Microtech Bronze Sigil MK6 Knife Review

For over twenty years, Microtech has been working to build a long-standing tradition of innovation and quality with each knife that leaves their facility. In a world of ever-changing technology, they strive to ensure their customers have access to the latest advancements in knife making, while still continuing to maintain a humanized element throughout the manufacturing process. As the company continues to grow, their focus remains the same: to deliver revolutionary products that exceed the industry’s ever-increasing desire for groundbreaking ideas. Some of their most memorable moments include:

  • In 1994, the very first knife porotypes were created in Anthony and Susan Marfione’s apartment.
  • The same year, they released the UDT which marked the official beginning of Microtech.
  • A year later (1995) they released the HALO, which earned the cover spot of the 1995 edition of Fighting Knives magazine.
  • In 1999, the Ultratech hit the production and then became the most popular Microtech ever.
  • For the second year in a row, Microtech earned Blade Magazine’s Manufacturing Quality Award.
  • In 2004, they released the Currahee, which was specifically designed for the U.S. Special Forces Boat Team 20.
  • In 2007, Microtech’s sister company, Microtech Small Arms Research engineered the original STG-5.56, becoming the first knife company to establish a firearms division.
  • In 2012, two legends met as Anthony Marfione entered into collaboration with Mick Strider to create the DOC.
  • In 2014, the company celebrate their 20th anniversary with the launch of new packaging, a new Blade Show booth, and an anniversary coffee table book.
  • In 2015, the Ultratech underwent a major aesthetic revamp, with the introduction of the new tri-grip and thumb slide.

Today we will be talking about the Bronze Sigil MK6 Titanium Flipper Knife, with a black blade. Microtech is a reliable knife company that creates quality knives. These are the knives that you want to have with you when you are in an emergency situation, because they are dependable and have your back. If you take care of your Microtech knife, it will take care of you back.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of Elmax steel. Elmax steel is produced by Bohler-Uddenholm and is considered a high chromium, vanadium, molybdenum alloyed steel. Elmax steel is an ultra-premium blade steel. Because it is a powdered steel, it has extremely high wear and corrosion resistance. Because of the composition of the metal, the steel has a high wear resistance, high compressive strength, a superior corrosion resistance, and very good dimensional stability, which means that it has the ability to retain its size and from even after taking abuse. Elmax is a stainless steel but in many ways it does act like a carbon steel. With this steel you get a superb edge holding quality and a relatively easy sharpening ability while also maintaining a healthy resistance to rust. Often times, this steel is used in the higher end knives. When it was first introduced, it was quite pricey, but because of the market competition, the price has been driven down to reasonable levels. Elmax steel is produced through a hardening and corrosion resistant mold using this powder-metallurgy process, a process that Bohler-Uddenholm uses for many of their premium stainless steels. Powder metallurgy is the method of blending fine powdered materials, pressing them into the desired shape, and then heating it to sinter, or bond, the material. Elmax steel is commonly used in many Microtech knives. Elmax knives can be used for multitudes of purposes, and can be found in knives in a wide range of categories. This steel is equipped with qualities that are ideal and crucial for outdoor and survival activates. For a knife that you want to be able to take a beating, this steel is the perfect choice.

The knife has been coated with a Diamond-Like-Coating, or DLC. On the Sigil, the DLC is a black. There are a variety of benefits to having a coated finish on a blade, but there are also a few drawbacks. A coated finish reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. Unfortunately, all coatings can be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and at that time, the blade would have to be re-coated. In general, the harder the finish, the more resistant to wear and the more expensive to add to a knife. High quality finishes are bonded electrically, chemically, or thermally to the surface as opposed to a simple drying paint-like coatings. High end coatings, such as a DLC require that the blade go to a specialty coating facility for Physical Vapor Deposition application in a vacuum environment. Coatings can prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust. And while quality coatings do add cost to a knife, they do add more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance. In short, the DLC coating does add significant cost to the blade, but you get what you pay for, and the return on investment is high.

The Sigil has a Wharncliffe style blade. The Wharncliffe blade is often confused with the sheepsfoot blade, but there are a variety of differences. This blade shape looks very much like a standard blade shape that is then turned upside down. This style of blade has a totally flat cutting edge, and the spine of the blade drops gradually until the tip forms a point. All in all, the Wharncliffe style of knife is a very useful blade shape. This is an especially good option for people who work a lot in an office, because the flat edge excels at opening envelopes and box cutter type chores. On the flip side, it is not very good at preparing food or skinning, became of the lack of belly. It is generally accepted that a sheepsfoot blade has an abruptly curving spine at the tip of the knife, creating very little point, but a Wharncliffe has a more gradually tapering spine creating a pointier tip, and consequently more fragile.

This knife does sport a plain edge. The plain edge is capable of taking on a wider variety of tasks and will give you cleaner cuts. If you had a serrated edge, the cuts would look jagged, but you would be able to saw through some of the thicker materials. The plain edge is going to be multi-use, easier to sharpen, and you will be able to get a finer edge on your knife. If you are looking for a knife to fulfill a large purpose, this is the best direction to go.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of titanium. Titanium is al lightweight metal alloy, and it does offer the best corrosion resistance of any metal. It is similar to aluminum, although it is a little heavier but still considered a lightweight metal and much stronger. Because it is harder and heavier, it does mean that it is more expensive to machine, so that will add cost to this knife. Titanium has a unique quality that makes it have a warm feel to it, so it doesn’t make you hurt in the winter/colder months as aluminum would. Titanium is a very sturdy material, but it is prone to scratches, especially when compared to stainless steel knife handles. Added durability, strength, and an attractive color can be added through an anodization process which is exactly what the Sigil has had done on it.

Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a decorative, durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish. The anodic oxide structure originates from the aluminum substrate and is compose entirely of aluminum oxide. This material is not applied to the surface like paint or plating, but is fully integrated with the underlying aluminum substrate, so it cannot chip or peel. It has a highly ordered, porous structure that allows for secondary processes such as coloring and sealing. Anodizing is accomplished by immersing the aluminum into an acid electrolyte bath and passing an electric current through the medium. A cathode is mounted to the inside of the anodizing tank; the aluminum acts as an anode, so that oxygen ions are released form the electrolyte to combine with the aluminum atoms at the surface of the part being anodized. The Sigil has been anodized a bronze color.

Titanium is strong, which is perfect for high-end, high performance knives and gear because it is light and strong. Titanium is low weight and low density. Titanium is corrosion resistant and non-magnetic. Unfortunately, titanium is expensive.

To help with your grip on th

Microtech Bronze Sigil MK6
Microtech Bronze Sigil MK6

is knife, the handle has been carved with a pattern against the spine of the handle. There is a row of jimping on the spine, near the butt, to help with your control over the blade. The butt of the handle is carved with a lanyard hole. The handle has been curved to fit exceptionally well in your palm, giving you a comfortable grip, even after long periods of use. The butt of the handle has been pointed to be able to use as a weapon.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The titanium pocket clip is statically designed for tip up carry only. This clip is long, slightly curved to clip onto your pocket well. The clip has the same pattern as the handle carved into it.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is a flipper knife. You can either use the ambidextrous spine flipper or the unique thumb window. In terms of opening mechanism, especially the one hand opening mechanism, the flipper is definitely one of the newest—at least in terms of popularity. While studs and holes enlist a thumb to open the knife, a flipper employs an index finger, and the feature is naturally ambidextrous. An essential element of a great flipper is a high quality pivot mechanism. And some of the phenomenal benefits to the flipper is that it keeps your fingers out of the way and safe during the entire opening and closing process. One of the other benefits to this knife employing a flipper mechanism is that the flipper protrusion locks into place and acts as a finger guard. This guard adds a second element of safety to using this Microtech knife.

The thumb window is a unique feature. Since the 1980s, the familiar round hole has most often been associated with folding knives from Spyderco. Over the years, numerous other knife makers have adopted/adapted the feature. And frankly, there is a good reason for this industrial mimicry—the thumb hole really does work. Opening a folder equipped with a thumb hole is just like using a thumb stud. By its very design, tis ambidextrous. And, many knife lovers favor a hole because unlike a stud, it doesn’t protrude from the blade. A thumb window is just a larger thumb hole.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Sigil is 3.875 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.875 inches long. The overall length of the blade is 8.75 inches long. This knife weighs in at 4.9 ounces. It was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

The Microtech Sigil and Sigil MK6 are some of the most sought-after folder/flipper knives on the market today. Once exclusively produced under the Microtech Custom category, these limited runs offered exotic materials, artistic finishes and a demand that seemed almost never-ending. At last, the production version of the Sigil MK6 is now in full swing–yet another once MCK turned production model. Knife maker Deryk Munroe, of Munroe Knives, had first collaborated with Microtech CEO Tony Marfione to bring about two exciting new future-forward designs–the Sigil and the Sigil MK6. The MK6 series is the larger of the two and boasts almost a 4″ blade while still providing all of the same stellar components and sleek styling. Every frame lock designed Sigil model rides seamlessly on a ceramic bearing system and can be operated with the ambidextrous spine flipper or the unique thumb window. This model, the 196-1BZ, features a distressed solid titanium handle in a bronze finish, standard bronze hardware coupled with a copper over-travel pivot plate, a Wharncliffe style blade in a DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) black finish. Pick up your knife today at BladeOps.

 

Microtech Bounty Hunter Ultratech Knife Review

Microtech Knives is a knife manufacturing company that is famous for tis automatic knives. This company was founded in Vero Beach, Florida in 1994 and operated there until relocating to Bradford, Pennsylvania in 2005 and then to Fletcher, North Carolina in 2009. IN 2007 the company began manufacturing an American-made version of the Steyr AUG under the subsidiary name of Microtech Small Arms research (MSAR).

This company has long promoted itself as stressing quality with regard to tight machining tolerances, to within one thousandth of an inch. Custom knife makers, such as Greg Lightfoot have remarked that these tolerances are what makes the factory knives so close the custom design, saying, “It has the same quality as a handmade custom.”

Microtech has designed knives for use by the US Military such as the HALO, UDT, SOCOM, and Currahee models. Although Microtech has produced many styles of blades such as kitchen knives, fishing knives, arrow heads, and balisong knives; Microtech is most famous for tis tactical automatic knives. The most popular designs among their collectors are the “Out the Front” and the “Double Action” automatics. Microtech along with Benchmade Knives were responsible for the resurgence in the popularity of tactical automatic knives in the 1990s. These knives were seen more as a precision made tool utilizing powerful springs and high grade bushings as opposed to a cheap import.
Microtech has collaborated with famous knife makers and designers such as Ernest Emerson, Bob Terzuola, Mick Strider, Walter Brend, Mike Turber, Greg Lightfoot, and Reese Weiland on exclusive designs.

While Microtech has been producing Ultratech knives since 1999, this special edition of it has been long awaited. Appearing briefly in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Boba Fett, who is the son of Jango Fett, was the most feared bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe. Funnily enough, Boba Fett really only had a few liens throughout the entire series. But, he did become one of the iconic characters, because he wore a unique suit of armor that was definitely intimidating. And now Microtech has taken his iconic look and paired it with an already impressive automatic knife. This Ultratech is now the Bounty Hunter Ultratech—perfectly named and perfectly received. So whether you are a fan of Microtech and their Ultratech series, or you are a die-hard fan of Star Wars, this is the perfect companion for you to pick up. And it is now at BladeOps.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this Ultratech is M390 stainless steel. This is an ultra-premium blade steel and is considered to be a super steel. This steel is manufactured by Bohler-Udeholm and uses third generation powder metal technology. It was developed for knife blades that require excellent corrosion resistance and very high hardness for excellent wear resistance. The manufacturer has added chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, and tungsten to promote the steels sharpness and help it have outstanding edge retention. In this steel most of the carbides are formed by vanadium and molybdenum, which leaves more “free chromium” to fight corrosion. M390 steel hardens to 60-62 HRC. The manufacturer actually calls this steel “Microclean” and it can be polished to achieve a true mirror. This steel does tend to be relatively difficult to sharpen, so you might have to seek out an expert sharpener to get the finest edge on this blade. But, because it has such good edge retention and such a high resistance to wear and corrosion, this blade will be the ideal blade for your EDC knife, because it is so low maintenance. But, because of how tough this blade is, it’s uses do not need to be limited to EDC.

