Pro-Tech Strider PT Automatic Knife

Pro-Tech Knives, LLC is a knife company that has been around since 1999. They are a family owned company who designs and produces high quality American Made knives. Pro-Tech strives to use only the finest materials that are available and use the newest high tech manufacturing processes. Because of this, you know that your knife is innovative, modern, and will last you a lifetime. To keep quality of their knives high and customer satisfaction higher, they manufacture their knives in small batches, around 12,000 each year. By keeping their batches smaller, they can take the time to hand fit and finish each individual knife, creating a level of quality that is hard to come by on factory made knives.

Pro-Tech has collaborated with high end knife makers and have also produced knives for the U.S. Military and a couple of police departments. Some of their most well-known knives are the Runt J4 and the Godson. Pro-Tech recently came out with a brand new knife that I’m sure will be just as big of a hit. They named this new knife the Dark Blue Strider.

 

The Blade:

ProTech PT Strider Auto Knife
ProTech PT Strider Auto Knife

The blade on this knife is made out of the high end stainless steel 154CM. This steel is made by Crucible, who produces ground breaking and high quality steels. To create this type of steel, Crucible took the regular 440C steel and added Molybdenum. This extra Molybdenum helps the steel have fantastic edge retention and great levels of corrosion resistance. This steel is relatively easy to sharpen, when you have the correct equipment. This steel is tough enough to get the job done. 154 CM stainless steel has many similar qualities to S30V, although slightly inferior, for a much more inexpensive cost. You have a couple of options when it comes to the knife finishes. There is a black finish, a stonewash finish, or a bead blasted finish. The bead blasted finish is created by shooting small ceramic or glass beads at the blade with a high pressure system. This creates a more matte finish, reducing reflections and glares. However, it does create micro abrasions in the surface, so your blade will be more prone to rusting or corroding. This finish gives you a gray look to it. The stonewash finish is created by tumbling the blade around with pebbles. This finish easily hides scratches and reduces glares and reflections. This finish is the most silver out of all of them.

The shape of this blade is the versatile drop point blade. This shape of blade is perfect for an everyday, all-purpose knife. This is a durable shape that can really stand up to any task. This shape of blade gets its name because the unsharpened edge of the blade runs from the handle to the tip in a slow curve. Because of this curve, it creates a lowered, or dropped, point. There are a handful of advantages to having the tip on your knife lowered, one of them being that you will have more control over your blade with a lowered tip. Hunters especially love the drop point shape because it allows them to do precision work without piercing the organs while they are skinning their game. Another one of the advantages to having the tip of your blade lowered is that it adds strength to the tip. The tip is on the broader side of things, especially compared to a clip point, but because of the broadness, it is much more durable than that of a clip point. Because of the strength behind the point, this shape is great for tactical and survival knives. One of the characteristics of the drop point blade shape that makes it so versatile is that it sports a large belly area. This belly allows your blade to excel at slicing. With all of the benefits of a drop point blade, it can seem like there are no disadvantages to it. This is almost true, except for with a broad tip, this blade is not going to be able to pierce or stab as well as a clip point would. This shape of knife is great for every situation, whether it is the expected or unexpected.

This knife has two options for the edge. The stonewash and bead blasted versions are both plain edged. Plain edged blades are going to be easier to sharpen, because they do not have the teeth that a serrated edge does. The plain edge excels at shaving, peeling, and skinning. When people prefer a serrated blade, it is usually because serrations can cut through harder and tougher materials. However, when a plain edge blade is sharp enough, it can also cut through those hard and tough materials. There are two options for the black finish: a plain edge and a combo edge. The combo edge is popular because it gives you the best of both worlds; you get the plain edge for the easier tasks and the serrated portion for the trickier tasks that are presented to you.

On the unsharpened edge of the blade, near the handle, there is a series of thick jimping. Jimping is the notches down the spine of the blade that help to provide grip on your knife.

