Another January has come and gone, and with it was once again the largest event of its kind in the world… The 2018 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show was held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center from January 23rd through the 26th. Covering nearly 6 hectares (14.8 acres) of flooring, an excess of 2100 exhibitors displayed their products and services for some 60,000 attendees of the 4 day event. 2018 signified the 40th anniversary of the SHOT Show which started way back in 1979 with 290 exhibitors covering a comparatively miniscule 0.48 hectares (1.1 acres).
This year’s SHOT Show also marks the 20th time that SHOT has been hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada; and city that is larger than life seems to be a prefect fit for the SHOT Show. Last year saw nearly 3.2 million kg (3,500 tons) of exhibits moved onto the show floor. To put it mildly, the SHOT Show is unbelievably huge. However there is always a catch when it comes to the biggest and best; the SHOT Show is not open to the general public. That is correct, it is only open to members of the industry and trade. Manufacturers, wholesalers, importers, exporters, retailers, training, non-profit organization and media, all of which are involved in Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoors are able to apply to attend SHOT Show.
The SHOT Show is preceded by Industry Day at the Range on the Monday before the show. This day allows only exhibitor-invited media and buyers to come out to Boulder City Rifle & Pistol Club and experience first hand the products offered by over 160 companies. Everything from crossbows to handguns, throwing axes to fully automatic rifles and everything in-between. With over 1400 media and 800 buyers potentially being on site during this day, Industry Day continues to be the premier hunting and shooting event in the industry providing hands-on experience for attendees. The one caveat is the same as during SHOT Show itself, members of the public are not allowed.
This was the author’s 12th year of attending the SHOT Show and I was accompanied by some long time attendees who had an additional dozen or more shows under their belts. The SHOT Show is now less fun and exciting than it used to be, likely due to the more structured and business oriented planning now done by the author. However, attending the event has always left the author with a sense of awe at the sheer scale of firearms and accessories that are even out there. In perspective; Canada’s outdoor hunting, sporting market brings in roughly $6.5 billion in annual revenue. SHOT Show has that value of product and exhibits on display. Damned!
Now SHOT Show does bring in companies that have absolutely anything remotely to do with the firearms industry, and that includes law enforcement as well as other enterprises. However in a dozen years this had to be the first time the author noticed certain things that never had been at the show previously or escaped notice. With an excess of 1800 exhibitors, you will always miss something when attending, but some stuff is also new…
IF you thought that the Industry Day at the Range would be the favourite of the author’s annual pilgrimage to SHOT, you would be very close indeed. However, it is the now huge Canadian event that keeps the author coming back every year. The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) once again stepped up and hosted the 5th Annual Canadian SHOT Show Reception, with the support of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA). This event has literally blossomed from a dozen people gathered in a hotel room, to a huge event that draws in Canadians from every aspect of the firearms community. Hosted at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, the event was held towering above the city of Las Vegas 108 stories in the air. The view was incomparable, the food was great but extremely short-lived, and the casual atmosphere allowed for the Canadian contingent of SHOT Show attendees to unwind a bit and relax and talk to other Canadians about anything including shop talk. This past event hosted in excess of 300 individuals that otherwise rarely, if ever, communicate to each other except through emails and phone calls. However this reception in its current state is only possible through the sponsorship of multiple firearms related businesses and individuals. TPF would like to personally thank each of these for their support and will list each and every one here.
Tactical Ordinance Inc.
Double Tap Sports
Holosun Technologies Inc.
Firearms Legal Defence
Korth Group Ltd.
Thanks to these sponsors for making the Canadian SHOT Show Reception possible and for being a part of the event. Here at TPF we will be sure to visit each of the sponsors and look at what they have to offer to our Canadian firearms community. We hope that you would do so as well.
As preparations have already begun for next year’s 41st SHOT Show, which will return to the Sands Expo on January 22-25, 2019; so to have the preparations for the 6th Annual Canadian SHOT Show Reception. Companies and potential attendees are asked to contact CSSA Director Mike Duynhoven.
As a FYI to readers who are not Canadian, or are not familiar with our listed organizations; the CSSA is similar to the USA’s National Rifle Association, only more polite eh? They are the organization that represents the firearms consumers across Canada with training, and political outreach; but only have two decades under their belt compared to the NRA’s 150. The CSAAA represents the Canadian firearms industry and looks after their interests, similar to the National Shooting Sports Foundation which organizes and runs the SHOT Show.
Here is a few images showing some of our Canadian companies that are exhibiting at SHOT Show! Make sure to visit ALL of them and help them all out.
There are currently over 30 Canadian companies that exhibit at SHOT Show with more and more doing so every following year. We at TPF will strive to get you a list and images of every single one of our Canadian exhibitors next year at SHOT Show 2019. Thank you for reading all the way through this small write-up of the 2018 SHOT Show. We will soon have more reviews and look forwards to future events for 2018.
Fun Fact: Canada, while only a tenth of the population of the USA, has a substantial number of legal firearms owners. For every 1000 firearms made in the USA, 95% of those remain in the USA for domestic sales, Canadian markets account for 80-90% of the those exported from the USA. That means out of every 500 firearms exported from US manufacturers, Canadian markets get 400-450 of those. This is the reason that most firearms manufactured have a slightly longer barrel to meet Canadian Restricted status instead of Prohibited, such as Ruger GP-100 is 108mm (4.2″) in length.
In this installment of TPF, readers will be able to look at an offering by SOG which is a manual opening knife that incorporates SOG’s patented Arc-Lock system. If the title seems somewhat confusing, please do not stop reading as, despite having a long model designation, this blade does have several items that are worthy of being showcased. TPF is pleased to introduce readers to SOG’s Folding Knife Mini X-Ray Vision. This has a distinction of having a very wordy designation for such a small simple knife design that it almost seems out of place.
This knife initially appears to be one of the more basic folders offered by SOG that would be a very capable addition to anyone’s EDC (Every Day Carry) option. This knife has a combo-edge tanto blade that measures 76mm (3.0″) with some two-step serrations, one large followed by two small; repeat. The knife itself is extremely light, massing in at roughly 85gr (3.0 oz), mainly due to the glass reinforced nylon handles that surround the liners.
We here at TPF obviously love the description of this knife on the SOG website. As it resonates with the majority of our tag line.
Two words that best describe the X-Ray Vision series are “tactical” and “practical”.
But is it too fantastical for some? Some aspects may be…
As stated earlier, this knife is a manual opening knife. Manipulating the ambidextrous thumb is the primary method for blade deployment. The Arc-Lock system on the Mini-X-Ray Vision is a spring-loaded, pivoting bar that retains the blade in a closed position with minor spring force. When deploying the blade, the Arc-Lock shifts along the internal profile of the blade until fully deployed, at which time the pivot bar “locks” into a corresponding notch on the profile. The spring is the key feature for the locking mechanism, and if closed, pulling back on the Arc-Lock bar actually begins deployment of the blade. This allows for a “friction-free” deployment of the blade. However, holding the Arc-Lock bar back prevents the blade from locking open.
