Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Look At Tactical Knives

So which knife is more "tactical" than the others? What makes one "tactical" and one not, anyway? And, do we really care? I'd imagine when we can answer the question "'How high is high?"--then we can begin to figure out "How tactical is tactical?" When will the insanity end, anyway? And, I promise we won't, not even once, say "High speed, low drag." I promise.

We have a similar situation with the handgun crowd. Will there ever be an end to the single-action/double-action/striker-fired ad-nauseum arguments about which is "best" for a particular job? One can only hope, but I'm not holding my breath. Lest we lose our collective sanity over these and other equally actually rather mundane issues, let's figure out exactly what a "tactical" knife is and try to inject a bit of sense into it all.

A good friend of mine used to carry a biggish folding Stockman knife, with old fashioned jigged bone handles and blades worn skinny from sharpening. He could cut an apple with it, skin a squirrel and even cut a seatbelt if he needed to. He carried it in WWII, and I'm sure put it to no end of important and semi-important tasks then, in what was surely a "tactical" situation if ever there was one. The really funny thing is nobody called 'em "tactical" knives then.

But today, I'll bet I could cut an apple, skin a squirrel and even cut a seatbelt with a modern "tactical" knife if I needed to. So maybe there's a lesson there and the lesson is not so much what a knife can do, but how it looks. A classic Case gentleman's folder does not look tactical. A MOD-anything definitely looks tactical. Is there some cross-over in capability? You bet. Are some of the bigger, nastier looking "tacticals" tough-enough to beat through a car door? Absolutely. So maybe it isn't exactly how it looks so much as what it can do that's important. A simple diving knife "pry-bar" blade is pretty "tactical" if you ask me and could really perform in the role on land--but I confess I've never heard of a "tactical" abalone knife. Thank God.


So let's call them what they are--High Performance Knives. And, let's not care what they "look" like. While looks can be cool (nothing wrong with that), don't be deceived into thinking simply because a knife "looks" tactical--it is tactical. My friend's Stockman was a pretty high-performance knife for its time but definitely did not look tactical. Some of today's pretty cool-looking "tactical" folders are just that: cool looking, and lack any real world ability to perform. As a matter of fact, many of them, in a mis-guided attempt to be "cool" cross the boundary and become "stupid"--which is another term to gel familiar with when you talk about "tactical" knives. Let's break this simple "Performance" category into three parts.

There are clearly genuine "High Performance" knives. Frankly, if you look at any knife in any of the photos here, you'll see one. They are all top quality, solid designs and none of them would ever let you down within the parameters of their capabilities. But there's a "Medium Perfomance" zone, a sort of "really affordable" knife that delivers well-enough to handle most jobs you'd encounter. After all, as Clint Smith might say, we're not all really Ninjas.

But then there's the all-important "No Performance" category. We won't name any names, but if it "looks" like a big-name high performance knife that usually costs big bucks and it's for sale on that swap-meet table for "Only $4.95," I'll bet we can guess which category it fits into. With high-performance knives, if it sounds too good to be true, then it's, er, ah, too good to be true. Every time.

What Really Counts?

Ontario Spec Plus Tactical Knife SP6

High-Performance means exactly what it says: The ability to handle the task--from the mundane to the critical--reliably and with a kind of fluidity of function the job almost becomes effortless. Those are big things to live up to. What do you need to keep in mind when you choose your own idea of this mythical molecule separator?

The big thing most people get caught-up with is blade material. The reality with modern, high quality knives, is virtually any of the blade steel will out-last you. Keep in mind, the harder the steel, the more difficult it is to sharpen and an easy sharpening knife is a wonder to behold. It's also almost impossible to find a high-performance knife these days that doesn't have a stainless steel blade, so even the whole rusting thing is pretty much a moot point. Especially with the exotic "diamond/carbon/boron/Kool-Aid" coatings commonly encountered on blades these days. Plus the colors are sorta' pretty too.