The Bounty Hunter has been finished with an apocalyptic stonewash finish. This finish is also known as a black stonewash or an acid stonewash. This finish is created by tumbling the steel around with an abrasive material, which is usually pebbles. The stonewash finish does not create a uniform look, meaning that one manufacturers stonewash compared to another manufacturer could be very different. This is due to the many factors that go into a stonewash finish. To create different looks you can switch up the shape of the abrasive, the motion of the tumbling, and the finish the blade already had. The apocalyptic stonewash finish is a blade that has had an acid treatment that darkens the blade before it undergoes stonewashing. The acid oxidation enhances a blade’s rust resistance by placing a stable oxide barrier between the steel and the environment. A very positive benefit of stonewashed blades is that they are low maintenance and preserve their original look overtime; the stonewashed finish hides the scratches that can occur with use over time. The apocalyptic stonewash finish looks rugged, well-worn, and tough. Microtech chose the perfect finish to represent Boba Fett’s armor, because in the movies, his armor is well-worn and he is tough. The blade really does incorporate the Bounty Hunter’s look. The flats on this blade are satin finished, which provides a smoother look than the stonewashed look. The satin finish is designed to show off the fine lines of the blade and is created by sanding the blade in one direction with a very fine abrasive. The blood groove in this knife is finished black. For those of you who don’t know what a blood groove is, Merriam-Webster defines it as, “a longitudinal groove on the shaft of a blade of a knife said to have been introduced to cause increased bleeding of a wound produced and possibly actually facilitating withdrawal of the knife by preventing suction.”

Microtech Bounty Hunter Ultratech
Microtech Bounty Hunter Ultratech

The blade on this knife is a tanto style blade. This blade shape has been designed to pierce through tough materials, and pierce through them well. This blade shape is not supposed to be an all-purpose blade; it is just supposed to be able to do one task really well. Some people love this aspect of the tanto blade shape, some people hate it. The tanto blade shape was originally designed for armor piercing and was popularized by Cold Steel. This blade shape is similar in style to the Japanese long and short swords. The tanto knife has a highpoint with a flat grind, leading to an extremely strong point that is perfect for stabbing into hard materials. The thick point of the tanto blade contains a lot of metal near the tip, so it is able to absorb the impact form repeated piercing that would cause most other knives to break. The front edge of the tanto k knife meets the back edge at an angle, rather than a curve. As a result, the tanto blade does not have a belly, which is sacrificed in exchange for a stronger tip. Because it lacks a belly for slicing, this shape is not as generally regarded as an all-purpose/general utility blade, but it can definitely still be used for your EDC needs.

The Microtech Bounty Hunter has a combo edge, which means that the upper two-thirds of the blade is a plain edge, perfect for slicing or tip work, while the lower one-third is thickly serrated, perfect for sawing through the thicker materials.

 

The Handle:

The handle on the Bounty Hunter has been made out of anodized 6061-T6 aluminum. Aluminum is a very durable material, especially when used in knife handles. This is a low density metal that gives you the hefty feel that you crave without giving you the weight that weighs you down. The 6061-T6 aluminum alloy is the most common type of aluminum used in knife handles and it has extreme tensile strength. This alloy was developed in 1935. When an aluminum handle is correctly texturized, it can give you a pretty solid grip, but if it is not properly texturized, this handle is going to be extremely slippery. To combat the slickness of aluminum, Microtech has added plenty of grooves to the palm of the knife, while aloes adding jimping on the edges of this handle. This will be a comfortable knife to hold and you will have a secure grip on it when you are using it in the more stable environments.

Unfortunately, aluminum does have high conductive properties, so if you are using this knife in colder areas, it will feel be uncomfortably cold. This material will be prone to scratches and dings. But, because this knife has been anodized, it won’t be as susceptible to those scratches as it would have originally been. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a decorative, durable, corrosion resistant, anodic oxide finish. This aluminum oxide is not applied to the surface like paint or plating, but is actually fully integrated with the underlying aluminum, so it cannot chip or peel off. This knife has been anodized an army green, and it looks as if the handle has been scratched up. This is because in the Star Wars’ movies, Boba Fett’s armor has taken a beating.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip has also been apocalyptic stonewashed. This is a wider clip with a yellow Mandalorian skull graphic stamped onto the upper portion of the pocket clip. Attached at the end of clip, stretching off the handle is an integrated glass breaker. The rest of the hardware on this version of the Ultratech is distressed red.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an automatic out the front, or OTF, knife. This is a style of knife with a blade that opens and closes through a hole in one end of the handle. This is different than the majority of other pocket knives, which have the standard folding blade. This is an automatic OTF knife, which means the blade travels within an internal track or channel in the same manner as a manual slider or gravity knife. But, the automatic main spring drive and button mechanism enclosed within requires a switchblade handle to be thicker or longer. This is also a double action OTF knife, which means that the blade is deployed and retracted with a multifunction button and spring design. Single action OTF knives are only deployed with the button and then manually retracted. Double action sliding automatic knives are usually spring-powered 10 to 12 millimeters and then afterwards, kinetic impetus slides the blade to full open. This means that you probably won’t be able to push this blade against someone and then deploy the blade, stabbing them.