The two halves of the knife are held together by a quintet of Torx socket, pan head screws with the opposite side appearing as a blind rivet head. The Arc-Lock bar, and thumb studs are a two piece slotted assembly, with only the thumb stud having an exposed thread on the nut side. With the blade in the closed position the knife measures exactly 101.6mm (4.0″) to the end of the pocket clip, and when fully open the overall length stretches to a hair above 178mm (7.0″). Which will bring TPF Online to the only obvious aesthetic error that we can identify…
The countersunk flat head philips screw which is used to secure the pocket clip into position seems out of place. Using a Torx socket version would have kept up the visual appearance across the entire knife, but in the grand scheme of this knife, this is a very minor quibble. The pocket clip has a fairly large mouth and can be mounted to allow the knife to be worn on either a left or right side, tip up carry.
The lines of this knife are crisp and clean with minimal distractions, such as patterned and ornate contoured handles. The simple handle design incorporates a single pronounced finger groove. Combine that with the serrated thumb rise on the blade and the ability to control the blade for a variety of grips and uses is apparent. The pivot of this knife is very smooth, however the teflon washers do allow for a slight amount of blade play side to side.
The blade itself is manufactured from VG-10 steel, with a thickness of 2.5mm (0.10″) and has a bead blasted finish. This steel is normally considered to be a higher end steel that has good qualities regarding corrosion resistance, edge retention, and sharpening ability.
The Mini X-Ray Vision, SOG Model #MXV72-CP, is a very lightweight manual folding knive with a higher quality steel blade. Readers may recall earlier in this write-up we commented on the possible fantastical aspect of this knife. The suggested MSRP of the knife as reviewed is $161.50 USD, but readers can find it at a much more affordable price point at various online outlets across Canada, such as Blades Canada Cutlery Corp., who have a storefront in Vancouver BC. As an EDC knife, this edged tool has all the required options for being a good EDC, possibly excluding the price tag. However, as per the norm for here, it is up to you, our readers, to determine if SOG’s Mini X-Ray Vision falls under the heading of Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.
Contest Number 1:
So after several years of existence, TPF has decided to hold a contest. We need a logo that represents Tactical Practical & Fantastical. We are not talking an image or cartoon, but our name in a logo that sets it apart from others. We have had this old homemade logo which will give the approximation of what we are looking for.
We want the visuals to be similar in nature with each word representing that aspect of the name. We would like versions to be linear as well as stacked like the example above. Looking for a much higher resolution and quality than the old Microsoft Word created one shown (yes MS Word 2007).
Contest Number 2:
Some associates of TPF have asked us to piggy back a second logo contest for them to be held concurrently. They have a good idea of what they want, but would like one that is more realistic in colour and appearance.
I have been told they would like the shield to be as follows:
Outer – Wooden
Inner trim – Gold/yellow
Inner – White/Silver
Leaf – Red/realistic
Shading and such to give 3D effects would be great.
SO the winners of the logo contests (YES there are 2) will receive a knife and/or multitool from TPF-Online and some other swag. If we have extra swag I’ll put in 2nd and 3rd place prizes for both logo contests. Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Final resolutions should be 1000 pixels in either height or width minimum and 4000 maximum in any single direction. Please submit in JPEG, TIF, or GIF format.
The end date for both contests is at midnight (EST) on June 4th.
One of the most abused parts of a knife is the point or tip of the knife. Users jab it into seams and use the blade as a makeshift wedge or pry-bar in order to crack open or split whatever they are working on at the time. The problem is that the tip of the knife is the weakest part.
The prying puts large tangential stress into a small focused area on what is traditionally the thinner parts of a knife. Now, several knives try and offset this by making a blunt tip which increases the area used for prying that distributes the fores better. Others increase the blade thickness to have a stronger tip that can suffer greater levels of stress before breaking. Columbia River Knife and Tool had a slightly different take which makes a bit more sense to the author. Enter the Barge.
Kershaw’s Barge is a very simple and rugged designed knife that has basically two purposes. Cutting stuff and being used as a wedge/prying tool. The knife is not really that small, amassing just over 150g (5.4oz) and measuring 119mm (4.75″) in length when closed. The first thing you notice looking at the knife however, is the huge metal cap on the knife’s butt end. That is the key of the Barge, the wedge shaped butt cap, and it is massive and mounted very securely between the liners. The wedge acts as the spacer between the two liner halves of the knife. It is secured by five (5) screws along the back and rear edges of the handles, these are not small screws either, they are massive compared to those typically used on folding knives. Of interesting note of this design is the fact that the majority of the screws/nuts use a T8 torx driver for assembly/disassembly, with two exceptions. The reversible pocket clip allows for both left and right handed, tip-up carry, and is secured by a pair of T6 torx pan head screws. The second exception is the most obvious and greatest departure from the other fasteners used, as the large pair of slotted screws provide the main strength that binds the handle to the wedge. The wedge also has a lanyard opening for those who desire to use them.
From the Kershaw Website:
- Multifunction – Has multiple blades or tools, enabling it to perform multiple functions.
- Manual – There is no mechanical assist, such as SpeedSafe, used to open the folding knife. It opens the classic, old-school way.
- Frame Lock – A portion of the handle (the knife frame) moves behind the blade to lock it into position during use. This is a safety feature of the knife.
- Reversible – Pre-drilled holes in the handle enable the user to change either the tip position or the side on which the knife carries.
As is typical in many frame lock knives that are manual in opening, there is a small bearing that is press fit into the locking arm and a corresponding dimple/hole in the blade that enable securing the blade into a closed position. This does equate to a very slight increase of required pressure when opening these knives, but it is almost negligible when using the thumbstuds to open the 6.6cm (2.6″) edge. Now speaking about edges, the Barge’s plain blade has a slight hollow gound edge whose profile is a combination of a warncliffe edge with the spine of a typical drop point and incorporates a slight upward curve close to the tip. Manufactured from 8Cr13MoV, the blade is easily sharpened, and the blade itself, the frame halves, and the wedge have been given a stonewash finish which gives a soft, metallic appearance.
The overall length of the wedge insert is 66mm (2.6″) and is scalloped to allow for the knife’s blade to easily fold up while creating a very robust assembly. The steel right frame panel is 2.4mm (0.095″) thick and incorporates the frame lock mechanism, whereas the the left panel is slightly thinner at 2.0mm (0.08″). However a black textured nylon panel completes the left side for added grip. The blade is 3.1mm (1/8″) thick and uses nylon washers for stiffness and rigidity at the pivot point. The Barge measures 12.1cm (4.74″) long when closed and 18.4cm (7.24″) when locked open which belies the 146.8grams (5.18oz) that this hefty tool masses. The wedge of course is a large contributing factor in those numbers, and with a 1.7mm (0.67″) thick flat edge that is 10.0mm (0.40″) long, the “screwdriver” tip of the Barge is ready for some of the worse pry jobs most people can imagine.
The Kershaw Barge, model 1945, is a very utility oriented knife that could be a good addition to an individual’s every day carry inventory. With a noticeable mass and good control surfaces, this offering may seem cheap at the MSRP of $48.99 CDN, and can be found in stores such as House of Knives. As always however, the question is what category the Barge falls into for you, the reader? Tactial? Practical? Or Fantastical?
Roughly a year ago, TPF Online wrote an installment on a Gerber/Bear Grylls collaboration called the Ultimate Survival Knife. The knife itself caught the interest of one of the author’s more adventurous friends and he acquired it. What many reader may not realize is that in some cases, product images and information is created long before a review is written. After over a year of abuse in the back country of Ontario, Mr. Jody Hammel submitted this review of the knife.