Blade Shape

This one can really start fights. Just remember, a bit smaller than you think is probably better and the shape can almost always be simply whatever you like personally. Like a drop-point? Buy it. Does a spear-point get your blood going? Go for it. In reality, and much to the chagrin of some knife-makers, just about any blade can get the "job" done, so enjoy yourself; but just keep that "quality" thing in mind when you buy. And don't forget those nifty thumb-studs and blade cut outs that allow one handed opening. That's one of the things (thank you Spyderco) that started the whole industry and made this kind of knife so appealing.

Blade Locks

The "locking method du-jour" is another thing making potential buyers crazy. Once again, from the simple and elegant liner-lock, to the more exotic levers, widgets, cams and rollers out there, none of the high-quality factory makers produce anything that could be considered unsafe. Are some potentially "stronger" than others? Probably, but in the real world, I doubt you'd ever be able to break one unless you asked it to do something it was never designed for in the first place.


Handle material is constantly changing. In the early days, linen Micarta was the top pick, but today everything from exotics plastics like G-10 (whatever that is ...) to polymers, metals and even natural materials like bone, wood and ivory are showing up on these high-performance knives. Pick the one you like. If the knife is going to live really hard (salt water, bashing around, little or no maintenance and such) go for one of the metal/plastic/man-made materials.

Pocket Clips

The "wonder of wonders" that, if anything, is the immediate identifier of the genre, is the pocket clip. The introduction of the clip single-handedly changed the way people carry pocket knives forever. No more digging for old-reliable buried in those tight jeans, and the world is a better place for it. Today's folders often have the ability to allow the user to change both the side and the position of the clip. This allows for lefties and whoever to customize the carry-mode, to meet their own needs. "Point-down" and "point-up" carry can become very personal issues and this feature makes it happen just the way you want it to. Watch for it if it's important for you.

Pry Tool?

If anything, the modern high-performance knife has often morphed into an "emergency, sharp, pry-tool" and we're better off for it. In my 20-odd years as a street cop, I have to admit I used my knife to do much more prying than cutting. From lifting windows out of tracks, prying battery clamps off terminals at accident scenes, scraping registration tabs off of license plates, digging for evidence and generally poking and prodding about, the idea of a "short-sharpened pry-tool" has always made sense. If you're looking for really heavy-duty work, I'd opt for short, stocky blades, better able to take the abuse that prying subjects a blade to.

Knife Fighting?

This is a tender topic. While it's certainly possible you may have to defend yourself with your knife, let's hope you don't have to. It's almost always messy, everyone usually gets cut and/or stabbed and there are much more efficient ways to manage the situation. Like any police officer would say, "We usually bring guns to those kinds of fights." There's a lesson there somewhere.

Guns and Knives

And one more thing, chances are pretty good if you carry a handgun either in the field or as personal protection, you probably have a high or at least "medium" performance knife clipped to your britches. If not, it's time to seriously re-evaluate your equipment check-list. The two go together like a 2" .38 and a Benchmade.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Publishers' Development Corporation
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

Kershaw Groove

All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Happy Thanksgiving Message to You!

Hello Subscribers, Readers and Friends,

I am taking this time to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Enjoyable Thanksgiving Day!

Watch and Enjoy!

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Happy Thanksgiving!

All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blade Shapes

There are many options available, and this is not meant to cover every knife blade design configuration, but it will serve as a handy reference to some of the most common, with an indication of their intended purpose.

The three most commonly used blade shapes

Clip - The length and angle of the concave curve on the non-cutting portion of the point determines whether a clip blade is just a "clip" (short, pronounced curve), a "California" clip (longer, gentler curve) or a so-called "Turkish" clip (very elongated). The sharp point is effective for detail work, but is not as strong as a thicker blade.

Modified Clip - A recent design development that has proved popular on high-tech, one-hand opener knives. Exact shapes vary.

Drop-Point - This blade has a gentle, sloping convex curve to the point without the concave curve of the clip blade. Its thicker point is stronger for heavier tasks. The thicker tip is a positive for abuse but a negative for easy penetration.

Other Blade Shapes

Sheepsfoot - Got its name from the shape of the point resembling the hoof of a sheep. With its distinctive flat, straight-line cutting edge and rounded point, it's well suited to giving you a clean cut, especially on a flat cutting surface.

