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Author Archive | Matt

Frontier Axe & Tool

I have a confession to make. I like axes, hatchets, and tomahawks (maybe too much) and I am fortunate to live in a place that lets me put them to good use. I even started an Instagram feed (@thedailyaxe) that shares pictures of them which is how I cope with my vice. It is also how I came across Frontier Axe & Tool.

Frontier Axe & Tool sells axes, hatchets, and tomahawks. There are tons of shops selling new axes and tons selling restored vintage axes but Frontier Axe & Tool sells both. Their site has a variety of restored vintage American axes right along side a line of quality, USA-made, newly manufactured axes.

Those new axes, hatchets, and tomahawks are pretty unique and worth a look. The heads are hand forged by H&B Forge. Then Frontier Axe & Tool hangs each one with their own handles, sharpens them, and fits them with a leather axe mask. The quality appears to be excellent. They even go so far as to coat the leather masks with multiple coats of Sno-Seal. The prices on these axes are lower than their high quality imported counterparts and you are getting some solid value for the price considering the included leather mask and hand worked hafts.

Check out Frontier Axe & Tool.

Flat Face Knives Brewhawks

You’ve seen tomahawks with hammer poles and you’ve seen them with spikes. Flat Face Knives makes tomahawks with something even more useful on the opposite side from the cutting bit… a bottle opener. The Brewhawk is a hand forged tomahawk with a very traditional appearance until you notice the bottle opener.

Flat Face Knives makes these in various sizes and they are most easily available directly from the maker on Instagram. You can also check out their work at Arizona Custom Knives.

Bargain or Just Cheap? – Kershaw CQC-6K and E-Train

Welcome to Bargain or Just Cheap? This series will review budget friendly knives for a variety of uses in a short format. All of the knives will cost less than $50 (in most cases, much less) and will be purchased out of my own pocket. I’ll buy them, carry them, and use them in an attempt to determine if the knife is a bargain or just cheap.


The line of collaboration knives by Emerson Knives and Kershaw is extensive and affordable. However, not all of them are bargains (see our CQC-4K review). The CQC-6K is the subject of today’s installment of Bargain or Just Cheap? and it has something impressive that no other folder in this category has.

Specs:

Lock: Frame Lock

Pocket Clip: Reversible, Tip up only

Steel: 8Cr14MoV

Handle: Textured G-10 front, 410 stainless steel back

Blade length: 3.25 in.

Closed length: 4.5 in.

Open length: 7.75 in.

Weight: 5 oz.

Observations from Use

So what does the CQC-6K have that no other knife in this category has? It has the E-Train – a fully functional training drone version of the CQC-6K. That is a huge value added over other knives if you are interested in training but still operating on a budget. Kershaw and Emerson should get major props for creating a budget-minded live blade and drone combo. Even if you aren’t interested in the CQC-6K, you may want to pick up an E-Train to add to your training tools.

The CQC-6K has a lot going for it on its own. It has the Emerson Wave Opening Feature which is a hooked protrusion that can made to catch the edge of your pocket (or other materials), deploying the knife blade as you remove it from your pocket. Once you get used to the Wave Opener, it is hard to live without.

The knife also has a useful clipped point blade shape with plenty of belly and straight edge for a variety of cuts. The knife has a roughly half-height, hollow primary ground and a clipped point. It is relatively thick for a folder at .11″ thick but the hollow grind does a good enough job of thinning the edge that it cuts well. Overall, the blade shape and profile are very useful for a variety of tasks.

The ergonomics are very good. The knife is comfortable in all 4 grips – tip up and down, edge in and out. The G-10 scale offers excellent traction and the deep finger choil serves to lock the hand in place. It feels good in the hand and has a handle heavy balance.

The lock-up the CQC-6K and E-Train that I purchased are both quite good. They lock up early on the lock bar so they should have room to wear in over time. The detent on my CQC-6K is a little light but adequate but the E-Train has an excellent detent.

Bargain or Just Cheap?

The CQC-6K does a few things better than the not-so-positively reviewed CQC-4K. First, it has a higher primary grind which improves cutting performance and the ergos are spot on. It is a better knife in every way.

I can’t stress how cool it is to see an affordable knife offered with an affordable and readily available training drone. I don’t know of another knife in this price category that offers a drone. It is especially impressive when you consider that both the CQC-6K and E-Train can be purchased for less than $50 total.

When you consider things like a useful blade shape, G-10 scale, Emerson Wave Opener, and the availability of a training drone, you have to conclude that this knife is a BARGAIN.

I will be using Amazon as the price base line for this series. All knives were purchased by me from Amazon:

Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K

Kershaw Emerson E-Train


Our goal is to represent knives for a variety of uses from EDC, to outdoor, to tactical knives. Do you have a favorite affordable knife? Let us know about it in the comments!

TOPS Knives I Stick

The latest iPhone may have people talking about its user interface but it has nothing on the simplicity of TOPS Knives’ new I Stick push dagger user interface – just grip it and go. It’s very intuitive.

