Boker is one of the oldest knife makers that is still around; you can trace its origin to the 17th century as a tool maker in Germany. By the 1800s Boker had graduated to swords and blades instead of the tools. The company claims that it was produced 2000 sabres a week by 1839 for various wars that Germany was fighting in. by the 1860s the company fractured with a branch of the family emigrating to North America and set up plants in Canada, New York, and Mexico. The German and North American factories produced similar knives and continued using the “Tree Brand” trademark.
This process continued until World War II when the Solingen factory as destroyed and Boker USA took control of the trademark until the Germany factory was rebuilt in the 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s the company changed hands several times, with the New York facility shutting down in 1983. In 1986, Boker reacquired the rights to the American brand and Boker USA was started in Denver, Colorado for US production.
Today we will be talking about the BladeOps Exclusive Boker XL Kalashnikov that has a tan handle and a recurve tanto blade.
The blade of this Kalashnikov is made out of AUS-8 stainless steel. This is a Japanese produced steel that is very similar to the 440 series of steel in terms of performance and very similar to 8Cr13MoV in terms of composition. Although the chemical composition does have additional vanadium, this steel is not going to hold an edge as well as you hope. But on the positive side, this steel is very easy to sharpen—so when it gets dull, sharpening it won’t be a hassle. Along with the vanadium, the composition also has additional nickel which both work to give this blade extra wear resistance and toughness, especially when being compared to the 440 series. Overall AUS-8 is a well-rounded steel for your knives, because it does give you an easy sharpen and it is pretty rust resistant. You should keep in mind that it is not going to be able to keep up with the higher end powder metal blades, but for a solid EDC knife, this metal gives you great qualities for a good price.
The blade has been finished with a black coating finish. A coated finish reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. Unfortunately, this coating will be scratched off after long term or heavy use. Once the coating has been scratched off, if you want to keep the coatings benefits, the blade will have to be re-coated. Overall though, the coating finish will increase the wear life of a blade, while also adding an elegant black look to the blade.
The blade on this knife has been cut into a recurve tanto blade shape. The tanto blade shape is not an all-purpose blade shape; in fact, it has been specifically designed to do one thing and do that one thing really well. The tanto blade shape has been designed to be able to effectively price through tough materials, because it was modeled after the samurai’s swords, which were made to pierce through armor. Cold Steel popularized the tanto blade shape in the early 80s. The tanto has a high point with a flat grind, which creates an extremely strong point because it is not thin, which means it is less likely to break. On a typical tanto blade, instead of the belly curving up to meet the point, a tanto has the blade go from a straight edge to an angled edge which leads to the point, which means that there is no belly for slicing. On this recurve tanto blade shape, the original straight edge has been curved inward to create an “opposite belly”. This recurve not only looks very interesting, but it also acts slightly like a hawksbill. This shape forces the material you are cutting to bunch up against the cutting edge, which allows you to easily shred some of those tougher materials. Because the recurve is not as severe as the hawksbill blade shape, you do retain some of the ability for your more general utility tasks. So while you aren’t going to be able to slice a ton with this knife, you do have a very strong point that is perfect for certain tasks. Unfortunately, the point is a little harder to control.
The handle on this knife has been made out of aluminum that is anodized tan. Aluminum is often chosen for a knife handle because of how durable it is. Plus, it is a low density metal which means that it is going to be lightweight while still giving you the heft that you want to back you up. When an aluminum handle is properly texturized, it is going to give you a secure grip in most environments and it will be comfortable even if you are using it for long periods of time. One of the few drawbacks with aluminum is that it does have high conductive properties meaning if you use it in the winter, it is going to be pretty cold. Aluminum is also more susceptible to scratches and dings than many other knife handle materials. I would say that one of the biggest benefits of having an aluminum knife handle is that it is very resistant to corrosion.
This Kalashnikov aluminum handle has bene anodized for color, hardness, and protection. Anodizing is a method of increasing the corrosion resistance of a metal by forming a layer of oxide on its surface. The process to create this oxide coating is achieved electrolytically. The handle is first going to be submerged in an electrolytic solution bath along with a cathode. When a current is passed through the acid solution hydrogen is released form the cathode and oxygen forms on the surface of an anode. This results in a metal oxide film growing on the surface of the handle that is going to be treated. This handle has been anodized tan.
