The Boker Mini Kalashnikov 73BT is a button lock automatic knife with incredibly fast, strong action. The AUS8 stainless steel tanto blade proffers 1.75″ of straight edge that are plenty for serious every day cuts. The aluminum handle scales have several finger grooves as well as jimping on the spine so you have a secure grip at all times. A deep carry pocket clip for discreet carry and lanyard hole for alternate carry round off this fantastic little auto knife.
A button lock auto conversion knife, the Boker 73BT Mini Kalashnikov is the kind of knife that can take serious abuse. I carried a different variation of the Mini Kal for 30 days and recorded my impressions here. Needless to say, it is one of my all around favorite “every day” style knives. Obviously there are knives I like more. For instance, I almost can’t get enough of my Benchmade Volli and my Microtech Troodon. And I treasure my Brous Blades Coroner just because it looks seriously bad a**. And no one is going to pry my old Spyderco Manix C101GPS out of my hands. Of course there are knives out there that are better than the Boker Mini Kalashnikov. But, in my mind, there are no other knives that even get close to competing for value. Back in 2008, I carried a Boker Kal 74 with the Desert Sand finish. I abused the living daylights out of this knife. I did things that would make any knife lover cringe. I cut sprinkler pipes with it. I used it to lay sod–meaning I was cutting the sod with it. I used it to pry up old nails in my woodshop. I almost never did any maintenance to it–once or twice a month I would wipe it down. I didn’t sharpen it once over the six month period. And guess what? I still have it. And it is in great condition. After the six months, I spent a few minutes giving it a really good clean up–which was very easy since it has an open construction style and even taking it apart and putting it back together again doesn’t take more than 10-15 minutes. Then I sharpened the blade with my Spyderco Sharpmaker. And it is in near perfect condition. Sure, there are a few scratches on the blade. Ok, way more than a few. And the handle has a few spots where the finish has worn. But it is still a perfectly functional every day carry automatic knife. And the Boker Mini Kal 73BT gives you all the same great materials, all the same great Kalashnikov style, all the same great durability for an even lower price and in a smaller package.
I am sure there are plenty of knife snobs out there who will disagree with me. I get it. And you are right–a Benchmade, Spyderco, Microtech and many other companies make better overall knives. But for the price to value ration, you can’t beat an automatic Boker Kalashnikov.
The Boker Kalashnikov 73 could just be the perfect size automatic knife. A couple of years ago, I carried the Kalashnikov 74 for several months and was impressed by its durability. So when I got my new 73, I was really excited to see how it would stack up against the bigger 74. I choose to carry the standard 73 with a bead blast plain edge blade and a black handle. The first thing I noticed was that other than the size, this knife is exactly like the bigger version Kalashnikov. The handle is comfortable, built with choils for each of your fingers. This is an auto conversion knife–meaning that it isn’t produced as an automatic knife by Boker. Instead, it is converted after market into an automatic knife. Press the button and the blade really snaps out hard. Lock up is tight and there is no side to side or up and down play in the blade. The blade is closed by pressing the button lock which frees the blade so you can close it. The deep carry, tip up pocket clip is removable.
The Boker KAL Mini is a relatively simple construction. The blade is AUS 8 stainless steel with a bead blast finish on my model. You can also pick it up with a black finish. The blade length is 2.5″ and when the knife is open it measures 5.75″. When closed, the knife is a compact 3.25″. This is the very first thing that struck me as impressive. This knife takes up almost no real estate in my pocket. I carry a lot of crap in my pockets–wallet, keys, cell phone, change (if I’m lucky enough to have any), and the occasional odds and ends. Throw in my knife, and my pockets can easily get to bulging. So I like a smaller knife. Besides, in my normal day-to-day life, I don’t run into many things that a small knife won’t cut just as well as a large knife. So this little beauty immediately caught my heart with its size. The handle is aluminum. It has a texture pattern that adds a bit of grip and some visual appeal. There is also some wide jimping on the spine of the handle right near both ends. On the top end, close to the blade the jimping runs for 5/8″ of an inch and is wide enough to give your thumb some serious grip when you are choking up on the blade for close work or fine cuts. The butt of the handle has jimping for 1 1/8″ that runs right around the curve at the base of the handle. This gives your thumb the perfect resting/grip spot for when you reverse grip the knife. Throw in the finger grooves as well as three ridges that run across the handle and you have a knife that isn’t going to slip in your hand. I have average sized hands and because the knife is on the smaller end of the size scale, even my hand “hangs” off the butt end of the handle. It doesn’t feel awkward or uncomfortable. Sometimes with small knives, there is a strange, uncomfortable ridge or bump that makes it awkward to hold. Not the case with the Mini KAL. Here are the specs on the knife:
Overall length: 5 3/4″
Blade length: 2 1/2″
Handle Length: 3 1/4″
Handle Width: 7/8″ at the widest point
Handle Thickness: 3/8″
Weight: 2.1 oz.
