Bear OPS Manual Folder Knife (Zytel Handle) Knife Review

Bear and Son has a rich family tradition in knife making. They have a skilled and experienced work force capable of performing many of the extra hand operations that go into the making of their products. The Bear & Son factory is unique: it is full self-contained. While some companies only assemble parts brought form various suppliers and put their names on the product, Bear & Son does everything in-house from building their own blanking dies to heat treating, grinding and assembly, and hand finishing their products. It is these steps that ensure that Bear & Son Cutlery is of excellent quality and a real value for both the dealer and consumer.

This commitment to excellence has just improved due to rich family tradition in knife making craftsmanship not only by management, but also their experienced work force. Their customers and consumers can look for even more new and exciting products as a result. Their ongoing commitment is to make them in America and make them affordable. They want everyone to be able to afford what they are proud to make.

Bear OPS Knives is a new subsidiary of Bear & Son Cutlery. Because they take their obligation of duty to our country very seriously; their goal is to manufacture the best tactical knives available for those who serve. Bear OPS knives are made with Operational Precision for Superior Tactical Knives, or OPS, that can be relied on for any situation.

Bear OPS only uses USA manufactured parts, material, and a dedicated workforce. Bear OPS uses only premium 154CM and CPM S30V steel for their blades and use their own heat treat, waterjet, and CNC grinders to finish the blades. Bear OPS is designed and engineered by the experts in their R&D and their in-house tool makers. You will always be proud to carry a knife from Bear OPS.

Bear & Son Cutlery has already and will continue to manufacture the “best knives made in the USA” that will now include tactical and military knives made in the USA. Come pick up your favorite Bear OPS knife today at BladeOps.

Today we will be discussing the Bear OPS manual folder knife that features a Zytel handle.


Bear OPS Manual Folder Knife (Zytel Handle)
Bear OPS Manual Folder Knife (Zytel Handle)

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by Crucible, which is a United States based company. This steel was designed specifically for knives, which means that you are going to get all of the best qualities for your knife out of this steel. It is often used for high-end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. S30V steel has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. Crucible added in vanadium carbides which work to bring extreme hardness into the steel alloy matrix. When you look at this steel dollar for dollar, it is regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the perfect balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness, which is one of the hardest balances to get out of a blade steel. There is only one drawback to this steel: this steel does prove to be hard to work with, which does increase the overall cost of the steel. Also, the steel is going to be tricky to sharpen, because of how hard it is to work with.

The blade has been finished with a bead blasted finish. This finish is created when ceramic beads are blasted at the steel at a high pressure. This creates an even gray finish. A blasted finish also reduces reflection and glares due to its even matte surface. The blasting does create an increased surface area and micro abrasions make the steel more prone to rust and corrosion. A blasted blade, even from stainless steel can rust if left in a wet or humid environment.

The blade has been carved into a clip point blade shape. The clip point blade shape is a great all-purpose blade as well as being one of the most popular blade shapes in us today. While the Bowie knife is the most common place you are going to find this blade shape, it is popular on almost any blade style and you will find it on many pocket knives and fixed blades alike. The shape is formed by having the back edge of the knife runs straight form the handle and then stop about halfway up the knife. At this point, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This area looks to be “cut-out” and is curved. This section is also referred to the clip, which is how the shape got its name. Clip point knives look as if this section have actually been clipped out. The point on this knife is lowered, which means that you are going to have more control when you are using this knife. And because the tip is controllable, sharper, and thinner at the spine, a clip point knife will be more equipped to stabbing. The clip point has less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal because of the shape. One of the reasons that this blades shape is so versatile is because the blade has a large belly that is ideal for slicing. There is really only one disadvantage to the clip point blade, because of the narrow tip this blade point does have a tendency to be weak and break pretty easily. The drop point and the clip point blades are often confused with each other, because they are the two most popular blade shapes on the market today. They are each versatile and great for a large variety of purposes. The biggest difference between the two is that the drop point does have more strength behind the point, however, because of how broad they are, you do lose out on most of your piercing abilities. The clip point has a finer point, so you cannot take on harder tasks, but you do have your piercing abilities. These are both great blade shapes, but you have to choose which of the advantages you want out of your knife.


The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of Zytel. Zytel is a type of Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon, which is a thermoplastic material which was introduced by American chemical company, DuPont. Zytel is very strong, very resistant to bending, resistant to abrasion, and is practically indestructible. All of these things, and it is even cheap.