 

The Handle:

The handle on the Pro-Tech Strider is made out of T6-6061 aluminum. Aluminum is a very durable material. One of the biggest advantages about aluminum is that it provides you with the hefty feel that many knife lovers long for, without actually weighing you down. This is because aluminum is a low density metal that is very lightweight. This version of aluminum, the T6-6061 allow, has incredible strength behind it. This allow is also the most common type of aluminum used today. Aluminum is very strong and very resistant to corrosion. There are a few drawbacks to aluminum though. One, aluminum is a cold material. If you work in a cold environment or live in an area that experiences winter, this knife is going to bite into your hand. Another drawback is that aluminum is a slicker material. Pro-Tech, to avoid having no grip on the handle, has added jimping in a few places. It also has a deep finger groove to provide you with extra grip. The last drawback to aluminum is that it is prone to scratches and dings. To combat the accumulation of scratches on the Dark Blue Strider, Pro-Tech has anodized the aluminum. There are many benefits to the anodization process. This process adds strength and durability to the knife. The most obvious benefit of this process though is that it adds color to the aluminum. Pro-Tech has anodized the Strider to a dark blue.

One of the most defining aspects about the Strider’s handle is the shape of it. The handle has a slow, triangular shape to it, wider at the butt than it is at the top. The butt of this handle has an angled portion with jimping on it. This slightly flared butt will provide you will better grip and better control over your knife.

 

The Pocket Clip and Hardware:

Both the pocket clip and all of the hardware on the Dark Blue Strider is black, matching the black versions of the blade and contrasting with the stonewashed blade. This pocket clip is sturdy. The pocket clip can carry your knife tip up and only on the traditional side of the handle. With the black hardware and black blade, this knife has an elegantly modern look to it. The only exception to the black hardware is the bead blasted version of the Dark Blue Strider. This version has gray hardware to match the blade.

 

The Mechanism:

The Dark Blue Strider is an automatic, or switchblade, knife. Like always, automatic knives have pretty strict laws behind them that vary depending on where you live. Make sure you know your local knife laws before purchasing this knife and especially before carrying or using this knife. A switchblade knife works by pressing a button to automatically open the blade. There is a spring encompassed in the handle of the blade that has significant pressure on it when it is in the closed position. When the button is pressed on the Strider, the spring is released, popping the blade out of the handle. A black thumb stud on the blade stops the blade when it opens all the way. The blade is locked into place. When you want to close this knife, you press the button again, which unlocks it, and push the blade back into the closed position.

 

The Specs:

The overall length of the Dark Blue Strider is 6.4 inches; this knife is on the smaller end of the spectrum. The closed length of this knife is 3.65 inches long, which will fit comfortably, securely, and well concealed in your pocket because of the small size. The blade length on this knife is 2.75 inches long, big enough to get the job done, but again, everything about the Strider is big things in small packages. This knife weighs 2.5 ounces.

 

Pros of the Dark Blue Strider:

  • The steel of the blade has great edge retention and corrosion resistant properties.
  • The steel offers only slightly inferior qualities to S30V, but for a much lower price tag.
  • The steel is easy to sharpen.
  • The steel is tough enough to get the job done.
  • The drop point blade shape is the most versatile out of the blade shapes.
  • The lowered point gives the user better control and extra strength.
  • The belly on the drop point blade shape gives you plenty of room to slice.
  • The plain edge is easy sharpen and excels at shaving, peeing, and skinning.
  • The combo edge allows you to cut the thicker and tougher materials.
  • You have the option of three different finishes, all with their own pros and cons.
  • Pro-Tech has added jimping to the blade to give the user better grip and control.
  • The aluminum handle is strong and tough.
  • The aluminum has been anodized to add a dark blue color.
  • The aluminum is lightweight, but still provides you with a hefty feel behind it.
  • Aluminum is very resistant to corrosion.
  • The slightly flared handle gives the user more control over their cuts.
  • The pocket clip and hardware are black to match the blade; giving you a very aesthetically pleasing look.
  • The automatic mechanism will open quickly and efficiently.

 

Cons of the Dark Blue Strider:

  • The pocket clip has only been fitted for traditional carry, so it is not ambidextrous friendly.
  • The pocket clip only allows the knife to be carried tip up.

