Schrade Extreme Survival Cali-Legal Auto Knife Review

Schrade knives bean in 1904 as the Schrade Cutlery Company, founded in New York. Schrade Cutlery Company produced cutlery of a quality that was unheard of at the time, and the company grew and ultimately expanded its operations. Another knife-making company, the Imperial Knife Company, was founded in Providence, Rhode Island in 1916. The Imperial Knife Company manufactured a full range of value-priced folding pocket knives.

In 1941, Albert M. Baer purchased the Ulster Knife Company, merging it with the Imperial Knife Company to form the Imperial Knife Associated Companies. Later, in 1946, Schrade Cutlery was sold to Imperial Knife Associated Companies, and the company was renamed to Schrade-Walden Cutlery Co, Inc. Around 1983, Albert M. Baer took the company private to avoid a hostile takeover, and renamed the company Imperial Schrade Company in 1985. Today, this corporation is owned by Taylor Brands LLC.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 440 stainless steel. There are three different types of 440 steel: 440A, 440B, and 440C. The further along in the alphabet, the better it gets. One of the issues with this though is that often, manufacturers will only specify if its 440, but not which letter grade goes with it, so it can be hard to know what you’re actually getting on this blade. If the blade doesn’t say 440C, you can assume that it is one of the lower end versions, because 440C is a quality metal and manufactures are proud to use it. The 440 stainless steel is very rust resistant, no matter which grade level you get. And, because this is a stainless steel, it is going to be a tough steel.

There are two versions of this knife. The first has a bead blasted blade and the second has a black coated blade.

The bead blasted finish is created by using abrasive glass beads that are blasted at the steel at a high pressure, which creates an even, gray finish. A blasted finish reduces reflection and glare due to its even matte surface. The blasting creates an increased surface area and micro abrasions make the steel more prone to rust and corrosion. A blasted blade, even from stainless steel, can rust overnight if left in a very humid environment.

The second option is a coated finish. A coated finish reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. However, all coatings can be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and the blade would have to be re-coated. Coatings can prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust. This coating also adds a sleek look to the blade, creating a matte black finish.

The blade on either of these knives have been made into a drop point blade shape. This is the most popular blade shape that you are going to find in the cutlery industry today. This blade shape is very versatile and can stand up to most tasks that you throw at it. The blade style is formed by having the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife run straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that gives you more control over your slices and allows you to perform fine tip work. And, because the tip is lowered and broad, you are going to have crazy amounts of strength behind it. It is his broad tip that allows you to take on the majority of tasks. Plus, drop point blades sport a large belly that is perfect for slicing. Because of this large belly, the knife is a great everyday carry knife. The majority of tasks that you are going to be performing is slicing. One of the only disadvantages that the drop point has is its broad tip—because of the broadness, you do lose out on many of the piercing and stabbing capabilities. However, you do have to keep in mind that instead of the stabbing capabilities, you have a strong knife that is not prone to breaking or snapping.

 

The Handle:

Schrade Extreme Survival Cali-Legal Auto Knife
Schrade Extreme Survival Cali-Legal Auto Knife

The handle on this knife is made out of T6 aluminum handles with a grip insert. Aluminum is a popular option for a knife handle because it is a very durable material. Aluminum is also a lightweight option or a handle and when properly texturized, the aluminum can have a reasonably secure grip. Aluminum is also a comfortable material to hold in your hand, which makes this material a great option or extended use. Aluminum is often used in new knives; however, this material is not as strong or durable as a titanium handle. Unfortunately, aluminum is prone to scratches and dings. It is also a fantastic conductor, which means that if you were planning on using this knife in the winter, it will probably bite into your hand.

Both versions of this knife have their handles anodized a dark grey color. Anodizing is a method of increasing the corrosion resistance of a metal part by forming a layer of oxide on its surface. The part that is being treated forms the anode electrode of an electrical circuit. Anodizing increases resistance to corrosion and wear.

The process of creating this protective oxide coating is achieved electrolytically. The aluminum handle is first 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 part being treated. Aluminum handles that have been anodized have much longer life spans than non-anodized parts.

To add texture, there is a grip inlay on the bottom portion of the face of the handle. To also increase texture and style, there is a groove cut across the width of the face of the handle. The ergonomics of this handle fit well in your hand—on the bottom of the handle. There is a slight finger groove, and a little bit thicker of a finger groove.