You do need to keep in mind that because this is an automatic blade, there are going to be strict laws and regulations surrounding it in most states, cities, and areas. Automatic knives are not legal in all areas of the United States, and you are the one responsible for researching your local laws before purchasing and carrying this knife with you.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.375 inches long, with a handle length of 5 inches long. The overall length of the Bounty Hunter measures in at 8.375 inches long. This knife weighs 3.2 ounces and was made in the United States of America.

 

The Conclusion:

The Ultratech without question has been Microtech’s flagship out the front auto knife since its induction in 1999. Each Microtech OTF knife has extremely sophisticated internal mechanisms which improve the overall operational functionality and reliability. This special limited model, the 123-11BH, features a green distressed handle complete with unique red distressed hardware, a pocket clip with a yellow Mandalorian skull graphic and an integrated glass breaker function along with a tanto style blade, that is partly serrated, in an apocalyptic stonewash finish. Furthermore, the blade also includes satin flats and a black finished blood groove. This knife is far from being just a novelty knife; it is durable, tough, strong, and ready to assist you in any of your daily challenges. Heck, this knife might be the coolest knife around, even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan—if you are a Star Wars fan, it for sure is the coolest knife around. Come pick up your limited edition Bounty Hunter Ultratech knife today from BladeOps.

 

Microtech Socom Alpha Fixed Blade Knife Review

Microtech Knives, Inc. is a knife manufacturing company, famous for its automatic knives, that was founded in Vero Beach, Florida in 1994, and operated there until relocating to Bradford, Pennsylvania in 2005 and to Fletcher, North Carolina in 2009. IN 2007 the company began manufacturing an American-made version of the Steyr AUG under the subsidiary name of Microtech Small Arms Research.

The company has long promoted itself as stressing quality with regard to tight machining tolerances to within one thousandth of an inch. Microtech has designed knives for used by the US Military such as the Halo, UDT, Socom, and Currahee models. Custom knife makers, such as Greg Lightfoot have remarked that these tolerances are what makes the factory knives so close the custom design: “It has the same quality as a handmade custom.”

Although Microtech has produced many styles of blades such as kitchen knives, fishing knives, arrow heads, and balisong knives; Microtech is most famous for its tactical automatic knives. The most popular designs among collectors are the Out the Front and the Double Action automatics. Microtech, along with Benchmade Knives was responsible for the resurgence in the popularity of tactical automatic knives in the 1990s. These knives were seen more as a precision made tool utilizing powerful springs and high grade bushings as opposed to cheap import.

Microtech has collaborated with famous knife makers and designers such as Ernest Emerson, Bob Terzuola, Mick Strider, Walter Brend, Mike Turber, Greg Lightfoot, and Reese Weiland on exclusive designs.

And, once a Microtech HALO was featured on the television series 24.

Today, we will be discussing the Microtech Socom Alpha Fixed blade knife with the Apocalyptic Stonewash blade.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of Elmax steel. This is a European powder metal steel that is used in the higher end knives. Elmax has an advanced formula and the result is a very good all-around steel, a generation ahead of formulations like 154CM. There has been some controversy on the Internet over the grinding and heat treat of this steel, but in most peoples’ experience, it has been nothing but great. A few years ago Elmax was really pricey, but competition has driven it down to a reasonable price, making it a decent value. This steel is made by European Bohler-Uddeholm and is a high chromium-vanadium-molybdenum allowed powdered steel which gives it extremely high wear and corrosion resistance. Elmax acts a lot like a stainless steel, but it is a carbon steel. With this steel, you get superb edge holding and relatively easy sharpening, while still maintain a good resistance to rust.

The blade has been coated with an apocalyptic stonewash finish. A stonewashed finish refers to tumbling the blade in an abrasive material. This finish easily hides scratches, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin finished blade. There is a wide variety of stonewashed finishes based upon the abrasive shape, tumbling motion and the type of finish eh blade has before it enters the tumbler. An apocalyptic or acid stonewashed, also a black stonewash finish is a blade that has had an acid treatment that darkens the blade before it undergoes stonewashing. The acid oxidation enhances a blade’s rust resistance by placing a stable oxide barrier between the steel and the environment. A very positive benefit of stonewashed blades is that they are low maintenance and preserve their original look overtime; the stonewashed finish hides the scratches that can occur with use overtime.

The blade on this knife has been carved into a tanto blade shape. This blade shape does one thing and does that one thing really well. If you are looking for a knife that excels at piercing tough materials, then the tanto blade is what you’re looking for. This blade shape was originally designed for armor piercing, the tanto blade was popularized by Cold Steel and is similar in style to Japanese long and short swords. The tanto knife has a high point with a flat grind, leading to an extremely strong pint that is perfect for stabbing into hard materials. The thick point of the tanto blade contains a lot of metal near the tip, so it is able to absorb the impact from repeated piercing that would cause most other knives to break. The front edge of the tanto knife meets the back edge at an angle, rather than a curve. As a result, the tanto blade does not have a belly, which is sacrificed in exchange for a stronger tip. Because it lacks a belly for slicing, it is not useful as a general utility knife. However, it’s extremely strong point allows it to be used in tough situations where piercing hard materials is required. This blade is definitely tailored to piercing tough materials, and if such a situation arises—you are going to be prepared.

This tough knife features a plain edge. The plain edge is one long continuous edge and in general, the plain edge is better than the serrated when the application involves push cuts. Also, the plain edge is superior when extreme control, accuracy and clean cuts are necessary, regardless of whether or not the job is push cuts or slices. The plain edge will work better for applications like shaving, skinning an apple, or skinning a deer. All those applications involve either mostly push cuts, or the need for extreme control. And generally, the more push cuts are used, the more necessary it is for the plain edge to have a “razor polished” edge. A knife edge becomes more polished when you move to higher and higher grit stones. Generally, 1200-grit is considered polished while a 6000+ grit water stone would even further polish the edge.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this blade is made out of G 10. G 10 is the common term for a grade of fiberglass composite laminate, which is a cloth material with a resin binder, that is used in a number of everyday carry and plenty of gear applications. Though they are made pretty differently, G 10 really is similar to carbon fiber when it comes to the properties. This material is immune to corrosion and rust, it is easily textured, and because of that, it offers phenomenal grip. Also like carbon fiber, G 10 tends to be on the more brittle side and because of this, it does not resist impact well at all. But, this material does not have the same aesthetic pleasure that many other materials do, because it resembles plastic in both its appearance and its feel.

