Because the handle has been dipped instead of anodized, it is going to be more prone to scratches and those scratches showing up.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

The Infidel has been around for 10 years now. During that decade, it has earned a fantastic reputation of being a reliable and trusty tactical knife. To celebrate the Infidel turning 10 years old, Benchmade created a limited edition revamped version. This version looks sleeker and uses higher quality materials. They started off by switching out the steel used on this knife. They chose to make it out of CPM S30V premium stainless steel. This steel is tougher, harder, and maintains an edge better than the previous steel choice. Plus, it’s fully stainless steel, which does cut down on some maintenance time. They kept the double edged dagger shape, because that is as good as it could get. They kept the handle material as billet aluminum, but decided to switch up the finish and color. They did a bright dip in a silver, instead of anodizing the aluminum to be black. They kept the pocket clip and double action OTF. They will include an Infidel Challenge Coin when you purchase this knife. This is a limited edition knife, so run, don’t walk to get your own.

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Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class Knife Review

Benchmade started over 30 years ago, and like any good story, it did not start off as the knife dynasty that it is today. In 1979, Les de Asis wanted a knife that used the newest materials and manufacturing technology to create a fantastic butterfly knife. Every butterfly knife that he had previously owned and played with was not a high quality knife. Les had been to a high school shop class, so he blueprinted what his dream knife would be. Eventually, he met Victor Anselmo who helped him work to grind this first ever prototype of a Benchmade knife. Les finished the very first knife in his garage. Les was proud of this new knife, so he took it to a local gun store and asked the owner if he could build 100 more. This was the birth of Bali-Song, the first company that would later transform into Benchmade.

By the time that Benchmade came to be Benchmade, they were producing knives other than the traditional Bali-song style that they had begun with. Les chose the name Benchmade because there were “handmade knives” and “factory-made knives”. The knives that this company was producing was different than both of these. The factory would make the precision parts, but the products were finished by hand.

While Benchmade is known to have the top butterfly knives, their other knives have the same high quality and attention to detail. Recently, the Valet has been revamped and reborn in an exclusive, limited unlimited, Titanium Gold Class knife.  The limited, unlimited designation means it will be produced to demand for all of 2017, after the end of the year, no more units will be produced.

Benchmade Valet
Benchmade Gold Class Valet

 

The Blade:

 

The steel on this blade is made out of Ladder Pattern Damasteel. This type of steel is often compared to Damascus steel, but there are differences between them. Damasteel is also the name of the company that produces this steel; they are located in Sweden and have a history of forging Damascus steel. The process to create Damasteel is a patented manufacturing method. The blade starts out with a billet, which is one single piece of solid steel. They actually create their own billet with a very unique process. They pour stainless steel into a tall tower, while the liquid passes through a nozzle, it is dispersed into droplets with blasts of gas. By the time that the droplets get to the bottom of the tower, they will have solidified into a powder. After the powder is collected, it is compacted with a cold press which allows for the subsequent HIP at high temperature and high pressure. After this whole process is done, there is a solid piece of steel with the perfect structure left over. Each pattern on a Damasteel blade is handmade by Damasteel’s blacksmiths. They take special care to guarantee the highest quality and perfect receptiveness of this pattern. Damasteel is a true work of art. Damascus steel is famous for the strength, durability, and artistry that it possesses. However, Damasteel is a more quality option if you want a high performing, stainless quality to it. Another difference between Damascus and Damasteel is the patterns. Damasteel goes through the HIP process, creating a totally different set of patterns. Damasteel is a fantastic steel option with a great aesthetic that you aren’t going to be able to find anywhere else.

The shape of this blade is a drop point style. A drop point style blade is one of the best shapes for an all-purpose knife. This style of knife can stand up to almost anything and is one of the most popular blade shapes on the market today. The back, or unsharpened, edge of the blade runs from the handle to the tip in a slow curve, which creates a lowered point. Having this lowered point allows you to have more control when using the tip, so you will be able to do delicate work. The lowered tip also adds strength to the point. The tip on this blade shape is also stronger than a clip point, but a clip point shape would be sharper. Because this shape has such a strong tip, you can use this knife for heavy duty, tactical, or survival use. Another excellent characteristic of a drop point style is that it sports a large belly—making it perfect for slicing. While it seems like there are no drawbacks to this shape of a blade, there is one: it has a pretty broad tip, so it is not going to excel at piercing or stabbing. Some people consider this to be a pro though, because you can work with it and not worry about nicking any sensitive areas, especially when skinning something. A drop point blade shape gives you great balance, control, and strength. This is truly one of the most versatile knife shapes, which is why it is such a great option for your everyday carry knife of choice. This is a blade that will be able to do it all.

 

 

The Handle:

 

The handle is made out of billet anodized titanium. This means that the titanium was carved out of only one piece. Titanium is a lightweight metal, but it is heavier than aluminum. However, it is so much stronger than aluminum, so the extra weight is definitely worth it. Titanium has the highest corrosion resistance out of any metal. Something that is unique to titanium is that it actually has a warm feel to it. This means that if you are working in cold environments often, the metal isn’t going to bite into your hand like aluminum would. The titanium on this handle has been anodized. One of the most obvious benefits of anodizing the titanium is that it adds color the material. On this specific handle, a blue violet color has been added. The anodizing creates this color naturally, so you don’t have to worry about a dye running off or it bleeding. Because it is natural, the titanium is able to retain its high corrosion resistance and its ability to withstand high temperature environments. Unfortunately, titanium does have its drawbacks. First of all, this is a relatively expensive material. The cost of this knife will be higher than a knife without a titanium handle. Most people think that the extra cost is worth it, but if you are on a strict budget for purchasing your knife, this might not be the best option for you. Another drawback to titanium is that it is prone to scratches. While the anodizing does help prevent some scratches because it adds strength and durability, it cannot protect the handle from all of its scratches. And, because of the color, these scratches will show up. One last thing to keep in mind is that even though the titanium has the highest corrosion resistance out of the metals, it is not going to be completely stainless. This handle will still need maintenance.

The liners on this handle are stainless steel, with a Diamond Like Coating. The stainless steel liners are a great addition because they will need a little less maintenance. Especially after they have a Diamond Like Coating, to add strength and durability.

 

 

The Mechanism:

This knife sports the Benchmade AXIS lock. This locking mechanism was introduced in 1988. This system works by using a small, hardened spring loaded bar that moves back and forth in a slot that has been etched into both of the stainless steel liners. This bar is positioned towards the butt of the blade and it extends onto both sides of the knife, crossing the liners. This locking mechanism was innovative and allows for an ambidextrous operation. There is a common weak link found in many folders and the AXIS locking system works to strengthen this link. The AXIS locking mechanism increases the safety and integrity of a folding lock up mechanism.

 

 

The Pocket Clip:

 

The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry, reversible, tip up clip. Its reversible, so you can carry it left or right handedly. But, the knife has only been drilled to carry it tip up. It’s a deep carry pocket clip, so you know that this knife will be secure in your pocket. A deep carry clip also helps you conceal your knife better than a regular clip. The pocket clip has also been treated with a Diamond Like Coating. This coating helps protect the steel and adds strength to it.

 

 

The Extras:

 

The Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class knife has a few extras on it. For starters, it has a Damasteel back spacer. Second, it sports a matching anodized titanium thumb stud that sits near the rear of the blade.

 

 

Pros of the Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class:

 

  • Benchmade is a fantastic company with an excellent reputation.
  • The steel is made out of Damasteel—a unique steel.
  • The blade is made out of a single piece of titanium, so there are no weak spots on it.
  • Damasteel is strong, durable, and a true masterpiece.
  • Damasteel is a work of art, with a unique pattern that you will only be able to find on Damasteel.
  • The drop point blade shape is one of the most versatile blade shapes.
  • The lowered tip gives you better control and a stronger tip.
  • The drop point shape sports a big belly with ample cutting room, so you have plenty of room for slicing.
  • The handle is made out of a single piece of titanium, so there are no weak spots in it.
  • Titanium is a lightweight material, but extremely strong.
  • Titanium has the highest corrosion resistance out of the metals.
  • Titanium actually feels warm to the touch, so you can have this knife with you in cold environments and not have to worry about it biting into your skin.
  • The handle has been anodized to add a blue violet color.
  • Sports the AXIS lock.
  • Comes with a reversible, deep carry pocket clip.

 

 

Cons of the Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class:

 

  • Because Damasteel is such a time consuming, skill needed task, this is going to be a more expensive blade.
  • The drop point blade has a broad tip, so it is not going to excel at stabbing or piercing.
  • Titanium is prone to scratches.
  • Titanium is a more expensive material, so the cost of the knife is going to be upped because of this.
  • The pocket clip has only been drilled to carry it tip up.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Benchmade has a great reputation for creating excellent knives. Even though they started out making solely butterfly knives, when they branched out to creating regular folding knives, they promptly created some of the best. They recently made a limited addition of the Valet. This is the Valet Titanium Gold Class edition.