GERBER/BEAR GRYLLS ULTIMATE SURVIVAL KNIFE
I had seen and acquired the Ultimate Survival Knife back in early September 2013, having had to wait for TPF to finish photos and gathering information on it, before handing it over to me. I have since been using this knife as my main camp knife when in the back woods of Algonquin Park which I frequent several times a year. In general the blade feels solid in construction. The blade itself is 3/8” thick at its base where it meets the handle. After 3″, it begins to taper to the tip point and has an overall blade length of just less than 5”. The rubberized handle has a nice grip that does not slip in your hand when it is wet. The index finger grove is nice for added stability. The pommel appears to be made to the same metal as the blade and is perfect for driving in tent stakes or cracking open stubborn walnuts. I have bashed a few things with this and it doesn’t show any wear and tear. I have yet to try the whistle on the lanyard.
The Ferrocerium fire starter rod that is built into the sheath came in handy one night as my lighter was hung 40 feet up a tree with the rest of the cooking gear. We had no issues using the rod and the back of the knife’s blade to get the fire started. While I was concerned that the striker rod may come lose and get lost, it never
I did use the blade for some bush whacking to clear trail to where our food and cooking gear was hung. The front of the blade was fine but the serrated section did not fare too well. This is no great loss to me as I was not a fan of the serrated part any way.
My only complaint is not with the knife itself but with the sheath. I find that it sits too high on my belt and the squared off corners would either dig into my side or scrape against it. It would be nice if the entire knife and sheath hung a little lower to avoid this issue or if the sheath’s corners were rounded. The rest of the sheath is good and the knife sits snug and won’t easily fall out even with the Velcro clasp undone. The fire rod does hang upside down but again is a snug fit and I have never had it fall out by accident. On the back there is a knife sharpening flat that I have had no use for as the knife has kept its edge. The serration edge would require a specialized sharpener to re-edge the tips of the serrations, but not too worried about it.
Over all it is a good all around knife. I used it to whittle tent stakes out of branches with and then drive them into the ground. The blade is beefy enough than I can use it to split larger branches by hitting it with another log and have no fear of breaking the blade. I also like the orange colouring but that’s just personal.
I never needed the whistle or the SOS instructions attached to the knife and sheath, so cannot really comment on those features.
• Feels good in the hand (I have long fingers).
• Blade keeps an edge.
• Solid construction.
• Colouring helps locate if dropped.
• Fits snug in the case.
• Sheath rides to high on the belt causing discomfort.
Many Thanks to Mr. Hammel for his time and efforts in getting back to TPF-Online and writing this review after many months of usage and abuse while adventuring in the regions of Algonquin Park.
Edward Michael Grylls.
Many of our readers may not recognize that name, but if TPF were to mention “Bear” Grylls, you may recall that he is the United Kingdom’s version of Les Stroud, and a worldwide adventurer! In truth, if you are a long time reader of TPF, you would have known about this person from previously reviewed products. In this installment of TPF, yet another Gerber/Grylls collaboration was done on what is titled the “Ultimate Knife”. As always however, we here at TPF will give you the facts and details and leave the decisions to you, the readers.
The Ultimate Knife is supposedly the only knife you would need in a survival/adventuring excursion. The knife and sheath come with a myriad of features and requirements that would provide many basic necessities for outdoor use. Gerber Legendary Blades has a whole realm of Grylls’ survival equipment available, but of course there is never enough space to describe everything.
Contained within the 254mm (10.0″) overall length of the knife is a 122mm (4.8″) drop point blade. This half serrated, hollow ground blade is manufactured from 7Cr17Mov Stainless Steel which allows for good edge retention and extreme ease of cutting rope when required. The blade’s serrations start from the choil of the blade and run approximately 47.5mm (1.875″) in length and with a spine thickness of 4.8mm (0.19″) this knife is fairly robust and meaty by massing 318 grams (11.2 oz).
The handle is manufactured from an orange coloured polymer and is embedded with TacHide™ rubber to ensure a secure and comfortable grip on the knife when in use. Add to that a hammer/pommel measuring 32.4mm x 21.5mm (1.28″ x 0.85″) to the hilt of the knife and it becomes easier to see why Gerber and Bear claim this is the ultimate outdoor knife.
There are actually even more features of the knife which are included for additional survival requirements. On the back edge of the knife spine, is a 19mm (0.75″) section which is machined down as a striker for the fire-starter, to be mentioned later in this review. As well are three through holes measuring 4.9mm (0.195″) in diameter, two of which are at the front edge of the guard and one in the pommel. These three holes are present for if and when the user wishes to mount the knife on a shaft for a spear. An emergency whistle is integrated into a lanyard cord which is threaded through the pommel’s hole, but it is the sheath and all it’s features which add to the collective exuberance of features in the whole package.
The sheath and secured knife mass a total of 418 grams (14.7 oz) and measure 278mm (10.9″) overall in length when worn. The knife retaining portion of the sheath is manufactured from a injection molded polymer which houses the fire-starter. This fire-starter is a Ferrocerium rod which is embedded into a small plastic handle that snaps into a specific area on the polymer sheath. By striking.scraping the fire-starter against the “striker” located on the knife’s spine, the user can generate high temperature sparks and ultimately fire which is always a great benefit to those who adventure outdoors. The remainder of the sheath is manufactured from ballistic black nylon and contains additional items of interest. The nylon sheath has two (2) Velcro straps on it. The first one is to secure the knife’s handle more fully when fully sheathed, and the second strap holds the plastic knife sheath portion against the nylon sheath backing. The first question to pop into your mind may be why bother? Mounted to the backside of the plastic sheath is a diamond grit sharpening insert of sufficient size to resharpen the knife’s plain edge.
With survival in mind, the mildew resistant sheath has two more features to help the adventuring outdoorsman. The first is a sewn in pocket which depicts various land to air rescue instructions and signals. This pocket also contains a tightly folded, water resistant, basic survival guide which contains Bear Grylls’ survival essentials. The sheath can be worn two orientations, the tradition hanging belt loop orientation, plus the sheath has two additional loops which allow for a horizontal wearing. For the second method, it is likely that the handle Velcro strap would not be used for additional securing of the blade.
The “Ultimate Knife” as reviewed, was released in late 2010 by Gerber Legendary Blades under product number #31-000751, and is still available to this day at an MSRP of $62.00USD. It can be found all across Canada both online and at real storefront locations such as Wholesale Sports, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. So depending on your requirements, how would you class this “Ultimate Knife”? Tactical? Practical? Or fantastical?
Additional Notes: there are newer options for the Ultimate Knife such as a pure fine edged blade instead of the partially serrated one, as well as a Pro version which uses a higher quality and denser steel for it’s plain edge.
For many of you who have zero clue who Ken Onion is regarding knives, don’t be too ashamed. Until a couple years ago, the name would have been completely unknown to the author as well. For now TPF will give some background on one of the most innovative and dedicated knife designers/fabricators that has plied his trade in North America for just over the last three decades.