Spey - As the name indicates, this blade was originally developed to neuter farm animals. Rather blunt point avoids poking through a surface by accident, and the overall blade configuration makes the spey function well suited for skinning and sweeping knife strokes.

Pen or Spear - This is a smaller version of the larger "spear point" blade. Spear points are more popular in Europe, while in America, the clip blade is the preferred option. Pen blades are usually on pocket knives as a handy, all purpose blade. It was originally developed to trim quill pens, and that name has stuck through the years.

Coping - A narrow blade with a sharp, angular point, almost like a miniature sheepsfoot blade, designed to be used for cutting in tight spots or curved patterns, much as you would with a coping saw, only without the teeth.

Tanto - The tanto is a traditional Japanese design dating back to feudal Japan. The angled grind from the edge to the tip is much heavier and stronger than other blade styles. It is used for piercing hard/tough materials and for prying or scraping.

All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cold Steel Knives

Cold Steel Knives, what a great name for a knife maker! This California-based cutlery house has a reputation for tough, sharp knives. We'll look at two from different ends of the spectrum--and as to sharpness, I can testify. As I unpacked one, I was insufficiently careful when removing it from the cardboard sleeve and ended up needing first aid.

Cold Steel OSS Knife Promotional Video

Cold Steel OSS

The big knife you see is the OSS Model. This Cold Steel Bowie knife is a serious fighting knife with an 8 1/4" double-edged blade. The handle is rubber covered with a hand-fitting shape. There's a little palm swell that makes it feel just right, and the texture is very nonslip.

The Kydex sheath is molded so the OSS locks in with a "click" that holds it securely although there's a nylon safety strap as well. The sheath has perforations on both sides so it can be laced onto web gear.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Promotional Video

Cold Steel Recon I

The other Cold Steel knife under review is a serious folder called the Recon 1. It has a 4" blade. The handle is embossed with a textured pattern that gives a good grip, and there's a small relieved area where your thumb goes comfortably. The pocket clip can be moved to the other side, so it's conveniently ambidextrous and can easily be opened and closed with one hand.

Other than the obligatory rope-cutting exercise, the OSS hasn't gotten much use, but the Recon 1 rides comfortably in my right pocket even now. It's still admirably sharp and extremely handy.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Publishers' Development Corporation
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife Review

Benchmade Griptilian 3.45" X15 T.N. Steel Plain Blade, Orange Handles
Benchmade Griptilian 3.45" X15 T.N. Steel Plain Blade, Orange Handles

The unmatched function of AXIS combined with the simplicity of a molded handle design, the Griptilian- It`s a new species of knife. Safe. Reliable. Smooth. Affordable. Griptilian performance is keenly unleashed with a simple thumb rotation, either right or left handed, you choose. The hand settles naturally over the palm swelled shape and it`s textured skin. So don`t hold back, go wild and- GET A GRIP!

  • Ambidextrous Thumb-Stud Opener
  • Grip Textured Molded Handle
  • Premium AXIS Function
  • 551 Modified Drop-Point blade design
  • Black, Reversible, Tip-Up clip
  • Combo-Edge, partially serrated blade
An American made premium grade stainless steel originally developed for tough industrial applications. Known for its best all-around qualities, it offers great corrosion resistance with good toughness and edge quality.

Benchmade Griptilian 3.45" X15 T.N. Steel Plain Blade, Orange Handles

A slow convex-curved drop in the point characterizes a drop-point blade. The drop-point format lowers the point for control but adds strength to the tip. Usually coupled with plenty of belly for slicing, this format is often used for hunting knives. It is also a fantastic all-around blade format.This blade shape can be found on a wide array of knives.

A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100-percent ambidextrous design, AXIS gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar which rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spanning the liners and positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped, tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar it`s inertia to engage the knife tang, and as a result the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself.

Blue Class represents the heart and soul of everything that is Benchmade. The Blue Class is where people come for exceptional designs, materials, technology and innovation. From folding knives to fixed blades, the Blue Class knife is designed and built for the individual who will settle for nothing less than the highest in quality and dependability.