Blade material: AUS-8
Handle material: Aluminum
One of my favorite features is the deep carry pocket clip. A true deep carry, when the knife is in my pocket nothing except the clip shows. I also like how the clip is designed. Some clips are extremely tight on my pocket which sometimes delays how fast I can get my knife out of my pocket and back into my pocket. The Boker clip has space all the way down between the clip and the handle until the very end of the clip–where it indents back in toward the knife handle. This small curve creates plenty of traction so the knife has never fallen out of my pocket–but it isn’t so tight that the knife is hard to get in and out of my pocket. It also reduces wear and tear on the edge of my pocket since it isn’t absurdly tight.
As I mentioned back on Day 3, the handle has some really nice jimping at both ends of the back spine of the handle. The butt of the handle has jimping that wraps all the way around the curved end of the butt so if you decide to hold the knife in a reverse grip your thumb has plenty of traction. The blade end of the handle also has jimping on the spine that transitions smoothly into jimping on the blade. This way, when you hold the knife in a traditional grip, your thumb also has plenty of traction. I also really like the handle in general–I have been extremely tough on this little knife and have yet to get any visible damage on the handle. No scratches, dents or chips. I have purposely dropped it several times each day so as to simulate a longer time period with the knife. Not a bit of damage to the handle. Very impressive.
Took the 73 out into the warehouse today and spent nearly an hour cutting boxes. At first, I just cut taped up boxes. As I expected, the knife had no problem with this. Then I spent nearly thirty minutes cutting cardboard. The blade performed extremely well. Interestingly enough, the blade actually performs better on push cuts than it does on pull cuts. I’m not too sure why this is. But on a push cut, the blade performs at a high 9.5 out of 10. On pull cuts the blade might be more of a 7 out of 10. It seems to take a few moments before the blade actually engages and starts to cut when performing a pull cut. After about thirty minutes cutting cardboard the blade was still making smooth cuts. I can tell the blade needs to be sharpened, but it isn’t so dull that it is just mashing the cardboard on the cuts. Clean, smooth cutting blade that keeps an edge–that is important to me and the 73 passed the test.
I spent part of today disassembling and reassembling my Boker 73. First of all–it is really simple to do. There is a main pivot screw that requires a Torx size 8 screwdriver. And then there are three smaller screws that keep the handle scales together. These require a Torx size 6 screwdriver. After you get all the screws out, the handle scales come apart easily. Once apart, you have two handle scales, three barrel spacers, a pocket clip, three small screws, one large pivot screw, a push button, a push button spring, an alignment pin, the blade and the blade spring. Easy to take apart, the whole process only took me three or four minutes. From there, I spent a few minutes cleaning everything up. Then I reassembled the knife. This took about five minutes. I like that the knife is simple to take apart–because this means that long-term maintenance will be fairly easy–and that means I will be more likely to do it on a regular basis. Just take the knife apart, clean everything up and then put it all back together. Less than a fifteen minute job.
If you need a perfect sized every day carry knife the automatic Boker Kalashnikov 73 could very well be the knife for you. Small enough to fit perfectly in any pocket, this little auto gives you all the performance of a big knife in a package that is easy to carry. My Boker 73 stood up to extremely heavy abuse over the past 30 days and didn’t flinch a bit. The blade stayed sharp under heavy use, and I know that when time for a resharpen does come the AUS 8 will be easy to sharpen. My favorite things are the durability of the knife, the deep carry pocket clip and the size. bThe Kal 73 gets an A grade from me.