Monday, November 28, 2011

Benchmade Nimravus Fixed Blade Knife Review

Benchmade Nimravus 4.5" 154CM Steel Combo Blade, Black Aluminum Handles

The Nimravus is another lightweight tanto-style knife manufactured by Benchmade. It's very popular and is also more expensive than some of their other knives. Let's take a look at why and whether it's worth it.

There are many variations on the Nimravus features. I will link to a set of Nimravus knives below, so you can pick and choose your options.

Benchmade Nimravus 4.5" 154CM Steel Combo Blade, Black Aluminum Handles

The one pictured above features a modified tanto blade with a serrated top edge near the bolster. Nimravus blades are made from 154CM steel and coated with Benchmade's Kote-1 treatment solution. This is very corrosion-resistant. And you've probably guessed by just looking at it, but yes, it is full-tang fixed blade.

The handle is available in Black or Sand. It's made from lightweight aluminum, but isn't as paper-thin as some other knives floating around out there. It puts the Nimravus' weight at 6.2 oz., however, so it should feel pretty light for a full-sized fixed blade knife.


The handle also features some light scaling. This is meant to help with the grip, lest the slick aluminum get the best of you when you need a steady hand.

The only other downside I can foresee is the thumb grip and forefinger groove. But that's only if you don't prefer to have those on your blades. Other than that, the Nimravus looks to be a fine piece of equipment, and should treat you well.


To buy or get more information on the
Benchmade Nimravus with 4.5" 154CM Steel Combo Blade and Black Aluminum Handles, click the link below.

Benchmade Nimravus 4.5" 154CM Steel Combo Blade, Black Aluminum Handles



To buy or get more information on the
Benchmade Nimravus with a Tanto or Plain Edge, click the link below.

Click Here to find the Benchmade Nimravus with a Tanto or Plain Edge




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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife Review

Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife 3-3/8" Plain Blade, G10 Handles

The Spyderco Tenacious blade is a good-sized piece of steel, especially when comparing it to other folding knives at this price range. The blade is a modified leaf shape, and doesn’t have any serrations, but does have a textured spine which makes it easy to open the blade with just your thumb on the spine of the blade. The blade design is very similar to a drop point style, which many people prefer. The blade is made from an 8Cr13Mov Stainless Steel and is plenty thick enough to be durable and strong. This knife performs well even for the heavier duty tasks. This blade comes very sharp out of the box and you can easily make this blade razor-sharp if that’s what you want or need. The blade is actually larger than the picture makes it seem, so some people may find this knife a little too big to carry around in their pocket at 3 and 3/8 inches long. It is rather light, weighing in at only 4 ounces, I don’t have a problem with carrying it around in my pocket but that is a personal preference.


Spyderco built a strong knife here, but not a heavy one. Underneath the G-10 slabs lie stainless steel liners, skeletonized to save weight without reducing knife strength. Other good features include the Walker liner-lock -- jimping on the lock's edge ensures a controlled release even in cold and wet weather. More jimping on the spine of the Tenacious's blade gives added thumb traction, for more pressure while the knife's in use. You won't find an awkward thumb stud on Spyderco blades -- the knife swings open with thumb pressure on the loop in the knife blade.

There are two things about this knife that you will love. It is larger than it looks in pictures and it is lighter and slimmer than other folding knives of this size and price point. The tension of the blade pivot is adjustable so that you can set it to your personal preference. This knife has skeletonized steel liners and a big liner lock which help give the knife a solid feel to it. Liner locks are pretty much the strongest locking design and used on the most expensive and custom-built folding knives.


Tenacious has some features that you don’t usually find at this price point. The handle is made of G-10 which makes this folding knife very light for its size. The checkered handle provides a nice strong grip. The G-10 handle material is superb and the smoothness of blade deployment are two such features. Another great feature is the fact that the pocket clip can be switched around 4 different ways to your preference. That is really a nice feature when it comes to wearing the knife. Last but not least, the skeletonized steel liners and a hefty liner lock give this knife a solid feel. This knife has a large thumb hole and a bunch of hand room so that you can handle it even while wearing gloves.


To buy or get more information on the Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife with 3-3/8" Plain Blade and G10 Handles, click the link below.

Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife 3-3/8" Plain Blade, G10 Handles





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Friday, November 18, 2011

Cold Steel Master Hunter Fixed Blade Knife Review


The Cold Steel Master Hunter Survival Knife is a tough Knife. The spine of the blade is a full 3/16 of an inch thick to allow for the necessary strength and stiffness to field dress and skin even big animals. This knife has a nice straight ground blade with lots of ‘belly’, and the blade design makes it efficient for cutting and slicing. This is made with VG-1 steel which can be sharpened and maintains a sharp edge even under extreme use. Remember to take care of this blade by wiping it off when you’re done using it and keeping it lightly oiled. This blade will rust if you don’t maintain it. The weight of the knife is 6.4 ounces and helps make slicing a breeze.

What is VG-1 Stainless Steel?

VG-1 is a cutlery steel from the same guys that brought us the venerable VG-10. VG-1 is not as commonly used, but performance is similar to that of AUS-8. Currently, Cold Steel is the only major knife company that uses and markets this steel. Around 2006, they replaced all their AUS-8 knives with VG-1.

Though made by the same company as VG-10, and with a similar looking name, it does not hold an edge as long as VG-10. It does sharpen up a little more quickly and can be hardened to RC61, taking a wickedly sharp edge.

* "When considering a new material for a performance upgrade for the Cold Steel Tanto, we tested seven different grades of steel including Shiro 2, V-SP-2, 10A, 440C, VG-10, ATS 34, and VG-1. Physical testing for sharpness, edge retention, point strength, shock, and ultimate blade strength showed that while many of the steels had increased performance in one or two testing categories, only one, VG-1, showed the greatest performance increases in the most critical categories. With an outstanding ability to retain an edge and proven strength in point and blade tests, VG-1 will provide Cold Steel customers with superior performance previously unavailable in a stainless steel blade."

* source: coldsteel.com


The handle is Kraton and is specifically designed for long use without fatigue. If you haven’t tried a Kraton handle, you’re in for a treat. Kraton is shock absorbent, and slightly tacky, with a deeply checkered surface. I love Kraton grips. They won’t slip no matter how wet your hand gets. Kraton grips will never split, crack or harbor mildew. Kraton handles are completely impervious to harsh weather and very comfortable to use.


The
Master Hunter comes in a thick, heavy Conceal-Ex sheath which is hard plastic. The sheath holds the knife in place even without the strap secured. The belt loop holder has Velcro and a snap on it so that you can removed the sheath without taking your belt off which is a great feature. The only downside of this knife is the rust. The Carbon-V steel will rust if you don’t take care of it. You absolutely need to make sure you wipe it off when you’re done using it and keep it lightly oiled and it won’t be a problem.


To buy or get more information on the Cold Steel Master Hunter Knife with VG-1 Stainless 4-1/2" Steel Blade
, click the link below.

Cold Steel Master Hunter VG-1 Stainless 4-1/2" Steel Blade




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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ontario RTAK 2 Fixed Blade Knife Review

Ontario Randall RTAK2 Knife Micarta Handle 10.25" Combo Edge Blade

The RTAK 2 (Randall's Training/Adventure Knife) is a large jungle blade/survival knife built for hacking and slashing. The 3/16" thick 1095 carbon steel is durable as all hell, and the Mil-spec phosphate finish on the blade wears like nobody's business.

The original RTAK knife was actually designed by Newt Livesay, but later Ontario developed the modified version. This second generation of RTAK is like a hybrid between a Bowie knife and a machete. With that being said, the knife obviously will have some wilderness and tactical abilities.

The Ontario RTAK II is a great performer. It does everything well and I wouldn't hesitate to take this into the wilderness. It is BIG! The RTAK 2 knife measures 16.5 inches overall with a 10.25" drop point blade. The handle is made from a very durable and thick Canvas Micarta, which will allow you to get and keep a good, solid grip. The Micarta handle is big but well designed, and I have no problem with its size. The Micarta is better finished than on the Ontario Ranger RD7.


While the Ontario RTAK 2 is approximately 2.2 lbs heavy, it is a very good knife to have since it handles wilderness tasks so well. It is a great chopper due to its length and weight, and it splits well. If it had a slightly thicker blade it would split better, but then it would be even heavier. Nonetheless, because of its length and weight it will plow through anything, maybe with just a little more force.

The edge maintaining capabilities on the RTAK 2 knife are phenomenal. The fact that it has a full flat grind will allow you to get a very sharp edge on it.