To buy or get more information on the Benchmade Griptilian 3.45" X15 T.N. Steel Plain Blade with Orange Handles, click the link below.

All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Knife Glossary of Terms

General Terms

Back - The back of the blade is the opposite side of the belly, for single edged pocket or bowie knives this would be the unsharpened side. The back can contain lashing grommets, jimping, it's own edge or false edge, and serrations.

Belly - The belly is the curving part of the blade edge. Bellies enhance slicing and may be plain or serrated. One note, the point of the knife becomes less sharp the larger the belly is. When choosing a knife you should decide whether penetration or slicing is the most important, and keep the design of this part of the knife in mind.

Bevel - The bevel is the sloping area(s) that fall from the spine towards the edge and false edge of the blade.

Blade - See Blade Steels (below) .

Blade Spine - This is the thickest part of a blade. On a single-edge, flat-ground bowie knife, the blade spine would be at the back of the blade. For double-edged blades, the blade spine would be found right down the middle.

Butt/Pommel - The butt, or the pommel is the very end of the bowie knife. The butt/pommel will be found in different shapes, depending on what features it was designed to implement. Some flat metal butts/pommels are good for hammering. There are pointed metal butts/pommels, known as bonecrusher pommels used on combat fighting knives, combat tactical knives, combat survival knives and large bowie knives. They can be decorative, or contain a lanyard hole. Some butt/pommels are designed to be removed to be able to store items in the handle or may contain an additional smaller blade or tool.

Butt Cap
- A metal cap fitted over the pommel is referred to as a butt cap.

Choil - The choil is the unsharpened part of the blade. It is left at full thickness like the blade spine and is found where the blade becomes part of the handle. Sometimes the choil will be shaped (An indentation) to accept the index finger. It also allows the full edge of the blade to be sharpened.

Crink - A crink is a bend at the beginning of the tang that keeps multi-bladed pocket knives from rubbing against each other.

- This is the sharpened side of the blade. Blades will have a single or double edge (or dagger style) depending on the design.

Escutcheon - this is a small pin or piece of metal attached to the handle for engraving, branding, or just decoration.

False Edge - Widely used on military and combat fighting knives, a false edge blade is an additional bevel on the back of the blade enhancing the blade's point. This edge can be sharpened or not. The false edge can also be used for heavier cutting that might be damaging to the cutting edge.

Guard - The guard is a separate piece of metal attached between the blade and the top of the handle to protect hands from the edge during cutting.

Hilt - The entire handle, including the butt/pommel and the guard.

Kick - The kick is found on a pocket knife, usually Boker pocket knives, and is the projection on the front edge of the tang, the blade rests here in the closed position and keep the front part the edge from hitting the spring.

Lanyard Hole - This is a hole to fit a lanyard, rope or carrying implement through.

Lashing Grommets/Jimping - These terms refer to notches that are designed into the back lower part of the blade for better thumb control.

Mark Side - This is another pocket knife term and is the side of the blade with the nail mark.

Nail Mark/Nail Nick - On a pocket knife blade the nail mark is a groove cut into the blade so that it can be opened using your fingernail. Most Case pocket knives use this method of opening the blade.

Obverse Side - The obverse side is the front or display section of a knife.

Point - The tip of the blade. For more information see Blade Shapes.

Pile Side - The reverse side of the blade, opposite of the obverse side.

Pocket Blade - This is the largest blade on a multi-bladed knife.

Pen Blade - The pen blade is the smallest blade on a multi-bladed knife.

Quillon - The quillon is the area of the guard that extends past the section surrounding the tang and is the most protective part of the guard.

Ricasso - The ricasso is the flat section of the blade between the guard and the start of the bevel. This is where you will most often find the tang stamp.

Scales - The scales are pieces that are attached to a full tang to form the handle.

Scrimshaw - Scrimshaw is the art of etching decorative designs into ivory or simulated ivory handles.

Serrated Edge - Serrations are a set of "teeth" or notches on the back or front of the blade to aid in cutting.

Swedge - A swedge is a bevel on the back of the blades.