Born in the early 1960’s, Kenneth J. Onion has stated that he has always being interested in knives, yet it was not until 1991 when under the tutelage of a local knife maker, Stanley Fujisaka, that Ken Onion made and completed his first knife. Since then however, Ken Onion has dove into the knife making world head first. In 1996 Ken Onion designed and created a spring assisted opening mechanism, and by 1998 the “Speed Safe” SAO system had been adopted by Kershaw Knives, and Ken Onion was directly working with Kershaw. Many of Kershaws successful designs were from Mr. Onion’s efforts and for the most part associated Ken Onion with Kershaw as the two were nearly interchangeable. Nearly two decades after his first “custom knife”, Ken Onion left Kershaw and created his own company, and partnered up with CRKT back in 2010. With more than several dozen knife related patents to his name and the knowledge and experience to create new designs, you can be sure that as long as Ken Onion decides to continue designing and making knives, they will always be top notch in effect.
In 2011, CRKT teamed up with Ken Onion to mass produce “THE Skinner”. Not just a common “hunting knife” but one whose design started several years earlier and was the result of numerous revisions and several dozen field trials. Here is the quote from CRKT’s website regarding the Skinner:
Hawaiian knife maker Ken Onion told us he was working on the ultimate hunting knife, but it wasn’t ready yet. We assumed that he meant he was putting the finishing touches on a prototype, and were we wrong!
Instead, Ken was concluding an extensive field testing program spanning more than five years, making dozens of custom skinners and giving them to Alaskan guides, professional hunters, and taxidermists in exchange for their feedback. He kept modifying the design and sending out more knives, which have now been used to skin over 60 Alaskan bears, and have been proven on deer, elk, moose, antelope, hogs, sheep and cattle.
CRKT’s Skinner is designed to be an exceptionally versatile hunter’s tool. The 95mm (3.8″) blade has spine thickness of nearly 3.6mm (0.14″) and is cut from Böhler K110 steel. The blade is a variation of the drop-point profile which really allows for the plain hollow grind edge to be relatively large and flat while seeming to have a large belly (which it does not). Amassing 105 grams (3.7 oz) across it’s 203mm (8.0″) overall length, the Skinner is not a overtly heavy blade for carrying around. The tang of the Sninner is only 3/4 length opposed to a full tang setup. The grip consists of several components which are seamlessly moulded together, primarily the Zytel core and the soft thermoplastic rubber (TPR) outer covering which enhances the “scales” of the grip.
For control-ability a large choil is inset into the grip shape allowing for refined control. In addition, the large blade allows for the user to have ample thumb room for strong and deft manipulation of the cutting edge which is imperative for skinning. With the attached lanyard for retention, the Skinner allows for continuous, at-ready use.
The sheath of Ken Onion’s Skinner blade is remarkable in itself. Manufactured similarly to pancake holsters, the sheath is profiled to carry the Skinner on a forward sweeping angle. Crafted from 6 ounce leather and treated to be black in appearance, the sheath masses roughly one third of the blade itself at 60 grams (3.7 oz). The sheath incorporates a profile contoured shape which results in an exceptionally good securing method for the blade. Designed for ambidextrous wearing, the sheath is equally at home for both right and left handed users and the angled design means a more comfortable fit when the knife is sheathed.
The Ken Onion designed Skinner knife is manufactured by CRKT under the model code K700KXP and has an MSRP of $89.99 USD. It is available for purchase from retailers such as MilArm Co. Ltd. located in Edmonton, Alberta. Is this knife design Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical? That is for you, the reader, to decide.
SOG speciality Tools and Knives is renowned for their geared plier-based multi-tools, but as per previous installments of TPF-Online, they also manufacture some quality and interesting blades. With that being said, SOG gratefully provided TPF-Online with one of the Aegis line of knives for reviewing. For those that may wonder where the word Aegis comes from, let us take a bit of a history lesson from Wikipedia.
An aegis is a large collar or cape worn in ancient times to display the protection provided by a high religious authority or the holder of a protective shield signifying the same, such as a bag-like garment that contained a shield. Sometimes the garment and the shield are merged, with a small version of the shield appearing on the garment. It originally was derived from the protective shield associated with a religious figure when related in myths and images. The wearing of the aegis and its contents show sponsorship, protection, or authority derived from yet a higher source or deity. The name has been extended to many other entities, and the concept of a protective shield is found in other mythologies, while its form varies across sources.
The word Aegis has traditionally been used in defensive systems and designs across the world, from protective sunglasses to 1911 style handguns to ship based missile systems. It is in this vein of thought that SOG has adopted the name’s usage for an ultralight folding knife series. Based upon the patented SOG Assist Technology™, and the Arc-Lock system, the Aegis is very similar to the previously reviewed Flash-II in opening, locking, and safety mechanisms. TPF-Online takes a look at the AE-04 model of the Aegis series of knives.
The initial thought of the author when the Aegis was first looked at was that the handle looked cheap with a bland matte black finish and very minimal patterning for grip retention. Simply put however, the author was wrong. The black handle of the knife is manufactured from Zytel nylon and is composed of 2 halves secured together with six (6) socket head screws. Four (4) along the back spine of the handle, one (1) for the pocket clip, and final fastener as part of the SAT/pivot. The partially serrated tanto blade measures 89.0 mm (3.50″) in length and inserted into the blades spine are the ambidextrous thumb studs. The titanium nitride coated AUS-8 steel blade sports nearly 28.0 mm (1.10″) of thumb ridges along it’s 3.0 (0.12″) thick spine.
The Aegis handle does differ from the Flash and it is these differences which externally show up between the two designs. The profile of the Aegis removes any excess thickness and width which was present on the Flash-II’s, such as the removal of the lanyard loop hole, two finger profile in the grip, and the small hump at the top of the handle above the pivot. The mass saved is offset by the tanto-blade profile which, while massing the same 97 grams (3.1 oz) as the Flash-II, results in the Aegis having a centre of gravity further forward than the Flash-II.
In the grips are a series of rubberized inserts sporting the SOG brand name repeatedly while proving a surer gripping ability for the individual whom wields the knife. The manual safety on the left side of the grips and prevents the Arc-Lock system from moving the locking piston when in safe position. Since the piston lock also provides direct resistance for initial blade opening, by engaging the safety the piston is rendered immobile and therefore disables opening of the blade. Add into that the reversible pocket clip for tip-up carrying, and the Aegis package is complete. While SOG promotes this product as a tactical knife, the low mass and efficient blade design make the Aegis a good EDC knife for those interested.
The SOG Aegis reviewed (AE-04) has a MSRP of $114.00 USD and is one of many variations available for the Aegis line of blades. Remember that the SOG AE-04 Aegis Folding Knife, like all SOG products, is backed by a lifetime warranty that protects against defects in manufacturing and materials. This knife can be found as various stores across Canada and online at places such as Toronto based www.thegreatoutdoorsmen.ca. TPF-Online authors have their own opinion of the Aegis folding knife, but ultimately it is your decision, the reader’s, to determine if SOG’s Aegis folding knife is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.
Everyone most likely knows at least one other person who has the ability to narrate extremely well and has ability to draw a listener completely into a story they retell. How many plant the hook and slowly reel in the listener, who is captivated by the idea, and then surprise them as the entire story was about something completely different from what was originally believed? Here at TPF, we were offered a chance to test out a bigger brother to the M16. That was when TPF was provided an M21 to review. Suffice to say that the excitement level at TPF was excellent and when the M21 finally came from Columbia River Knife and Tool we were extremely pleased. The author wonders if any of our readers was caught in the hook of the title?