On this Socom Alpha, the handle is relatively simple, with the unique portions being in the small details. The G 10 of this handle is just black, but there is thick, spaced out jimping down the entire spine and bottom portion of the handle. This jimping will give you a very secure grip on your handle at all times. The finger groove is a groove etched into the handle, which gives you a more comfortable portion to place your hand while using this knife on the harder tasks.

On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole carved into the metal that is sticking out form the handle scales. This is a full tang knife, which means that the blade portion of the metal extends all the way down through the handle. Then, the G 10 handle scales are placed over this piece of metal, which results in a much stronger knife. This Microtech knife has been designed as a tactical knife, and for a tactical knife, you need to be searching for the strongest knife possible. A full tang knife is so strong because there are no weak portions where the handle and the blade are melded together.

Like I earlier mentioned, on the butt portion of the tang, there is a lanyard hole. If you tie a lanyard onto your tactical knife, you will be securing your knife against loss. If you loop the lanyard over your wrist, you never have to worry about the knife slipping out of your hand in crucial times. And, if you keep a lanyard tied to your knife, you can withdraw your knife quicker. Another benefit, although not a major benefit, is that the lanyard can provide greater visibility as well as adding a touch of personal style to your knife. Everyone has their own reason for using a lanyard on their fixed blade, but I promise you that there is no shortage of good reasons to tie a lanyard to this knife.

Microtech Socom Alpha Fixed Blade Knife
Microtech Socom Alpha Fixed Blade Knife

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is made out of Kydex and Carbon Fiber. Kydex is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride material that is often used in sheaths. This is a more modern material, especially when compared to the other common sheath materials. One of the greatest advantages about Kydex is its durability. This material can literally be submerged in salt water and not just survive, but thrive. Kydex is going to hold up very well to many different environments. Unfortunately, Kydex does feature a variety of major disadvantages. For starters, Kydex basically looks like a lump of plastic—it has no personality. And, Kydex sheaths are loud. There is no way to use a Kydex sheath and have it remain quiet. There is going to be noise when you draw your knife and again when you try to put the knife back in the sheath. Some people do like the satisfying click of Kydex, but you should be aware of it. I would say that the biggest disadvantage of this sheath material is that with repeated taking out and putting back a knife into a Kydex sheath will dull your blades edge.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade, which has plenty of benefits when it comes to your tactical knife. For starters, the blade can be longer and thicker than a folding knife because it doesn’t have to fit inside of the handle. Because of this added length and thickness, you get obvious bonus strength. Fixed blades are going to be tougher too, because they are so much thicker, and much less prone to breaking. And because this is the full tang blade, you don’t have to worry about any weak spots in the blade. In fact, even if the handle scales did crack or fall off, you would still have a full knife to work with. Plus, the fixed blade “mechanism” makes maintenance a breeze, because all you have to do is quickly wipe down your blade after each use and oil it every so often.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 5 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.2 inches long. The handle on this fixed blade is 5 inches long, making the overall length of the knife an even 10 inches long, with the blade and the handle being perfectly proportioned. This Microtech knife weighs in at 7.9 ounces, with the sheath weighing in at 4.4 ounces. This Socom Alpha was made in the United States of America.

 

The Conclusion:

The Microtech Socom Alpha full tang fixed blade knife was originally designed after the folder version of the popular Microtech Socom Alpha. This is the first production model of the Socom Alpha fixed blade model as the original was recently exclusively produced as a Microtech Custom. This rugged tactical fixed blade features a longer blade than the folder design as well as a raised rib pattern around the exterior of the handle to assist with positive control and an enhanced grip in any position. This model, the 114-10AP, consists of a contoured black G-10 handle, standard hardware, and a tanto style blade in an apocalyptic stonewash finish. Much like the custom version, the Socom Alpha comes with a heavy-duty Kydex sheath sporting a carbon fiber laminate overlay as well as a Blade-Tech MOLLE-Lok attachment. Pick up your Microtech 114-10AP Socom Alpha T/E fixed blade knife with the Elmax apocalyptic stonewashed blade today at BladeOps.

 

Microtech Custom Apex Fixed Blade Knife Review

Microtech began in 1994 in an apartment and then later continued in a storage shed in Vero Bach, Florida.

When the company was founded and throughout their history ever since, Microtech has been trying to accomplish one mission: to create the best knives possible. It has now been over two decades and they are headquartered in Western North Carolina. Microtech is still operating with that same mission with everything that they do. Their goal is to maintain the highest standards of quality possible.

Microtech utilizes exclusively American-Made manufacturing materials and labor. They say, “Every component we use is developed within the United States and more than 95% of all our components are manufactured in-house, by us directly. Because we use only the best quality materials, and to ensure our commitment to excellence, every Microtech knife is backed by our Lifetime Warranty.”

Every knife that they produce is sharpened by hand in their facility. The knives go through rigorous testing, research, and development to ensure that Microtech meets the impeccably close tolerances and extremely high standards of quality. They say, “We aim to continuously evolve and push the boundaries of expectation, delivering products that set the standard for precision cutlery. From all of us at the Microtech family, we thank each of our customers, as well as those who serve us and our country through the United States military, law enforcement and first responder services. Designed for exactly that reason, our Service Personnel Program aims to provide the best possible tools to those who rely on them the most.”

They know that it is because of their fans that makes it possible for Microtech to pursue their mission of creating the world’s best cutting tools and they want to thank you for that.

Today we will be discussing the Microtech Custom Apex fixed blade.