From TOPS Knives:

The I Stick was designed to do some serious damage. It is perhaps the thickest push knife on the market and will add weight to your punches when the situation calls for it. At 3/8” thick and just over 12 ounces, you won’t forget you’re carrying it, but for those looking for a stout push knife, this is it. The sheath facilitates low profile, close to the body carry to keep it out of sight whether you’re carrying appendix, hip, 4 o’clock, etc. It’s also completely ambidextrous. The handle has thick, rounded scales for comfort and to fill the hand when clenched in a fist, and the double edge blade does the job when stabbing or slashing.

Pick yours up from a TOPS authorized dealer or directly from TOPS at www.topsknives.com/i-stick

H&B Forge and Pine Fire GOShawk

Traditional, hand forged tomahawks haven’t changed much over the years but there is new tomahawk available that manages to teach the old workhorse some new tricks. The GOShawk is the result of a collaboration between Michael Herdson at Pine Fire and H&B Forge. It can do everything that a typical hammer pole tomahawk can do but it also boasts a few features that set it apart.

The GOShawk has a .85 pound hammer pole head on 23″ haft. A longer haft can be used to balance a heavier tomahawk head and adds speed to the swing. The head on the GOShawk a mid-weight compared to most tomahawks and when placed on a long handle, it should hit very hard.

In addition to the typical cutting edge, the GOShawk also features a utility edge on the lower edge of the bit. This edge can be used for scraping a ferro rod, tinder preparation, or other tasks that you might not want to risk damage or dulling to your main cutting edge. It also has a relief cut behind the bit that allows the user to get their hand behind the cutting for fine work and makes the head more comfortable to hold when it is off the haft.

Finally, the GOShawk also features a 3/8″ divet that can be used as a bow drill socket. The socket is usually the hardest part of a bow drill set to manufacture in the woods so having one with you, can be a great advantage if you have the skills to use a bow drill.

Check out the GOShawk at H&B Forge.

Bargain or Just Cheap? – Real Steel H5 Gerfalcon

Welcome to Bargain or Just Cheap? This series reviews budget friendly knives for a variety of uses in a short format. All of the knives will cost less than $50 (in most cases, much less) and will be purchased out of my own pocket. I’ll buy them, carry them, and use them in an attempt to determine if the knife is a bargain or just cheap.


Real Steel’s H series is full of solid knives at a great price including the knife that is the subject of today’s Bargain or Just Cheap? column – the Real Steel H5 Gerfalcon. We have already reviewed the Real Steel H6-S1 in this series and it didn’t disappoint. The H5 Gerfalcon might be even better.

H5 Gerfalcon Specs:

Lock: Frame Lock, with overtravel stop

Pocket Clip: Right pocket, tip up or tip down

Steel: Sandvik 14C28N

Handle: Textured G-10 front, steel back

Blade length: 3.25 in.

Blade thickness: .12 in.

Open length: 7.75 in.

Weight: 3.95 oz.

Observations from Use

This knife looks great and is packed with features. It is just under the $50 price limit for this series but it does a great job of justifying its price… In fact, it will make you wonder why knives with similar features cost so much.

The blade on the H5 Gerfalcon is similar to that of the H6-S1 but differs in a few key places. It features a great steel in Sandvik 14C28N – a step up from most budget knives. The cutting edge features a mild recurve shape and a full height flat grind like the H6-S1. It differs from the H6-S1 in that is has a clipped point and a flipper stud (which acts as a small guard when the knife is open).

The H5 Gerfalcon’s handle is more squared in shape but still very comfortable. It has jimping on the back of the handle, the spine of the blade, and near the butt of the knife. However, the jumping is shallow, well designed, and doesn’t cause hot spots. Both the G-10 and the steel lock side of the knife are thick and sturdy but overall the knife feels and carries very slim. The thumb studs and lock bar stabilizer are actually made from machined G-10 that matches that handle color.

Opening this knife is a breeze to open thanks ball bearing pivot. The thumb studs are large and easy to operate. The flipper tab is well shaped. The knife opens easily and smoothly with either opening method. I should also mention that the detent on my example is excellent.

The lock on my example is excellent. It looks up with about 70% engagement so it is very sturdy with room to wear in over time. It can be disengaged easily thanks to large scallops on the lock bar that give your thumb purchase.

The pocket clip isn’t a true deep carry clip but it does place the knife very low in the pocket which is nice for professional settings. It is very stout and holds the knife securely.

This knife isn’t exactly a lightweight but it does come in under 4 ounces so it isn’t that bad for a knife of this size. Real Steel did take steps to keep the weight down including using pillars instead of a larger back spacer and machining flutes into the inside of the steel lock bar side of the knife.

Bargain or Just Cheap?

When you use this knife, you can’t help but wonder why other knife makers can’t offer this many well executed features and cutting performance for less money. It certainly benefits, in terms of cost, by being manufactured in China but the fact remains that this is an excellent knife.

The H5 Gerfalcon is a smooth flipping, tight locking, laser-like cutting, bull-strong knife and it is most certainly a BARGAIN.

I am using Amazon as the price base line for this series. All knives were purchased by me from Amazon: Real Steel H5 Gerfalcon on Amazon


Our goal is to represent knives for a variety of uses from EDC, to outdoor, to tactical knives. Do you have a favorite affordable knife? Let us know about it in the comments!