In this material, the nylon fibers are arranged haphazardly throughout the material, which means that it will be strong in all directions. Zytel is very similar to G-10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta, except that those materials have the fiberglass strands aligned in a single direction. That is why the other materials are brittle, but Zytel is almost indestructible.

Many people did not warm up to this material because they said it felt cheap and even hollow. Plus, Zytel does provide less grip than G-10 does.

This material is inexpensive because it can be injection molded into any desired shape and texturized in a multitude of ways in the production process. All of these characteristics leads to high volume manufacturing and a low cost.

The handle is simple and completely black. The spine of the handle curves to fit inside of your palm perfectly. The bottom of the handle has three curves and finger grooves that span the length of the handle. The first one is the deepest and least elongated. It gives you a comfortable place to rest your fingers. Lastly, there is a slight finger guard to protect your fingers from getting cut if you do slip.


The Mechanism:

This is a manual folding knife that sports a dual thumb stud and features a liner locking mechanism.

The thumb stud is one of the most common ways that a knife can be opened with just one hand. The thumb stud replaces the nail nick found on more traditional knives. This mechanism is also very straightforward to use—you hold the folded knife, place the tip of your flexed thumb on the stud, and extend your thumb to swing the blade through its arc until the blade is fully open. And because the stud does extend through the blade, which means that it is protruding on both sides, the knife is ambidextrous and can be opened with either hand. One of the only drawbacks is that because it does protrude from the blade, some people feel like it gets in the way of their tasks. The other drawback to a thumb stud is that when you are using this opening mechanism, it does put your fingers very close to the blade, you just have to be careful when you are getting used to the thumb studs.

The liner lock is the most common of today’s blade locking systems. The handle is made of two plates on either side of the blade. When the knife is opened, one side of the knife’s liner, often called the lock bar, butts up against the backend of the blade and prevents the blade form closing. The lock bar is manufactured so that it angels toward the interior of the knife, creating a bias for the locked positon. To close the knife, the knife user applies manual force to move the lock bar to the side so that the blade is unblocked and can be folded back into the handle. The liner provides a secure and convenient way to make using this knife even safer.


The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 2 7/8 inches long, with a handle that measures in at 4 3/8 inches long. When this knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 7.5 inches long. This knife was made in the United States of America.


The Pros of the Bear OPS Manual Folder Knife:

  • The S30V steel is strong and tough.
  • The steel maintains an edge for long periods of time.
  • The steel has the perfect balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention.
  • The steel also has the ability to resist rust easily.
  • The bead blasted finish creates an even grey finish.
  • The clip point blade shape is all-purpose.
  • The clip point blade features a large belly.
  • The clip point blade excels at piercing.
  • This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can be proud to own, carry, and use it.
  • The Zytel handle is strong.
  • The Zytel handle is tough.
  • The Zytel handle requires zero maintenance.
  • Zytel is an inexpensive material, so it will keep the overall cost of the knife down.
  • The handle fits comfortably in your hand.
  • The thumb stud is ambidextrous.
  • The liner lock makes sure that you don’t need to worry about your blade closing in the middle of use.
  • The liner lock is a secure and convenient way to make using this knife even safer.


The Cons of the Bear OPS Manual Folder Knife:

  • The steel is hard to work with, which means that it will be hard to sharpen.
  • The bead blasted finish creates micro abrasions, which means that it can rust overnight if left in the worst environment—so keep up on maintenance.
  • The clip point blade is prone to breaking.
  • The Zytel handle does have a cheap plastic feel to it.
  • The Zytel handle is not going to provide as much grip as G-10 would.
  • Some people feel that the thumb stud gets in the way of things.



The Bear OPS Bear OPS MC-110-B7-P Manual Folder Knife features a S30V modified clip point plain edge blade with a bead blast finish. The blade opens easily with the ambidextrous thumb stud.   Built by Bear OPS (a division of Bear and Son Cutlery) this knife features a black Zytel handle that is very comfortable in the hand. The knife opens smooth and locks tight into the open position with a liner lock. This knife is tough, durable, and you know that you can rely on this knife. Pick up this knife today at BladeOps.