 

Conclusion:

Pro-Tech has released many knives that are huge hits in the knife communities. This company chooses to keep their knife batches low so that they can give each individual knife the attention that it deserves. Pro-Tech hand fits and finishes every single knife to provide the user with a quality that is hard to find in factory made knives.

The Dark Blue Strider is the newest of their masterpieces. They started with a tough steel to get the job done and gave the user three different options for the finishes. The blade shape is the most versatile of them all: the beloved drop point. The user also has the option to decide between getting a plain or combo edged blade. The handle as a unique shape to it, giving you the most control. The durable aluminum handle has a modern dark blue color to it. With the Pro-Tech Dark Blue Strider, they gave you a perfect auto knife in a small package. You are not going to want to put this knife down.

 

ProTech TR-5 Tactical Response 5 Assist Knife Review

TR-5: Tactical Response 5

The Tactical Response 5 is Pro-Tech’s first Spring Assist knife. You wouldn’t know that with how quick the knife launches out. This spring assisted knife has the power and speed of an automatic knife. As of January 2016, it is the newest of the Tactical Response folder family which features the new Titanium Assist mechanism designed by Matthew Lerch. The TR-5 is a smaller version of the popular Tactical Response TR-4.

The TR-5 Story
Pro-Tech is a family owned company. Established in 1999, they have been creating and developing high-quality knives that are made here in the United States. Recently I inquired of Pro-Tech’s President, Dave Wattenberg, about the new Tactical Response. This is what Dave had to say,

“A few years ago I was chatting with my good friend and custom knife maker Matthew Lerch at the blade show—he had an idea for a spring assist mechanism that would combine the ‘snap—and quick action’ of our cool spring with a spring assist mechanism. After a few years of tinkering – we were able to engineer the mechanism into this new smaller version of the TR-4 (the new TR-5).”

Rumor also has it that following this conversation, the idea for this new spring assist mechanism was developed in a matter of minutes where many ideas take a greater amount of time to come up with. Whether or not this is true, we have this amazing knife with us today to enjoy.

Matthew Lerch
Matthew Lerch is the mastermind behind the new Tactical Response TR-5. He was initially trained in the watchmaking industry and as a jeweler but later moved into manufacturing and tool making. Aside from the mechanics of the TR-5, Matthew has a few patents under his name for knife mechanisms such as the Fire Safe. He has also been honored with some prestigious awards, including the Buster Warenski award. Matthew views knives and knife making as something more than a tool and a process. He sees them as functional pieces of art. Of Matthew Lerch, Dave Wattenberg, said about him, “Matt Lerch is really one of my favorite knife makers—he’s a mechanical genius.”

Specs
Below is an overview of the different specifications of the Tactical Response 5. Many of the things listed will be covered later on, but here is a simple glance at what the TR-5 has to offer.

  • Product Type: Spring Assist
  • Overall Length: 7.66″
  • Weight: 3.5 oz.
  • Handle Length: 4.36”
  • Blade Length: 3.30″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.125″
  • Blade Material: 154-CM
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Finish: Stonewash
  • Handle Material: Anodized 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Handle Color: Black
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up
  • Glass Breaker and Lanyard Hole Included
  • Made in the USA

One thing that can be pointed out here is the handle. At a first glance, it doesn’t look too special. But at a closer examination of it proves otherwise. The black anodized aluminum handle is smooth to the touch and feels great when holding it. When deployed, the knife has comfortable finger gripping that serves for an easier hold, as was as a more secure hold. The handle is accented with a glass breaker and lanyard hole to give flair to the rest of the knife. The overall look of the knife looks great and pleases the aesthetic eye.

Out with the Old, In with the New

The Tactical Response 5 is the newest knife in the Tactical Response Series. It is an alternative to the older Tactical Response models. It is smaller in every way but still performs just as well.

TR-5 TR-4 TR-3
Overall Length 7.66″ 9.25″ 8.00″
Blade Length 3.30″ 4.00″ 3.50″
Handle Length 4.36″ 5.25″ 4.50″
Weight 3.5 oz. 5.4 oz. 3.6 oz.
Product Type Spring Assist Auto Auto
Steel 154-CM CPM-D2 154-CM

All of the knives in the Tactical Response line are phenomenal knives. Each has their own unique properties to them. They are all quick and sharp right out of the box. The TR-5 allows more people to carry Pro-Tech with the same speed as an auto but still be classified as a spring assisted knife.