The bottom of the handle is sharp, and the butt of the handle does have a lanyard hole carved in. The lanyard will come in handy in a wide variety of situations. For starters, if you have the lanyard hang out of your pocket, you will be able to withdraw this knife more quickly. Especially since this handle does not have a pocket clip. If you are performing a task that needs a little extra texture, you can easily wrap the lanyard around the face of the handle to increase your grip. Plus, although this is not related to how well the knife works, the lanyard can also add a touch of personal style to this knife.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an automatic knife, which means that there are strict laws that surround this knife, and it is not going to be legal in all states, cities, or areas. It is the user’s responsibility to know your local knife laws and obey them. BladeOps does not take responsibility for the user’s lack of knowledge about their knife laws.

Also, although this knife does say “Cali-Legal” that is not a legal term. All that means is that the blade is under two inches—it is a style name, not a legal name. You should still know your local knife laws before using this knife, no matter which state you do live in.

An automatic knife is also known as a switchblade, which is a type of knife with a folding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. Most switchblade 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 operating a mechanism that unlock the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed positon.

There are a couple of advantages to having an automatic knife as well as a couple of disadvantages to having an automatic knife. For starters, the automatic knife is going to open quickly and efficiently. Because of this, you can bring it into play much quicker than a manual folding knife. Also, because all you have to do to open the knife is press a button, you can easily open this knife with only one hand. This comes in handy if you are ever working and need to keep one hand on the task at hand. The biggest disadvantage to this knife being an automatic is that it is not going to be legal in all states, cities, or areas. One of the other disadvantages is that because there are a lot of inner mechanisms, automatic knives are more likely to break or fall apart than a fixed blade. Plus, when you are cleaning this knife, you have to be very consistent in getting the inside clean as well as fully drying the inside to prevent rusting.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 1.875 inches long, with a handle length of 3.25 inches long. The overall length of this knife when it is opened is 5 inches long. This knife weighs in at 2.12 ounces.

 

The Pros of the Schrade Extreme Survival Cali-Legal Automatic:

  • The blade steel is going to be very rust resistant.
  • The blade steel is tough.
  • The bead blast finish creates an even grey finish.
  • The bead blast finish reduces reflections and glares.
  • The coated finish prolongs the life of the blade.
  • The coated finish reduces corrosion.
  • The drop point blade shape is very versatile and can stand up to most tasks.
  • The drop point blade shape is easily controlled.
  • The drop point blade has a large belly that makes slicing a breeze.
  • The drop point blade shape is extremely tough because of the broad tip.
  • Aluminum is strong.
  • Aluminum is light.
  • Aluminum is durable.
  • Aluminum is resistant to corrosion.
  • Although aluminum is a lightweight metal alloy, it does feel heftier or studier than other knife handle materials.
  • The anodization process gives the knife a sleek color.
  • The anodization process increases the corrosion resistance and life span of this handle.
  • The handle has a lanyard that will come in handy in a wide variety of situations, while also adding a touch of personal style.
  • The automatic knife will open quickly and efficiently.
  • Automatic knives can be brought into play very quickly as well as being capable of opening with only one hand.

 

The Cons of the Schrade Extreme Survival Cali-Legal Automatic:

  • Because the blade isn’t specified as 440C steel, it is probably one of the lower 440 steels, which means that it is not going to offer as many great qualities.
  • The bead blast finish creates micro-abrasions in the steel, which means that it is more prone to rusting—you’re going to have to keep up on this knife’s maintenance.
  • Coating finishes do scratch off, so it will have to be re-coated eventually.
  • With the drop point blade shape, you do lose out on most of your piercing capabilities.
  • Aluminum can be cold to hold—especially in the winter.
  • Aluminum is more slippery than other knife handle materials.
  • Aluminum is prone to getting scratched and dinged.
  • This Schrade knife does not have a pocket clip.
  • Because it is an automatic knife, this Schrade knife will not be legal in all states, cities, or areas.
  • The maintenance on an automatic knife is going to be more intense because of the inner mechanisms.

 

Conclusion:

This great little Cali-Legal (sub 2″ blade) auto conversion knife features a T6 aluminum handle with a special inlay that provides superior grip. The bead blast stainless steel blade is perfect for everyday cutting and heavy use. It has a lanyard string on the end of the knife. The blade snaps out very fast and is extremely sharp, right out of the box. A definite winner from Schrade! Get yours today at BladeOps.