To create such a fantastic knife, they started out with some of the best knife steel that there is. They chose the Damasteel, which is similar to Damascus except purer and perfect. Another difference between the two, is that Damasteel will have different patterns than a Damascus steel. For this knife, they chose a Ladder Pattern Damasteel. To finish off the perfect blade, Benchmade decided to carve it into a drop point shape. This is one of the most versatile shapes that can stand up to almost anything. This is such a beautiful blade, so it might pain some people to use it as their everyday knife, but this knife has been designed as the perfect everyday carry knife. To carry on with this perfect knife, they chose the handle to be made out of anodized titanium. The anodization process on this particular knife created a blue violet color. The anodization process will also limit the amount of scratches that the titanium will develop, even though titanium has been prone to scratching. They also added a deep carry, reversible, tip up pocket clip. As a cherry on top, they incorporated a Damasteel back spacer and an anodized titanium thumb stud that matches the color of the handle.

Benchmade Knives chose to use the highest quality materials to create a perfect special edition knife. With the anodization process and the Damasteel pattern, this knife looks like a piece of art.

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Boker Knives and Two Boker Plus Knives

Böker Knives began in Germany during the 17th century. The company originally focused on swords and didn’t move on to design blades until the 1800’s. If you go back and look at the company’s books, they will tell you that by 1839 Böker was producing around 2000 Sabres a week for various wars. In the 1960’s, the company had migrated into North America; however, they were just sub brands at the time. During World War II, the main Germany factory was destroyed, so Boker USA took control. Since then, the company has traded hands several times, but in 1986 Boker USA was started for good for US production. The symbol of this company is a giant chestnut tree, which is the perfect symbol because over the 150 years that it has existed, the company has reached out, or “branched out”, and become planted across the world.

Boker USA is the in charge of the production of Boker knives, but they carry five brand names underneath them which are Boker, Boker Arbolito, Boker Plus, Magnum by Boker, and Cinch by Boker.

 

Boker is sometimes known as the Tree Brand, so any knives that are labeled with this are usually purely Boker.

 

Boker Arbolito means little tree in Spanish. If you see a knife labeled with this name, it means that it was manufactured in Argentina and typically are only household or work knives.

 

Boker Plus knives are manufactured in Taiwan and China. These knives are typically not as high quality as Boker, but they are more quality than Magnum by Boker. In this line, you will find tactical and outdoor knives.

 

Magnum by Boker knives are also manufactured in Taiwan and China. This line of knives focus on value, so out of the five sub brands, these are going to be the least expensive of them. Don’t worry about sacrificing quality though, because these knives are still made from quality materials.

 

Cinch by Boker are knives designed to fit the Western lifestyle. They are targeted towards ranchers and outdoor enthusiasts. This is actually a collaboration between Boker and Cinch Jeans. This is a classy line that have an authentic feel to them.

Boker produces great knives and because of the five different sub brands, you will find a large variety of different styles, values, and designs of knives. Today I am going over two great and popular Boker Knives.

 

 

The Boker Plus Subcom:

 

Just like the name implies, this is part of the Boker Plus brand. The drop point blade on this knife is 1.875 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 4.625 inches long and has been known as the “money clip knife”. This knife has been used for a defensive tool and a backup knife. The blade has a big belly that makes it perfect for utility purposes and the tip is chubby so it isn’t meant for stabbing. Even though it is so small, because of the blade shape and the tip shape it can cut just as well as a larger knife.

The knife weighs 2.5 ounces, which seems small at first, but when you realize that the blade is smaller than 2 inches long, it starts to seem like a hefty knife. It weighs what it does because the knife has a stainless steel frame lock and a full steel liner.

The ergonomics on this knife is as good as you are going to get on such a small knife, because really, there is no way that you can fit your whole hand on this. A bonus about the handle on this knife is all the jimping, which provides grip and traction just where you need it. Unfortunately, because of all this jimping, it can be an uncomfortable knife to use for long periods of time.

This knife was such a hit that Boker made a few different versions to satisfy everyone, these versions are:

 

The Subcom F: This version has AUS-8 steel with a black or silver blade. It is partially serrated and has an FRN handle that comes in either black or gray. The locking system is a frame lock. This was the original Subcom knife and the other versions are just copycats. Along with the silver, black, and gray versions, there is a special camo version.

 

The Subcom Titan: When Boker designed this version, they designed it to be an elite version of the F. This version sports a satin 440-C stainless steel, which is a higher quality steel than the other versions. The edge is plain. The handle is made out of titanium and because of that it only weighs 1.9 ounces. Because of the titanium handle and silver blade, it looks more elegant than the other versions. It has either a frame lock or a slip joint locking mechanism.

 

The Subcom 42: This blade is made out of AUS-8 steel that is finished with a bead blast. The blade has a plain edge. The handle is made out of pink FRN material and it sports a frame lock mechanism.

 

The Subcom Dusk: This version also has AUS-8 steel, but this one has a black finish. It is partially serrated. The Zytel handle is orange and this version boasts a framelock mechanism.

 

The Subcom Dawn: This also has a satin AUS-8 blade that has a plain edge. The Orange Zytel handle has either a frame lock or a slip joint locking mechanism.

 

The Subcom Z: Just like most of the versions, the Z has AUS-8 steel, but with a black finish. It is partially serrated. The green Zytel handle sports a frame lock system.

 

The Subclaw: This version is very similar to the Subcom F but the main difference is the blade shape. This version has a Hawkbill blade. This blade shape is great for slicing, but not for a lot of other things. Many people only see this as a defensive or collectors blade.

 

The WharCom: This is also similar to the Subcom F, but again, it has a different blade shape. This style of blade has a Wharncliffe blade that is perfectly straight from the handle to the tip. The shape is very similar to a razor blade. This is a great blade shape for slicing, but it is a perfect blade shape for scraping.

 

The ResCom: This is the most unique out of all the Subcom versions that were previously mentioned. This one is designed for safety and rescue situations. It is also similar to the Subcom F. The ResCom has an almost hook shaped blade, but the outside of the hook is not sharp in any places. There is another portion of the blade that is a saw. This is so that you can cut materials that are too large to get through the hook. This is not going to be an everyday knife, but it is a great candidate for your emergency, safety, or rescue knife. It does dull relatively quickly, so using it for everyday tasks would not be ideal. You can get the ResCom in two different versions: all black—black blade, black handle, and black thumb studs, or a red version—silver blade, red frame and red thumb studs.

 

Pros of the Plus Subcom:

  • This is a very small knife, so it won’t weigh you down and is easy to have with you at all times.
  • The knife sports a large belly, so it is easy to cut with and can actually cut as well as larger knives.
  • The knife comes in a large variety of handle colors and materials.
  • The knife also comes in a large variety of steel and steel colors.
  • The extra jimping allows for great grip.

 

Cons of the Plus Subcom:

  • This is a tiny knife, so it can’t stand up to large, heavy duty tasks.
  • The extra jimping can get uncomfortable quickly.
  • There is no way that you are going to be able to use your hold hand to hold this knife.

 

 

The Boker Plus Kwaiken Flipper:

 

This knife is also manufactured from Boker in their Boker Plus line. This knife was originally called the Boker Kwaiken, and it was a flop. People were disappointed in how hard the knife was to open and they were disappointed because the tip of the blade peeked out of the handle when it was supposed to be closed. But Boker redesigned this knife in a flipper version. When the flipper version was first released, many collectors were after it to see if Boker had actually fixed the problems.

The blade on this knife is 3.5 inches long and made out of either AUS-8 steel or VG-10. The shape of the knife is a modified drop point silhouette that looks sleek and tucks into the handle perfectly. The tip on this knife is very fine, which makes it perfect for stabbing things. The AUS-8 steel is easy to sharpen. However, there were still many complaints about the steel because it isn’t the highest quality steel. That was when Boker released the upgraded version with the VG-10 steel. However, VG-10 steel is a little bit weaker than the AUS-8. Neither of the options hold their edge super well, but they both are durable enough.

The handle on this knife is unique. It sports full steel liners and has 3D machined pieces of titanium. Both of these materials are supports by a solid titanium back spacer. The handle was designed to have a minimalist look to it and is monochromatic. Some pros about the simple design is that it will work for almost any hand size. Some of the cons to the simple design is that there is really no texture to it, meaning the grip is lacking a little bit. The titanium keeps the knife sturdy and durable. However, because of all the titanium, this is a heavy knife. The handle features a pocket clip; it is a right side tip-up pocket clip. The flipper knife works because of the IKBS bearing pivot system, which helps flip well and open with a snap.

The overall length of the knife is 8 3/8 inches long and weighs 5.4 ounces. The blade thickness is 0.1 inches.

 

Pros of the Kwaiken Flipper:

 

  • The fine tip is ideal for piercing cuts
  • You can get the blade in either AUS-8 or VG-10 steel.
  • The steel is easy to sharpen.
  • The simple design helps to fit in any size hand.
  • Very sturdy knife.
  • Opens and flips well.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Boker has a rich history that slowly got them to where they needed to be. Today, there are five different Sub Brands that Boker USA owns, each of which specialize in their own categories. Boker Plus produces good quality knives, that aren’t quite as high quality as Boker, but they still are made with high quality materials so you know that you are getting a reliable knife. Boker Plus focuses on making tactical and outdoors knives. Today I chose two different Boker Plus knives to really focus on: The Plus Subcom and the Kwaiken Flipper.