Unfortunately this M21 is not the famed military variant of the classic M-14, nor a Norinco clone version of that illustrious firearm. In this installment of TPF, the M21 reviewed is an enhanced cousin to the M16, a folding knife designed by Mr. Kit Carson roughly a decade ago. Using his decades of military experience, personal knife making skills and outdoor knowledge, Mr. Carson designed the M16 to be a true functional knife. In 2003 the M16 was voted one of the top 10 tactical folder knife designs by Blade Magazine. The M16’s legacy has continued to this day as it is still in production and is still used as a benchmark versus other knives. The M21-14G, as stated before, is an enhanced brother to the M16, measuring an impressive 135mm (5.3″) long while closed and massing a fair 167 grams (5.9 oz.). These larger blades of the M21 series have also earned the nickname of ‘Big Dog’ for it’s overall size and sporting a 3.6mm (0.14″) thick blade with a length of 98.4mm (3.87″). The M21-14G version in this TPF installment has a self-described as a deep-bellied spear point profile, measures 235.0mm (9.25″) when fully opened and features a trademarked series of Veff™ serrations.
For those individuals who are unfamiliar with Veff™ serrations, they originated on commercial knives back in 2006 and TPF has quoted from Mr. Veff’s website the following:
Veff™ serrations are unlike traditional serrations which are usually small scallops oriented at 90 degrees to the blade cutting edge. Veff™ Serrations are wide and cut at about 50 degrees to the cutting edge. The resulting cutting points bite instantly and dig deep upon contact while the large surgically sharp valleys slice smoothly and effortlessly. Unlike traditional serrations that tend to snag and stick while cutting rope and similar material, Veff™ Serrations slice through cleanly and easily. This produces dramatically improved cutting ability on rope, webbing, strapping, hoses, leather and vegetation. Veff™ Serrations have been extensively tested and have proven to be the most efficient and effective serrations to date.
CKRT has in fact exclusive manufacturing rights to this design, other than Mr. Tom Veff customizing the serrations onto selected knives. The orientation change creates an effect similar to a series of miniature gut hook style cutting surfaces. The profile increases the cutting surface length of the serration edges, the small ridges between help create the sawing effect and draw the item being cut into the edge.
The blade of the MG21 is manufactured from 8Cr14MoV stainless steel like many CRKT folding knives and is one of the higher quality knife steels available from China. The metallurgical properties place it somewhere between 440B and 440C stainless steel characteristics. With the blade hollow ground and treated with a Titanium Nitride coating, the M21-14G is a very sharp and imposing looking tool. To open the knife, a pair of knurled thumb studs are attached to the blade’s spine for ambidextrous opening, as well as the “Carson Flipper” incorporated in the blade itself. The Carson Flipper was introduced nearly 15 years ago and is a kick incorporated into the actual blade which allows for partial opening of the blade through use of a finger on along the back of the closed knife. Now a very commonly feature on SAO knives, this version of the kick is used in conjunction with a slight wrist movement to obtain blade opening speeds similar to spring assisted knives. When the knife is in open position the ‘Casron Flipper’ tab also serves as a means of preventing the user’s hand from sliding into the cutting edges during usage.
This M21 is a very large and beefy blade which is locked into position via a liner lock, and CRKT also utilizes an AutoLAWKS system on the blade which prevents inadvertent closing of the folder. The AutoLAWKS is a spring actuated lever which interposes itself behind the liner lock once the knife is fully opened. This prevents the liner lock from slipping out and having the blade close at inopportune times. In order to close the blade , the AutoLAWKS. lever must be shifted, which allows the liner lock to be disengaged. This can be done one-handed with practice, but would require time and repetition to make such a smooth manoeuver. The 14G blade version incorporates grips manufactured from black G10 and have a textured surface finish to allow a firm grip regardless of weather conditions and the grip halves are retained by a set of Torx-head screws. While the knife itself comes with a retention clip setup for tip down carry and located on the right side of the knife, there are provisions for mounting the clip on either side and in tip-down carry positions. The clip is also secured by a trio of Torx-head screws.
Designed by Mr. Kit Carson to be a rugged, heavy-duty knife based upon the successful M16 predecessor, the M21-14G has an MSRP of $89.99 USD. Other options for this size M21 include double ‘Carson Flipper’ tabs to create a cross guard, colouration changes, and the option for a plain ‘Razor-Sharp’ cutting edge. TPF Online thanks CRKT for its support in allowing us to continue to review its product lines. The M21-14G which is available at many locations across Canada including Wholesale Sports which has numerous storefronts and an online store as well. The final decision on the knife’s classification of Tactical, Practical or Fantastical is up to you, the reader.
This author has had many opportunities to review knives of several manufacturers, and yes; even more are upcoming. However, once in a while, a slightly different knife comes about from the rest of those which have already been examined by the hands of TPF. Now as has been stated previously, and will be stated again, the authors of TPF are not knife experts, while the terminology and knowledge are still being accumulated, TPF should not be categorized as an expert. At this time, that is… Today we get to look at a sample of SOG’s product line, the Woodline series of knives. According to SOG’s website:
That feeling of leaving civilization behind as you move out of the valley and into the woodline is the inspiration for this series of fixed blades and folders.
The Woodline series of knives consist of both a larger fixed blade and a smaller folding blade design. At one time a smaller fixed version was offered but it was discontinued for 2012. Now for the meat and potatoes of this review. The Woodline fixed blade is a non-serrated, trailing point design which measures 264mm (8.4″) overall and masses 235gr (8.3oz); resulting in a large knife for belt mounted EDC. In the author’s opinion this is a field knife, carried and utilized in specific situations such as hunting, camping and other outdoor pursuits which allow for extra bulk and mass to be carried.
The extremely long curved cutting edge of the Woodline’s 122mm (4.8″) blade designed to a good knife for skinning, and with the 3.8mm (0.15″) thick spine the blade can withstand considerable abuse. Made with the standard SOG material, 8Cr13MoV Stainless steel, the knife itself should be able to keep an edge well and be readily sharpened. On the back of the spine are numerous thumb grooves to aid in fine blade control, which is required to prevent unwanted cuts and nicks with the upraised blade tip. The bolster, the metallic section between blade and handle, is made from cast stainless steel and creates the large finger groove in the handle’s grip profile. The tang of the knife is completely encased in very smooth hard wood which is retained by a series of stainless steel torx head screws. The final accoutrement is a lanyard loop consisted of a stainless steel tube imbedded in the end of the handle.
The sheath is composed primarily of 7oz leather with the reviewed piece having a nice uniform dark brown colouration. The leather sheath not only covers the entirety of the blade edge, but nearly the entire bolster and a small portion of the hardwood handle. Blade retention is accomplished though a single leather strap using a press snap button. This strap wraps around the generous finger groove formed in the bolster of the knife. A single belt loop, also made from 7oz leather and 20mm (0.8″) in width, is riveted place. A basic SOG logo is branded into the face of the sheath.
The Woodline fixed blade knife by SOG is an impressive looking product , appears to be very well made and creates an attractive package with the dark leather sheath. The only additional observation which can be made by TPF is that the knife itself is made outside of North America, which does keep manufacturing costs down, but may affect the purchasing decision of prospective buyers. The SOG WD-01 Woodline, large fixed blade knife as reviewed by TPF, has an MSRP of $60USD and is available with many Canadian retailers including various Canadian Tires stores across Canada.