Bear OPS Grey Incognito Automatic Knife Review

Bear OPS Grey Incognito Automatic Knife
Bear OPS Grey Incognito Automatic Knife


Bear OPS is a subdivision of Bear & Son Cutlery. The story of Bear & Son Cutlery all began in 1991 when Ken Griffey and two partners bought the Parker Edwards knife facility, which was a sister plant to W.R. Case & Sons in Jacksonville, Alabama, to create Bear MGC Cutlery. A lot has happened since then to establish Bear & Son Cutlery as a rising force in the knife industry.

After a wild ride, including a time when the firm actually was owned by Swiss Army Brands, Ken Griffey still heads the operation as president. His son Matt, who began working in the factory when he was 18, is vice-president, as is Ken’s wife Sandy, who has played a key role as vice-resident of purchasing and premium department.

With their supervisors and management team, they bring a combined knife experience of more than 290 years, including positions with Gerber, Case, Buck, Parker Edwards and Schrade. They head a skilled team of 82 knife craftsmen.

As Americans become more and more concerned about jobs lost to overseas sources, they resent it when they see the words “Made in China” on a product.
Bear & Son Cutlery meets the test because 100% of their high-quality knives are made in their state-of-the-art Jacksonville, Alabama plant, where they do all their own tooling, pressing, heat-treating, grinding, hafting, finishing, and assembling.

Ken Griffey has said, “Our fundamental position is clear and absolute: we make high-quality knives, and we make them all right here in the U.S.A. And when we say Made in America, we mean everything—the steels, every component right down to the tiniest screws, and of course every step of manufacturing. We’re a family company, and we are dedicated to keeping it exactly that way.”

With a wide range of knives—from a big Bowies to popular Butterflies—Bear & Son covers almost every knife need.

The Bear OPS Division, launched in 2011, features a growing line of rugged tactical and survival knives. The goal of Bear OPS products is to manufacture the best Tactical Knives available for those who serve. OPS is the abbreviation of Operational Precision for Superior Tactical Knives, and this was more than a decade in the making. Matt Griffey, the vice president of Bear & Son said, “I had some friends that had been deployed in the Middle East and many of them were unhappy with the standard-issue knife. Once they returned to the U.S., I showed them the drawings/prototypes. One of them carried a prototype on his second tour in Afghanistan. He would send me emails about the feedback he received from soldiers in his unite, and they all wanted one.”

Today we are going to be going over the Bear OPS Grey Incognito automatic knife.


The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel. This steel is ideal for knife blades, because it allows for the highest attainable hardness without the compromising of micro-structure integrity. The steel is often used in high end knives by top shelf manufacturers, which is perfect for this tactical knife. With this steel, sharpening and edge retention is maintained with ease. This steel has high resistance to micro chipping, rolling, and folding of the edge. This steel has a high corrosion resistance that lends itself particularly well in a tactical knife, because you are never use what the environment is going to be that you have to work with.

The blade has been satin finished. This process involves sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive, which is usually a sandpaper. The satin finish shows off the bevels of the blade, showcases the liens of the knife, while also reducing its reflective glare. The finer the abrasive and the more even the lines; the cleaner the satin finish blade looks. This is one of the most traditional blade finishes that you are going to come across, because its luster falls right in the middle of the spectrum. Because of this, this knife is never going to go out of style.

The blade has been carved into a modified Wharncliffe style blade. The Wharncliffe blade, not to be confused with the sheepsfoot blade, is very much like a standard blade shape turned upside down. This type of blade has a totally flat cutting edge, and the spine of the blade drops gradually until the tip forms a point. There are a few stories as to how the name Wharncliffe came to be, with some people claiming that the pattern originated many years ago form some of the patterns used for Scandinavian Seax Knives and others claiming that it came from a British Lord who commissioned the knife to be made. There is one thing that is for certain however according the website of Ron Neep. There were several Lord Wharncliffe that he blades shape could have been named after, but the actual name “Wharncliffe” did not exit prior to 1822, which means it was named after that point in history. Regardless of history, the Wharncliffe is a very useful blade shape. It is fantastic for office folk for opening boxed and envelops and excels in box-cutter type chores. It is not very good for preparing food and skinning as the lack of belly makes it difficult for cutting soft tissue and using on a cutting board. Some other confusing things regarding the Wharncliffe blade are the differences between this blade shape and the Coping blade and the Sheepsfoot blade. There is a lot of inconsistencies in naming by companies and which blade is which. It is generally accepted that a Sheepsfoot blade has an abruptly curving spine at the tip of the knife, creating very little point. While the Wharncliffe has a more gradually tapering spine creating a pointier tip, and consequently more fragile.