The Subcom is a small knife that isn’t meant to do big tasks, but is great for having with you as a backup knife, a defensive knife, or for doing the smaller everyday tasks. The Subcom is great because there are so many different variations of it, so you really will get exactly what you are looking for. It’s a small knife, but it’s a good knife. The Subcom will be an old friend, not something you see every day, but will stand up for you when you need it to.

The Kwaiken Flipper has a history. The original Kwaiken was not an instant hit, in fact it was a disappointment. But Boker heard the complaints and re-designed it. It’s a sturdy, reliable knife, but it is a heavy knife. It will be able to stand up to the tasks that you throw at it.

These two knives are popular knives for a reason and it’s not a bad idea to try them out.

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Five Fantastic Automatic Knives

An automatic knife makes for the perfect every day carry knife, really one of the only drawbacks to carrying an automatic is how strict the laws are. Before purchasing an automatic knife, or a switchblade as they are commonly known, double check to guarantee what your state’s laws are. There are thousands of automatic knives on the market, making it hard to narrow down what knife you want to buy. Today I have compiled a list of some of the absolute best automatic knives on the market. I’ve chosen different styles of automatic knives from different popular brands to show and explain to you. Let’s begin.

 

The Pro-Tech Tactical Response 4:

 

ProTech TR 4.70
ProTech TR 4.70

The first knife that I have chosen to describe is the Pro-Tech Tactical Response 4. Something that is cool about the brand Pro-Tech is that they are a family owned business and they do specialize in switchblades. You know that you can trust an automatic knife from Pro-Tech. This blade is in their TR-4 series, which just means that it is the fourth generation for their tactical automatic knife series. The blade on this knife is a four-inch-long drop point. The Tactical Response 4 blade can come in many different variations, but one of the most popular is with a 154-CM stainless steel, which can come in different finishes. All of the different options come with a Diamond-like Carbon coating. This coating just works to help protect the blade from corroding, adding a ton of durability. The handle of this blade really sets this blade apart from the pack. The handle boasts many finger grooves which helps provide you with excellent grip. The pommel of this knife handle sports a steel glass breaker. When closed, this knife is only 5.25 inches long and it weighs 5.4 ounces, making this knife a perfect option for your EDC.

 

Advantages of the Pro-Tech Tactical Response 4:

 

  • The blade has a diamond-like carbon coating, adding durability.
  • The knife is only 5.25 inches long closed, perfect for storing in your pocket.
  • The blade of this handle can come in a variety of different options.
  • The handle features many finger grips, giving you fantastic grip.
  • The handle of this knife has a built in steel glass breaker.

 

Disadvantages of the Pro-Tech Tactical Response 4:

 

  • With the pearl insert on the push button, the stonewash finish, and the Damascus blade, some people consider this knife over the top.  Easy to fix by picking up a different TR4 model.

 

 

The Boker Kalashnikov:

 

Boker XL Kalashnikov Auto
Boker XL Kalashnikov Auto

This automatic knife is on the cheaper side of the spectrum, which is what sells many people. But, you do not sacrifice any of the quality for the cheaper cost; the Kalashnikov can stand up to the same tasks that the more expensive knives can. The blade of this knife is 3.25 inches made out of AUS-8 steel. The blade is finished with a plain edge. Something unique about this knife is that the deployment button is mounted flush with the rest of the handle, which helps prevent against an accidently deployment. Plus, the locking system on this knife is a little stiffer than most, which ensures a secure lock when the knife is open. The handle is made out of a powder coated aluminum with molded finger grips. The handle also has a lanyard hole built right into it, providing you with a secure spot to tie in your lanyard. The handle is one feature of this knife that sets it apart from the rest of the pack. This knife was designed to look like an AK-47 magazine and that is how it got its name; trust me, it works the name perfectly and definitely does it justice. Overall, the length of the knife is 7.5 inches long. Unfortunately, this knife is not made in the United States of America, which can be a deal breaker to some knife collectors and users.

 

Advantages of the Boker Kalashnikov:

 

  • This is a much cheaper option than most of the high quality automatic knives, but you do not lose any quality with the lower cost.
  • The deployment button is flush with the handle, so no accidental discharges can happen.
  • The locking system is stiffer, so the knife will remain securely locked in open position.
  • The molded finger grips set this knife apart from the pack.
  • Has a built in lanyard.

 

Disadvantages of the Boker Kalashnikov:

 

  • This knife is not made in the USA.

 

 

The Kershaw Launch 1:

 

Kershaw 7100 Launch 1 Knife
Kershaw 7100 Launch 1 Automatic Knife

Kershaw is one of the most popular knife companies and has been renowned for their quality knives and this specific one is definitely not the exception to their stellar track record. One thing that many people love about the Kershaw Launch 1 is that it is made in the United States, which supports US businesses and gives you the quality that you deserve. The blade is 3.375 inches long and made out of CPM-154. This blade has a Blackwash keeps the blade from reflecting light making it the perfect option for tactical situations, especially at night. The handle on this knife is made out of black aluminum. The aluminum keeps the weight off of this knife, helping you move it in quicker motions. The handle is also contoured to fit perfectly in your hand, giving you fantastic grip. This knife features a reversible pocket clip, making it an ambidextrous knife. The overall length of this knife is 8-inches, making it a perfect size for your everyday carry needs. The Kershaw Launch 1 sits at about average cost for an automatic knife.

 

Advantages of the Kershaw Launch 1:

 

  • The blade has a Blackwash coating, keeping the knife from reflecting light.
  • The handle is contoured to fit perfectly in your hand, giving you great grip.
  • The pocket clip on this knife is reversible, making this an ambidextrous knife.
  • This is a perfect size for an everyday carry knife.
  • Not an expensive option.
  • Made in the United States of America

 

Disadvantages of the Kershaw Launch 1:

 

  • Not the least expensive option.

 

 

The SOG-TAC Series

 

Exclusive Desert Tan SOG-TAC
Exclusive Desert Tan SOG-TAC

This knife is a cheaper option and a simpler option than some of the previous options we have discussed. But, just because it is simple, doesn’t mean that it isn’t super reliable. This is a bigger knife option, measuring in at 8 inches overall, with a 3.5-inch blade. The blade is made out of AUS-8 stainless steel, which has a drop point silhouette. The blade has been ground into a straight edge, which can be sharpened into a razor sharp edge. However, the knife has been known to lose the crazy sharp edge a little quicker than other knives. The handle is made out of aluminum which comes in black or red. The handle looks a little bare compared to previous options, but it can take a beating. Something unique about the handle is that the crosshair that sits in the middle glows in the dark, so you can find it easily no matter what the situation is like. For how big this knife is, the profile is actually pretty slim. The SOG-TAC features a special double lock to keep the blade securely locked into an open or closed position. For the low price, you really do get a lot out of this knife.

 

Advantages of the SOG-TAC:

 

  • The blade can be sharpened into a razor sharp edge.
  • The crosshair in the middle of the handle actually glows in the dark, so you can always find it.
  • The knife features a double lock, securing your knife in an open or closed position.
  • This is a cheap option.
  • This knife can take a beating.
  • Larger knife with a slim profile.

 

Disadvantages of the SOG-TAC:

 

  • This is a simple knife, with no extras built in.
  • The blade doesn’t always stay sharp for long periods of time.
  • You do lose a little bit of quality with the budget option.

 

 

The Spyderco Autonomy Automatic Knife:

 

Spyderco Autonomy Auto
Spyderco Autonomy Auto

This knife was first made for the United States Coast Guard. It is designed to be a rescue knife, and because it was made for the Coast Guard, it is designed to resist corrosion even in salt water. Because this knife was made for the rescue swimmers, Spyderco had to design the deploying button with the ability to open it one handed and with the user wearing heavy gloves. The button is an oversized button and the public version features a safety lock that prevents the user from an accidental opening. The original knife was made in orange G-10, but Spyderco designed the black version for the public. The steel that this blade is made out of is H-1 steel and this knife was actually the first American knife to use this type of steel. Another unique aspect about this knife is that it is a serrated edge, which is not commonly found on automatic knives. This serrated edge is perfect for sawing through thicker materials such as ropes. The blade on the Autonomy is 3.75 inches long and coated in a Diamond Like Carbon to reduce the reflective tendencies of knife blades. The handle features a G10 black handle that has deep finger grooves to help secure your grip. When Spyderco released the public version, they added an all-black pocket clip. In all honesty, this knife is one of my favorites. I love the history of it and I love how quality it is.

 

Advantages of the Spyderco Autonomy Automatic Knife:

 

  • Will not erode when wet, even in salt water.
  • Has an oversized firing button.
  • Features a safety lock to prevent an accidental opening.
  • Serrated edge is great for sawing through rope.
  • The Diamond Like Carbon coating reduces reflective tendencies.
  • The handle has deep finger grooves to help secure your grip in any situation.
  • Has an all-black pocket clip.
  • Made exclusively from rust proof materials.