Tang-Stamp - This is an imprinting that can show style number, collector's number, manufacturer's name. This is normally located on the ricasso.

Handle Materials

Derived from naturally shed deer antlers. When exposed to open flame, stag takes on that slightly burnt look. Very elegant material for pocket knives and gentlemens folding knives.

Derived from naturally deceased animals. Bone is usually given a surface texture, most commonly in the forms of pickbone and jigged bone. Bone can be dyed to achieve bright colors (e.g. green, blue, and black). This is the most common handle material for pocket knives.

A fiberglass based laminate. Layers of fiberglass cloth are soaked in resin and are compressed and baked. The resulting material is very hard, lightweight, and strong. Surface texture is added in the form of checkering. G-10 is an ideal material for tactical folding knives or fighting knives because of its ruggedness and lightweight. It is usually available in black.

The most common form is linen micarta. Similar construction as G-10. The layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phoenolic resin. The end product is a material that is lightweight, strong, as well as having a touch of class (thus dressier than G-10). Micarta has no surface texture, it is extremely smooth to the touch. It is a material that requires hand labor, which translates into a higher priced knife. Micarta is a relatively soft material that can be scratched if not treated properly.

Composed of thin strands of carbon, tightly woven in a weave pattern, that are set in resin. It is a highly futuristic looking material with a definite "ahhhh" factor. Of all the lightweight synthetic handle materials, carbon fiber is perhaps the strongest. The main visual attraction of this material is the ability of the carbon strands to reflect light, making the weave pattern highly visible. Carbon fiber is also a labor-intensive material that results in a rather pricey knife such as case collectible knives.

Du Pont developed this thermoplastic material. Of all synthetic materials, ZYTEL is the least expensive to produce, which explains the abundance of work or utility knives that have this material. It is unbreakable: resists impact and abrasions. ZYTEL has a slight surface texture, but knife companies using this material will add additional, more aggressive surface texture to augment this slight texture. Sog Specialty Knives is common for using zytel.

A nonferrous metal alloy, the most common form of titanium is 6AL/4V: 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, and 90% pure titanium. This is a lightweight metal alloy that offers unsurpassed corrosion resistance of any metal. It has a warm "grip you back" feel and can be finished either by anodizing or bead blasting. Aside from handles, titanium is also used as liner materials for linerlock knives for it is a rather "springy" metal. Titanium is used usually on collectible pocket knives and chef knives.

Just like titanium, aluminum is also a nonferrous metal. Commonly used as handles, aluminum gives the knife a solid feel, without the extra weight. The most common form of aluminum is T6-6061, a heat treatable grade. The most common finishing process for aluminum is anodizing.

An electrochemical process which adds color to titanium, which is especially conducive to this coloring process. Depending on the voltage used, colors can vary (high voltage = dark color, low voltage = light color).

A process by which steel, aluminum, and titanium are finished. Bead blasting is commonly found on tactical folding knives and fixed or bowie knife blades, for it provides a 100% subdued, non-glare finish.

Blade Steels

1) AUS-8 (also referred to as 8A) (some text courtesy of Boker Knife Company) - Commonly found in a Kitchen Knife Set, the words "stainless steel" are misleading, because, in fact all steel will stain or show discoloration if left in adverse conditions for a sufficient time. Steel is made "stainless" by adding Chromium and reducing its Carbon content during the smelting process. Some authorities claim that there is a serious performance trade off with stainless steel: As the Chrome increases and the Carbon decreases, the steel becomes more "stainless". But it also becomes more and more difficult to sharpen and, some claim, the edge-holding potential is seriously impaired. We have found that most stainless steel blades are as sharp as other material blades and hold the edge longer. AUS 8A is a high carbon, low chromium stainless steel that has proven, over time, to be a very good compromise between toughness, strength, edge holding and resistance to corrosion.

2) ATS-34 - premium grade of stainless steel used by most custom knife makers and upper echelon factory knives. Also common with the making of quality tactical folding knives or production collectible pocket knives. It is Japanese steel, owned by Hitachi Steels. The American made equivalent of ATS-34 is 154CM, a steel popularized by renowned maker Bob Loveless. Boker pocket knives are usually made of ATS-34.