The Handle:

The handle on this blade has been made out of stainless steel. Stainless steel is not as light as aluminum, but offers a much greater resistance to dents and scratching. It is also quite corrosion resistant, although it is not completely impervious to it—so you do need to maintain a measure of care to keep it rust and spot free. As far as metal handles are concerned, stainless steel is certainly the most commonly available and the least expensive, but it is also the heaviest. Unfortunately, stainless steel can be rather slippery when it is not finished correctly. The pros of a stainless steel handle is that they are strong, durable, and corrosion resistant. The cons of the stainless steel handle is that it is heavy and it can be slippery.

To combat the slipperiness of the stainless steel handle, Bear OPS has intensively textured the middle of the face of the handle. To add aesthetic to the handle, there is some thin striping on the handle by the nearest portion of the blade. The firing button on this knife is also textured, so that no matter the environment, you are going to be able to deploy this knife instead of slipping off it. There is wide and deep jimping on the spine and the bottom of the handle to give you better grip and control when slicing with this knife. The butt of the handle is not squared or curved, but rather pointed. There is a slight finger guard to keep your fingers safe. Although, this guard is not as large as some other blades, so you are going to need to be careful when using this knife. The jimping and the textured middle will help prevent this slippage though.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry pocket clip. This means that even if you are on a mission or moving around a lot, the knife is going to stay more securely in your pocket than if it were not a dep carry clip. The clip is rectangular all the way down and has a matte grey finish matching the handle. It is kept in place by silver screws, which match the rest of the hardware on the knife. This clip is designed for tip down carry and only on the traditional side of the handle. This is one of the features that some people view as a drawback, but it isn’t a huge deal for others.


The Mechanism:

This is an automatic knife. Before we get into what an automatic knife, I need to specify that automatic knives, or switchblades, have a very strict and particular set of laws surrounding them in the United States. This means that this knife is not going to be legal in all states, areas, and cities. It is your responsibility as the user to know what your local laws are. It might be illegal to purchase or carry this knife in your area. You are responsible for all consequences, not BladeOps.

An automatic knife is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade that is contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. Most switchable designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened positon. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position.

Switchblade knives date form the mid-18th century. The earliest known examples of spring-loaded blades were constructed by craftsmen in Europe, who developed an automatic folding spike bayonet for use on flintlock pistols and coach guns. Examples of steel automatic folding knives from Sheffield England have crown markings that date to 1840. In France, 19th century folding knives marked Chatellerault were available in both automatic and manually opened versions in several sizes and lengths.

Some of the advantages to owning an automatic knife are that you can have fast, one handed opening. You can easily bring them into play and you don’t have to worry about the knife being hard to open. Some of the disadvantages are that this knife does have restricted ownership, automatic knives are more expensive than other styles of knives. The biggest disadvantage to this style of knife is that the maintenance is tricky and the inner workings have a larger ability to break. When you are cleaning this knife, you do have to clean all of the inner pieces. And you do need to make sure the knife is dry inside to avoid rusting.


The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 2.75 inches long, with a handle that measures in at 3.5 inches long. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 6.25 inches long. This knife weighs in at 2.6 ounces, which is a great weight for a knife that you are going to want to carry with you at all times, especially when you are in the field and can’t be weighed down. The Grey Incognito was made in the United States of America.



Florida native Steve Jernigan has been a knife designer for 34 years and has been making knives for close to 65. From diplomats, to international collectors, to the average knife fanatic, Jernigan has appeased to every taste and assisted in creating knives at every price point. Bear OPS continues its march down automatic lane with a Jernigan designed side-open automatic that is sleek and slim and a delight to use. The unique focal point of the design rests on the pocket clip–because of its lightweight design and the fact that the pocket clip extends pass the handle scale, users can wear it, much like a pen, in a polo or dress shirt. This model, the AC-800-S, features a grey stainless steel handle, a modified Wharncliffe style blade in a satin finish and the deep carry pocket clip is statically designed for tip down carry only on the traditional side of the handle. Pick up this tactical knife today at BladeOps.