 

Disadvantages of the Spyderco Autonomy Automatic Knife:

 

  • You can only get this knife in a full serrated blade, which some users dislike.

 

 

Conclusion:

There are plenty of fantastic automatic knives on the market today and each of them offer up a different purpose. Today I went over the six best automatic knives that you can buy and what makes them unique, what makes them a great option, and a couple of downfalls for each of the different options. Hopefully this list will help you when you are looking for a great automatic knife whether it is for your everyday carrying purposes or for something else. Just remember, automatic knife laws are strict, so make sure you know your local laws before purchasing any automatic knife.

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Gerber Propel Automatic Knife Review

Gerber Legendary Blades was started by Joseph R Gerber. This company started out as a small batch of handmade knife sets in 1939. Within the next twenty years, Gerber became one of the most reliable knife companies in the business. Gerber’s mission is to design knives that pull in quality materials and groundbreaking designs. Their knives are built to last a lifetime. Gerber not only produces knives, but also axes, handsaws, flashlights, survival kits, multi tools, and much more. Every product that Gerber turns out is going to be quality, innovative, and last a very long time. Today we are going to go over one of their products in particular: The Gerber Propel Fully Automatic knife.

 

The Gerber Propel Fully Automatic knife was introduced in August of 2013. Gerber offers two different designs of the same knife for the buyers: The Propel Auto and the Propel Downrange Auto. These two versions were designed to mimic the 06 auto knife, which was an instant hit in the knife community. The 06 has a Federal National Stock Number, which allows federal agencies to procure these knives without going through a bidding process. Gerber kept all of the positive aspects of the 06, but they slimmed it down to make it a little more pocket-friendly. You can still expect to have the same durability, reliability, and field-proven performance. It is all just packed into a smaller package.

 

The overall length of this knife is 8.52 inches while opened. When the knife is closed, it measures in at an even 5 inches. The knife weighs 4.28 ounces. This is a great length and weight for your everyday carry knife. The length is not overly long, but you will still be able to perform your needed tasks with it. The knife won’t weigh you down, but it will still feel sturdy and durable while you are using it.

 

 

Blade:

 

Gerber Propel Automatic
Gerber Propel Automatic

The blade on this knife is 3.5 inches long made out of 420HC. This is a mid-range steel that is nothing extraordinary but can stand up to what you throw at it. The HC in the steel’s name stands for High Carbon, so this steel is a harder steel than other stainless steels. This steel is easy to sharpen. It is also a durable steel, even after periods of long use. Because this steel is easy to sharpen even in the field or on the go, many outdoor enthusiasts like this steel.

If you get the Propel Downrange version, the steel use will be S30V steel. This is a high end, premium steel that has high corrosion resistance. It is also a very tough steel. Because it is a premium steel, you can expect it to go the extra mile. Some people pry and dig with blades made out of this steel and don’t experience any compromised blade integrity. S30V steel will hold an edge very well, but it is harder to sharpen than the 420HC steel. This is a good all-around steel.

Whichever version you choose; the steel is coated in a black oxide coating. This coating is added for a few reasons. First, the coating helps add corrosion resistance properties. It also adds a black color which boosts the aesthetic of the blade. This knife has the blackening to match the handle. This coating also helps to prevent slipping while you are cutting in critical conditions. The black oxide also minimizes reflective purposes. This means that if you are in a tactical situation, you don’t have to be concerned about the sun’s reflection giving away your position.

The blade silhouette is a tanto style point. A tanto style point was traditionally in Japanese short words. The tip on a tanto blade is going to be stronger than many other tips, because it is a broader shape. However, the tanto silhouette creates two main bevels, which makes it trickier to sharpen than a different style. Also, a tanto blade will not have a belly, so slicing tasks will be trickier. This style does have a unique look to it, so if you like the look, buy it. Also, if you know that you need a stronger tip, go for it. If you are a beginner in the knife world and looking for a versatile everyday carry knife, I don’t know if this is what I would recommend.

There are actually three cutting areas on the blade. There is the front bevel, which is 1 inch that has been sharpened bi-facially. The main edge on the blade is divided between the plain and serrated portions. The plain portion of this blade is 1.25 inches and the serrated portion is 1.5 inches. Because of the three different sections, sharpening this knife is a pain.

Users of this knife have also noticed an up and down wobble when the blade is opened. But, they have also noticed that the Propel has almost no lateral wobble whatsoever.

 

 

Handle:

 

The handle scales are made out of G10. On the Propel, the G10 handle scales are black. On the Propel Downrange, the G10 scales are tan. This material is a laminate composite that is made out of fiberglass. This handle will feel and work similarly to carbon fiber, but it is a much cheaper option. The handle material surprised me because Gerber usually uses glass filled nylon for their handle. G10 was definitely an upgrade compared to the commonly used handle material. To add texture and grip to the handle, Gerber has added checkering across the handle scales. They also added deeper grooves in areas along with the checkering. With both of those texturing techniques, you can feel secure while using and holding this knife.

The handle is pretty large and fills most people’s hand. On the spot where it touches your palm, there is a very slight swell. There is also a large groove where your index finger can fit. Because of this deeper groove, there is also a bump that also adds to fitting in your hand perfectly.

Gerber has attached the G10 scales to a metal frame using torx screws. There are four of these screws on each side of the handle.

 

 

Pocket Clip and Carrying:

 

Something unique about this knife is that the pocket clip can be placed on the knife in three different ways. You can mount it for the right pocket either tip up or down. Or you can mount it for the left pocket, but only tip up. Some users have reported bending the pocket clip while bumping it on things, but it is easily bent back into shape.

This knife carries pretty high in the pocket. If you are trying to conceal your knife, this probably isn’t going to be the knife for you.

Unfortunately, because of the checkering and deeper grooves on the handle, this knife has been known to destroy pockets. This isn’t usually a problem in most peoples’ minds, but if you are going to be dressed up, you might not want to carry this knife.

On the Downrange version, the pocket clip is tan, just like the handle. This tan matches many camouflage patterns, so you don’t have to worry about your knife standing out while trying to keep it concealed.

 

 

Action and Deployment:

 

Gerber Propel Automatic
Gerber Propel Automatic

The Propel uses a plunge lock and safety switch. To unlock the knife, you pull the safety switch towards you. Then to open the knife, you push in the round silver button. Along with opening the knife, it also locks it up so you can feel secure while using it for the heavier duty tasks. This button triggers a torsion spring inside that has constant tension on the blade. Because of this constant tension, you do not have to worry about blade bounce.

To close this knife, you push down the firing button and then manually close the blade.

If this knife is in your pocket, your best bet is to engage the safety. The safety mechanism shows red when it is disengaged. The opening button can be sensitive and you definitely don’t want to accidently open this knife while it is in your pocket. But, because it is a more sensitive button, the knife is easily deployed with just one hand.

 

 

Extras:

 

Both versions of this knife sport a pommel spike. This spike has been designed to break through most glass, including your car windows. This spike can also work as a lanyard anchor point.

 

 

Pros of the Gerber Propel/Downrange Automatic Knife:

 

  • You have two options of steel depending on what you like.
  • The 420HC is hard, easy to sharpen, and the edge lasts for quite a while.
  • The S30V steel is a premium steel that can stand up to much harder tasks than the 420HC steel.
  • The blade features a black oxide coating which helps resist corrosion, light reflection, and makes the blade less slippery.
  • The tanto silhouette has a stronger tip than lots of other tip style options.
  • The blade is a combo blade and the serrations are great for cutting through thicker materials, like rope or branches.
  • The handle is made out of G10 scales, which is a durable material.
  • The G10 comes in two different color options.
  • The G10 scales have aggressive texturing, providing you with excellent grip even in the trickiest of situations.
  • The handle is large and will fill your hand, helping with grip.
  • The pocket clip can be carried in three different ways.
  • The Downrange pocket clip is a tan that matches most camo patterns, so your pocket clip will not be obvious while carrying.
  • The knife is very easy to deploy using only one hand.
  • The knife sports a pommel spike, which works as a great glass breaker.
  • The length and weight of this knife is perfect for your everyday carry knife.

 

 

Cons of the Gerber Propel/Downrange Automatic Knife:

 

  • 420HC steel is a mediocre steel and doesn’t stand out, especially compared to other steel options.
  • S30V steel is a hard steel to sharpen, so you won’t be able to sharpen it in the field if the need arises.
  • The Tanto style blade is not a versatile blade. If you are a beginner in the knife community, I would not recommend this style.
  • There are actually three different cutting surfaces, which makes this an extremely hard knife to sharpen. Really, you are going to have to be a professional to sharpen it well.
  • There is an up/down wobble to the blade while opened.
  • The pocket clip doesn’t carry very deeply, so it is going to be obvious. This is not a great knife if you are trying to conceal it.
  • The handle has extreme grip, so it will beat up your pocket.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Something to keep in mind before you purchase this knife is that because it is fully automatic, or a switchblade, it is not going to be legal in all states. Make sure you know your local switchblade laws before buying this.

