Microtech LUDT Automatic Knife Review

For over 20 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, we strive to ensure their customer 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: delivery revolutionary products that exceed the industry’s ever increasing desire for groundbreaking ideas. They appreciate their customers, for the years of loyalty and support, and for motivating them to better themselves so that they may continue to rise above your expectations. Some memorable moments from Microtech’s history:

  • In 1994, the very first knife prototypes were created in Anthony and Susan Marfione’s apartment.
  • In 1994, the release of the UDT marked the official beginning of Microtech. The company began renting a building in Vero Beach, Florida, which quickly expanded to nearby empty buildings as the demand for a larger facility became apparent.
  • In 1995, they released the HALO, which has become a prominent line through Microtech’s history and earned the cover spot of the 1995 edition of Fighting Knives magazine.
  • In 1999, the Ultratech, the most popular Microtech ever, first hit production.
  • 1999 was also the second year in a row which Microtech earned Blade Magazine’s Manufacturing Quality Awards.
  • In 2000, Microtech released the company’s first balisong knife, the Tachyon, which was later followed by the Tachyon II and the Metalmark in 2012.
  • In 2004, the initial run of the Currahe was limited, with the first few placed in the hands of those best suited to test the knife, the United States Special Forces.
  • 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 2015, they had significant collaborations with Heretic Knives, Sean Marfione, Kohi hara, Borka Blades, and Munroe Knives.
  • 2015 also saw the introduction of the thin Blue Line law enforcement special Ultratech.
  • In 2016 production porotypes of the SBK and kitchen knife collaborations with Borka Blades were released at Blade Show.

Microtech’s knives are amazing knives. All of them are durable and reliable. Today, we are going to be talking about the LUDT (Large Underwater Demolition Team) knife series. This series has a wide variety of different options to choose form, so we will be going over all the different options that you are presented with.


The Blade:

The blade on the Microtech LUDT’s are made out of Bohler Elmax steel. This is a European powder metal steel that is used in 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. When this steel first came out, it was pricey, but the competition has driven it down to reasonable levels, which makes it a decent value. This steel is a high chromium vanadium molybdenum alloyed powdered steel with extremely high wear and corrosion resistance. Elmax is stainless but acts in many ways like a carbon steel. You get superb edge holding and relatively easy sharpening while maintain a healthy resistance to rust. Many of Microtech’s blades are made from Bohler’s Elmax. This is because they have found it to provide the best balance between corrosion resistance and edge retention. This is a high performance knife stele, and is a third generation powder metal technology that is noted for its fine carbide distribution with extremely low inclusion content for virtually no chip out.

With the blade, you can get a very wide variety of blade finishes. The two most common ones that you are going to find on a LUDT knife is either a black coated finish, a bronze/bead blasted finish, or a satin finish. Coatings provide corrosion resistance, but they will scratch off eventually and at different rates, depending on the quality of the coating. One of the most common coating finish is the black coating that you are going to get on the LUDT knife. The black coating is matte.

A satin finish is the most typical knife finish. It is slightly less shiny than a polished finish and it is less expensive than both the mirror and polished finishes. It has decent corrosion resistance but less than polish or mirror finished blades.

The bronze/bead blasted finish is also one of the common finishes that you are going to find on this knife series. A bead blasted blade is dull and non-reflective and it is just what it sounds like—the steel is literally blasted with plastic beads to reach the desired finish. This type of finish also hides scratches pretty well, but the stonewash accomplishes this a little better. A bead blasted finish has a rougher texture and is therefore more susceptible to corrosion. These blades are covered with a bronze finish.

You can also get the LUDT with a custom finish. This is from their Star Wars series: The Jedi Knight, which has a blue and satin blade, the Sith Lord which has a red and satin blade, the Jedi Master which has a green and satin blade, and the Storm Trooper which has a white blade.

Microtech LUDT Auto Knife
Microtech LUDT Auto Knife

The LUDT has been designed as an everyday carry knife and the perfect blade shape for that is the drop point that they chose. This is a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything. A drop point knife blade is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. The most recognizable knife that feature a drop point is the hunting knife, although it is used on many other types of knives as well, including the larger bales in Swiss army knives. To form this blade shape, the edge of the knife runs straight from eh handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, creating a lowered point. This lowered point provides more control and adds strength to the tip. While the tip on the drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. Because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy sue, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. Drop point knives also feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. It is this large belly that makes the LUDT such a perfect everyday carry blade. The blade shape is ideal for everyday carry and simple chores, because the drop point profile is very popular and used on a variety of pocket knives and fixed blades. The only downside is that this blade’s broad tip isn’t suited for piercing, especially compared to clip or spear point blades.

With the LUDT knife series, you have the option between either a plain edge or a serrated edge blade. A plain edge is a blade that is one continuous sharp edge and it is far more traditional. They serve a much wider purpose as their most useful application is what most of us think of when we think of using a knife: a strong, steady pressure. Another key advantage of a plain edge is that it doesn’t snag or fray when cutting through some ropes, however, it may simply slip. A plain edge cuts cleanly. Serrated edges are blades that have some kind of toothed or saw like edge ground into the cutting surface. These are intended to be used much like a small saw, with a back and forth motion. They’re great for cutting through belts and ropes, fabric, and various other textured materials. Serrate blades also work great on substances that are soft, such as bread or tomatoes. However, cutting with a serrated edge often causes fraying and when the blade is dull it’s much more difficult to sharpen and requires specialty sharpening equipment. It really comes down to what you are most likely going to be using your blade for and personal preferences.