However, no tool is perfect, and one drawback of the RTAK 2 is an interesting one. First, the sheath is a bit on the tacky/flimsy side. There's a rather thin plastic liner under the nylon exterior. This has started to slide out a couple times, and it didn't fill me with confidence. It's thin, clear plastic, not thick black Kydex as I'd hoped. Of course, the sheath does not make the knife, but it does need to be addressed. Cordura nylon sheaths have always been my bane, especially poorly made ones. The plastic liner inside of the sheath is not form-fitted and the sheathed knife makes an audible rattling sound as the user walks. A loose fitting sheath can cause many problems including; a lost knife, scaring of wild game, and (in combat situations) alerting people of your presence. The cordura nylon is thinner than the sheathes offered by other brands, making me personally uncomfortable with the sheath as a safe scabbard for such a large (and sharp) knifeblade. Of course, the sheath does not make the knife, but it does need to be addressed. The sheath also sports a pocket on the outside that is actually of a pretty good size for carrying a multi-tool or small survival kit. That's a nice touch in my book.


My second issue is with the huge and obvious logo across the blade. It's laser etched into the steel providing a nice place for rust to set in. Rust there would almost be welcome, as the logo is quite bright and shiny as opposed to the subdued finish on the rest of the blade. The RTAK 2 isn't the only blade to commit this "sin". The Kershaw Outcast is another blade that sees fit to advertise itself with a blade billboard.

These are definitely not reasons to avoid this blade. The logo is easily subdued with a Q-tip and some spray paint, and the sheath is okay for camping and hiking use. If I wanted to haul this into battle, I'd probably re-sheath it.

All in all this is an excellent option survival knife, priced affordably and worth it for the abilities of this blade. The RTAK 2 will out carry out knives that are two and three times its value.


To buy or get more information on the Ontario Randall RTAK2 Knife Micarta Handle 10.25" Combo Edge Blade
, click the link below.

Ontario Randall RTAK2 Knife Micarta Handle 10.25" Combo Edge Blade


The Ontario RTAK II is also available with a plain edge blade.

To buy or get more information on the Ontario Randall RTAK 2 Knife with Micarta Handle and 10.25" Plain Edge Blade , click the link below.

Ontario Randall RTAK 2 Knife Micarta Handle 10.25" Plain Edge Blade





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Friday, November 11, 2011

CRKT Natural 2 Folding Knife Review


Columbia River Knife & Tool's Natural series brings the quality and appearance of good custom blades to the price range more of us can afford. Designed by Pat Crawford, an Arkansas knife maker from West Memphis, the Natural 2 7080M represents one of CRKT recent efforts to raise the bar for production knives.


The Natural 2 with a 3-1/4 inch plain-edged blade of 8Cr13MoV high carbon stainless steel is sized for day-to-day use instead of the field and folds to a convenient 4-3/8 inches. With Pat Crawford's Marauder clip point blade style, the knife suits utility tasks as well as being a good choice for dressing out small fish and game. This smaller version of the Natural also has the extra-strong frame construction that qualifies these folders as frame-locks, not liner-locks. With deep finger choils and a dropped heel, the hefty handle isn't likely to slip from your hand.


Adding to the full dress appearance of the Natural 2 is the engine-turning or jeweling patterns cut into the bolster and the stainless steel pocket clip. Filework -- a touch usually seen on custom knives -- decorates the back spacer of the handle. Important corners have not been cut to save money, but less expensive materials have been used compared to Crawford's custom models. Stainless steel bolster and dark wood-grain Micarta handle scales give the knife an expensive look without taking a chunk from your budget.

In practical terms, you'll appreciate the Outburst assisted-opening system as much as the fine appearance of the knife. Usable with either right or left hand, the Outburst spring-assist takes over after thumb pressure pushes the blade slightly open. The Outburst packs enough power to snap the blade open and locked for immediate use.

See the CRKT Natural for a larger knife in a similar style.


To buy or get more information on the Columbia River Crawford The Natural 2 with 3.25" Assisted Plain Blade and Micarta Scales, click the link below.

Columbia River Crawford The Natural 2 with 3.25" Assisted Plain Blade, Micarta Scales




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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spyderco Chokwe Folding Knife Review

Spyderco C132GP Chokwe Folding Knife 3.75" S30V Blade, G10 Handles

The Spyderco Chokwe G-10 Titanium knife includes an important locking system from the Chris Reeve product line. Chris Reeve Knives won the 2009 Blade Magazine Manufacturing Quality Award for such excellent innovations as the R.I.L. or Reeve Integral Lock used in the Spyderco Chokwe.