Gerber only sells their automatic knives through websites with the proper credentials, so as long as you are purchasing from a trusted website, your knife will be backed by Gerber’s lifetime warranty. This knife was designed and built in the United States of America, so you can expect only the best quality. Along with being patriotic and designing and building this knife in the states, Gerber offers a Pro Program. This program is for first responders and military personnel. It gives these members exclusive offers and discounted prices. If you feel like you fit into either of these categories, it is definitely worth looking into.

This is an overall fantastic knife for your tactical or utility purposes. When you are searching for the perfect everyday carry knife, you want it to feel familiar. The Gerber Propel or Gerber Propel Downrange will feel familiar. They are both easy to work with and very durable. This knife will not disappoint you in the field. You are provided with two different versions so you can pick the one that will fit your lifestyle the best.

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Tanto vs. Drop Point

Tanto vs. Drop Point

 

Some knife blades are made to be able to perform almost any task well, some are for utilitarian purposes, and many are designed for specific purposes. There are about eight popular and commonly used points, but today we are only going to go over the advantages and disadvantages of tanto and drop point tips. Which one of these two shapes is going to work best for you?

 

The Tanto Point:

The tanto point blade shape was invented in the 1970’s and gained most of its popularity in the early 1980’s. The shape was invented by the cutlery company Cold Steel. They got the idea for this shape from the stellar Japanese cutlery craftsmanship. Tanto points are known for how strong they are, how much power they have behind them, and how high quality their pommel is. What does a tanto point look like? The tanto sports a flat grind, but it does have a high point. Tanto’s do not have belly’s, so slicing is going to be a little bit more difficult than a different shape, but for what you lack in belly, it makes up in strength.

An example of a knife with a tanto point is the Boker Kalashnikov 74 auto knife.

Boker Kalashnikov 74BT
Boker Kalashnikov 74BT

For starters, the tanto point is extremely strong. Its strength is what most people first notice when they are using a blade with this type of point. The flat grind and high point create a triangular shape—which in an engineering standpoint, is the strongest shape. This is achieved because the unsharpened edge of the made meets the sharpened edge at an angle, instead of the usual curve. Because of this shape, the blade is able to stab through the harder materials. When you have a blade with this shape, you do not have to worry about your blade snapping while stabbing through things.

The second main characteristic of this shape of blade is how it closely resembles a chisel point. Chisel tips are known for having more power and durability than most of the other blade shapes, this is because a good chunk of the overall metal count is closer to the blade’s point. The Tanto shape is similar to that design because it has a thick tip, a lot of its metal is near the tip of the blade. Because of this, it is a great shape for your defensive tool; the tip is able to absorb the impact or pressure from piercing, even repeated piercings. If you have almost any other knife shape, repeated piercings would causes your blade to break. Because the tip is so strong, you can actually pry with it as well. This knife is designed to be a survival knife, but if you got stuck in a survival situation with this style, you would not be in a bad position. The strong tip makes it able to perform tasks that you wouldn’t usually throw at a knife, such as prying.

Another fantastic benefit to the tanto style is that they are relatively easy to sharpen, especially when you are in the field. This is because they have two flat edges, without a curve. This means that if you do not have your usual sharpening equipment, or any actual sharpening equipment, you will still be able to get it sharpened. As long as you have a stone, you are going to be able to sharpen your knife.

Something that most tanto fans love is that they are designed after Japanese blades, especially the Katana blade. Both of these styles have a tip that aligns perfectly with the knife’s spine. The fact that it was inspired after Japanese blades gives it an aesthetic that most people wouldn’t expect.

Now that we have gone over why a tanto is such a great design, we should touch on what makes people dislike the tanto style.

For starters, tanto’s do not have a belly whatsoever. This means that slicing tasks are going to be particularly difficult. Slicing a rougher material is going to be especially hard.

Another reason that people tend to shy away from purchasing a blade with a tanto shape is because sharpening them can be a hassle. I know, this sounds like a contradiction because I just said that they are going to be easy to sharpen in the field. While they are relatively easy to sharpen because they do not have a curve, they are also a pain to sharpen because they have a double bevel. This means that instead of sharpening one edge that spans the length of the blade, you are going to have to sharpen two different edges. While this is a hassle, the sharpening of each edge is going to be easy. I honestly wouldn’t let this characteristic deter you from purchasing a tanto style knife.

Lastly, tanto knives can feel impractical. These knives are made to stab things and to be able to work with thick, hard, rough materials. But usually, your everyday tasks don’t involve stabbing through hard tasks—most likely, you are going to be slicing on an everyday basis; which a tanto isn’t going to excel at.

Tanto knives are designed to do everything, but they are designed to do one thing really well. If you know that you are going to be piercing through harder materials on a common basis, this is the style of knife that you are looking for.

 

Pros of a tanto blade:

  • Crazy strong blade, with a stronger point.
  • Excels at stabbing through hard materials.
  • Very similar in shape to a chisel point.
  • Relatively easy to sharpen, even in the field. All you need is a stone.

 

Cons of a tanto blade:

  • Tanto’s do not have a belly, so slicing is going to be difficult.
  • Sharpening is a hassle because of the double bevel.
  • Tanto’s aren’t designed to do everything, so they can feel impractical.
  • The tip can be hard to control.

 

The Drop Point:

The drop point style is one of the most popular shape for blades. It is designed to be an all-purpose blade.

An example of a knife that sports a drop point style blade is the Chris Reeve Nyala.

Chris Reeve Knives Nyala
Chris Reeve Knives Nyala

As you can see, the back, or unsharpened edge of this knife goes right from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curve. A better where to describe this is calling it a convex curve, which means that the spine of the knife seems to “drop” towards the tip of the blade where it meets the tip. This style is very similar to that of the clip-point, however, this one has a stronger tip, and is actually less suitable for stabbing.

One of the favorite characteristics about a drop point style is the long cutting edge. This makes it a perfect shape for your tactical or survival knife.

Another favorite characteristic about a drop point style is that the tip is very easily controlled, so it is a great option for your hunting knife. Hunting knives are where you will most commonly find a drop point shape. The tip is lowered, which makes it easier to control. And when you can control your hunting knife, you are less likely to cut the organs, which will ruin the meat.

Another reason that this knife shape is an excellent choice for your hunting knife is that because the tip isn’t super sharp or defined, you can use the entire length of the blade while you are skinning a knife. Because you can use the entire length, your skinning time will be dramatically reduced.

A third characteristic that people love with this shape of knife is that it has a large belly, making slicing a breeze.

Fourth, because the drop point has such a straight back, or unsharpened edge, it is perfect for batoning. This is the process of cutting or splitting wood by repeatedly striking the spine of a knife with an object, usually another piece of wood, to drive your knife deeper into the wood. This allows the user to have more control over the situation and it takes minimal effort.

While it is starting to seem like a drop point shape can do almost anything, it wouldn’t be right of me to skip over the negative aspects of this style.

Really the only major disadvantage to choosing a drop point blade is that it has a broad tip. Because of this, you aren’t going to be able to stab things well at all.

A drop point blade is a great option for your everyday, all-purpose knife. Almost any situation that comes up, you are going to be prepared to take it on and get out of it in great shape. These are very versatile blades. They work great for a hunting knife, they work great in survival situations, they work great for tactical situations.

 

Pros of a drop point blade:

  • Long, uninterrupted cutting edge
  • The tip is sharp enough to perform precision work.
  • The tip is lowered, so you have excellent control over it.
  • The drop point style sports a large belly, so slicing is a piece of cake.
  • Because the back is relatively straight, this knife is great for batoning.
  • This is an all-around knife that can perform most tasks.
  • This is an excellent option for your hunting knife.
  • This is also an excellent knife for everyday carrying.
  • If you have this knife during a survival or tactical situation, you are going to be set.

 

Cons of a drop point blade:

  • The point is pretty broad, so stabbing isn’t going to be a piece of cake.

 

After reading this article, I’m sure many of you are wondering why anyone would even pick a tanto blade. The point is not to turn you away at all, it is just to inform you of all your options. What are they both good at? They both have relatively straight backs, they are both great in survival situations because you can use them to dig and pry. While a drop point knife can arguably do more in everyday life, a tanto blade is designed for a specific set of circumstances. The main question that gets asked surrounding tanto blades is would you rather have a knife that is good at a lot of things, but not great at anything. Or would you rather have a knife that is not good for a variety of uses, but is fantastic at one specific thing? You have to take in how often you are going to be using your knife. Do you expect to use this knife all the time and have it for your everyday carry? Or is this knife going to be more of a backup, or hideout in an emergency backup until the need arises? Once you have truly figured out what it is that you want your knife to be able to accomplish, you will have a better idea of which knife shape you would be better fit to buy. Whether you pick a tanto style or a drop point style, you are going to have an excellent knife on your hands. To check out a variety of either of these two blade styles, log on to BladeOps and order your new knife today.