Microtech Custom Apex Fixed Blade
Microtech Custom Apex Fixed Blade

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of Elmax steel. This steel is produced by Bohler-Uddeholm and is a high chromium-vanadium-molybdenum-alloyed steel. Tis steel is going to have 1.7% carbon, 18% chromium, .3% manganese, 1% molybdenum, .8& silicon, and 3% vanadium. This combination of different materials gives the metal a high wear resistance, high compressive strength, superior corrosion resistance, and also the stability and ability to retain its size and form after taking abuse or taking on a harder task. High wear and high corrosion resistance is a hard combination to find on a steel, but this steel’s powder-metallurgy based production allows for its imperviousness to wear and corrosion. The steel is hardened to 57-59 HRC usually, although some companies do push that and harden it to around a 62 HRC. This steel does have good edge holding ability. Elmax steel is produced through a hardening and corrosion resistant mold using a powder-metallurgy process, which Bohler-Uddeholm is known for using in a variety of their stainless steels. This process involves blending fine powdered materials, pressing them into the desired shape, and then heating it to bond the material.

The blade has been finished with a DLC Apocalyptic Stonewash. This means that the blade has undergone two finishes. The first is a DLC, which stands for diamond-like carbon coating. This coating is a deep black, which does give the knife a sleek, discrete look. The biggest advantage of a DLC coating is that it is the hardest coating that can be put on a blade’s surface. DLC is also a low friction finish, so it does help the knife to make better and easier cuts. However, this is a very expensive finish, sometimes even doubling the overall cost of the knife when it has this coating. The second finish on this knife is the stonewash finish, which is creating when the steel is tumbled in an abrasive material. The stonewash finish helps to hide scratches and smudges. The blade on the Apex does have an Apocalyptic Stonewash, or a black stonewash, which is when the blade has undergone an acid treatment that darkens the blade before it undergoes stonewashing. The acid oxidation helps to enhance the blade’s ability to resist rust because it places a stable oxide barrier between the steel and the environment. With the black stonewash and the DLC, this blade is going to be extremely durable and low maintenance.

The blade shape itself is very unique. It does have a spear point, but it also sharpened on the upper half of the blade as well as the traditional cutting edge. This is an extremely broad spear point, with a large belly or cutting area. The spear point is most often compared to the needle-point blade because it is good at piercing. However, the spear point blade also sports a belly that can be used for slicing, while the needle-point is solely for piercing. The spear point blade shape is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center lien of the blade’s long axis. It is so good at piercing because both sides of the knife (belly and spine) rise and fall equally, which creates a very centered point. The spear point has a strong point that is also sharp enough for piercing. And because both sides of the blade are sharpened, it is going to be able to pierce even more efficiently. While the typical spear point blade does have a small belly, the spear point on the Apex has a very large belly that will be great for slicing through almost anything.

 

The Handle:

The handle on the Apex is made out of G10. G10 is a fiberglass based laminate. To create this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth that are soaked in resin before being compressed and baked. This process creates a material that is extremely hard and strong, while also being lightweight. This material is a great option for tactical, survival, and outdoors knives because it is rugged, can take a beating, is lightweight, and doesn’t require too much maintenance.

The G10 on this knife is black, which creates an all-black knife. This is sleek, but also cuts down on glares and reflections for when you are in the field and don’t want your position exposed. The hardware on this knife is bronzed, which does contrast nicely with the handle and give it some definition.

The spine of the handle curves inward first, which does give you a solid and comfortable grip. Following the first groove on the spine is a second, which goes until the butt of the handle. These grooves will help when you are using this knife for the heavier duty tasks. It will give you a comfortable grip, while also helping to provide you with a very secure grip. The belly of the handle is more unique. There is the finger guard, but it actually comes after a deep groove. The first groove and the finger guard are there to protect you from the wicked sharp and thick blade. There is a deep finger groove for you to really rest your finger in, giving you more spaces to really get a grip on this knife—which is what the handle is all about. After the finger groove, the knife curves inward until the butt of the handle. The G10 has also been textured, which will really give you a solid grip on the knife.

Each characteristic on the Apex’s handle is about giving you the most secure, comfortable, and safe grip on the knife. With such a large, thick, sharp blade, you are going to want all the safety features you can get on the handle.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade knife, which means that there is no mechanism or moving part on it. There is a debate going on about whether fixed blades or folding knives are better. While folding knives do have their benefits such as being more discreet and a little more convenient, fixed blades have plenty of benefits to compete.

For starters, they are crazy strong and big. You can find fixed blades in almost any size, but no matter which size you choose, it is going to be extremely strong. Their blades are also usually longer and thicker than that on a folding knife, because the blade does not have to fit inside of the knife’s handle. Because of this, you can get more done and you don’t have to worry about your blade snapping. Next, because fixed blades don’t have a mechanism or moving parts, you don’t have to worry about them breaking or wearing out. On a folding knife, you have to worry about the spring and the hinge. Fixed blades are also easier to maintain and clean. Lastly, fixed blades like this Apex are going to be the superior tactical tool as well as being the superior survival tool.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is a Kydex sheath with bronzed hardware as well as a Blade-Tech MOLLE-Lok. Kydex is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride material that is most commonly used in creating holsters and sheaths. This is a modern material which means that it is going to have some advantages that only a modern material can have. Some of these are that it is has a Rockwell hardness rating of 90 which makes it almost scratch resistant. It is also waterproof and it is not going to stretch or shrink over time, so the knife is always going to have the same fit. Kydex sheaths are very durable and can remain unaffected when exposed to chemicals such as skin acids and other mild chemicals. Kydex is a great material for extreme environments and can even be submerged in salt water without having negative side effects. Overall, Kydex is mostly low maintenance. This is great for a tactical, survival, or outdoors knife, because you won’t have to worry about the sheath if you are ever out I the field for long periods of time.

Of course, the sheath is also going to have its disadvantages. One of the disadvantages that is complained about the most is how noisy it is. There is no way to pull your knife out of the Kydex sheath without making sound, which means that you aren’t going to be able to use this knife in a stealthy way. Also, because this material is not going to stretch or shrink over time, if the sheath doesn’t fit your knife exactly how you want it to, you are out of luck. Lastly, one of the biggest disadvantages is that you do risk dulling your blade’s edge when you keep pulling the knife out of the sheath and putting it back inside.