One of Spyderco's modern folder designs taken from traditional knife patterns, the Spyderco Chokwe resembles a fixed blade common among the Chokwe people of the Congo in Central Africa. The coffin-shaped handle and triangular blade are an efficient combination which translates well to Spyderco's folding clip technology. The knife's action is enhanced by the Chris Reeve R.I.L. liner lock, giving the Chokwe folder unusual lock strength and easy one-handed opening. Simply press on the liner lock tab, recessed in the handle, to release the blade. Gripping the knife for heavy work won't release the lock.


Two holes in the Chokwe handle allow the knife to be securely lashed to a pole for use as a survival spear. The holes also reduce weight and add traction to the knife's already secure grip. One scale of the handle is tactile G-10 over a strong stainless steel liner, while the other half of the handle is solid titanium and also serves as the spring bar of the lock. The 3-3/4-inch CPM-S30V blade is flat ground for extra strength and features the traditional plain edge. Folded length of the 3.7 ounce Chokwe is 4-3/4 inches. The Chokwe is configured only for tip down and right-handed carry.

Spyderco pledged to donate five percent of the revenue from Chokwe sales to the Keep A Child Alive organization, a relief effort for children and families in Africa and other third world nations.


To buy or get more information on the Spyderco C132GP Chokwe Folding Knife 3.75" S30V Blade, G10 Handles, click the link below.

Spyderco C132GP Chokwe Folding Knife 3.75" S30V Blade, G10 Handles






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Friday, November 4, 2011

Schrade Extreme Survival Large Fixed Blade Knife Review


The Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife is a medium-large knife with an overall length of 12″, a blade length of 6.4″ and a weight of 15.9 ounces. There are three features that I find especially important with the blade. SCHF9 has a blunted tip, a deep full flat grind and a plain edge.

I prefer a blunted tip over a pointed one with a survival knife because it makes for a much stronger tip that is less likely to break. Tip strength is very important when you don’t have the luxury of a garage full of tools. Despite having a blunter tip than say, the Schrade SCHF1, the knife can still be very effective as a defensive or tactical tool and will perform thrust cuts well. I find my main use with a large survival knife is chopping and slicing, not stabbing – therefore a strong tip is important to me.

The full flat grind is also a very important blade characteristic that I like to see in a large survival knife. The full flat grind (vs. a saber or hollow grind) makes for a much tougher edge. Not only does this avoid blade chipping but it is excellent for chopping. The steel on the SCHF9 is a good 6mm thick at its widest point and the blade comes with a deep full flat grind. The thick steel and deep full flat makes the knife very hatchet like. This knife excels at splitting wood and other chopping and slicing tasks.


A final blade characteristic that I really like about the Schrade SCHF9 is that it’s a plain edge. Specifically, I’m happy it’s not a partially serrated knife. Serrations have their place and I own several serrated knives, however, I feel that for a survival knife combo edges have disadvantages. Partially serrated blades are A) difficult to sharpen (especially in the field) and B) provide neither the advantage of a full serrated knife nor the advantage of a full plain edge. What you get is a poor compromise. The last thing you need in the woods is a tool that can “kinda” work. You want a couple quality tools that will get you home safe. A big plain edge lets you use the full leverage of the knife for chopping tasks and allows you to to also work in close with the edge for detail tasks. I carry a lightweight pocket chainsaw for when I require serrations.

The combination of the blunt tip, deep full flat grind and plain edge is an absolute winner. I think it’s an ideal combination for a large survival knife, especially paired with a pocket chain or wire saw.

The SCHF9 is made from a single solid piece of 1095 High Carbon steel. 1095 is a very popular knife and tool steel and is an excellent choice for a survival blade. A high carbon steel is generally harder and will hold an edge longer than a stainless steel. This is very important if you do find yourself in a survival situation. The 1095 will take a beating and hold it’s edge very well. However, because it is a high carbon steel (instead of a stainless) it will be more prone to rust. Keep in mind that all knives, even stainless steel knives, can and will rust without proper maintenance. Rust is easily avoided by keeping the blade dry, storing it outside of the sheath, and oiling occasionally (I like gun oil but WD-40 works in a pinch). Schrade also applied a tough teflon coat to the blade to help minimize the chance of rust.

A lot of attention went into designing the handle of the SCHF9. Schrade selected Kraton scales for the handle material. Kraton is a hard rubber that provides excellent grip, wet or dry. The handle is lightly textured and my experiences with the knife have found it to be very grippy.