The question, as always, posed to you, the reader, is whether this item is Tactical, Practical or Fantastical?
With advances in technology and more advanced manufacturing techniques, ergonomic sculpting, exotic shapes, and highly technical mechanisms have seemed to become a mainstay of many of today’s manufacturers and Gerber is no exception to this as evidenced by the creation of the Flik multi-tool previously reviewed here at TPF-Online. Gerber has been around for quite a number of years and has made countless designs of knives, multi-tools, and other products which are used by a great many people around the world. However they realized that as technology advances, there is still a very basic principle which needed to be heeded.
What is the basic definition of a knife? A tool used for cutting. That was the entire concept behind the knife being reviewed today. The Basic, a fixed blade knife by Gerber was designed and began production several years ago. As stated, it was a throwback in design with the primary factors being size, generic functionality and durability.
The Basic is just that, a very basic everyday utility knife. Featuring a 76.2mm (3.0″) drop point blade design, the blade is very typical for many knives and follows a sabre ground profile for strength. The cutting edge is partially serrated for true multi-purpose design utility. With the spine/full tang measuring 3.8mm (0.150″) in thickness, the robustness of the design is very apparent. While the overall knife length of 168mm (6.6″) makes the handle small, the huge large finger groove/choil behind the blade edge allows for a very secure grip. Due to this large choil it almost appears that the small grip panels were added as an afterthought to the full tang of the Basic. TPF has noticed however that the blade length has been listed at various sites, including Gerber’s, as nearly 86.5mm (3.40″) in length which would be measuring from blade tip to the leading edge of the grip panels. The grip panels themselves are not spectacular, primarily being made of nylon, and each side is secured into the full tang by three small Torx head screws. However a large portion of these nylon panels mount Gerber’s TacHide™ grip material which is very soft and provides a very secure grip on the knife. The full length tang incorporates a trio of scalloped indents on the spine as thumb ridges, in addition to the large lanyard loop incorporated in the full tang and accentuated by the grip panels.
TPF was unable to determine the mechanical properties of the steel used to manufacture the Basic, but a source says that the blade is most likely constructed with 420HC stainless steel, which is nearly a default for Gerber products unless otherwise indicated. The entire blade and tang are nitride coated for additional corrosion resistance and results in a generally matte dark grey finish. Overall knife mass is roughly 105 gr (3.7oz) which is considerable when combined with the very small size of the knife itself. It seems to be a success when measured against the basic design principles used for it’s creation. However, TPF will note that the handle profile, while designed for extreme comfort and great control, is somewhat diminutive for those individuals whom have larger hands as the knife becomes a three finger profile.
The sheath of the Basic is the complete opposite of the knife in terms of simple design criteria. Created from two molded halves mated together, the completely polymer sheath is a marvel of modern design. A plastic tension catch is part of the molded sheath and securely retains the Basic knife with a force that would potentially overcome the reversible metallic belt clip. The clip is positioned for right handed carry and is made of a stainless spring steel. Retained by two small screws similar to that of the belt clip, a small metallic plaque is on the opposite side of the sheath proudly displaying the Gerber name. TPF did not try to reverse the clip as the durability of the sheath is most likely the weakest point of this entire package. Combined the Basic knife and sheath measure only slightly longer than the knife itself at 173mm (6.8″) and the small package, while fairly heavy is indeed a worthy addition to nearly person’s knife inventory.
The Basic knife as offered by Gerber Gear, is a fixed, partially serrated blade which has an MSRP of 43.00USD, and is available at many outdoor supply stores as well as online retailers such as www.canadiansafetysource.ca. As usual however, it is up to you the reader to decide if the Gerber Basic is Practical, Tactical, or Fantastical.
The title easily sums up what the focus of this instalment of TPF will be regarding. It has been called the most most popular item produced by SOG Specialty Knives and Tools. However, isn’t some fancy multi-tool, which TPF does enjoy reviewing by the way. Nor is it some flashy folding knife with all sorts of carry options, which TPF also likes to see. It just happens to be a simple solidly built fixed knife titled the Field Pup I.
Now here at TPF, we cannot fathom why SOG chose to label this blade the Field Pup, but when introduced in as a new product in 2002, the Field Pup was hailed as a very good all around knife. It’s larger brother the X-42 Field Knife, won in 2003 for Field and Stream’s Best of the Best for design and overall capabilities for a conventional and utilitarian blade. While the X-42 field knife is no longer produced, the Field Pup mimics most of the features that were so highly appraised on it’s bigger brother.
Sporting a 102mm (4.0″) blade whose spine is an impressive 3.3mm (0.13″) thick the Field Pup shows off it’s primary feature quite well. The flat ground blade has a slight drop point profile with the back edge being nearly linear, and featuring a slight recurve cutting edge which adds to the utilitarian design of the knife itself. A recurve blade feature is supposed to lend itself to aid in slicing (draw-cuts), and on larger blades allows for more mass to be closer to the tip of the blade and promote higher chopping ability.
The grip of the Field Pup is manufactured from Kraton, a synthetic substitute for rubber, and is moulded around the full length tang of the blade. With better chemical, wear, and thermal resistance than rubber, the Kraton grips are a natural choice for a field knife that could be exposed to any environment and a large variety of tasks. The thickly moulded grip incorporates a trio of shallow finger grooves and has a very slightly compressible surface which, when added to the checkered pattern on the grip sides, makes this knife extremely comfortable and affords a very secure means of holding the knife. An aggressive thumb ridging on the spine of the knife enhances the ability for imparting force and control through any heavier cutting work that may be done with the blade.
Overall this knife measures 216mm (8.5″) in length and masses 212.6 grams (7.5 oz) which is fairly lightweight as an all round field utility knife. The blade is manufactured from 7Cr17MoV steel, which TPF has been told is the equivalent of 440A stainless steel, and receives very well regarded heat treatment processes, which enhance both the wear resistance and edge retaining properties of the blade.
Over the many years of production, the only alterations other than the text and logo have been the once included para cord lanyard loop and a selection of sheath designs. The two previous sheath for the Field pup reflected the trends of the times. A riveted, simple leather fold-over belt sheath and a larger nylon sheath with retaining snap loop and an accessory pocket. The current sheath is a fairly simple leather fold-over design which uses 2.4 – 2.8mm (6-7 oz) leather and has the retaining edges stitched. Recall that the older version was riveted, however, unlike the past version, today’s Field Pup sheath comes with a retaining snap loop. A generously sized, albeit thin, belt loop completes the sheath.
A single variation of the Field Pup is available and the only difference the satin finish, as reviewed, is replaced by the blade being coated in a black titanium nitrite finish. Due to the immense popularity of this knife design, SOG also created a slightly larger version which is nearly identical in manufacture. These upscaled 121mm (4.75″) blade versions are called the Field Pup II.
Overall TPF finds the Field Pup I a very solidly constructed knife and understands why it has been such a popular knife for hunters, campers, and outdoors-men in general for all these years. The Field Pup I, model FP3 as reviewed, has an MSRP of $62.25 USD and can be readily found at a variety of stores, such as Warriors and Wonders in Vancouver, B.C.