Overall, Kydex offers a very long-term, durable sheath. But it does come as is, so if you don’t like it when you first get it, you most likely aren’t going to like it later on.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 4.625 inches long with a blade thickness of a beasty 0.2 inches. The overall length of the Custom Apex measures in at a whopping 10 inches—big enough to get any job done. This is a heavier knife weighing in at 12.2 ounces. This Microtech knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

The Microtech Custom Apex fixed blade knife was designed by both Anthony Marfione and son Sean Marfione–the second collaboration between the two. This extremely wide-profiled Elmax blade features a spear point style so it’s actually sharpened on the upper half of the blade as well as the tradition cutting edge. The handle is comprised of a G-10 composite and is coupled with bronzed hardware for a truly custom look. The 3-D machined handle is expertly designed–offering appropriately placed finger guards and several choil locations for multiple grip options. Make no mistake about it–this knife is as comfortable as they come. The Custom Apex also includes a carbon fiber finished Kydex sheath, also complete with bronzed hardware, with Blade-Tech MOLLE-Lok attachment. You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

Microtech Cypher OTF Knife Review

Microtech Knives, Inc. is a knife manufacturing company that is famous, but especially famous for their automatic knives. This company was founded in Vero Beach, Florida and 1994 in Anthony and Susan Marfione’s apartment. They operated in Florida until 2005, when they relocated to Bradford Pennsylvania. Then, in 2009 they opened another manufacturing building in North Carolina, to speed up production.

Although they are most famous for their tactical automatic knives, they do produce many styles of blades such as kitchen knives, fishing knives, arrow heads, and balisong knives. The most popular designs among collectors are their Out the Front and Double Action automatic knives. Microtech, along with Benchmade Knives, were responsible for the resurgence in the popularity of tactical automatic knives in the 1990s. Before this knife, these knives were seen more as a precision made tool utilizing powerful springs and high grade bushings as opposed to cheap import.

The company has long promoted itself as stressing quality with regard to tight machining tolerances, to within one thousandth of an inch Microtech has designed knives for use by the US Military, such as the HALO, UDT, SOCOM, and Currahee models. Microtech has collaborated with famous knife makers and designers such as Ernest Emerson, Bob Terzuola, Mick Strider, Walter Brend, Mike Turber, Greg Lightfoot, and Reese Weiland on exclusive designs. Greg Lightfoot, along with other custom knife makers, has remarked that it is the tolerances that Microtech sticks with that makes the factory knives so close to the custom design.

For over 20 years, Microtech has been working to build a long-standing tradition of innovation and quality with each knife that leaves our facility. In a world of ever-changing technology, Microtech strives to ensure their customers have access to the latest advancements in knife making, while still maintaining a humanize element throughout the manufacturing process. As the company continues to grow, their focus has remained the same: to deliver revolutionary products that exceed the industry’s ever-increasing desire for groundbreaking ideas. They always appreciate their customers, for not only the loyalty and support, but also for motivating Microtech to better themselves so that they can continue to rise above your expectations.

Today, we will be going over the Microtech Cypher blade, which is Out the Front automatic knife. This knife is a collaboration between Anthony Marfione and D.C. Munroe. This knife features Microtech’s trademark exceptional detailing and their perfect craftsmanship. This knife is unique, featuring a build that is not only durable, but also stylish.

 

The Blade:

The blade on the Cypher has been made out of M390 stainless steel. This is a super steel, so it is definitely an ultra-premium steel. This steel is manufactured by Bohler-Uddeholm, which is a merger of Austrian Bohler and Swedish Uddeholm. This steel uses third generation powder metal technology and this steel was actually developed specifically for knife blades. Because of this, the manufacturer developed the steel with excellent corrosion resistance and with a very high hardness as well as excellent wear resistance. The manufacturer has added chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, and tungsten to promote the sharpness and outstanding edge retention. In this steel, most of the carbides are formed by vanadium and molybdenum, which does leave more “free chromium” to help fight corrosion.  M390 steel hardens to a 60-62 HRC. This stainless steel is pretty difficult to sharpen, but it won’t require a master sharpener to get a fine edge on it.

The blade on the Cypher has been finished with a stonewashing. With this finish style, the blade is literally rolled with pebbles and then smoothed out. This finish is rugged, manly, and looks well-worn. When the blade is rolled in pebbles, it creates a very textured look which helps to hide scratches and smudges better than other finish styles. Depending on the manufacturer, a stonewash finish can often look satin from a distance. The stonewash finish works to preserve the look of the blade overtime and even hides fingerprints on the blade, which means that you will have to polish it less than other finish styles. This is one of the lowest maintenance blade finishes that you can come across.

This OTF blade is a drop point style blade. The drop point is a blade shape that is used on so many knives, especially in today’s market. This blade shape is going to be found most on hunting knives. The blade on this knife slopes on the spine of the blade form the handle of the knife to the tip of the blade. This allows the spine of the blade to continue forward to the tip of the blade. This way, the point is also aligned with the center axis of the knife, eliminating any pitch momentum when you are stabbing. The curve on the top of the drop point blade is always convex, which is what distinguishes it from the clip point blade. The drop point and the clip point blades are often confused with each other, but there are a variety of differences. For starters, the drop point blade has a lowered point, but the tip is broad. This broad tip is what provides you with the strength that you get with a drop point blade, however, because it is so broad, it does take away from your stabbing capabilities almost completely. A clip point blade also has a lowered tip, but on this blade shape, the tip is very fine and sharp. This gives you full capabilities of stabbing, but unfortunately, it does take away the strength of the tip. The clip point is weak and very prone to snapping. They are both very popular knife blade shapes and are both very versatile. The drop point blade shape is the stronger blade shape though, which makes it the perfect option or the Microtech Cypher. The Cypher does not have as big of a belly as most drop points, but it is still very capable of slicing, because it does still have a slight belly, instead of a straight edge.