New Mechanics
The Tactical Response 5 features new mechanics that make allow the assisted folder to compete with automatic knives. It is difficult to even begin describing how this thing works. It is absolutely flawless. Here is my best shot. Most, if not all spring assisted knives to have either a thumb stud, or a thumb hole, or some other device that a thumb can move which allows the blade to partly open before a spring takes over and launches it into its “on” position. Other spring assisted knives may include a flipper on the back of the handle that will flip the blade open. A typical spring assist knife has a variety of mechanisms that make the knife work. They more or less have a common theme among them all. A normal spring assist knife has a spring or tension bar that acts as the main part that moves everything else around. There is tension all around inside these knives. They help flip the knife open, but they also help keep the knife closed. Thus, there needs to be some sort of manual force to overcome the resistance the spring gives off to open the knife.

The new mechanics that are featured in the TR-5 are unique and different in many different ways. The first major difference is that the Tactical Response 5 does not have a traditional spring or tension bar. The TR-5 utilizes Pro-Tech’s high-quality springs that are found in their snappy automatic knives. And rather than having a typical tension bar that runs the length of the handle, there is a bar that is in the shape of a half circle on both sides of the handle, on the inside, that is connected by a metal peg. This half circle bar functions similar to your standard spring bar. It provides the same amount of pressure when opening and closing the blade. It is difficult to describe how it all works, but the most important thing to know is that this knife is sweet. The new mechanics make it quick, if not faster than many automatic knives in the industry.

In that inquiry with Dave, he was able to help me out in describing how the knife operates. This is what he had to say,

“The mechanism he (Matthew Lerch) invented is really very simple and one of the really strong points is that there are only a few parts.

“The parts, however, have to be extremely precise. Two wire EDM (Electrical Discharge Machine) cut titanium springs are installed on the inside of the frame—they hold a dowel pin across the inside of the handle, there’s a notch in the blade that this pin locks into. Since our coil spring is strong it takes a strong detent to keep it closed in the locked position.

“As you open the knife with the thumb stud, at the moment you push past where the pin locks into the blade our Superior Coil Spring Action takes over! And of course, our proven button lock works to lock the blade into the open position.

“Since there are only a few (albeit very precision) parts—the mechanism is very sturdy, even more so than some spring assist mechanisms on the market.”

Hopefully between both of our descriptions, the mechanics of the knife works make more sense. The bottom line is that the TR-5 is quick, it is dependable, and it is awesome.

Steel

The steel used in making the drop point blade on the TR-5 is the sturdy 154CM. 154CM is a favorable steel when it comes to knives. It is a high-end stainless steel made in America by Crucible Industries. It is a newer stainless steel that is just as good as or better than 440c stainless steel. The Rockwell test for this steel is around HRC 58-61. 154CM is popular in survival and tactical knives because of its corrosion resistance. It may be exposed to salt water and other corrosive material for long periods of time. This steel is comparatively cheaper than other high-quality steels such as BG-42 and S30V. Having this steel on any knife, especially the TR-5, makes it an even better knife.

Blade Finish

A stonewash finish is fairly new in the knife community. The process begins when a blade is rolled and tumbled with pebbles and an acid of sorts, then smoothed. In theory, it can hide scratches or other abrasions to the blade. This is a favorable characteristic that many knife owners desire. Because of the tumbling process to create this finish, it looks as if there are already hundreds of markings on it. Yet, the markings are done in a natural way to form a work of art. Similar to a snowflake, no two stonewashes are the same. The finish has a different look to it. The stonewash finish on the Tactical Response 5 almost has a satin finish to it. Direct light reflects off the blade. Because of the style of the finish, there need not be any concern about scratches or other markings to the blade. The knife can be used for its intended purpose of cutting and doing any other type of work. Some suggest that because of the process, a stonewashed knife can become more resistant to rust as well. The acid oxidation it goes through in the process enhances a blade’s rust resistance with a stable oxide barrier between the steel and its surrounding. Another benefit of stonewashing a blade is their low maintenance and their ability to preserve their original look over time.