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Knife Blade Geometry

To many people, there are two main parts that make up a knife: the handle and the blade. This is adequate knowledge until you go to try to purchase your own knife and you are immersed in a world of vocabulary that you have never heard before. One of these words that many people don’t understand is the grind. The grind of the blade refers to the “shape of the cross-section of the blade”. This is different from the profile or shape of blade, such as drop point, etc. The grind is how the blade is thinned to reveal the cutting edge. There are eight popular grinds in the knife world: hollow grind, asymmetrical grind, flat grind, convex grind, compound grind, and the chisel grind. This article is going to discuss what each of these popular grinds are and what makes them good options as well as some cons to each of the grinds. Before we begin, there is one word that we should know what it means: the bevel. According to the Merriam-Webster, the bevel is the ground angle and shape of the blade’s cutting edge. Let’s begin.

 

Hollow Grind:

This style of grind has been popular through the ages, because it is very classic style of grind. It has a thin edge, which helps create the least amount of cutting drag. The hollow grind is concave, meaning that both sides of the blade curve symmetrically inwards until the point where they meet. However, the hollow grind doesn’t give the strongest edge offered, so it isn’t ideal for use on hard materials. Also, because it isn’t the strongest edge out there, the grind isn’t super durable and dulls quicker than most grinds. This grind is great for straight shaving razors, axes, culinary knives, and hunting knives. For use on a hunting knife, the hollow grind is especially ideal for slicing and skinning.

Advantages of having a hollow grind:

  • A classic, popular style of grind.
  • The thin edge creates the least amount of cutting drag.
  • Fantastic for hunting knives.

Disadvantages of having a hollow grind:

  • The hollow grind doesn’t create the strongest edge that you can get.
  • Isn’t the most durable of grinds that you can find.
  • This style of grind will dull quicker than the other styles of grinds.

 

Asymmetrical Grind:

The asymmetrical grind is a unique grind because it has two different styles of grind on the same blade. The two edges of an asymmetrical grind tapers from both sides, but the bevel angles are uneven, as opposed to different grinds, where they are symmetrical or even. There is a large variety of grinds that you can put together to create the asymmetrical grind and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. One of the most popular combinations on this grind is with convex grinds or flat grinds. Because of the two different grinds, it produces a more durable edge. This style of grind is often found on tactical knives because it creates a more durable edge, it is stronger than other grinds, and has decent sharpness to it.

Advantages of a having an asymmetrical grind:

  • This style of grind is ideal for tactical knives.
  • An asymmetrical grind produces a more durable edge than other grinds.
  • This style of grind is super strong.
  • With this style of grind, you can create many different combinations of angles to get exactly what you need for your task.

Disadvantages of having an asymmetrical grind:

  • Because this style creates such a durable edge, you do sacrifice some sharpness.

 

Flat Grind:

The flat grind is the simplest profile that you can find. There are actually three different styles of flat grind: full flat grind, high flat grind, and the Scandi or Sabre grind. Having a flat grind means that you will have low cutting drag and still keep more strength than you would have with something such as a hollow grind. Flat grinds are great for woodworking, culinary knives, whittling, and general use knives. These knives are easy to maintain and sharpen.

The Full Flat Grind:

The full flat grind has a single, symmetrical V-bevel. This means that the blade tapers from the spin evenly from both sides into the point. Because of this, the edge can be crazy sharp, but you do sacrifice some of the durability. A true full flat grind is actually rare to find these days, because often times a secondary bevel is included on this style of grind. A full flat grind is best for pushing the knife into something, so you’ll see a full flat grind often on chef’s knives.

The High Flat Grind:

The High Flat Grind is the second style of flat grind. This style of flat grind is more popular than the full flat grind.  The difference between a full flat grind and a high flat grind is that a high flat grind leaves a small portion of the blade the same thickness. This portion is found adjacent to the handle at the bottom of the blade. After this portion ends, it tapers down to the point, just like the full flat grind does. This style is great for survival situations because it is very easy to sharpen in the field.

The Scandi Flat Grind:

The last style of flat grind is the Scandi flat grind. This style has many names including the Scandi grind, the Scandinavian Grind, the V grind, and the Sabre grind. The Scandi grind is similar to the high flat grind because it too has a portion of the blade that stays the same thickness before it tapers to the point. However, with this style, the portion that is the same thickness is much larger. The Scandi style of flat grind is also ideal for survival situations because it is very easy to sharpen while in the field.

Advantages of the flat grinds:

  • A flat grind is ideal for woodworking, whittling, culinary knives, and general use.
  • This style is easy to maintain and sharpen.
  • The flat grind sports an extremely strong edge.
  • This grind is ideal for survival situations because it is easy to sharpen in the field.

Disadvantages of the flat grinds:

  • The flat grinds are not very durable and lose their edge quickly.
  • The full flat grind style is rare to find these days.

 

Convex Grind:

On a hollow grind, the grind curves inward; however, on a convex grind it sports a slightly outward rounded curve that comes to a point. This is extremely similar to the Scandi flat grind, but instead of the straight grind, it is curved. This grind is one of the most durable grinds and they stay super sharp. On the flip side, they are one of the most difficult grinds to sharpen. This style of grind is considered to be the most difficult grind to produce, but they are considered to be a highly specialized grind. The convex grind is also known as an axe grind because axes are most commonly found with a convex grind. Because it is such a durable grind it is ideal for axes, chopping, splitting, hunting, woodworking, culinary knives, and general use knives. The convex grind is becoming an extremely popular style of blade grind.

Advantages of a convex grind:

  • The convex grind is ideal for axes, hunting, woodworking, and culinary knives.
  • This style is considered a specialty grind.
  • This grind is the most durable grind, making it great for chopping, splitting, and heavy duty tasks.
  • The convex grind will stay sharp for a very long time period.

Disadvantages of a convex grind:

  • This style is the hardest grind to sharpen.
  • This style is also one of the hardest grinds to manufacture.

 

Compound Grind:

The compound grind is also known as the double-bevel grind. The compound grind takes any other grind of grind and then ads in the second V-bevel to produce the cutting edge. The compound grind is one of the most commonly found grinds in knives today because it does incorporate any of the grinds that you like, plus the extra bevel. So what is the reason to adding an extra bevel onto your blade? It adds to the cutting ability and it is less likely to chip. However, because it is more durable than other grinds, you do have to give up some of the sharpness that you would get with some of the other grinds offered. The compound grind cuts better than the V edge grind, plus it lasts longer than the V edge grind would. This style of grind is ideal for woodworking, general use knives, whittling, and culinary knives.

Advantages of a compound grind:

  • The compound grind is much more durable than other grinds, so this is a great option if you have a softer steel blade.
  • You can take any grind and then add the second bevel to make this style of grind.
  • The second bevel on this grind adds cutting ability.
  • The compound grind is much less likely to chip than other grinds.

Disadvantages of a compound grind:

  • The compound grind isn’t as sharp as the other grinds offered.

 

Chisel Grind:

The chisel grind is very similar to the Scandi grind except that one side is completely flat. The flat side starts at the bottom of the spine and is straight until the other side meets it at the point. The opposite side has a bevel that starts close to the middle of the blade and then tapers in a straight line to the end. The only side of the blade that is sharp is the tapering side. The angle degree that you are most likely to find is anywhere between 25 and 30 degrees, which works to create a more durable edge. Not surprisingly, this grind is found most commonly on chisels. However, they are also found on some tactical knives, and also in culinary knives, especially Japanese culinary knives. The chisel grind is ideal for woodworking because the grind works to help follow the grind of the work. The chisel grind is considered to be one of the easiest grinds to sharpen, which is good, because chisel grinds need constant maintained and re-sharpening. But, when it is sharp, it can get an extremely sharp edge.

Advantages of a chisel grind:

  • You can get an extremely sharp edge with a chisel grind.
  • The chisel grind is ideal for woodworking and culinary knives.
  • The chisel grind is one of the easiest grinds to sharpen.

Disadvantages of a chisel grind:

  • The chisel grind needs constant maintenance.
  • The chisel grind does not keep its sharp edge well at all.

 

We have now covered the most popular six grinds, but there are some other grinds that are not as common. One of the most popular unpopular (what an oxymoron) grinds is the Semi-Convex grind:

Semi-Convex Grind:

The semi-convex grind is also known as the asymmetrical convex grind. This one combines the convex edge and the V edge. They combine these two because the convex grind offers fantastic durability and the V edge is very easy to sharpen. Like I said, this grind is not very popular, but you will see it from time to time.

Advantages of a semi-convex grind:

  • This grind uses the durability that the convex grind offers.
  • The semi-convex grind gets the ease of sharpening from the V edge aspect that it sports.

Disadvantages of a semi-convex grind:

  • This style is not found often.
  • The edge of this style can get very dull quickly.

 

Conclusion:

There are many intricate aspects that determine how quality your knife is. One of the most overlooked of these aspects is the grind style. There are six popular grinds: hollow grind, asymmetrical grind, flat grind, convex grind, compound grind, and the chisel grind. These six include the basic grinds, but the compound grind and the asymmetrical grind will combine two of your favorite grinds to create the perfect blade for you. Each grind excels at something unique, so before purchasing your next blade, check and see if the grind is the perfect option for you.