This blade is a plain edge, which gives it the ability to take on a wider variety of tasks than a serrated edged blade. The plain edge does provide you with much cleaner cuts than you would get with a serrated blade. The grind on this knife is a hollow grind. This is a common grind where a convex hollow is removed from both sides of the edge. It produces a very sharp edge but being so thin the edge is more prone to rolling or damage than other grinds. It is unsuited for heavy chopping or cutting hard materials.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum that has been

Microtech Cypher
Microtech Cypher

anodized black. Aluminum is a very low-density metal used in knife making and is also very corrosion resistant. Since it is such a soft metal, it is primarily used in knife handles and sometimes hard anodized for aesthetics and wear resistance. A fun fact about aluminum is that it is actually the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. This alloy of aluminum means that the type of aluminum is 6061 and it is T6 tempered. 6061-T6 aluminum has one of the highest yield and tensile strengths of all aluminum alloys. 6061-T6 is used extensively in aircraft, and is often referred to as “aircraft aluminum”.  Aluminum alloy is cheaper to machine and produce than Titanium, and is lighter, weaker, and less resistant to wear. For the most part, Aluminum is an inferior metal to Titanium aside from its lightness. However, when producing complex knives that require a large amount of CNC machining, such as the case with automatic knives, aluminum is much cheaper to produce and the material costs less.
Hard anodized aluminum is an anodizing technique that creates an oxidation layer on the aluminum that is up to 30% harder than some stainless steels. Anodizing aluminum involves placing the aluminum in a bath of acid and passing electrical charges through the material. This builds up a layer of aluminum oxide on the outside of the aluminum. This anodization process makes the aluminum more durable, corrosion resistant, and wear resistant. This anodization process helps to make the aluminum act a little more like titanium.

The handle is mostly rectangular, but there are some curves to make this a more comfortable handle to hold. There are a series of ridges carved down the length of the knife. There is a shallow finger groove at the top to give you a secure place to rest your finger. The butt of the handle is triangular, which means there is a slight point that you could use as a hammer if the situation arises.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is statically designed for tip down carry only on the traditional side of the handle. This knife does have standard tri-winged hardware. All of the hardware is silver, with the cli being a matte grey. The pocket clip has the same grooves carved into the length as the handle does.

 

The Mechanism:

This Microtech knife is an automatic out-the-front knife, or OTF. This is a pocket knife with a blade that opens and closes through a hole in one end of the handle. This is very different than the majority of knives that have the blade fold out of the side of the handle. OTF only refers to the basic portion of the knife’s mechanical operation where the blade slides parallel with the handle to deploy. But then, OTF knives can be even further divided into either a manual knife or an automatic knife. The Cypher is an automatic knife, which means the blade travels within an internal channel in the same manner as a manual slider knife. But, the automatic main spring drive and button mechanism enclosed within requires a switchblade handle to be thicker or longer than a similar sized gravity OTF knife. Then, automatic OTF knives can be even further subdivided into either a single action or a double action. This knife is a double action automatic OTF knife. This means that the blade will deploy and retract with a multifunction handle slide. If it were a single action automatic OTF, the knife would deploy automatically, but it must be manually cocked or retracted to close.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 4 inches long, with the handle measuring in at 5.625 inches long. The overall length of the Cypher is 9.625 inches long. The knife weighs in at 4 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America.

 

The Conclusion:

The Cypher finally found its way from the custom factory of MCK to the production side to add to the army of double action out-the-front models that Microtech has been manufacturing for over 20 years. Like the Sigil, this automatic is a collaboration with Anthony Marfione and D.C. Munroe and features a “stepped” milling pattern that is both futuristic and functional. Each Microtech OTF knife has extremely sophisticated internal mechanisms which improve the overall operational functionality and reliability. This model, the 241-10, features a black anodized aluminum handle, standard tri-winged hardware, a drop point style blade in a stonewash finish and the pocket clip is statically designed for tip down carry only on the traditional side of the handle. The M390 steel is very resistant to corrosion as well as being very tough, which means that this knife is going to be able to take on those tougher tasks. However, this is a collector’s knife, so you probably won’t be using it for a wide variety of tasks. The aluminum handle is durable and also very corrosion resistant. The anodization process makes this knife even more durable, and the color cannot be scratched off, because it becomes part of the metal. The materials and manufacturing processes used make this collector knife a sleek, unique, and tough knife. Pick up your Microtech 241-10 Cypher S/E OTF Automatic knife with the stonewashed blade today at BladeOps. You won’t regret it.

 

Marfione Custom Mini Matrix Knife Review

Marfione Custom Mini Matrix
Marfione Custom Mini Matrix

This special Custom Mini Matrix from Marfione–the owner of Microtech Knives.  It features a hand ground Tri-Tone blade that boasts a stonewash blade with satin finished flats and bead blast finished cutouts.  The flipper highlights a tritium insert.sThe handle is 6AL4-V titanium and the backstrap is torched titanium.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of holding a Mini Matrix, it is a perfect sized flipper knife.  The blade swings out on a smooth pivot when you pull the spine flipper.  One unique feature about the actual flipper is that it has a tritium insert.  Once open, if you look in on the inside edge of the backstrap it is signed A. Marfione and it has the serial number. The outside edge of the backstrap features the Marfione Dagger Logo.  The blade is a blend between a clip point and a spear point.

The handle is extremely comfortable to hold.  A framelock design, this knife is a pleasure to hold.  A generous finger groove along with the spine profile that gives your thumb the perfect spot for maximum blade control combine to give you an excellent grip on the knife. This knife is certain to add serious class to any collection and for the brave at heart it would be an incredible daily carry knife.  An extremely limited number of these knives were produced for the 2013 Blade Show–if you would like to pick up this custom Marfione Mini Matrix you can find it here.  If you already have one, let me know what you think of yours below.