Tactical or Every day Carry

“The size, shape, mechanism of the TR-5 spring assist really make it a perfect knife for every day carry. I started carrying one myself in January and just can’t seem to swap it out for any other knife from my pocket!” –Dave Wattenberg

The Tactical Response is a highly functional knife. It works great as either an everyday carry knife or as a tactical knife. For some, a tactical knife and an everyday carry is the same thing. Either way, there are several key characteristics to consider before purchasing a knife. The designed purpose, the ergonomics of the knife and its size, the materials used to make the knife, and the blade design and style, are all factors in choosing a great knife.

Designed Purpose:

Some knives are created for those in the armed forces to help them out with their problems they encounter while other knives are created for a more day to day type of carry that can be of use in self-defense or other menial tasks. As the name of the knife suggests, the TR-5 is a tactical response to the need for a decent knife in the industry.

Ergonomics and Size:

A knife that is built with the highest quality of material would be utterly useless if it does not feel right when holding it. When a knife feels secure in your hand, you can feel secure as well. The TR-5’s size is great for an everyday carry or a tactical knife. It is small enough to carry, yet big enough to do some damage.

Materials:

Any knife, no matter its purpose, is going to be going through a major beating. Because of this, it needs to be built out of a strong, high-quality material. This includes both the blade steel and the handle material. The handle on the Tactical Response is made of an aluminum alloy. This is perfect for the knife to help it be lightweight and durable at the same time. And of course, the steel is made of a high-quality material.

Blade Design and Style:

The blade for a tactical or an everyday carry should be an all-around useful tool to tackle all sorts of tasks. The blade can make or break any knife. A good versatile blade is a drop point. And that’s just what the TR-5 has equipped on it. With this blade, the TR-5 is useful for any number of tasks.

Conclusion

“I’m very pleased to produce a knife with my friend Matt Lerch’s design and very proud of the product that it’s become.” These were some of the closing remarks that Dave had with me when discussing this knife. Truly, this knife is remarkable. It shares the best of both worlds when it comes to automatic knives and spring assisted knives. Along with Dave, I would highly recommend picking up the Tactical Response 5. You will not be disappointed with it. The TR-5 awaits your response.

ProTech Tactical Response 3 with Carbon Fiber

ProTech TR3 Carbon Fiber Inlay
ProTech TR3 Carbon Fiber Inlay

The ProTech Tactical Response series are fantastic knives.  I have a TR2 with a desert sand handle that I carry about 4 or 5 days each month.  The TR3 line of knives just got a couple of very cool additions.  Just released are the TR3 with carbon fiber inlay on the top handle scale.  This modification takes an extremely functional and durable knife into the realm of uber stylish. This already great knife now looks like it would be at home in a penthouse suite or any boardroom.  Like all the knives in the TR3 series, it does have a lanyard hole at the base and also has a pocket clip for pocket carry.  This fast opening auto knife is ready for shipment.

ProTech Godfather Scrimshaw Series

PT930damascus
PT930 Godfather with Damascus and Linda Karst Stone Scrimshaw work.

At the SHOT Show, we picked up a few of ProTech’s newest Godfather styles.  These knives features Skull laser scrimshaw artwork from Linda Karst Stone.  She is one of the leading scrimshaw artists in the knife world and has done some amazing work on these knives.  Each one of the limited knives have an Ivory Micarta inlay which serves as the palette for the scrimshaw work.  A laser scrimshaw of three skulls is the central feature of the work.  All of this on a classic ProTech Godfather auto knife–these are going to move fast.  We have a few different choices as far as the blade goes–pictured is one with a Chad Nichols Mosiac Damascus blade.    Check them out and pick one up for your collection.

Some Knives Are Better Than Others

Back in 1985, the Smiths released a great song titled, Some Girls are Bigger Than Others.  I like that song.  Sometimes I switch out the lyrics.  Today, I inserted knives.  Some knives are better than others. 

We get a lot of phone calls.  Some of them start with this question or some variation of the same, “What is the best knife out there?”  Stop and think about that question for just a moment.  There are a lot of knives in the world. And someone is calling in and sincerely asking “What is the best knife?”   There are so many different avenues you can take when giving an answer to that question. 