The ergonomics of the SCHF9 were well thought out. The handle on the SCHF9 has 3 finger choils and a large palm swell making the handle very easy to hold with or without gloves. Additionally, the combination of the handle shape and tough rubber scales make this a very comfortable knife to use. I find that the Kraton absorbs a lot of the shock when chopping hard wood. Speaking of chopping, the blade’s weight and balance make it ideal for chopping and splitting while the well-designed handle keeps the knife in your hand. I like to break my reviews down into parts, but it’s important to remember that the knife will be used as a whole. The finger choils on the handle and the the un-sharpened portion of the blade give you a variety of gripping options. I’ve found that this larger knife will allow for detail work of a smaller knife (a such as making feather sticks to start a fire) because of the great handle design.

Schrade Extreme Survival Large Fixed 6.4" Carbon Steel Blade, Nylon Sheath

The sheath on the SCHF9 is very good for such a large and inexpensive survival knife. Now a bad sheath can sometimes be a deal-breaker for me so I understand the importance of a good sheath. Fortunately, the SCHF9′s cordura sheath is well made and has a heavy duty plastic insert with an adjustable retention strap for right or left hand carry. The sheath has the option of attaching with a strong snap on strap or a more permanent threaded belt loop. Velcro and eyelets for para-cord provide additional mounting choices. So what this means is that you can strap this sheath to your belt, leg, vest, pack, whatever you want. I like options in a sheath, and this one has plenty.

The sheath also has a large pocket on the outside for extra storage. What I like about this particular pocket is that it is removable – so, if you only want to carry the knife, you can. Additionally, the pocket has a belt loop so it can be strapped to you or your gear separately from the sheath. It’s not a bad little system and depending on what I am doing that day, I will sometimes use the pocket. For a relatively simple cordura sheath, Schrade has really put the time and effort into making the most of it.

For a “do it all” survival knife the Schrade Extreme Survival Knife really impressed me. You can tell a lot of thought went into getting the most out of a single tool. I can see this knife replacing a secondary small knife and a hatchet in those instances where you want to travel light. If you combine this with a survival saw and a fire steel you can accomplish most common survival tasks.


To buy or get more information on the Schrade Extreme Survival Large Fixed 6.4" Carbon Steel Blade with Nylon Sheath, click the link below.

Schrade Extreme Survival Large Fixed 6.4" Carbon Steel Blade, Nylon Sheath




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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kershaw Outcast Fixed Blade Knife Review

Kershaw Outcast Ken Onion Designed Fixed Blade Knife 10" D2 Blade

Kershaw's plain-edge Outcast is a decent choice for an outdoor knife. It's reasonably strong, fairly priced, and has the reputation of Kershaw behind its craftsmanship... three very good reasons to keep this one in mind. What can I say about the Outcast except that it's an incredibly good blade for the money. If you read no further, my summation is that the Outcast is a great blade to work with. The geometry is somewhere between a bowie and a khukri, and achieves incredible chopping prowess through Ken Onion's great design. The fit and finish match much pricier blades, and the ergonomics are top notch.


The blade has a recurve drop point with half-length top swage, a suitable choice for heavy outdoor use. It's made from 10 inches of hardened D2 steel, which is then coated with ti-nitride for extra resilience and shine. And it's full-tang as well. D2 steel is not cheap, and tends to be a very durable tool steel. When used in large blades, it can be tricky to work with as it can be hardened to the point of being brittle and can also be too soft. When it's worked correctly, it's durable stuff and it can still take and hold an edge. Many blade-buffs questioned Ken Onion's choice to use D2 in a mass produced blade, but I have yet to hear of anyone being disappointed in this knife. Kershaw appears to have locked down a careful process that takes advantage of this steel's benefits.



The blade is housed in a well made Kydex sheath with a unique belt locking mechanism reminiscent of some of the gun holsters I have seen. This seems to work as designed, but isn't the most comfortable on the belt of the wearer, I'd recommend some sort of pad between the belt lock and your hip to keep this clip mechanism from digging in.


The handle also seems fully prepared for tough usage since it boasts a double-injection molded Santoprene handle. Santoprene is the branded name for the most widely used thermoplastic rubber on the market. It performs well under extreme hot/cold temperatures, but possesses a lot of the same flexibility and durability that rubber does.


The knife comes with a lanyard if you prefer to hang it, or a black Kydex sheath if you prefer to wear it.

The Kershaw Outcast is an very good knife with excellent craftsmanship and I would definitely recommend it.


To buy or get more information on the Kershaw Outcast Ken Onion Designed Fixed Blade Knife with 10" D2 Blade, click the link below.

Kershaw Outcast Ken Onion Designed Fixed Blade Knife 10" D2 Blade





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