The one true question that only you, the reader, can answer. Is the Field Pup I fixed blade knife, from SOG Specialty Knives and Tools; Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
Once again TPF delves into the realm of bladed tools and as before, Gerber Legendary Blades has become the focus of this review. Gerber has been around for over seven decades of creating tools for people, with an eye on edged instruments for use in nearly every application. As technology and designs continued to evolve, so did the products of Gerber, and for the last thirty years, the sword into the rock image has been the hallmark of that legendary brand and continues in a similar theme even with the latest logo change just a few weeks ago.
Now many designers at Gerber develop concepts and prototypes for a multitude of blades, tools, and equipment. When individuals come up with this blade design, it was so well received that it now bears his name in recognition. Named after longtime employee, Jeff Freeman, the Freeman Guide series of knives debuted in 2003 and are targeted specifically for hunters. Initially created as a fixed blade, the folder versions were introduced a couple of years ago. The Freeman Guide folding knife is the current generation of this knife family and we at TPF are pleased to be able to show you the details and specifics of this product from Gerber.
The Freeman Guide Folder (FGF), is a classic drop point, liner-lock folding design which has several features that may appeal to hunters and other outdoors-men who would utilize it. With the 440A stainless steel blade measuring 91.4mm (3.6″), the FGF’s edge is not exceptionally long when compared to other similar style fixed blade knives. It does however offset that with a large profile and blade thickness; back to belly distance of 30.0mm (1.2″) and being roughly 3.0mm (0.120″) wide. This profile helps the FGF tip the scales at nearly 190 grams (6.6 oz), and while hefty in mass, the large finger grooves in the handle allow for solid grip and control of the knife. The grips themselves are manufactured from Gerber’s exclusive TacHide™ material and offer a comfortable, non-slip texture.
The blade itself mounts dual thumb studs for ambidextrous opening, and the liner lock is very strong and secures the blade open very well. The actual construction of the entire knife is very solid with the use of several Torx screws to secure all aspects together, from the massive lanyard opening on one end to the solid blade stop above the pivot. TPF will note that this knife does not have a pocket clip and at the mass of this blade, it is not a surprise considering the size of this folding knife..
The FGF’s sheath is black nylon belt sheath which has a typical button snap enclosure for securing the folded knife inside the pouch. Other than a trio of raised bumps over the top of the Gerber logo, formed into the surface, there is nothing extraordinary regarding the outward appearance of the sheath. However; the sheath’s construction allows for multiple mounting orientations which is a nice option for such a large folder. The These orientations has provisions for vertical mounting on a 38.1mm (1.5″) belt or horizontal mounting on a belt up to 31.8mm (1.25″) in width, and before some ask, no, this sheath is not molle compatible.
Another version of this folder is available from Gerber, and it includes a gut hook on the blade as well, opposite of the knife belly. The gut hook version is slightly heavier but has the same features as the plain FGF reviewed on TPF. The Gerber Freeman Guide, folding knife is offered with an MSRP of $43 USD regardless of blade style, and is available at nearly all commercial Canadian Tire stores across Canada.
The Freeman Guide folding knife offered by Gerber Legendary Blades:
Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
Once again Spring Assisted Openers are featured on TPF. In this case, SOG Specialty Knives & Tools offered up a small everyday carry knife labelled the Twitch II. The original Twitch I, was introduced into the market many years ago and its small 48.3mm (1.9″) blade, with Spring Assisted Technology was the result of the imagination of Mr. Spencer Frazer.
For those that do not know, Mr. Frazer is the founder of SOG (originally an anagram from Studies & Observations Group) and as a result, SOG has been designing, manufacturing and producing knives for the last 25 years. Having many patents with his name attached to them has helped SOG grow into one of the top dozen known companies for quality, innovation and customer satisfaction with their lines of blades and multi-tools. Fast forward to late 2005-early 2006, and the Twitch II was introduced into the commercial marketplace. A bigger brother to the original, the Twitch II is literally an up-scaled version of the Twitch yet it is not the largest in this design family. That title is held by the Twitch XL. However, for this overview TPF focuses on knife which sits in the middle of the pack.
Featuring a flat ground, drop point blade, which measures 68.1mm (2.68″) in length; the Twitch II is a fair sized knife for EDC. The biggest difference between this design of knife and other spring assisted opening knives is the use of a modified spine lock to secure the blade in the open position. Mounting dual thumb studs on the blade and a kick on the opposite side for opening allow for easy ambidextrous opening of the knife via thumb or finger. Part of the design is the formed lock back which fits around the kick when the knife is in closed position. The opening of this knife using the kick is very fast (see the attached video at the end).
The Twitch II is not a grand knife designed to ohh and ahh people who see it, but is meant for users who may need a knife for everyday cutting tasks. Tight, simple controls, and possessing a smooth appearance from the use of aluminum grip panels; the Twitch II appears to be a logical choice for upgrading from the classic folding, lock-back pocket knives that were carried by many.
Similar it may well be to those older knives, but the same it is not. The Twitch I & II have non-reversible pocket clips due to their sculpted shape, the bigger Twitch XL uses a clip similar to that of the previously reviewed SOGZilla. That being said, the Twitch II clip orientation allows for tip-up carrying while in the pocket and the clip is very small in profile to not have a significant visibility factor.
Already mentioned was the innovative design style of the lock back lever which surrounds the kick yet allows it to move freely. In order to open the blade, the resistance imparted by the lock back lever must be overcome but this is accomplished easily and the blade opening speed is very fast. The folded sheet metal locking lever design is accompanied by a small safety slider which secures the locking lever into position. This enables the knife to have a blade secured in both open or closed positions. The safety has a definite mechanical stop in both engaged and disengaged positions so that it will not accidentally shift into an undesired position. Be aware however that the safety, while preventing the blade from fully opening, does not prevent the tip from extending past the handle by 3mm (1/8″) with direct force on the opening protrusions. Such an occurrence was tested and proven with the reviewed Twitch II, but did take a directed effort on either the kick or the thumb studs in order to open. Research into this shows that this is a rare occurrence and that the vast majority of Twitch II users have no such issues. Overall this SOG appears to share a hallmark feature that TPF has seen of other SOG products, a durable design meant to be well used.
The Twitch II can be ordered as reviewed (TWI-8) but can have two other versions if so desired. A partially serrated blade can be found (TWI-98) or a standard blade but with all components having a black titanium nitrite finish. (TWI-12). As reviewed by TPF, the Twitch II has an MSRP of $72.50 and can be found at a variety of Canadian retailers such as Warriors & Wonders located in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As always the final say is yours; the reader’s.
SOG’s Twitch II: Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
As stated before, TPF has limited experience with blades, and has to rely on online sources and the word of individuals with more knowledge about this subject matter. So when Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) donated some knives to the CSSA for their fund-raising dinners, TPF was able to temporarily acquire the donation to do a small review on it. For most utilitarian people, a knife and/or multi-tool are always a part of their everyday carry gear. Now here at TPF, EDC gear is minimal and more often than not, crude and on the rough side for appearance.
The Centofante Tribute offered by CRKT is anything but crude and rough; in fact it is closer to elegance of design in the author’s opinion. From the company itself, it is known that the blade was part of a collaborative design with a renowned knife making.
Frank Centofante, one of the pioneers in the custom knife making movement, passed away in September of 2009 before he could see this lock back design go into CRKT production. After a few moments of reflection, we decided to name the series the Centofante Tribute.