3) GIN-1 (formerly known as G2) - another low cost steel, but slightly softer than AUS-8.

4) CPM-T440V - currently touted as the "super steel", it outlasts all stainless steels on the market today. It is, however, harder to resharpen (due to its unprecedented edge retention). But the tradeoff is that you do not have to sharpen as frequently. CPM-T440V is widely used by custom knife makers and is slowly finding its way into high-end or gentlemen's folding knives.

5) SAN MAI III - (text courtesy of Boker Knife Company) An expensive, traditional style Japanese laminate. Hard, high carbon stainless forms the core and edge of the blade, while two layers of tough, spring tempered stainless support and strengthen it. The resulting blade possesses the best qualities of both types of steel. This laminate is 25% stronger than the incredibly tough AUS 8A stainless . The telltale sign of genuine San Mai III is a thin line near the edge that runs the entire length of the blade. This line is created in the grinding process as the layers of steel in the blade are exposed. The distance the line is from the edge varies from knife to knife because every piece of San Mai III steel is unique. Like AUS 8A stainless, San Mai III is treated in modern, precise conveyor furnaces and subjected to a sub zero post hardening process. This improves the microstructure of the steel by eliminating retained austenite. The resulting blades are more elastic and have better edge holding characteristics than standard stainless steels.

6) 420J2 - (text courtesy of Boker Knife Company) Due to its low carbon high chromium content this steel is an excellent choice for making tough (bends instead of breaking), shock absorbing knife blades with excel lent resistance to corrosion and moderate edge holding ability. It is an ideal candidate for knife blades that will be subject to a wide variety of environmental conditions including high temperature, humidity, and airborne corrosives such as salt in a marine environment. This extreme resistance to corrosion via its high chrome content also makes it a perfect choice for knife blades which are carried close to the body or in a pocket and blades which will receive little or no care or maintenance.

Carbon V (From Cold Steel) - An exclusive carbon alloy steel, formulated and extensively treated to achieve exceptional properties. Carbon V was developed and refined by using both metallurgical and performance testing. Blades were subjected to the "Cold Steel Challenge" as a practical test, and then they were sectioned, so that their microstructure could be examined. In this way we arrived at the optimum steel AND the optimum heat treatment sequence to bring out the best in the steel. Cold Steel buys large quantities of premium high carbon cutlery steel with small amounts of elemental alloys added in the smelting stage. These elements enhance the blade's performance in edge holding and elasticity. The steel is then rolled to their exact specifications to establish optimum grain refinement and blades are blanked to take full advantage of the grain direction in the steel.

The blanks are heated in molten salt, quenched in premium oil and tempered in controlled ovens. Then they are ground. The new blades are then subjected to expert heat treatment, involving rigidly controlled austenizing temperatures, precisely defined soak times, proper selection of quenching medium and carefully monitored tempering times and temperatures. This heat treatment sequence results in blades which duplicate and often exceed the properties of the most expensive custom forgings.

Premium U.S. High Carbon (from Cold Steel)- Cold Steel's Premium Carbon Steel is used in a variety of our low cost highly functional knives. Chemical content and microstructure from the mill is specified by Cold Steel and each lot is subjected to the same metallurgical examination before being used in production as our world famous Carbon V. The Steel is a very clean,fine grained material with a high carbon content for toughness and response to heat treatment. Cold Steel has designed a special heat treatment for this material which maximizes toughness in combination with more than acceptable edge holding ability, resulting in a blade which will satisfy even the most discriminating user.

S30V - Revolutionary S30V steel blades are harder, more wear resistant and far less brittle than any standard 440C series stainless steel blade. Tests also show 45% better edge retention than 440C stainless.

Titanium - Unlike stainless steel knives, titanium knives are almost completely rustproof and corrosion resistant because they contain no carbon. The result is a knife that will hold an edge for a very long time. Titanium steel knives require almost no sharpening or maintenance.