The Handle:

The LUDT knife series is mostly made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum. There are a couple of other options for the handle material, but the majority of the knives in this series are made out of the aluminum. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles. It is a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. The most common type of aluminum that is used today is the 6061-T6 aluminum alloy which has tremendous tensile strength. When properly texturized, an aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip that is also comfortable and easy for extended use. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortably cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the more premium knives.

The handles that are made out of the aluminum have been anodized for color, hardness, and protection. There is a very wide variety of different colors of anodized handles such as: black, tan, bronze, red, green, turquoise, burnt orange, purple, and silver.

The handle has four long grooves that go down the length of the knife. The handle has been contoured to fit your hand comfortably. There has been a lanyard hole carved out of the handle, which comes in use in many different situations.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is held in place by tree small screws.


Microtech LUDT, 135-1TQ
Microtech LUDT, 135-1TQ

The Mechanism:

This series of knives are all Automatic knives, or switchblades. This is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. Most switchable designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened positon. The blade is unlocked by manually operation a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position. However, switchblades do have some strict laws surrounding them. This means that before purchasing your favorite LUDT knife, you need to be aware of what your local knife laws are. This knife might be illegal to purchase or carry in your area.


The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.375 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 8 inches long, with a closed length of 4.625 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.6 ounces. It was made in the USA.



The LUDT is based on the U.D.T, Microtech’s original compact automatic folder.  Re-released for the first time in years, this larger, updated version features a milled handle, with lanyard hole, and recess for the firing button.  The latest model also features a revised blade profile and tri-angle hardware. Microtech’s L.U.D.T. auto knives are back–and we couldn’t be more excited. This premium automatic knife was first produced in the 1990’s and quickly established itself as one of Microtech’s fastest selling side open automatic knives. The L.U.D.T (Large Underwater Demolition Team) comes made out of Elmax steel that is strong, durable, and reliable. This steel has some of the highest corrosion resistance that you are going to find and is a premium grade steel that is going to give you good bang for your buck. The drop point blade shape is useful in a wide variety of circumstances and helps to make this a great EDC option. You have the option of a wide variety of different blade steels and you can choose between a combo edge or a plain edge. The handle is made out of aluminum, which is very durable and very resistant to corrosion and rusting. This material has been anodized in almost any color that you can picture. With so many options, this automatic knife is sure to please. Pick up your favorite version today at BladeOps.



Baghdad and My Microtech SCARAB Knife, by W.M.

Location: Camp Victory – Baghdad, Iraq
Year : AUG 2005

Microtech SCARAB OTF Knife
Microtech SCARAB OTF Knife

I remember it as being hot and dusty, but that’s pretty much the definition of an understatement for Baghdad in the summer. Using an old school, wet bulb thermometer, we had recently registered a stunning 132 degrees so it was more than just hot. You know when you’re baking something in the oven and you open the door to check on it. Like a dummy you bend over to get a peek and that first wave of heated air makes you squint your eyes and pinch your face? Yeah, it was that kind of hot, only all day long.
We were assigned as firefighter/paramedics to protect the US military personnel assigned to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Looking back on it now, I think it was the most significant thing that I’ve done in my life. We had a motto that summed it up. Protecting Those Who Protect Peace. It was truly an honor to be the First Responder for those brave men and women as they rested on base in between combat missions.
But with that being said, it was also boring as hell. There’s an old saying in our industry that our days are made up of 99% boredom and 1% pure terror/adrenaline. That pretty much sums up the Iraq experience. From a firefighter’s perspective, our customer (the military) made for pretty good residents so we really didn’t have a lot of structure fires or cats in trees. In 2005 we had a lot of indirect fire coming at us from over the wire, but for the most part, we spent our days trying to keep busy and maintaining our training levels.
The one escape from the boredom, outside of calls to home, was mail-call.
A package or a letter from home was not only a break in the monotony, it was a reminder of why we were doing what we were doing, and why protecting our way of life is so important.

So there I was on that hot and dusty day in August of 2005, sitting in our Heavy Rescue unit outside of the US Army postal center at Camp Victory (adjacent to the Baghdad International Airport / BIAP).
I had small cardboard box in my lap and I was contemplating the irony of the fact that I needed a knife to open my box that contained a knife. I’d searched around on-line and found a really bad-ass OTF knife made by Microtech. I’d been eagerly awaiting its arrival for nearly three weeks and the time had finally come. Using the edge of a fireman’s axe, I sliced the tape from the box and unwrapped my new toy. The knife was everything I’d hoped it to be. Sleek, well made and with a hefty OTF spring that made a satisfying; “CLICK” when it sprang into action. For the next several days I abused that spring religiously. In and Out, In and Out. “Hey wanna see my new knife?” In and Out, In and Out.
As obnoxious as it was, it’s hard to resist the fun of playing around with good OTF knife. Even if it involves multiple band-aids from the self -inflicted “training” along the way.
When I think of good knives that I’ve had in my life, I think of that one and I see it in my head, with the sandy, dust filled light of a Baghdad sunrise in the background.

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