The first thing we do when faced with this question is try and narrow the question down just a bit.  “Are you looking for a fixed blade, an automatic, a manual folder, a butterfly knife or a spring assisted knife?”  This makes all the difference.  Then we try and get a feel for size?  Are you looking for a big knife.  The kind of knife that even Crocodile Dundee would respect.  Or are you looking for a smallish knife that can fit nicely in your pocket as you walk about town.  And then the biggest question of all.  How much would you like to spend?  There are very good knives available for not a whole lot of money.  And there are some amazingly fantastic knives that you can spend as much on as you would spend on a decent used car.  And there is everything in between. 

And then everyone has their favorite brands.  One of my favorite brands out there is ProTech Knife Company. If there is a ProTech made, I can just about guarantee I like it.  I like a whole lot of other knives also.   One of the other guys here is a Spyderco fanatic.  And who doesn’t drool over just about any Benchmade or Microtech on the market.  I have a Gerber Auto knife that I especially like.  It is big and beefy and gets any big cutting job done. 

ProTech Tactical Response 1.31As a hobby, I build things out of wood.  I’m not really that good at woodworking, but I enjoy doing it immensely.  It helps take the edge off of a rough week.  It also feels good creating something that could last for a long time.  My two greatest wood creations are a King sized sleigh bed out of cherry and maple and a pair of Craftsman style armchairs out of white oak.  I still have the chairs in my house.  We use them every day–and I still like them.  The bed is a different story.  I hadn’t ever built such a big project when I built the bed.  When I was doing the final assembly, the headboard slipped and fell.  Sadly one of the cherry panels cracked.  I was so bummed about it I didn’t go out in the wood shop for a couple of weeks.  Then, because I was sick to death of the project, I glued it up as best I could and put it to use.  The bed actually looked really good.  But I am such a perfectionist that I couldn’t sleep in it.  I knew it had a crack in the panel, even if no one else could see it.  I used it for about a week.  But every night I would lay in bed obsessing over the stupid crack.  So I gave it to my neighbor.  Anyway, long story to get to the point about ProTech.  I am amazed at the job they do over at ProTech with their wood inlays.  That is what got me started with ProTech.  Their workmanship.  Now, I just have become a bit of a ProTech nut.  Wood or no wood, I like ProTech knives.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of other knives also.  I just like every ProTech I have ever had. They work, they look good, and they are durable.  The other day, we got a couple of desert sand colored ProTech Tactical Response 1 knives with black tactical finished tanto blades.  I liked the color enough that I grabbed one for myself.  I have been carrying it a couple days a week since then.  Once again, I am reminded, some knives are better than others.  ProTech does such a bang up job on the workmanship that it is almost unbelievable.  The knives work like a charm.  This knife I am carrying is perfect for me and my needs.  It is big enough that I can cut just about anything.  And yet it fits in my pocket without feeling bulky.  And so for me, it is a great knife.  For you, another knife might be the best knife in the world.  So if you happen to call in to BladeOps to ask, “Which knife is the best knife out there?” Please realize, that we are telling you what we think might be best for you and your situation–but even that advice may be colored just a bit by what knives we think are great.   Let me know which knife you think is better than any other in the comments below–I would love to hear what knife you like and why.

ProTech Sprint Automatic Knife

ProTech Sprint Auto Knife

ProTech recently released their newest line of automatic knives.  As a huge fan of ProTech already, I was excited to see what the ProTech Sprint was all about.  Similar in size to one of their J4 Runt knives, the Sprint stands out because it is so thin.  Taking up hardly any real estate in your pocket, the Sprint is the perfect little everyday carry automatic knife. 

The blade is built from S35-VN and you can currently get it with either a silver 6061 T6 handle or the same handle with a great looking carbon fiber inlay.  The Sprint blade snaps open fast like you expect from a ProTech knife.  The blade is long enough that it works perfect for all the little things that pop up in an average day–and it qualifies as Cali-Legal since the blade length is under 2″.

Check them out on our website under the ProTech category.