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Knife Wars: G-10 vs. Micarta

G-10 and micarta are sometimes thought to be interchangeable. This is not a true statement. G-10 and micarta a very similar, but they do sport some key differences. Today we are going to go in depth about what each one is, what they have that makes them unique, and why they are different from each other.

 

What is G-10?

G-10 is known as a fiberglass based laminate. So what does that mean? To make G-10, you take fiberglass cloths that are soaked in an epoxy resin. To fully understand this process, let’s talk about what resin actually is. Resin can be found in a natural or synthetic form, but the kind on most G-10 handles is the synthetic form. Resin is known to be a viscous liquid, which means that it has a high resistance and can stand up to a high level of stressors and wear and tear. Once the resin hardens, it is permanently hard. While synthetic resin is already a very hard and durable substance, an epoxy resin is said to be two times stronger than concrete, seamless, and waterproof. Okay, back to the G-10 process: once the fiberglass cloths are soaked in an epoxy resin, they are layered on top of each other. Heat and pressure is then added to compress it into the wanted shape. This is the same process that is used for micarta and carbon fiber handles; however, G-10 is unique because this process uses fiberglass while the other two do not.

What is micarta?

One of the most common forms of micarta is linen micarta. Micarta is made extremely similar to G-10. The layers of linen are coated in a resin, but in micarta it is a phenolic resin. Phenolic resin is slightly different than an epoxy resin. Phenolic resin is made with an organic compound called Phenol, creating a synthetic material. After these layers are soaked with a phenolic resin, just like in G-10, they have heat and pressure applied to create the strong material.

Differences: While G-10 is made with an epoxy resin and micarta is made with a phenolic resin, most people wouldn’t be able to explain or tell a difference. The main difference between what these two materials really are is that G-10 is made out of fiberglass and micarta is usually made with linen, but is often made with canvas, and sometimes even papers or burlaps. Because of this, micarta can have very unique looks compared to G-10, where it is always made out of the same material. Many people think that micarta looks a little more rugged, because the base material has more texture than fiberglass does.

 

Is G-10 a strong material?

One of the main defining characteristics of G-10 is the strength that it possesses. For starters, the main “ingredient” of G-10 is fiberglass. Fiberglass is known for being crazy strong and durable. But then in the G-10 process, the fiberglass is woven together. The weaving makes this material even stronger than it already is. Lastly, this woven fiberglass is soaked in an epoxy resin, which creates a hard, almost plastic material. Almost any of the G-10 users will attest to its insane strength. Actually, G-10 is considered to be the toughest of any of the fiberglass resin laminates. And while many people think that Micarta is the stronger out of the two, G-10 has been ranked as the stronger material.

Is micarta a strong material?

Micarta has been called “The Steel of the Plastic Industry”, so yes, micarta is a strong material. Because micarta is soaked and baked in a resin, it creates the same hard, almost plastic material that G-10 is. Compared to many other knife materials, micarta is a very strong handle material. But, because the different base materials aren’t woven like the fiberglass can be, micarta loses out on that aspect of the strength.

Differences: Once again, it really comes down to the base material used. Because fiber glass can be woven, it creates a stronger, more durable material. The base materials of micarta are softer materials and can be scratched if not treated properly; however, when it is treated correctly, it is extremely hard to scratch, and is almost as scratch resistant as G-10. Determining which one of is stronger is a very close competition, but G-10 pulls out as barely stronger.

 

G-10 is a smooth material; is there any grip to it?

Yes, G-10 is a smooth material in its natural state. However, the manufacturers know how vital grip is on a knife, especially a knife that is durable enough for heavy duty tasks. Most commonly found is checkering to create the texture on the handle, but almost any pattern can be added to the G-10 material to create a custom look for your handle. Also, the fiberglass cloth is woven to create the strength that G-10 is known for, but by weaving the fiberglass in different ways, it creates different creative textures that you wouldn’t be able to find in many other knife handle materials. While it is water resistant, this material can feel less grippy when it is wet.

Micarta is an extremely smooth material; how is there any grip?

Yes, micarta truly has no surface texture. When first created, it is slippery, smooth, and has no grip whatsoever. Because it is so smooth, it takes more hand labor to achieve the desired texture. To achieve the desired grip, a texture is actually carved into this knife handle. Because it takes so much extra hand labor, it makes micarta a more expensive priced knife. While micarta is also water resistant, it can actually feel more grippy while wet, because the base materials are natural and their textures come out more while wet.

Differences: In their natural state, both materials are very slick. However, G-10 is slightly less slick. G-10 is a little easier to get texture into and can actually have its fiberglass woven into a texture. While micarta is virtually texture-less at first, a texture can be carved into the handle. This takes more manual labor than creating texture on G-10 and so micarta is costlier. G-10 is slicker when wet, while micarta actually gains some traction while wet. When deciding which one to get, look at the task at hand, if the knife is likely to become wet, such as during a fishing trip, micarta might be your best bet.

 

Why is G-10 such a customizable material?

G-10 is one of the most customizable materials for blade handles. This is because of a few reasons. One of the ways that G-10 can be customizable is the handle pattern. In the previous paragraph, we talked about how texture is added to the G-10 and while checkering is most common, really any pattern can be added. This gives the G-10 a unique look that you aren’t going to be able to find on too many other materials for your knife handles.

Another reason that is so customizable is because of the different colors that you can make G-10 from. G-10 is most commonly found in black, but fiberglass can be found in many colors and so can the epoxy resin. This means that you can create the handle in a huge variety of colors and mixes of colors. Sometimes, the fiberglass cloths will have layers of different colors which adds a pleasing aesthetic that you wouldn’t be able to find in other materials.

Lastly, because G-10 is made from layers of cloth, it is very easy to get different thicknesses for your handle. All the manufacturer has to do is layer more or less of the fiberglass.

Customizing G-10 is a very cheap process because it is so easy to change up so many different aspects of the materials used.

Can I customize my micarta handle?

Because micarta is made out of natural materials as its base material, there are less color options available. Often times, micarta comes in a natural color such as yellows and browns. On the flip side, there are multiple natural materials that you can make your micarta handle out of, which would all give you a different look. Canvas has a chunkier texture to it than linen. Paper doesn’t have a texture to it. And burlap can give you the chunkiest look to it.

With a micarta handle, you cannot get special patterns in the knife, because with a G-10 knife, you just have to weave the fiberglass in different ways. There is no other way to weave the natural material, because they are already woven.

Lastly, it is very easy to get different widths of micarta for your handle, because it is made by a layering process. It is very simple to have more or less layers for a thicker or thinner look.

Differences: While G-10 comes in a huge variety of colors, there are select few colors for micarta handles to be made out of. However, with a micarta handle, you can get many different looks because of the natural base material. With a G-10 handle, it will always look plastic-y. With both of the materials, it is easy to change the thickness or thinness, because they are both made from the layering process. While you can get a variety of different looks with either material, they have very different looks from each other. G-10 is more of a cold/modern look, because it is more plastic-y looking, while micarta will give you a more natural and rugged look. Often times, people think micarta adds a classier element to your knife, as opposed to G-10.

 

Is G-10 an easy material to maintain?

Yes! G-10 is one of the easiest materials to maintain because it so strong, durable, and tough. G-10 is resistant to rust because it is a synthetic plastic-like material. Also, it doesn’t become brittle or soften over time—basically what you see is what you get. Plus, G-10 is non-porous, so no liquid or dirt can be sucked up into the handle, making it brittle. Because it isn’t porous, it is very easy to clean and you don’t have to worry about transferring liquids or particles if you have this type of handle on a knife that you use for hunting or fishing. Some handle materials, such as mother of pearl, are prone to chipping, but G-10 is completely or almost completely resistant to any chipping.

Is micarta an easy material to maintain?

While micarta is a synthetic material, the base “ingredient” for micarta is a natural material, so it does require some upkeep. A good way to take care of micarta is to oil it pretty often. If it is left un-oiled, it can start to soak up blood, sweat, dirt, etc. and becomes an un-hygienic knife. Oiling it is a simple process and the benefits from keeping up on it and taking care of it outweigh the process of taking care of it.

Differences: G-10 is much easier to maintain because you don’t actually have to do anything to maintain it. Because micarta’s base material is a natural substance, it can lead to soaking up of any extra fluid or dirt. With micarta, you are going to want to keep it constantly oiled, but all-in-all, it’s not too bad of a process to keep it looking and feeling its best.

 

What types of knives is G-10 best for?

G-10 is an ideal type of handle material for tactical knives. This is because it is extremely strong, extremely sturdy, and won’t soak up any extra fluids or residue. You do not have to maintain G-10, so having it in a survivor situation would be perfect.

What types of knives is micarta best for?

Micarta is also a great option for tactical knives. Micarta is very strong and very sturdy. They stand up against many elements and actually feel like they have better grip while wet. These are great for hunting and fishing knives as well. The only drawback is that you do have to keep your micarta handle oiled to keep it in best condition.

 

Conclusion:

At first glance, G-10 and micarta seem like an almost identical knife handle material. However, they do have differences and these differences are what is going to help you decide which one is a better candidate for you and your task at hand. Both are fantastic, strong, and durable options. But they do have characteristics that keep each handle and each knife unique.