The above article may contain affiliate links.

RMJ Tactical Little Bird 2017

It’s Little Bird season! If you follow the work of RMJ Tactical, you know what I am talking about.

Photo Credit: Rob Orlando

RMJ Tactical’s Little Bird Tomahawk is their way of saying thank you to their customers. It is basically a one-off design that they sell at dealer cost. They are made in limited numbers and often sell out quickly. They have released a Little Bird in 3 of the last 4 years (2014, 2015, and now 2017).

The Little Bird 2017 was just released today and it is limited to about 90 pieces. It sells at $320 including free shipping. This is a considerable discount versus something like an RMJ Jenny Wren which is very similar is size and construction to this latest Little Bird.

This tomahawk is basically an ourdoorsy version of the Jenny Wren. It is nearly identical in size to the venerable Jenny Wren, features a hammer pole, and a false edge on top specifically designed for scraping. It is laser cut and machined from 1/4″ thick 80CRV2 steel and has machined G-10 scales. Like all RMJ Tactical tomahawks, it comes with one of their excellent sheaths with MOC Straps (Low).

These were released at Noon, Eastern time so the clock is ticking. Act fast if you want one.

Little Bird 2017 at RMJ Tactical

Model

Little Bird 2017

Length:

11.75”

Head:

Forward edge: 3.8”

Forward edge to hammer: 4.9”

Steel:

1/4” oversized thickness 80CRV2

Finish:

Tungsten Cerakote

Handle:

Full tang handle design.

G-10 3D machined handle scales.

Handle Color(s):

Black

Hardness:

56-58 HRC

Weight:

24 oz w/o scabbard

30 oz w/ scabbard

Sheath:

Bottom-eject Kydex scabbard with Low Ride MOC Straps (Belt carry) included.

Sneak Peek: RMJ Tactical Utsidihi Trainer

RMJ Tactical announced that they will produce a training drone version of their Utsidihi compact fixed blade defensive knife. The trainer is machined from aluminum and given a blue finish to easily identify it as a training drone. It is designed to fit in the Utsidihi sheath without modification. The Utsidihi trainers will likely begin shipping in the next week.

RMJ Tactical

Bastion GAMUT Folder

The new GAMUT Folder is a collaboration piece between GAMUT Resolutions and Bastion. It features a very unique tanto-ish blade shape with a blunt, chisel-like tip. The 4″ blade is ground from S35VN steel. It opens via a flipper and the blade rides on ceramic bearings. The GAMUT’s frame is machined from titanium and the frame lock features a replaceable steel insert.

This knife was designed based on the experience of Bob Keller of GAMUT Resoltions. 10% of each knife sold goes to the Special Operations Care Fund, a 501(c)3 charity supporting the families of wounded and killed Special Operations Forces.

Check out the GAMUT Folder at Bastion.

TOPS Knives Steel Eagle Delta Class

Way back in 1998, TOPS Knives introduced a knife called the Steel Eagle. That survival knife became the knife that I (and probably many others) pictured in my head when I thought of TOPS Knives. The Steel Eagle is still available today and, with the introduction of the Steel Eagle Delta Class, it’s better than ever.

From TOPS Knives:

Since 1998, TOPS Knives has been making hardcore knives for hardcore individuals. The first model TOPS introduced was the Steel Eagle 107D (tanto). After that, came the Steel Eagle 107C (hunter’s point). These knives epitomize TOPS. As the 20th anniversary of TOPS approaches, they thought it fit to re-release those models with some upgrades. The Delta Class version of the 107C and 107D includes TOPS’ newest finish, Acid Rain. They also come with sandwiched Micarta handles that are thick and rounded to give the user a solid grip, and TOPS has developed a tan Kydex sheath to finish up the package.

Steel Eagle 107C Delta Class Specs

Overall Length: 13.0”

Blade Length: 7.63”

Cutting Edge: 7.00”

Blade Thickness: 0.25”

Blade Shape: Hunter’s point

Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58

Blade Finish: Acid Rain

Handle Material: Black Canvas Micarta / Red Liner / Tan Canvas Micarta

Knife Weight: 18.2 oz

Weight w/ Sheath: 22.6 oz

Sheath Material: Tan Kydex

Sheath Clip: Rotating Spring Steel

Designer: TOPS Team

Steel Eagle 107D Delta Class Specs:

Overall Length: 13.0”

Blade Length: 7.63”

Cutting Edge: 7.00”

Blade Thickness: 0.25”

Blade Shape: Tanto point

Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58

Blade Finish: Acid Rain

Handle Material: Black Canvas Micarta / Red Liner / Tan Canvas Micarta

Knife Weight: 18.3

Weight w/ Sheath: 22.7oz

Sheath Material: Tan Kydex

Sheath Clip: Rotating Spring Steel

Designer: TOPS Team

Find the new Steel Eagle Delta Class knives at TOPS Knives:

Steel Eagle 107D Delta Class (tanto point)

Steel Eagle 107C Delta Class (hunters point)

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