Blade Shapes

Clip Point – A clip point blade has a concave or straight cut-out at the tip (The "clip"). This brings the blade point lower for extra control and enhances the sharpness of the tip. You will often find a false edge with the clip point. These types of blades also often have an abundant belly for better slicing capabilities.

Dagger/Double Edge - A double edge blade is sharpened on both sides ending with the point aligned with the spine, in the middle of the blade.

Drop Point – The drop-point blade has lowered tip via a convex arc. This lowers the point for extra control and also leaves the strength. This type of blade also has a good-sized belly for better slicing.

Hook Blade – The edge of a hook blade curves in a concave manner.

Santuko – Is a Japanese chef's knife. The spine curves downward to meet the edge and the belly curves slightly.

Scimitar – This is a curved blade with the edge on the convex side.

Sheepsfoot – The spine of this blade curves downward to meet the edge. This leaves virtually no point. This type of blade typically has little or virtually no belly and is used mainly for slicing applications.

Spear Point – The point of this blade is exactly in the center of the blade and both edges are sharpened. The point drops all the way down the center of the blade.

Tanto – The point to this style blade is in line with the spine of the blade. This leaves the point thick and strong. There are quite a few different variations of how tanto blades are designed. The way the front edge meets the bottom edge, whether at an obtuse angle or a curve is one difference. You will also find differences in the point being clipped or not and whether there is a chisel grind.

Trailing Point – The trailing point blade's point is higher than the spine. This is typically engineered with an extended belly for slicing, with the point up and out of the way.

Locking Mechanisms & Types

Axis Lock- The features of the Axis lock are significant and greatly enhance the function of knives. First and foremost is the strength. This lock is definitely more than adequate for the demands of normal knife use. A close second to strength is the inherent Axis advantage of being totally ambidextrous without user compromise. The blade can be readily actuated open or closed with either hand- without ever having to place flesh in the blade path. Lastly, and certainly not any less impressive, is the indescribable "smoothness" with which the mechanism and blade function. By design there are no traditional "friction" parts to the Axis mechanism, making the action the much smoother. And it's all reasonably exposed so you can easily clean away any unwarranted debris. Basically, Axis gets its function from a spring-loaded bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife; spanning the space between the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped notch cut into the tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang, and as a result the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the Axis bar itself. It's a lot of words in an attempt to describe simplicity, but the very best way to truly appreciate the Axis lock is to experience it for yourself firsthand. There are several models to choose from with more on the way.

- Also known as Butterfly Knives. The handle to this style knife is in two separate pieces and pinned to the tang. A third pin fixes between both sides to lock the blade into an open position.

Block Lock - This folder lock has a spring loaded block located on the center pin. The block extends into a hole in the tang to lock the blade open.

Clasp - This style folding knife has no lock or backspring.

Lockback - This style of lock has a spring-loaded locking bar with a tooth at the end. The tooth falls into the notch cut into the blade tang and is held there under the spring tension. A cut out in the handle spine houses the release for the lock. These locks generally require 2 hands to unlock and close.

Locking Liner - (a.k.a. linerlocks) This particular locking system was refined by knife maker Michael Walker. The actual locking mechanism is incorporated in the liner of the handle, hence the name. If there is a metal sheet inside the handle material, it is called a liner. With a locking liner, opening the blade will allow this metal to flex over and butt against the base of the blade inside the handle, locking it open. Moving this liner aside will release this lock allowing the blade to close. Disengagement of the lock is performed with the thumb, allowing for one handed, hassle free action. Locking liners are commonly found on tactical folding knives, both production and custom.

Ringlock - This design has been around since the 1890's. The Ringlock is similar to the Slipjoint, but it has a rotating slipring instead of a backspring.

Rolling Lock - This design uses a sort of bearing that rolls into the locked position.

Sebenza Lock - The concept of this lock is comparable to the Liner Lock. A hollowed out section of the scale is fixed into the handle cavity to lock the blade open.

Slipjoint - The slipjoint is one of the more common designs for folding and pocket knives. Instead of a lock, the slipjoint utilizes a backspring to create resistance to hold the blade open.

Swinglock - There is one pivot pin and one locking pin used to design this style lock.