To help you with having the best grip possible, Boker has textured the handle pretty aggressively. Plus, there are three ridges that go horizontally across the face of the handle. To help with control when you are cutting with this knife, there is a row of jimping that starts on the spine of the blade by the handle and continues onto the handle. There is also jimping on the butt of the handle. To give you the most comfortable grip possible, there are four finger grooves going across the bottom of this handle. There is a slight finger guard which helps to protect against slicing your fingers.
On the butt of the handle, there has been a lanyard hole carved in.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip is deep carry, which means that not only is it going to be a little more secure in your pocket, it will also be easier to conceal. It has been slightly shortened to allow you to draw your knife a little bit quicker. The clip is designed for tip up carry only. It is black, which matches the blade and the rest of the hardware on this Boker knife.
This is an automatic knife. Automatic knives have a strict set of laws surrounding them and it is up to you, the purchaser, to know your local knife laws before purchasing or carrying this knife. The responsibility does not lie on BladeOps.
Automatic knives are also often known as a switchblade, which is a type of knife that has a folding blade contained in the handle. The knife is opened automatic when the oversized button on the handle is pressed. The button activates a spring inside of the handle which pops the blade out.
Automatic knives were developed in the mid-18th century and have had a tumultuous history ever since. In the 1950s, automatic knives became an extreme controversy because of an article that was released in a widely used periodical. The article talked about the gang usage and spurred a campaign that would eventually result in state and federal laws criminalizing the importation, sale, and possession of automatic-opening knives. Now, the ability to purchase or carry switchblades continues to be heavily restricted throughout much the United States.
Because it is illegal to import an automatic knife, this Boker knife is actually known as an auto-conversion knife. It was imported as a manual knife and was converted by a third party into an automatic knife.
This is a larger knife, with the blade measuring in at 3.82 inches long and the handle measuring in at 4.82 inches long. When this knife is opened, it measures in at 8.64 inches long. This knife is a little bit heavier because of how large it is, weighing in at 4.5 ounces.
Pros of the XL Kalashnikov:
- The blade steel is very easy to sharpen.
- The blade steel is very wear and corrosion resistant.
- The tanto blade shape has an extremely strong point.
- The recurve is going to help with shredding.
- Coating helps cut down on reflections off the blade.
- Coating helps reduce wear and corrosion.
- The coating adds an elegant, sleek look to the already luxurious blade.
- Aluminum is very corrosion resistant.
- Aluminum is very durable and strong.
- Aluminum is lightweight, but still gives you the heft that you want from a knife.
- The aluminum has been anodized to add to its durability, strength, and give it a color.
- Jimping on spine help with control while cutting with this knife.
- There is jimping on the butt of the blade.
- There is a lanyard hole on the butt of the knife.
- There are four finger grooves to help with grip and comfort.
- The face of the handle has been aggressively textured, so that you have a secure grip on it.
- Deep carry pocket clip.
- Because it is an automatic knife, it is going to open much quicker than a manual blade.
- This knife does have an oversized button for easy access even if you are wearing gloves.
Cons of the XL Kalashnikov:
- The blade does not hold an edge very well.
- The blade does not have a belly, which does make slicing much harder, or impossible with this recurve.
- The point on the blade is harder to control.
- All coatings are going to be scratched off eventually.
- Aluminum is prone to getting scratched and dinged.
- Aluminum has high conductive properties, so if you are using this knife in the winter, be prepared to need gloves.
- The pocket clip is only designed for tip up carry.
- Because this is an automatic knife, there are strict laws surrounding it. This knife might not be legal in your state, city, or area.
The Boker Kalashnikov automatic knife is one of the most popular side open automatics on the market today considering the price point. The world was first introduced to the traditional size, then the mini, and finally, the BladeOps exclusive Kalashnikov XL. This knife, as well as the rest of the Kalashnikov auto family, is referred to an auto-conversion knife which means the knife is produced as a folder knife and then converted via third party to offer the automatic function. The Kalashnikov XL features an aluminum handle scale with 4 integrated finger grooves for a comfortable ergonomic experience and the AUS-8 blade material offers better edge retention than you would expect. This particular model features a tan handle with standard black hardware, an over-sized push button for easy access, and a recurve tanto style blade in a black finish. Finally, the deep carry pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only and was slightly shortened to provide quicker access when you need it now.
*Please note that the seals on the box will arrive broken due to the knife being converted
Pick up this BladeOps exclusive Boker Tan XL Kalashnikov with the recurve tanto blade today.