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Knife Lock Styles

Finding a new knife can be an overwhelming process. There are so many different features that you have to decide between. Some of the main features are steel types, blade shapes, and how the knife opens. One of the features that folding knives have is the locking mechanisms. When I was first looking into buying a new knife, I knew that I had to figure out all the previously mentioned characteristics, but I overlooked researching the locking mechanisms. This article is all about the different popular locking mechanisms and what the advantages and disadvantages of each of them are.

 

Liner Lock:

One of the most popular and commonly used locking systems is the liner lock. This style is also known as the Locking Liner system. This style was originally known as the Walker Lock because the inventor is Michael Walker. The system works because when the knife blade is opened, there is a metal lock bar angled from the center of the handle interior towards the center where it bumps against the tang of the knife blade. When the tension of the lock bar is pressed against the blade, it keeps the blade open and in place. To close the knife, you use your thumb to push the lock bar away from the blade, which releases the tension, and then you can close the blade manually. This type of locking system is commonly found on tactical folding knives.

Advantages of a liner lock:

  • This style of lock is easy to close one handed, so it makes it an ideal mechanism for when you are doing lots of hands on work.
  • The liner lock is great for tactical knives.
  • This style of lock is very reliable to use.

Disadvantages of a liner lock:

  • This style is normally made by thinner metal, so they can wear out.
  • When a liner lock is not built correctly, it can lead to failure over time.
  • When a liner lock is not built correctly, it can led to lots of blade play.
  • This is not an ambidextrous style of lock, because it can only be released from one side.

 

Lockback:

The lockback locking mechanisms is one of the older styles of locking mechanisms; you will see this style on a lot of classic folding knives. This style is often called a spin lock, because it has a notch on the back of the handle. This notch is where the spine of the blade locks into when it is opened. To then close the knife, you push on the exposed part of the spine, which is usually found in the middle of the handle, which moves the part of the mechanism holding the blade in place. Once this is moved, you can close the blade manually. Because the piece you push to disengage the lock is out of the way, it is hard to accidently unlock the knife. However, because this is out of the way, you often have to use two hands to close the knife, not making this an ideal option for tasks that requires your other hand.

Advantages of a lockback:

  • This style of locking system makes knives with this mechanism ambidextrous.
  • The release “button” is out of the way, so it is a safe way to keep your knife locked.
  • This style of lock holds the blade securely.

Disadvantages of a lockback:

  • The user usually has to use two hands to close it.

 

Frame lock:

The frame lock locking mechanism is also one of the most popular locking mechanisms. This style is really just a liner lock on steroids. Meaning, that instead of having the internal lock bar moving into the right place, it is incorporated directly into the handle. This makes it work similarly to the frame lock, because the frame (this would be the lock bar on a liner lock) positions itself right beneath the blade when it is opened, not allowing it to fold. On a liner lock, the liner and lock bar work as a spring, but in a frame lock, the frame works like a spring. This makes this style more secure than a liner lock. Just like on a liner lock, you push down on the frame, moving it out of the way and freeing the blade, then close the knife manually. Because the locking mechanism is in the frame, it uses a large amount of metal against the blade, which is why it is more secure and sturdy than a liner lock. This makes it ideal for heavy duty tasks. Advantages of a frame lock:

  • The frame lock system is very sturdy.
  • This locking mechanism keeps the blade very secure.
  • The frame lock is ideal for heavy duty tasks, including cutting, piercing, and slicing.

Disadvantages of a frame lock:

  • You normally have to use two hands to close the knife.
  • This style is costlier than a liner lock style of locking mechanism.

 

AXIS lock:

The AXIS lock is specifically made by Benchmade, meaning only Benchmade knives will have this lock, but it is a revolutionary lock, so I’m not going to skip talking about it. This locking mechanism is made of a spring-tension bar that goes the length of the handle. After the blade is opened, this spring-tension bar is pushed forward within the slot in the handle until it locks into place. It locks into place when the blade is fully extended. The spring-tension bar then rests on the blade, so that it can’t close. When closing the knife, you pull this spring-tension bar to the back of the blade, with the thumb studs, and then can close the blade. You can reach the bar from either side, making it very ambidextrous. This system uses less of the regular locking system parts that can create friction, so this style feels much smoother than others. But, because it has so many parts involved, it can be hard to clean and maintain.

Advantages of an AXIS lock:

  • This style is completely ambidextrous.
  • You can close the blade without ever putting your fingers in line of the blade, making it a safer option.
  • This style feels smoother than other styles of locking mechanisms.
  • Very sturdy—this style can stand up to some of the toughest work.

Disadvantages of an AXIS lock:

  • The AXIS lock can be hard to maintain and clean because of the smaller parts that are hard to take apart.
  • This locking mechanism is only on Benchmade knives.
  • The smaller thumb studs can be hard to operate, especially on the smaller knives that feature the AXIS lock.

 

ARC Lock:

This style of lock is also known as the Cam lock. The ARC lock is another style of locking mechanism that is only found in one brand of knife, but the ARC lock is only found on SOG Specialty Knives. It is very similar to the AXIS lock. But the difference is that instead of having a bar moving in a vertical motion, this style has a device that moves in an arc. The bar and arc-moving device both work identically by blocking the tang of the knife from closing while locked. The ARC lock has high strength levels, and SOG has tested the strength in lab tests. The ARC can open very quickly and smoothly; it can also be opened with only one hand. SOG has added a safety feature that ensures the blade stays secure within the handle when it is closed.

Advantages of an ARC lock:

  • This locking mechanism is completely ambidextrous—one of the few.
  • The ARC lock can open quickly and smoothly.
  • The knife features a safety mechanism that keeps the blade securely closed while locked.
  • This style is very easy to use.

Disadvantages of an ARC lock:

  • This style of lock is only found on SOG knives.
  • While this style of lock is very strong, it is not as strong as some of the other options.

 

Tri-Ad Lock:

Cold Steel has also designed their own type of locking mechanism; they named it the Tri-Ad lock. Andrew Demko is the designer of this style of locking mechanism. This style works by having the blade shouldered around the stop pin, this helps at resistance to wear. The stop pin works to even out the pressure that the blade creates and redistribute it into the handle, because the handle can absorb the pressure better. Some unique aspects of the Tri-Ad lock that Cold Steel has worked to create is extra space allows the rocker to go further into the notch. This is great for normal wear that most locks go through over time. Another thing that Cold Steel has created is that in the Tri-Ad lock the full surface of the lock and the blade are level with each other. And the lock has a slight angle, which pushes the lock inwards instead of outward, making this helps keep the locking mechanism for a longer. Plus, the pin hole has extra space inside so that the knife can actually self-adjust over time as the different parts are slowly worn out. This makes knives with this style of lock extremely maintainable. The Tri-Ad lock is a very secure and safe style of locking mechanism that keeps the blade snug. The Tri-Ad lock is similar to the lockback style of mechanism, but it has the added stop pin to make it unique.

Advantages of a Tri-Ad lock:

  • The patented stop pin moves the pressure from the lock into the handle to ease every day wear and tear that locks endure.
  • Because the Tri-Ad has extra space in the pin hole, this style of lock is self-adjusting, making knives with this style of lock extremely easy to maintain.
  • Because the lock has a slight angle, the pressure pushes the lock inward instead of outward, making the lock sturdier.
  • This style of lock is a very secure style of lock.
  • Similar to the lockback style, but with the added stop pin making it unique.

Disadvantages of a Tri-Ad lock:

  • This style is exclusive to Cold Steel, so it is not as widely used.

 

Slip Joint lock:

This type of lock is unique because it doesn’t actually every lock. It has a slip joint that uses pressure from a spring to hold the blade up. To open this kind of knife, you pull on the blade, which snaps it into place. To close it, you just push it back down. Because this type of lock isn’t actually a lock, this style is not great for heavy duty knives. This type of “lock” is most commonly seen on Swiss Army Knives.

Advantages of a slip joint lock:

  • This style is very simple and easy to use.

Disadvantages of a slip joint lock:

  • Since it doesn’t ever actually lock into place, it is not great for heavy duty tasks.

 

Lever Lock:

A lever lock works because there is a pin that prevents the blade from closing. Once the blade is completely open, the pin fits in a hole that is on the tang of the blade. It gets its name because when you want to close the knife, there is a lever that you push down which then lifts the pin out of the blade. Then you can fold the blade back into the handle. This pin also is what keeps the blade closed, so you have to press the lever to open the blade as well. This style of lock is commonly found on Italian style switchblade knives.

Advantages of a lever lock:

  • The pin and lever system hold the knife securely in place while locked.
  • This locking mechanism is found on Italian style knives, so it looks aesthetically pleasing.

Disadvantages of a lever lock:

  • If the lever or pin breaks, the whole locking system is destroyed.

 

Now that we have discussed the different, common, and popular blade locking mechanisms, you can make a more informed decision when buying a knife and get the perfect knife for you. Check out BladeOps to find great knives with any of these locking mechanisms.

 

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