Wood Lock - This lock was designed by Barry Wood. The handles and blade are attached to a central pin and pivot independently. A second pin is fixed into the inside of one scale and extends into slot in the tang to lock the blade open.

Blade Grinds

Hollow Grind
The most common grind, found on the majority of custom and production pieces. Hollow ground blades have a thin edge that continues upwards, and is the grind is produced on both sides of the blade. Since the cutting edge is relatively thin, there is very little drag when cutting. Examples of knives with hollow ground blades: Spyderco Howard Viele C42 and Kershaw Ti-ATS-34.

Flat Grind
Flat grinds are characterized by the tapering of the blade from the spine down to the cutting edge. This style of grind is also referred to as a "V" grind, since the cross section of this grind resembles that letter. The chisel grind, a popular style for tactical blades, is a variation of the flat grind. On a chisel round blade, it is ground on one side, and on the other it is not. These blades are easier to sharpen, because you sharpen one side only. Example of a knife with a chisel ground blade would be the Benchmade 970 Ernest Emerson CQC7. Examples of knives with a flat grind are the Benchmade Mel Pardue 850 and Spyderco's C36 Military model.

Concave Grind
Similar to the flat grind in that the blade tapers from the spine to the cutting edge, except the taper lines are arcs instead of straight lines.

Convex Grind
Similar to the flat grind in that the blade tapers from the spine to the cutting edge, except the taper lines are arcs extending outward instead of inward as in the concave grind above or straight lines. If you picture a pumpkin seed, you will get a good idea of what the cross sectional view of this grind is like. Noted custom knife maker Bill Moran is credited for bringing the convex grind into the focus of knife making.

The chisel grind is ground on only one side of the blade. It's easy to produce and easy to sharpen. It is often ground at around 30 degrees which contributes to a thin and sharp edge.

The sabre grind has flat edge bevels that typically begin about the middle part of the blade and runs flatly to the edge. The edge is often left thick and thickens quickly past the edge. This is a great grind for chopping and other hard uses.

Scandinavian Single-Bevel
the Scandinavian single-bevel grind looks similar to a sabre grind. The difference between the two grinds is that the Scandinavian single-bevel grind has no secondary edge bevels. This grind has an extremely thin and incredibly sharp edge.

All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gamo Hunter Extreme Air Rifle Review

Gamo Hunter Extreme Air Rifle

From its precision steel barrel to extra large power plant, the Extreme is adult sized. 58 lbs. of cocking power and an 18" jacketed steel bull barrel send lead pellets accurately down field at 1250 fps and PBA at 1600 fps. Comes with a 3-9x50 Illuminated center glass etched reticle scope mounted on a grooved rail. Quality constructed stock from fine selected grade of beech hardwood and a ventilated rubber pad for recoil absorption is on the butt. Raised Montecarlo cheekpiece and laser engraved checkering.


Caliber .177
Action Break Barrel
Power Spring
Capacity Single Shot
Total Length 48.5"
Barrel Length 18"
Weight 9 lbs.
Velocity 1600 fps w/PBA, 1250 w/Lead

When shooting the Gamo Hunter Extreme, I recommend using Gamo Raptor PBA (Performance Ballistic Alloy) Pellets.

What is the Gamo Raptor?

The Gamo Raptor is a non-lead pellet. They are available in .177, .22 and .25 and weigh from 5.4 (.177 Cal.) to 14.4 Grains (.25 Cal.), so whatever they are made of is lighter than lead. The Performance Ballistic Alloy, as Gamo calls it, is plated with 18-carat gold for barrel lubrication, and Gamo claims the new pellet has "match-grade" accuracy. The Raptor is sold strictly for hunting. Gamo even warns not to use them with an airgun pellet trap, undoubtedly thinking of the ricochet problem.

Below is a promotional video by Gamo USA of the Gamo Hunter Extreme Air Rifle.

Click the link below to see my personal favorite, Gamo Hunter Extreme .22 caliber - "The Beast", Gamo Hunter Extreme .177 caliber and Gamo Hunter Extreme .25 caliber.

Gamo Hunter Extreme Combo

All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.