The Tribute, Frank’s final production collaboration, is a fitting statement of simplicity and craftsmanship. It is a classic drop point lock back folder, with no gimmicks, no frills, no complex mechanisms, not even a clip. His meticulous approach to knife making is detailed in his chapter in the “Bible,” How To Make Folding Knives, published in 1988, and that is exactly how we are making the Tribute.
Honestly, before acquiring the Tribute, TPF had not heard of the now deceased, Mr. Frank Centofante. It is items like this which help expand our knowledge into other areas and gain understanding into some of the history and background for such individuals. Mister Centofante was one of fewer than two hundred custom knife makers in North America in the mid 1970’s, and has always has a penchant for thin, slim folding knives. Now nearly four decades later, this Tribute from CRKT depicts many of the classic elements which are synonymous with Mr. Centofante’s folding knives.
This folding knife features a 79.4mm (3.125″) drop point, plane edged blade and masses only 43 grams (1.5 oz.). As the release by CRKT states, the tribute has no extra features and is very simple in design. With the blade secured open via the spine lock, the Tribute is 181.1mm (7.13″) in length and truly shows off the sleek look of the knife. The overall design shows off the smooth contour of the hand carved and polished Micarta handle and completes the “gentleman’s knife” association with this blade. The flat ground blade is manufactured from 7Cr17MoV stainless steel and features the classic “nail-nick” for opening.
This knife has no sheath, no pocket clip attachments as it is a small, lightweight folder meant to be carried unobtrusively in an individuals pocket, ranging from the inside of a dinner jacket or the back pocket in a pair of blue jeans.
The Tribute has an MSRP of $49,99 USD as listed on the CRKT website, but is available from at various Canadian dealers and retailers across the country such as MilArm Co. Ltd. in Edmonton, Alberta. A smaller version known as the Tribute 2 is also available, but it mounts a slightly smaller blade and appropriately sized handle, but otherwise has all the same features as the larger version.
Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Centofante Tribute folding knife: Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
In between the author’s federal party volunteer work, getting taxes complete, paying employment, and shooting hobbies, as well as family on top of that; TPF is pleased to be able to take a look at SOG’s Flash II, assisted opening knife. The model we are looking at today is the black polymer handled, drop-point, straight-edged version; specifically the FSA-8.
SAO knives (Spring-Assisted-Opening) are perfectly legal in Canada. As has been described to the author by those with far more knife knowledge than TPF; as long as you have to mechanically or physically move the blade before the spring takes over and finishes opening the blade to full extension it is 100% good to go. Ones that do not move the blade are the automatic, and ones which you can open with the “flick of the wrist” or through centrifugal force are considered prohibited devices. So your old 1980’s lock-back knife that is loose to the point that the blade falls out of the handle when you hold it certain ways is a bad thing in Canada. Our laws make about as much sense as giving a murderer three-for-one credit for time served while waiting for trial…
Back to the SOG Flash II. The knife uses the patented SAT opening mechanism (SOG Assisted Technology) for its mechanism for completing the opening once the thumb stud on the blade is engaged. It is fast and solid in operation. The model reviewed was equipped with black Zytel handles and includes a reversible pocket clip. This clip actually protrudes past the handle and allows for the knife to be carried in one’s pocket with the most minimal visual clues. As SOG states, the clip allows for “the lowest, most discreet carry possible.” TPF has to agree, and the clip is mounted to allow for minimal hand repositioning or manipulation, when withdrawing it from the pocket and opening the blade.
Now for the operation of the Flash II. Opening the blade is a two-part process. Firstly the safety must be manipulated into the unlocked position, which is denoted by a bright red indicator. This safety appears to have a detent as it does require a decent amount of effort to shift and there is a noticeable mechanical “unlock/lock” when used. The safety was included as an additional measure to prevent unwanted blade opening, which sounds like a CYA statement to TPF. The opening of the blade is accomplished only through the use of the blade mounted thumb studs mounted on opposite side of the blade itself. For closing of the blade, the pivoting stud located in the handles is pulled back and unlocks the blade, allowing for closing. This pivoting stud is easy to use and allows for one-handed closing by using the thumb to unlock the blade and then pressing the back of the blade against any object, such as a pant leg, and into the closed position.
Both the safety lock and the blade release are located on the same side of the knife, the only true issue with the knife is if you reverse put the pocket clip. Manipulation of the safety looks as though it would become much more difficult due to how close the clip sits to the safety lever. The 89mm (3.5″) stainless steel, straight blade is housed in the encompassing and surprisingly comfortable and firm grips. At 97 grams (3.1 oz) this knife masses very light for its size due to the thorough use of Zytel.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools has numerous variations available for this knife including tanto shaped blades, black TiNi coatings, partially serrated edges and numerous colour options for the handle similar to the SOGZilla reviewed earlier by TPF. Also available is an aluminum machined handle version which increases the Flash II’s mass to 131 grams (4.2 oz), and a rescue version which has a serrated sheep’s foot contoured blade with a black or orange Zytel handle.
The SOG Flash II reviewed (FSA-8) has a MSRP of $75.00 USD and is available at a great variety of knife stores across Canada. SOG’s website can help prospective buyers to decide on the option they like best and even purchase it direct, but be aware that shipping costs may be unbelievably high. Most versions of the Flash II have MSRP’s under $90 with the exception of a few select configurations which top out at nearly $145.00 USD.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools’ Flash II – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
As stated in the previous post, TPF was given the opportunity to review knives and multi-tools from several manufacturers over the upcoming weeks and months. First up is a basic level folder offered by SOG Specialty Knives and Tools, more commonly known just as SOG.
A basic knife with a lock back folding blade, the SOGZilla comes in two sizes, large and small with blade lengths of 96.5mm(3.8″) and 82.6mm(3.25″) respectively. Both sizes feature nearly identical characteristics from a design standpoint. Since TPF received a small blade version, that is the focus of this review.
The SOGZilla folder has been out now for a couple of years and has been marketed as a cost-effective folder for EDC usage. There are several design features which stick out at prospective owners of this knife. With a fairly large profile spear point blade and a back lock design, the SOGZilla doesn’t win any technology contests but sticks with classic, well proven, designs which have been in use for a long, long time. Some added features bring this knife into a more accepted design with modern knives. The addition of a broken loop/hole on the spine of the blade is meant for one-handed opening and can be accomplished with some practice. The Zytel plastic handle, sporting a version of the SOG logo, makes for a lighter mass knife and creates a decent grip pattern which, in conjunction with the finger grooves, makes it feel secure to hold.
Another nice feature about the SOGZilla is the reversible pocket carry clip held in place by a single screw assembly. Coming in a variety of colours and available with optional partially serrated blade or black nitride coatings, the SOGZilla has several variations to choose from. At 125g (4oz) the small blade SOGZilla is a relatively lightweight knife, although the large blade is slightly heavier at 150g (4.8oz) with an additional stainless steel handle option adding another 25g (0.8oz).
The following is a video (without sound) showing the SOGZilla features and general lines of construction.
SOG’s SOGZilla is available at many knife stores across Canada, both online and at retail locations, as well as direct from SOG themselves. MSRP for the reviewed SOGZilla is $43.00USD and ranges up to $55.00 MSRP for the larger bladed, Stainless-Steel handled version.
SOG Speciality Knives and Tools’ SOGZilla – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?